Delhi recently witnessed a spectacular photo exhibition ‘Zanskar – The rainbow mountains.’ The beauty of Zanskar – a part of Kargil district in Ladakh – was brought to the Capital by no less than the first lady of Jammu and Kashmir – governor NN Vohra’s better half Usha Vohra. She captured rare views of Zanskar’s semi-arid mountains, its colourful rivers and women.
Usha has been a keen photographer for the past several years. She has held many photo exhibitions on Kashmir including her last at the India International Centre in 2011 titled ‘Mirror to Nature.’ This was her second exhibition
She informs Metrolife, “The beauty of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is such that it compels one to take photographs. All it requires is appreciation of nature and a keen eye for photography.”
“Zanskar especially grabs attention because it is hidden away from the human eye. Even in the remote Ladakh area, it is tucked away deep in the Himalayas with innumerable nameless mountains criss-crossing the landscape. Desolate, arid, and stark - Zanskar presents a formidable spectacle for photography.”
Most of the photographs of the mountains have been taken from a helicopter. These include the Zoji La Pass linking Kashmir valley with Ladakh, and the Zanskar Range separating Zanskar from Leh.
She has also shot the only link road connecting Zanskar with Kargil - the 240 km Kargil-Zanskar road. It moves over the Pensi La (14,450 ft) pass and remains open for only four to five months in a year. During winter, the frozen Zanskar river provides a 80 km link to Nyemu where it merges with the Indus known as the ‘chader’ route.
The average height of the mountains of the Zanskar range is well over 19000 ft, with a glacier area of more than 1500 sq km. With over 5 ft of snow in many areas the winters are extremely harsh and long. Parts of Zanskar region are considered the coldest inhabited places in the world.
Usha says, “It is a challenge to capture mountains from a height but it is ultimately the eye that captures more than a camera. This art of clicking the right moment at the right time comes with lot of knowledge and experience.”
The Zanskar Himalayas have varied mineral reserves which impart rainbow coloured hues to the rocks in the mountains. A sight of the luminous mountains, spreading far beyond vision, leaves the viewer awestruck and humbled. Time is measured here in seasons, not days and weeks.