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Ladakh Travel story : Pune To Ladakh Journey of 4000 miles On My Motorcycle

Ladakh Journey Preface

Now I can relate to those people who abandoned everything just to be on the road and to travel all around the world. Experience is the magical word which leads them to such paths. I can feel some change in me after this journey. Now I feel I am more optimistic, calm and punctual.

Its 29 June 2015 Monday, 1 PM. I just arrived Pune after completing the ride of my life which I called as “Highway To Heaven” and now after an hour I am sitting idle at the my office desk, listening the song ‘I am on a highway to hell’ (perfect for the situation, came back to same old shit)and waiting for the HR call. I had to report to my HR in the morning to justify the reason of my absence in office. I was declared as absconder 3 days back. I used to get panic on such situations but now I learned how to remain calm from my last expedition.

I have encountered a different aspect of traveling. Experience and lessons which I gained from this road trip would never be the same if I would have done this trip from train or flight. Best part about road trips 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. Now if I have to go to any part of the country whether its 200 or 2000 km, first thought came to my mind, can I do this on my bike. Means, certain situation can’t permit me to do that. Like I can’t go to my hometown on my bike, reasons are obvious.

I relive my 17 days, 4000 miles journey, every time I share my journey experience with other people. Feels like I am still on road, riding on curvy paths with icy mountains on one side and roaring rapids on the other.

Ladakh considerd as “Mecca” for bike riders. I am not a professional rider, but what I have experienced is every biker’s dream.

Story Behind This Journey

First I want to share some background, what it was, which driven me to go for such a long road trip of 6506 kms on my bike. So sit back, enjoy the ride and relive the ‘Once In A Lifetime’ journey with me.

I prefer road trip while travelling and that too on my bike. But why ? Yeah I know its dangerous and tiring yet adventurous, fun, challenging and gives you a tough guy look at the sametime. But none of these were my primary reasons. Why I prefer road trip? As I said one can experience more while on the road. All those magical moments I have shared in this blog. But why bike ? Sitting inside your air conditioned car won’t give you proper connection with outside climate, hence my main motive of doing road trip is not going to fulfill. Cars are like cages and bikes are liberating me from these cages. You are outside and feel like you are in the environment more. Drenched in rain while riding your bike has its own fun. Appreciating the spirit of like minded bikers on road by Waving hands or giving thumbs up, only a biker can understand this. People on road side, either small cart owner or other traveler become more friendly with you when you are on bike rather than car. People usually connect easily with someone who in their opinion is too poor to buy a car even if your bike costs more than a sedan car.

Pune Leh pune on bike

When I got a job and had enough money to burn petrol around Pune, within six months I bought my favourite bike – Bajaj Avenger 220. Why Avenger ? I have grown up admiring it for its stylish cruise look and It’s pretty comfortable for long rides as well. Within its first week, I did a long ride of around 400 km to Kashid beach. I progressed from one small adventure ride to another, longest being my Pune-Goa-Pune (1175), Pune- Hampi-Pune.

I wanted my next road trip to go beyond the one which I have already done. My obsession to be on the road increasing gradually. And now it reached that level where I can think about Ladakh.

I shared my plan with my riding partner Ravi with whom I already did couple of long rides. He is the only person I know who can go with me. And after some discussion he said Yes. Does it sounds like proposal? Ofcourse No J.

Ravi told me about his friend who is a travel agent and organizing Leh Ladakh bike trip every year. They start their ride from Chandigarh and have their own mechanic, medical facility, backup vehicle with them in whole journey. They had all the hotel booking in advance. You have to go with their fixed route and itinerary. Initially Ravi was little sceptic about going on our own because we had no experience for such a long road trip and it was about Ladakh, riding on most dangerous road in the world.

Leh Ladakh road trip is also about ‘Adventure’ but not limited to 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 or surprise in your trip. This is the time where you get a chance to experience and learn new things or to apply your past experience to handle such situation.

pune leh pune on bike

Initially we decided to transport our bike from train to Delhi and then start our bike journey from Delhi to Leh. But while planning I thought what if we start our ride from Pune itself. That would be a life time experience covering 7 states all along the route Pune to Ladakh. On each day will have different climate, people, food, terrain, culture and other new experiences. I never got disappointed in my previous road trips whether it was a 100 km or 1000 km ride. It was always a pleasure to be on road, riding across the countryside on your bike. I always tried to think beyond custom targets, and if I found them challenging, adventurous and yet feasible for me. I would love to do that.

But again, million dollar question strikes with respect to feasibility. What about leaves. I had only 10 working day leaves in my account which is equivalent to 16 days after incorporating weekends in between. I know for Pune To Ladakh road trip thats not enough. I 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“. At that time I put on hold my idea to ride from Pune and started preparing for Ladakh. But while preparing, riding from Pune was constantly striking my mind. Now riding from Delhi looks lackluster to me. My vision, curiosity and lust for adventure keeps on increasing now.

We didn’t got the assurance from the railway parcel authority that our bikes will be transported in the same train in which we are traveling to Delhi. Although that was not a big issue but my idea to ride from Pune starts gaining some potential from here. At that time I have already made my mind that if Ravi won’t convince than I will ride solo from Pune and directly meet him in Delhi. While preparing for journey I came through one blog (Parikshit Vaidya’s blog), a guy rode from Mumbai to Ladakh on his Yamaha RXZ. When a guy can do it on his 125 cc bike, then why can’t we do it with our 220 cc bikes. Ofcourse I didn’t wanted to force him. Anything which won’t come from your inner self and still if you are doing forcefully then definitely it will not be fruitful. But what I saw after two days that suddenly that blog becomes Ravi’s motivation. He said “Lets try to make itinerary from Pune To Ladakh, check whether its is feasible or not in 16 days”. I replied “Where there is a will, there is a way”. So now plan has modified to PUNE-LEH-PUNE.

pune ladakh pune on bike

Preparation

Now extended trip requires a lot to be prepared. You have to think about each and every aspect of the 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 which was about to expire. We have decided to take the mighty NH-8 route(Pune-Mumbai-Valsad-Surat-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-Ajmer), a bit long but safe and  quite scenic. Before entering Ladakh I wanted to take blessing form Shri Harminder Sahib. So we did some changes in our route to incorporate Amritsar(for Golden temple). We took some printouts of google maps as well, as these were handy for aiming our next target destination in case internet stops working. We took printout for Ladakh map as well which contains info about road conditions as well. Medical kit is must in every trip, we had included some medicines related to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). With all these stuffs not much space left in my bag when I tied it on my pillion seat. So I kept minimum cloths for the trip to avoid extra luggage. Travel light is always my priority.

Best time to visit Leh Ladakh is in June or July. Rain starts in August and path becomes more slippery and you will find more road blockade because of landslides. We planned our journey in mid June so that roads will get stable.

Hence 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. Before D-day, we practiced on curvy roads at weekends near Pune and did a ride of 500 Kms in a single day just to know how our bike and body behaves.

When my other friends and roommates came to know that I am going to start my Ladakh road trip from Pune itself, reactions were like “Are you mad”, “Its not possible”,”Dude, you 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 and climate conditions that how much you can cover. We made our itinerary for 16 days and it looks pretty tight in schedule with no buffer days. 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 we remained calm at the same time, otherwise one can ruin their upcoming journey.

pune leh pune on bike

There are others as well who also wanted to join us but stepped back after knowing our plan to ride from Pune. Even I didn’t want more people in this trip. Long ride requires proper tuning with your fellow rider, specially when you are on tight schedule. Me and Ravi developed this from our past rides. 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.

I was excited and wanted to carry Indian National flag on my bike. But carrying 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 names of all the major cities and famous destinations which came in our journey. My Friend Tushar also made some more creative and inspirational flag for us.

ladakh flags

ladakh flags

I have already asked my parents for the permission to go on this bike trip. But I have asked them with the modified version. I told them that I will start my bike journey from Jammu, till Jammu I will travel from train. Initially they were reluctant to give 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 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 ,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 going to 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 minutes. And I am here keep on lying. I was really tensed, what to do now. I really wanted to do this 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,12th June 2015 ,Friday. Preparing from past two months, Saw hundreds of videos, read tens of blogs, lied from my parents, for what ? For this day. If you are planning for something for long and if suddenly it seems real, I think goose bumps feeling is also normal at that time. I hold my hormone horses and tried to remain calm. I know this will going to be the ‘Ride Of My Life’ and certainly the toughest one as well.

We came back from our office at around 12:00 PM. It took two hours for me to do the final packing, loading the luggage on pillion seat, tied our pride flags. My dream ride started at 2:00 PM from Ravi’s flat after a flag off pose.

Its time to leave the rat race that world is running in, its time to turn the page of my life to the next chapter, its time to find my road and as Avenger tagline states, its time to ‘Feel Like God’. Here I am, on the road again.

ladakh flags

Day 1(12 June 2015, Friday Pune To Vapi)

Initial 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. But why? Yeah its dangerous and your km/hour also gets reduced. You must enjoy your ride but now you are just covering the distance. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Route which we took (Pune-Thane-Vasai-Virar-Vapi). Near Lonavla I found that on Pulsar there is no Flag. We won’t 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 in which he truly believe, “I am the master of my fate and I am the captain of my soul”. I said “Keep calm Ravi, Its just a beginning”.
While riding on the highway near Vasai , I felt some dragon flies hitting me and As we move forward their density increased to the level that I felt like I am riding in flies cluster, hitting me hard on every part of the body. Now it was deep dusk after sunset so I cannot ride with tint helmet visor. But at that time I cannot open my visor as well. So we were riding at around 30 kmph because of less visibility in tinted visor. If even a single fly entered in my helmet, that is enough to put me in trouble and panic mode. In that scenario I cannot ride with fly in my helmet and cannot stop my bike as well as they were creating havoc all around.
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 suggested that its not safe to ride 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. Your bike mileage. Are u guys from army ? Don’t you feel tired ? One man asked me is this Modiji’s new campaign “Ride Safe” , by reading the message written on by flag. So we 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.

pune leh pune on motorcycle

Day 2(13 June 2015, Saturday), Target- Udaipur, Route(Vapi-Valsad-Surat-Ahmedabad-Udaipur)—>

Looked outside the window, its sill dark and raining heavily. Last night I hardly slept for three hours. Yesterday we drove around 300 km and today as well a long day to come. My thoughts were wandering in my head related to this journey the way they always do. Its 5 on the clock and now I even got tired from trying again and again to get myself dozed. On the other side of the bed Ravi keeps on snoring. Is something gone wrong me ? Let it be. Its time to move forward now but its still raining outside. We have raincoats, rainling jacket inside our riding jacket. We had large size plastic to cover our bags. So what we are waiting for then. We tied our bags on pillion seat and starts riding at 50 kmph constant speed. I love to ride in drizzling rain. All the sensors in my body become active at that time. I took a deep breath to enlighten my body from the offerings of the nature God and keeps on riding on a long and lonesome highway. I listen to the engines moaning and let my thoughts wandering, the way they always do. As we were riding slow, trucks were passing by us, showering mud water right on to our body. But I liked that part as well. But sometimes my myopic eyesight turned this zest into irritation. All the riders with spectacles can relate this. Ravi kept his mobile in  his riding jacket which is water proof but somehow water makes it way and his mobile stops working.

pune adakh pune on bike

Near Surat, I saw another Avenger with 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, gave a thumbs up as a sign of appreciation and asked “Are u guys going on long ride”. Avenger rider opens viser and I got surprised to see a lady behind the glass. She said ‘Yes, we are going LADAKH’. Actually they were two bikers (Husband and his wife) both aged around 35-40. We had a little chat with them, specially about their story of wanderlust. Anurag (husband) told us about his adventures, he already did Ladakh two times before and some international trips as well. Initially his wife used to get concerned and upset when he left her alone and goes on such trips. So his wife also starts going on these trips as a pillion rider and gradually learned riding. And now she is an independent rider. I was really glad after seeing such a passion and readiness to explore new things. Near Ahmedabad we came across Akshardham temple. Wanted to go inside, but time won’t permit us. I thought that it would be better if we have 2-3 days more in our trip. No worries ! I am enjoying and admiring its beauty even from outside the temple.

ladakh journey on bike from pune

Today we rode 600+ kms. Still we were 100 kms behind our target Udaipur. Its already 8:00 PM and we were still on road but this time we were not searching for a hotel but a desi dhaba. We have already decided to have dinner at dhaba, specially in Rajasthan which can be used to stay for the night as well. Ofcourse for a different experience and by this you can save some money as well.

At Gujrat – Rajasthan border there was thorough checking at the tollbooth for almost all the vehicles . We didn’t find any lane for two wheelers, so we entered in some random lane where there is no vehicle. Two policemen shouted at us “Hey ! where are you going ?” I told Ravi “Dude ! I think we will going to be in trouble now”. One policemen came closer and told us that after some meters there is a blockade in this lane. He asked “Where you guys are going?” Me and Ravi paused for a second and gave a look to each other. We know the repercussion of telling the real destination. He stared us and our bikes for couple of seconds and said “Are you guys going to Ladakh”. Me and Ravi smiled and in sync said “Yes Sir.” He immediately called his subordinate and told him to get some cold water from water cooler for us. He told us about group of riders whom he met here one week back were also going Ladakh. After some chit chat we asked him whether we can find some desi dhaba which can be use to stay for the night as well. He advised us Pandit Dhaba which was around 10 km from there and quite good for both the purpose. Not all policemen persecute common people . In past four years while on road I found helpful policemen more than those who harass common people. One should not make his/her perception on others perception.

Ladakh via gujrat

In these dhabas, menu is fixed, daal baati only. But If there were other things as well on the menu then also we would have the baati only, one of the famous dish in Rajasthan. Nowadays we can find almost every cuisine at part of the country. But its real taste comes at its original place, cooked by local people and dining with local people .For all those who heard baati for the first time, its made up of wheat floor and baked in microwave. Ghee is the main ingredient here.

ladakh via Rajasthan on bike

Ravi, enjoying 50 Rs plate unlimited daal- Baati

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 I was wrong. It was cold out there at night and I didn’t had any blanket, so we cover our upper  body with riding jacket. Upon seeing open sky above my head, I don’t know when I got dozed.

Ladakh via punjab on bike

Day 3(14 June 2015, Sunday), Target- Hanumangarh, Route(Udaipur-Ajmer-Baiwar-Kishangarh-Hanumangarh)—> You don’t need any alarm if you are sleeping under open sky, mother nature wake you up. I already know but still I asked one of the children working at dhaba, “Do we have any toilet around”, for necessary morning nature’s call. On facing farm behind dhaba, he spread his arms and said “You can go anywhere”. Dhaba stay experience was good but I didn’t wanted to come across this part. We decided to hold nature’s call till the next petrol pump where one can find clean toilets. People around stared at us as usually these toilets were use by truck drivers in the morning. Riding in the same T-shirt and jeans from past two days. On an average I even don’t have a pair of clothes for three days, but I changed my clothes today as my T-shirt starts stinks. We followed one 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 were 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.

Around Udaipur we found lot of Elephants and Camels going by road side. I felt bad for them as their real home is in Wild not on the road side. But at the same time I was glad to see these giant animals in this mighty road trip. In Rajasthan,for around 50kms we had desert on both sides of the road after Udaipur. It reminds me of my Jaisalmer trip at that time. At some places sand got accumulated on road, so we had to slow down our bikes to avoid slippage. Saw one live desert snake as well on the road side. I felt sometimes that we were on the wildlife safari not on the highway.

ladakh via rajasthan on bike at dhaba

ladakh via Rajasthan on bike

ladakh via Rajasthan on bike

ladakh via Rajasthan on bike

Till Amritsar people used to stare at us, as we were aliens here. After Amritsar, bikers were common. On highway, after crossing my bike people usually turned back to see what’s wrong there. Wearing Heavy jacket in this hot weather, some shield on knees, so much of luggage. But our pride flags highlights our presence on the road not only on highways but in Ladakh as well.

Today we were able to ride 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. Ravi told me how people behaves when he ask them for a phone call, as he won’t able to find any phone booth around. Well dressed shop owners denied his request by just giving no balance excuse, then finally a cart owner helped him. Ravi was not angry for this and told me that educated people won’t trust strangers easily. There is nothing wrong about it but it’s a dark side of the world, terror activities around the world force us not to trust strangers. Next day first thing we did was to buy a cheap Nokia handset for Ravi.

ladakh via Rajasthan on bike

ladakh via Rajasthan on bike

Day 4(15 June 2015, Monday), Target- Amritsar(Golden Temple)-—> Day started with a mesmerizing view from window, saw some peacocks browsing in near fields. Still Our lifeline of this journey were performing well and already crossed the 1500+ mark, before starting today’s journey we did a little checkup of our bike. Did chain lube and setting, tightened the brakes, checked the tyre pressure and all.

It was hot and humid on that day, specially after entering Punjab. In Punjab we found people on roadside offering refreshment (Sharbat or some sweet) on the occasion of Purnima festival. 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 your bike’. I gave wide smile and said ‘Yes’. Had our lunch in dhaba, this time Pure Punjabi Dhaba. Had ‘Dal Makhani’ over there, little spicy yet delicious. We both together won’t able to finish one Patiala Lassi 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.

ladakh via Punjab dhaba

ladakh via Punjab dhaba

ladakh via Punjab dhaba

After taking shower and some refreshment we entered the temple. Temple was huge and crowded, yet everything around was so pleasing. Lake around the temple gave you a sense of calmness, seated with our legs in lake gave us much relief, for us it was much needed after a long ride of around 2000 kms.

Everything was very well managed by the volunteers either it was at shoe racks, que for temple or all the arrangements in langar (Sacrament). Serving thousands of people 24/7 , 365 days a year, requires great hospitality skills and these volunteers around the temple were not the employees or permanent worker of the temple. They are normal people who came here with the feeling of devotion towards their religion and society. Irrespective of their status or caste, anyone can come here and serve towards humanity.

There was a long que for the Golden Temple but I was feeling hungry and there is always a meal for the hungry at the temple, so we decided to have ‘langar’ first. Get your plates and bowls, stand in que to enter the big hall and get seated on the floor and you will be served kindly.Simple, healthy yet delicious food. One curry, dal, rice,Kheer(sweet dish) and chapatti. If you want chapatti you have to put your both hands forward, as this is considered as the offerings from god.

I don’t understand Punjabi, still gurbani (hymns) sounds pleasant to me. Almost every hymn ended with common line “Wahe Guru Da Khalsa Wahe Guru Di Fateh”, so I repeat this line with other devotees. Before the journey begins, we decided to stay in the temple halls for the night. But lying around the lake on a marble floor under the open sky has no comparison.

For visiting the golden temple in our journey we ride around 200 km extra, but after this 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.

ladakh via amritsar golden temple

Day 5(16 June 2015, Tuesday), Target- Srinagar(Dal Lake) —–>    Another morning in open sky, now this time it was not the mother nature who woke me up in the early morning. It was the Volunteers who were washing the marble floor. So after thanking god for everything we collected our luggage from the locker room at the temple. It was our 5th day in the trip and we felt like we left Pune long back, felt like that we were on the road from past couple of weeks. It usually happens on road trip because every hour you find new places, new people. You came across so much things in a single hour that you would experience in a day during normal trip. We had already crossed 2000 mark. Still we were full of energy and excited as this was just a beginning. Now today we crossed J&K border. We opted Srinagar to Leh route and will come back through Manali route.

ladakh via amritsar

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. We had one Airtel postpaid number that too works once in a while. It was hot till Jammu, but at Patnitop it was hell lot of rain and soothing weather, feeling relaxed now. We had to stop in Patnitop for an hour because of fog,heavy rain and non-visibility. Now we entering in lush green Kashmir valley. There is a famous saying by Emperor Jahangir about Kashmir valley “If there is heaven on earth, its here, its here, its here”. Now after seeing its beauty I must say he was not exaggerating. To be able to describe the beauty of the valley in words is a tough task, the more you describe, the more you are compelled to describe.

ladakh via sonmarg ladakh via sonmarg

ladakh via sonmarg

Soldiers on duty shouted at me to stop near Patnitop. I stopped immediately and thought that Is something I did wrong. They asked me Is this bike from Maharastra? I said “yes and I have a legal documents of my bike”. And then suddenly they started conversation in Marathi. I smiled and said I am from Pune but I don’t know Marathi. Actually these soldiers were also from Nagpur regiment. I can feel the kind of Nostalgic feeling in them. Had a nice chat with them, wanted to spend more time with them but time was limited so I moved forward after saying goodbye.

ladakh via patnitop soldiers on duty

ladakh via patnitop

We targeted to reach Srinagar today but 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 as most of the tourist opt to stay in Srinagar. After taking some refreshment we have decided to roam around Banihal as now we were 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 it, but all wires were in place. Now I had no option but to find some mechanic or battery shop. In Kashmir and Leh Ladakh region market closed by maximum 8.Only hotels and restaurant were open till late night. Its already 8:30 now and in morning as well nothing will open before 9, but we had to start our journey by 6 or at max by 7. We came to know that there is only one mechanic in Banihal known as ‘Mumtaz’. So there is nothing we can do about it. We had no option but to wait in the morning. 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.

Had a chat with some middle aged local people near our hotel. They told us how their childhood and young days got spoiled because of tensed situation in valley in late 80’s and 90’s .They were not allowed to come out of their houses after 6 PM and won’t able to complete graduation because of lack of money . But now they are pretty happy that their earnings are good now and situation is also under control. Their children can go to school or college in healthy environment. They also told us how those people survive in winters who are living in wooden houses situated at up high mountains. They won’t able to come down from the mountains for six months and had to accumulate all the grocery for six months. In case of any medical emergency, army came for the help through chopper.

We found only one restaurant open, they have only seasoned pumpkin curry in veg .As I am a vegetarian , I had no option but to have Pumpkin. It was finger licking but again a little spicy. Ravi can have non veg so he tried famous Kashmiri dish ‘Rista’ which is made up of meat balls. I don’t know whether it was really delicious or he was just pretending to make me jealous. We had our dinner with other two riders, they started their journey from Delhi yesterday. We met these riders in Ladakh as well. In the whole journey we met many people repetitively after all it’s a small world and in that Ladakh is much smaller.

banihal restaurant ladakh on bike

Day 6(17 June 2015, Wednesday), Target- Kargil (War Memorial) —–> 

Before going forward, I would like to thank Indian Army and Border Roads Organization (BRO) for connecting people on high altitudes under harsh climate conditions.

Its 9:30 in the morning and we were still in Banihal. Mumtaz’s  subordinate was replacing the battery. Meanwhile Mumtaz said “Come behind me”. I asked where we are going, he said “Come, I’ll show you around”. Mumtaz took us to some of the picturesque places around. We didn’t expected that some local guy will take us personally to the less explored places here. First he took us to recently built Railway station. Yesterday we also wanted to travel in train from Banihal to Katra, but last train departed at 6 PM. Here train passes through thrilling tunnel and picturesque hills and valleys. He also took us to under construction railway tunnel where a scene was shoot from recent movie ‘Sanam Re’. It was fun to ride on the railway tracks in an under construction tunnel. His looks and accent was totally Punjabi, I wonder why his name is Mumtaz. Then he told us that he came here from Patiala 12 years back in search of work and Mumtaz name was given by local people. 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.

jawahar tunnel ladakh on motorcycle

We drove nonstop till Srinagar. Its hot out there yet we spent some time on Dal lake. There we met a boatman who expressed his proud feeling towards his motherland(Kashmir) for its beauty that people came here from all over the world. After sometime we headed towards Sonmarg. From now you will find many nameless streams of transparent blue water running down from the mountains. These high intensity streams flowing parallel to the road along with you. Sometimes its intensity is so high that it sounds horrific. The fresh dew on the small leaves that flanked on the road, picturesque view of all the greenery around you, women and children playing on roadside : Nothing, absolutely nothing could one afford to not see and appreciate the charismatic view of this place. We had our lunch(kashmiri Rajma Chawal) in a rapid river facing restaurant. Sitting with both feet in water near its shore with tea in one hand and onion pakoda in other, I can’t ask for more.

ladakh via srinagar dal lake

ladakh via srinagar dal lake ladakh via srinagar dal lake ladakh via srinagar dal lake

While riding towards Sonmarg we met one family who lives in Srinagar and going Sonmarg to meet their relatives there. Father told us how his son who just turned 18 insists him to let him go on Ladakh expedition on his bike. As Sonmarg was just 5 km away from there, son asked Ravi that can he ride his bike till Sonmarg? Father looked at him with gaze, Ravi said “Alright, Vineet will ride along with him”. So Ravi stepped in there car till Sonmarg. We reached Sonmarg and its already 6 on the clock. So we had to stay here for the night. We checked in one hotel which was recommended by the Uncle. Greenery, Glaciers , horses browsing in fields: that’s the view from the window in my room. After hot shower and some refreshment we went outside to confirm about the timing for which Zoji-La pass will open in the morning. Some policemen around , told us that 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’.

They also showed us their pics with ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. Its shooting got completed some days back here. I am also a big fan of Salman Khan, missed a chance to see him L. We ended up sitting two hours there with these policemen and had discussion on variety of issues like terrorism and poverty.

ladakh via sonmarg on motorcycle ladakh via sonmarg on motorcycle

Day 7(18 June 2015, Thursday), Target- LEH (Rest,Acclimatization) —–> From now onwards real Ladakh journey begins. We had to cross Zoji La pass ASAP. It was around 2 degree C in the morning. Still we started our journey at 6:30. In initial ride of one hour, I understood why we call this Ladakh route as “World’s Toughest Roads”. My fingers got freezed, sometimes I changed gears without applying clutch. Sometimes we stood at the edge of the Path whenever truck crossed us. I called it path not road because there was no road. That day till afternoon it was a challenge to ride because not even a single truck or taxi driver feels pity 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.

leh via drass on bike

leh via drass on bike

leh via drass on bike

Had Aloo paratha, bread omlet and Drass’s famous pancakes at Shanu Da Dhaba. This restaurant owns by one lady named as Shanu. Her hometown is in Dehradun. For five months, May to September Shanu and her son come here to earn some money. It was nice to hear some stories from her how she came all the way from Dehradun to Ladakh and opens her own restaurant ‘Shanu da Dhaba’.

dhaba restaurant in drass

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 running out of time and one day behind our planned 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 felt 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 an hour. We were completely silent at that time.

I tried to visualize war time situation in our mind. Saluting the courage of our brave heroes.

indian flag at kargil to ladakh on bike

indian flag at kargil to ladakh on bike

inspirational quotes at kargil war memorial

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 our camera and take some snaps, as mountain gods has lot to offer. In every 10 kms terrain, colors of mountains got changed. Riding on NH1 was a pleasure, butter smooth curvy roads, cut the edges on the sharp turns and enjoy the picturesque view around you.

kargil to leh NH1 highway on motorcycle

leh via mulbekh on bike

kargil to leh NH1 highway on motorcycle

kargil to leh NH1 highway on motorcycle

Its 3 O’clock now and its time for a tea break so we stopped at Mulbekh, a small village after Kargil. After break, now this time Pulsar was not responding when Ravi tried to start it. On checked we found that current was not coming in the spark plug. No Mechanic out there in Mulbekh, but one local people helped us there who is a tempo driver and have some knowledge on bikes. We spent around two hours there to know the root cause, by that time we already detached almost every part of Pulsar,it 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 was melted. 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’.

mulbekh to leh on bike

Day 8(19 June 2015, Friday), 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 trying to fix and loading Pulsar yesterday. They offered us famous prayer flags to tie on our bikes for good luck. Upon asked about its significance, they told us that letters written on each colored fabric are hymns. It is recognition that these hymns will reach up to God when flag swings while riding and in return god will save you from all the pain and grief.

kargil to leh on bike hotel stay

mulbekh tea stall to leh on bike

We thank them for their help and kindness 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-five when you are passing by them.Some children are so naughty, instead of gentle Hi-five clap, they use their full power and sometimes it hurts me. So when I saw children trying to use their power, at the end moment I intentionally missed the clap. Sometimes we stopped near by children, 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.

children on road in leh ladakh on route children on road in leh ladakh on route kargil to leh curvy roads on bike kargil to leh curvy roads on bike kargil to leh curvy roads on bike

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 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 be 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.

tiring ride in ladakh jeans tored

Rest of our day we can relax or roam around Leh. Our bikes were running fine but still we wanted to had a thorough examination from mechanic before we were heading towards Khardung La. On reached Leh, Ravi was not feeling well. 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 come back to Leh after 3 days.

kargil to leh on bike scenic beauty kargil to leh NH1 highway kargil to leh NH1 highway

Day 9(20 June 2015, Saturday), 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 were even worst than Zoji la pass. Today our bikes was not able to pickup the load because of high altitude. I am giving full acceleration on flat roads, but still bike was not able to pick the load accordingly. Reason behind this is that,at such high altitudes oxygen quantity 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.

leh to khardungla pass on bike leh to khardungla pass on bike

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. Soon we reached the Khardung la pass and it was totally crowded there. First thing people do there is to take a snap with sign board stating ‘Welcome to khardung la pass 18380 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 for us riding from sea level to 18380 Ft. Apart from this we didn’t found anything special at khardung La. I found this place overrated, over hyped by the tourism industry. But anyway one has to pass through it to reach Nubra Valley. Basically Army made its camp there to get their body acclimatize before moving to 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 an eye on people for this.

On internet I found Marsimek –La pass(18634 Ft) situated near Indo- Tibetan border as the Highest Motorable pass. But why still we call Khardung-La as Highest, may be because Army thinks its best not to advertise the pass and invite civilian traffic to the border area.

khardungla pass on motorcycle from pune khardungla pass on motorcycle from pune

As we came downwards after Kahrdung La Pass we had our lunch in Army café. Again not much option, we had to be on Maggi and Momos. Had Kahwa (Kashmiri bru) with a Young Ladakhi scout who was posted here from past one year. He was quite happy that summer had finally arrived not because they get some relief from cold but now he can see some people around. He also shared one incident when they encountered Wild Snow Leopard near their camp.

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.

Speciality of Nubra Valley is that you can find desert,ice mountains, sand at the same place. It Sounds strange but you will get amaze by its own charm and beauty. Enjoyed camel safari on bactrian camel with double hump back, an endemic species of camel which one can find only in ladakh. You can find there milestones of china border and Siachen Glaciers. China border is just 35 kms from there.

nubra valley camels nubra valley camels nubra valley camels

Day 10(21 June 2015, Sunday), Target- The great Pangong Lake—>  

As we were ready to move forward in the morning, a lady staying in the same hotel asked about my journey by looking at the flag on my bike. She is Retired army servicemen. When we were about to leave from hotel she said “You should write a book on this journey”. I smiled and replied “Thanks for your appreciation, Writing is not my cup of tea. But surely I will try.”

Its time to start our ride. 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 unhabited area, you will not find any people in tens of km. Till morning we were not sure about whether we should 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.

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 were enjoying the overall ride. We started our day after visiting the Buddhist monastery in Diskit ( Nubra Valley).This monastery is largest and oldest Buddhist monastery in Nubra Valley and houses a 106 feet tall Maitrey Buddha statue.

Traditional way of offerings to Bhudha

Its good to have a GoPro sports camera mount on your helmet to make some videos specially in Leh Ladakh bike trip. But unfortunately we won’t have any. Still we were able to made some quality videos equivalent to GoPro. Initially we were making videos by mounting our normal digital camera on selfie stick which is attached to my bike handle. But because of bad patches in Ladakh videos were fluctuating. We met with a Austrain- South African couple in Diskit and I was impressed to see their idea to attach mobile phone to helmet with tyre tube rubber. Cut tube rubber of around 20 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 but at the same time mobile should not hinder your view while riding.

gopro alternative from mobile phone on bike

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 terrain 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 icy water there and we won’t had Gum boots at that time. By this time water entered inside my shoes and I had to ride full day with wet shoes.

shyok route to pangong nubra valley shyok route to pangong nubra valley

Its 3:00 PM now and we already 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 interesting quotes on them. We did our lunch here in ‘Durbuk’. Now from today till Manali, food options were very limited. At most of the places 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.

Again met with same Austrian – South African couple at lunch. Both met each other on their solo journey in Indonesia. Now every year they meet each other on their long vacations like they meet in Ladakh and after vacation head back to their respective countries and live their normal life. Both were enjoying their riding adventure in Himalayas. It was nice to meet them and nice to know their love story which remains alive because of travelling. Before moving forward we again thank them for their idea of mounting mobile phone in helmet.

Enroute to Pangong lake we found rare and endemic species ‘Marmot’. Usually they live underground by digging holes but sometimes they come out in afternoon. One local people told us how people are unaware of the fact that they are disturbing normal lifecycle of these endangered species. People offer them normal food like Banana, biscuits, chips etc which is not good for there health.

Pangong Lake is the most beautiful, scenic, mesmerizing place that I have ever seen. I must say,it’s the best eye candy on earth. It was a complete bliss to reach Pangong lake on my bike all the way from Pune to Ladakh after riding around 3800 km. Lake is so clean that you can see reflection of clouds in water clearly. All I can say about this place is that beauty of this place will stay in your thoughts for as long as you live in this world.

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 in this journey. It was really cold out there, don’t know the exact temperature but it must be in negative. I sat near lake with foot inside water, but couldn’t able to sit more than 5 seconds as water was really cold. But me and Aditya had decided to take a dip there in the morning, it was a challenge given by Ravi to us. We sat near the lake for 2 hours enjoying the serenity and calmness of nature.

We noticed lot of miniature stupas at every nook and corner of this trans-Himalayan region. These stone pyramid constructed by the locals to commemorate their visits or to gain spiritual benefits. Locals keep sacred texts and other goods of religious importance like a prayer bowl or a prayer wheel inside these stupas as offerings. We found many of these around Pangong lake.

marmot enroute pangong lake

sign boards with quotes enroute pangong lake

pangaong lake on bike from pune

pangong on motorcycle from pune

pulsar 220 in ladakh leh form puneWe Made our own stone pyramid out there and gave offerings to lord Bhudha.

Its 7 PM now and for today’s stay whether we had to opt for tent or home stay. Only these two options one can find at Pangong lake. 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.

I asked house owner about STD booth as I had to call my parents. He said “Let me take you there.” I said “no need to bother, I can go myself.”, as he looked completely drunk. He said “No, you are our guest” and starts insisting. This usually happens when people got drunk they wanted to do the same thing which you ask them not to do. Now I had no choice so I started walking behind him. He slept there at the booth when I was on phone. He was not even responding when I am shouting “Lets go back to home”. Now I had no option but to put his arm on my shoulder and take him back to home.

home stay at pangong with traditional food

Day 11(22 June 2015, Monday), Target- Back to Leh–>   Today we woke up little late as our target is to reach Leh which is 150 km and can be covered in 6 hours. Today first thing we had to do, was to take a dip in Pangong lake. On reaching 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 I came here at Pangong lake ,one of the most exotic lake in the world after riding 3800km from Pune to Ladakh,’Ek Dubki Toh Banti Hai’. Me and Aditya decided to take at least a full dip inside water. People there watching and laughed at our insanity. As soon as I entered the lake, I felt like someone nailing my body from all corners. I took 3-4 dips quickly and started running towards my room.

I was shivering for at least half an hour after coming out of lake. Had tea to get normal and now we were ready to go back towards Leh. It was complete fun out there in Pangong Lake. 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.

pangong lake cold temperature cold water pangong lake cold temperature cold water

Today we had to pass The Chang la Pass(Third Highest Motorable road in the world) to reach Leh. First time I experienced snowfall in my life at Chang la. I didn’t know about exact temperature but it would surely have been in negative. 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. Just imagine, our skin gets burnt if we touch the silencer in normal temperature and at that time I felt so relaxed by putting my hands on the silencer. By this you can imagine how cold it was out there. I did it a couple of times over the next two hours. At chang la everything was covered with snow. It was total white-out around chang la. We had seen snow in previous days as well in Sonmarg, zoji la, Khardung la pass but here in chang la it was much greater in quantity.

snowfall at changla pass snowfall at changla pass snowfall at changla pass

While going back towards Leh, I felt little tired so I decided to get on pillion seat with Aditya riding pulsar and Ravi was riding my bike. We met our first accident in this journey. Road was good so Aditya was riding at nominal speed of 30 – 40 kmph. In Himalayas, roads were curvy hence at a time road is visible for next couple of meters . In ladakh, roads are made in small patches hence on curvy part one can encounter bad patch suddenly as we did. 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 same on previous days. Good part was no major damage happened to bike or two of us.

We reached Leh by around 6 in the evening. Aditya was already low on confidence after accident and now we found that his mobile card got corrupt in which we had most of our pics for last three days. He felt little depressed today. Before accident he also wanted to do road trip till Manali but now he decides to take direct flight from Leh to Delhi. We tried to boost his confidence and insisted him to come with us as still lot of adventure left in this journey. After some discussion he feels positive and now agreed to come with us. But now problem was 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 limited luggage with us which was required in next two days and rest of luggage we loaded into taxi.

At hotel we met with another fellow rider who drove all the way from Trivandrum to Leh on his Pulsar 200 NS. He took 18 days to reach Leh from Trivandrum. He was a medical student and came on vacation in his two month sessional holidays, so time restriction was not an issue for him. I wish I could have that much leaves.

Day 12(23 June 2015, Tuesday), 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 still unstable. Today we crossed the TAGLANGLA PASS  (Second Highest Motorable Pass in the World, 17582 ft).

After crossing TAGLANGLA we had to wait for 40 minutes as landslides happened recently and snow got accumulated on road. Meanwhile we were sharing our experience with other bikers who were also waiting for snow clearance.

snow clearence enroute leh ladakh taglangla pass snow clearence enroute leh ladakh taglangla pass

Road till Pang was butter smooth. We enjoyed our ride on straight roads in Moore plains surrounded by tall mountains .Had our lunch at Pang, as usual limited options, had Aloo Paratha and Maggi in lunch. There at restaurant which was managed by one lady I found one thing peculiar. All sides of the room was decorated with pics of some Punjabi weeding album. Upon asked, she said some tourist forgot their album here and she found these pics beautiful so she decorated walls with these pics.

staring long road in pand leh ladakh staring long road in pand 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 next 2 hours. But when we were about to book a tent for us there, 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 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 one hour in daylight. Riding in daylight itself is a challenge and in night we 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 decided to move ahead, may be after couple of km roads will be better. Its 8 PM now and we had entered the Gata Loops, still 20 km behind Sarchu. Now we had to ride in dark. I am riding alone and Ravi riding with Aditya on pillion seat. It was complete 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 luggage was loaded on pillion seat always, so we just denied them with a smile in our whole journey. I was just concentrating on riding as the path was very challenging and it was very cold out there. 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, I asked Ravi “what the hell that man is doing at this time” and he said “Who ? There is no one out there apart from us from past one hour”. I again asked him and they told me they didn’t saw any man asking for lift. Aditya asked what happen. I just said nothing because I don’t want to make whole scene more scary at that time.

riding at night in leh ladakh

At around 9:15, finally I can see some lights at some distant location, I took a sigh a relief at that moment. Finally we reached Sarchu safely. I 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. 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 in early morning tomorrow. This is the biggest mistake I did in this journey.

I was happy that we reached safely here. Our tent was managed by one Ladakhi mother and her daughter. I saw them having a white colored soup. I asked them what is it and its recipe. ‘Its Thupka’, daughter said. “Can we try this, if you have in excess”, I asked. So apart from normal food (Maggi and Dal Rice),we had Thupka Soup (Ladakhi and Tibetan cuisine) which is made up from Yak milk butter. It looks like sweet corn soup but have different taste, little salty and creamy., Matress contains little moisture because of the dew out there, still we slept in no time after dinner as we got tired after today’s ride.

tent stay at sarchu

Day 13(24 June 2015, Wednesday), 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 have gum boots. We had normal woodland leather shoes. All icy water was inside my shoes now. It was very difficult to cross through main water stream. Even SUV cars found it very difficult to cross the stream. There was a 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 could be dangerous 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.

leh to manali highway rough roads leh to manali highway rough roads freezed lake enroute leh to manali

Its 3 PM now and still 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 the morning I completely forgot to call them, 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.

My father also told me that my manager called him yesterday and said that “Vineet is supposed to be in office from today. His phone is also unreachable. We are absconding him, when he will comeback tell him that he needs to meet the HR first before joining the project again”. My father said “What are you doing son? You are not calling us on time and roaming from past two weeks without leave approval”. I said “No worries Dad. Things are in control, I will handle all these things in Pune”. My half an hour conversation ends here and then another half an hour conversation with my manager was about to start.

Actually this absconding situation arises because when I was about to start journey on Day 1 of my journey, my manager called me and told that 10 working days leaves is not possible. You have to cut short 2-3 days atleast. It was another half an hour fight with my manager, I told him how can I change my plan at end moment, so just to end the conversation I said “Ok. I will try”. Try means affirmative for managers. So I am in a absconding status now.

It was 4:00 PM now and still our Manali target was achievable. I did rash 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 it started raining very heavily 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, one of the 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.

Had a chat with a young man there whose name is also Vineet. He is a farmer and told us the story of this small place. How people survive here in winter season. Most of their time wasted in clearing off the ice from their house and to keep the house warm. People here get productive only in summers and have to earn enough money in five months to survive for the whole year.

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

Day 14(25 June 2015, Thursday), Target- Manali —>  Woke up by 6 in the 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 have to ride only 80 km and we can easily cover it 2 to 3 hours.

No matter how much I tried to expect the unexpected, but still this journey never failed to amaze me. Everyday there is something new that makes this journey even more tough, adventurous and memorable than the day before. when we started our ride, in couple of minutes we understood that today will gonna be another tough day for us. 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 there , 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 10 minutes of struggle when we came out of slush. But I was shocked to see that this path of about 200 meters got sloshed 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. Didn’t find any tea stall or anything to take rest. No point in stopping at some random location because at that time we were struggling 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 another water crossing there. But in previous water crossing at Manali Leh highway other bikers were there to help eachother. 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 stream, where it was deep and where we need to be cautious. Now Ravi and Aditya decided to go first. Ravi was concentrating on riding and Aditya guided 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 so high that I lost balance and my bike fell down. Immediately Ravi and Aditya had to step in. My bike was not able to start now, so we had to pull it out of the stream. We all got tensed when my bike was not responding. Already we were struggling from cold and harsh temperature and running behind our schedule. We cannot afford bike failure at that moment. Finally after some carburetor setting, bike got started.

alternate route from sissu to manali

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 were 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 main road, it didn’t take 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 feet relieved. First we had local brew called Kahwa and coffee to get some warmness. In lunch as usual, we had Rajma Rice, Maggi and Momos. Met with Australian family there, who came with their two kids of age around 4-5 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 and anything can be achieve if you kept you preparation well. 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.

australian couple family in ladakh on bicycle

Reached Rohtang Pass in next one hour. 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. I found Rohtang Pass over rated in terms of its beauty and its tough path. We had already been to more beautiful places than and crossed tougher passes in our journey till now.

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.

rohtang pass rush enroute manali rohtang pass rush enroute manali rohtang pass rush enroute manali

Day 15(26 June 2015, Friday), 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 pretty bad patches on the road 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.

ladakh trip ends in manali

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. Had home made food after many days. 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 in this journey.

chandigarh to delhi leh ladakh on motorcycle

leh to delhi to pune on bike

With My Brother in Delhi

Day 16(27 June 2015, Saturday), Target- Udaipur(Route– Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Udaipur)—>  We wokeup at leisure by around 7 AM. 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. This is the first time in this journey that me and Ravi seems divided while taking any decision. I wanted to take M.P. route as we never ride there before and Ravi wants the same route which we took while coming from Pune (NH-8) as rood conditions are good there. M.P. route is 200 km shorter but road conditions there was not so good and we were already running out of time. So finally we decided to take NH-8. 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.

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. 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. 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 their family.

ladakh via beawar rajasthan on bike

After many days I had home made food yesterday, so I ate little heavy. Now my stomach taking revenge on me, I am suffering from loose motion today. First I felt it near Jaipur, so I had to stop my bike at Petrol pump. I took a tablet immediately from my medikit. But today stomach was not in mood and creating grudging sound inside so again I had to stop, this time at restaurant. Now we were riding around Udaipur at 9 PM and my stomach won’t feel pity for me and it again compelled me to stop. I keep on riding from past 15 minutes to find anything around either petrol pump or restaurant. This was the longest 15 minutes for me in this journey. After I got relief, one famous line came in my mind ‘If you want something desperately, all the universe conspires in helping you get it’. This time I entered in wedding venue on highway. There I asked one people for the toilet. Wearing thick jacket in Rajasthan hot summers, my face turned black as I was riding from past 14 hours. Well dressed People around staring at me, who the hell is he?

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 10 PM. Had Dal chapatti at dhaba in dinner and now again its time to sleep in open sky.

Day 17(28 June 2015, Sunday), 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 and there air check machine was faulty, instead of filling air it pumps out all the air from my tyre. That I felt after around 500 meter and I had to drag my bike back. There we ended up wasting our half an hour. 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.

leh ladakh via udaipur on bike

All Eyes on us

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 foot from shoe to get it relaxed 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 feet was paining 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 and asked me if there was a major injury or something. I replied ‘No, its 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. Whenever we heard all these accident stories, its normal that some negative thoughts starts coming in our mind and my leg was still paining but 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.

leh ladakh via mumbai on motorcycle

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 major 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. 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 longest ride in a single day till now.

foot swelling on long ride leh ladakh

Day 18(29 June 2015, Monday), 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 as well. 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 morning I had to join office and we were in Vasai now, no worries we can join office in afternoon. We started our ride at around 7:30. 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.

pune to ladakh on bike via rajasthan

On reaching Pune, its time for personal glory. Ended our journey from where we started, Ravi’s flat. Feels like 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 covered 7 states and 2 UT in our whole journey. We congratulated each other for safe and successful journey.

pune leh pune on motorcycle 4000 miles journey

While writing this blog, I realized how dangerous was this journey. But with god’s grace, I am back in one piece otherwise anything could have gone wrong on such a long road trip. I did not had to abandon road at any point of time. Now I am wondering that when I will have a road trip like this again. Not sure of exact time, but soon I will be on road again with longer and more adventurous journey.

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 !

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.

Another line from one of my favourite song ‘The Nights’

One Day you’ll leave this world behind, So live a life that you will remember..

Cheers !! Ride Safe.

Signing Off

V

Places to visit in leh ladakh travel guide Pangong lake

Things To Do At Pangong Lake, How To Reach-Complete Travel Guide

Pangong Lake is World’s Highest Salt water lake situated at height of 14270 feet.Lake is around 160 km long of which only 1/3 part is in India, rest 2/3 in china.Undoubtedly it is the most beautiful place in the country right now, till over crowding tourism diminish its fragile beauty.It is the place where you can find nature at its best.Lake is so clean that you can see reflection of clouds in water clearly.Because of reflection of clear sky as well, whole reflection of lake comes out as of blue color.Whole surrounding is very colorful, blue lake, white and brown colored mountains.En route to lake, don’t forget to see endemic rare species Marmot.You can also see migratory birds Bar headed goose and brahmini ducks around the lake.This place is so beautiful in photographs that you might doubt about it.But when you reach the place it will definitely amaze you by its beauty and tranquility .All I can about this place is that beauty of this place will stay in your thoughts for as long as you live in this world.

Pangong Lake is around 160 kms from Leh.Journey from Leh to Pangong lake is quite rough but quite scenic at the same time.When I reached the lake after 7 hours of tough bike ride, suddenly all pain got vanished with its single view.I visited lake in june 2015 during my journey of 6506 km of bike ride from Pune to ladakh

Things to do at Pangong lake:

1) Night stay in camps near Pangong Lake, do campfire and barbecue.Home stay option is also available here. But i would recommend camp stay , specially near Pangong lake, it has its own charm.

Pangong Lake travel guide camp leh ladakhPangong Lake travel guide home stay leh ladakh

2) Even though temperature will gonna be very low at pangong lake specially in night and morning, maybe around 0 degree celcius and you don’t want to come out of your blanket in camp. You will be amazed by seeing the galaxy picturesque in clear sky.Sky looks near to you at night, you can see sparkling stars very clearly unlike in our polluted metro cities.You even don’t want to break your sleep at early morning time but Its worth to see sunrise here.

Pangong Lake travel guide things to do leh ladakh

3) Don’t forget to stop some 10 km before pangong lake while coming from Leh.You will witness rare endemic species ‘Mormot‘. Lives in pot holes, but in daytime they usually come out of their potholes.You will find some sign boards en route stating ‘Stop here to see rare endemic species Mormot’.

Pangong Lake travel guide Marmot leh ladakhPangong Lake travel guide Marmot leh ladakh

4) Even if you are not a professional photographer or  don’t have a high quality camera, just take as many pictures,selfies as you can from your normal camera.This place is so beautiful that even random clicks will look beautiful.If you will come from your own vehicle, park your vehicle near the lake.Definitely you want to  capture the pride moment to ride to the highest saltwater lake in the world.Whenever you see your Ladakh trip pictures in future, you will gonna miss Pangong lake most.

Pangong Lake travel guide how to reach leh ladakh

5) You might experience snowfall at chang la pass while going pangong lake from Leh. Me and my friend who visited chang la after one month of my visit, we both experienced snowfall there.Even if snowfall will not occur, this is the place where you can find maximum amout of snow and ice.Apart from road, you will find snow as far as your eye could see. Stop there for a while, have a tea or soup at Army cafeteria,click some pics with milestone showing that you are on World’s third highest motorable road.

Pangong Lake travel guide changla leh ladakh

6) You will feel cold out there and you will find nobody there taking a dip in lake.Tourist starts leaving pangong lake after morning sunrise as they have to reach leh before sunset.But before going back to Leh, do take a dip in pangong lake, trust me it will be fun.You will feel cold after a dip, but this coldness is temporary.If your body catches cold easily and your immunity system is weak, then do not try this.you will gonna ruin your remaining journey.

7) Blue water Pangong lake turns into ice sheet in winters. If you love adventurous trekking, then you might wanna come here for a walk on ice or ice skating.

8) A typical traveller to Ladakh notices a lot of miniature stupas at every nook and corner of this trans-Himalayan region. These are not the typical relic stupas that are very well known for their religious significance.  Instead, these are the votive stupas that look like a stone pyramid , constructed by the locals to commemorate their visits or to gain spiritual benefits. Locals keep sacred texts and other goods of religious importance like a prayer bowl or a prayer wheel inside these votive stupas as offerings. These votive stupas are found across the entire region of Ladakh.If not then you will definitely find some of these around Pangong lake.Make your own stone pyramid out there and give your offerings to lord Bhudha.

Pangong Lake travel guide how to reach leh ladakh

How To Reach Pangong Lake:

You can reach Pangong Lake through four routes.I am going to discuss both here.

Start your day early to reach Pangong Lake so that you can reach there early and enjoy the lake till evening. There are couple of attractions en route as well which you can enjoy like enjoying coffee in snowfall at changla pass or spend some time with rare species Marmot.

1)Pangong Lake from Leh via Changla Pass:

From Leh, Pangong lake is around 160 Km and route passes through world’s third highest motorable pass ‘Changla Pass’.You can cover Thicksey, Hemis and Shey monasteries while going through this route.Best and cheapest way to travel in ladakh is by bike.If you are directly coming leh from flight, then you can hire a motorcycle on rent.Riding a bike on some of the world’s toughest roads have its own adventure.If you are not comfortable to ride a motorcycle, then you can hire taxi from leh itself.If you are in group of four or more people than hiring a taxi would be nominal for you.If you are a solo traveller you can consider taxi on sharing basis or you can consider public bus transport, but frequency of buses is very limited.

2)Pangong Lake directly from Nubra Valley via Shyok route

Diskit –>Khalsar (19 KM) –> Agham (31 KM) –> Shyok Village (48 KM) –>Durbuk (18 KM) –> Tangste (9 KMs) –> Lukung (34 KM) –> Spangmik (16 KM) = 175 KM

If you covered Nubra Valley on your day 1, then instead of going back to leh from Nubra Valley, you can directly come to Pangong Lake via shyok route from Nubra valley.But later route is very fragile and roads conditions are very poor. You won’t find any help on this route. You can take the same Shyok route if you already covered Pangong Lake in your first day to reach Nubra valley.Try shyok route only when you are well prepared, if some vehicle failure occur on this route then you should be in a position to fix it.Below is the route map of ladakh region showing the distance between important places and also mentioning how much time it will take from one place  to another which totally depends on road conditions.Lesser time between two points means roads conditions are good.

3)Pangong Lake directly from Nubra Valley through Wari La

Route goes via mighty Wari La pass, one of the most remotest passes of the Ladakh region and takes about 11-12 Hrs again depending upon number of interim breaks you take. The route is long and rough and hence require you to leave very early from Nubra Valley, so that you reach Pangong Tso (Lukung or Spangmik) before sun goes down. If you are planning via Wari La route then keep confirming from the BRO posts that come by to check the road conditions ahead. It is extremely remote region and you will hardly find any tourist or vehicle going past by you. Hence, in case required, help would be long to find. You need to mention Wari La on your permit form in order to under take this route. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Diskit  – Khalsar (19 KMs) – Agham (31 KMs) – Tangyar (11 KMs) – Wari La (28 KMs) – Tathok (25 KMs) – Sakti (4 KMs) – Chang La (34 KMs) – Durbuk (32 KMs) – Tangste (9 KMs) – Lukung (34 KMs) – Spangmik (16 KMs) = 243 KMs

Do not attempt this route in early season because, first it might not be open being low on priority for BRO and second roads are not stabilized in early season. So, being remote again help might be hard to find. You also need to carry spare fuel from Leh to cover about 425 – 475 KMs because many a times the petrol/diesel is not available at Diskit, Nubra Valley petrol pump and you will be covering Leh – Nubra Valley – Wari La – Pangong Tso – Leh without any other petrol pump.

4)Route from Tso Moriri to Pangong Lake

Well you want to do the same in opposite direction, i.e. from Pangong lake to Tso Moriri.There exist a route between Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso as well and in most general cases, you will always be doing it from other way around that is from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri because you can exit Ladakh from Tso Moriri towards Manali – Leh Highway after visiting Pangong Tso without coming back to Leh and secondly, Tso Moriri is higher than Pangong Tso so as per acclimatization schedule you must stay near Pangong Tso before spending night at Tso Moriri.The route  with distance between the subsequent places mentioned below:

Tso Moriri (Korzok) – Sumdo (53 KM) – Mahe (10 KM) – Nyoma (25 KM) – Loma (22 KM) – Tsaga Village (23 KM) – Tsaga La (20 KM) – Chusul (33 KM) – Kakstet (24 KM) – Merak (4 KM) – Man (12 KM) – Spangmik (9 KM) = 235 KM

Though highly unlikely but if at all you are doing in this order then you also need to carry spare fuel from Leh or Karu to cover about 600 – 700 KM because you will be covering Leh -Tso Moriri – Nyoma – Loma – Pangong Tso – Leh without any other petrol pump.

Well normal route to reach Pangong lake is from leh only. Other routes (from 2 to 4) are routes comes under places which are very less traveled. Hence you will find less people on route hence less help.Paths are pretty fragile, so you need to be careful regarding the same.Travel through these routes only with proper preparation.You should know your vehicle and able to fix it, if any failure happens.

Food Options At Pangong Lake

Well in terms of food options, Pangong Lake is no exception. You can find basically five items for tourist which you can find in Ladakh region.

  1. Aloo Paratha
  2. Dal Rice, either dal makhni or rajma
  3. Bread Omlet
  4. Maggi
  5. Momos

Apart from that you can try their local food as well specially in home stay which i featured in my Things To do in Nubra valley Post

Do checkout the below maps of ladakh region to understand all the routes.

leh Ladakh mapleh Ladakh map

(Pics credit: http://devilonwheels.com)

Vegetation and wildlife near the lake:

Due to the saltiness in the water of the lake, there is very less micro-vegetation. There are no fish or other aquatic life in the lake, except for some small crustaceans. However, numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface can be spotted in plenty. There are some species of scrub and perennial herbs that grow in the marshes around the lake.

The lake serves as an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks are commonly spotted around this region. A number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the Marmot can also be seen here.

Conclusion

It is a great place to visit and I am sure if you visit Ladakh, this one surely is not the place you would like to exclude from your plan. I hope the above information will be useful for your upcoming Leh – Ladakh trip.

Feel free to post your queries in comments.For more Ladakh experience you should visit my travelogue on my Leh Ladakh Road trip on my bike journey of 6505 Kms

There are other spectacular places to visit in leh ladakh

I would love to hear your comments and would be glad to assist anyone who is planning to explore ladakh.

Nubra valley Diskit travel guide leh ladakh

Things to do in Nubra Valley, How to reach : Complete travel guide

North of Leh across the Khardung La (pass) at 5,578 metres along the highest motorable road in the world is the Nubra Valley.The origin of the desert is supposed to be from the Tethis Sea from the depths of which the Himalayas are said to have risen.I visited Nubra valley on my bike road trip of 6506 kms from Pune to Ladakh.Here i am going to tell you things to do in Nubra Valley,How to reach there,complete travel guide.

You can enjoy camel safari on bactrian camel with double hump back, an endemic species of camel which you can find only in ladakh.You have to cross through World’s toughest roads to reach Nubra valley.As i said Ladakh is all about its adventurous journey. You have to cross Highest civilian motorable road in the world, Khardung la pass situated at a height of 18378 feet.It is considered as mecca for bike riders like Mt Everest for mountain climbers.

Things to do in Nubra Valley– 1) Camel ride on nominal costs of around 200 per person.

NUBRA VALLEY DISKIT LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDENUBRA VALLEY DISKIT LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDE

2) Enjoy the local cultural dance at Hunder sand dunes, again at nominal costs of 50 per person.

3) Famous for its sulphur hot springs, Panamik is a village that is nestled very close to the Siachen glacier, the highest battle field in the world. Located around 20 km north from Hunder, the village of Panamik in Nubra Valley attracts travelers from all over the world who come to take a dip in the hot sulphur springs of the village.These hot springs have high amount of sulphur in them and it is believed to have medicinal properties which can cure rheumatism and other ailments.

NUBRA VALLEY LEH LADAKH Panamik sulphur hot springsNUBRA VALLEY LEH LADAKH Panamik sulphur hot springs

4)Panamik is a good place to buy Pashmina shawls and woolen socks. Dry fruits like walnuts and almonds are sold at a very reasonable price in this village. It is important to keep in mind that there are no ATMs in Nubar Valley, so the only option is to carry enough cash before leaving from Leh.

5)Roam around picturesque village Diskit. It has a monastery which is largest and oldest Buddhist monastery in Nubra Valley and houses a 106 feet tall Maitrey Buddha statue in Diskit. There is Lachung Temple as well which is quite close to monastery.

leh ladakh road trip nubra valleyNUBRA VALLEY DISKIT LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDE

6) Night stay in camps on sand dunes in hunder surround by cold desert and icy mountains.You can find camps from 500 to 3000 INR varying in comfort level.If you don’t want to stay in camps, then you can find cheap hotels at hunder and diskit as well.

NUBRA VALLEY DISKIT camp stay LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDENUBRA VALLEY DISKIT camp stay LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDE

                                  Luxury camp stay at Nubra Valley

NUBRA VALLEY DISKIT camp stay LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDENUBRA VALLEY DISKIT camp stay LEH LADAKH TRAVEL GUIDE

                               Budget camp stay at Nubra Valley

Things to do at Khardung la pass– Well there is nothing much to do at Khardung la pass because it is not advisable to stay there beyond 20 mins, as oxygen density is very less in atmosphere.Take some selfies with sign boards stating ‘You are on a highest motorable road in the world’ to capture your glorious pride moments. There is an buddhist temple at Khardung la, but there is nothing special about it.You can get a medical facility at army base camp at Khardung la if you are facing any respiratory issue, which is quite common there.

Ladakh bike road trip Khardung la PassNUBRA VALLEY LEH LADAKH KHARDUNG LA TEMPLE

How to reach Nubra Valley -Of course there is no mode of transport via air or rail to reach directly Nubra Valley.Closest airport to Nubra valley is Leh which is around 150 km away from Nubra valley.Only mode of transport is by road.You can reach Nubra Valley either from Leh via Khardung la pass which is most common and safest route.Or if you covered Pangong lake on your day 1, then instead of going back to leh from Pangong, you can directly come to nubra valley via shyok route from Pangong lake.But later route is very fragile and roads conditions are very poor. You won’t find any help on this route. Try later route only when you are well prepared, if some vehicle failure occur on this route then you should be in a position to fix it.Below is the route map of ladakh region showing the distance between important places and also mentioning how much time it will take from one place  to another which totally depends on road conditions.Lesser time between two points means roads conditions are good.

Ladakh mapLadakh map

Best and cheapest way to travel in ladakh is by bike.If you are directly coming leh from flight, then you can hire a motorcycle on rent.Riding a bike on some of the world’s toughest roads have its own adventure.If you are not comfortable to ride a motorcycle, then you can hire taxi from leh itself.If you are in group of four or more people than hiring a taxi would be nominal for you.If you are a solo traveller you can consider taxi on sharing basis or you can consider public bus transport, but frequency of buses is very limited.

Food options in Nubra valley :- The popular dishes include Sku, a soup made with vegetables, mutton and flour; Sattu (ground gram powder) Pava and Khambir, a type of local bread. You can get normal vegetarian food options as well like dal rice,panner and all.

Kashmiri dishes commonly served as part of a grand feast or Wazawan are Roghan Josh or mutton stew, Yakhni (fried ribs), Goshtaba (fried meat balls), Rista (rice balls with meat) and Marchwangan Korma (hot mutton curry served with rice and naan).

For more Ladakh experience you can visit my journey of 6506 km on bike from Pune to Ladakh

For any queries please comment below.

Leh Ladakh Road Trip – Pune To Ladakh on bike

Leh Ladakh road trip consider 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 bikers but for all those who loves to travel.I have experienced a different aspect of traveling.Experience and lessons which I learned from this road trip would never be the same if I would have 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 go on 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 any 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 I dropped my idea to ride from pune to Ladakh. But while preparing for the trip, riding 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 prepare.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), Bike Gloves and knee guards, bungee cords etc.Later on,while riding 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  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 make 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 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.

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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’.

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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).

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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.

Leh Ladakh Road Trip Leh Ladakh Images

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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