Leh Ladakh Road Trip – Pune To Ladakh on bike

Leh Ladakh road trip is considered as Mecca for bike riders.We are not professional riders, but what we have done or achieved is every biker’s dream.

This post is not only for bike riders but for all those who loves to travel.I have experienced a different aspect of traveling.Life experience and lessons which I learned from this road trip would never be the same if I had done the same trip from train or flight.Best part about road trip is that your journey starts from your home and bad part is, you are not excited about your destination because you are busy in enjoying the ongoing journey.

First i want to share some background what drives me to go for such a long bike road trip of 6506 km.So sit back and enjoy the ride with me.Relive once in a lifetime journey with me.

We all love to do road trip with our best buddies and i am no exception.From my college days i wanted to go on road trip on bike. But unfortunately i had no bike at that time.I used to go on road trip with my friends. Longest trip till college days i did is of 200 km (Bhopal to Indore).

But when i got my first job and had enough money to burn petrol around pune, within six months i bought my favourite bike – Bajaj Avenger 220. I picked avenger because its a perfect cruise bike for long ride and have different style and comfort.Within first week, we did a long ride of around 400 km to Kashid beach. As time passes,I had done couple of long road trip like pune goa pune (1175), pune- hampi-pune.

I wanted my next road trip to go beyond the one which i have already done. Ladakh was on my mind from past two years.There are certain things which we wanted to do in our life,but unfortunately they are pending from long time because they are out of our comfort zone, may be we required some motivation or trigger from someone else.Ravi my college friend (with whom i have already done the Pune Goa Pune road trip) became trigger for us and later on I got my motivation for Pune to ladakh from a travel blog like this, which you are reading right now.

Ravi told me about his friend who is a travel agent and organizing Leh Ladakh bike trip every year.They starts from Chandigarh and have their own mechanic, medical facility,backup vehicle with them in whole journey.They have all the hotel booking in advance.You have to go with their fixed route and itinerary. Leh Ladakh road trip is all about adventure and in my opinion adventure trip is nothing but a little less planned trip.If you get backup of each and everything then there will be no thrill and surprise in your trip.But that doesn’t mean that you will not going to plan your road trip or to take precaution in your trip. But if you don’t have enough time to prepare then you should join these groups.

Initially Ravi was little sceptic about going on our own because we have no experience for such a long road trip and it was about leh Ladakh, riding on most dangerous road in the world. Internet, Google came to our rescue, you can find 80% of info in there.Rest 10% i have tried to cover here in blog.Rest 10% you should leave for the trip.

Best time to visit leh ladakh starts from May end and lasts till Sept end. After the end of winter season in Feb, Border roads organisation (BRO) starts clearing ice off the roads with the help of GPS which takes around three months. i.e. till May. So keep this in mind we planned our journey in mid June so that roads will get stable.Rain starts in August and path becomes more slippery and you will find more road blockade because of landslides.Hence best time to visit leh ladakh is in June or July.

Initially we had decided to transport our bike from train to Delhi and then start our bike journey from delhi to leh. This is the standard way that people follow in Leh Ladakh bike trip. Or they hire bike on rent either from Manali or directly in Leh. But while planning i thought what if we start our ride from pune itself. That would be a life time experience covering 10 states all along the route Pune to Ladakh. On each day will have different climate, people, food, terrain.I had calculated that if we do delhi to leh to delhi, then this circuit itself would be of 3000+ km in which 1000 km is considered as the “world’s toughest roads“. Immediately we dropped my idea to ride from pune to Ladakh. But while preparing for the trip, ride from pune was constantly striking my mind.

We had to transport our bikes to delhi from train, but we didn’t got the surety from the railway parcel authority that our bikes got transported in the same train in which we are traveling to Delhi.After we faced couple of problems in transporting our bike from train and other courier services, my idea to ride from Pune starts gaining some potential. Couple of times I tried to convince Ravi on this but he was not satisfied with my idea and even i was not sure about it. I came through couple of travel blogs of Leh Ladakh road trip.I read a blog of Parikshit Vaidya, who did Mumbai to Leh to Mumbai in 2012 on his 2 stroke,125 cc Yamaha RXZ. His blog motivated me a lot.When a guy can do it with his 125 cc bike, then why can’t we do it with our 220 cc bikes.After couple of discussion we both decided to give it a try.We planned that if we go out of stamina, then in return journey we will come back from train.So now plan has modified to PUNE-LEH-PUNE.

Now extended trip required a lot to be prepared.You have to think about each and every aspect of the trip.We have started our preparation from April end. Bought some bike safety gears like Riding Jacket (DSG Evo and DSG Nero), Pro Biker Gloves and knee guards, bungee cords etc.Later on in trip, I realized the importance of windshield on long road trip.Replaced bike’s chain sprocket,clutch plates.Took some spare parts with us like clutch and accelerator wire,spark plugs,extra tyre tube etc.Renewed my bike insurance.We have decided to take the NH-8 route(Pune-Mumbai-valsad-surat-ahmedabad-udaipur-ajmer), a bit long but safe and route is also quite scenic. We did some changes in our route to incorporate Amritsar(for Golden temple). We took some printouts of google maps with us,as these were handy for aiming your next target destination in case your GPS will not work.We took printout for ladakh map which contains info about road conditions as well. Medical kit is must in every road trip, we had included some medicines related to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). It usually happens when your body won’t able to acclimatize w.r.t. altitude.Not much space had left in my bag which i tied on my pillion seat after bike accessories and all.So I kept minimum cloths for the trip to avoid extra luggage.

Its very important on such a long and challenging road trip that you know your vehicle. If some minor failure will happen, you should be in a position to fix that.On my final bike servicing I spent my whole day with my mechanic to understand my bike thoroughly.

When my other friends and roommates came to know that I am going to start my Leh Ladakh road trip on bike from Pune, reactions was like “are you mad”, “its not possible”,”Dude, u don’t have Super bike, its just an avenger”. Some others appreciating my idea and the effort that we are putting in, to make this road trip a success. Some provided their valuable inputs related to safety.One thing about which we are worried is our own stamina. Will we able to do 6500 km bike ride in 17 days(that’s  all leave i have). We targeted to cover an average of 650 km everyday on highways and in Ladakh and Kashmir region it totally depends on road conditions and climate that how much you can cover. But one thing we have decided that we will not going to push ourselves (our stamina) and our bike (rush riding) even if we are running behind the schedule, let the trip extends one or two more days. So this road trip was not only about testing our own physical strength but our mental strength as well. In our road trip,we faced couple of ups and downs in our journey(either it was a bike failure, misguided by people,fever, or even harsh climate), but you have to remain calm at the same time, otherwise you can ruin your coming journey.

One of our college friend Aditya also wants to join us. So he decided to join us directly in Leh.He booked his flight from delhi to Leh. There are others as well who wanted to join us but they didn’t make it. These things usually happens in long trips, when we make a plan, people come and go.Only those who really wants to go can do it.Others are just giving excuses why they won’t able to go.

I was very excited about my Leh Ladakh road trip, i wanted to carry Indian National flag on my bike. But carrying the national flag on vehicles is restricted to constitutional bodies like MPs,MLAs,IAS officers etc.Besides this people are using national flag on their vehicles,may be because they were not aware about this.But now i know about it, so i will not going to do this. So we decided to make our own flags with some motivational quotes or some awareness message. I made a flag with permanent fabric colors.Wrote the names of all the major cities and famous destinations which came in our Pune to ladakh route.My Friend Tushar also made some quality flags for us,but unfortunately we won’t able to use much.

IMG_20150627_095244892_HDR

With my brother in Delhi while coming back to pune.

I have already asked my parents for the permission to go on Leh Ladakh bike trip.But i have asked them with the modified version. I have told them that i will start my bike journey from jammu.Till Jammu i will travel from train.Initially they were reluctant to give me permission as nine years back i have done a trip to Kashmir(Amarnath and Srinagar) with my family and they know how dangerous are roads there.And now Leh Ladakh, this is even more high in altitude and climate is totally uncertain.I was wondering that my parents are not allowing me to go even from jammu.So definitely i cannot tell them about my idea to go from Pune to Ladakh on bike.We were going to start our journey from 12th june 2015,friday on our bikes and i told my parents that i will travel from train. I picked a train which will not passing through my hometown Gwalior. Otherwise my mother will definitely come station to meet me.So i picked a train which is not passing through Gwalior.But in the end moment a new twist came in. My parents are coming Delhi for some personal work on the same day and around the same time on which my train is expected to pass from Delhi. So my father called me two days before that they will gonna meet me at Delhi station and asked me, do i want them to bring something for me.I said ‘what’??. For one second i was blanked. How can i tell them that i will not going to travel from that train. My mother said that she will bring some ‘Allo Paratha’ for me. I just said ‘ok’.At that time i felt really bad because my parents are really excited to meet me even for 10 mins.And i am here keep on lying.I was really tensed now what to do. I really want to do this road trip anyhow. So i came up with another false story. I told my father that we were not able to parcel our bikes in that train and now we are going with another train which will not even passing through Delhi. After giving this false story, I felt really bad at that time. But there is nothing I can do about at that time. I have to do this road trip successfully anyhow.

So finally the day has arrived. Its 12th June(friday), we came back from our office at around 12:00 PM.It took two hours to do the final packing and loading the luggage on pillion seat.Started our journey at 2:00 Pm from Ravi’s flat.

Note- Its very important to ride with full safety gears on long ride.Don’t take it lightly.

DSC_001                                                Start Point, Ravi’s flat

Day 1(12 June, Friday)–Target was to reach Valsad (Guj) by 8 PM.Its 330 km from Pune. But we ended our first day journey in Vapi, 30km behind Valsad. One thumb rule which we adopted in whole journey is not to ride in Night, start early reach early,so daily we started at 6 in the morning. Route which we took (pune-thane-vasai-virar-Vapi). Some of the time got wasted in Thane traffic and some time got wasted in searching Ravi’s Flag. Near Lonavla I found that on Pulsar there is no Flag. We wont able to understand how can flag detached from its stick or may be someone pulled it off. But that possibility was rare as we didn’t stop anywhere. Ravi feels irritated because he painted that flag with his favourite quote “I am the master of my fate and I am the captain of my soul“. But this was just beginning. In whole journey, everyday either we lost something or something got damaged (Bike, mobiles etc). After 8:00PM we checked in a decent hotel on highway bypass.We got decent room at Rs 900.On coming back from dinner, a guy on reception asked us exactly where we are heading towards? I said we are going Ahmedabad. Still he gave us strange look and said its not safe to ride on bike for such a long distance.On the same day near Thane on asked by someone the same question, Ravi replied that we are going Ladakh. People started their rapid fire questions. Why are u going from bike, its not safe. How many days it will take. Are u guys on any campaign. what is your bike mileage. Are u guys from army etc etc etc. So we have decided not to tell people  that we are going ladakh, instead  we gave our next destination of the day as our target destination just to avoid the rapid fire rounds.

DSC04793                                                   Somewhere in Gujrat

Day 2(13 June, Sat), Target- Udaipur, Route(Vapi-Valsad-Surat-Bharuch-Baroda-Ahmedabad-Udaipur)—> Yesterday whole night i was not able to sleep.In Pune, i usually go to bed by 2 or 3 O’clock in night.We had to start our journey atmost by 7:00 in morning.We had to adhere to our mantra ‘start early reach early’. I woke up by 6, i saw through window and its heavily raining out there. Last night I hardly slept for three hours.Now its 7 and we are ready to move forward.Its still raining. We have raincoats, rainling jacket inside our riding jacket. We had large size plastic to coverup our bags. So what we are waiting for then. We tied our bags on pillion seat and starts riding at 50 kmph constant speed.Ravi kept his mobile in   his riding jacket which is water proof but somehow water makes it way and his mobile stops working. As i said, everyday either we lost something or something got damaged.

IN Gujrat Ladakh trip
In Gujrat

Near Surat, i saw another avenger of Mumbai registration which carried lot of luggage, wears all safety gears like they are also going on long road trip.I placed my bike parallel to them and asked ‘are u guys going on long ride’. Avenger rider opens helmet cover and i got surprised to see a lady behind the glass. she said ‘Yes, we are going LADAKH’. Actually there are two bikers(Husband and his wife) both aged around 35-40. We had a little chat with them,route they will going to follow,their Ladakh itinerary. I was really glad to see such a passion in middle aged couple.Near Ahemdabad we came across original Akshardham temple.We all were aware of its replica situated in Delhi.

Akshardham temple ladakh trip
Akshardham temple near Ahemdabad

Today we were able to cover 600+ kms.Still we are 100 kms behind udaipur. At around 8:00 PM we were searching for the hotel on highway. At Guj-Raj border we came across a humble policemen, they advised us to have dinner on dhaba and can be used to stay for the night as they are safe because area comes under state border which is always under high security. We had daal-batti at dabha and decided to stay here for the night.No AC, no fan, still today i was able to sleep properly.Initially i thought it would be uncomfortable to sleep on Khatiya(rural bed),but it was pretty comfortable.It was cold out there and i didn’t had any blanket, so we cover our upper  body with riding jacket.On seeing open sky in the dark, i don’t know when i got dozed.

DSC_004                             Ravi, enjoying 50 Rs plate unlimited daal- Baati

Guj-Raj border Ladakh trip
Guj-Raj border policemen

Day 3(14 June, Sun), Target- Hanumangarh, Route(Udaipur-Ajmer-Baiwar-Kishangarh-Hanumangarh)—>Today we started our journey very early at 6. We followed on more funda in our whole trip. Usually when we go on long road trip ,before starting our day we used to have tea and some breakfast. But here we start our day with some 100 km ride. When we wake up in morning we are charged enough, so we choose to ride some distance first and then stop for breakfast so there we can save our half an hour time because anyway you have to stop to take some rest.Around Udaipur you can find lot of pet Elephants and Camels going by road side.

Rajasthan Udaipur PuneRajasthan Udaipur Pune

In Rajasthan,for around 50kms we have desert on both sides of the road.It was a total Jaisalmer feeling at that time. At some places sand got accumulated on road, so we had to slow down our bikes to avoid slippage.

bike jaisalmer pune                                                               Desert Feeling

Ladakh trip rajasthan                                                      Somewhere in Rajasthan

At around 7:30 PM in evening after sunset we lost our path. Instead of going on highway we picked bypass and entered in some village near Kishangarh.It was total blackout over there and no one to tell the way to highway. There i saw a direction board with a left arrow to ‘BHANGARH‘. I heard about this place as the most haunted place in India.I got little sacred at that moment.But somehow after 10 mins we were back on highway.Today we were able to cover 650+ km. We checked-in one hotel near Kishangarh.We got room for 2 at Rs 800.Today we had ‘Besan ke Gatte ki Sabji'(Famous Rajasthani curry) in our dinner. Today we wasted our one hour time as Ravi’s mobile was not working and we lost communication. Next day first thing we did was to buy a cheap Nokia handset.

DSC_008                                                  Somewhere in Rajasthan

Day 4(15 June, Mon), Target- Amritsar(Golden Temple)-—>Our bikes already covered the 1500+ kms in past three days.Before starting our journey in morning we did a little checkup of our bike. Did chain lube and setting, tightened the brakes, checked the tyre pressure and all. Today we started our journey a bit late around 8 in morning. It was hot and humid on that day, specially after entering Punjab.In Punjab you can find people on roadside offering refreshment(Sharbat or some sweet).Stopped at one of these langars, there one child relates my avenger with Ghost rider’s bike. He asked ‘Brother, does fire came out from your silencer when u ride bike’. I smiled and said ‘Yes’.It was fun out there with some school childrens.Had our lunch in dhaba, this time Pure Punjabi Dhaba.We both together won’t able to finish one Patiala Lassi there.Food was really good.Had ‘dal makhani’ over there.We planned to reach the golden temple by evening 6, so that we can spend time over there.This was the first time that we reached our destination on time.

Punjabi Dhaba Ladakh BikePunjabi Dhaba Ladakh Bike

On that day there was special occasion in Sikh religion called as ‘Purnima’ ,so it was very crowded around the temple. After taking shower and some refreshment we entered the temple. Temple was huge and so was the crowd. We thought that this is the main golden temple. After roaming in the temple for around 20 mins, i asked Ravi ‘Dude, where the main golden temple which is situated in the middle of pond’. Then we asked some people, they said main golden temple is 1 km away from there.

While walking towards main temple,i found no bikes but  bullet and that too without silencer i think.Punjabi boys grown up with a dream that one day they will buy a bullet.There was along que for golden temple and not sure about how much time will it take,so we decided to have ‘langar'(Dinner) first. I must say, instead of so much rush out there,seated with your legs in pond gave us much relief, for us it was much needed after a lond drive of around 2000 kms.There were couple of fish in pond so it was like a fish massage. We decided to stay in temple for the night,as facility was available.To cover the golden temple in our journey we rode around 250 km extra, but after visit i must say that its worth for it. It was on my mind to visit the golden temple from long time. Now its done.

DSC4920                                                            Golden Temple

Day 5(16 June, Tues), Target- Srinagar(Dal Lake) —–>    We wake up at around 6.It was our 5th day in the trip and we felt like we left pune long back,felt like that we were on this road trip from past couple of weeks. It usually happens on road trip because every hour you find new places, new people.You experiences so much in a single hour that you can experience in a day in a normal trip.We had already crossed 2000 mark.Still we were full of energy and excited because everyday we experienced something new. Now today we crossed J&K border.We decided to take srinagar to leh route and come back from Leh to Manali route,as it has its own advantage.When you starts gaining altitude above sea level, your body needs some acclimatization(stay at same altitude).In Manali route,chandigarh(almost at sea level) to Leh is around 600 km while in srinagar to leh route, jammu to Leh is 900 km.So through Srinagar to leh route, your body gets more time to get acclimatize.And in return from Leh to Manali, you already got acclimatize in leh. If not, then at Khardung la you will definitely get acclimatize.

Near Amritsar ladakh trip
Near Amritsar,Its time to change our bike flags

No mobile n/w now. In J&K only two n/w available, Airtel and BSNL postpaid number only. Ravi had Airtel postpaid number and unfortunately i don’t had any postpaid number.Till Sonmarg Airtel postpaid works fine but not after that, specially in Ladakh region.So my advice to you guys if you are going to j&K,opt for BSNL postpaid, that will work better. It was hot in J&K till Jammu, but on reaching Patnitop it was hell lot of rain. We have to stop in Patnitop for one hour because of non-visibility, fog and heavy rain. Patnitop is very famous hill station of Kashmir region.Beautiful hills and  valleys.Our target was to reach Srinagar today and its already 6:30 on clock and we were in Banihal now.Srinagar is still 100km left and we can ride till 8 O clock. Its not easy to ride after sunset specially in J&K and its not advisable as well.So we checked in Hotel with room cost Rs 600. There are not much options for hotel in Banihal.After taking some refreshment we have decided to roam around Banihal as now we had entered in real lush green Kashmir.Today morning we started from amritsar with temperature around 45 and now in evening we have temp around 4 degree,Wow. When i tried to start my bike its not responding.Avenger 220 has no Kick start and my electric start was completely dead.It was  not even giving me the grunt sound. So it was definitely something fishy with the battery.But i surprised that before one hour it was totally fine and now its completely dead. Maybe some issue with battery wire.I checked,but all wires was in place.Now i had no option but to find some mechanic or battery shop.In Kashmir and Leh Ladakh region whole market closed by maximum 8.Only hotels and restaurant are open till midnight.Its already 8:30 now and in morning as well nothing will open before 9, but we have to start our journey by 6 or at max by 7, if we consider the temperature in mind.Now we have no option but to wait in the morning.we came to know that there is only one mechanic in whole Banihal known as ‘Mumtaz’. So there is nothing we can do about it. So we started roaming around from Pulsar. From the beginning we kept our head cool because we know we have to face these challenges everyday in upcoming journey.

banihal ladakh trip
Our Banihal hotel

Day 6(17 June, Wed), Target- Kargil (War Memorial) —–>  Its 9:30 in the morning and we were still in banihal.  Mumtaz’s  subordinate was replacing the battery.Meanwhile Mumtaz took us to some of the exotic places in banihal.He was really helpful and humble guy. His looks and accent was totally punjabi, i wonder why his name is Mumtaz. Well its 10:30 now and we are ready to go.Now its time to pass one of the longest road tunnel in india, Jawahar tunnel which connects the kashmir valley to Jammu and srinagar highway.I was eagerly waiting for the same.Made a video while riding in tunnel. You can watch it in the end of this blog.

Banihal jawahar tunnel
Banihal jawahar tunnel

We drove nonstop till Srinagar. Its hot out there, Spends some time on Dal lake and then we headed towards Sonmarg.We had our lunch(kashmiri Rajma Chawal) in a rapid river facing restaurant.I wanted to do river rafting as well but we were running out of time, so dropped the rafting plan.

Dal Lake Srinagar Ladakh                                                             Dal Lake, Srinagar

Sonmarg Ladakh KashmirSonmarg Ladakh Kashmir

Gulmarg and Sonmarg is considered as the most scenic  place in Kashmir. In Kashmir and even in Ladakh you will find the high intensity river stream flowing parallel to the road all along with you.Sometimes its intensity is so high, it sounds horrific.We reached Sonmarg and its already 6.From here next destination is Kargil where we can stay and  will take atleast 4 hours.So we have to stay here and we are happy about it because its such a beautiful place. Greenery, Glaciers , that’s why its called ‘Heaven on Earth’.In Sonmarg you can find luxurious hotel to medium range hotel to some local home stay as well.We wanted to opt for home stay, just to experience the how people live there and their local food. But because of some hygienic issue we checked in one hotel with room available in Rs 500.We met around some local people, they told us about ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ shooting which was completed some days back here.I am also a big fan of Salman Khan,missed a chance to meet him.Actually we were confirming about the timing for which Zoji-la pass was open.Sometimes army close one side traffic as the path is very steep.It is considered as one of the toughest pass in Leh Ladakh road trip and it was indeed.But later on i found certain patches in Manali Leh highway even more tough.I wonder why people call it a ‘highway’.

DSC05050 Sonmargh Kashmir Ladakh

Somewhere around Sonmargh                   View from our room in morning

sonmargh                              Met with an uncle whose son is bike enthusiast

Day 7(18 June, Thus), Target- LEH (Rest,Acclimatization) —–> Now real Ladakh journey begins. We had to cross Zoji La pass ASAP because once truck traffic from leh increases, army stops the traffic from Sonmarg. It was 2  degree in the morning.Still we started our journey at 6:30. In initial ride of one hour, my fingers was not working. I was changing gears without applying clutch.When we were crossing zoji La pass, at one point Pulsar had some start problem.But it got start after sometime.So we ignored it because at that time we were already struggling from the cold.We stands on the edge of the Path whenever truck crossed us.I called it path not road because there was no road. BRO(border roads organisation) just curves out the path out of the mountains.But that was also not a easy task at all on such high altitudes.That day till afternoon it was a challenge to ride because not even a single truck or taxi driver feels petty for us.Sometimes i have to shout at them, ‘I am already standing on the edge, its deep valley here, drive easy’.Now we are heading towards a small village,Drass. It is considered as the second coldest habitable place in the world in winter season.

DSC05105DSC05126

Zoji-la pass
Zoji la pass

Now we are heading towards the Kargil War Memorial. we had already read much about Kargil war so me and Ravi decided not to spent much time there as we were behind in our schedule. But we spent around three hours there. Memorial is filled with war time stories, letters written by one soldier to another, soldier to their family. I was emotional at that moment and felling proud for our Soldiers.Even after coming out of memorial, me and Ravi didn’t talk to each other for next two hours. We were completely silent at that time. DSC05167DSC05177

We were heading towards leh now. Our Friend Aditya who already landed in leh from delhi was waiting for us. So we tried to reach leh ASAP but we can’t stop ourselves to take out a camera and take some snaps, as mountain gods has lot to offer.In every 10 kms terrain, mountain colors got changed. Its 3 O’clock now, sun comes out and its time for a tea break so we stopped at Mulbekh,a small village. After break Pulsar was not responding when Ravi tried to start it.Current was not coming in the spark plug.No mechanic out there in whole Mulbekh.We spent around two hours there, by that time we already detach almost every part of Pulsar to find out the root cause. Bike looks completely nude at that time. Now we had no option but to find one truck or tempo and load the bike.We can find Mechanic either in Leh which was still 110 kms from there or in Kargil around 40 km back. After sometime we found one empty tempo coming from Leh and as we had no option at that moment so we decided to go back to Kargil. Its already 8 O’clock now and after one hour of investigation,mechanic found that relay got burned.Relay is a small circuit in bike from where current passes to other parts of bike.I called Aditya and told him about the situation. He said ‘no issue man, take your time. I am enjoying here in Leh’.

DSC05211IMG_5144

Day 8(19 June, Fri), Target- LEH (Rest,Acclimatization- Hopefully)—> Last day we had some bitter experience. So i thought may be today is a better day.We had our breakfast in Mulbekh with same people who helped us in loading our bike yesterday.We thank them for their help and now finally we were moving towards Leh.In Ladakh you can find children near by roads, waving hands towards you or giving you Hi fye when you are riding.Some children are so naughty, instead of gentle Hi fye clap, they use their full power and sometimes it can hurt you.So when i saw children tried to use their power,at the end moment I intentionally missed the clap.Sometimes we stopped near by children, had a chat with them, offered them chocolates and biscuits until our stock lasts.If you are going Leh Ladakh, do bring some chocolates for children.Its good to see smile on cute faces.

mulbekh ladakh tripLadakah Nh-1

Ladakah Nh-1

Around 2 O’clock we reached Leh, had lunch with Aditya. We shared couple of stories with him about our last 7 days journey.Aditya was very glad at that moment to see us in single piece.Before trip starts he said ‘Dude, you guys will come there right? Your idea to ride from Pune not sounds good.It should not happen that you guys will in hospital and i am waiting there in Leh ‘.So now we were three for next 6 days till Manali. I found something strange on reaching the hotel room.When i pull off my rain pants, i found my jeans was totally ripped off from back.In morning it was perfectly fine and now it was butchered completely.That is still a mystery for us because today we had a smooth ride till now, No accident, no bad patches.

IMG_20150619_163140203ladakh Nh-1

It is advisable to stay two days atleast in Leh to get your body acclimatize before heading towards Khardung la Pass( Highest Motorable Road In The World). But we didn’t had much time in hand.Rest of our day we can relax or roam around Leh.Our bikes were running fine but still we wanted to have a thorough examination from mechanic before we head towards Khardung La.On reached Leh, Ravi was not feeling fell.He was suffering from fever. So we decided not to  hire a bike on rent for Aditya,instead Ravi  will sit on pillion seat and Aditya will drive his bike for tomorrow at least. we left our most of our luggage in hotel as we had to came back to Leh after 3 days.

DSC05235                                           On Kargil – Leh, NH-1 highway

Day 9(20 June, Sat), Target- Nubra valley via Khardung La Pass—> There was a blow to our confidence on our bikes after day 7 bike failure. Today we have to conquer the Highest Motorable pass in the world.Although our bikes are running fine,but still it was a test for our bikes.Here roads was even worst than Zoji la pass.Today our bikes was not able to pickup the load because of high altitude.I gave full acceleration on flat road,but bike was not able to pick the load accordingly.Reason behind this is that,at such high altitudes oxygen  is 2/3 of oxygen on sea level.At around 17000 feet sufficient oxygen and air flow is not passing through air coolant and through carborator. We were also breath heavily on those high altitudes.

Note:- If your bike is also less accelerating on high altitudes,no need to worry in that case.Its a normal phenomenon.But if acceleration is much lower, then your bike need some checkup. Maybe you need to replace its clutch plates.

ladakh road trip bike puneLadakh bike road trip pune

It was first day for Aditya on this road trip and he was not used to ride on such bad patches of roads specially on high altitude and in temperature at around 0.We have already faced these challenges from past two days.But still riding there was a different challenge. Here roads are more slippery because of ice accumulation on roads from nearby glaciers.Once we reached the Khardung la pass, it was a complete bliss.First thing people do there is to take a snap with sign board stating ‘Welcome to khardung la pass 18378 ft, You are on world’s Highest Motorable road in the world ‘.And we were no exception in this case. We also wants to capture those pride moments. Apart from this there is nothing much in khardung la.Basically Army made its camp there to get their body acclimatize before moving on higher altitude.There is a small ladakhi temple there to visit. There you will find boards with warning ‘Do Not spend more than 20 mins here’.It is not advisable to spend much time at such high altitudes specially if you have any respiratory problem. Even army men keeps a eye on people for this.

Ladakh bike road trip pune leh

Note:- My advice is not to take these warnings lightly.When we stepped downwards from khardung la, we also felt some headache and heavily breathing.One soldier told us about one incident in which one lady died at khardung la because they spent about one hour there.

Now we have to reach Nubra valley today. Nubra valley is famous for its cold desert and double hump camel ride. We reached Nubra valley by 5:00 PM.First we checked-in one hotel because Ravi wants to take rest as he is suffering from fever and cold.Ravi was not able to join us for cold desert safari.In ladakh region, you can find decent hotel in cheap rates.Commercialization of tourism is less there. But food variety or options are very less specially in Pangong lake, Jispa , Sarchu. Speciality of Nubra Valley is that you can find desert,ice mountains, sand at the same place. You can find there milestones of china border and Siachen Glaciers.China border is just 35 kms from there.

ladakh road trip pune leh ladakh road trip pune leh ladakh road trip pune lehDSC05358

Day 10(21 June, Sun), Target- The great Pangong Lake—>  Normal Ladakh itinerary that people follow is Leh to Nubra Valley then next day came back to Leh for Pangong lake. By directly going to pangong lake from Nubra Valley through Shyok route, you can save your one day time. But route is quite rough and little dangerous as well. Worst part about this route is you won’t find any help there in case of bike failure or any emergency. No Army camps en route, no tea stalls. Totally inhabited area, you will not find any people in tens of kms.Till morning we were not sure about whether we will head back towards Leh or we are going to Pangong lake through Shyok.We asked couple of local people about this, response was mixed.Some said its normal now, while some people told us how unsafe it is by giving examples of accidents on Shyok route.Below is some Ladakh map which was very helpful for us during ladakh region. Ladakh Map indicate the distance between two places in kms and how much time it will take to reach the destination place depending on the road conditions.Its very important that you should not consider only the distance between two places especially in Ladakh, because your riding time will totally depends on path and climatic conditions .

LAdakh routeLadakh route

Finally we took the shyok path after  considering the pros and cons because that saves a day time as we were already running behind of our schedule. Riding through ‘very less traveled roads’ has its own adventure after all. Although initially we were scared but as we moved forward we enjoyed the overall ride. We started our day after visiting the Buddhist monastery in Diskit ( Nubra Valley).

DSC05443

Its good to have a GoPro sports camera mount on your helmet to make videos specially in Leh Ladakh bike trip. But unfortunately we won’t have any.Still we were able to made some videos of good quality equivalent to GoPro.Initially we were making videos by mount our normal digital camera on selfie stick which is attached to my bike handle. But videos made in Ladakh were not stable because of bad patches. So we came up with a new idea to attach our mobile phone to helmet with tyre tube rubber. Cut tube rubber of around 30 cm length and tie a knot with its both ends.Now place your mobile in helmet as shown in below image and fixed it with this rubber.Make sure that camera of your mobile should not hidden in helmet’s jaw position and mobile should not hinder your view while riding your bike.

GoPRo AlternativeGoPRo Alternative

As i mentioned before, in Ladakh roads were very less, you would only find path carved out by cutting the mountains. But today at some places we were not able to trace the path itself, its wide open rough terrain between two mountains. Colour of mountains and its terrian is totally different from the ones which we saw in past couple of days.Sometimes we have to pass rapid river crossings of height about 1 feet.Its complete ice water and we won’t had Gum boots. Now water was inside my shoes and i had to ride full day with wet shoes.

Note:- Gum boots is must in Leh Ladakh bike trip. No alternative will work.

Ladakh Shyok route LehLadakh Shyok route Leh

Ladakh Shyok route Leh PangongIts 3:00 PM now and we crossed the Shyok route without much difficulty and joined the normal route to the Pangong Lake.Now route was quite scenic, roads were in good condition and you will find couple of army camps having sign boards with inspirational quotes on them.We did our lunch here in ‘Durbuk’. Now from today till Manali, food options are very limited. Most of the place you will find only five things (Aloo Paratha, Dal Rice, Maggi,Momos and Bread Omlet).In dal rice, rice quality was not good so i was on Maggi and Omlet for the next four days. You cannot find petrol anywhere enroute. So you must carry petrol container especially if you are doing pangong directly from Nubra valley, quantity depends on which bike you have and its mileage. Its around 470 kms journey (Leh-Nubra-Shyok-Pangong-Leh). If you are doing Leh to Nubra or Leh to Pangong lake in steps, then no need to carry extra petrol as its just 300 km.

Pangong Ladakh Leh ShyokPangong Ladakh Leh Shyok

En route to Pangong lake you will find rare and endemic species ‘Marmot’. Usually they live underground by digging holes but sometimes they come out. Pangong Lake is the most beautiful, scenic, mesmerizing place that i have seen till now.It was a complete bliss to reach Pangong lake on my bike all the way from Pune to Ladakh after riding around 4ooo km.My Bike and my flag was a center of attraction there. Initially after reading the names of cities people won’t able to understand, what is it about. Then after sometime they came to know that i have covered all these cities on my bike.My bike received special attention there. The same attention it received on Manali Leh highway, people took selfies with bike flag.It was really cold out there, don’t know the exact temperature but it must be around 0.I sat besides lake with foot inside water, but couldn’t able to sit more than 5 mins as its really cold water.But me and Aditya had decided to swim in the morning, it was a challenge given by Ravi to us.We sat around 2 hours near lake.

Murmud Pangong Ladakh LehMurmud Pangong Ladakh Leh

Ladakh Leh PangongLadakh Leh Pangong

Ladakh Leh Pangong

Its 7 PM now and for today’s stay whether we had to opt for tent or home stay.Only these two options you will find in Pangong lake. There are no hotels. But you can find tent stay of different varieties range from luxury tent costs Rs 3500 to normal tent costs Rs 600. We opted for home stay with local people as it was good experience to have chat and dinner with them.They still made their food with old and bulky traditional instruments.Dining was also in traditional style with sitting on floor. Home stay costs us Rs  500 only for 3 people and more comfortable than tents.I think i observe in Ladakh that people there are very generous and humble. Unlike Kashmir where people indulge in tourism are much clever and business minded, here in Ladakh local people still unaware about how tourism can play a big role in their daily earnings.

Ladakh Leh Pangong Ladakh Leh Pangong

Day 11(22 June, Mon), Target- Back to Leh–>   Today we woke up little late at around 8 as our target is to reach leh only which is 150 km and can be done in 6 hours.First thing we had to do was to take a dip in Pangong lake.On reached the lake we won’t find anyone who take a bath or dip in lake beacause its very cold out there.Initially i thought that we should drop our plan to take a dip because still we have to ride 3000 km for next 7 days atleast and if we suffer from fever then our remaining journey will be in danger.But i used to enjoy water bodies whether it was waterfall or lake when i was on road trip near Pune. And now we came here at Pangong lake ,one of the most exotic lake in the world after riding 3500km from Pune to Ladakh. Me and Aditya decided to take at least a full dip inside water.People there watched and laughed at our insanity.I got shivered for at least half an hour after coming out of lake.Had couple of tea to get normal and now we were ready to go back towards Leh. It was complete fun out there in Pangong. Tso Moriri lake, another beautiful lake in Ladakh, was in our itinerary.But we were not sure whether we can cover it because we were already running behind our schedule.

Ladakh Pangong Leh

Today we had to pass The Chang la Pass(Third Highest Motorable road in the world) to reach Leh.It was a snowfall at chang la. I didn’t know about exact temperature but it must be in minus.I had two layers of gloves but still my hands were shaking and i was not able to ride properly. At one point near chang la my hands got completely numb. I just took off gloves from my hand and put my hands on the silencer of my bike for about one minute.Our skin get burn if we touch the silencer in normal temperature and i am felling relaxed now by putting my hand on silencer. By this you can imagine how cold it was out there. I did it couple of times for next two hours.First time i experienced snowfall in my life.At chang la everything was covered from snow.It was total white all around chang la.We found snow at previous days as well in Sonmarg,zoji la,Khardung la pass but here in chang la it was much higher.

Ladakh Chang la Leh

Ladakh Leh PangongLadakh Chang la Leh

Ladakh chang la Leh

Changla snowfall

While going back towards Leh, i felt little tired so i was on pillion seat with Aditya riding pulsar and Ravi was riding my bike.We met our first and last accident on the journey.Road was good so Aditya was riding at nominal speed of 30 – 40 kmph. In Himalayas roads are totally curvy hence at a time you can see road only for next couple of meters . In ladakh, roads are made in small patches hence on curvy part you will encounter bad patch suddenly.So Aditya lost handle control and we fell down. Sometimes because of landslides as well bad patches developed on road. Me and Ravi were aware of these sudden bad patches as we encountered some on previous days.Good part was no major damage happened to bike or us.

Ladakh chang la Leh
Aditya was low on confidence now after the accident

We reached Leh by around 6 evening and first thing we did was our bike checkup. In accident one of the pulsar’s rear view mirror was damaged.But we won’t found mirror and pulsar’s relay which got burned in Mulbekh. In Leh you can find bike parts for Avenger,Royal Enfield, Impulse because these bikes are more comfortable on these tough terrain and most bikers use these bikes only.Aditya was planning to take direct flight from Leh to Delhi now.Before accident he was also wanted to do roadtrip till Manali. We insisted him to come with us and he agreed on that. But now problem is of luggage, so we paid 1000 bucks to a taxi driver who drives from leh to Manali and he will drop our luggage in taxi station, Manali. We kept only limited luggage with us and rest of luggage we loaded into taxi.

Day 12(23 June, Tues), Target- Sarchu—> Now we were heading downwards towards Manali. One of the toughest path in Leh-Ladakh road trip. This year unusual snowfall happened in month of May hence route was unstable.Today we crossed the TAGLANGLA PASS  (Second Highest Motorable Pass in the World, 17582 ft).

TAGLANGLA PASS LEH LADAKH

After crossing TAGLANGLA  we had to wait for 40 minutes as recently landslides happened and snow got accumulated on road. We resumed our ride after clearance of snow by Border Roads Organisation’s crane.We shared our experience with other bikers who are also waiting for snow clearance.

TAGLANGLA PASS LEH LADAKH

Road till Pang was butter smooth.We enjoyed our ride on straight roads on flat terrain surrounded by tall mountains .Had our lunch at Pang, as usual limited options, had Aloo Paratha and Maggi in lunch.

PANG LEH LADAKH

We were heading towards Sarchu which was still 50 km ahead and its 6 PM now and we can ride for 2 more hours in day light. But we had decided to stay around Pang itself because in past 20 km, road was in very bad condition and we know we will not be able to cover 50 km in 2 hours.But when we were about to book a tent for us, one rider coming from Sarchu told us that after 5 km road is in good condition and we can easily reach Sarchu by 8.Now we were in dilemma whether to go for it or not. After 10 min discussion we had decided to go for it.So after riding about 15 km which took around one hour, i felt like that guy misguided us. Now at max we can ride not more than on hour in daylight.Riding in daylight itself is a challenge and in night you can’t think about it. Now we had to take another call either to go back or to move ahead towards Sarchu. After another two minutes of discussion we had decided to move ahead, may be after couple of km roads will be better.Its 8 PM now and we were still 20 km behind Sarchu.Now we were riding in dark with a speed of 10kmph. I am riding alone and Ravi riding with Aditya on pillion seat. It was total dark all around, high intensity river stream was flowing in parallel as usual.River sounds quite scary. I asked Ravi to ride in parallel with me because i was little scared at that moment. In Leh Ladakh, u can find local people asking for lift as there is no major transport facility available to them.But our luggage was loaded on pillion seat, so we just ignored them in our whole journey.I was just concentrating on riding as the path was very challenging and its very cold out there. I was unaware of the fact that we had entered the Gata Loops.I saw a man asking for a lift,as usual i just ignored him. But after crossing him i thought what the hell he is doing out there in night. I was riding ahead of Ravi at that moment and when they came in parallel to me Aditya told that we have entered the Gata Loops.When i heard this, immediately Gata Loops ghost story came to my mind.Before coming Ladakh i read this story in couple of blogs. I am not discussing Gata Loops Ghost Story here.Click on link for story. I immediately asked Ravi whether he saw a men  asking for lift few km back and he said ‘NO, there was no one out there apart from us from past one hour’.I again asked him and again they said No. Aditya asked what happen. I just said nothing because i don’t want to make whole scene more scary at that time.Now i can relate the ghost story with the men who was asking for the lift. Same incident happened in that story.

Gata Loops Ghost StoryGata Loops Ghost Story

At around 9:15, finally we reached Sarchu. We ordered Soup for us , much required as it was really cold out there.I swallowed it like normal water.We booked our three bed in tent. In Sarchu you will find only tent accommodation for 200 Rs per bed.My Parents gave clear instructions that after finishing my ride every day i had to call them. As usual Airtel postpaid mobile network was not working for Ravi and Aditya both. And on that day  even for local people BSNL network was working. I asked our tent owner if there is any STD booth available. she pointed out at one distant beam light which was around 200 meters away and it was really cold out there and i already got tired after today’s adventure, so i decided to call them early morning tomorrow.This is the biggest mistake i did in this journey.At dinner i discussed that Gata Loops ghost story with Ravi and Aditya. I was happy that we reached safely there. Matress contains little moisture because of the dew out there, still we slept in no time  after dinner as we got very tired after today’s ride.

sarchu tent ladakhsarchu tent ladakh

Day 13(24 June, Wed), Target- Manali —> We woke up little late, by around 8. When i came out of my tent, it was all empty tents out there.Everyone had to start early, so that they can reach their destination before sunset.Some riders from pune (MH12) came to our tents after they saw Mh14 bikes there.Had a good chat with them.They are heading towards Leh, so they asked us about the road conditions and all.We know about the baralacha pass, there are certain high intensity water streams that we need to pass today. One important point they mentioned that we should cross the pass ASAP, because in afternoon when sun at its peak, glaciers melted at high speed. Hence intensity of water stream increases.

After morning tea, we started our ride. Today we crossed two water crossings which was quite challenging. In one crossing my bike got stuck in large pebbles, water was about one and a half feet high there. And we didn’t had gum boots. We had normal woodland leather shoes.All icy water was inside our shoes.It was very difficult to cross through main water stream. Even SUV cars found it very difficult to cross the stream.There was an parallel, steep alternate path of about 2 feet wide. On left of this steep path,it was a deep valley. Even a small balance fumble was dangerous out there.We had to take decision whether to go from main water stream or to take that steep dangerous path.We saw even 500 cc Royal Enfield was got stuck in stream.So after thorough inspection of path, we decided to take the steep route with proper guidance from our partners.Finally our bikes were able to cross that steep path.It was a relief moment for us.Watch out our water crossing video in the end of this blog.

Ladakh water crossing Ladakh water crossing

Its 3 PM now and Manali was 110 kms from there.Target was easily achievable at that moment.We were riding somewhere around Keylong(H.P.).My phone was attached in helmet for making video and it suddenly got rang.At first moment I was completely shocked because from past one week we were out of network coverage.So maybe we were in H.P. territory now and whoever is calling me, trying really hard to reach me because as soon as I came in network, my phone rang. I stopped my bike and saw that it was my brother’s phone.Oh Shit! Yesterday night i was not able to call my parents because of that Sarchu late night ride.And in morning i completely forgot to call, this happened because in morning we were busy to start our ride ASAP and to collect info about the route.My parents was really tensed at that time because everyday i used to call them and let them know where i am right now.I shared Ravi and Aditya postpaid numbers as well with my parents but that was also not working on that day.So they thought that something strange happened yesterday when i didn’t contacted them. I contacted my family immediately and told them that i am completely safe.They scold me for half an hour and i just listened them as it was my fault.I felt really bad at that moment, I was enjoying my trip and my family was in tension because of me.

It was 4:00 PM now and still our Manali target was achievable.I did rush driving for couple of km as I was in bad temper at that moment.Ravi and Aditya saw me doing rush driving on such bad patches and dangerous roads.They stopped me for a tea break, much required at that moment.Now I felt lighter and relieved.As i said previously, you have to remain calm at every point otherwise you can ruin your remaining journey.

Suddenly heavy rain got started and we had to stop around a small village named as ‘Sissu’. Manali was still 80 km from there and still we had cross the great Rohtang Pass.We were waiting for rain to got slow down from past one hour. Its already 6PM now,local people also advised us, not to cross Rohtang Pass in such heavy rain. So we decided to stay here in Sissu for the night.

We celebrated for successful completion of our Leh Ladakh Journey with some local people in Sissu, as tomorrow will gonna be the last day in journey for Aditya and then we two had to move forward towards Pune on our bikes.

Manali Ladakh rain                                        View from hotel room in Sissu

Day 14(25 June, Thus), Target- Manali —>  We woke up by 6 in morning.Its still raining out there, continuously raining from past 12 hours.So there was no point in waiting for the rain to stop.It was really cold out there.Yesterday when we checked in hotel we thought that tomorrow we’ll had to ride only 80 km and we can easily cover it 2 to 3 hours.But today when we started our ride, in couple of minutes we understood that today will gonna be another tough day for us.Although yesterday we celebrated our successful Ladakh journey completion.Lets see whether we can complete it succesfully or not.Indeed it was our toughest day in our journey.About 1 Km from Sissu, I saw thick mud path in front of us.When I entered in mud path, after couple of meters my bike tyres was almost submerged in mud.I immediately stood off my bike, with the perception that it was a swamp river.Mud was so thick and deep that my bike still stands without any side-stand or support when i stood off from my bike.I waved my hand to Ravi who was riding behind me and told him not to enter this mud slush.But we all three had to enter in mud slush to pull off avenger behind.After half an hour of struggle when we came out of slush, we came to know that this path of about 200 meters got slashed away yesterday night after landslide due to heavy rain.

One local driver told us about the alternate path of about 5 km which was very fragile and meets the main road after 1 km.So we had to ride 5 km to cover 1 km slashed main road.It was raining out there, temperature was quite low.Won’t found any tea stall or something to take rest.No point in stopped at some random location because at that time we were struggled from cold only.Shoes got filled with cold rain water, felt like someone was stabbing my feet with pins.I was not able to ride at that time, so to concentrate and distract my mind from pain, I sang same motivational song again and again from movie Lakshya ‘Kandhon se milte hai kandhe, kadmon se kadam milte hai’.

We encountered with one more water crossing there.But in previous water crossing at Manali Leh highway other bikers were there to help us. But here in this crossing, no one was there apart from us and intensity was greater than previous crossings.We took 15 minutes to analyze the crossing, where it was deep and where we need to be cautious.Now Ravi and Aditya decided to go first.Ravi was concentrate on riding and Aditya guides him. At one point bike got stuck, so Aditya had to step down and pull off the bike.Its my turn now, start was good but in the end of crossing, intensity and depth of water was high.I lost balance on my bike and my bike fell down.Immediately Ravi and Aditya had to stepped in.My bike was not able to start now, so we had to push it to step it out of the crossing.We all got tensed when my bike was not responded.Already we were struggling from cold and harsh temperature and running behind our schedule.We cannot afford bike failure at that moment.After some carburetor setting correction, bike got started.

Ladakh Water crossing

After one km we found four people in a shelter with gas stove with them. We immediately stopped there to take some heat and rest. We all was shivering badly and my condition was even worse, I was not able to pull off my shoes.One of the local people helped me with this.After half an hour of rest, we were ready to move forward.After we entered into main road, it won’t took much time to reach Rohtang Pass.

Before Rohtang Pass, we stopped for lunch in a small restaurant maintained by Nepali family at village named as Khoksar . They shifted to Khoksar after Nepal Earthquake.One lady there in restaurant was surprised after she saw our condition.She offered half bucket warm water to get our foot relieved.First we had local brew called Kawa and coffee to get some warmness.In lunch as usual, we had Rajma Rice, Maggi and Momos.Met with an Australian couple there, who came with their two kids of age around 3- 4 years.They started their journey from Manali and were going to complete this ladakh circuit on their cycles through Manali leh highway.Kids had their own cycles which was attached to their parent’s cycle. We all out there were surprised to see couple’s bravery who came with their kids to ride cycle on World’s Toughest Roads.Actually this couple is a Professional cyclers. They already covered Southern America, Australia and Africa on their cycles. This was the first time when they came on cycling adventure with their kids.Kids were also looking relaxed and enjoying their adventure trip. Later on when I came back to Pune, saw some posts on Facebook about this Australian family’s bravery and how they completed Ladakh circuit with their children.

Ladakh on cycle

Ladakh on cycle                                Had lunch with the same family in Khoksar

It was crowded there. Tourist who came till Manali, can find good amount of ice only at Rohtang pass. As more and more tourist came there, white colored ice turned into brown. You can find people doing Skiing and other ice sports there. Natural beauty of this place has turned down as more tourist are coming.Rohtang Pass is over rated in terms of its beauty and its tough path.We already covered much beautiful places than this and crossed more tougher passes in our journey till now.

Rohtang pass Ladakh

We reached Manali by 4 PM.First thing we did was to reach travel agency office to collect our luggage came from Leh.We got to know that driver also got stuck in Heavy rain and landslides on Manali leh highway route.First me and Ravi decided to move towards Mandi from there which is 110 km from Manali and  Luggage can be taken care by Aditya, as he has to stay in Manali for today because next bus for delhi will be in next morning.But then we also decided to stay and relax in Manali after short but toughest ride in our trip.Had awesome Briyani in dinner from Lucknowi nawab restaurant at Mall Road.

Day 15(26 June, Fri), Target- Delhi(Route– Mandi-chandigarh-Panipat-Delhi) —>  Trip for Aditya ended here in Manali.After a bye bye Selfie with Aditya, we headed towards Mandi which was around 110 km from Manali.Had our breakfast in Mandi, Puri-bhaji and Aloo Paratha.Road till Mandi was full of curves and ghats.We were almost at sea level now and found worst roads at sea level between Mandi and Chandigarh.Nothing much to tell here, did our regular riding,fuel check,took break whenever required, either it was a drinks break or whenever back or butt pain increases. It was hot out there in chandigarh.Saw couple of riders heading towards Manali from Delhi, we wished them best of luck for their journey as they just started their trip from Delhi.After chandigarh it was four lane, butter smooth roads.

IMG_20150626_073033816

We rode nonstop from Chandigarh to Sonipat as i wanted to reach Delhi ASAP.We planned to stay with my brother in NCR (Ghaziabad). We reached there by 9PM. We missed our path as our GPS was not working and ended up wasting half an hour.After so many days of adventure, felt relaxed at home.Bhabhi(Sister-in-law) cooked delicious chole bhature and fruit custard for us.After dinner we had some conversation about our journey so far. My Brother was little angry about that day, when i was not able to call them in Sarchu.Today we had crossed 5000 km mark on our speedometer.

Day 16(27 June, Sat), Target- Udaipur(Route– Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Udaipur)—>  We woke at leisure by around 8 PM.Had poha and tea in breakfast made by Bhabhi.Now its time to move forward.Initially we had confusion about which route we should take.If we take M.P. route via Agra,Gwalior,Bhopal, then this route is 200 km shorter but road conditions in M.P. was not good.So finally we decided to take Nh-8 route itself, route which we took while coming from Pune.Had to enter Delhi city to take Gurgaon road, from where the mighty Nh-8 starts.Time to fill petrol tank to the brim as it was cheaper in Delhi.After riding first 100 km, had to stop  for half an hour. It was really hot out there. We felt little dehydrated on that day.Ravi took a nap of 15 minutes at Dhaba.Till jaipur and Ajmer weather was really hot.Around Jaipur, again there were two options to reach udaipur. Either you can take Bhilwara- Chittorgarh(NH-79) route or you can continue on Jaipur -Ajmer highway.So after some enquiry and discussion among us, we decided to continue on Jaipur-Ajmer (Nh-8)route.Before trip, we had not planned our return journey after Delhi.Because at that time we were not sure, whether we will comeback from bike or train.So at couple of places we had to invest our time in asking route and road conditions.

IMG_20150627_112444593

Near Beawar in Rajasthan,we stopped at sugarcane juice cart for some refreshment and this was the same cart at which we had juice while coming from Pune to Ladakh.Cart owner was a retired Army men.He also recognized us and when he came to know that we were coming from Ladakh, he started with his never ending stories when he was posted in Ladakh.His stories would never end, but we have to move forward now. Its 6 PM now and we had to cover couple of more km.One thing i realized in this journey that army men are very nostalgic.In Ladakh as well, when some soldier came to know that we came from Maharastra, he automatically started speaking in Marathi. Never ending conversations started with them on any topic as if we were childhood friends .Actually they see there friends and family in you.From this you can realize how much they missed there family there.

IMG_20150627_192406157DSC04968

We were again in Rajasthan now and we know that we can stay at Dhaba, so we not tried much to search for the hotel on highway.Hence today we rode till 11 PM.After dinner,again its time for our luxury hotel stay.

Day 17(28 June, Sun), Target- Pune(Route– Udaipur-Ahemdabad-Surat-Bharuch-vasai-Mumbai-Pune)—>  Well Pune was still more than 1000 km from Udaipur.But with keeping Pune in mind, we started our ride today.We decided to had our night tea in Pune, even if we had to ride till midnight.Woke up at 6 in morning with couple of truck driver around us.All were stared at us like we were alien on this planet.After a ride of around 150 km, its time for breakfast.In Afternoon, we stopped near Surat for petrol refilling.We got stuck in heavy traffic at Narmada Golden bridge which connects Ankleshwar and Bharuch.But later on we covered distance as we were back on four lane highway.

Dhaba near udaipur                                           Stay at Dhaba near Udaipur

Everything was fine and we were on time.It looks like we can reach Pune by midnight.I was very excited that now ,very soon i will going to complete my dream journey successfully.We stopped for evening tea break at around 7.There I felt little pain in my right foot.But i ignored it at that time and we moved forward.Now at around 9 PM near Vasia we stopped for dinner, Pune was still 250 km from there.I stepped out my right leg from shoe to get relax and i got surprised to see huge swelling in my feet.Now i was even not able to walk properly.After Dinner I was not able to step-in my foot into shoe,my foot pained like hell at that time.I asked one hotel staff there to bring some hot water in bucket. While i fomenting my foot,all hotel staff and even owner came to us as there was no major customers in restaurant.Owner asked me if there was an major injury or something. I replied ‘No, it was just normal swelling’.Owner asked from where we were coming and where we were heading towards.In answer,Ravi told him about our real journey that we were coming all the way from Ladakh ,blah blah. As usual, in first instance ,all got surprised and started their rapid fire questions.After Sometime owner turned out to be a storyteller.He narrate about his recent accident on his bike GT 650R.He showed his body marks and injuries.Narrate couple of other horrific accident stories which happened in front of his restaurant on highway.I was little scared now and my leg was still paining and its time to move forward.I told Ravi that I am going to give it a try, but if pain persists, then we have to look for the stay.After 2-3 kms ride,my pain was still unbearable.Saw one hotel on highway side.We decided to stay for the night, as i was even not able to walk now.Men at hotel reception  thought that I had an accident and told his subordinate to help me to reach my room.I said ‘Nothing major, little sprain in my leg.Yes, but I need your help to reach my room’.After get into the room, I asked him to get half bucket warm water and some salt.Felt little relief after some fomenting.This was the first time in the road trip that i had to use our medical kit.Basically swelling occurs because of same sitting postures for hours while riding, hence restricted blood circulation happened.While sleeping i put two cushion below my foot to reverse the blood circulation.Today we had to reach Pune, but had to set back in Vasai.Still today we rode 800+ kms,our highest ride in a single day till now.

IMG_20150629_240330930IMG_20150629_241159947

Day 18(29 June, Mon), Target- Pune —> Final day has arrived.On previous day, I was worried about my pain and thought that I might not be able to ride today.But as I woke up in morning,I saw that all swelling was gone and I am able to walk now without any pain.From today we had to join office and we were in Vasai in morning, no worries we can join office in afternoon.We started our ride at around 7:30.I was really excited today as we were about to complete our dream ride Pune to Ladakh to Pune.While riding I said to Ravi “Dude, we have done it.About to complete our journey Highway to heaven and now back to hell,same 9 to 6 job, same old shit.” In Mumbai, we came across heavy rain and it was very difficult to ride. So we stopped at tea stall. Had tea and bread omlet there.After half an hour break,rain got slow down and its time to complete this great journey.We rode nonstop from Thane to Pune in mild soothing rain.Its always a pleasure to ride around Pune in Monsoon.

On reaching Pune, its time for personal glory.Ended our journey from where we started, Ravi’s flat.Felling was like that our dream came true.We have done it, our months of preparation and planning proved fruitful today.We checked Pulsar’s trip reading which shows 6506.Wow, such a long journey.We congratulated each other for safe and sucessful journey.

Pune Leh Pune ladakh tripPune Leh Pune ladakh trip

I did not had to abandon road at any point of time. While writing this blog, i realized how dangerous was this journey.But with god’s grace, i was back in one piece otherwise anything could have gone wrong on such a long road trip .Now I  began wondering that when i will have a road trip like this again.At the end of this journey, I am a satisfied man.In our limited lives, we all can make unlimited money and end up losing sometimes your health or wealth, instead one should go on long road trip which always has a surprise at its every bend and where you can get lost but never lose !

Link to my Ladakh road trip video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU1CruuH1SU

I am ending my dream ride with some of my favourite quotes..

Tough time never lasts, but tough men do !

Biker never dies, he just fades away on the road.

Cheers !! Ride Safe.

Vineet

For any queries, post your comment below.I Will reply ASAP.

Advertisements

147 thoughts on “Leh Ladakh Road Trip – Pune To Ladakh on bike

  1. Sandeep Padwal

    Dear friend I also try to going on byke from Pune to Ladakh . so I try Honda Unicorns so prepare yes or no. Contact no pls. My no 9730044586. Give me suggested for this my trip in new year2018

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sandeep,
      Unicorn is good, well it’s a sports bike. Hence sitting posture is not that much comfortable for very long rides. Performance wise bike is good, if you are comfortable with it on long routes then it’s fine. Before heading for Ladakh , go for some long rides of about 500 Kms minimum, just to know how ur body and bike is behaving.

      Like

      1. shubham mahadik

        hello vinit i hv read ur experience of pune to ladakh trip ..is is just wonderful .we are also thinking of planning a trip as like u ..i want some guidance by u .i am also living in pune can u pls contact me on .9657000888

        Like

  2. Shrey Vyas

    Best article I have ever read… appreciated your efforts bro. Actually this year I am also going Ladakh from Hyderabad on my Avenger 220 street. Your article is very motivated. Thanks Bro…
    Regards,
    Shrey

    Like

    1. we are planning a trip to leh ladak via pune mumbai from 4th of june 2017. we r 3-4 peoples in no. so we need some more bikers with us to have an amazing road trip . it will be an awesome experience. if anyone intrested pls contact @ 9657000888 SHUBHAM

      Like

  3. Rajnikant Das

    Hello Vineet,
    Very informative article about leh-ladakh road trip. Thank you so much.
    I am also planing to go on Leh-Ladakh trip on my Apache RTR 200, from Indore to Ladakh.
    Please advise me so that I can be prepare accordingly.
    Thanks for all your information.
    Cheers!!! 🙂
    Thanks
    Rajnikant Das

    Like

      1. Rajnikant Das

        Hello Vineet,
        Thanks for the quick reply.
        Although your blog has cover all the expect in a proper way but still want some more details regarding the followings:
        I wanted to make sure about my bike, I do not have any technical expertise about my bike in terms of how to repair it if something wrong happen to this. Can you please provide some more details about how I can be sure that my bike would travel correctly throughout the tour and what kind of precautions I have to take.
        Other query regarding acute mountain sickness, how to avoid AMS condition what are the precautions.
        Thanks
        Rajnikant

        Like

        1. As u said, u are going from new rtr , so there is nothing in the bike which needs to be replaced . Take extra clutch and accelerator wires with u as these can be broken down on rugged terrain as u have to apply clutch frequently. Wires can be replaced by yourself, there is no rocket science in it. Well there is no method by which u can assure that ur bike will not break down. In Rtr u have tubeless tyres, hence fixing punture is quite easy. Apart from this I think nothing much is required. Rest would be the surprise factor in your journey.
          Regarding AMS, just bring some normal medicines along with you just for precaution. Take rest for one day at leh before going fwd. That’s it. Everyone will going to feel headache near khardungla , so thats quite normal. U ll find some medicine names on internet. Just keep with u in case of severe headache.

          Like

    1. we are planning a trip to leh ladak via pune mumbai from 4th of june 2017. we r 3-4 peoples in no. so we need some more bikers with us to have an amazing road trip . it will be an awesome experience. if anyone intrested pls contact @ 9657000888 SHUBHAM

      Like

    1. we are planning a trip to leh ladak via pune mumbai from 4th of june 2017. we r 3-4 peoples in no. so we need some more bikers with us to have an amazing road trip . it will be an awesome experience. if anyone intrested pls contact @ 9657000888 SHUBHAM

      Like

  4. we are planning a trip to leh ladak via pune mumbai from 4th of june 2017. we r 3-4 peoples in no. so we need some more bikers with us to have an amazing road trip . it will be an awesome experience. if anyone intrested pls contact @ 9657000888 SHUBHAM

    Like

  5. Anonymous

    Hello vineet,
    Nice to read your blog. I appreciate the efforts you have taken to write all your journey. 🙂
    I had a question that is “Royal Enfield Bullet 350” bike good/comfortable for long drives ?
    Thanks,
    Deepali

    Like

      1. Vivek

        Hi, really liked ur shared experience.. lucky one to complete ur dream ride.. even i want ride the same trip bt nt getting any group..so plz inform me if any one is planning the trip from pune or mumbai

        Like

          1. kiran lokhande

            may i know contact number of people. we are also planning for trip. just want to know road condition. or any other requirement for the ride. you can also reply me on 9209339006.

            Like

  6. Malay kulkarni

    Grt !!! Its just amazing !!me and my elder brother travelled pune to kanyakumari last year in december …now planning to bhutan or leh ladakh . We were confused about where to go but after reading your article . Leh is fixed now.,. Your article will help us a lot …. Thank you for the article …… And how much expenses you get for each….?

    Like

      1. tushal pawar

        hello Vineet red ur pune ladakh pune entire journey it was realy very awesome experinece we are planning may 2018 i experienced my futur trip by reading ur blog before going.

        Like

  7. tushal pawar

    hello Vineet red ur pune ladakh pune entire journey it was realy very awesome experinece we are planning may 2018 i experienced my futur trip by reading ur blog before going.

    Like

  8. Kripal Singh siddhu

    Hi Veenet,

    This is Kripal Singh and I am planning bike trip from pune to khardung la in July 2018. But trip of mine is with a purpose so I would like to meet you personally at your convenience please share me the same. So that we can have one to one discussion .

    Like

  9. ANAND

    Hi vineet congrats for you successful journey,
    is there any RTO issue for driving in J& K state or delhi or himachal for maharashtra registered bike

    Like

  10. RAMESH KUMAR

    Hello Vineet Ji
    Recently read your narration. It was like an interesting novel with real story. Fealing refreshed. MZZA AA GYA.

    RAMESH…..

    Like

  11. Niket Agarwal

    Hey Vineet I read your blog on the Internet and was truly inspired by you and your friends Ravi.I am student from Pune as well and me and my friends are planning for the same trip ,we all will clear our 12th std board exams in a few weeks now then we will start planning the trip .I just wanted to know that is it safe for we teenagers to go on such long trips ?we have been to Lonavala,Mumbai and Aurangabad before but this time we are planning for Leh ladhak .Another big question I have is that is Yamaha Ray ZR suitable for this trip ?
    Looking forward to your reply .
    Regards Niket Agarwal

    Like

    1. Hello Niket,

      I would suggest , you guys first concentrate on your board exams. I hope you all guys are 18+ and holds driving license. Regarding safety, I would say there are some places in route where you have to be cautious while riding. Your safety depends on you only, ride with responsibility and discipline. Yamaha ZR is good, make sure that it will be good condition before ur trip.

      Like

  12. SUNIL MAHARANA

    Hi Veneet,

    Nice to hear your trip and a really inspired story to tell. Now it gives me a very clear idea for planning the trip on Avenger 220.

    Your blog had enough information for the trip regarding documents, travel plans, expenses etc.
    I had some technical questions. When you planned your trip how much Kms your bike had done before the trip as I am worried about the condition of clutch plate. Because changing of cables, relay or spark plug is relatively easy stuff. Changing of Clutch plate is not possible in the middle of the tour.
    And what engine oil you have used for your trip. What grade is it actually? You mush have changed it in the tour. And what about air filter ? Did you have a spare one too.

    Regards,
    Sunil Maharana

    Like

    1. Hello Sunil,

      At the time of trip my bike was 3 year old and already marked 30k kms.
      You can check with ur mechanic if clutch plate replacement is required or not.

      I have used Motul fully synthetic oil. I think it was Motul 5515w. Motul claimed 6k km smooth run for this engine oil. It cost me around 950 rs.

      Let me know if more info is required

      Like

      1. Hello Shekhar,

        Well I saw couple of riders enroute who rode CD Dawn in ladkah. That’s the same segment 125 cc. But u might face more difficulty while riding on steep cliffs. And as I said .. Ladakh is not about which bike u are riding, it more depends who is riding.

        Like

  13. Anonymous

    Hello Vineet, Nice article. I am planning for same. I have old bike which was taken 18 years before. Bajaj Boxer 99 cc bike. I already travel 320 km on it by last year. Could you please tell me will it be possible to make it with Boxer ?

    Like

  14. Anonymous

    Hello Vineet, Nice article. I am also planning for same. I have bajaj boxer 99 cc bike which was taken 18 years before. Few month before i travlled 320 km with same bike.
    Could you please tell me is it possible to make this trip with Boxer ? I know it is tough but wanted to make it on same bike.
    Thank you.

    Like

    1. Hello,

      Yes you can do it from 100cc as well. It’s already been 18 years with your bike, then you must have know your machine quite well, which is very much imp. Make sure you get your bike well prepared and it’s advisable to keep it’s regular spare parts with you. And of course be mentally prepare for any failures during the journey.

      Like

  15. The area that was sometime in the distant past a home to our precursors, Ladakh shows a gigantic exhibition of classical times that has made due from the Neolithic time frame.
    Andaman
    Best travel services

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s