AtoZ, Blog Challenge, LadakhTravelDiaries, Travel

[H] Halitosis* High at Chang La Pass |#atozchallenge 2017|



September 2012 I was on a road trip from Srinagar to Ladakh with one of my closest school mates Yasmin. The two of us had planned out this much awaited trip to the Himalayan Kingdom of Leh-Ladakh. Our entire trip was punctuated with endless hilarity and adventures – all courtesy a much aligned sense of humour.

One thing that we both were anal about was public toilets and on the many pit stops we made for using the facilities, the horror and laughter we shared over it, was epic. Much of the public conveniences in Ladakh are chemical loos which are self flushing and store the waste instead of discharging into the surroundings or ground. But due to the heavy tourist traffic, difficulty in accessing the higher reaches; many of these junctions were a stinky affair.

Too many of our stops were done with each holding the breath and counting while doing the deed; the other stood outside as it was impossible to close the door for fear of passing out due to the unholy stench of the accumulated waste. And yes the one standing outside tried to not to inhale the pungent bouquet either;-)

But wait the worst was yet to come!!


We reached Chang-La which is touted to be the world’s third highest pass and had a signboard proudly declaring it to be the Highest Cafeteria in the world. We were excited by this as it would make a nice place to eat and talk about it too.

Little did we know what was in store for us!!


We decided to use the restroom to freshen up since there was a proper loo here (not the chemical one). As we started moving towards this structure, a fetid, malodorous smell offended our olfactory nerves. It seemed the flush didn’t work and so everything, I mean everything, had just accumulated and reeked out the most diabolically foul smell from within the chambers.

We did dare to peek in and almost passed out as our proboscis protested at such a nasal assault. We deliberated as there was an urgent demand from our straining bladders; looked around for large rocks to take an outdoor call – but that wasnt to be. The boulders were on a treacherous ground and too many folks milled around to ensure no privacy to us baring our bottoms; not to mention it was too cold for it too!

The bladder won!! We wrapped our mufflers to a choking stringency onto our mouths and noses to prevent any fetid odour to permeate and braved the redolence.

I will confess, the muffler didn’t help and we didn’t stop gargling our mouths with water and then popping in fresheners as we could feel we have swallowed the feculent vapor. Ahhhhhh it was nauseating to say the least.

Once we got plenty of fresh air or rather the stink was gone, we just burst out laughing and kept chuckling while passer-by looked at us in wonder.

We both declared it to be the worst possible putrescent and loathsome Loo in the world; and rechristened as the world’s stinkiest and highest toilet!!!


“In the land of the skunks he who has half a nose is king.”
― Chris Farley

Whats your worst possible toilet experience?

Does it compare to this?

Fact File:

  • Chang La is the world’s third highest pass at 5360 m
  • Its enroute to one of the most popular tourist spot Lake Pangong when driving down from Leh
  • Chang La literally means “pass in the south”
  • * halitosis means Bad breath and I thought it was the perfect H to describe this post 😉


Hope you are ready for the Inspiring I

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.


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30 thoughts on “[H] Halitosis* High at Chang La Pass |#atozchallenge 2017|

  1. OMG! Shalini….what all you girls had to face on your much-awaited trip! I admit, I did no read each word of your post because I simply cannot read anything written on dirty toilets…and ‘clogged’ is one word that gives me nausea! So apologies. I did get a clear picture of all the torture you had to suffer, though.
    Your post reminded me of my honeymoon! Yes, hubby and I decided to visit his native village – in the konkan region. And, we travelled there by the public transport. Yes, nothing romantic about that! And, on the way, the bus made a stop for travellers to attend to nature’s calls. I alighted the bus and approached a nearby public toilet to relieve myself, but was instantly attacked by the gross odour you spoke about. Still, I ventured inside and what do I see? Three school girls squatting on the dirty, wet floor and answering nature’s call, together! I asked in a feeble voice, where the toilet was…they replied, “This is only the toilet! Come, join us! ” hahahahah…Now, I laugh uproariously at the memory, but back then, I scooted off from the place and held on to dear hope that I would soon reach our destination where I would relieve myself in a cleaner toilet!
    Phew….that’s my toilet-story! Teehee!

    1. ha ha! Yes dirty toilets are very off putting no!
      Your toilet tale is far more hilarious than mine 🙂 Thanks for sharing with me Shilpa!!!

  2. This is one thing I hate the most while traveling – the loo! Gosh! This is horrific! I can only imagine what you’ve gone through. But I loved how you narrated the whole ‘experience’ 😛

  3. OMG! You really described that very vividly! 😀
    Have experienced this many years ago, when we had to take turns standing outside, with our hankies/napkins/dupattas pressed tight against our nose and mouths! It was disgusting! Although now, of course, I’m giggling about it!
    Happy AtoZing!
    Chicky @

    1. Ha ha Kaddu if only stuffing hankies helped to avoid the stench. Eeeyuck!!!! Just thinking abt that is making me shudder now. Glad you found memories in this post…. Even if they are smelly ones 😉

  4. Hahaha… those are some loo experiences!! We have traveled on this route in 2009, but thankfully didn’t had any encounter with stinky loos. I am super fussy about loos and prefer to hold till the bladder says ‘Mayday Mayday Mayday’. 😀

  5. Oh dear! I feel your pain! When on camping trips here, usually we have pit toilets — you do a poo and it just stays at the bottom of the pit. So yeah, depending on the time of the year, it can stink! It’s awful. Unlike you though, I haven’t been to the highest and stinkiest toilet! 😛

  6. Every women faces the problem of using restroom during long travel. Recently, I read about urination device available online for girls to pee on public toilets or outdoors to get rid off germs and sordid experience.

  7. I guess I’d rather look at the beautiful images of the world’s third highest pass on Google. Images, than go on a stinky road trip 😛

    Even though this post tackled a very weird topic, you presented it wonderfully and made it seem like a funny anecdote. The opposite could also have been possible, where you could have said a lot of nasty things about the hygiene facilities, but I’m happy that you didn’t. This post has a subtle yet direct message!

  8. Oh my, this doesn’t sound like an experience for me. Geographically the place sounds interesting and fascinating, but I’m fussy about clean toilet facilities. You wrote an exceedingly graphic account that put me there. Thank goodness I couldn’t actually experience the smell though.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Oh it’s a gorgeous land indeed but yes infrastructure is short on strength as it’s pretty much a mountainous terrain, not enough funds and other resources. And a very high tourist influx, more than the region can handle plus so many peeps don’t know how to use a public toilet. All of it compounds the issue.
      If you ever do get to, don’t miss visiting this charming Himalayan region. Gorgeous vistas, amazing people and some good food too 🙂

  9. Shame you couldn’t take a pass on the toilet. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go! Not the most fragrant story, but you did manage to tell it entertainingly – no mean feat.

  10. I liked your take on bad breath…. and gosh, my toilet experiences are too horrible for me to remember or recall….I don’t know how but I’ve found non-smelling toilets in places as remote as Death Valley so why can’t we manage stinkless loos in posh malls/hotels?

    1. Yes why can’t we control evil smelling toilets in India? Population? Too many people to use and too little staff to maintain? Or simply propel have no loo manners? I have seen mom make the little kids piddle on the toilet floor as they don’t want to sit on the seat or are not habitual to it. It’s just too gross to walk into a loo and see all that “water” on the floor and the stench- Ugh!!!!

    1. Hey there – dont understand why you would call me “ghost writer” for Mr Tharoor- hope there is a compliment in there 😉
      Yup this was definitely at my expense – I hope never ever to again encounter such a yucky toilet again!!

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