Let me introduce you to the wonderful, magical, beautiful, magnificent, splendid, glorious, awe-inspiring and the most striking part of the Manali – Leh road trip – More Plains (also called Moore Plains). I know that’s a bold statement to make, but, when you’ve been surrounded by mountains, enjoyed being in the lap of Himalayas and you’re used to looking up in wonder– getting to experience More Plains is a welcome visual shock.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Before we dive in, tell me:
- Have you ever experienced a view that shocked your system, so much so, that it took you a long time to legitimately believe that you were not hallucinating?
- Also, has a view put you in a trance that you simply fall asleep?
- Plus, has a view cured AMS?
- Lastly, have you seen a beautifully laid, straight road (I love you BRO), stretching for 40+ KM, with panoramic views of the Mighty Himalayas in the distance, and a straight plain area nearby – all at the amazing height of 4800+ Mt?
A word of caution: Even though you’d be tempted after having driven 30 KMPH for days, do not over – speed.
After the strenuous journey of Sarchu to Pang, which is sprinkled with both joys of Gata Loops and the pain points of Nakee-La and Lachalung-La, (the drive after Lachalung-La is legit worst) nature rewards! But, after Pang, the roads instantaneously improve. After you climb up through a few bends, with towering mountains all around you, you will be witnessing a view that literally makes you hit the brakes!
Here, taking a deep breath, the brain starts forming thoughts again, and you begin to comprehend what you’re experiencing. A straight stretch of road, that leads into the horizon, massive plain land on both side of the beautifully paved road and barren Himalayas to keep the clouds company. Incidentally, More Plains is rightfully called the table-top of Earth.
By the way, most people are tempted to drive fast, sometimes to make up for lost time, sometimes to experience more adrenaline and sometimes just for bragging rights. Some are tempted to drive off road on the adjacent grounds, pop some wheelies and do some tricks. All are legit activities, yes, but, honestly, just cruising through with beautiful music in the background is enough to put you into zen like never before experienced!
Since it was a bright and blue, sunny day, I could read the scales of the mountains. Of course, in moments like these I wish I was more artistic. So much so, I wanted to sit and paint an oil painting. However, in comparison to me, my far more adventurous and cooler better-half wanted to ride a horse on the endless stretch of heaven. Naturally, my dog lover friends imagined how happy their pup would be with so much land to his name! Of course, my best friend was still feeling AMS (How that was possible, I am not sure!) but, was a champ nonetheless.
By the time we crossed Pang, we were exhausted. But, the moment More Plains began, we were flabbergasted at first, and then put to such zen that our entire group fell asleep instantaneously. Here, it was so peaceful and beautiful in how the exquisite views took all our pain away. Needless to say, More Plains or Moore Plains makes for the most tranquil part of the trip.
Of course, this was also the place where our novice drivers (at least in the Himalayan region) got to drive and have that bucket list item checked off. But, slow and steady, keeping in mind a few low lying bumps on the road, we saw no one around (or maybe we were too enamoured to notice anyone else); we rolled on – never wanting the view in front of us to evolve, yet, watching it unfold in pure amazement!
Now, with almost everyone asleep, I felt my eyes getting heavier. However, not wanting to miss out on a single movement and the complete stillness – I just stared overwhelmed and mesmerized. But, the 40+ KM stretch could have gone on forever, on loop, for the rest of my life, and I would have been a happy camper.
More Plains – A concept
There is magic in such untouched places. You begin to indulge in an idyllic experience, unfazed by the concept of time. Here, you stand for hours on end, trying to experience the antiquity and endurance of the universe. You realize happiness can never be material, and you are forever addicted to seeking this feeling again. For, there will never be a moment from here on out that you won’t crave this emotion of witnessing a passing moment and comfortable eternity at the same time!
Unable to define this place, humanity has not left its mark –More Plains belongs to no one. Yet, no one can cross this place and not belong here. Such is the charm and wonder that Moore Plains leaves you with, you willingly leave a part of you behind.
I am a failure when it comes to meditation, however, I experienced nirvana at More Plains. No, this is not an exaggeration. For me, spirituality is different from religion, which is very defined in its path. Rather, spirituality is an experience and emotion of being one with everything and yet being nothing in yourself. Such moments of spirituality are rare, to say the least. However, these are the moments that make your grit and define your character.
Embarking upon the Leh Ladakh road trip is a roller coaster ride of emotions. With spell-binding views that are hard to attain, once you experience them, everything stops. Important concerns are no longer valid, all fears are put to bay, life seems simpler, you attain a sense of calm that stays with you.
With little to no vegetation, and nothing material on your to-do list, this trip is a rare gem of truly being nature’s child. Of course, going back to where you belong and claiming your true seat on nature’s table is an enthralling experience.
However, once you’ve taken a trip to solitude, you’re bound for life with those that came before you, those that will come after you. For anyone who has left a piece of their soul enroute Leh can only truly understand the joy of solitude word-for-word.
So, fellow adventurers, I know this has been an exceptionally philosophical post, but, More Plains does make you in to a philosopher! Next post will cover the remainder of the Manali Leh road trip stretch, so stay tuned! I hope you’re enjoying the extended tours & travels with me for the last leg of the journey to Leh.
Have you ever experienced a place that changed who you are and made you more comfortable in your skin? Have you experienced the concept of time, or the lack of it? Was there ever a moment in your traveling experience you wanted to stop and just be? Isn’t existence such a beautifully forgotten concept? Comment below!