Previously in this series. 01. Leh. From the air. and 02. Drive. Leh to Batalik. Since we did lots of stuff while we were staying at Batalik, I’ve divided the blog posts into two days. Day two was quite eventful with some night photography as well. Day one was obviously spent recuperating and drinking brandy! Also see the series after this one : 03. Batalik. Day One. 04. Batalik. Day Two. Part One. and 05. Batalik. Day Two. Part Two.

above : As I’ve mentioned earlier, it does NOT look like you’re in India! The foliage especially, adds to the effect. This is at a village before Batalik.

above : Foliage shadows against the sky.

above : The sun was starting to set as we reached Batalik, which in the mountains means time for some shadow-play.

above : Can you believe the colors? I couldn’t. I shot so many frames – and they all look the same. Vibrant, lovely – bright enough to make your eyes hurt.

above : @akanksharedhu The chocolate monster! We were cold and the fauji rooms at these altitudes come equipped with their very own chocolate-filled baskets. Cadbury’s, Snickers and 5-Stars. The room walls were of wood with asbestos lining outside and the roofs were asbestos as well. Lots of insulation stuffed between the walls. A toasty “bukhari” of the modern kerosene kind was soon added to the decor.

above : We were invited for dinner in the Officer’s Mess, which was a stone’s throw from our rooms. What you see is the Visitor’s Book of the 13 Kumaon Mess that has been around almost since the Battalion even had an Officer’s Mess. Ancient. You can see signatures of officers long gone and notes in their own handwriting. Officers who have moved on and then come back to visit, like my Father, are requested to write in the book.

above : Here, what you see are ID discs of Sepoy Amilal that were found by yours truly on my first trip to Leh in 1993. So I was 13, not 10. We’d taken a small expedition to the mountain known as Rezang La. I used to suffer from Asthama then so was unable to climb too far – we were on foot. I chose to stay back at the foot and mucked around in the sand for a couple of hours. During that mucking around, my foot got stuck in something and I fell face-first into dune-sand. It turned out to be a buried bunker, which had been used by 13 Kumaon soldiers during the Indo-China conflict in 1961. We proceeded to dig it out and found an assortment of items like torn clothes, tins of food, water bottles and these ID discs. It was surreal. Fortunately, all live ammunition was only on top of Rezang La. Since the expedition was led by my Father, he is credited with the find and I always rib him about it.

above : Mess cutlery of 13 Kumaon with the motto “Bravest of the Brave” and the Russell Lion. Dinner was served and we quickly went to bed because a long day had been planned starting at dawn.

That was Day One at Batalik – the same day as we arrived from New Delhi to Leh and drove to Batalik. You can see the previous blog posts and images from this series. 01. Leh. From the air. 02. Drive. Leh to Batalik. 03. Batalik. Day One. 04. Batalik. Day Two. Part One. and 05. Batalik. Day Two. Part Two.