We land at Ladakh, and are told to rest for a day to acclimatise ourselves. Actually, it takes two. And then, it is time for a trek into Ladakh's villages. Our jeep drops us off at Lekhir. We hoist the back-packs crammed with rations and water. After three hours of climbing and walking, we reach Yang Thang, and stay in a homestay. A Ladakhi house is not complete without cattle. Hemis is colder than Yang Thang, and the only shop there opens on demand. Our short but sweet stay ends, but we carry many lovely memories — back. of the hail of ‘Juley, Juley' from the villagers; of Dadul who shepherded us over the mountains, and little Padma, the daughter of our host at Yang Thang, who walks two hours in the mountains to reach her school. Of the awesome mountains, of the majestic River Indus, of the Chang la and Kardung La passes. We carried memories of a place visited more by foreigners than Indians.

V. RAMA KUMAR

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