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Old 25th September 2016, 11:39   #1
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Default Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500

7th July 2016, we were in an early morning flight to Delhi dreaming about our 'soon to start' ride to top of the world, Leh.

Yes ! We were on our way to Leh !
Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500-bike-.jpg

Preparations started a couple of months in advance. We gathered all required tools, puncture kit, replacement tubes, spare cables, missing bits of riding gear for both and got the bike serviced. Since I had to ride with a pillion and had to carry all luggage on bike, decided to fit ‘Ladakh’ carriers. Visited Sandhya Motors in JC road and got these fitted. Went for a short (400 kilometers) trip with my wife to ensure that the carriers do not cause any discomfort on long rides. Initially I was under the impression that the carriers may not be very comfortable for the pillion rider, but the ride proved it wrong. It was comfortable and was giving additional sense of safety for pillion rider.

Post short ride, got the bike serviced, changed engine oil, installed Bolt charger and kept ready for the ride.

Quick facts :

Team : We were a 6 member team on 4 own bikes. One Standard 350, two Thunderbird 350’s and my Thunderbird 500. My bike and one of Thunderbird 350s had pillion riders. While my bike had my wife as pillion for the entire trip, pillion of Thunderbird 350 rented a bullet from Leh for internal circuits.

Route Planned : Delhi – Amritsar – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh – Turtuk – TangTse – Leh – Keylong – Manali – Shimla - Delhi

Route we followed : Delhi – Amritsar – Jammu – Manali – Keylong – Leh – TangTse – Hunder – Leh – Kargil (Drass) – Leh – Keylong – Manali – Chandigarh

Total trip days : 17 (Bangalore to Bangalore)

Total kilometers : 3300 kilometers + ~400 kilometers (Bangalore - Hubli)

Shipping bikes : We shipped our bikes from Hubli (~400 kilometers from Bangalore) to Delhi by train. We chose Hubli because one of the team members knew someone in railways and we assumed the process would be easier. It was relatively easy, but can be managed without any contacts. For return leg, we shipped our bikes from Chandigarh to Bangalore by Gati.
Hubli to Bangalore by train coasted us approximately 4700 rupees and Chandigarh to Bangalore by Gati coasted 4500 rupees.
Apart from a broken tail lamp of Standard 350, all bikes were safe during transport.

Did we pre-book our stays? : No. Not even once. All bookings were managed by HVK Central Hotel Desk. We subscribed for Ladakh 951 package.

Baggage : We stuffed all of our luggage into four bags - a Cramster tank bag, a Wildcraft duffel bag (40L), a Wildcraft rucksack (45L) and a Plane cover for rucksack from Decathlon (which was used as a bag ). One of the bag was covered with a rain cover from Decathlon and other two bags were covered by XXL garbage bags to protect from dust and rain. Tank bag had its own rain cover. Luggage was secured by bungee cords (and the ones from Decathlon are of very good quality).
My bike was the only one with 'Ladakh' carriers. Other three bikes had Cramster saddle bags.

Riding Dear :
Self : SOL helmet, Spartan riding jacket, Rhynox gloves, Cramster knee protectors, Ankle length shoes from Decathlon, XXL rain coat from Decathlon (to wear on top of riding jacket), Wildcraft rain pants
For Wife : LS2 Helmet, Cramster riding jacket, Cramster gloves, Cramster knee protectors, Ankle length shoes from Decathlon, Rain coat and pants from Decathlon.

Following are the tools we carried - Cutting Plier, Hammer, Spanner Set, Allen Key Set, Electrical Tape, Packing Tape, Wheel Spanner (Ring ) - 24 / 24, Wheel Spanner - 30 / 32, Tire removal levers, Adjustable Spanner, Screwdriver Set, M - Seal, Chain Links, Puncture Patches & Solution, Tube valve remover, Foot Pump , Broad Pile, Tire Pressure Gauge, Cable Ties, Towing Rope, Reversible Screw Driver, Torch, Clutch Cable, Accelerator Cable,
Spare Tube (F/R), Engine Oil, Chain Lube, Helmet Lock, 2 Bike Keys, Fuel Can, Water Can - 3 L Minimum, Bungee Cords - 6 / 7, Rope

Permits : Need to get the permits from SDM office, Mall road, Manali. Process is fairly simple, copy of RC, DL, Insurance and emission certificate are required. If you are riding via Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Manali, no permits are required.

Did AMS bother us ? : No. We had lots and lots of water and ensured that we are never exhausted beyond our capacity. We took Diamox on a couple of days, but not regularly. Also, we ensured no one spends more than 8 – 10 minutes on high mountain passes.

Travelogue :

Day 1 (7th July) :
Delhi to Amritsar (~460 kilometers) | Start : 12.30 PM | End : 11.30 PM |

Two of us took an early morning BLR-DEL flight and landed in Delhi around 9.00 AM. Booked a cab and went straight to the OYO room booked by other members of our team in Anand Vihar. They had collected bikes from railway station previous night and bikes were parked safely in the basement.
We quickly unpacked the stuff, took out our riding gear and repacked the stuff into two bags. Tied the bags to the Ladakh carrier with the help of bungee cords. It being the first day of packing, took around an hour to try various permutations and combinations and finalize the position of bags.
After completing packing and loading, we left Anand Vihar at around 12.30 PM. Immediately after 100 200 meters, I realized that the weight distribution was not even and had negative effect on balancing. Bike was wobbling and was pulling to left. Since it was late already, did not attempt to re-pack the stuff. Instead asked my wife to lean over my right shoulder (instead of left). It helped to resolve the imbalance to a greater extent. For rest of the day, she had to lean on my right shoulder, thus helping to balance the ride.

We stopped at Murthal for lunch around 2 PM. It was out first take on the stupendous food options available in this route. Had amazing Parathas (and large lump of butter) and lassi. Continued the journey after lunch. Weather was very hot (easily on the north of 38*C) and sunny. Took several breaks en route and stopped at a roadside dhaba for tea. We were crossing Ludhiana around 7 PM. Around 8.30 PM we crossed Jalandhar. We stopped at another Dhaba for dinner around 9.30 PM, 50 kilometers behind Amritsar. After a good dinner, we left for Amritsar and reached our hotel by 11 PM.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Galaxy, Grand Trunk Road, Amritsar.

Day 2 (8th July) :
Jallianwala Bagh, Wagha Border and the Golden Temple.

Woke up little late, had breakfast and went straight to Jallianwala Bagh in a cycle rickshaw. After spending some time in Jallianwala Bagh, we took a cab and left to Wagha Border. After an hour’s drive through AH1, we reached Atari border. Civilian vehicles are not allowed till ‘actual’ border and we had to walk a kilometer and go through strict security checks to reach venue of border closing ceremony. One of our friend was able to get us front row of seats and we were able to watch the ceremony up close. Ceremony started at 5 PM and extended till 7 PM. It was an amazing display of patriotism, courage, bravery and aggression by our armed forces personnel. Those two hours are archived forever as unforgettable moments of our life. After ceremony was over, we walked back to our cab and got dropped off near Golden Temple.
We were awestruck by first view of the temple. It was a mixture of divinity, beauty and sacredness. And the ‘Langar’ was awesome. My first Gurudwara visit and ‘Langar’ experience happened in The Golden Temple and I consider myself lucky on this opportunity.

It was 9.30 PM when we came out of the temple complex. Went straight to the hotel and crashed for the day.

Accommodation : Hotel Grand Galaxy, Grand Trunk Road, Amritsar.

Bullet marks on the wall
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Martyr's Well
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A kilometer to the border !
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Pak next step !
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Crowd at Wagha
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Marching ahead !
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The Gate
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Veg McD
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Day 3 (9th July) :
Amritsar to Jammu ( 230 kilometers) | Start : 6.30 AM | End : 3 PM |

We split our luggage into three bags and loaded them to bike. Heavy rain was present to see us leaving Amritsar. Got the tanks filled from a petrol bunk in the outskirts of Amritsar. Beautiful roads and greenery around gave us company all the way till Jammu. As per our actual schedule we were supposed to halt in Patnitop for the day. Due to unrest which broke in Srinagar previous day, we were asked to stay in Jammu by HVK CHD. It turned out to be a good decision to stay in Jammu and the situation really grew out of control afterwards in Srinagar.
We met a couple of HVK groups in the hotel. They too were redirected to Jammu by HVK CHD due to unrest in Srinagar. By the end of day we had only two options
1. Stay in Jammu and wait till situation eases out
2. Ride to Manali and continue our journey to Leh.
We chose latter and decided to ride to Manali next day.

Accommodation : Hotel Vivek, Near General Bus Stand, Jammu.

Day 4 (10th July) :
Jammu to Manali ( 430 kilometers) | Start : 6.30 AM | End : 11 PM |

With the sense of urgency to reach Manali by evening and with agony for not being able to visit Srinagar as per the plan, we left Jammu by 6.30 AM. Made some good progress and stopped on the outskirts of Pathankot for breakfast. After gulping down Parathas and chai, we continued our journey and had lunch after Palampur. Roads became worst after Palampur till Mandi. We reached Mandi at 6 PM. Took a break in one of the roadside eateries and started uphill climb to Manali. Ride was uneventful, but progress slowed down a bit due to lack of daylight and uphill climb. We crossed Kulu around 8 PM and stopped for dinner on the outskirts of Manali. Reached our hotel post dinner at 11 PM.

Accommodation : Hotel Valley View, Upper Vashisht, Manali. ( Not a very good hotel. We were booked here due to non-availability of other accommodation options)

Day 5 (11th July):
Manali to Keylong ( 120 kilometers) | Start : 1.30 PM | End : 9 PM |

Woke up to a beautiful view of valley full of apple trees. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we left to the SDM office in Mall road with required documents (RC Copy, DL Copy, Emission certificate copy and Insurance copy ). But emission certificate of one of the bikes had expired and we had to get it done locally. After all document copies were obtained for all bikes, we went to DC office and got our permits. It was 12 noon when we finished all formalities.
Went to the hotel, mounted luggage on bikes, filled petrol to the brim and left Manali at 1.30 PM. Progress was good and we stopped at Marhi for lunch. Post lunch we got stuck in few small traffic jams and we reached Rohtang top at 5 PM. After some photographs, we started the descent. Road was super bad and had tough time negotiating bad patches. Stopped at Khoksar for a quick cup of tea. We reached Tandi at 8.45 PM and filled our tanks to the brim once again and took few more liters of fuel in cans. (Petrol pump at Tandi closes at 9 PM). Reached Keylong at 9.15 PM.

Discussed quickly on the plans for next day, had dinner and retired for the day.

Accommodation : Hotel Valley View, Mall road, Keylong.

Another RE
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View from Rohtang (A couple of kilometres after the pass )
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Manali to Keylong
Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500-manali-keylong-3.jpg

Day 6 (12th July) : The BIG day !
Keylong to Leh (360 kilometers) | Start: 6.30 AM |End : 10.30 PM |

This is the day which made us to learn that distance can be measured in time too. As agreed previous day, we left Keylong at 6.30 AM. It was a bright, sunny and beautiful day and the roads seemed to be good initially. We did about 80 kilometers in 2 hours and stopped in a small village for breakfast. Few kilometers after breakfast, STD 350 had snapped clutch cable and we resumed after installing new cable (All bikes had a spare clutch cable routed along with existing clutch cable. In case a cable snaps, all we had to do was fix the spare cable on both ends and move on) . As we were nearing Sarchu, roads started deteriorating and a couple of kilometers before Sarchu, they became nonexistent. We stopped for lunch at Sarchu at 1.30 PM. Had rice + dal, Maggie for lunch and left Sarchu at 2.30 PM. Rode in those imaginary roads for about 90 kilometers, took few breaks and we reached Pang (15K+ feet Alt.) at 5.00 PM. Yes, we crossed Gata loops too. After spending 30 minutes in a tent at Pang, we left for Leh. A climb of 4 – 5 kilometers brought us to the world famous Moore Planes. The road was well asphalted and felt like we were riding on an endless runway ! Did good speeds and reached Tanglang La at 7.30 PM.

(A tourist Xylo was stranded with no pickup and thick black smoke. When asked if the air filter is clean, driver said, “isko kholne ki chabbi nahin hai”. Opened the air filter with the tools we had and found the air filter completely choked. Once cleaned and refitted, car was back to normal self)

After Tanglang La, while descending towards Karu, it started drizzling and we stopped around 8.30 PM to wear rain gear. The area was deserted (as usual) and nothing was visible around. We heard someone blowing whistle from far away and assumed there is an army camp below and they are blowing whistles. But, within 10 minutes we noticed a gang of people (6 / 7) walking towards us, and they were very close to us (less than 100 feet may be). They did not look like army men and resembled nomads more. We did not want to find out why they were approaching us or their intentions, hence quickly jumped onto the bikes and rode away. However, it was not a very comfortable situation to be in.

We took another 10 minute break in Karu and rode towards Leh. We reached Leh at 10.30 PM with a sense of achievement. Finally, we were in Leh.

Accommodation : Jorchung Guest House, Main Tukcha Road, Leh.

Moore Plane !
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Keylong to Leh !
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Day 7 (13th July):
Leh and around ! (More of a rest day)

Woke up leisurely. First item in the list was to get some minor adjustments done on the bike. We rode to RE company service station and found out that they are still gearing up for the demand and do not have most of the parts in stock. However, we got chain, accelerator and some other moving parts lubed and left the place. After a quick lunch in one of the hotels, we visited ‘Hall of Fame’ and spent few hours there. After some cold coffee at café Aroma, we rode to ‘Shanti Stupa’. Spent an hour watching Leh city with lights glowing as sun set. Post sun set, we visited Leh market and bought some souvenirs.

Accommodation : Jorchung Guest House, Main Tukcha Road, Leh.

Hall of Fame
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Shanti Stupa
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Rainbow over Leh
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Day 8 (14th July):
Leh – TangTse – Pangong Lake – TangTse (175 Kilometers) | Start : 7 AM | End : 5 PM |

As per our initial plan, we wanted to do Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley – Turtuk (Stay) – Shyok – TangTse – Pangong – TangTse (Stay) – Leh in three days. But due to non-availability of stay options in Turtuk on 14th, we decided to reverse the route. We started at 7 AM and stopped at Karu for breakfast. Continued riding and reached TangTse at 1 PM. Checked in to the hotel, dumped our luggage and had lunch at the hotel. After 30 minutes of rest, we started towards Pangong Tso at 2.30 PM. We were at the first view point by 4 PM and reached Pangong lake by 4.30 PM. Spent a couple of hours near the lake, clicked photographs and returned to hotel around 6.30 PM. After some rest , went for a short ride in the small town.

After speaking to few taxi drivers, we understood that next day would be challenging and we had to leave early to be able to reach Turtuk before 7 PM. They also mentioned that road conditions till Shyok were not good and few water crossings en-route were capable enough to cut the road off.

(Electricity here is at premium. A Diesel + Solar power plant provides electricity between 7 PM to 11 PM everyday. Candle and rechargeable lights are the only source of light beyond these hours)

(A rental C350 was hired from Leh for Thunderbird 350’s pillion rider for next three days.)

Accommodation : The Pangong Residency, TangTse

First view of Pangong
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Pangong Tso
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Last edited by Aditya : 5th October 2016 at 07:05.
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Day 9 (15th July) : Drama | Adventure | Eventful
Leh – Shayok – Diskit - Hunder – Diskit (150 kilometers) | Start : 6:30 AM | End : 8 PM |

Knowing it is going to be a tough day, we left the hotel at 6:30 AM. It was clean, narrow and well asphalted road for initial 30 kilometers and we thought the warnings from the friendly cab drivers were not of serious nature. At 7.30 We hit out first water crossing, which we cleared with flying colours (but with some difficulty and pushing around). A few kilometers later, we could not see any road further ! About 500 meters of road was washed away over previous night. There was a an army Gypsy which was stuck and they were trying to recover it. Army men suggested us to wait for some time as they had already requested for a BRO dozer from other side.
We decided to try our luck with crossing 500 meters of loose mud, boulders and ice cold water. Our confidence levels were high and we were under the impression that the bike can be easily lifted by 6 of us, if stuck. As luck would have it, we failed miserably in the attempt and got stuck and realized that 6 of us are not able to lift or move the bike by even an inch. The soil was almost like concrete mixture.
It took 3 hours for us to recover the bike with the help of friendly cab drivers, tourists, locals and army men. We learnt practically that the terrain is unforgiving if we overact. Once bike was out of slush, I noticed that it is not moving even an inch after slotting the gear and releasing the clutch completly. After tightening the clutch cable to maximum, bike came back in action and started moving.

By then the approach road was made by BRO dozer and we crossed the water crossing. Fortunately, we met few HVK team members who were stuck on the other side, and they helped us to cross the water crossing. While this drama was unfolding, we exhausted all water stock we had and were really thirsty. None of vehicles around had excess water in stock. Again, the HVK members helped us by giving much needed water and snacks.

We came to know that Hunder has an Army canteen which serves hot Dosas and Idlies. It was 9th day without these and we rode straight to Hunder after refueling as Diskit. We reached Hunder by 5 PM and had food in the Army canteen which is open for civilians too. We left Hunder at 6 PM and started riding towards Turtuk, which was still good 90 kms away.
After a couple of kilometers, we found one of Thunderbird 350s had a puncture. We had spare tube and all required tools. But what we did not have was expertise to replace the tube. It took an hour to change tube and refit the tyre. It was 7 PM and we were not courageous enough to ride to India’s last village before LoC after 9 PM. We chose to return to Diskit and stay for the night. We reached to Diskit at 7.30 PM and checked in to the hotel for much needed food and rest for the day.

Accommodation : Sand Dunes Guest House, Diskit, Nubra Valley

Early break
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Narrow and winding roads
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Where is the road ?
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Day 10 (16th July) :
Diskit – Hunder – Diskit – S/N Pulu – Khardung La – Leh (150 kilometers) | Start : 10 AM | End : 7 PM |

When the whole team was still asleep due to previous day’s fatigue, both of us left the hotel at 7 AM for a morning ride. We rode till Hunder again, went to the army canteen, had idlies and returned to Diskit. We took few photographs and had a peaceful sight of sand dunes. We were back in the hotel by 9 AM.
At 10 AM, we packed our stuff and left Diskit. Few of team members wanted to see and ride camels with double humps. We rode to Hunder again only to see rain playing spoilsport. We had to cancel camel riding. Spent 30 minutes in Hunder and rode towards Khardung La. It started drizzling heavily and temperature dropped to single digit. Though we had few layers of clothing, riding gear and all of this covered with rain gear, it was cold, really cold. We managed to reach Khardung La top by 5 PM and it was drizzling, snowing and temperature was under 5*c. We couldn’t withstand the weather. Quickly snapped a couple of photographs and started our descent. We reached our hotel at 7 PM.

Accommodation : Jorchung Guest House, Main Tukcha Road, Leh.

Sand Dunes at Hunder
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Petrol pump at Diskit
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Day 10 (17th July) :
Another much needed rest day in Leh.

Woke up and inspected the bike for much needed repairs. Listed out the following : clutch plate replacement, brake checkup, oil change, air filter change, lubrication and much needed wash. Rode to Tashi’s Bullet garage (Near Zoravar Fort) and left the bike for repairs. By the time we had lunch, my bike was ready with new clutch plates, fresh oil, new brake pads at rear, lubrication and idling adjustment. Also he gave a clean wash which removed the telltale signs of previous rigorous days.
After bike was ready, two of us went to Leh market and spent time till evening. Had our dinner in Madras Café, near Yak Tail restaurant.

Accommodation: Ling’s Home Stay, Yurthung, Upper Changspa, Leh

Day 11 (18th July) :
Leh – Kargil (210 Kilometers, by bikes) and Kargil – Hundarman - Drass – Kargil (140 kilometers, by Xylo cab) | Start : 7 AM | End : 7 PM |

We started our journey from Leh at 7 AM and the roads were good all the way till Kargil. We crossed the famous Lamayuru Monastery around 10.30 AM. We stopped for lunch at a veg dhaba on the outskirts Kargil. We reached the hotel in Kargil at 2 PM. After checking in to the hotel and dumping our luggage, we booked a cab for our journey to a border village (Hundarman) and Drass. The charges were very steep at 5000 Rs for a journey of 150 kilometers.
First we visited the viewpoint near Hundarman village, from where we could ruins of a village far away, which we were told belonged to Pakistan and the village was emptied during Kargil war. A small shack there offered old but good Russian made army binoculars at 20 Rs per head. We took that and enjoyed the view.

After spending sometime in the view point, we left for Drass. It took an hour and half to reach War Memorial near Tololing range. We entered the war memorial at 5 PM and spent an hour there. After War Memorial, we visited Drass town and took the customary photograph beneath the sign board which read “ Second coldest inhabited place in the world”. Bought few apricots on the return journey and reached hotel around 7 PM. While rest of the team went searching for local food, both of us had Upma (and poha) served in the hotel and slept for the day.

Accommodation : Hotel D’Zojila, Kargil

Leh to Kargil
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Ruins - As per locals, the ruins belong to a Pakistani village (Could not verify the authenticity of the claims)
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Kargil War Memorial
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Day 12 (19th July) :
Kargil – Leh (210 Kilometers) | Start : 7 AM | End : 5 PM

We left the hotel at 7 AM with target to break for breakfast at Mulbek. Mulbek has a large standing Buddha idol and right opposite to that a cozy eatery. We reached Mulbek at 9 AM and spent an hour having breakfast and watching religious ceremony which was being performed near Buddha idol. Restaurant owner mentioned that the prayer flags on top of the idol were replaced that day.

After lunch enroute, we reached Magnetic Hill at 3 PM. After customary break and photographs we left for Leh and reached our hotel by 5 PM.
We packed our luggage for next day, took scroll in Leh town , went to Madras Café for dinner and retired for the day.

Accommodation: Ling’s Home Stay, Yurthung, Upper Changspa, Leh

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Kargil to Leh
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Magnetic Hill
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Day 13 (20th July) : Another BIG day !
Leh – Pang – Sarchu – Jispa – Keylong (360 kilometers) | Start : 6 AM | End : 6 PM |

With a heavy heart and dedicated to return after sometime, we bid adieu to Leh city. We stopped for breakfast at Gya and reached Tanglang La at 9 AM. From here, we were accompanied by bunch of RE riders participating in Himalayan Odyssey all the way till Pang. Pang welcomed us at 11 AM and we reached Sarchu at 2 PM. Had quick lunch of rice + dal / Maggie at one of the lovely little shacks in Sarchu. Gata loops had shortcuts, which tempted us to take. But sense prevailed and we did not attempt the shortcut routes between loops.

Progress was quick after Sarchu and we reached Jispa at 5 PM and Keylong at 6.30 PM. Checked into the hotel and went for a walk in Keylong market. There are a couple of shops selling sweets and chats and one of them really looked famous, if the rush inside and outside considered. Had some food there which also doubled up as our dinner.

Accommodation : Hotel Valley View, Mall road, Keylong.

Leh to Keylong - Random Photos
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Day 14 (21st July) :
Keylong – Manali (120 kilometers) | Start : 9 AM | End : 4 PM |

Started from Keylong a little late than usual. Had breakfast on the outskirts of Tandi. Bikes were refueled at Tandi again and we were at Rohtang top by 12.30 PM. Rohtang was relatively empty and we spent good 30 minutes on the top. We started our descent and stopped at Marhi for lunch.
We were in Manali by 4 PM. Our hotel was near Hidimba temple and had very good views. The hotel also had its own apple orchard and we could taste real Himachal apples from the backyard.

Accommodation: The Manali Lodge, Nasogi, Near DP School (Next to RE Showroom / Service)

Keylong to Manali - Random Pictures
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Famous signboard at Tandi - Clicked on return
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Last edited by Aditya : 5th October 2016 at 07:06.
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Default re: Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500

Day 15 (22nd July) :

Manali – Naggar – Manali (50 kms) and Local site seeing.

This being a rest / local sitre seeing day, we started the day lazily at 10 AM and went to visit Hidimba temple and Ghatotkach temple. After the temple visit, we rode to Naggar, to view Roerich museum and art gallery. We had our lunch at the vegetarian restaurant near art gallery.

While riding back to Manali, we saw people selling apples, pears and plums. Bought some fruits from one of the vendors and they were very sweet and fresh !
After reaching Manali, we visited Vashisth temple ( and hot water pond in the complex). Evening was well spent in Mall road and we had our dinner in one of the vegetarian restaurants nearby.

Accommodation: The Manali Lodge, Nasogi, Near DP School.
Apple Tree
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Hidimba Temple
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Day 16 (22nd July):
Manali – Chandigarh (320 Kilometers) | Start : 6 AM | End : 5 PM

We were a little disappointed that the ride is nearing the end. Loaded our bags to respective bikes and started our ride at 6 AM. Stopped at Tandi for breakfast at 8 AM. Rain accompanied us till Tandi and beyond. We rode almost non-stop (except few quick breaks) till Chandigarh and reached Gati office by 4 PM. We dropped our bikes and packed our riding gear, rain gear, helmets and shoes into two carton boxes and shipped them along with the bikes.
Once done, we went to interstate bus terminal (in one of sectors of Chandigarh) and boarded direct bus to Delhi airport.

Accommodation : Spent the night travelling between Chandigarh and Delhi.

Day 17 (23rd July) : B2B – Back to Bangalore.

Flight landed at Bangalore at 10 AM and we reached home at 11.30 AM. We were happy to complete the trip and be back home safely. But, nostalgia of the mountains was haunting .

Summary : We enjoyed this trip to maximum and it gave much needed break from the daily rat race. Thunderbird 500 behaved very well and withstood all use and abuse (had fair share of issues, but not showstoppers). I can confidently say that the bike is capable of handling this treacherous terrain with two riders and good amount of luggage (35 Kg in our case).
Complete riding gear is must have. We had 3-4 falls at low speeds and the protective gear saved us every time.

Ride Safe

Last edited by Aditya : 5th October 2016 at 07:06.
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Old 5th October 2016, 07:04   #4
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th October 2016, 16:06   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500

Thank you for the great travelogue. The vistas you provided were amazing.
While you account of the journey had the right mix of writing and photos, it would have been nice to see, at least one or two photos of you and your fellow-travelers in it.
Although this trip will be in the bucket list of many, not many of us muster up the courage and take the effort to do this journey.

Well done!, thanks for sharing and keep traveling.

err...can you elaborate on the slow speed falls You seem to have mentioned it in the passing quite non-chalantly.
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Old 6th October 2016, 20:00   #6
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Default Re: Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500

Thanks alphadog.

Team :
Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500-team1.jpg
Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500-team-3.jpg

Us, on the way to Jammu from Amritsar.
Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500-team-2.jpg

GoPro capture on Moore Planes - Keylong to Leh

About the slow-speed falls :
First fall was while descending from Rohtang top, on the way to Keylong. While descending a bad patch, left foot rest hit a small rock and we lost balance. Fell on to our right side. Speed was below 10 kmph.
Second was on the same day, near Tanglangla. Lost balance while stopping and could not hold the bike. This was just before stopping.
Another was before a water crossing, could not break on time on gravel, lost balance and fell. Speed was under 10 kmph. There were couple of more instances which I am unable to recall now.

Regardless of the speed, every time one or more body part came in contact with ground (mostly palms, elbows and knees ) and the safety gear protected from wounds / cuts etc.

Last edited by prasanna_indaje : 6th October 2016 at 20:02.
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Old 7th October 2016, 18:13   #7
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Default Re: Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500

Prasanna, nicely written Travelogue. It is admiring that you have done the trip with a pillion rider.
Photos are superb.
Thanks a lot for inducing the spirit of travelling to LEH in a thunderbird.
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Old 7th October 2016, 18:39   #8
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Default Re: Delhi to Leh on a Thunderbird 500

Thanks accentgiri. I had my own reservations before the trip about ability of bike to carry pillion and luggage. Bike has exceeded expectations and did not let us down even once in the middle of nowhere.

However, there were small issues everyday. Fixed few of them myself, visited mechanic and RE service once in Leh and few issues disappeared automatically .
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