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Old 11th September 2013, 22:03   #16
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Default Re: A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh

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Originally Posted by John View Post
@Insearch, awesome TL mate. What a coincidence - we were at Kardhung La at the exact same time as you were there. I saw the AP registered bike and I also saw one of you sitting in the front seat of an Innova looking a bit sick (AMS problems?).
Wow that sure is a co-incidence! The man in the Innova was Harinder, resting after changing the foot rest and putting it into place with a hammer. Winded,he decided to get a break from the diesel fumes and get some cleaner air inside the closed Innova.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy_u View Post
Hi Insearch,

just what the Doctor Ordered , for a nice fresh start to the week post festivals,very nicely written with crisp details, I have already asked you some of the questions so for now i will continue to enjoy your travelogues.

some question though for the above post on petrol cans
1.did you carry then or bought them on the way
2.what was done post your trip
3.can you share pics on how did you secure it to the bike
4.is it legally allowed
5.any specific process to be followed
Answers in same sequence:

1. No, we bought the Can from the local market in Leh.
2. We discarded/donated them. They are not very expensive.
3. Luckily we had the Innova with us and dumped them into the boot. If you plan to travel 600 odd kilometres without a petrol pump, you will need to install some carrier on your bike, like a Ladakh Pannier.
4. Every biker in those parts carries some petrol with him/her. I cannot even imagine someone objecting to them.
5. I love your style, you are thorough . No process to be followed, just the basic precaution that the can should not be too thin as it may crumble under the weight of the petrol or it's base may not withstand the constant bumps, rubbing against a hard iron base of the panniers. Also once you fill it with petrol and shut the lid, make it lie down so that the petrol wells up against the cap and you can check for leakages.

In addition carry a long piece of pipe, which has the same gauge as the connecting pipes on your bike. In case some pipe on your bike cracks or breaks, you can replace it with a piece from this reserve pipe, as well as use it for transferring petrol from the can to the petrol tank.

Regards.

Last edited by Insearch : 11th September 2013 at 22:08. Reason: adding comments
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Old 12th September 2013, 13:46   #17
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Default Re: A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh

Awesome stuff Mate! I like such kind of trips with wavelength matching friends even if just one. And to rome around the country side without any stress or meticulous plans to meet.

Cheers to your TL man!

One question - I liked your stove. Which one is it? What's the price?

Best,
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Old 12th September 2013, 14:08   #18
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That's one helluva travelogue! Nice pics of this awesome place! I gotta do it too.
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Old 12th September 2013, 16:35   #19
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I was to join anurag in this ride,however had to dropout due to critical situation at office in last moment. Hats off to anurag for planning all minute details with precision ,no wonder they could complete the trip comfortably.
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Old 12th September 2013, 22:55   #20
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Originally Posted by TheG2 View Post
Awesome stuff Mate! I like such kind of trips with wavelength matching friends even if just one. And to rome around the country side without any stress or meticulous plans to meet.

Cheers to your TL man!

One question - I liked your stove. Which one is it? What's the price?

Best,
Thanks for reading.
It is easily available and uses butane cylinders which will run for about 90 minutes per cylinder. We had carried 6 cylinders and these are also easy to procure. If nothing else, many welding shops will also stock them.
It gives a strong flame as long as you can protect it from the wind and heats water fast. You should be able to get it for less than 2000 if you do some local search. In case you wish to order it online, here is a link: http://www.junglee.com/Campingaz-203...=camping+stove

By the way there is a thread devoted to this topic, it is titled, "Cooking in the wilderness, what kind of stove?". And if you want to just click away, here is the link: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ind-stove.html (Cooking in the wilderness, what kind of stove?)


Quote:
Originally Posted by MindSpeeDs View Post
That's one helluva travelogue! Nice pics of this awesome place! I gotta do it too.
Like some one said, "Hurry! Seek your happiness, for the fruit of an undernourished tree cannot be sweet." So I urge you likewise, to find the time and water your roots. (If you know what I mean )

Quote:
Originally Posted by rm_arjuna View Post
I was to join anurag in this ride,however had to dropout due to critical situation at office in last moment. Hats off to anurag for planning all minute details with precision ,no wonder they could complete the trip comfortably.
Yes, It would have been lovely to travel together. But there will be a next time, God willing. I still remember our first meeting at CCD, Inorbit mall, and the sparkle in your eyes. Well, you had the right reasons to opt out, so take it easy man!


And now back to the Nubra valley leg of the travelogue: We had arrived in Hunder and instead of heading straight for our camp, we decided to first do some sight seeing and then go and relax for the evening at the camp.

Again I will let the photographs do most of the talking:

Arriving at the dunes, we just stared at the landscape and the double hump camels
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-camel-line-up.jpg

People were having fun, riding the camels, though we could not bring ourselves to ride the poor beasts
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-camel-ride.jpg

The contrasts were mind blowing: For Example: Sand contrasted with the greens being grazed by the herd
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-see-what-you-like.jpg

And the camels contrasted against the snow peaks (See mountain top)
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-snow-sand.jpg

We had a wonderful time and also witnessed a mild sand storm.
You can choose what you want to look at, in this snap (foreground or back ground ). He is not constipated, it is just the sand, getting into his mouth and eyes.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sandhir.jpg

After this, we rode on, and within a couple of kilometres arrived at our camp, which was very close to the river bed and had wild greenery. It was mostly vacant and we were given a free choice from all the tents for the night. We chose those two, which were right at the back and secluded. In the snap below you can also see the table in the right hand corner, where we settled down to enjoy the moments of daylight.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-2-tents.jpg

We ordered some pakodas and tea, and took out the playing cards, to continue from where we had left the last evening. If you notice, there is a small speaker lying on the table. This bluetooth speaker had been a wonderful asset, and at this point it is playing Jagjit Singh's Ghazals. Not much to my liking, but I had many other good things to focus on.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-4-friends.jpg

As dusk fell in we took a few snaps before moving to the dining hall for dinner
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-dusk.jpg

A close up to capture the colours
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-dusk-falls.jpg

The place was being served by a skeletal staff since there were hardly any guests. Still there was a 3 course dinner for us which we all enjoyed for a variety of reasons: Nubra valley is at a lower level as compared to Leh and hence the mild headaches we had, had disappeared. And it had been a short, comfortable journey and the the accomodation was pleasant with all the attention of the staff on us.

night falls
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-night-falls.jpg


We spent the rest of the evening taking details from Rajan for the next leg. He is the most experienced traveller amongst us and had a load of information to share. I had a slightly upset stomach and a medicine that Rajan had, worked it's wonders on me.
Eventually, we got into our beds. Thinking about the day and some of the great sights that we had witnessed, like the one below.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-lone-biker.jpg

Tomorrow, we would be heading to the legendary Pangong Tso, centre piece and core of the photography of many Ladakh threads. I wondered, if it would live up to the promise of it's beauty...? Peaceful night and blissfull sleep proceeded.

Last edited by Insearch : 12th September 2013 at 23:25.
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Old 12th September 2013, 23:09   #21
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Originally Posted by Insearch View Post

Like some one said, "Hurry! Seek your happiness, for the fruit of an undernourished tree cannot be sweet." So I urge you likewise, to find the time and water your roots. (If you know what I mean )
.
the seed has been sown many moons ago, need to work on the water and nutrients part
I have to do this place be it on four/two wheels or by any other means!

lovely bunch of new pics!

Last edited by MindSpeeDs : 12th September 2013 at 23:11.
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Old 13th September 2013, 01:35   #22
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Default Re: A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh

Anurag... Lovely TL and congrats for doing it on the RE TB 500.

Very beautifully written and captured. Love the pictures.

Have sort out time for myself and start to head on and plan for such trips. Too much is too bad!

Anurag.
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Old 13th September 2013, 14:48   #23
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Fabulous trip log and photography. Love the rusty tones of the mountains.

For anyone planning a photo tour on the Manali route, here ias a perfect guide to shoot in the Summer Months.

The violet flowers blew my mind away.

I can hear the thumps of the Thunder Birds as I see the pictures.

Well documented ride.

Thank you guys.

Amazing !!
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Old 14th September 2013, 11:49   #24
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Originally Posted by MindSpeeDs View Post
the seed has been sown many moons ago, need to work on the water and nutrients part
I have to do this place be it on four/two wheels or by any other means!

lovely bunch of new pics!
Well, than it is just a matter of time/timing. Good luck! Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Anurag... Lovely TL and congrats for doing it on the RE TB 500.

Very beautifully written and captured. Love the pictures.

Have sort out time for myself and start to head on and plan for such trips. Too much is too bad!

Anurag.
Thanks Anurag. Good luck to you too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post
Fabulous trip log and photography. Love the rusty tones of the mountains.

For anyone planning a photo tour on the Manali route, here ias a perfect guide to shoot in the Summer Months.

The violet flowers blew my mind away.

I can hear the thumps of the Thunder Birds as I see the pictures.

Well documented ride.

Thank you guys.

Amazing !!
Thanks for the kind words. I will be bringing in the next leg over the afternoon, today.

Regards.
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Old 14th September 2013, 18:45   #25
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The next morning we got up before 6 a.m. It was a peacefully quiet morning. No wind, no birds chirping, and I could hear myself breathe.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-morning-hunder.jpg


A light breakfast and we were off early.
The sunrise reaches the valley
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sunrise-valley.jpg

A distant monastery with sunrays bouncing off the sitting Buddha and mountain face.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sitting-budha.jpg

We made a last stop to just take in the landscape. We were sure that we would never encounter anything like this again.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-moonland.jpg

Slowly we started to climb up and away from the valley. While this may not be the best example, the next 3 snaps are there to just give you an idea of the sheer vastness of most places in these regions.

Snapped with a zoom. You can see the temple/Gompa and army quarters with a cow standing next to them:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-scale-1.jpg

And now with a slight zoom out, you still see the Gompa with the army quarters in white:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-scale-2.jpg

Do you still see the barracks? I am sure you can spot the Gompa: (They are just behind it)
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-scale-3.jpg

The above three photographs have been taken from the same spot, hence the angle remains unchanged.

We spotted a variety of birds. Most were so distant that it was not easy to take a good snap. Some were very well camouflaged, like this ground bird, with it's two chicks:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-bird-chicks.jpg

Riding up and away from the river:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-2-bikers-rocks.jpg

I was intrigued by the material that formed the mountains in these parts. It was clear that over thousands of years the river had dug deep into the soil, and changed it's course. Leaving behind river beds, which appeared to be mountains now. Look at the photograph below, the rounded rocks embedded into a sandy soil speak of their history:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-mountain-reverbed.jpg

The terrain started changing as we rose up and moved into a different valley. From sand the mountain surfaces became sheer rock face, with various colors, varying from brown, to purple in some places and a sprinkling of greens.

Crossing a rivulet:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-water-crossing.jpg

This was our first, real water crossing which was about a foot deep at it's deepest. I can feel the smiles of many Ladakh veterans as they read this. But for us it was our first water challenge. Harinder got his shoes wet here (his shoes were not water proof), though he never took them off the foot rests. More on this in the next post.

Crossing a heard of sheep:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sheep-sky.jpg


Once again there was a perceptible change in the landscape and we entered a valley, which had clearly been green in May and June, but now the night chill seemed to be withering the grass away. The road disappeared from view, into the valley in front of me, as if respecting my wish to enjoy the valley completely, without the view of human interventions (the road itself and the idea of destinations).
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-valley-stretch.jpg


Passing through this valley, I had a strange feeling of timeless joy and had this fleeting thought at the back of my mind: I wish I could flutter away into the wind and be nothing visible, but a part of this scape.

Well, we did move on. The weather was getting colder and we knew we were closing in on Chang La Pass. We could spot Yaks and Marmots on the sides. The marmots are the size of a mongoose, but with a much shorter tail. Here is a close up, look at the front claws:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-marmot-claws.jpg

Long lost brothers hugging each other and crying out to the lord?
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-marmots-together.jpg


Sandhir wanted a photograph with the Yak in the back ground. He looked menacing and was not too comfortable with humans venturing into his grazing space. Looking up once, he sized us up and went back to grazing.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-only-yak.jpg

With one eye on the Yak, and one on Sandhir and Harinder, I clicked this one. If you notice carefully, you can see that Sandhir is not actually smiling, he has just stretched his lips to make them look like a smile. Mumbling through his teeth, he was asking me if he should make a run for it .
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sandhir-yak.jpg


One more valley comes up:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-green-patch-far.jpg


I had my first and only fall on these beautiful meandering roads. Heading into one corner, I could not spot the loose gravel on the road. It was basically small grains of Tar, which blended into the road unlike sand or stones. By the time my eyes differentiated it from the road, it was too late to break properly. My rear wheel skidded out from the line I was travelling, as I tried to bring the front wheel into the same line. I almost had the control of the bike back, but by then the front wheel had gone off the road. And hence, just as I regained the balance, the front tyre plunged into a heap of sand and brought the whole bike to a sudden halt. Realising that a fall was imminent, I let go off the handle and jumped into the air with my hands stretched out to break the fall. I was confident as I flew away, that I would not get seriously injured because of all the protection that was on me. Sure enough I landed a bit roughly but got up to find no bruises or hits anywhere on my body. All this while, Harinder, who was right behind me, witnessed the whole thing and got alarmed by my fall. He breaked his bike, just let it fall into the sand as he jumped off and ran towards me. I was already relieved at not having been hurt and looking at his antics broke into loud laughter. He watched me laugh, and for a moment wondered if I had hit a rock too hard and gone loony.
He asked me a few questions and checked my responses, just to make sure that my head was screwed on tightly. Eventually we both laughed as the Innova caught up and everybody helped us to pick up our bikes.

Another view of the lovely roads:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-valley-close-up.jpg


Soon we were at Changla.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-changla.jpg

Beyond Changla, the excitement of reaching the lake began getting the better of us and we made fewer stops for photography. Eventually, we were rewarded with our first glimpse of the lake, as we descended into the valley where Pangong Tso is.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-frist-sighting-bike.jpg

We had been overcome with a strange feeling. Somehting like you experience on your wedding day and proceed towards the final ceremony, you remind yourself and wonder if this is real:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-real.jpg
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Old 15th September 2013, 11:31   #26
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If you have followed this thread so far, then by now it may be clear to you that this thread is less about the distances covered and more of a personal journey to feel these places and experience a connection.
What I am trying to convey is that there are some wonderful threads devoted to this region and I will not be able to hold up a candle to them in terms of photography or detailed coverage.

Over the years I have come to believe that the eyes are the best camera and had it not been for the push of my friends, the photographs of this trip would have been fewer.

Continuing:

We soon descended into the plains and drove towards the last few kilometres of the lake.

A stone looking like a grumpy old man:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-grumpy-man.jpg

Our camp was about 20 kilometres further on from the start of the lake, so we got a chance to see the lake in it's glory, well before we arrived at the camp:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-lake-mountains.jpg

Another view:
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-lake.jpg


We had forgotten all of the day's journey and related thoughts,after sighting the lake. While it was not too late, we wished to be at the camp quickly so that we could relax, next to the water body. Our accomodation was further down from the rest of the camps and hence was removed from any hustle and bustle.

Our beautiful Campsite
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-beautiful-camp.jpg

eventhough it was fully booked, we had arrived early and again got our choice of corner tents.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-bikes-tent.jpg

No adjectives can describe the feelings we had. Let me put it like this: We were a bit dazed by the size and scale of this scenery and wondering what to do in it's presence. Think of your Icon ( Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Amitabh Bachan, one of the Khans,...) and how you would like to be in their presence. But once there, what do you do with yourself...! That is how we were feeling in the presence of Pangong Tso.

We decided that we needed to dress up a bit before going out and taking photographs. Our riding clothes or just easy casuals would be an insult to the serene, subtle nature of the place.

Still in a daze, we decided to change
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-better-clothing.jpg

These kids summed up our elation
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-kids-jumping.jpg

Last edited by Insearch : 15th September 2013 at 11:32.
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Old 16th September 2013, 10:06   #27
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Great travelogue Insearch. Quite mind blowing to say the least. I had one question to ask you. Can a Harley do this route to Leh via Srinagar with its lower ground clearance (100mm compared to your 140mm)? I see you faced issues with water crossing etc. enroute to Pangong Tso, also had a fall, but what about reaching Leh on them? Is it possible> How are the roads upto Leh via Srinagar?

I would also like you to share-
- The make and cost of your helmet? Any links.
- The make and cost of your travel bags and other equipment like your jackets etc. and their links.

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Old 16th September 2013, 18:48   #28
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Just awesome. Takes a lot of courage to do this trip in a bike. Hats off. and Pictures speak a thousand words. Believe, I must also have rested / cooked like you guys in the barren mountains. It must have been a wonderful experience. I missed it :(
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Old 16th September 2013, 23:55   #29
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Originally Posted by dkaile View Post
Great travelogue Insearch. Quite mind blowing to say the least. I had one question to ask you. Can a Harley do this route to Leh via Srinagar with its lower ground clearance (100mm compared to your 140mm)? I see you faced issues with water crossing etc. enroute to Pangong Tso, also had a fall, but what about reaching Leh on them? Is it possible> How are the roads upto Leh via Srinagar?

I would also like you to share-
- The make and cost of your helmet? Any links.
- The make and cost of your travel bags and other equipment like your jackets etc. and their links.
Wow! That is a lot to answer. Let me try:

To your route Inquiry and choice of bike:

If you go from the Srinagar side and head towards Leh, I would say, except for Zojila, the rest is a breeze. Zojila had a new road being constructed and that could take the pain out of the 10 odd kilometre stretch. And from there, with Leh as a base Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley are quite manageable. In fact you do not need to come back to Leh from Nubra and may continue to Pangong Tso, directly. Roads not as good as Srinagar Leh, but quite manageable. The 2-3 water crossings on the way could be handled if you have a friend who holds the bike and assists you to cross the streams, while you focus on avoiding the rocks.
On the other hand if you enter from the Manali route, just have your bike carried in a truck to cross the Rohtang stretch, which has 12 inches and more mud in places. The problem is not the mud, but sharp rocks that may be hidden underneath. Rest of the route, I cannot properly comment on, as we came from Pso Morriri directly to Pang on the Leh Manali route.
So I think most of the route in the post rainy season is do-able.

Do I suggest you do it? No, I recommend, you hire a bike and experiment all that you want, with it. And then decide if you still wish to rough it out with that beauty.

Helmet:
The link below will take you to a review that I posted on my helmet. It was imported by a friend and hence I do not know the exact price. But my opinion has changed about the helmet since I made the post below. If you would prefer a quick summary, skip the link and please read my thoughts listed after the link.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post3057732
  • My friend's identical helmet is working fine and sound is audible at 100 kmph. So it is quite good that way
  • Imported bluetooth helmets may be using an illegal frequency (as per Indian law) for connecting to other helmets.
  • Today you can buy very good quality bluetooth kit, which is legal in India, from Senna and Midland. Bachoo motors retails the Midland brand. Checkout this link: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...my-helmet.html (Midland Bluetooth Intercom for my Helmet)
  • You are better off buying the bluetooth kit separately as it allows you to shift it to a new helmet or multiple helmets, as you prefer, versus an embedded one, which may not fit a new helmet. And helmets do keep changing, right?
Saddle Bags
I am very satisfied with the travel bags and found the manufacturers to be friendly and eager to satisfy the client. These are Dirtsack long rangers. You can buy them online. I will PM you the contact details of the owner, who may be able to give you a sweet deal.
Here is a link to my pre-view (before the Ladakh trip) of the bags.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post3144201 (The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread)

Jackets and Pants

I used R-Jays mesh jacket which was about 8K after discount. Pants were Spartan costing about 6K. My friend used Cramster materials and was satisfied with them. We both felt that the water proofing is not complete and one can feel the dampness through the pants after you have sloshed them in a water crossing. No such issue with the Jackets, though.

Cramster Website: cramster.in

Spartan: http://spartanprogear.com/Men.aspx?mc=2
I was wearing the Odysseus pants

I hope this helps, expect a PM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sathya_sc View Post
Just awesome. Takes a lot of courage to do this trip in a bike. Hats off. and Pictures speak a thousand words. Believe, I must also have rested / cooked like you guys in the barren mountains. It must have been a wonderful experience. I missed it :(
Thank you so much! I wish you success in your endeavour.

Last edited by Insearch : 17th September 2013 at 00:08. Reason: Adding comments
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Old 17th September 2013, 01:27   #30
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Just so that you know: None of the photographs have been processed in any way. No brightness or contrasts changed or colors highlighted. What you see is exactly how the camera picked up these images.

Mountains on the other side
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-dusty-mountains.jpg


Gentle waves move in, like the loving hand of a mother, over her child's back
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-wave.jpg

As if the mountains were done up with crayons
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-crayons.jpg

Unreal!
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-paar-mountain.jpg

Camera finds it hard to capture the proportions
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sandhir-mountain.jpg

A feeling of infinite
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-panorama.jpg

Three idiots, wondering why the camera won't capture what we see
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-three-idiots.jpg

This is how our minds are feeling
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-flying-birds.jpg

Too much beauty, Oh! Let me sit down.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-meditative.jpg

Eventually as Dusk fell in, we came back to our tents.
View from our tents
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-view-tents.jpg

Sandhir as usual had an interesting request. He wanted a snap on the bike which he could put up on Facebook. The idea was to pretend that he is riding the bike so that viewers on facebook would think he actually rode to Ladakh! So I took the snap, but with that rope in the front . Look how well he is pretending, oblivious of the fact that I got the better of him.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-sandhir-facebook.jpg


Time to head to the dining area, which doubled up as a living space for the evening.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-dining-area.jpg


This photograph has many stories to tell. Some of them are shared below
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-wet-shoes.jpg

First of all that drum (on the left) with the pipe going upwards out of it, is the heater. It produced enough heat in the closed space to make us take off our woollens. And Harinder's shoes, like those of many others have been put up at the base of the heater, so that they may dry off.

The table that you see, right in front bottom, is ours, and a hand of cards is visible, along with the soup.

The gentleman staring at the lady, was completely hynotised by the beauty. And from what I could see over the next hour or so, he kept nodding pleasantly and staring at her forehead. She did not seem to mind, and I seemed to enjoy the scene...


After a long time spent in the warm comfort, we moved out to sit next to a Bonfire with melodies playing on our bluetooth speaker. Others also joined in and we got to share stories with each other on how we had gotten here.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-bon-fire-light.jpg

The warm fire, music, company of friends, and omnipresent beauty filled us like no material possession does.
A Biker's Anthem: Ladakh-dark-bonfire.jpg
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