Day 6 saw us leave early from Hunder and head towards Panamik. We did not have a bath as Panamik is supposed to have hot water springs and we wanted to have a ‘spa’ in the middle of the dessert in desolated Ladakh 🙂
The hot water is worth mentioning, the spa is not. There were basically two rooms with hot water coming out of pipes. The hot water is natural geothermal water but I was a tad disappointed with the way the ‘spa’ atmosphere evaporated. Well…can’t have everything.
The water was really hot. Following the water to its source saw S pass through Sulphur deposits. P and I had an awesome bath. Though we have been bathing everyday, the sand, heat and cold of Ladakh gets to you and my skin felt like it was more part of the Ladakhi desert than my anatomy. Until this bath that is….my so-called tan pretty much vanished (just to re-appear a day later as we were traveling through desert). In short, we all, including the driver Naval, fell pretty deeply in love with the hot water spring of Panamik.
Beyond Panamik is a place called ‘Base Camp’ the last frontier before China. Apparently civilians could go there but since we did not even know the existence of the camp and there was no way to get permits in Panamik, we had to skip it.
We headed back with the intention of stopping at Spagmik. This would have been possible if we take the Agam-Shayok highway. This was the area which was devastated by the cloud burst in 2009 and we had no idea if the road has been re-opened. However, we found our through multiple sources include the Agam-in-charge GREF office that the Shayok road has not been completely re-built. There is a river crossing and the bridge over the river has not been built. Thus, big trucks could cross the river bed but not small cars like our Inova.
We still decided to see for ourselves and headed to Agam with the intention of asking someone there (hopefully GREF) about the Shayok road. Unfortunately halfway down, we came across a path made of big stones and had to give up our plan of going to Spagmik that day.
Reason being that the alternative to taking the Agam-Shayok highway to Spagmik was to go through Leh to Spagmik. This meant that we would have to travel was a good 200 km more. Thus reaching Spagmik that day was next to impossible and we did a stopover at Leh.
We met S’s relative who works in the Military and is posted in Leh and had a pretty good time with him. Out impression of Military life went for a toss when we saw how uncle lived. However, being military matter I am not going to elaborate more here.
PS: Since we had to repeat the trip back to KardungLa, I was able to re-take all the photos lost the previous day (Minus the Kali temple of course)