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Third time indeed is lucky, as my third round of the Ladakh area proved. Read on to know why this route must be on every driver’s bucket list

Story: Gaurav Nagpal
Photography: Aditya Dhiwar

If there is a paradise on earth, It is this, it is this, it is this!”

These lines are attributed to Amir Khusrau, the Sufi musician, poet and scholar, who is said to have spoken thus about Kashmir. The beauty of Kashmir can leave you spellbound, with a vista of colours, a pleasant nip in the breeze (that can turn into a bite too), and in general a feeling of peace and serenity, taking you away from your day-to-day humdrum existence.

A trip to Leh-Ladakh is a key part of the Kashmir experience. Photographers love this for the gorgeous views on offer, nature-lovers adore the fact that one view of the landscape can encompass multiple colours, and no one shies away from the all-pervading calm and contentment. It took me my first visit to Leh to understand the terminology “Leh-Ladakh” that I had heard for ages, and Google revealed that Leh is the capital of Ladakh, which is one of the largest towns of Kashmir; thus, the trip should be “to Leh” or “to Ladakh”, not “to Leh-Ladakh”. Etymology apart, Leh is a place people hope to travel to at least once in their lifetimes; I, however, found myself wrapping up August 2015 with my third trip to Leh, driving a 4×4 SUV to boot!

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