AtoZ, Blog Challenge, LadakhTravelDiaries, Travel

[Z] Zen in the Glen |#atozchallenge 2017|


As scores of multi colored prayer flags fluttered in the wind, welcoming us in their calming embrace, we drove into a teeny tiny town named Khalstee, enroute to Leh. The last few hours of the ride had been bone achingly painful and we were grateful for the respite from jostling in the back seat of our four-wheel drive.


Khalstee seemed more of a village than a town, we rolled into the market square where a multitude of hawkers were squatting on the floor with their colourful produce burgeoning from cane baskets – luscious sunset orange apricots, juicy red-cheeked apples, succulent green leafy veggies, turnips, beets, and many more that were new to me.

Our driver suggested a break for lunch and we eagerly fell into his suggestion, especially as both of us had bladders straining to burst. Our pre-condition for a lunch space was a clean loo. We espied some foreigners making a selection of veggies at the entry of an eatery and headed that ways. The owner looked up at us and simply pointed to the loo without us even asking anything – guess the pain was writ large upon our faces 😉 And it felt blissful to use a clean loo without holding our breath.

We emerged more at peace and then started taking the oasis of a setting we were in. Large vegetable patches ringed with tall sunflowers and hollyhocks where tiny tits were chattering away gaily. A large orchard dominated the back-end of the space which abounded in apricot and apple laden boughs, where the sunbirds were creating quite a ruckus.


We loved the light filtering through the lush apple laden branches intertwined with apricot ones. Tiny little sparrows flitting amongst the fruits, twittering joyfully, added to the simple joy of the outside.



So the owner had converted the back yard of his house into a space where some table were set up, community style; each protected with a tarp overhead which we assumed was to protect the diners from the sun. How wrong were we!!

In the front portion, he had a shop from where he sold fresh produce which the patrons could make a selection from and order their dishes from. We loved the brilliance and uniqueness of this concept in a tiny village hamlet. Of course it meant only one table got served at one time. But then the time seems to have stopped in this little Zen in a glen and nobody minded the waiting.


While we waiting with a coke to get us started, we enjoyed being lulled into a calm state by the softly gurgling brook nearby, its soft strains broken by the buzz of the bumble bees which seems to crash-land with a loud thud on the tarp (now that explained it). A cute little kitten ambled by, hoping to get some scraps off the table but seeing ours devoid of food, the smart kitty slinked off to the next table. Talk about an opportunist!! 😉A2Z-BADGE-2017-blogging-challenge-theme-reveal-travel-stories-picture-speaks-louder-than-words-april-shalzmojosays-highest-toilet-changla-pass-ladakh-leh-monastery-roadtrip-girltravel-india-drass-kargil-sonamarg-magnetic-hill-leh-zen-khalstee-prayer-flags-tibetan

We sat there unspeaking, totally absorbed in the peace exuding from this nook of the world and marvelled at the simplicity of life here. Neither one of us wanted to leave the place, if not for our driver who wanted to make good time and reach Leh.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

What did you think of this little Zen?

Do you hurry on your travels or love the slow pace?

Fact File:

  • The best way to travel to Leh is by road as one gears up for the acclimatization and also gets to see amazing vistas, as we discovered.
  • Leh is approachable by road from Srinagar, Kashmir on one side and Manali, Hp on the other.


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.

The A to Z Challenge is created by  Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of  Blog of J. Lenni Dorner


My journey so far in the #AtoZChallenge

A – April Fool

B – BodyArt

C – ChaiJai

D – Dolphins

E – Emu

F – Flower Power

G – Grapestomping

H – Halitosis High

I – Innovation

J – Japanese Kalbelia

K – Kathakali

L – Leather that weathers

M – Mother India

N – Nonchalant morning walk

O – Once upon a Time

P – Parsi Palate

Q – Quirky cafe

R – Ravanahatha

S – Summer Palace

T – Taaza Thindi

U – unzymotic

V – Vanillabeans & Peppercorns

W – wish upon a star

X – xenodocheionology

Y- You have got mail in Udaipur

Linking up for #wordsante with Namysaysso for every post deserves some love

Facebook Comments

50 thoughts on “[Z] Zen in the Glen |#atozchallenge 2017|

  1. What a great way to end the challenge. Such a fascinating post on a completely foreign part of the world to me.

  2. The Leh road trip! I wish to go too. It seems majestic.
    Enjoyable post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Congrats on finishing the challenge! I loved reading your posts, Glad to have come across your blogs.
    Best wishes!

    1. Thanks so much Karnika. I am glad to have come across your blog too. Thanks so much for all your support and congrats to you too for successfully completing the challenge.

    1. Thanks so much for the praise Radhika and may I say its been likewise!! Its been wonderful connecting with you via this challenge and I hope to read more of your writing!! Cheers 🙂

    1. I hear yor Raj though your pics of the grgeous naure rich Oz is giving me fitso f envy gurl!!! 😉

  3. It reminds me of one of my favourite placed in Australia to have afternoon tea – our world isn’t all that different after all! Lovely to have met you through the challenge, and I’m looking forward to only posting three days a week now May is on it’s way!
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    1. Oh that sounds so neat Leanne – a perfect nook for a perfect cuppa – is all I need now!! or is it the other way around 😉

      I have loved reading your blog and look forward to connecting more with you. I am taking a little break from writing for a week and just meandering for a bit.

      cheers 🙂

  4. Sigh… what was so normal once upon a time (fruit orchards and sparrows) is now so rare! Can’t remember the last time I got to see that combo 🙂

    Congrats on successfully completing the series!

    1. Really??? thats sad!!!
      I am thankful then to keep seeing them around – saw them in Bangalore and Kochi on recent trips and Jammu is the other city where I get to see this!!
      Congrats on having such a unique theme doc and finishing with such elan! Loved reading your blog and hope to stay a regular there 🙂

  5. Truly a zen experience. I must go and see this place though I do have a problem with altitude sickness…..Thanks once again Shalzz for your infectious enthusiasm and daily visits to my blog.

    1. Thanks SUnita- its been a terriffic fun ride for sure all the way. I loved your theme and the interesting tidbits you presented daily.
      Cheers 🙂

  6. Such lovely pictures and I am sure it would have been a joy to stop and enjoy the nature.
    We just zeroed in on the trip to Ladakh this year. So if you have any more tips, please do share. We will be driving via Srinagar and hoping that side will be open 🙂 Excited and nervous.
    Congrats on completing the challenge. I enjoyed reading your posts.

    1. Hey Parul thats great to hear and yes would love to share my tips – let chat on DM for this or a phone call, if you upto it!!
      You will love it and it will be just out of this world!! I am envious 😉

      Congrats to you too dear- loved reading your thoughtful wisdome daily!!


  7. Khalstee sounds like a beautiful place to have made your stop. You write about it so nicely, it sounds like a very relaxing and beautiful place. Thanks for sharing you’re a to Z journey!
    Stopping by from A to Z: Zonked

    1. Thanks Shari – I have loved reading your posts too and shall be back to drop in the rest!!
      cheers 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Anagha- dropping by your posts too as I seem to have missed quite a few!

      Cheers on a successful completion dear!! 🙂

  8. This made me do time travel and I remembered about our trip to Leh some 8 years ago. Great pics.
    Thanks for a wonderful April, Shalini. Loved connecting with you and you have inspired me to work on my travel goals. 🙂

    1. Thank sso much Shilpa; it was awesome having you as a regular reader on my blog. We rajasthanis need to connect some more- maybe now that this is over, we will have time for it!!!.
      Its been wonderful reading your blog too and hope to keep the connection up long term!!! Cheers and may your travel goals get wings soonest 🙂

  9. I love travelling at my pace. But, sometimes we need to hurry to be in step with the itinerary.
    Excellent pics.
    Always great to experience Zen in our life. Great way to end the challenge! Congrats 🙂

    1. Hey Anita – Thanks for the encouragement. Your blog looks very intersting too – shall connect more on it soon!!
      Congratulations on your PhD and finsihing the AtoZ!!! cheers

  10. Leh has been my favorite trip till date. Everytime I see the pictures, it gives me this nostalgic and feeling of belonging.
    Thanks for sharing. BTW If that is your picture in the white Tee’s, you look super duper pretty
    Thank you for regularly dropping by my blog. Congrats on finishing the A to Z Challenge. Every post was wonderful

    A to Z Reflections: Looking Back In Time

    1. Thank you so much Deepa; Leh is just an unbelievable place and my memories or writing dont do it any justice.
      That gorgeous woman is my bff from school days who is just the most beautiful woman in my opinion too!! 😉
      Congrats for finishing this and I hope to catch up on all your posts soonest. cheers

  11. What a heart-warming post to end the challenge buddy. You have done an incredible job throughout the series. Keep shining

    1. Thank you so much Roma – this feels so nice to hear and what a warm and genuine person you are to say so! I have loved reading your blog all this month and hope to catch up more of your writing as I will be spending this new month reading more of others!!! Cheers 😉

    1. Thanks a tonne Nilanjana; been awesome reading your tales of the Arabland- opened my eyes to loads of new concepts, words and music!!! Cheers 😉

  12. The True essence of Zen – To simply enjoy the moment. And his seems to be a perfect example. what a lovely cafe.. i must take yr counsel when i plan my leh trip. An awesome AtoZ shalz – loved all yr posts!

  13. It sounds blissful – and not unlike your village cafe here in England… where we can sit out the back among the birds. That is a great tit in the photo – we have those here, too. I would love to visit the Himalayas, a friend is doing so this year, she is a Dr and doing some sort of scheme. The closest I get to zen is probably Transcendental Meditation which our son started, and seeing the effects upon him, we learned too!

    1. Wow now thats good to hear! I hope you do get your wish to visit the Himalayas- what with the way we are treating our ecology, wonder what will be left in a few year to see and enjoy!!
      Transcedental meditation is new for me; must look up!

      Thanks for dropping by Liz!!

  14. Really want to visit this lovely place. I know how it feels when the bladder gives that look on our face.
    Fingers crossed to vsisit many places this coming year.

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