Batalik & Darchiks (NH1 Circuit)
When we started our drive from Drass to Leh, we felt that we have already seen the best and there could not be anything better than this. We had two options for our road journey – go straight to Leh via Mulbekh and Lamayuru, or take a short detour and visit Batalik. The pictures tell you clearly which route we took and we do not regret it even in our dreams. Yes, the roads were not as smooth as we would have wanted them to be, but well, we were not here to just drive on creamy roads.
The landscape is just amazing and we loved every bit of being on the road while on our way to Batalik. There were smooth roads, and rough patches, but all-in-all, BRO has done an amazing job maintaining the roads at such a high altitude.
There was a river flowing with turquoise blue water all through our journey and we just didn’t feel tired of being on the road. We encountered one or two cars throughout on the road from Drass to Batalik. If we had to stop or slow down our car at any point of time, it was either to click some beautiful shots, at some crazy hairpin bends or to give way to flock of sheep.
Around 60 kms north of Kargil and a few kilometres before Batalik is located one of the finest villages we have seen. It is one of the very few ‘Pure Aryans’ village, called the Darchiks. The entrance of the village is guarded by an army post and the village is a couple of kilometres inside from the main highway. The residents are super friendly and live off agriculture as their main source of livelihood. They have the juiciest of fruits and the freshest of grains. We had the opportunity to pick a pear from the tree and nibble on it and I had not eaten a more juicy pear in my life.
The Aryans wear a head gear which is considered holy and they wear it at all public gathering or when celebrating any occasion. One of the women was kind enough to lend Sidhi one to click a shot.
The villagers were so hospitable that they welcomed us into their house and offered us some dry fruit along with the traditional tea which they call Po-Cha, a butter tea primarily made of salt, green tea, water and yak butter. Primary reason for using salt instead of sugar is the availability of the raw materials.
1. When driving from Drass to Leh, do not forget to visit the Darchiks village and Batalik. The road might be a little rough but it is all worth it.
2. Read about the Aryans and the Brokpa community – there is a lot to know about them if you are interested.
3. It might look like a rocky desert, but the fruit and grains available in region are of great quality and taste really really fresh. Don’t miss out on tasting some fruit here.
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