Day 13/14 Nyoma-Pang-Sarchu-Delhi

Day 13/14 Nyoma-Pang-Sarchu-Delhi

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE
Day 13 of my ride and we are currently in Nyoma town,the main town of Changthang region,a big military base to secure Tibet border.Surprisingly,there is hardly any stay options in Nyoma apart from a sole Govt Guest House.Nyoma is very near to Tibet border and is a very large army base is there.I guess Nyoma is the largest army base in entire Ladakh to secure our border with China.There is limited Mobile connectivity in Nyoma for BSNL post paid phones as local were seen talking on their phone in the town.
I woke up to a very cold morning in Nyoma Guest house and was shocked to see a moderate live snowfall outside.Everyone in the group was tired of cold and snow for last few days.This bad weather had caused a lots of pain in fingers and it felt like needles piercing thru my skin.Between Hanle and Nyoma yesterday,I had to constantly warm my fingers by touching the hot engine of bike after each 5/6 kilometers.Due to this painful cold weather,ride was very slow and frustrating.
Snowfall is going on in front of our eyes and we are discussing our ride plan for today.Few members were not in mood to bear this punishing cold any longer and suggested we abandon our Tso Moriri plan and instead head for home means Tso Kar and Debring.I accepted their suggestion and we decided Sarchu as our destination for today i.e. 13th day of trip.
Starting bikes in cold was a long ritual we had to follow each day.My gloves were wet and causing a lots of needle piercing pain in my fingers and riding with wet gloves was a horrible experience.Luckily found a shop open in Nyoma and saw some rubber and wolllen gloves hanging in the shop.Everyone purchased rubber gloves and wore them.Some members felt less cold after wearing them,some complaint of zero effect.I personally found a reduced pain in my hands and found rubber gloves useful for some extent. After purchasing gloves,we started our ride towards Mahe,snowfall was still strong.Gloomy and deserted road were our companion and hardly anyone seen around.we kept riding and reached Mahe bridge.A checkpost is there,two shops are also there.Amit had a tea there and cop asked our permits,which we willingly presented.We spent around half an hour at Mahe bridge and after some time reached Sumdo village.A diversion is there.Here at this diversion,you have option to either go to Tso Moriri or go to Tso Kar,Debring,Moorey Planes and Manali. We opted for Tso Kar and reached in Sumdo village and asked for Petrol.A tibetan refugee guy opened his shop and we purchased petrol from him for 108 rs per litre.This shop is in Lower Sumdo village and located on the way to Tso Kar.
After Sumdo,road worsen and rocky tracks appear and ride become painful and slow.After a very bumpy ride,we reached  Polongak La and had some foto session.Sumit was feeling some discomfort due to constipation and acidity.I was carrying few pouches of ENO and gave it Sumit bang on Polonganlk La.
Downhill begins after this pass and stones are everywhere on the road.Speed reduced to bad roads and suddenly we found  ourselves riding inside a very big flat landscape and Tso Kar is visible on our left side.But road is still bad and snowfall is making matters worse hardly any scope of photography.I am very depressed inside.Imagine,you are right at one of the remotest and prettiest places and you are not able to take picture. Snowfall and grey coloured horizon was everywhere near Tso Kar and we were cruising towards Debring.Reached Debring (road bifurcates here for Leh via Tanglang La and Manali)and stopped in a Dhaba for rest and some hot tea.I was happy to found a place bang in the Moorey Planes to stay and relax.Pang is 50 kms from here and road is super flat and fast cutting through grand Moorey Plains.
Moorey Planes have always fascinated me and spending some moments is always an exciting for me.After spending some time at Debring dhaba,it was time to move towards Pang.Found a freshly laid thick black road and also found bumpy road made my bulldozers.Within on time,we were at Pang and ordered some Paranthas and replinshed our water supply for journey.Reaced Sarchu,75 kms from Pang without any issue.Journey between Pang and Sarchu was eventless and we only stopped for photos at Lachunglung La and Nakeela. Once we reached Sarchu around 7 in the evening,we hired an entire tin shed for our stay and dumped our luggage.We settled in our tin shed wrapped in the quilts and decided to have a booze party and procured a  bottle of Bacardi and some packed juice to mix with rum.Since Sarchu is an AMS triggering place,I kept a close watch on the quantity of rum and drank only a very mild amount of it.Also cautioned everyone of side effects of alcohol at such a  high altitude. After a dinner of Alo-Sabji at Nepali couple dhaba,we retired for the night and next morning at 5 am I found entire Sarchu whitewashed with a snowfall.Each vehicle parked was covered with snow.Dhaba owner informed told us that some trucks have  stuck at Baralacha top and cops are not allowing vehicles beyond Sarchu check post.We had to spend entire day at Sarchu  doing nothing.I also met Joginder,a Delhi friend, who later rode with us till Manali.
Next morning we went to cops and asked for their permission and they allowed us to pass and once we reached  at Baralacha top we had to stop due a truck which refused to start due to its drained battery and somehow truck driver  borrowed a battery from another truck and started it.This drama consumed 2/3 hrs and there was a huge trafic pile up for few kilometeres at both side up of top. We took advantage of small size of our bikes and kept moving slowly.As I was cris crossing thru traffic,I heard a loud voice calling,”masterji,masterji” from an SUV.I got puzzled looked at SUV and pleasatly surprised to see our very own  Vicky in his Mercedes ML SUV with his family.He was leading a group of SUV to Ladakh.I stopped my scooter and talked to him for few seconds.While I was busy talking to Vicky a group of bulleeters kept honking so i could not talked to him for long but i was able to greet him.It was wonderful meeting Vicky at the top of Baralacha.He could recognize me due to my Scooter.
We left traffic Jam and reached Zingzing Bar.Ladakh was left behind and I was in Lahaul.Aman was already at Dhaba waiting for me.He told that Dhaba has Mutton-Chawal.Without giving a second thought,I ordered a plate of Mutton-Chawal.Last  10 days in Ladakh were pathetic food wise and Mutton-Chawal gave me a much needed relief.I finished a very big plate in no time.Mutton was damn tasty,I must say.
Darcha,Jispa,Keylong came and go.It was a relief to see greenery after 10 days of continuous barren mountains of Ladakh.
Reached Khoksar around 6 pm and started our difficult and slow ascent towards Rohtang top and thankfully there was no  traffic and we found an empty Rohtang,Top was totally desereted due to removal of shops,Marhi was also deserted and each  shop was closed.Reached Manali around 10 PM and hired a room in Nehru Kund area and settled for night.Tomorrow i will be  riding for home,at last.
Next morning on 16th day of ride,Me and Aman choose to go to home and everyone decided to stay behind to explore Manali.
We settled our all money matters and said final good bye to each other and made a dash towards Home.It is gonna be long  ride,a very long ride to home.But thankfully it was towards home. After 19 hrs at 3-4 AM,I finally entered in my housing society and my daughter,son and wife came down from our 3rd  flower home to welcome me and found a Sun burned Me with heavily soiled clothes,red eyes due to dust,my grey hair were clearly visible due to absence of any hair colour for last two weeks and a grey beard had grown al over my face.
This is what a Ladakh ride do to you.It completely transforms you,internally and externally.
Total distance covered today-600 Kms
Route=Manali-Bhunter-Mandi-Sundernagar-Bilaspur-Swarghat-Kiratpur-Kharar-Banur-Shambu-Ambala-Panipat-Delhi

Inside Nyoma Guest House with caretakeraman2

At Polongok Laaman3

Scooterist riding in Morrey Planesaman4

Snowfall at Polongok Laaman5

In Moorey Planesaman6

Scooterist riding Gata Loopsaman7

Lachunglung La on Leh Manali Highway

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Day 12 Hanle-Nyoma

Day 12 Hanle-Photi La attempt-Hanle-Loma-Nyoma

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE

We had reached Hanle after a very hard off road ride through Maan,Merak,Chushul,Tsaga ,Loma and finally landed at Hanle around 10 pm in the pitch dark night and immidietly settled in the first homestay we found. Today,at 7 AM,it is snowing outside and weather is heavily overcast.A family in adjacent room is packing their bags to check out of the homestay.One of the members asked me,”Aap Masterji Hai?”I replied positvely and he intorduced me to his father who turned out to be our own BCMT member “castaway”.They were leaving.

Sumit is down with severe AMS and had buried himself in quilts and blankets.I have plan for doing Photi La,but outside weather is posing a great challenge.It is snowing mildly and very cold outside.Lady owner prepared Aloo-Poori for breakfast.After breakfast,Amit,Aman,Lakshya and Me left for Photi La which was 27 kms from our homestay. As soon as we reached at the outskirts of Hanle,road worsen due to ongoing construction works and bikes stalled in sands.During one of this off roading attempts,Aman’s bike was stuck in sand he decided to head back to homestay and left midway. We continue our ride towards Photi La,afetr some kilometers we found a decent road and gained height.This area was totally a deserted area and no one was there and snowfall was gaining speed as we gained heights.We had covered 21 kms and only6 kms were before Photil La Top,heavy snowfall deposit on the road stopped us.We pushed our bikes in soft snow but sheer heights of Photi La was suffocating our lungs.Wheels were spinning in soft snow and there was grave risk of clutch plates burning .Our vehicles were falling frequently,hands were numb,breathing was difficult.Photil La was impossible in such a worst condition.Unanimousaly we decided to abort our Photil La attempts and returned back to Hanle.. Of course tired,frustrated and disappointed. Can you believe this????Umba La failed,Agham-Shyok failed and now Photi La too failed and remain elusive. And the sole reason behind all this aborted missions was Nature… At Umba La,snow stopped me. At Shyok section,raging river stopped me. And again at Photi La,snowfall showed me a middle finger. My photography too suffered a big loss due to Nature. Furious Nature was common in all. It appeared Nature and its forces had conspired against me and they were hell bent on testing me. I will come back…I promised to myself. The love for Mother Nature would bring me back again and hopefully next time Mother Nature would be in a good mood and blessed me with her affection. We returned back to Hanle and found Sumit’s health improved and in a very cold overcast weather we resumed our journey towards Nyoma and settled in govt GH without asking for permission as caretaker was not present there.He returned back and angry to see us wrapped in blankets and all our biking stuffs lying around in entire guest house.Soon a govt employee probably from IB came and collected our permits.We requested caretaker to let us stay and he agreed after some cajoling and prepared tea for all of us. I have only two pics from my Photi La attempt.

Almost at Photi La

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Snowfall stopped me just few kilometers short of Photi LaIMG_7493

Day 11 Pangong-Chushul-Hanle

Day 11 Pangong-Chushul-Tsaga La-Loma-Hanle

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE

This is the most exciting day for me….
Today,I would be riding my scooter along the bank of Pangong lake.People say,roads doesnt exist here.
It is completely no-road area..People say Pangong-Chushul section is rocky and sandy and no habitation for miles.
But riding along the legendary Pangong for miles was producing Adrenaline in my stomach.
Pangong for me means only Lukung village.I could not see area beyond Lukung in my 2011 trip.

But where is Sumit???
He must be found before starting onward journey,so I asked Aman to search for Sumit’s bike parked nearby tents.Aman went and viola….Sumit’s TBTS was spotted at the same tents where our beds were booked and we were supposed to stay.Sumit had spent his night in the same tent after reaching late in the night.
Sumit told that he got his bike repaired at Leh and inexperienced mechenic screwed his bike big time and bike’s rear brakes were not working and he had to ride with only front brakes resulting his late arrival.
But good thing was that now we are again reunited and our group has increased from three to Five members..More the merrier.

Later Sumit told us that Tentwala had lied to us and his all beds were occupied by foreigneres and no bed went empty.But good thing was that Sumnit was found nearby and he also got permits for Chushul and Hanle.

Waking up in the morning at Pangong Tso is always a refreshing and different thing.When I open my eyes and peek out of my bed to a calm lake with hills,it feels like God is very kind and gifted these peaceful moments to me.Today’s morning is cold,dark,overcast and it is raining at Pangong and my Mark II is hanging around my neck uselessly.My Mark II is very angry.The photographer in me is very angry,he is feeling frustrated and suffocated..His fingers are itching to press the shutter button.But there is no light,there are no colours.Only gray gloomy hazy horizon is seen….An opportunity lost…and I repeat my oath again….Agli baar September mein Ladakh aaoonga…

Bills were settled,bade good bye to Punit and friends,luggage were tied and bikes were warmed up for next few gruelling hours in a land where only few bikes have been but A scooter has never been there.Our party of five rolled out of the Lukung village and dashed towards Spangmik village.Road is made of tire marks on sandy
soil and multiple tracks are created to confuse us further but we sticked to the shore of Pangong and kept going ahead.Our vehicles got stucked in loose sands and we had to push them manually.Soon we reached Spangmik village,a village quite big and there were a huge colony of Camps of all.Some tents were quite close to Pangong lake.

After Spangmik,it is all deseerted area and overcast sky has covered whole distant horizon was giving the whole place a “Sleepy Hollow” movie effect.We kept riding on those tire marks occassionaly stopping for photo breaks.A bunch of houses comes,it is Maan village.We passed thru it and soon reached Merak village.Road to Chushul passes thru this village.Few villagers were standing outside,I asked them the direction for Chushul and one woman among the villagers asked for our
Permits.We said,”We are carrying permits and vroomed ahead and found a tented police post of JK police.Cops was not there.The woman came to us and asked us to deposit our permits with her.The villagers were collecting permits on behalf of JK cop.We wrote down the details of our vehicles at backside of permits and woman gave us go ahead.

After Merak village,it is a no man country for miles and journey became exciting and adventrerous.White sandy tracks,scattered bushes here and there,no sunlight,very cold wind with fast speed and a very vast Ladakhi landscape lies in front of me.All in all,an exhiliatring experience.A herd of shy Kiangs was also spotted at distance.

4 hours after Pangong,we finally reached at the outskirts of Chushul village,the Chushul…the village which stands witness to the most fierce battle ever,the place which stand witness to the vellore of Indian soldiers,the place which was indunated by Army of Chinese invaders,the village which stand witness to the ultimate grit and braveryof soldiers of Charlie Company of 13 Kumaun Regiment,the village which stand witness to the bravery of Major Shaitan Singh.As soon as we entered in the village,few kid lama students came running to us and circled around us.They were very happy to some outsiders and we beacme source of their entertainment.Chushul was a big village with hundreds of houses.We found a small shop but it had only Maggie and ommlette.I used this stop over to gather some info about the whole area.I came to know that Chushul residents generally use Erath road to reach Tangaste and then Leh and most of the supply of essential items is recived thru this route however a weekly bus service is till Merak village.While all this interactin was going on,two cops arrived and asked for permits.Permits were handed over to them and cop dropped an Atom bomb on our head….

He said,”Aapko aage jana allowed nahi hai”(You are not allowed to go any further).

Those few words coming out of cop’s mouth bewildered me,confused me,puzzeled me.I poilitely asked the reason.

He replied,”Permit par Tsaga post ka naaam nahi hai”.(Tsaga post is not mentioned on our permits).

I pleaded him,showed him my Govt employee card,also showed Sumit’s Govt bank ID card and asked his permission to let us go ahead.He said you can go on your own risk and he will take any responsibility and would decalare us all absconders if anything bad happened later or Army asked him why he had let us pass beyond Chushul.This situation was critical.We were very close to Indian-Chinese border and this permit thing had created a sense of
fear among us.A villager advised us not to take left side track and keep going on right side track.Left would take us to Chinaside.Anyway we left Chushul and reached Chushul war memoria and stopped for a brief photo session.Indian army bunkers atright side of us were clearly visible.We crossed a huge army post named “Rohit Post”but there was no sign of Tsaga post.Few kilimeters after Rohit Post,we stopped on a huge water crossing but still no sign of Tsaga Post.I asked Amit and Amanto go ahead and do a recce and find the location of Tsaga post.They went ahead and Lakshya,Sumit and Me waited at crossing with anxiety on our face.After half an hour Aman came back alone and our faces lit with hope.He said that there is no post for next 7-8 kilometers and Amit went little further to a village.We kept waiting and finally saw Amit coming back with the news that there is Tsaga village 10 kilometers ahead and ITBP post is here and the jawan is only registering the
details and not asking for any permits.This was a good news and we all crossed water crossing and reached Tsaga La pass named after Tsaga village.A very huge army post named “Tara Post” could be seen from Tsaga La.We reached Tsaga La psot and registered our details.It was 6.35 PM and we our destination Hanle was very far and soon darkness would be all over horizon.But good thing was thet road was super smooth tarred and speed could be maintained easily.Qucikly reached Loma Check post and showed our permits.Cops asked to surrender our Camera with them.We all requested and senior official were called for further instructions and polite senior officer allowed our cameras provide we showed them our memory cards in return journey and with a strict warning not no take any sensitive photo.Time was around 8 pm and pitch dark night had descended,Hanle was still 50 kms and all of us tired,each bones were aching.Hardly any energy left in us.We started for Hanle.This was the most exciting time in entire trip.A pitch dark place in remote Ladakh,distant sound of barking dogs and a super smooth road eliminated by our headlights and hopping rabbits crossing the roads.Around 10 in the night,we reached at Hanle and settled in the very first home stay at the begining of village.Hanle,the place known for its most clear sky was covered in thick cloud cover and not a single star was visible and my desire for Star Trail photography remain unfulfilled..The extra battery,the remote switch for bulb mode,the tripod and all the tutorials in my head became useless and went in vain…What a bad luck for photographer inside me.

Within 5 minutes of entering the home stay,I was deep in my sleep with riding jacket still on my body.
Hanle a bitter cold high altitude village.
Good Night…..

Route=Lukung (Pangong begins)-Spamgmik-Mann-Merak-Khsakete village(Pangong End)-Chushul-Tasaga La-Loma-Hanle

 Gloomy weather at Pangong Lake

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Day 10-Leh-Chang La-Pangong Tso

DAY 10-Leh-Karu-Chang La-Tangaste-Pangong Tso

Read this travelogue from begining HERE

Day 10th is the day to cross another high mountain pass-The Mighty Chang La.17586 feet altitude,gateway to Pangong Lake.

Had we successfully crossed Shyok river,we would have avoid Chang La.But nature rules here and we had to obey before mother nature and bow our heads down before her.We could not cross raging Shyok river and only option to reach Pangong was now scale high Chang La and reach the famous Lake of Pangong Tso.What a beautiful lake of 135 kms long length and expands between India and Tibet.

Before going to Pangong lake,let me introduce two more members of our riding group who have just joined us from Leh.New members are Sumit Sharma and Lakshya.Sumit expressed his desire to ride with me and was ready for altering his plan. But there is a problem..problem lies in the permits.We have permits for Chushul and Hanle and they have no such names written on their permits.Of course they can ride with us till Pangong but not beyond that.Lakshya was also not feeling well due to AMS,he needed more time to rest in room to recover.

I suggested Sumit that Pangong is not a long and tough ride and he can afford to start late after getting new permits with Chushul and Hanle granted.He agreed,and I gave him a copy of my permits to convince DC staff.We three started forPangong and Sumit went back to DC office for applying new permits.Instead of applying for new permits,Sumit requested clerk for retrieving his old application form and adding Chushul/Hanle.Clerk refused him as there was huge pile up of applications.Sumit requested clerk to give him the bundle and he himself would search his application.Clerk gave him the bundle and within minutes Sumit was able retrieve his application and clerk added Chushul and Hanle on his already issued permits with any fees.But it was noon and he was still in Leh.So he needed to start ASAP for reaching Pangong.

We started for Pangong and Sumit stayed back only to reunite us at Pangomg later in the day.I was going towards Pangong and was just post Karu when a Bullet stopped few meters ahead me and the rider of that bullet said “Masterji” with a curiosity in his question.I said yes and we shook hands.The bullet rider  was Punit Khatkar,a Delhi resident who knew me thru my blogs.

Ascent to Chang La was easier than KTOP and only 4/5 kilometers was bad.Reached Chang La and enjoyed the complimentry black tea offered by Indian Army.Durbuk came and go,deposited our permits at Tangaste check post and told cop posted there we would be going further to Chushul,cop struck off  our names in his register and received  Amit’s signature.

Green Wetlands starts after Tangste and sheeps,horses, shepeards can bee seen around Tangste.Around 5 PM we were at Lukung village and Amit booked three beds in a tents.200.rs per bed.He also left his helmet in the tent.We clicked some pictures at Lake and came and came to know that new biker friends are staying in Camps.Punit invited me to his camp for a booze party.It was an tempting offer I could not refuse and tables were set,glasses were brought,snacks were served and
Bacardi were poured in the glass.It was mild raining while our party was in full speed with a beautiful broad view of Pangong Lake.Wonderful moments.

While our party was going,I asked Tentwala the rate of a tent,he said 1000 rs for two.Aman wanted a comfortable stay so we decided to stay in the camps and abandoned our already booked beds in a tent.Next morning,we had to pay 600 Rs for releasing our mortagaged helmet from tent owner.He said his three beds went unoccupied because of our booking.It was 10 pm and Sumit had not reunited with us as planned but Lakshya was there with us and he also rented a camp.
He was again down with AMS.I gave him Disprine and he dozed for night.There was no sign of Sumit and we went to sleep.

Where is Sumit??????

Neha Snacks Leh Market

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DAY 9-Diskit-Agam-Khardung Top-Leh

13 June 2013 Day 9 of our Ride

Day 9 Diskit-Khalsar-Agam-Khardung La-Leh

To read this travelogue from beginning click HERE

This is our second day in Nubra and currently we are lodged in Diskit,the largest town of Nubra valley,headquarters to administer the entire Nubra valley.Many govt offices sign boards can be seen here.

Today,we are going to explore another less explored place called Agham-Shyoke road.We have to back track on Nubra-Leh road towards Leh and reach Khalsar.Diversion for Agham is at Khalsar.Agham-Shyok is valley within a valley.We had to asend little only to descend down inside Shyoke river valley and flat river bed of many kilometers welcomes you.And this road on river bed is virtually traffic less.Only one village Agham is there which has barely 3-4 houses.So it was a very deserted place and we did not meet any vehicle while going towards Agham village.No doubt it was a exciting experience to ride on Agham Shyok road.We reached Agham village,and continue towards Shyok river crossing bridge and found a huge landslide blocking the entire road width.The dust/soil on the road had no tire marks suggesting the absence of any movement for months here on this section.Landslide was very big and did not left any margin for bikes to cross.This Landslide was many kilometers before river bridge on Shyok river.

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Day 7/8-Leh-Khardung La-Hundar-Deskit

Day 7 Leh-Khardung La Hundar-Deskit

To read this travelogue from begining Click HERE

Day 7 was devoted for arranging permits and we got delayed and could not start for Nubra valley and decideed to stay put in Leh.So why not make some good use of spare time and get scooter serviced.Scooter mechanic was very experienced and had been working in Leh for last 15 years.He was all praised for 2 storkes engine scooter.He assured me “Bhai saab chinta mat karo,Ladakh mein scooter hi kaamyaab hai”He opened carburator and cleaned it with 1/2 litre petrol and adjusted all the points  in carburator.Scooter was ready to climb legendary K TOP tommorow.Aman also got his bike serviced.We returned to our base GH and I ordered a custome made t-Shirt for myself.Aman also purchased three T-Shirts for his kids.It was a very boring day,nothing to do.

Day 8.Khardung La day.The 18 thousander mountain pass.Dream of every biker.

We had realxed enough in Leh due to extended stay and were raring to climb K top and descend into Nubra valley.We decided to start our Nubra ride early in the morning.As soon as we came out of our GH,sky became dark and very light drizzle started falling resulting in dropped temperture.Too add to the woes,road was in very very bad shape.Dark sky,light rain,potholes and numb fingers made K top ride very uncomfortable and painful.Speed was very slow and after 2.5 hrs we reached at K TOP
around 7.30 AM.It was snowing at the K Top and.A gloomy and haunted silence was there.Cold was unbearable and I desperately need a shelter,few cups of tea,some rest.I also wanted to get rid of my wet socks.Suddenly a Jawan with a bucket in his hands  emerged out of his bunker.I asked him about the complimentary tea,he replied tea will be served only after 9 AM.
Tea will be available only at North Pullu at other side of K TOP.
Visibility at Top was very low and we were clicking pics when a DL Fortuner arrived.Few boys came out wearing only T shirts.I saw huge difference between a Car passenger and a biker’s condition.While our life was miserable,cars passengers were proudly clicking picture near the sighn board.Few moments in cold and back to the heated and comfortable big cabin of their Fortuner and we still had a long and tiring day at the mercy of weather god.

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Day 6-Leh Sightseeing

Day6 Shanti Stupa-Thiksey Monastery-Hall of Fame

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE

 We arrived at Leh around 8 in night and straightway headed for Changspa road and booked 1.5 rooms in Rinchen Guest House run by a retired SDM.The room was very clean and insulated with extensive woodwork for winter protection.The SDM was very polite and we had a very pleasant stay in his Guest House.Tarrif 700 rs for 1.5 rooms.Once the room was booked,our hunt for a restaurant begins and there was one very near to our GH,walking distance. This restaurant was gonna be our regular place for next two days.Next day i.e on 6th day,this day was for sightseeing for popular spots near Leh.I did not take my scooter on sightseeing tour and rode as a pillion on bikes.Entire day was on our disposal and nothing much to do.No bag pack,no long ride,no high passes to cross.This meant we could afford to rise little late in the morning and realx.Sightseeing started after a breakfast at our regular rooftop restaurant and target was Shanti Stupa then Thiksey monasteryon Leh-Manlihighway.I had not seen it till date.After a quick tour of this Shanti Stupa and famous monastery,we headed back to Hall of Fame near airport.Spent some time there to go through the history of Ladakh and Militory’s role in this area.It was very informative felt like we were visiting a museum.Returned back to our GH after visiting these three places and spent the day lazily.IMG_2304

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Day 5 Kargil-Batalik-Leh

Day 5-Kargil-Hamboting La-Batalik-Biama-Khaltse-Nimmu-Leh

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE

It is day 5,we are at Kargil petrol pump and local people are curiously looking at my scooter.Some of them asked me whether I have come all the way from Delhi.Positive answer put them in state of disbelief.Scooter helped me starting lots of conversation with strangers.Got my petrol supply replenshied and steered my scooter towards famed Kargil-Batalik-Khaltse route section.For those who come late,Kargil-Batalik-Khaltse runs parralal to NH1D bypassing Fotu La and Namik La and merges with Srinagar-Leh highway near Khaltse.This road saw the most fierce battle action during 1999 Operation Vijay and is very close to Pak border and there are few check posts en route.
I was very excited to ride on a different sector of Ladakh.Different route,different scenery and different people of Batalik route made this ride special to me.Batalik route was also devoid of any traffic unlike Srinagar-Leh Highway.

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Day 4 Srinagar-Sonmarg-Drass-Kargil

 

Day 4 Srinagar-Sonmarg-Drass-Kargil

To read this travelogue from begining click HERE

In Sringar,we were staying in the same area,same hotel(Green Mountain) where I had stayed during my last 2012 year solo scooter ride,place is Badami Bagh,a cantonement on the outskirts of Srinagar town.Room rent was 1200 per night for a triple beds room,basic room.June is an expensive time to visit any hill town.Hoteliers generally make a killing during summers due to swelling crowds of tourists.
Srinagar stay was good and I found a good opportunity to get familiar with some Kashmiri folks,their opinions,their lifestyles and other important facts what they think about politics.
Today,on day 4,idea was to leave early so that Zozilla can be crossed without being trapped in traffic.During my earlier two visits to Srinagar,I have always managed to leave the city at the early hours of the day.Riding through the empty streets of Srinagar and shore of the lake is pleasant thing for me.
Gandarbal always comes and go in flashes.Only sightings I can recollect about this place are its narrow lanes,Chinar trees and few open shops of Butchers with hanging lambs on hooks.I also remember people of Gandarbal washing lamb’s organs in open river canals thet flows in front of their homes.That is Gandarbal for me,a city adjacent to Srinagar.Kangan too is gone in the blink of eye.Last time I purchased engine oil for my scooter here.That shops alos had Diesel for cabs and Champions tempo etc…An HDFC ATM has also come up recently but it was out of order this year.After Kangan,a petrol pump appears at your right side.You cant miss this pump.This is the only petrol pump between Gandarbal and Kargil.

Sonmarg makes its magical appearance soon after this petrol pump..High green mountains,sloped timber houses,meadows and grazing horses with gigantic snow laden peaks,all makes Sonmarg a perfect place to forget yourself.The yearning of  spending some quite moments at Sonmarg generally lingers in my heart.Sonmarg is always teeming with people from both Kashmir and Ladakh.A confluence of two important ethnic  culture of JK.Its very exciting to be there at Sonmarg.It is also the last place where you can taste some non vegeterian foods before your food ordeal starts in Ladakh.I ordered a Mutton Rogan Josh here.

Indian Army runs HAWS(High Altitude Warfare School) here and you can see jawans learnnig the skills of rock climbing  and rappeling.We lost your Paradise soon after Sonamrg and you enter the hell made of Gray and Gravel…a place of utmost pain and disappointment….This dismal place is Zozila…Gateway to Ladakh from Kashmir valley….Zozila, lost to Pakistan in 1947-48,so was entire Ladakh.Zozila which was re captured by Indian Tanks brought by Gen Thimmaya.Zozila,a gift from Genral Thimmaya to all Indian,specially Bikers.

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Day 2-3 Pathankot-Udhampur-Pahalgam-Aru-Srinagar

 

Pathankot-Banihal-Pahalgam-Aru-Srinagar 5TH,6th June 2013

To read this travelogue from begining Click HERE

Day 2 was event less except that I saw a new route to reach Udhampur.This new route is called Dhar road and it touches the Ranjit Sagar Dam area and its reservoir.This road was without any traffic and I enjoyed this route.Landed in Banihal after few hrs of night riding and found a place to stay in Himalaya hotel near bus stand.Next day on day 3rd,it was the day to visit Lidder valley,the beautiful valley where Pahalgam,Aru and Betab is.A valley very dear to film makers of past.Pahalgam was a touch and go,real reason behind Lidder visit was our dear BCMT member Jagjit singh ji of Aru Eco Resort
He owns a tented holiday facility in Aru,12 kms from Pahalgam.What a place hidden among green fresh mountains,a place to rejuvenate to yourself,your soul….real Kashmir is here..
Sunnyji was not aware of our visit and we also did not know his presence at his Resort on that day.I wanted to give him a surprise.When I reached there I instantly liked the place and its setting….a colurful tented colony on a green meadows,tall mountains on all side,soothing sunlight and clear sky…a scene directly from a painting.Lots of visitors were enjoying in his resort and Sunnyji was personally attending to everyone’s needs….
As I entered his resorts,I saw him coming towrads me and we hugged one another…what a day it was…???
We chatted for a while over a cup of coffee followed by a very delicious Lunch prepared by his staff.
He insisted us on staying there for night but we had to say good bye as few local friends were waiting for us in Srinagar.

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