Chushul might have come into public notice in recent times due to India China conflict but I got the opportunity to visit this remote outpost in Ladakh 18 years ago.
Yes, even as 18 years have passed, the memories are still fresh. The cold evening that spent in Chushul with three of my colleagues and the cab driver do not seem to fade away. Though I do not have a collection of photos from the region as 2003 was still a nascent year for everyone to possess a camera, the memories are raw.
Hectic Day in Ladakh
It was the month of September when we began early morning from Leh and headed to Chushul some 200 Km away. South of Pangong Tso, this was the first time that I got opportunity to visit such remote location.
Small villages or hamlets in one and two often came our way and villagers waived happily when we passed through the area. Being from Himachal Pradesh, I had seen high mountains before but Ladakh was definitely very different.
My work in an NGO working on Environment Conservation took me to this area and when we got our inner line permit to visit the place, it was a sort of achievement for me. For, I was to visit a place only few had seen.
Dry barren landscape of Ladakh was as barren as you see it today all thanks to easy reach of social media and YouTube vloggers who make you visit Ladakh sitting at home. It was same even then though the road infrastructure is much better today. Yet, the potholes did not feel bad as often we came across convoys of Indian Army who offered the solace that we were not alone.
I do not remember much about the day’s journey 18 years later but the feeling of reaching Razing La war memorial is still as fresh. This is the place where the bloodiest of India China battle was fought. Standing at the spot gave the feeling as if we were in some temple and the heads bowed down in honour of those who laid their lives for our mother India.
The Cold Evening at Chushul
The first view of Chushul virtually takes your breath away. For, you are only meters away from the Chinese territory. The lone PWD guest house was staring at our faces and the caretaker was too eager to welcome us. The night was equally amazing for it was the first time that I saw the stars so closely. It felt that we could catch them with a mere jump.
Early morning next day we made way to the village to meet some locals who were to establish a medicinal plant nursery in the region. The hospitality and the warmth they showed are a testimony of the brave Ladakhi spirit that we seen now more often, all thanks to easy reach of media.
Well, there is nothing more to tell as the memories of those days do make me feel nostalgic at times and today was one such day which made me pen these thoughts and share it with you.
Happy Reading and Happy Travelling!