Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Spectacle that is Laddakh! - Gettin Leh'd! (Day 2)

1. Day 2- 12 June 2011 ( Manali to Darcha 138Kms)  Second day, we were advised by the Hotel staff to leave as early as possible to reach Rohtang pass as he feared  that it was the peak tourist season and there would be kms long traffic on the route. So, without having much required rest, we both woke up at around  0330 hrs only to find that it was raining heavily. It was an unexpected rain and it continued till 0800 hrs in the morning. So, on the brighter side we had that much needed rest. At break fast, we were cautioned by the staff again about the condition of the road after the rain. Apparently the road to Rohtang was a mix of black tarmac and rubble ( kachcha track). The rubble part now would have gotten absolutely muddy. Anyways, we started our ride by around 1000 hrs that day. We intended to reach Sarchu which was around 220 kms. The moment we left Manali, the landscape around us started to change dramatically and before we knew we were riding in an absolute dream. I couldnt help but stopping frequently to click pictures and record videos. Abhinav on the other hand was'nt much of a camera friendly guy, so he continued ahead of me. Within an hour of our ride we both got separated.What made matter worst was that there was no mobile coverage in that area. Regardless of that we both continued and finally met at Rohtang Pass. As we expected, there was a long queue of four wheelers before Rohtang Pass. We somehow managed to squeeze through them and through the mud and slush all over the road. Rohtang was as beautifull as we had heard. Summers had cleared the snow from the roads but there was snow all around  it was a sight to behold. All the effort and  hardwork was paid off with just a view of that place!

Morning Sunshine after the Rain.

Packing Underway.
Enroute Rohtang.

This is the Best We Could Find at Rohtang
                                                                                                       Our Lunch

2. By around 1300 hrs, after taking a light lunch at Rohtang, we started to descend. Rohtang can be called as the last point where the civilization exists in its modern form. As soon as we crossed Rohtang, it suddenly became frighteningly isolated and the demography was something out of this world! There were absolutely no roads, no houses, not even animals till as far as we could see.  Somehow we descended into Gramphu, which was a small village with hardly any population. From here on we had entered the Lahual valley of Himachal Pradesh. We then reached Tandi which has the only Petrol pump after Manali till Leh. That is, the only one in around 400 Kms. We got our bikes filled and colle
cted some extra in Jericans. The road was still in a bad shape mostly covered with rubble mud and slush . It was a very tough riding day and it got even worst when Abhinav lost one of his bags which somehow got loose and dropped somewhere enroute. We spent around an hour trying to look for it riding back some distance. Meanwhile my condition my cold was getting worst too. Headache had been with me since Rohtang. It was only  the overwhelming excitement generated by the stunning surroundings that kept me going and ignorant of the discomfort i was having. By the time it got dark we had managed to reach Darcha, another small village with few Dhabas. We had coverd only 138 kms that day against the targeted 220 kms. We both were tired as hell and Abhinav's mood was spoiled as he lost a lot of his clothes and some of his daily need items. So we decided to halt there for the night. We had dinner at one of the dhabas and found a room there only for Rs 300 for the night. Darcha had the population coming all the way from Leh for these 3-4 months when the route is open for the toursits. In 2011, this route ( Manali- Leh) was not in a good shape as it is today. Only bikers and some of the SUVs could actually dare to go through this route. Also, the presence of basic repair shops, dhabas or shelters was very scarce as compared to present times. So it was truly far more adventurous then than it is today. 

Midway - This is Where he Left His Bag Loosely Tied After Openeing it Up for Something.

Abhinav still Mourning his Stuff at Dinner

TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT BLOG ..                                                    PREVIOUS BLOG

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