The Sarchu Syndrome!

If a place could be marked as “the edge of a realisation”, of how “achingly” beautiful Ladakh is, it would be Sarchu. This is where it started sinking in, the feeling called: This is Ladakh!
Technically, located in Himachal Pradesh, Sarchu is a gateway to Ladakh. It is at an altitude of 14,300 ft, making it a tab higher than Leh. And if you are guessing it right, this place is notorious for acute High Altitude Sickness. Hence, it is important that we acclimatize well.
Tip: It is advisable to halt at Jispa for a night and then head towards Sarchu, purely for acclimatisation.
Manali (6726 ft) —>> Jispa (10,500 ft) {distance: 138 km/drive: 4-5 hours}
Jispa—>> Sarchu (14,070 ft) {Distance: 113 km, drive: 3-4 hours}
Here’s what happened:Β 
In spite of knowing the pro tip, we couldn’t stop at Jispa. With a dizzy head and a possessed nape, I reached Sarchu. The winds were wild, wild enough to rip mountains apart (I know I am prone to, but this time, I am not exaggerating!)
Drinking gallons of water and garlic soup, helped. But the mild scatterbrained, Sarchu Syndrome, stayed!
Being from the mountains, I’d never experienced anything of this sort. I was in my cozy tent, trying to calm the fuck down, when the distant voice of Indranil da exclaimed, “You should get your camera outside”!
In no mood for movement, yet curious, I went outside.
That moment, everything else faded, but the fiery sky of Sarchu! I’ve bookmarked this split second, in the collage of my memories and flashbacks!


Still exploring. Kind of bipolar- for my equal love for home and the world. Essentially believe in what George Bernard Shaw said, "life isn't about finding yourself but creating yourself"


  • Manu Khandelwal August 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm Reply

    well explained πŸ™‚

  • InspiresN August 22, 2017 at 3:29 pm Reply

    beautiful place and seems like an adventurous trip , the picture almost looks like a perfect painting!

    • ambikabhardwaj August 23, 2017 at 6:15 pm Reply

      It’s an HDR click. Hence the colours feel like canvas. And it was such an adventure! In retrospect, even AMS feels so!

  • Debarup Mukherjee August 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm Reply

    Hi Ambika, Nice post.
    Well we didn’t get any AMS as we took diamox started from Manali. Indranil da took care of this πŸ™‚ Surprisingly we were the only group in the Serchu camp with no such AMS problem but I remember few boys and girls from a Gujrati group was vomiting badly and we gave them few diamox tablets.

    • ambikabhardwaj August 23, 2017 at 6:18 pm Reply

      Debarup dada!!! You too explore the mountains with Indranil da? World is a small place! Eeesshhhh!
      We’ll talk about Gujarati groups, offline!
      How did you like Sarchu?

      • debarupm August 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm Reply

        Yes, Indranil da is inspiration for me for landscape photography and also for trekking
        BTW I am not able to send you friend request in fb, so I poked you. πŸ˜›
        Here is my fb profile:
        lets get connect!
        “How was Sarchu?”
        Well my first f2f introduction with milky way was at Sarchu and I never ever forget those moments…
        Sarchu is very close to me and it remain.
        Do read my blog also

        • ambikabhardwaj August 29, 2017 at 5:51 pm Reply

          Your blog brings a tide of memories! Also, inspiring me to visit Kargil,
          Milky way is quite overwhelming, makes one feel small and humble!
          Don’t worry about the poke, just sent you a request on FB!
          Glad to connect! πŸ˜€

  • paulmansfield30 August 22, 2017 at 9:24 pm Reply

    Hi Ambika, your post was cool, because it brought me, one of the readers, to a place, I’ve never been. And your prose gave a good sense of the sensations, this altitude, brought on. I’m just impressed you were composed enough to take the lovely photograph that you did. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™

    • ambikabhardwaj August 23, 2017 at 6:22 pm Reply

      Hon,I am so haapy you feel so! For what are writers if not for readers! Damn, I am such a brag!
      But to be truthful, I am glad, we (you and I) both went there, in our own ways, in our own worlds!

  • Infinite Living August 22, 2017 at 11:04 pm Reply

    I loved your words β€œachingly” beautiful and the picture is stunning!

    • ambikabhardwaj August 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm Reply

      Aye! Ache for AMS and beautiful for the picture! It felt like living an oxymoron. Glad you like it! ❀

  • Anushree August 23, 2017 at 2:59 pm Reply

    Gorgeous picture. Someday I will reach Ladakh. As of now its a distant dream !

    • ambikabhardwaj August 23, 2017 at 6:26 pm Reply

      Anushree!!! πŸ˜ƒ
      Hon, welcome to my blog. Hugs and kisses!
      Tip: Go pack your bag!!!

  • Anushree August 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Lol I wish it could be that simple. But yeah some day πŸ™‚

    • ambikabhardwaj August 23, 2017 at 6:41 pm Reply

      I understand… 😊
      But when you go… It will be worth it. Every-single-moment!

      • Anushree August 23, 2017 at 7:42 pm Reply

        Am sure of that. Just need to get the timing right. Beautiful pics of mountains <3

        • ambikabhardwaj August 24, 2017 at 6:22 am Reply

          You will, soon! πŸ™‚
          Thank you, Anushree!

  • Mehul Singla August 24, 2017 at 1:10 am Reply

    It seems like a beautiful place. Amazing pic😊😊

    • ambikabhardwaj August 24, 2017 at 6:19 am Reply

      Indeed, a beautiful place!

      • Mehul Singla August 24, 2017 at 6:31 am Reply

        I hope I get to travel there once

        • ambikabhardwaj August 24, 2017 at 6:55 am Reply

          Never, “hope” to travel. Just travel, Mehul! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

          • Mehul Singla August 24, 2017 at 7:39 am

            Yeah I’ll definitely travel😊

  • Nisthur Anadi August 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm Reply

    Looks alike heaven..

  • Team WeAreHimachali September 2, 2017 at 5:54 pm Reply

    Hey would like to feature your blogon our website, with your kind permission and due credits. Do get in touch with us on 9882837038(wa) or

    • ambikabhardwaj September 3, 2017 at 8:54 pm Reply

      Wow! This sounds exciting! Thank you so much! I’ll contact you guys!

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