FRG – Ladakh/Spiti 2019
If still not clear do watch the video below to know how to take part in competition
I have been meaning to write this story for quite some time, but here it is finally.
When I made the decision to ride to Spiti, my parents and wife both were worried about me, a lot. A place they have never heard of and I am going to ride my bike there in the month of February worried them. I put up a strong face for them, but I had my doubts – especially because I haven’t been to Ladakh or Spiti before and now I have just suddenly decided I will do Winter Spiti straight away. For some reason, Winter Spiti looked more challenging, adventurous and I wanted it. I just wanted to experience something out of my comfort zone.
I would be lying if I say I was strong throughout the ride and didn’t let my fears break me. I did break down, quite often, but not anymore.
Everything was a challenge to me, during the initial days of ride, even the smallest of things.
How would I pack so many things in saddle bag? How would my wife manage herself alone for a week? How will she feel once I go out of network for some days? All those thoughts I put aside and left for Spiti on 10th Feb 2019 from my home in Gurgaon. It was quite cold those days. Just a day before it had rained hailstorms in NCR for half an hour and the roads had gotten white and social media was full of pics with caption (Snowfall in Delhi).
Around 3 PM when we were crossing Shimla near Lakkar Bazar, my tire skidded, and my bike tilted and went on to strike a jeep coming from front. It just all happened in seconds. I got up with good injuries, saw behind the road from where I skidded and there was little muddy patch which we call black ice. It was so small and that you can’t imagine it’s a melted ice. Thanks to my all riding gears and bike crash guard, just my left-hand little finger got jammed and the bike got the major damage. There was also pain in my left foot and knee. Meanwhile my friends had arrived and that gave me comfort. I paid the damage amount to the jeep driver. The local guys helped and rotated the bullet handle back to its original position. The clutch lever was in bent shape and left mirror also broken.
The locals suggested us to take Tatapani route (low altitude) and not the main highway as there was good amount of black ice present near Kufri and Narkanda (being on high altitude). I tried to stand up and moved towards bike slowly, left hand finger numb with severe pain and also pain in left foot. Entire ride from there I had to press clutch with three fingers while changing gears and had to ride with little speed because of pain in finger. With extreme difficulty I somehow managed to ride the bike and we reached Tatapani. There we spent the first night and I got the first aid my friends were carrying. They recommended me I shouldn’t proceed further and go back. I was broken inside and silent. So many thoughts running across my mind. How will my parents and wife feel seeing me injured? Their fear and warnings have come true. What will I do at home for the entire vacation I took from office? What if this incident could have happened with anybody? What if it’s a lesson for me? Next day I got the bike fixed whatever possible from mechanic and I said I will continue my ride. We reached Rampur using the state highway and joined the main one. My clutch lever still bent , my little finger still numb and not moving entirely. Got it checked from a local doctor there during our lunch break, he applied some lotion and then wrapped it. He said it’s a desi lotion and it will help fix the dislocated finger in a week or two.
We kept riding that day and stopped at Reckong Peo the second night. It was -3 degree then and entire town and the roads were covered in snow. I was shivering with cold. It was dark and very few hotels were open. My friends found a hotel nearby and I went to sleep immediately after taking dinner.
Took first bath of the ride next day with warm water and felt better but still some pain in knee and finger. That morning my friends were also surprised to see how I have managed to ride from the accident scene until Reckong Peo and didn’t back off from the ride.
We continued the journey next morning and I was happy inside my bike was still doing well after that shocking damage. I was loving that scenic route, moving ahead of everyone and then stopping and clicking pictures and videos of nature and my friends riding and then again joining them once they cross me. I was always ahead of them by 500m. Then came the beautiful Khab bridge and I clicked a picture there and then continued. There was BRO working and cutting rocks after regular intervals. Just when I crossed them, they made an explosion after 10 min. It was a zig zag route up ahead till Ka point and I could see back from there the entire stretch till Khab bridge. I waited for my friends, 15 mins, 30 mins and hour. The network had also gone off there. I clicked some pics and continued then after 1.30 hr wait. I passed the message for my friends to a jeep guy going towards khab. I met them after an hour while riding slowly. That entire stretch till Nako was covered with black ice. We spent the night there. The entire Nako roads were covered with hard snow and we rode over it to reach the homestay. It got dark then after sometime, the owner took us to a local festival going on there and everyone was drunk there and dancing. We too danced, saw the Nako lake in solid white form at night.
Morning I woke up and went to terrace, it was snowing. I clicked pictures and made slow motion videos. We started again towards Spiti after warming up our bikes for about half an hour. Friend’s bike got an issue, waited for mechanic to arrive and we got late that day in leaving Nako. On the way I came across MalingLa pass. It is mighty and dangerous. Luckily we all passed it with not much difficulty. We were going at a nice pace and black ice and snow again came to meet us in Tabo. A guy was coming in a truck from Kaza with his Himlayan bike loaded in it and he intimated every friend of mine with his story saying he has never seen so much snow and black ice in his entire life and he has done so many Winter Spiti rides. He told us not to proceed further as the entire route till Kaza is laden with snow and it would be dangerous. Inside I was feeling angry at him as I knew my friends are getting scared with his story and I know what their next decision would be. But I wanted to experience it with my eyes. My friends decided to stop at Tabo at night, park and cover their bike with sheets and in morning hire a jeep which will take them across Kaza and all other nearby towns and then come back to Tabo in evening and pick the bikes next morning and rode back to Delhi. I knew they wont listen to me and I said okay. There were no homestay open that time in Tabo. A lady seeing our condition opened her homestay and let us stay there for that night. Her hospitality was top notch. We felt comfortable. There then in homestay, a friend put a suggestion that he is feeling tired and it would be difficult for entire of them to ride bike back again to Delhi from Tabo. And surprisingly to me, everyone said yes. They decided they will hire a tampo and load themselves and their bikes in it and take it to Chandigarh.
I said: What? Are you serious? I stopped there. I knew they were not going to listen. Inside I was so angry and thinking Is this what you came for? You rode till here on bike and why cant you rode it back to Delhi.
I said NO, sorry I wont be joining. I wont go to Kaza even in Jeep and I instead will ride back from Tabo next morning. They advised me to come along and I said NO that’s my final decision. I started my back journey next day alone on bike. My bike was covered with snow and the owner aunt advised me to go carefully along with best wishes. I knew the route now and also knew how tough it would be until Khab with all the route laden with black ice.
It was also snowing little when I started. Somehow managed to reach Chango. After that it was incline until MalingLa and Nako. The weather got inclement and foggy and I couldn’t see anybody front and behind. The visibility was almost negligible and the entire stretch I kept saying “Jai Mata Di”, I was scared inside, it was so cold. My bike was skidding and breathing was also difficult. I went down from bike twice while riding. But again quickly pushed the bike up and shouting Jai Mata Di until I saw a tempo traveler parked. Oh Finally somebody is there with me. It was MalingLa paas and there was landslide. I could see other people also. I felt good inside. Everyone was waiting for JCB Ki Khudayi and JCB arrived after an hour. The landslide was huge and stones were falling continuously. They guys were able to remove only small amount of rocks and then they went off around 2PM as the weather got inclement and they said they will again tomorrow with another JCB.
Noooo, I shouted. Please clear it today. What will I do now? I have ridden this far uphill not to go back downhill to Chango. I will stay here overnight because I cant push bike uphill again till here. The locals laughed and suggested me to park the bike here only and come back tomorrow with them in Tempo Traveler from Chango. They said the weather here at MalingLa reaches -35 at night and I knew that’s true. I listened to them and went with them to Chango in Traveler. Next day came with them and saw my bike there only and landside got cleared in an hour as the JCBs were already working. While crossing MalingLa, I came to know why its so difficult and risky. There was straight downhill from frozen waterfall till a small mandir and the entire stretch was wet and covered with snow, only I could see Tempo marks left on melted snow and I had to ride on that. I cant put brakes on that downhill, cant increase or decrease the speed. I put the 2nd gear and my bike rushed there like its in a 5th gear and I kept the handle straight knowing if I move a little I will skid. I could see mandir in front, I applied brakes, the bike skidded little but didn’t fell. Oh Thankyou God. Jai Mata di I said. And my bike stopped just in front of gates of mandir after I applied brakes.
I kept going negotiating all the black ice further from Nako to Khab. I could see all the zig zag routes from up above and wet roads and everything else white. The scenery was beautiful. I clicked pictures. Now I knew the only difficult part left would be Narkanda and Kufri if I opt that main route. That day I spent night at Reckong Peo and met another solo rider in my hotel who was from Jaipur and was riding back from Kalpa. We both mentioned our stories.
Next day we started together and rode the bikes on less used bridges, making videos and continuing our journey towards Shimla. We took the main route and it was 6 PM when we came across Narkanda black ice. It was too thick, like white glasses and behaved like stones, not melting and moving. It took around 3-4 hours for us to reach from Narkanda to Shimla encountering frozen sheets of snow and skidding and dropping from bike multiple times. It got dark when we were crossing Kufri and I skidded and fell off with bike. While trying to pick it up, I hurt my back. I knew what had happened. Somehow we reached Shimla around 9 PM and took OYO.
Oh! Thankyou God for the entire experience. I had dinner and then my new friend applied the balm on my back.
Morning we roam around Shimla a little, and then continued our journey. We saw off each other at Chandigarh as he had to meet his friend. And from Chandigarh to Gurgaon I rode solo at night. I was extremely tired by then with pain in back, left finger still numb and not moving. I took multiple breaks on dhabas but the pain was still as it is. I reached home in Gurgaon around 11 pm that day.
My wife wouldn’t have recognized me if I was not wearing the jacket and carrying luggage. I went to see my face in mirror and it was all black due to pollution I came across on highway in Delhi with open helmet.
Also one thing I forgot to mention, I met my friends ( separated from Tabo) midway in Rampur stuck due to landslide since 3AM night and I had reached there in morning 10AM.
They started calling me RAMBO after that ride. 😊
I THANKYOU GOD EVERYDAY FOR ALL THE ADVENTURE AND EXPERIENCE I HAD.
Namaskar Everyone, I’m uddipto & I will take you to the land of Extremes, Himachal Pradesh trip of Team Caravan…
Plannig was never so easy, due to different work culture & distance but for me it became a necessity to travel Himalayas with good old friends on motorcycle, as they say- If there is a Will, there is a Way…
Day 1- Team started on 20th september morning from Kolkata & with no surprise reached at Varanasi & stayed for the night.
Day 2- Started eraly in the morning, made it easier for us to reach Delhi quickly…Yamuna Expressway was an iconic name in that stretch & team enjoyed riding through it in full swing…
Day 3- Delhi to Shimla was so so, road was neither good nor steep as well. Since we started approaching towards Shimla, non veg foods got its availability on the table, I was desiderating mutton steak badly at this time 😒😒
Day 4- Allowing ourselves into more tranquil phase, we started late in the morning, and reached Chitkul around 8:30 p.m. Last 40 kms till Chitkul was worst in the entire trip, Chitkul is famous for being India’s last village 😌😌
Day 5- There is a saying- Start early, reach safely…But this seemed to be not correct everyday, as we strted that day early at 7:00 a.m but due to land slide at Spillow we had to spend the entire day and the night as well, till we strted next day around 11:00 a.m after road was cleared by BRO…
Day 6- We started from spillow at 11:00 a.m. Road was mostly broken, and as myself & Navonil were on the same bike, sometimes it seemed to be a bit painful, but let me tell you, You will never get bored if you are riding with your best friend 😉 & the convo could took place on anything from PM Modi to Chandrayaan II to economic growth/crisis of the country, & in between all those Rocky asphalt unfolded its mystical beauty…Around evening we reached Gheu Monastery, though the monastery got closed but our interest was to see the 600 yrs old mummy. The mummy was of a buddhist monk, the ambiance, darkness, silence of the place made it worth paying attention to. We came out of the temple, had our tea and started towards Tabo.
Day 7- We stayed at Maitreya Guest House’ just beside Tabo Monastery and it was such a neat, clean & peaceful property that I almost fixed a plan to own it with navonil 😀 😀
We visited Tabo Monastery, which was established in 996, that means 1023 yrs ago…It was dark inside the monastery, there were wall paintings and architectures dated back to the same time. Just when I stepped inside it, I got goosebumps. I became quiet, prayed and left the place with an indescribable experience…We hade our lunch at Himalayan Cafe, & there after visited Langza Buddha Statue, Hikkim village which was having the highst post office in the world, do not forget to post letter to your loved ones from here & Komic village which was the highst village in the world connected by motorable roads…We stayed at Kaza that day.
Day 8- We started early from Kaza, weather was not good and after some kms water droplets came in. Roads became pathetic by mud & slush. We crossed through Chicham Bridge’ which was Asia’a highst. We reached Batal around afternoon but due to bad weather we missed Chandratal 😞😞. We stayed in swiss tent accomodation at Batal.
Day 9- Batal to manali, just another day at hill, with some facinating views of the mountains.
Day 10- Manali to Delhi via Rohtang Pass. From Gramphu’ team got devided into two, one started towards Ladakh, and the remaining team started towards Kolkata…
My ladakh ride was one of my dream ride, and i can do it again and again..i don’t know why but it gives me happiness…
I decided to go on this trip in 2015, I have paid amount for 3 consecutive years and before the ride i cancelled. That was heartbreaking all the time.
But in year 2017, i made it… that was my 1st ride of my life…and thats ladakh ride… i have never gone on a ride before that…i was new to it…
I don’t know how many people can relate this…i had tears of happiness when i started the ride from my home. It was not solo, but with a group.
Delhi – chandigarh – manali – sarchu- leh – pangong – nubra – lamayuru …i remember everything…
delhi to chandigarh – riding in heavy rainfall and after reaching there it was like what was that…why rain man…1st day and 1st obstacle… i think god was also happy for me..
chandigarh to manali – wow…what a ride…hills…landslides….chai pakoda in rain… phew…what else i can expect..mother nature at its best..
manali to sarchu – that was where i started feeling goosebums in every kilometer…..after the bumpy ride…so much offroading..slush..rivercrossing….i mean wow..i didn’t knew all that will come….and the best part is… from 23 degree in manali ….to -2 degrees in sarchu…in a single day…the water in the pipelines of sarchu camps was frozen…for a 1st timer thats mesmarizing….
sarchu to leh – the more plains – i was so eager to ride more plains and when it comes after 3 hours of offroading…..wow man….its like heaven..
You will agree on this….ladakh is awsm….but in a bikers life…the road to ladakh is memorable… when i reached ladakh after 5 days of riding..the next morning i felt a different kind of energy in me… i can feel that energy everyday… i enjoyed every moment of that journey…that changed my life..
My goal was to die with memories…not with dreams……
Paresh Shinde (Story on Wheels)
Falcon Riders India (an influencer who changed my life)
DJ sirke style me bole to, (“ye blog thodalambahogaso. its ok, kyafarakpadtahe. lol)
Myself Paresh Shinde. 30 years of age born and brought up in Mumbai. Bike touring and Dancing is my passion.
Below is my travel story: –
I was a kind of guy who is “kitabikida” or you can call me “a perfect subordinate every boss dreamed for” I always want to be on a top no matter what it takes till the time I got to know other side of the life which is travelling and exploring the beauty of nature.
A year ago, I was surfing on YouTube and found a video of DJ sir giving ownership review of ‘Millennium Falcon’ i.e. Versys 650. Since it was Versys, I watched complete video and noticed a sense of genuinety in this channel. Then I opened a channel and start checking rest videos. I saw your Amritsar Ride, Holi Ride, Friendship Ride, and Jaisalmer with Family and of course Up north Ladakh Ride. The time you start your vlog, your respected father come out for a sweet see off, the famous “Kachre ka pahad”, way of your story telling, I remember you always said “akela mehsoonkarrahathasocha camera on karu, aap se baate kart ahu to achhalagta he”
Finally I decide to start ride, initially I was not having a bike so I use to go with my friends as a pillion and enjoy, but I always wanted to go SOLO since I was not having bike, it was not possible for me to do solo ride. After few months I bought myself a 2nd hand Dominar and start exploring places near Mumbai (SOLO)
Now at the end of each ride, I started knowing myself in a better way. I started loving myself.
Then a question came in my mind, do I be able to do Ladakh SOLO??? I started exploring your preparation vlogs, how to convince your parents, different itinerary vlog, different routes, permits etc. I would like to give you a BIG THANK for all of these.
Finally, June 2019 I completed my Leh Ladakh Ride MUMBAI – LEH – MUMBAI successfully.
I don’t know but somehow, I felt a different connection with you. I mean Just imagine, I was a guy who always used to do work work-work and all of sudden a person influence him so deeply that his perception towards life has changed altogether. Now if I see myself, I managed all my work and planned my rides on holidays very well.
You may note, I have same Jacket and Saddle bags as you: P lol
BIG THANK TO YOU.IT WON’T BE HAPPEN WITHOUT YOU.
AT THE END I WOULD LIKE TO SAY JUST ONE LINE, THERE IS LOT OF PEOPLE IN SOCIETY DOES NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF LIFE, EVEN IM ONE OF THEM. HENCE KEEP INSPIRING PEOPLE LIKE ME.
WE LOVE YOU DJ SIR
GOD BLESS YOU 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊
SafarNama with Saddu
लद्दाख.. एक खूबसूरत सपना..
चल पड़ा मे..
ढेर सारी परेशानियों…
ढेर सारी तकलीफें..
ढेर सारी मुश्किलों से लड़ झगड़ के…
अपने सपनों की ओर चल पड़ा मे… “
नये मौसम को मेहसूस करने चल प़डा मे..
अपने सपने पूरे करने.. सपनों के पीछे चल प़डा मे…
कुछ अधूरी ख्वाहिशें…
कुछ सपने पूरे करने अकेले घरसे निकल प़डा मे…
अपने सपने की ओर बिना कुछ सोचे समझे…
चल पडा मे..
अब क्या पता आगे क्या होगा…
देखा जायेगा जो भी होगा…
हर बात.. हर हालत को हिम्मत से निपटने…
चल पडा मे….
दिल की बात सुनकर..
दिमाग को मात दिये…
अपने सपनों के ओर चल पड़ा मे…
पानियों सा बहता…
इन वादियों मे पहाड़ों को चिरता…
आँखों के जरिये अपने दिलो-दिमाग को सुकून देता…
बिना कुछ सोचे..
बिना कुछ समझे…
बस आगे बढ़ चला मे…
क्या करु थोडा पागल हु…
सपने पूरे करने…
सपनों की ओर चल प़डा मे….
I Nitish kurrey living in Ambikapur chattisgarh. Me and my brother
planned a road trip from ambikapur to leh (via madhya pradesh, agra,
sonipat panipat, udhampur) to manali to way back ambikapur. approx
7000+ kms we achieved in 16 days of continue exploring places and
planned this road trip in june 1st week in our bikes pulsar 220 and
dominar 400. The bike performed really well no such issues we faced
during the ride. Also during the ride while reaching zozila we stucked
in traffic zam at zozila pass for 6 hours approx. But it didnt rained
at that time gods grace. Also we didnt get much more water crossing
b.coz the snow at that time didnt started to melt down fast. Overall
it was a good trip. Sharing more pictures. And thats all my story.
Himanshu Singh Adhikari
We saw the dream to do something unique, something historical, something memorable, unforgettable moments for our whole life & we made our dream truly with our own “ON THE HILLS”.
It was our desire or can say the aim to host our nation’s flag on the top of the passes of high mountains of Himalaya with eye appeal snow……..
With introducing our team Himanshu Singh Adhikari, Abhishek Singh Rathore, Mukesh Neve, Shivraj Singh Rathore, Maan Singh, Paramjeet Singh. Having unique & different qualities with each member we started our first Bike tour at lap of the nature’s Termendeous Himalaya’s Leh Ladakh & sorounding region. Different fleets of bikes made our journey more memorable, excited & tiredlessness. Royal Enfield 350, united motors 300, Avenger 220, Bajaj Pulser Adventure Sports AS150, Vikrant 150.
Total 3978 Kms covered with four states Rajasthan, Haryana, Panjab, Jammu & Kashmir till band of Siachin border. Main cities we covered & stayed as follows. Started with hometown from Jodhpur, Hissar, Pathankot, Srinagar, Sonamarg, Kargil, Leh Ladhak, Nubra velly, Hunder, Leh Ladhak, Sonamarg, Pathankot, Sirsa, Nagaur, Jodhpur.
We got are aim on Day-7 of our journey i.e. “Khardungla- Highest Motorable Road In The World”. We captured that historic moment with our team for rest of our life forever. We stayed at Nubra Velly i.e. holly land of Lord Buddha. Awesome place with termendious view of mountains & monestry.
We started our return journey from same way, as the Rohtang pass & Manali route was not cleared due to heavy snow fall. On our return journey at Sonamarg we met a guy who was solo traveler on this Road trip with his four wheeler vehicle. Here Four wheeler doesn’t mean to any Car, Jeep OR other transport vehicle. He was came with his Bike – Avenger with extra two tiers i.e. vehicle for physically challenged. Yes, he was physically challenged using extra support stick. That day we met such a person who given us the audacity to live this life on our own rules & to achieve more things in our life. He likes our company & our group so decided to join us. We welcomed him & his truly bravery & enthusiastic personality. That day we got a different way to see this world & life & to plan our next Bike tour in nearer future. He came with us from that point of contact & added to come with next bike tour.
On Day-13 we completed our first Road Bike tour successfully without any casualties, any damage of bikes & health of any of the team members. We started this tour on bike from the porch of our homes & finished this on same porch of each member.
We are very thankful to our family members who supported us a lot. Thankful to our mechanic who made our bikes smoother & all the persons we met in our 13 days journey. And at the last but not least, very thankful to you & your YouTube channel “Falcon Rider” who gave us very useful tips, guidance, road & weather conditions. This was too useful & made our this first journey easier. Surely will plan a road trip “Falcon Rider”.
Thanks A Ton & Trips Continouessssss………..
It was the summer of 2018 , or I should say monsoons, but delhi’s monsoon is so erratic it turns into summers on most days. Anyways it was the beginning of August and one of my office mates suggested that we get of delhi for a few days and chill out. I suggested places around Himachal and Uttrakhand but couldn’t zero down on anything. Then he suggested that we check out Spiti valley in Himachal and after a few searches on Google I readily said yes. It was supposed to be a mirror image of Ladakh and I was going to find out why so!
We did some planning on what to carry and where to halt , made a draft itinerary and set off from delhi on a Sunday at around 7 A.M. in my Scorpio. We were to halt at Narkanda for the night and reached our hotel , which we booked from delhi itself , at around 5P.M. Then we checked out the town a little bit clicked some photos from our room balcony , had dinner and rested.
Our next stop was nako, a small town before Tabo, famous for its lake and monastery. We had breakfast and left Narkanda at around 9 A.M. On the way, we stopped at quite a few places. First pic is on one of the bridges we saw on the road connecting our road with another mountain. Second pic is a small waterfall where we took a little bath rested and continued our journey.
Here I would like to recall that we made a glaring mistake that we didn’t top up our fuel after delhi. Our tank was full when we left home and I suggested we continue and fill up at pooh or kalpa. But we completely missed Kalpa and there were no pumps in Pooh and no diesel was available there too. A dreadful feeling dawned on both of us as we would be stranded on the road. But we tried our luck and pushed my Scorpio as far as we could . The only logical idea my friend had was to park our car in the middle of the road and ask any trucks carrying diesel to help us out . But , God was with us , and my dear Scorpio has never abandoned me in my 4 years of owning it, and we made it to Nako where open diesel was available (albiet a little costly-but who cares) and the car probably had a litre or two still left. I was literally shitting my pants and couldn’t believe that the Scorpio did almost 750 kms on a single fuel tank (taking into account our detours on the way for some photo session). We reached Nako at around 6 P.M. had food and tea , got around 50 litres of diesel and stayed at Somang Dhaba whose owner gave us fuel and provided their homestay for a meagre 500 bucks for the night!!!!!
We had dinner where we got fried chicken , chicken curry and rotis and some delicoius non veg momos. We stayed for the night and slept well after a horrendous decision of not filling up our tank . Next morning , I got up did some photo graphy of the scenic mountains, helipad and some donkeys ☺. We saw the Nako lake but sadly it was all dried up. We had breakfast and the auntie at the homestay offered to sell us Apples from her garden for just Rs. 50/kg and our eyes were wide open with disbelief (because they were so cheap). We bought 10 kgs and loaded them in my car.
We bid them farewell and set off to our next stop for the day which was Pin valley – Mud village.
We started late at around 10 A.M. to proceed towards Mud. On the way we took a detour and visited the Gue village famous for its mummy. The road to Gue is all gravel but good to drive and the village was empty – no tourists. Clicked some photos of the mummy and the monastery and set off towards Mud. On the way , we saw a number of BSF soldiers who were talking on the phone , the area was almost deserted and surrounded by mountains and valleys. One of them asked us for a lift and we happily obliged. I cannot recall his name but he was from Himachal and quite friendly. He told us that the soldiers come to that area to make a call to their loved ones back at home and is the only nearest place where they get reception. The place was almost 10 kms from their army base and a truck would drop them at that place and the soldiers would have to return on their own . I was really humbled by his joyous attitude facing such ahrsh conditions but still enjoying what he loves best. We dropped him to his base camp and continued forward. We crossed Sumdo and enquired if we could visit Kaurik (near India – China border). The checkpost informed us that we need to get permission from Kaza and then from Sumdo and only then can we visit Kaurik but we tried our luck and went upwards towards Kaurik but there was an army checkpost who told us the same thing and alas we returned empty (dream of visiting India- China border adhoora reh gaya).
After crossing Tabo we encountered some women , around 5 of them, who wanted a lift before shichling. The gentlemen we were, we offered them lift in exchange for some apples they offered us. We started chatting with them. They told us they were their for work and if no one offered them lift they would have to walk the entire way till schichling. We were shocked to hear this. Nonetheless we dropped them before shichling at around needle rock formations. They were supposed to cross the spiti river and go to their village on the other side of the mountain via a zip line sitting in it. We asked if we could ride one of those and cross the river in it. They happily obliged and after we both got our rides in the zip line , we proceeded towards clicking some pics at needle rock formations and my gosh I saw wild yaks for the first time in my life and I was really excited. Today I did learn that when we help others we do get some experience or a gift in return and it does feel good. We proceeded towards Mud village and reached at around 4 P.M. after some help from the locals in finding the village. We reached the Tara Homestay had some maggi and tea and booked a room for the night for 800 rupees. We met a guy who was from mumbai and came to Mud on a scooty from manali. We chatted thru the night had a few drinks , ate well and slept tight.
Next morning we left the village at around 10 and went straight to dhankar to visit the lake which the guy from Mumbai told us was quite the view. The main ascent towards Dhankar was blocked due to a landslide but there was a side detour connecting the main road to Dhankar a further up ahead. We reached Dhankar and asked for the lake and the locals told us that it was a hike of around 2 hrs to the lake. As at that time both of us were not in the best of shape we decide to skip the lake (will cover in our next trip). From there we went straight to Kaza. After hunting through various hotels we narrowed down to Andy’s Place and decided to spend the night there. We kept our stuff and went to visit the trio of Hikkim, Koumic and Langza villages. First we went to Hikkim , world’s highest post office, posted a few post cards to our beloved back home and had Seabuck thorn drink and bought a few bottles to take home. Next went to Koumic, the highest village, roamed around a bit and tried to reach Langza but lost our way and couldn’t reach it and decided to retire for the day as it was getting dark.
Next morning, had breakfast and packed a few sandwiches for the way and headed for Kunzum La. On the way we had to check in at the post at Losar and reached Kunzum La at around 1 P.M. I tried to ascent the pass on foot but was out of breath half way up ☺. We proceeded towards Chandrataal lake and was mesmerized and terrified at the same time at the condition of the road but nonetheless we reached the lake after doing some offroading in my car and booked a tent at PEMA THANG camps. After parking our vehicle at the designated parking place we trekked towards the lake which was around half an hour from the parking spot and boy the trek was worth it. I literally haven’t seen a bluer and clearer lake than this.
The picture below is of me sitting at the lake.
I guess there was a bachelor’s party going on and they invited us to dance with them. But being too shy we ran off and after resting at the lake for a few moments we went to the camp. In the evening they gave us soup and had stomach full of dinner. There were also a group of senior citizens (around 4 couples) who had come all the way from Gujarat. I was disheartened and shocked to learn that one of the aunties had suffered AMS and her oxygen level had dropped below a critical level. The camp guys gave her an oxygen cylinder for the time being and rushed her to Batal for treating her. I earnestly prayed for her recovery but we couldn’t meet them after the night as they had stared way early than us the next morning. The camp guys had told us to start early the next morning to reach Manali on time as the water level might increase on the road if we got late and might be stuck in the Nallahs on the way.
We packed bread and omelette for the way and stared for Manali at around 6:30 A.M. We decided not to eat at Chacha Chachi Dhaba as we just had breakfast and proceeded further. We crossed a few Travellers on the road and waded through the Nallahs on the way. This route I must say is truly an Off-roaders paradise, broken roads, multiple water crossings, sometimes no road. At around 8 A.M. my friend took a wrong turn on a Nallah and our car got stuck.
After trying for about 45 minutes we gave up and waited for help to arrive as the car won’t budge at all and sat as fools (Picture below is of our vehicle stuck).
One of the travellers we crossed came to our rescue and after 7-8 guys nudged our vehicle and the driver of the traveller drove our vehicle from the Nallah to a gravel road nearby and we were delighted. We thanked them and continued our journey towards Rohtang pass but were stuck as there was heavy traffic at the pass. We reached Rohtang pass climbed up the pass but the way up was slippery as it had been raining the whole day previously. We reached Manali at around 1 P.M. and booked the Keys Lite Apple Nest hotel which was located in the midst of an apple orchard. The hotel guys told us that we were the only ones in the hotel and we were treated like kings. We rested for the day and decided not to venture our anywhere and had dinner , had a few drinks and decided to leave Manali as early possible.
The next morning we started from Manali at around 9 A.M. and had breakfast on the way at around 11 A.M. Anyways we descended from the hills at around 4 P.M. and reached Delhi at around 11P.M. Nothing awesome happened today and by my standards, it was quite a boring stretch today. But I was really tired after reaching home and took a day off from office the next day and started planning for Ladakh to be covered in the next year.
When I finally decided to do the Ladakh circuit, I quickly began my search for relevant information on the dos, don’ts, permits, riding gear, bike prep as well as other key information.
Seeking all this information within fifteen days of starting your first solo ride can be overwhelming, especially when you scout the internet. I luckily stumbled upon the Falcon Riders YT channel, where I found all the info I was seeking for this ride.
This was my first time to Ladakh, so I literally copied one of Digvijay’s Ladakh itineraries and began my ride on the 15th of July. I won’t go into the details but the ride started out pretty unexciting from Delhi to Jammu. But each day since was a delight to say the least! Kashmir and Ladakh threw at me may surprises- Majestic mountains, beautiful sceneries, great roads, horrible roads as well as no roads! Some of the highlights for me were Pangong Tso, the sceneries from the roads leading to Hanle as well as Sarchu and interacting with the kind and humble locals. One time is not sufficient to appreciate the sheer beauty of Kashmir, Ladakh and HP. Will surely be riding there again!!!
Mera ek sapna tha kudh ki bike ladakh jane ka..mere pas hero glamour bike hai jisse me kolkata ke as-pas short ride krta hun..pahle me sochta tha yeh glamour lekr kolkata to ladakh to kolkata nhi kr paunga, iske like mujhe kak se kam 200cc ka bike lena padega..fir jabse maine falcon riders channel dekhna suru kiya mera confidence badne laga or maine soch liya m glamour lekr hi ladakh jaunga..
Fir m eid ke chutti me glamour lekr nikal gya ladakh ke liye..ghar walo ko bhut muskil se manaya tha maine.
Yeh jo photo maine diya hai woh changla pass ka hai..us din jab pangong se leh a rha tha changla pass poucha or wha pe jitne v log the woh sab mujhe, mere bike or mera bike ka nmbr plate dekhne laga..or ek admi jor se bola “isse pahle photo kichne do, west Bengal se aya hai woh hero glamour lekr”
Fir ek admi akr mere pass camera manga photo kich dene ke liye…
Woh kuch alag hi ahesas tha jo m jindegi me nhi vulunga..