The valleys in Ladakh are big. Really big. You won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big they are. You feel like a tiny mosquito walking in this vast incredible space and although your feet get tired of walking, a voice in your head keeps telling you ‘look up, look up’ because the views are so unbelievable. You will see a different side of Himalayas in here. The barren yet beautiful side. And maybe it will also help you see yourself in a different light, as the space around you helps you space out from everything in your life and just be yourself, alone, in the wild.
Markha Valley is one of the few treks that gives you a chance to be a pioneer in the wild. Where you are more likely to bump into animals running in the wilderness than bumping into other trekkers, where you will wake up in the middle of the night and see the milky way with your naked eyes, and where the sound of the river and birds will become your walking companion.
Most people go on treks for different reasons, but mostly it’s the silence that appeals to them and brings them back. There were days on the Markha valley trek, where we’d walk for hours without seeing anyone else on the trail. We’d have conversations with each other in the group, but we’d also have long silent patches where we were all lost in our own thoughts. It is a kind of trek that allows you to disconnect from everything and enjoy your own company, think about things that you tend to lock away, and breath out all the stress.
Whether you are trekking with your own small group or you are a solo trekker, you will find yourself surrounded by distractions of a different kind on this trek. The kind of distractions that we want to welcome in our lives more often than not. The huge rocks that surround you will make you feel so tiny, and would want to make you scream out loud, just to hear the echo in the wilderness. The landscapes change every few hours, and all of a sudden you’ll look up to find you are walking on purple mud and stones and you’ll see hills of different colours all around you (red, chalk green, purple). You will see Pikas goofing about in the valleys and whisling at you, chickens running around with their chicklings following them, horses munching about and passing you by, the Himalayan crows with yellow beaks flying right above you. The trek will allow you to be alone, yet feel alive.
You will come across charming tea stalls on the way, where you’ll probably have your first interaction with someone outside of your group.
Your mind feels completely at ease, in here, there is noone vying for your attention, you don’t need to entertain anyone, you have no emails flooding your mobile, you are responsible for just one thing: keeping your left foot in front of the right, and vice-versa. To just keep moving. It’s like theraphy, just free of cost.
You can sit by a lake and read a book, or take a nap, just because, you can. You don’t have a clock telling you what to do. It’s just you and the mountains.
Sometimes a walk alone in the wilderness is all you need to shut the voices of the world and hear your own thoughts.
Markha Valley is my own version of lonely heaven. It’s 60 kms of understated beauty and it is bound to make you wonder, day-dream and absolutely forget about the world beyond the mountains.
Come experience it yourself.