Sorry about the time gap; too much of life lessons bombarded on me the past one year. Not that I didn’t miss you, so to put this in another way, I have got loads to tell you! As every year, our mandatory annual family trip took us to a heaven called Leh Ladakh.
When I think of Leh or Ladakh, the first, rather the instant visual synonymous to the name, shows me a crystal clear lake surrounded by a barren mountain desert from all sides. And if there’s somebody riding a Bullet or an Enfield, the picture postcard is rendered complete.
Well everyone writes about the photographic excellence, the road trips, the treks, the camping when it comes to Leh Ladakh, BUT there’s so much more Leh Ladakh has to offer, especially when it comes to food.
Here are the places marking my gastronomical adventure during my time here:
1) The Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh
If quality food is what you prefer along with an extremely comfortable stay and not to mention the stunning view of Leh 360 degrees then head on to The Grand Dragon hotel, off the Old Road, Sheynam, Leh town. From typical English breakfast choices like eggs of your choice, sausages, croutons, danish pastries, baked beans, hash browns to delectable Indian breakfast variants like stuffed paranthas, puri sabzi, customised dosas and idlis– there’s something for every kind of taste bud. If you’re on the ala carte, DO NOT miss their oriental fare; especially their vegetarian Hakka noodles that’s a flavorful affair with thin rice noodles and assortment of fresh crispy vegetables.
For me the breakfast was included in my hotel package. However don’t miss their High tea, if you’re game to savour the hot Kashmiri Kawah on a cold evening with crispy fried pakodas and other delectable snacks on their menu. Pricing for the same is steep considering it’s a five star standard but worth the money. Oh and fun fact: Shahrukh Khan, Yash Chopra, Anushka Sharma and the entire cast and crew of the romantic Bollywood film Jab Tak Hai Jaan stayed here!
Address: Old Road, Sheynam,
Jammu and Kashmir 194101
2) The Thiksey Monastery Eating House, Ladakh
The Thiksey Monastery is at a distance of 18 km from Leh. This is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh that houses 15 metres (49 ft) high statue of Maitreya Buddha, in a sitting posture. The manifestation is considered the largest statue in Ladakh, covering two stories of the monastery building. Apart from the tourist eye candy, visitors can head on to the eating house located few meters from the monastery entrance. The menu comprises of a wide variety of Chinese, Indian and Tibetan cuisine, however it’s the Leh specialties you need to watch out for. My personal favourite is their Thenthuk, which is a type of Thukpa or noodle soup that is made from hand pulled noodles, vegetables, mutton or yak meat.
Address: Thiksey Villay, Leh Manali Highway,
Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Contact: (+91)93222 89451
3) Gesmo Restaurant: German Bakery and Coffee Shop
Not a big fan of traditional local flavours? Missing your favourite fast food? Gesmo might just be your saviour. The popular German Bakery houses some of the yummiest cakes, momos and thin crust pizzas on their menu. For those craving home cooked Indian meal, you could seek satiation in the Indian section of their menu. Their yellow dal, mixed vegetables and tandoori roti are actually pretty decent. Their biggest USP however are their thin crust Yak Cheese pizzas – absolutely delicious! Being a bakery, you shouldn’t miss their lemon sponge cake and apple pies either! Pries range from INR 70 to maximum INR 250.
Address: Old Fort Road, Leh ,
Jammu and Kashmir- 194101
4) Rancho’s Coffee Shop, Druk White Lotus School, Shay
If you loved the sensational Bollywood film 3 idiots and your tour takes you to Phungsuk Wangdu aka Rancho’s school in Shay, Ladakh, do not miss the Rancho’s coffee shop amidst the premises. Originally called the Druk White Lotus school, this aid run academic institution aims at providing holistic education to local children. En-cashing on the popularity of the cult film has not only brought curious tourists but also a lot of donations for the school. The coffee shop may not be a fancy affair but the items available are made from the heart and for a good cause!
Address: Shey – Leh,Ladakh,
Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Contact: 01982 267 255
5)Wazwan Planet, Leh
You cannot leave J&K, without trying the Kashmiri Kawah and their local favourite “Wazwan” or the Kashmiri meal platter. When in Leh, do try the Wazwan Planet that houses the most delicious local Kashmiri cuisine in town. I tried the authentic Wazwan Rista which was out of this world, although bit too heavy on the stomach with the heatiness of the meat balls and oil. In case you don’t know what a Rista is, it’s basically gigantic Mutton Meat ball curry prepared in red chilly powder and other spices in a very special manner with lots of oil. Goes very well with a Taftoon or steamed rice.
Address: Khardung la Road,
Leh 194101, India.
So dear diary, one more place conquered, one more off that checklist we made. So many more to strike off, so many conquests to win. Cheers to walking endlessly but most importantly…Walking ON!
To be Continued….