1. Intro. I was intorduced to the magical world of biking early in the year 2011 when I bought the Yamaha R15 V1. With my very first trip to Laddkah, I learnt the nuances of biking the hard way. Since then I did many trips across central and north India but the most eagerly awaited trip was the revisit to the Laddkah valley. My friend and fellow rider during the Laddakh trip in June 2011, Abhinav, had done the same trip for three consecutive years since 2011 with different fellow riders! Hats off to him for managing that! I on other hand, did try to accompany them every year but could'nt manage my leave with their's. Finally, in 2014, I planned in advance and made sure that I get leave in June/July. I got in touch with Abhinav and told him my plan to do the trip agian, this time in July. He expressed his willingness but a lot had changed for him in three years. He now had a girl friend, Paranshu, whom I also knew as a friend and who wanted to accompany Abhinav in this trip. So, he planned to get her along as a pillon and he also suggested that this time we should make the trip much better in every way. So just then Spiti valley came to my mind. My sister, who is a wildlife conservationist, visited Spiti valley for few months for one of her projects and mentioned about the place to me. I wacthed videos on Youtube following some of the famous biking groups and there was a lot of buzz about the majestic Spiti valley bieng a biker's paradise those days. So I suggested adding Spiti also to our trip and increase the duration to 15-16 days. Adding Spiti would mean adding another 2000 odd Kilometers to our trip. Plus, Spiti was still an unexplored part of the country and less was known about it. Over the next few days we did some research on it and the more we learnt and saw, we got more excited about Spiti. The incredibly stunning Key Monastry at an altitude of 4166m (13,668 ft) and the world's highest motarable village, Komik seemed to beckon us. It was an unanimous and super excited 'yes' from all three of us! Over the years, riding in all kinds of roads and terrian, we were prepared for any kind of challenge and so this time we did not need much time to gear up for the ride. However, I was much better equiped this time with the saddle bags and the tank bag on my bike. I did buy a Sony HDR AS30V ation cam to record the ride. The camera came with a helmet mount and i managed a bike mount as an option. Abhinav and Paranshu were to start from Delhi and myself from Jalandhar, where is was posted then. We planned to meet up somewhere after crossing Chandigarh, on the Himalayan Express way to Shimla. The route we decided was as follows:-
Delhi/Jalandhar- Shimla - Narkanda- Reckong Peo -Nako - Kaza - Losar- Gramphu - Keylong- Sarchu- Pang- Leh - Drass- Srinagar- Udhampur- Jalandhar/Delhi.
We kept a total of 16 days with One complete day for Kaza and four days in Leh to go around Khardung La and Pangong Tso. The total distance was somewhere around 4000 Kms. It was by far the grandest of trips we had ever done! A fitting one to pay our respects and tribute to the grandeur of mother nature in those remote parts of the country!
|Bike Mounted Sony Action Cam.|
|Helmet Mounted Action Cam|
|Abhinav & Paranshu|
2. Day 1 - 3rd July 2014. (Jalandhar/Delhi - Shimla 346/216 Kms) It was a similar feeling I had three years ago. A sleepless night and butterflies filled stomach with the first light of the day hitting the curtains. I had done the major loading of my bike previous night before sleeping and only minor things were left. When I looked outside to check on the weather, I realised it was very cloudy. By around 0545 hrs, I was ready to start for what was going to be the mother of all bike rides! And just then rain god decided to make the ride even more special. It started to drizzle as I left jalandhar cantt. All my luggage was waterproofed and since it was the pleasant summer rain, I didnt bother putting on rain proof gear myself. It was the first apportunity for me to test the waterproof claims of my Sony action cam. As soon as I left the cantt road and hit the Jalandhar - Chandigarh highway, it started to pour down heavily. The open, smooth road with minimum traffic at that point of the day and the rain made it a perfect start of the trip. I had to cross few water logged areas before reaching Chandigarh but i could comfortably reach Chnadigarh by 0800 hrs. At any other time of the day crossing Chandigarh would have been a exhaustive job but I did it with ease. By around 0930 hrs I reached the huge toll outside Chandigarh which read 'The Himalayan Expressway'. The toll, by its looks, promised the road to be an absolute dream to ride on. And it felt that way for around 10 Kms after crossing the toll after which I was back to same old narrower mountain road with busy traffic where one has to stick perfectly to his lane and one small mistake could be life threatening. I travelled for around 5 kms after leaving the point which marked the end of so called 'expressway' and also the end of the rain. I decided to wait for Abhinav and Paranshu there while drying up myself. The couple on their first bike ride together, were however riding quite casually. I remember Paranshu mentioning her desire to do such a trip with us many times before. So I could imagine her excitement and also Abhinav's nervousness to carry a pillon and all the other stuff. By around 1230 hrs a Royal Enfield entered the scene and there they were. It was around 1 and a half years back that we three last met. We exchaged greetings, I complained of them bieng late and Abhinav justoified his bieng extra cautious while carrying Paranshu along with both thier stuff. We continued ahead soon and stopped at a Domino's near by. We had a lot of catching up to do about our lives while having our brunch. As we left Domino's, it started to pour down again !!
|A Masterpiece by Paranshu|
1. TRAVELLER DEEPAK - THE OPENER.
2. A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO TRAVEL.
3. THE SPECTACLE THAT IS LADDAKH! GETTIN LEH'D ! (JUNE2011)