The beauty of Jispa Valley was a welcome sight after a harrowing day that started at Manali and escalated at Rothang Pass. As I swung my legs off the bike, I wondered how we managed to reach this place in one piece. The route we took before we descended to the valley were interspersed with breathtaking sceneries and horrific road conditions where my death flashed before my eyes a thousand ways; hurled to bottom of the cliff, crushed under a truck, dragged by a raging stream and all other horrors my mind could conjure.
My nerves were soothed momentarily as I gaped at the splendor before me but once I closed my eyes to sleep all the horrors of the day came back to me scrambling on top of each other giving me a panic attack. My heart raced and I felt the onset of altitude sickness, good that we packed all the recommended medicine. Sandeep gave me a pill and I went into a dreamless slumber.
I woke up to a beautiful morning in the valley, feeling refreshed and optimistic. The worst must be over. Or so I hoped.
After tea and breakfast, Sandeep, Nadeem and I walked towards the stream at the foot the majestic mountains barricading the vale. There it dawned on me how incredibly wonderful this world is, how exquisite these hidden gems were.
Nadeen then told us it was time for our acclimatization exercise, an activity essential to our survival once we drive higher later on towards Leh. So we scaled one of the pretty hills in the valley. I lagged behind as usual. Sandeep tried to motivate me as much as he could but I often get distracted with the breathtaking view below us.
It was a pity that we could not stay longer in Jispa;this beauty was just one of the pitstops to our final destination, so before the morning was over we continued our journey towards our next stopping place, Pang La. But I was glad that we also stopped for a while in a pretty village in Darcha though it was just 7 kilometres away from Jispa.
I enjoyed the hot lemon tea in the dhaba where we took a break. It was a nice change from the usual Indian tea with milk. The locals, I noticed seemed to look more like myself than my Indian companions.
As we leave Jispa Valley behind, it did not occur to me that the feeling of terror mixed with amazement I felt on the way there would be multiplied a thousand times on our way to Pang La. Unaware of the perils that lay before us, I felt ecstatic as I ride behind Sandeep, enjoying the crisp cold wind on my face, and the sight before me which was indescribable in it’s awesomeness and magnificence.