Sarchu-the name itself sounds sinister.We did not know what awaited us when we halted at the Mulkila adventure camp enroute to Manali from Leh.This is a one of the stopovers on the Leh -Manali route and is open from May to October.It took us 7 hours to cover the distance of 257 km from Leh.As we had gone to Leh from Srinagar, we were already acclimatised and none of us had any symptoms of acute mountain sickness though Sarchu at 14,070 ft is higher than Leh.The camp site was picturesque and the tents are well kept with attached bathrooms.
By 6 30 it was dark and we started to hear and feel the howling winds.It was getting bone chilling cold and uncomfortable.The temperature was 20°C and it was little comfort to know that in winter it drops to -35°C.It was the longest night of my life.Nothing could induce sleep and I was looking at the watch every 5 minutes.Got out of the tent at 6 and went around the camp .I found this delightful flock going about their morning activities.
Their masters were nearby in their make shift tent .
These shepherds- Ram Lal and Krishna told me that this is their summer camp and during winter they will take their herd to Manali.
Soon I was witness to a glorious sunrise.It was a real treat watching those goldren rays coming down and lighting up the whole mountain.
So Sarchu was an experience I don’t intend forgetting.After coming back I had discussed my spine chilling night with veteran Ladakh travellers.All were of the opinion that one should camp either at Keylong or Jipsa which have hotels and guesthouses unlike Sarchu with its tented accommodation.