Day 9/10/11-Leh-Pang-Manali-Delhi

Day 9-10-11 Leh-Tanglang La-Pang 4th July(Concluding Part)

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE
As a self imposed rule and habit,I was out of bed and Guest House at 5 AM to kick my scooter.
With in few minutes,I was riding my scooter on deserted lanes of Sleepy town of Leh and Manali-Leh highway all mine.
Cold was unbearable and and piercing my finger tips and making them numb.I was near Karu when I had to replace my woolen gloves with proper riding gloves to curb the intensity of the cold.As expected,petrol pump at Karu was closed in early morning.So what!!!!!I had already procured my quota of petrol last evening itself while in Leh..I knew,I would not find pump open that early morning……
You all know that I was looking for a mechanic at Leh to service my scooter and didnt find one being it si a Sunday.Few kilometers post Upshai check post I felt the begining ascent to Tanglang La.This slight steepness gave me an Idea of longer length of ascent and that my scooter is going to suffer a long suffocating,agonizing slow ride for few hours…

Few kilometers after Upshi,civilization get left behind and remoteness sets in and one feels entering into a new unknown territory.Then appears Lato and Rumtse villages.After Rumtse,sighting of human species becomes extinct.Scooter felt being strangulated due to steep ascent of Tanglang La.All these signs were clear giveaways for me that Tanglang La is near by…..Over 17000 feet.

Windy…..Cold…..Deserted…Slushy…..Steep…Terrific Tanglang La,a gap in the Zanskar mountain range…..Get way to Leh from Himachal side……..
Would my scooter will prevail???Would my scooter summit Tanglang La???Would it surrender before mighty pass????Chances of surrender were high making me restless and nervous.

A huge amount of despair and fear had set in my psyche….It was high time to analyze the situation and act logically….
Suddenly appears a milestone which read–Tanglang La 25 kms..
At this point,I decided to drive only in first gear,very slowly at snail pace.This was the only option to rule out any breakdown.
Even I ride at 5 kmph speed,it would take 5 hours to reach at summit and after that downhill starts.Thing will be relatively easier at other side of Tanglang LA….
So,after Rumtse,a patient and slow ascent assault towards Tanglang La started and after 3 hours I somehow reached at the summit
Scooter prevailed here and defeated the slushy,rocky, water filled road of Tanglang La.
First thing I did was to offer a silent prayer at temple atop pass.
All alone on a high Ladakh pass,windy,very windy.It was 11 am.I took 5.30 hrs to reach Tanglang La from Leh,a distance of 100 km.
Those few moments at T La were very special.I was standing all alone on 17000 feet and could see far away in the horizon over.Really on top of the world.
Descent towards Moorey planes can easily be seen for miles from top of the pass.
After those awesome moments at top,It was time to move ahead, towards wonderful world of Moorey Planes.
Scooter started to roll down on its own,scooter felt rejuvnanted on this downhill incline.
Since snow at the top was melting at high rate,road was very muddy and slippery.A very slow and patient pace was the only way out of this section.
Within one hour,I was at Debring,a small place consists of 2-3 Changpa Tents and GREF Labors….
Even though It was flat but still it was 16000 feet altitude.
Drive through Moorey Planes was awesome and one could see many miles in front of him.Vehicles at miles away resemebled like a Matchbox,very tiny.
And very soon,Pang arrived,my night halt….

As soon as I reached Pang,I saw three bikers fixing punctures of of one of their bikes.They were having a very difficult time due to high velocity cold winds and breathlessness.They were using hand air pump to fill the air but in vain.That air filling circus was making them gasping for breath.One members of this group was also badly hit with AMS and lying beneath layers of quilts with a high fever.Pang is very nasty place ,i must say.Upon seeing them in trouble,I lent them my Foot pump in exchange they lent me tools to open my scooter.I wanted to fine tune my scooter.I cleaned the spark plug and carburator and closed the cover of Scooter.

It was getting dark,cold was also picking up,so everyone settle inside around fire stove inside for gup-shup and Old Monk……
After this minor repair work I to went inside the dhaba and waited for my dinner.Dhabas at Pang cost 150 per person for a bed in a common big size tent.Fod charges extra around 60-70 rs depending upon your kind of food of your order.Most of the dhabas at Pang are run by women from Chogalmsar.Liquor is also available in these dhabas.But alchohol must be avoided at high altitude to rule out AMS (Acute Mountains Sickness)

Next Morning after all the bikers had left for Leh I started my scooter and resumed journey towards Sarchu which is 75 kms from here after crossing Lachunlung La and Nakeela Pass.
But just after one kms,scooter showed a utter lack of power and stopped.I tried multiple times but scooter refused to move forward.
I waited for ten minutes and again tried,this time it came to life.After 100 meters it again stopped.Sensing some fatal error , I was little nervous,so instead of going towards Sarchu,I rode back to Pang….At least help was there and I was safe at Pang…I tried to rectify the problem but scooter was behaving strangely and was stopping after every 100 meters…

Around 10 am,I decided to seek help from army TCP men.Once again they proved helpful and deploy a soldier on road barrier and flagged down many trucks and asked them to carry my Scooter towards Keylong.After many attempts,one young trucker agreed to load my scooter till Mandi on his truck for 300 bucks.He was coming back from Leh after delivering 180 bags of Cement..
We loaded scooter and securely tied it with ropes.Rest of my Luggage was put in driver’s cabin.After a big thanks to Army men,around 11 am,I was again on a very long and bumpy ride towards civilization,towards Manali,towards Home…Exactly after 24 hours Long,Bumpy,Sleepless drive on Manali-Leh Highway,we reached Mandi and unloaded my scooter near a mechanic shop.I paid 500 bucks to trucker,he was very happy,so was I.I was finally out of that wilderness called Pang.Mechanic rectified the problem,refilled the engine oil and my scooter was roaring again.

Final assault towards Home had just begun……..After 14 hours long ride,I regained my Paradise…..Home sweet Home.Thus end my 2012 sols scooter ride to Ladakh.
Route=Leh-Karu-Upshi-Rumste-Tanglang La-Debring-Moorey Planes-Pang
Distance-175 kms

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Day 7&8 Kargil-Lamayuru-Leh

Day7&8 Kargil-Lamayuru-Leh 2-3nd June 2012 230 kms​

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE
This is the day of riding on Kargil-Leh Highway.Today,I was a bit relieved as I had completed Zanskar ride successfully.
With wilderness of zanskar valley left behind,i was back in the mad mean world of civilization.Leh was just 235 kms away.No worry of snowfalls,wolves,water streams on this road.After leaving my Paradise guest house,it was time to have a round of tea at UP Hotel.Tea recharges my battery.
Left Kargil and drove towards Mulbek and with in no time I was in Mulbek,thanks to good road.Meanwhile spotted a dhaba which was serving thankfully serving Parantha.This dhaba was ,I guess,near Hinsikot.A JK Tourism Bungalow was also in this place bang on the road.You cant miss this.Next time i will try to book this Hinsikot bungalow.

Ride on this Leh-Kargil was uneventful,road had a very thin traffic due to early June.Very few tourist vehicles and once in a while bikers.
Nakeela La pass(12198 feet altitude) came and go,then came the highest point on Srinagar-Leh highway,Fotula(13475 feet altitude).After Photu LA,It is all downhill till Khaltse.Road were of superior quality and riding was thrilling and fast after Khaltse till Lamayury village.When I was near Lamayuru,suddenly scooter stopped and refused to start.I kept rolling down till Lamayuru and stopped near a shop cum dhaba.Open the scooter cover and cleaned the spark plug brought back my scooter to life again.

I found this place a perfect place for having a light lunch and tea to refresh and to relax.Entered in the shop and ordered a bowl of noodles.A french couple was also sitting there.Had a very long chat with them.During conversation,rain started.

Dhaba owner,a lady,advised me to stay in her home stay.I agreed.She whispered me in my ear that please dont disclose the room rent with those french couple as she had charged them more than double.I assured her not to worry.I requested her for a bucket of hot water and after one week,I had a bath.My soul was contended after this hot shower and made me cheerful.Roam around in Lamayuru to kill the time and around 7.30 pm,home stay lady invited us to her kitchen for dinner.Meanwhile a young foreign couple had also checked in the home stay and we had a good round of conversation during dinner and it was nice experience having food in typical Ladakhi Kitchen.After dinner I had a very good sound sleep thanks to hot bath,good food and cozy room just for a 350 rs,all included.
Kargil-Lamayuru distance 120 kms
Lamayuru-Leh distance 110 kms

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Day 6 Rangdum to Kargil

Day6 Rangdum to Kargil 1st June 130 Kms​


To read this travelogue from begining click HERE
Yesterday was very significant.Finally I parked my scooter at Penji La and near Drang Drung glacier.I was filled with a sense of satisfaction.Yesterday was day of fatigue,fear and snowfall.

Today,when I woke up at 4.30 AM and came outside of my room and found deposits of mild snowfall on the ground.It was very cold outside.Fingers were numb but my photographic thirst compelled me to take out gloves and and shoot the serene Rangdum valley surrounded by tall snow covered mountain.
I was the only one awake in the village at that time.Sun was still behind the hills and was rising slowly and I was expecting some good morning shots like my last earlier trip when I captured some reflection shots here in Rangdum.But this year pond has shrunk to a very small size and a layer of ice had rendered the water surface opaque resulting in a lost opportunity of having some reflection shots.

You all must have remembered mention of power loss in my scooter when I was at Penji La yesterday.I discussed this problem with GH lady and she asked her husband( a car mechanic at Leh) to inspect the scooter.He opened the scooter cover and cleaned the carb and assured me scooter is fine now.I also purchased some 4 STROKE engine oil from dhaba owner as he owns a bike.
When scooter repair was going on,some lama students from nearby houses came and start asking lots of questions.I patiently satisfied all their queries.They were happy go kids studying in Rangdum gompa.The JK Guest House lady was also a teacher at gompa and his mechanic husband was responsible for ferrying students to school and back to home.

They had an Ecco van for this purpose.Each summer,mechanic returnes to Rangdum for working as a school driver.Rangdum gompa school is functional only in summer months.In winter months,he returned back to Leh to his car mechanic job.

All this scooter job delayed me and I could only start my return ride only after 8.30 AM.After paying 100 rs to mechanic and thanking everyone I started my ride back to Kargil.But within few minutes,I felt the same power loss in scooter.So I decided to drive very slowly and gently so I could reach Kargil without any breakdown.Kept rididing and after a six hours of slow ride reached Kargil and straightway went to Niyaz automobiles(near DZozila hotel) to get the scooter checked and repaired.Two mechanic took over my scooter and found a almost worn out acclerrator wire(just one shred was holding it).They also oil washed air filter.Meanwhile shop owner Niyaz and I had a long conversation and Niyaz told me he,along with family migrated to Delhi during winter months as life during winter is a very hard here in Kargil.One needs at least 30 quintal of firewood for cooking and to keep house warm.No gas cylinder.Meat sold at 500 rs per kg etc.If any emergency occurs,only option is to fly out but flight are always full.Govt has a small airstrip at Kargil and provide subsidized air tickets to local residents.Meanwhile Niyaz ordered tea for me and entire staff and we kept talking on various topics.It was a very meaningful interaction.Mechanical job lasted 3 hours and because of this I had to stay at Kargil instead of Mulbek.

I tried JK Tourism Bungalow but all the rooms were pre booked.The caretaker directed me towards Paradise Guesthouse on hospital road,opposite Govt Hospital.I rented a room for 400 bucks.There was also a shopping complex under Guest house.I found a small chai shop cum dhaba inside this complex run by a Dehradun man.His chai shop is locally know as “UP Hotel” in Kargil.It is perfect place for having veg food at very cheap price.He charged me just 30 rs for Subji-Roti.

The owner,Dehradun guy used to work as a truck driver in his youth and drove his truck all the remote locations of Ladakh.Once he delivered army ammunition at Chalunka post near Turtuk.This post is know as CP POST.He also told me Indian army was greatly assisted by local Turtuk villagers during 1971 war and helped recaptured Turtuk from enemy.Locals helped Army jawans in finding shortest way,making foods for them and carrying their heavy ammunitions and other war related material.It was because of this help form villagers that our army could regain a portion of our lost land.

After this conversation,I call it a day and returned to my room

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Day 5 Panikhar to Penjila and Back to Rangdum

Day 5 Panikhar to Penjila and Back to Rangdum -31 May 2012

To read this travelogue click HERE

Woke up at 4.45 am to a very refreshing morning in Suru valley.Came out to find the tall mountains bathed in the golden colour of early morning sun.Spend some quite moments and enjoyed the surroundings.Felt the calmness of Panikhar village.Stillness,silence of the village was in the stark contrast of my fast paced Delhi’s morning life.
Smokes from chimney was proof that villages were awake inside their house but due to cold no one was outside.Filled the petrol in scooter from plastic Container ,loade all the luggage and started towards my today’s destination.The destintion was Rangdum village and Hopefully Penji La.
The culmination point of ride.

Landscape of Suru was so breathtaking,I had to stop the scooter frequently to capture the beauty of Suru valley.Lush green fields,white snowy mountains,clear sky and river flowing down,whole enviorn was rewarding.Time stands still at this place.

Early morning in Suru valley means no shop is open.I was craving for a cup of tea,actually two cups of tea.But tea was a distant dream,yeah distant dream literally.Tea was available only at Rangdum 80 kms away.Biscuits and Slice were pressed into service to recharge my starved body.Remember,I didnt have dinner last night.
I kept riding and shooting remembering and reliving my last year family trip.I was missing my family enormously after seeing all the places again,the place where we had a picnic and prepared maggi,the place where we prepared tea.Lost in those thoughts I reached Rangdum,totally tired due to bad road.

Penji La awaits me at the distance of 30 kms.

Enjoy the photos until Penji la comes……….

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Day 4 Drass-Panikhar 30 May 2012.

Day 4 Drass-Panikhar 30 May 2012

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE

Previous day was a successful day.I overcame my biggest hurdle, Zozila, on my scooter.To defeat Zozila,I had to pass through many hellholes but by god’s grace,I SURVIVED to tell the tale.Made two new friends Deepak and Pradeep in this remote place and spend some unforgettable moments with them chatting on various topics.Desire of attempting Umba La pass also fulfilled on this day.

Today,the fourth day of my ride.Today,I am at other side of Zozila AND Technically inside Ladakh.The green valley of Kashmir have been left behind.Facial features of people are different,dialect are different,mountains are different.I am inside a little different part of JK.
Today,my new friend Pradeep had arranged a visit to an Army post near Tiger hill for me to show me weatherproof dwelling units for Jawans of Indian Army.He called up his driver to come over with a 4×4 Bolero_Only a 4×4 vehicle can go to this army post due to kutcha approach road.His driver reached at Drass JK Tourist Bungalow to take us to army post and we reached at army post after 1 hour drive.En route I saw many small army posts specially established for Howitzer guns.I also saw a Howitzer gun parked openly near the road.Rests of the cannons were hidden inside a room with a sliding roof.If war breaks out,all they need to do is just open the roof and start shelling from inside the room.Totally hidden from enemy.A new experience for me to see all this.Few individual soldiers were also guarding rooms made of mud.Upon enquiring the reason behind why they were guarding those room,I came to know that those room are actually ammunition rooms and and ammunition for Cannons are kept inside those rooms.

We reached at army post,situated on a plateau type place and surrounded by tall mountains all side.I could also see other army posts far in the horizon.I was totally in different territory and away from ride route NH 1D.The Jawan at barrier entered our details in his register and alloweed us to go to construction site.Deepak,my friend,had recruited many local men to carry out construction work.They all were busy in digging pits,tightening nuts etc etc.After giving them some directions to his men and listening to their demands/complaints/requisitions for new material Deepak show me a finished structure.Once inside this room,one feels like in his home’s drawing room.

Warm,comfortable beds,telephone,DISH tv,wash basin,cupboards, everything.This room was in stark contrast of ancient mud walled,tin roofed bunker type accommodation our brave soldiers had been living for a long time.Thank god,govt is showing some empathy towards our forces and providing them facilities.This educational tour of mine lasted for 2 hours and we returned back to Drass around 12.30 pm.

After giving thanks to Pradeep,Salim and Caretaker of JK Bungalow,I resumed my Journey towards Kargil hoping to reach Panikhar before dark.Salim again proved helpful here and gave me the name of Caretaker of Panikhar Bungalow and askeD me to give his(Salim’s) reference
to the care taker of Panikhar GH to book a room.He assured me that I would be surely allowed to stay there.
Real fun had started and Ladakh landscapes started appearing.I was elated to the core.Gray bare mountains with a small patch of green oasis,Balti features of people,their lifestyle,it was all very gratifying.After few hours of ride,Kargil town,the bustling town came.I did not stop here and straightway turned my scooter towards Sankoo.
It was already late evening ,and I had to reach Panikhar before dark,which seemed impossible.I kept riding frequently stopping to capture evening scenes in my camera.
Initial 40 kms between Kargil and Sankoo are very fast,thanks to well maintained smooth road.After Sankoo,road start to deteriorate little and slow you down.But mine ride was four times slower due to—
Slow scooter
Bad road
Frequent photo breaks
Darkness had descended upon the surroundings.

All these factors added to my woes and I was only able to reach Panikhar around 8.45 PM in toatal darkness.Since Panikhar GH was located slightly off the road andI could not see any sighn board pointing the direction of GH,I could not find JK Tourist Bungalow.I was very worried and puzzled and no soul was there to ask for direction for Gh.Suddenly,I saw four sillhoutte human figures walking on the road.when they reached near me,I asked them about the location of GH,they pointed towards the way to GH and I reached at the front door of GH.Gate was closed and GH was fully deserted.No sigh of Bashir,the caretaker of Bungalow.I again approached towards those gentlemen and requested them to help me finding the caretaker.One of them immiedietly dialed bashir’s no but could not talked to him.He tried few times but unsuccessful.
He then walked towards Bashir’s house and brougt him to the Bungalow.Meanwhile,those gentlemen asked me few question about myself.I replied that I am a govt teacher and visiting this place as a tourist.They all were govt teachers themselves.They stayed for a while with conversing on various aspects of teaching and also expressed disappointment over the disparity between Delhi teachers’ salary and state’s teachers salary.They bombarded me with their questions to know the break up of my salary.Even though they were living in a heaven like place still daily life’s troubles them.
After talking to them sometime all the teachers left and Bashir opened a room for me and asked me about Dinner.I declined.Bashir was very happy to hear that.
This is how my 4th day of ride came to an ended………………..
Sleep took over and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………

End of 4th day of ride…………

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Day2&3 Pathankot-Srinagar-Drass

Day2&3 Pathankot-Srinagar-Drass 28-29 May 2012​

To read this log from begining clich HERE

Pathankot stay was a good experience.I was ready to enter Kashmir valley.Obviously,I would go via Udhampur bypass which is Just after after Samba cantonment.Right turn and you would be in hills with in minutes.Road was of mixed type.Broken and smooth surface coexists here on this route.Arrived at Udhampur and found a bustling busy market with lots of buses and cars parked on the road.But my eyes were looking for an ATM.Do I need to tell why I was looking for an ATM??Withdraw money sufficient for 15 days.After Udhampur,all the popular places on NH1 came and go.Here comes Banihal where a serpentine traffic of 2-3 Kms awaits me.But no worries.I was riding a two wheeler and we Delhites aptly know how to make our way in maze pf vehicles.Within few minutes I was out of that vehicular Maze and was cruising towards Srinagar,my destination for the day.I was smiling in my helmets on the fate of stuck vehicles.After crossing Titanic Point,market of Kesar(saffron),paddy fields,Avenues,Cricket bats market and factories, I was only able to reach swanky Srinagr only after dark and settled in hotel named Green Mountain in Badami Bagh area.Tariff 600 rs for a kitchen turned hotel room.Entire hotel was booked to full capacity.After all it is Kashmir,heaven on earth.Entire Bengal and Gujrat was there to have a piece of heaven.Idea was to spend the night and leave early next morning to see Sonmarg in early morning and cross Zozila as early as possible.Here in Srinagar, I met an elderly man who after hearing that I am am heading towards Zanskar told me he himself drove a truck to Zanskar hired by a foreigner couple 30 years ago.People of Zanskar were bewildered to see a truck and jumping with joy.It is only after Srinagar that Landscapes changes and journey becomes exciting.

Hills of Sonmarg,JK,India

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Day 1 Delhi-Pathankot

Day 1 Delhi-Pathankot

To read from begining click Here

Ok,here begins the tale.
On one fine day,I was browsing the itinerary section on BCMTouring.com and saw a query in which a member asked about the feasibility of going to Ladakh on a scooter.
Within 5 seconds of reading this Ladakh on Scooter query, I had decided to give it a try myself and presented my Scooter ride agenda in the Durbar of Home Ministry for approval.As always,my ever supporting Home Ministry put the approval seal on my agenda and pushed me into the preparation mode.
Aman Pruthi had been insisting on a Ladakh ride since I returned from our 2011 family trip to Ladakh-Zanskar.It was not possible for me to visit Ladakh twice a year.So I politely declined.Since Aman was still Ladakh virgin,I asked him to join me on my scooter ride this year which he instantly agreed.But fate had another plan and Aman backed out just just two days prior to Ride and left me no chance but to go solo.This proved a blessing in disguise ,and being a solo, I interacted with lots of people of Ladakh and Zanskar and increased my insight about these lovely people.Which I guess would not have been possible had i been in a group.Although I missed my riding partner Aman big time.
Time 4 AM,Date 27 May.Kids were blissfully sleeping when I kicked start my scooter and embarked upon a new journey to the most beautiful landscapes Called Ladakh and Zanskar.
I wanted to reach Pathankot on the first day and crossing Ambala-Khrar-Ropar-Nava Shahar-Hoshiyarpur-Pathankot.Scooter being a slow vehicle,took endless time and I was able to reach Pathankot only after 14 hrs continuous ride,around 8 PM.One more thing,my scooter’s engine oil was leaking due to loose gasket.Reason for this loose gasket as cited by mechanic at Ropar,was that My Delhi Mechanic had not remove the old gasket and placed new one over it rendering it prone to leakage.He diligently removed all the residual sticky gasket and put a brand new gasket and also applied a special M Seal solution to plug the leak.Got my scooter repaired at Ropar.That repair job was almost one hour long affair.So effectively,Delhi-Pathankot ride was 13 hours long.Night had fallen when I reached Pathankot and search for a Hotel was on in the busy and congested Pahankot market.Spotted the hotel “Terrace” and asked for room tariff.1000 per night.It exploded like a bomb.Paying for a few hours sleep for a single person was very painful.I told them that I am touring on a limited budget and cant afford 1000 rs night stay.Staff at Terrace was very helpful and courteous and manager of the hotel arranged a bed for me in the common hall of the hotel for just 200 rs.He and other staff of hotel even shared meal with me and we kept talking late in
night.Upon hearing that I am a govt teacher,he also told me how once he used to be an FCI Employee and how his former colleague conspired against him and tempered with the Wheat Bags of store and got him suspended.He is fighting reinstatement battle in the court.Such a nice fellow.He also asked me for some guidance about some professional courses for his younger brother.Thus came to an end of first day of my touring.

Memory Cards for my DSLR

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Foreword to 2012 Scooter Ride

Foreword for solo 2012 Scooter Ride

Reminiscence of a Restless Rider

Forests,Exploration,Frank Smith, ValleFlowers,Skiing,Mountaineering,Mountains,Valleys,Rivers,Glaciers,Passes,peaks,Caves,
Shepeard huts,Safari,Machan,Snow,Hill Stations,DakBungalow,Forest,Hemlets,Silroute,Caravan,Inns,Sarai Sprituality.
Terms generally associated with Himalayas.Himalayas, synonymus with High snowy peaks,abode of gods, where hermits still meditate
and penance for peace and liberation form this mortal world.Himalayas,source of myriad mythological tales,source of holy rivers
still worshiped.That’s why I always find myself being pulled towards mountains.Himalayas where I found myself at peace,where my
wandering soul find solace,where
I am miles away from my daily grind,where my introspection takes place.Himalayas,a tavern for me.

Why Ladakh-Zanskar on Scooter?????

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place It will beat you to your knees and keep youthere permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit,it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s howwinning is done!”-Rocky Balboa

1.To judge and enhance my inner mental and physical strength.

edited spelling

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religion temple

Posing at Drang Drung Glacier

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Posing at Pneji La

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