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Old 27th January 2017, 13:49   #1
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Default 3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh

"Just dreaming isn’t enough, we need to dare take risks with passion to fulfill those dreams – this travelogue is a testimony to that"

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"Live To Ride"

The dream to explore Ladakh was implanted close to 5 years back when there were a legion of blogs portraying the picturesque locations, the challenging terrain in the most uninhabited, rugged place for both human and the machines! And yes, this was around the same time 3-idiots released and we were all in awe with the magnificent Pangong Tso. Little did anyone know that such a gorgeous destination existed in our great country!

The best way to experience this raw dramatic area would be on a road trip. Nothing else can come second best to this! This epic road trip dream was way before I had a bike good enough to tour or even a thought of touring on it. I had always wished to go in a SUV/MUV and drive all the way from Bangalore with a certain set of like-minded friends I had at that time, but as destiny decides, it never manifested. Times changed, people changed, priorities in life changed and the travel plan was buried deep inside me!

Fast forward to 2014, I was in love with my new acquisition, KTM Duke 200. It accelerated like a maniac and the thrill of leaving behind the crowd grew addictive. Slowly, the thought of touring on bike was inculcated and the first long-ride was to Coorg with my fellow bikers. (We now call ourselves “Lazy Bikers”!) The Duke is on its own in the hills, you can just bend into the curves as much as you dare to, change directions however you wish to and she would respond exactly the way you wanted, and this was tantalizing! So somewhere during one of those tours, the thought of going to Ladakh strengthened.

Late in December 2015, we realized that days were being added to our lives, but no colors were being added to the days which could be life time experiences to cherish! Seeing the blogs on Team-BHP and hearing from various friends on their adventures in Ladakh, we thought it was high time we did something captivating in this life, a life time experience which we can treasure and talk about and for this it should do a "bike trip" to Ladakh!

Based on the leave plans, we agreed on utilizing one of the common national holidays and zeroed in on these dates “Aug 13th 2016 – Aug 27th 2016” would be a perfect time to get Leh’d.

We never knew what difficulties or rather I would say “challenges” we would face for choosing to travel during Independence Day and add to that later we realized that it was a monsoon period in that part of India!
But looking back at it – I don’t think I would repent for choosing these dates.

The Group:

Lazy Bikers
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The Most Eligible Bachelors
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My cousin along with his friends decided to join us in their super cool Ford Figo

The Honeymooners
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My generous friends decided to come along and they had a ERTIGA the LUV to carry our luggage too

The Great Ladakh Plan

As the group was finalized, the next task was to sort out the roles & responsibilities! I don’t know how and why, but I was assigned with the task of planning only the Ladkah Circuit, the guys in cars would have their own schedule till we all assemble in Chandigarh/Jammu for the Ladakh circuit! My fellow biker was assigned with managing the transportation of bikes.

Planning task to me was an irony! I was a good traveler but never a tourist. I don’t believe in having any fixed plans, I travel to see what is in a location than to plan what to see! But a trip of this scale required some amount of planning. I thought this task would be a walk in the park; alas it turned out to be a daunting task! On the brighter side, I didn’t have to deal with whims and fancies of each group member, all of them were harmonious to follow whatever was best for the group.

The next phase in planning, was with the starting point for bikers, as we had decided we would transport our bikes from Bangalore, rather than renting the bikes there we were pondering on whether Delhi or Chandigarh or Jammu! Most of the folks advised on avoiding Delhi, so that we can save a day or so and start from Chandigarh. Jammu had limited options with the transportation of bikes and also flights. We also had to decide on how many hours do we ride in a day and how will our bodies cope up with the harsh terrains, the AMS effect, and any buffer days in case of any unforeseen problems!

We neither had ridden more than 400KM’s a day nor rode for more than two consecutive days at a stretch! Then there was a hatchback on the trip, a doubt if it could make the treacherous Rohtang pass especially during rainy season. So the options of climbing via Jammu-Srinagar and returning via Manali route had to be thought through! Finally, I had to take in to account the fuel stations and the options for bikes to carry extra fuel based on the route chosen! Phew, Planning wasn’t easy with so many uncertainties and add to the mix the Srinagar curfew and few well-wishers even started advising to postpone the trip. No ways, come what may I wasn’t going to back off on this trip and this was the opinion with all the group members too! We didn’t have any pussies on this trip for sure and all were raring to go!

Thus with so many permutations & combinations, hurdles I spent oodles of time on reading up blogs, speaking to people, watching you-tube videos for an idea of the terrain, querying with seasoned travelers, and had couple of draft plans ready. Achievement!! A brainstorming session was carried out with the group members and thankfully all gave their consent in tandem. Simultaneously we had availed the services of HVK and after having couple of discussions with him, this was our “Great Grand Ladakh Plan

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The guys in the cars were supposed to leave a week in advance to explore few places along western India and they would join bikers in Jammu and from there we would be travelling as a group!

Last edited by Mafioso : 30th January 2017 at 15:58.
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Old 27th January 2017, 14:01   #2
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Default re: 3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh

Transportation:

We had zeroed in on GATI, though all of us were aware of the horror stories around how the bikes are treated by them we didn’t have many options (or we thought so!) Our best negotiation skills ensured we had a deal of Rs 6800/- one way from Bangalore to Chandigarh with an ETA of 10 days. We were set to transport it via them on August 3rd, but this was a trip where everything seemed to change in the last moment. Due to our busy schedules in IT, one of the biker was supposed to travel out of Bangalore on August 3rd and will not be able to make it to GATI office on Hosur road to transport the bike! We were in a fix, GATI had made it clear that they would take 10 days to transport and we had to drop the bike on August 3rd and they wouldn’t take it earlier either! If we delay by a day, there was no guarantee that the bikes would reach by 13th August, the day we arrive in Chandigarh. We didn’t want to waste a day waiting for the bikes and hence decided to explore other options. I swiftly checked with few people via blogs and thanks to fellow Team BHP members barcalad, unk9ja who provided contacts and we finalized on TransDaksh as the reviews were very good, I was told that they care for the bike as we care! Brilliant!

We brokered a deal of 7k per bike + transit insurance of 2% of IDV, and a promise of 10 days of ETA to transport the vehicle to Chandigarh. Reached their HSR office on Aug 2nd, finished the formalities and they packed the bikes with utmost care and professional way. We opted for the extra insurance as well and it worked up to 25k for all three bikes one side.

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After getting back home, was feeling I was one more step closer to the realization of my dream trip, but Srinagar was boiling with news of the longest curfew ever in its history. There were protests everywhere and the crowd was involved in heavy stone pelting. Stars weren’t favoring!

As part of HVK services, we had an elaborate conference call on the night of August 4th and he advised us on travelling back & forth via the Manali route as an alternative because of commotion in Srinagar. This meant, we had to reach Manali on a long weekend (15th August holiday), with no guarantee of getting a decent hotel to rest and then we had to delay the travel by 2 days as it was highly impossible to stand in queue to get the permit and then travel with the crawling traffic towards Rohtang. The final nail in the coffin was riding 12 hours from Keylong to Leh on day 3 of our trip! If travelling from Manali side, we gain altitude at a faster rate than the Jammu route. Manali is around 2050 M and Sarchu is 4290 M and we had to travel via two passes and this wasn’t ideal for our bodies to cope with such rapid ascent! Hence a stay at Sarchu is better avoided and we ride straight to Leh. Sigh! 12 hours! That sounded impossible at least for us on the bikes. The other option was to do a thrilling night ride from Jammu to Srinagar if the army permits, because of the curfew in day time! This did sound stimulating but involved in equal amount of risk as well. Anyways we decided to keep the options open and take a call as and when we reach Chandigarh and check the situation around Srinagar!

It was time to pack the big bags! We (biker boys) left it with my friend on August 4th 2016, so that it can be transported in Ertiga for us.

Both the cars were leaving on Aug 5th and they planned to cover few places in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and join us in Jammu on Aug 14th ( as per the plan!) from there we would move as one group!

Day 0 12th Aug 2016

The few benefits of working in an IT industry was their enticing “Work from home” option. I was hoping to work from home, wrap up the work early (avoid travelling on a Friday evening, it being a long weekend with traffic all over) and finish some last-minute shopping! No matter how much time we have on our hands – we always tend to keep some shopping at the nth moment!

As we were travelling in a Indigo which falls under the budget airlines category, space was a premium and we didn’t have the luxury to carry multiple bags. Hence we decided we would pack all the riding gear and bags in a cardboard box and tape it and check it in!

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Few Essentials for the trip
• Clothes of course!
• Sleeping Kit, thermals, Jacket and woollen cap, gloves to protect us against the harsh wind/cold
• Toiletry Kit (sanitizers, wet wipes)
• Riding gear included – Helmet, Riding Jacket, leather gloves as well as cheap ones , rain coat & pant from Decathlon
• Essential Medicines (Don’t forget Diamox!)
• Tarpaulin Sheet to cover the saddle bags in rains
• Bike spares included Brake & Clutch Levers, Accelerator & Clutch cables, Brake & Gear pedals, chain lube
• Nutrition bars to provide proteins while riding

Just when I was about to hit the bed, got a call from my cousin, apprising the situation in Srinagar! The curfew was imposed 24*7, and there was a faint chance that we could travel on the 14th Night from Jawahar Tunnel. This tunnel which is about 2.5km is supposed to be the main connectivity between two states, on one side is Jammu and from the other end Kashmir region starts. So the curfew was starting from the end of this tunnel. Considering the fact that the journey from Chandigarh to Jammu to the Tunnel will be close to 12 hours, it would be a herculean task if we start our trip on Sunday the 14th of August, reach Jammu and again ride in the night if permitted! So it was told that we leave Chandigarh ASAP and reach close to Jammu on Day 1 itself – plans getting changed already. One of the fellow biker wasn’t keen to do any night drives and we didn’t have any extra lighting on our bikes either to support this. I informed my cousin that we would decide based on the condition of bike and the situation there after discussing with my fellow bikers.

Day 1 13th Aug 2016 Bangalore to Chandigarh

I wasn’t able to sleep much thinking about the epic ride we were going to have and forcefully put myself to sleep way past midnight and was up even before the alarm rang, finished all the formalities at home, bid adieu to everyone at home.

Because of the long weekend, there was a mad rush at the Airport Drop Off zone and somehow we managed to get ourselves little space to alight from the car rearranged our luggage between the boxes to get in limit of 15kg!

As we finished checking in, we got a call from Chandigarh informing that the bikes had arrived and asking for the address where the bikes can be dropped. We told him that we will call him once we are in Chandigarh and pick the bikes later from their warehouse. A sense of relief that bikes have arrived at least if not in one piece , we decide to treat ourselves with some costly airport rate breakfast assuming we won’t get to eat such things in the next few days. We settle with appetizing Dosa filter kaapi combination

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We lazed around a bit till the gates opened and finally boarded the plane. We set off into the skies along with our high soaring hearts awaiting for the classic trip to kick off from Chandigarh.

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Chandigarh

The flight landed at Chandigarh on time, we picked up our boxes which were still intact and went out of the airport to check the cab rates. The airport taxi was priced high and we decided to try OLA/Uber, not aware that they don’t ply to airport. After enquiring further, we settled for a cab which charged ~21/KM and our Etios taxi arrived. We loaded our boxes, squeezed in the backseat and were off to the hotel!


We called up the TransDaksh guys and the person on the other end was talking so fast Punjabi-Hindi slang that it was hard to follow what he was telling! Sensing this, our over enthusiastic cab driver, agreed to talk to him and found out the address! It was closer to the hotel and he agreed to drop us there after we check in to the hotel and drop our boxes.

We checked into the compact Maharani Regency, left our boxes in the room which was a challenge considering the narrow stairs and our room was on the second floor and there was no lift! We swiftly opened the boxes took out our helmets and started towards the bike pick up point in the waiting airport cab. Once we reached that place, we were happy to see all the bikes standing strong on their stands and the packing too was intact, albeit it was brown in color!

The guys in charge there started unpacking the bikes. First, it was Thunderbird 300, and we got to see the initial damages, the back indicator lamp was broken, number plate was bent and only way to start it was by kicking! Yes the electric start was kaput! Next was Thunderbird 500 – the handlebar was bent! Now I was waiting for my turn and to see what damages my baby Duke had. Amazingly none! Ah, that was a pleasant surprise seeing the other bikes damaged. Somehow had a feeling that while transporting back to Bangalore, my bike would have more!

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Anyways that is for another day. The bullets needed repairing; we had spotted a service center close by (~500m), on the way. We took the bikes there, the mechanic looked at it and agreed to fix. We could feel the sweltering heat and all us sweating profusely till the bikes were being fixed.

The guys who were at the service center, were amazed with the KA registration and quizzed us for a long time on our trip. They were wondering what had got on to us that we had to take so much trouble than just hiring the bikes. They were thinking we were mad! Perhaps they will never understand the bonding we have with our bikes and how our heart beats every time we ride our beloved bike.

Just as the bikes got fixed, it started to rain and the chances of us travelling towards Jammu started looking bleak. I got a call from the folks in cars, urging us to start riding and come as close as possible towards Jammu and rest so that we can try crossing Srinagar on 14th night itself.

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We were famished and desperately wanted to eat something! We found a Rajasthani restaurant and settled with snacks, which was yummy and laden with curds!

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We thought most likely on 14th the Army guys wouldn’t let us pass through Jawahar Tunnel and we can try our luck on 15th night. After some brainstorming between us we reached a consensus and decided to try our luck on 14th night itself. I checked the distance and time taken to travel to Jammu which was around 6 hours and considering we were on bikes and it was going to be dark – decided against this option as it would be hectic and dangerous too! The next best bet was Pathankot which was around 240 KM and we could target to reach there with around 5-6 hours of ride! I informed the plan to our fellow travelers in car, who were in in Amritsar at that time and they decided to drive down to Pathankot and book a place for us too, so that we don’t have to go searching for one in the late hours!

We filled up the bikes to the brim, on way to the room. At the room, we freshened up to get rid of the sweaty faces/palms and unpacked the bags from the boxes , stuffed in whatever we could without caring much to arrange as we were running out of time and were ready to go in less than half an hour! I checked with a local cab guy on the route and he suggested the Chandigarh – Amritsar highway via Ludhiana and deviate at Jalandhar towards Pathankot. It was a four lane highway till Jalandhar and the roads were pretty good it seems! We fixed the saddle bags and posed for the customary starting trip shot!

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Till now we always told each other we wouldn’t strain ourselves, we wouldn’t ride in the night; we will take it easy on the trip and the ride. Now it was the start for all the changes which were to follow in the next few days.

Chandigarh to Pathankot

The start didn’t seem to kick off well and we ran into a massive traffic jam within 10 minutes of our trip. It took almost an hour to wade through this and leave the city. I was asked to take the lead as I had a clear visor on my helmet as against their dark smoked visors! They thought that we would be doing day rides and they had bought themselves dark visors!

The highways were very well laid, but traffic was intense and I learnt that traffic rules were only meant to be on papers or rather sign boards on highways. The people drove crazily, there was no indication to turn or left and they assumed that the vehicle behind will slow down and let them pass!

I generally love night driving, but it was in cars fitted with bright head lamps, here the bike head lamps were dull and hardly light up the road in front to get a clear view! After 40 km’s or so, guess my eyes were tuned to these head lights and the view was better if not best! As I was leading the other bikes, I had to concentrate even harder to ensure we were all safe! After 3 hours of riding we were famished! We stopped at a MC’d joint on the highway had the usual junk food with an hour of break and resumed our ride.

The roads were still good, and we managed to keep up speeds close to 70-90 kmph. The traffic became sparse as we were rode into night and we were happy! It was pleasant to ride at this hour than getting baked during the day time! We all were sweating profusely just standing in one place in Chandigarh! Imagine riding on highway with the heat of bikes and the riding gear! We surely would have been roasted! Some positives, to ride in the night!

I had no clue of the roads and was just concentrating on looking for sign boards which leads us to Pathankot, we passed the lovely highways and hit the deviation from the four-laned highway towards Pathankot. Around 12 a.m. we stopped again for a tea break and got the hotel details my cousin had booked in Pathankot via whatsapp! One of the lucky days in the trip where there was a working network that too with 3G connectivity. Thanks Vodafone.

The fellow bikers were having a tough time negotiating the insects and dust as they had left their visors open for better visibility! The last stretch to Pathankot needs a special mention! It was a dreamy ride, literally! All our bodies were dead-tired and the long straights of road with green trees on both sides, the cool breeze were not helping in keeping us awake! It was so easy to fall asleep while riding. I was trying very hard to keep myself awake and singing and shouting and moving around on the bike! Joe later said that he even had a few seconds of dream!

Finally we reached Pathankot around 2.15 a.m. after 7 hours of ride. We had to pass through multiple police check posts, but were not stopped anywhere as we were on bikes. It was perplexing, though this was a high security zone post the terrorist attack, no one seemed to be keen on stopping us or questioning our whereabouts! Strange! May be terrorists don’t arrive in bikes.

We reached our hotel as per the booking information – the “Caesar Castle”. As expected everyone at the hotel were fast asleep and we managed to wake up the security guard and unlock the doors for us. The room was ready and thankfully on the first floor with wide stairs, there is no concept of lifts over there! We freshened up and hit bed immediately.

Suddenly my friend woke me up, I was thinking it was morning – to my surprise when I woke up it was 3 a.m. He pointed out there were some insects falling all over us from the ceiling! There were oodles of insects all over us, the bags, and the beds. Phew! We again woke up the person who was in charge and got shifted to an adjacent room and called it a night!

What an eventful first day or rather night of our epic trip!

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Route taken: Chandigarh – Ludhiana – Jalandhar – Pathankot
Trip Start Time: 7:00 p.m. Trip End Time: 2.20 a.m.
KM’s covered: 333
Time Taken: 327 mins Average Riding Speed: 60 kmph

Last edited by Mafioso : 27th January 2017 at 15:29. Reason: added more content
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Old 30th January 2017, 10:42   #3
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Default re: 3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh

Day 2 14th Aug 2016 Pathankot to Banihal

Morning we had my cousin knocking at our doors and I was happy to see him as well as irked to be woken up! Anyways, as soon as he entered he gave us the updates, all of which were downers!
• The Jawahar Tunnel is closed and no guarantee we can go through, we may to have wait it out.
• News was that terrorists were on loose in Pathankot last night! Thankfully later it was clarified that it was a rumor as few tourists were asking the locals the way to hotel and they mistook them for terrorists, we wondered if it was us who they mistook last night.

Hearing all the updates, I wasn’t sure if we did the right thing of riding in night to be down in dumps with this news. The guys in Ertiga had already called up my cousin and were on their way to Pathankot from Dharamsala. We quickly finished our breakfast – delicious aloo parathas and bread jam toasts. Got ready and started packing our bags, we had just dumped all the things in the bags with no sorting whatsoever and had to rearrange few things in the saddle bags for easier access of the essentials and load balancing! After some deliberations, we all were in agreement to start our ride towards the Tunnel and see the situation first hand. We saddled up and left towards Jammu.

The plan was to reach Ranban (which was the first check post) where traffic was stopped and then proceed further based on the situation. We were advised by HVK sir to carry enough fuel and snacks to last if in case there was a delay.

We rode out of Pathankot with a convoy formation. The Pilot car- Figo was in front leading the way, we bikers in between, followed by our sweeper car Ertiga. We kept riding and passed through numerous towns, the roads were good and four-laned! We gleefully munched miles at permissible speeds to reach Jammu. It felt so good to have full visibility as compared to the previous night ride. We stopped for lunch at the outskirts of Jammu (took the ring road to avoid city traffic) and then proceeded towards Patnitop.

Post Jammu, the roads were “incredible”. It had to be the best scenic roads I have ridden in India. It was pure magical with all the greenery around and the seamless roads. These roads took me back in time, reliving the wonderful road trips I had in UK. The tunnels, the twists, the ghat sections etc. all looked great just like any other world-class roads in Europe. Hats off to the BRO for laying such excellent roads.

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Just when I was admiring these roads, there came a deviation to Patnitop and the road condition deteriorated! Good things don’t last forever. Sigh! And it started to rain as well, thankfully I was prepared with the raincoat and rode through the bad sections and slush and stopped at a stall for tea.

Our bikes had merrily taken the slush pasting all around, ditto with our riding gear too!

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Somethings only a biker can relate to being in such dirty gear but still loving it!

After the break, we resumed the journey. We were following the pilot car blindly trusting the drivers driving skills and the navigation device in the car. The ride was long and body started to show signs of tiredness! For some reason, we had missed a deviation to Patnitop where we had to pick up snacks to suffice our wait at the check posts!

My bike was now running on fumes and we stopped at a fuel station on the outskirts of Ranban to tank up. All the bikes and cars were filled to the brim, to last as long as possible and we also filled the 20 litre can with petrol and stacked away in the Ertiga for us (great friends) – fuel efficiency and our bikes were not the best friends!

As we inched closer to the Ranban town, we were stopped at a check post! The loquacious members of the group tried explaining to the officer in charge there, that we were on our way to Leh, and the he asked us,

“Do you know the current affairs here?”

We nodded a feeble yes in unison! Harish told him that we had been planning for this trip for the last 6 months and we didn’t want to cancel or change it in the last moment, the answer given by the officer stunned us

“You will repent for 6 months if anything happens today or tomorrow”. We were on a sticky wicket!

After lot of cajoling, he agreed to let us pass, but said that even if he was letting us go, the next point we would be stopped! With all this in mind, we moved towards Banihal!

It was dark and it started to rain again! We started climbing the ghats and we were again stopped at another place. This time it was an army convoy and thankfully, it was to do with their parking of trucks and towing another. We met a soldier from Karnataka and he was happy to see KA registered vehicles and started to converse immediately in Kannada (strong local feelings!) and apprised us of the situation and said we may have a chance to pass by Srinagar in the night.

After few minutes, we were good to go and we bikers followed the pilot car, by just concentrating on his brake lights. We were caught in the midst of a heavy thunderstorm! I wasn’t even able to see the road a few meters ahead and was almost bumping into every pothole following the car! This was the section of road which was deemed to be perilous, as per the blogs and was known for the reckless drivers of the local cabs! But we had none around to experience it. We were the only souls on these twisting roads, and the view of the mountains lighting up in the thunderstorms was terrifying! Only when the skies light up I got to see the valley around and realized how deep it was and we were riding right on the limits! Nerve-jangling experience!

An hour later, we reached a village (we didn’t know the name of it) and yet another checkpoint. Again the guys managed to talk and pass through it and after few minutes later we arrived at Banihal check post where we were stopped and found many vehicles waiting there in a queue!

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Trip Start Time: 12:10 pm. Trip End Time: 8.30 p.m.
KM’s covered: 250
Riding Time : 303 minutes
Average Riding Speed: 49 kmph

I was fatigued and just wanted to get off the saddle and shake off the water from the raincoats and give some rest to the aching arms and drenched body! Parked my bike and got to a small shelter where there was hardly any space for more than 3 people. It was drizzling continuously and the temperatures had plummeted. The fellow bikers also were exhausted and joined me in the shelter. The start of our first wait on road! We munched on some biscuits; nutrition bars and waited endlessly in that small shelter rubbing each other’s shoulders. We didn’t have the time to fix the tarpaulins on to the bags on the bikes, and in these heavy rains the rain covers they had, started to soak in water! Hopefully the stuff inside wasn’t fully wet beyond usage!

As time passed by, the locals got impatient and started to argue with the soldiers! It was past 12.30 a.m. and there was no signs of letting us go! They managed to barge their way through the check post and we too followed them towards the famous Jawahar Tunnel.

We all put the pedal to the metal and raced towards the tunnel anticipating a free pass to Srinagar. On the way we overtook a convoy of military trucks and reached the tunnel only to realize that there were more vehicles waiting! The tunnel is the main link between Jammu & Kashmir. The curfew started from the other side of the tunnel and the commotion was on that side of it! It is always heavily guarded by military and they take an extra mile effort to keep it safe from any eventualities!

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The Army convoy we overtook enthusiastically arrived and the military folks guarding the tunnel, made way for them to pass through. We were surprised that they didn’t let us pass through.

Later we got information (rather a rumor perhaps) that the convoy of 50+ trucks that passed us was for Independence Day preparation. To evade any untoward incidents the army was deploying force across Kashmir! The rumor mill continued that the army trucks which passed us, will sweep the troubles areas and then we can resume our journey!

We bikers were dog-tired and wanted to rest desperately and as we were out in the open for way too long the bodies started to numb because of the cold! The options we had were, either we sleep on the road or squeeze in the cars! We choose the latter option, and time passed by! Suddenly in between we were woken by some screams saying “chalo chalo” only to be stopped again by the military guys.

It was early morning ~ 5.30 a.m. and I was cramped in the car and my left arm was numb. I had slept through the night with the riding gear and rain jacket! I wanted to stretch my body and made my way out of the car! There were similar scenes, the locals were again miffed about the delay and were bellowing at the army guys to let them pass through, because once the day breaks there would be more clashes and trouble on roads.

Around 6.30 a.m. a senior army officer arrived at the spot and he decided to let us pass! All of us were elated and we quickly geared up and started to ride towards the tunnel. Just when we were about to enter the tunnel, which was about 10m away, the guard there stopped us. I was puzzled as he only asked the bikers to move aside and was letting the cars pass by! We bikers, pointed to him that the cars which were behind us were also with us and he asked them to move aside!

The senior army officer came around and looking at our registration plates, told us that it was not safe for us to travel as we were tourists and venturing out in day light on Independence Day would be inviting for trouble. Few members of the group tried cajoling him suggesting we will follow the cars which went by, but the officer pointed that the local vehicles were probably travelling to closer places and not to Srinagar, and being on bikes we would be sitting ducks in case of stone pelting.

He assured that he will “try” to let us later in the evening with a condition! “IF” (a big IF) the situation improved and if it is safe! He asked us to go back to Banihal rest and come back by evening and try our luck!

Last edited by Mafioso : 30th January 2017 at 16:01.
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Old 30th January 2017, 16:45   #4
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Day 3 Aug 15th 2016 Banihal to ??

Crestfallen, we all treaded back from the tunnel and stopped over in between at a picturesque curve with a view of the valley (which we missed in the night ride) and debate what next! It was an exhaustive night and this was the first time for all of us to have spent the night on road hoping to travel, and later to be told that we that we can’t move ahead.

All the trouble we bikers took to reach this point, riding all night through bad patches of roads, dangerous ghat roads, in thunderstorms hasn’t been futile. We called up HVK sir to inform the situation and he insisted, we should make our way as it was safe and other cars have travelled. My cousin proposed to go speak to the Army officer again and see if he agrees to send us through! But somehow rest of us were hesitant and we decided to vote (India is democratic and so are the people/friends living here)

The vote was to stay at Banihal, replenish our energies and try our luck later that evening.

By now all the theories proposed in the team had gone awry! The proposal to cross the tunnel before Independence Day had failed and one of the biker’s idea of waiting for 15th August to get over and cross the place was coming true. But we were still not sure if that can happen! There was lot of uncertainty on what will happen in Kashmir valley on Independence Day, which all areas of Kashmir the anti-social elements would target to cause disruptions and how the army would respond to it, was a million dollar question. In between all this we had to take a call how long do we wait here or head back towards Manali to continue the trip – A perfect Catch 22 situation for us!

With those varied thoughts, we descended to Banihal! We found a JKTDC accommodation for 300 bucks a room settled in 4 rooms! We had a sumptuous breakfast of aloo parathas and tea after a long wait.

All the saddlebags were completely wet and thankfully packing the clothes inside covers had helped and my clothes weren’t wet, except few things which were not in the covers. The other biker boys stuff was wet and they put them to dry and resided in our respective rooms for much needed rest and luxury of sleeping on a bed as compared to the last night!

It was so tiring, that when I woke up it was already 4 p.m. and most of the guys were ready! They had information that tunnel may be open earlier and we need pass the Banihal check post before 6.30 p.m. , post which they don’t let the vehicles towards the tunnel. No wonder we were stuck here last night!

Hopes soaring high, we hit the roads and first joy – we were not stopped at Banihal check post, we ride further and reach the tunnel to find a similar sight of barricades but now we were the first people there. We spoke to one of the army guys and he inspired some confidence in our hearts/heads saying that today Amarnath Yatrees may come and there would be a convoy, he showed us a fleet of sumo’s standing and promised they will accompany us and asked us to wait.

We passed some time lurking around until 9 p.m. and our tummies started growling for food. Apart from the aloo parathas, and few biscuits in the evening, we had not given any attention to food, the primary focus was to cross this place rest all were secondary! We were told we can go back down about 2KM away, there would be a shelter which served food for Yatrees! We decided to go on bikes by taking turns and leave the cars around so that we don’t miss a chance of being ahead at the tunnel in case it was opened to travel.

As we arrived at the shelter, people started to get up and started serving us (buffet style). I was overwhelmed at the variety of food served for free. There were delicious rotis, curry, rice, raita and gajar ka halwa! We feasted on it and contributed some money in the hundi placed there. So much people do for pilgrims! I’m not sure if this was run by the government or by some charity! Nevertheless, the quality of food was good and serving it hot-hot at this place for free was remarkable!

We decided to leave and let other guys who were waiting for us near tunnel could go and have their food. Just as we started our bikes, I see in the corner of my rear view mirror, a bus arrived with full of people & few army personnel! Somewhere in the corner of my heart a hope aroused that this may be the group of Amarnath Yatrees with military folks.

Soon the other boys too finish their dinner and as we were waiting there, the bus arrived and immediately the barricades are moved and the bus is moved forward and stopped just before the tunnel! As we all were watching this, the army personnel informed that we can also travel and he asked us to come over closer to the tunnel! He said that we would be let post 12.30 a.m. By now few more bikers have joined us along with couple of private tourists for the yatra.

The never ending wait started again reminiscent of the previous night, only difference was we were on the other side of the barricade closer to the tunnel! We all were thrilled that we were going to travel and there would be a convoy too accompanying us. Who would have dreamt of it – a military convoy for our travel! The army officer who spoke to us the morning had arrived and said we can travel and in case anyone stopped us, we got to tell that we are going to Amarnath! We laughed inside thinking on bikes, with this gear we were going for a pilgrimage trip and the people would believe it too!

We were also advised that we shouldn’t engage with any locals and if we were stopped we should try and talk to them rather than dodging them. Perhaps, they weren’t aware that we had a friend, who is the master of persuasion and can talk his way out of any situation!

As usual, my cousin instructed us to keep up as a group and never let sight of each other, he is supposed to be in the front leading, we were supposed to be behind him and the Ertiga would be always at the last watching our backs! This convoy had to continue for our safety!

For the next hour we were all looking towards the tunnel with great anticipation and various conversations with the fellow bikers about their journey and experiences, who had arrived from diverse parts of India. The longer we waited; the locals started getting restless that the army folks letting us, the tourists to go and not them. Few angry men asked us if this was fair and where was the freedom! We felt sad for them, being in independent India we were still dependent and there was no freedom to move around.

It was a different experience as compared to south, where we probably would never end up in such situations. I really hope the Kashmir issue is resolved soon and the people here are free to wander like others in India!

Jawahar Tunnel to Sonamarg

Around 1 a.m. there was some serious movement! The bus was moved to the front, the private tourists car behind them, our pilot car, Figo lined up behind and all the bikers (about 10+) behind him and then our sweeper car Ertiga followed by couple of private tourist cars.

The army guys took our bike numbers, names and contact numbers. The wait was getting longer and just when we started to relax, suddenly there is hullabaloo! Within a matter of seconds, I saw the bus moving and the cars tagging behind! The army guys are shouting at the bikers asking to start! I were wondering what happened! This was out of nowhere! I also saw that our pilot car was waiting at the entrance of the Tunnel. Suiting up was a big ordeal for bikers. First, we had to zip up the riding jackets and on top of it we had to put the raincoats and also wear the rain pants. Then we had to wear the helmets (the D lock on the helmets took even longer to clip!) and finally we had to put our gloves and strap up! If we missed doing anything after wearing the gloves, it would be a nightmare to remove it and again repeat the process. Many a times we had the bike keys in our pockets and after gearing up we used to realize the mistake! So to do all this we required at least a couple of minutes and the army guys were shouting at us for delaying! Sigh!

Anyways, we quickly finished this and we started the bikes!

The heart was racing when this moment arrived! After so many hours of waiting and false hopes of travelling – we were finally passing through the tunnel. It was hard to come back to reality as the mind was vacillating over all the past events, and suddenly it hit back that I had to concentrate on the road ahead.

The Jawahar tunnel was gloomy, it wasn’t fully lit and there were few places where water was leaking and puddles on the road below. It was fairly long or maybe I felt so. It was a single lane and we were supposed to maintain a constant speed, there is a similar one at the other side for the traffic to pass towards Jammu from Srinagar. I was behind the pilot car which was a fair distance away as we had started little late, and the other bikers were following me. Few minutes later, there was light at the end of the tunnel (literally) and YES we had crossed it, but the fun was supposed to begin now – “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost”

We (bikers) failed to spot any convoy in front or behind, nor the bus! We were worried that we have been left behind. We were under the impression that our pilot car driver had missed the instructions and it looked like he was driving sedately in his own world. I tried to go next to his car and asked him to speed up but found him fixated on the road ahead and not giving attention to my gestures. I fell back wondering what was wrong with him, and was overtaken by couple of bikers who had joined us!

One of our bikers was hyperventilating and he sped up to the car and gestured and screamed to catch up with the convoy! The driver indicated to follow him and upped the speed immediately! The roads were empty barring some trucks stopped at the exit of the tunnel I didn’t find a soul on the road.

It was a spine chilling experience to pass through these ghostly roads and gradually they turned twisted and suddenly we were going down a hill. I overshot two corners with thinking about the convoy. There were few stones scattered on the roads, shattered glass pieces in the first 15-20KM indicating some disturbance during the day.

I thank god that sense prevailed and we didn’t choose to travel in broad daylight. Would have been a nightmare dodging stones while riding!

My cousin was in his elements and was driving in good speed! The bikers tailed him – relying solely on the car’s brake lights and we all reached through the night. The one good thing of following a seasoned driver in front is you can trust him blindly and have to concentrate only on the brake lights – if he braked you need to slow down or brake and if he had his right indicators on after overtaking a vehicle it meant that the road was clear for you to overtake as well, if the left indicator was on – meant that a vehicle coming from the opposite direction and get out of the right lane! He also ensured he gave us proper directions while negotiating turns or avoiding potholes and the ride was relaxing in the perfect convoy formation!

This continued for an hour or so and the landscape changed as we neared Srinagar. Now there were big trees adjacent to the road and in some places fields were on one side. It started to get FOGGY! The chill wind glided past my helmet and I could feel it within my gloves! Damn those gloves which I thought were too hot for city rides felt like it has ice in them!

I could barely see anything in the front apart from the Figo’s tail lamps and even that started to blur in the fog! Hardly there was any vehicle coming from the opposite side and it was just our group and a fellow biker we had met near the tunnel who had kept up with our speeds! At times there was a military truck stationed and led torch light being flashed by someone. We don’t stop or slow down and continue our journey towards Srinagar. It was eerie!

This ought to be one of the best rides I have ever done in my life and ranks among the top in this trip as well. Considering the build up to this ride, the hearts were racing, the adrenaline was rushing, there was a tinge of fear in the corner of the mind, there was the thrill of riding through those ghostly towns/roads, the chillness in the wind was numbing, the darkness was inviting, the wind was howling past the helmet, all I could hear was the howling wind and puttering duke exhaust and I was in trance! I’m at loss of words to explain this feeling!

In the wee hours, we entered Srinagar. It was deserted, sparing couple of military trucks stationed at some junctions. We passed through the city or I guess the outskirts and reached Dal Lake. It was extremely fascinated seeing it in dark. It was a full moon day and the reflection of moon over Dal Lake was serene, just out of a picture perfect painting! Wanted to capture this moment, but was held back.

1.It was a curfew situation and you are not authorized to stop,
2.The hands in gloves were frozen, they didn’t want to be disturbed!


The Dal Lake was huge, it was easily around 4-5km or may be more and we are riding next to it. I was wondering how big this lake was or my cousin was playing fool and driving us around the lake to get a better view as we missed staying here!

This was the only shot we had taken from car!
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Thus we passed through Srinagar and continued towards Sonamargh! What an experience! I don’t have any pictures to frame this, but the memories will always stay in me forever!

After an hour, we were again climbing mountains, and came across a place, where we had a mountain on one side and a lovely river on the other side and the road in-between! The river was illuminated by a flood light on a mountain and the water looked crystal clear. Pristine! We stopped to get our breath back and give some rest to our back and warm our numb hands!

We were all relieved that Srinagar was behind us, and we didn’t have any hiccups. All gathered around my cousin to ask the million dollar question! “Where was the Convoy, how did we lose it?”

He gave us an answer, which was hard to digest! It seems as soon as the tunnel ended, the bus was pulled aside and we were asked to carry on! Everyone was like WHAATT! No convoy! After all the talks with Army folks we ended up travelling on our own through the troubled city in a curfew zone! Wow! Hats off to us.

All talked about the great night drive and were content that the worst or rather the tentative part of journey was behind us and we were back on schedule! The roads were good and we started ascending and with that the cold increased dramatically.

I started to feel complete numbness in my hands and I could barely hold the clutch or accelerate, the hand was not acting as I wanted to, it was so freaking cold! I tried all possible ways to keep hands warm but zilch of help.

Somehow around 5 a.m. we reached Sonamargh and HVK sir had given us the hotel details, we (specially the bikers) stormed into this place to get some warmth from the wooden walls and the expensively carpeted flooring! We didn’t want to remove any of our gear as we were frozen inside out!

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Thus our third day rather early morning ends and fall asleep at 5.30 a.m. This stay was only for few hours as we had to go to our next destination “Kargil” and we were back on track!

It’s a shame that though it was the best night of the journey, there were no pictures clicked, but those memories are imprinted in my head which is long lasting than a framed photograph

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Trip Start Time: 12:45 a.m.
Trip End Time: 4.50 a.m.
KM’s covered: 167
Riding Time : 216 mins
Average Riding Speed: 49 kmph
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Old 31st January 2017, 11:01   #5
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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 31st January 2017, 15:26   #6
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Day 4 Aug 16th 2016 Sonamargh to Kargil

This was a short sleep, but felt really long as the mind was turned off in peace with nothing to worry and a sense of achievement of having passed through Srinagar. I was up around 10 a.m. and found that couple of guys in the room were already awake.

Walked toward the window and pulled aside the curtains and goodness gracious!What a view! I was enthralled with the scenery. All the mountains were covered in green and some capped with snow and then a river with clean water, green in color (possibly the reflection from the mountains and not the dirty green water!) was passing next to the hotel. It was a sight to behold.
It made me feel, that the trip was on with this dramatic scenery.
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As we were getting ready in turns, few of them explored the area around and what we have are these beautiful pictures
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Our customary photo shoot triggering the start of our epic journey!
The Machines –

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The Men and Machines

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We travelled through the small town of Sonamargh and quickly reached the end of it within no time, it was a small place!

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At the other end of the town, we got to see these breathtaking visuals. We were all awed by it!

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All the boys got their best look out and posed for the shutterbugs!

The bachelor boys in figo were in their own world probably dreaming of a gal and took some nice portfolio pictures.
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The clouds were closing in, indicating yet another rain storm and we sped our way up the mountains towards the mighty Zoji la! The roads were looking good, narrow but nice!

Soon the road condition deteriorated from bad to worse. There was only mud and stones. The Enfield boys glided through the bad patches and were way ahead of me. I was struggling with the inverted shocks and every uneven surface could be felt in my arms and shoulders.

All set for Zoji La

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I started to ascend and was left alone. The car guys were a long distance back struggling with the rocky roads. I stopped in between to take some pics of the cars coming up from a vantage point.
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As we ascended, the clouds were closer and the temperature was dropping drastically. My hands were freezing again! Unable to ride any further I stopped to pick up the woolen gloves and this was the view in front of me.

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I could see the deadly pass in front of me and it was exactly how I had seen in various blogs. It was scary to look at but I was thrilled to ride through it. There was a truck stranded in between and we had to wait for it to move across. I ran back to the sweeper car (Ertiga) to search for my woolen gloves but no luck! I haven’t carried it! Damn!!! What a terrible miss! The truck somehow managed to pass and we crossed Zoji La! One item ticked out of bucket list.

The Mighty Zoji La
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Old 31st January 2017, 16:24   #7
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As we descended on the other side, the weather became bad and it was pouring heavily and my hands were uncomfortably numb inside the gloves. It was foggy and the wind was gusty. It was hard to ride in this weather and as soon as we spotted a small tea shop we stormed in it for some hot tea. It was named “zojila zero point” an apt name for the situation. The place was covered with tarpaulin sheets and some wet chairs invited us! It was freaking cold. It took a long time for the tea and hippie noodles to arrive and all the boys munched on it within no time noodles were over!

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Though we were holding hot cups in our bare hands we could hardly feel any heat! We, biker boys were in no mood to ride as it was pouring heavily and we asked the guys in car to leave. But none of them wanted to leave us behind! Talk abou the Bonding – fevicol ke Jod!

Slowly the rain started to dwindle and we suited up and resumed the journey. It was already past 1 p.m. and we had lost lot of time and had another 100KM to cover! We rode through the passes now and it was incredible, any side we turn there was a picture perfect scenery. We cherished this ride in this custom made climate for us.

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Each one of us was in our own world now and were thoroughly enjoying the visuals and in between some bad patches of road.

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Finally after 4-5 hours of riding we reached Drass – The Kargil war memorial.

We were told to hurry up by the army folks as they close around 7 p.m. and it was already 6.30 p.m. They asked us to get into a theatre, where the heroics of our great jawans were played and the conditions they lived in and the things they did/do for our better tomorrow. We felt a sense of pride watching the short AV. There was a chorus JAI HIND when the AV ended! Proud of India and its military! Goosebump moments!

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We resumed our journey towards Kargil and it was dark. The sunsets pretty late in this part of town and it is around 7.30 p.m when it completely gets dark. So we were back in Convoy formation with Figo leading us through the twisty seamless roads!

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We reached Kargil around 8.30 p.m. and found a fuel station at the start of the town where we filled our respective vehicles! I was astonished to see that my Duke’s fuel gauge was still not half empty! Considering the terrain I rode, this kind of mileage wasn’t expected!

We found a hotel with a good parking lot! This was a priority along with the clean rooms We wanted our vehicles to be safe as well while we rested – Talk about the boys and their obsession with the machinery!

We ordered for food – which was not up to the mark, but couldn’t expect more in this part of the town and called it a night!

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Trip Start Time: 2:15 p.m. Trip End Time: 9.30 p.m.
KM’s covered: 121
Riding Time : 221 minutes
Average Riding Speed: 35 kmph
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Old 1st February 2017, 10:21   #8
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Wow! That's quite an amazing travelogue and splendid, breathtaking snaps. Leh Ladakh has been part of my bucket list for five years now. Each time I see a blog on Leh, or snaps flourishing its beauty, all I do is a huge sigh! Five years is a long agonising time to keep your dreams on hold. I know of people who have been Leh'd thrice within in time period and I still have to be content by ogling at the snaps of others. I did manage to do some travels myself to various parts of the country; but Leh/ Ladakh has always evaded me. Each time I see a Leh travelogue, I console myself "Someday man, Some day!!!"

Great narration and details. Keep up the good work
Rated the well deserved 5 stars
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Old 2nd February 2017, 14:09   #9
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Day 5 Aug 17th 2016 Kargil To Leh

After the longish ride, we were tired and woke up late! The view from the balcony of the hotel was again beautiful! There was a river passing right next to it and few chairs placed around the edge – scenic romantic view!

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Since the dinner didn’t live up to our expectations we decided to have some local food outside the hotel. We saddled up and started our day 5

We found a small place to have our breakfast and we ordered some yummy momo’s bread omelette and bread toasts. We spent considerable amount of time having food there and finally left Kargil around 11.30 a.m. way behind our schedule!

From here on, I guess I’ll let the pictures do the talking. No matter how expressive and creative I can get, it is highly impossible to describe the beauty. Every turn we took posed us with a new view and picture perfect moment.

Bye Bye Kargil!
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Kargil Town
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“Happiness isn’t around the corner, for bikers it lies in the corners”

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Old 2nd February 2017, 14:21   #10
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The pics of the Lamayaru monastery

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what a place to ride!
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Spot us!
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Climbing those passes in dark was enticing and spooky at the same time! At a certain point, I was the engulfed in midst of the gigantic mountains and there wasn’t a soul around – all I could see was the rocky terrain with the gusty winds swaying me around! It was a surreal experience – perfect for some soul searching!
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Soon the car guys caught up and we reached Leh around 8 p.m. On the way we were supposed to visit Magnetic hill and the Gurudwara but the sunset and the darkness raced us! We decided to cover these the next day.

As luck had it, we again got a room in the second floor and was exhausting climbing the stairs with the gear and bags and after a long ride! I guess this had to do something with the altitude, even if you exert yourself little you were easily out of breath! I’m used to climbing three floors in this part of town but there, it would have been an endurance climb

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Trip Start Time: 10:55 a.m. Trip End Time: 8.57 p.m.
KM’s covered: 210 Riding Time : 280 minutes
Average Riding Speed: 49 kmph
Attached Thumbnails
3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh-day5.jpg  

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Old 2nd February 2017, 22:13   #11
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Default Re: 3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh

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Originally Posted by Mafioso View Post
"Just dreaming isn’t enough, we need to dare take risks with passion to fulfill those dreams – this travelogue is a testimony to that"...we would be travelling as a group!

Amazing travelogue buddy, I am particularly interested in the Duke 200 and its behaviour throughout the journey. I ride a 390 now and Duke200 was my first Duke. I had a lot of nagging issues with it, to list a few: display unit going blank, front shocker oil seal giving up frequently, the side stand sensor falling apart and a long list.
I have done Bangalore-Goa and back on the 390 but never had the confidence to take it 'Anywhere' I like, unlike the reliable ones like the CBRs and R15s. Did you have any nervous moments in your ride? I hope not

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Old 3rd February 2017, 14:37   #12
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Default Re: 3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushmenon View Post
Five years is a long agonising time to keep your dreams on hold. I know of people who have been Leh'd thrice within in time period.Each time I see a Leh travelogue, I console myself "Someday man, Some day!!!"
Great narration and details. Keep up the good work
Rated the well deserved 5 stars
Thank you!! Sometimes good things come to those who wait Your thread on Holiday in Tawang is very enticing and hopefully we can make it part of our bucket list!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabhimanyu04 View Post
I had a lot of nagging issues with it, to list a few: display unit going blank, front shocker oil seal giving up frequently, the side stand sensor falling apart and a long list.
I have done Bangalore-Goa and back on the 390 but never had the confidence to take it 'Anywhere' I like, unlike the reliable ones like the CBRs and R15s. Did you have any nervous moments in your ride? I hope not
Whoa! Quite a lot of parts going kaput in your Duke. I can't comment about the reliable bikes you mentioned but can surely tell you that Duke 200 was as reliable as you can ask for in the entire trip and all through the 3 years I have owned it, apart from the hard suspension which was troublesome in bad patches where I used to get left behind in the group tackling them and ended up with a sore shoulder, but then no pain no gain
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Old 13th February 2017, 19:07   #13
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Day 6 Aug 18th 2016 LEH – Acclimatization

I woke up around 7.30 a.m. and went straight to the nearby window expecting some breathtaking scenery and it didn’t disappoint! The Leh airport was across the road from the hotel and I could see the planes take off and land with the mountains in the background! It was mind-blowing!

A view from our room
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Fighter Jets taking off
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As the bikes required some maintenance we left it at a nearby garage and squeezed in to Ertiga and drove towards Magnetic hills. This was an entertaining time. There was a board indicating that we park the car in a box and experience the phenomenon!

“Magnet Hill is a “gravity hill” located near Leh in Ladakh, India. The layout of the area and surrounding slopes creates an optical illusion that the downhill road is actually an uphill road. Objects and cars on the hill may appear to roll “uphill” in defiance of gravity when they are, in fact, rolling downhill”

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A panoramic view
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The Magic Box
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Unfortunately, though we were sober, we didn’t get to experience this phenomenon and to add some fun to our lives and for the trouble taken to drive till here – we decided to do some off-roading in Ertiga and climb the magnetic hill straight up!

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The result was, we ended up spending a lot of time here and it was close to lunchtime. so we decided to go back and on the way we stopped over at the war memorial.

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Shey Palace
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Shantistupa
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It was a stupendous structure on this small hill top overlooking the small Leh town
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On the way back, we filled the bikes and petrol can to the brim for our journey the next couple of days to Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. As per the information we had, there would be no gas filling stations till we reach back Leh or Karu and we had around 500 KM to cover.

The next day was a big day for all the bike enthusiasts – we were going to ride on the world’s highest motorable road – Khardung La the mecca for all bikers!

KM’s covered: 63 !
A peaceful restful day indeed.
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Old 21st February 2017, 18:50   #14
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Excellent travelogue Mafioso!! Rated it 5 stars! Keep the experiences and the photos coming!!!
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Old 24th March 2017, 20:39   #15
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Default Re: 3 friends ride from Chandigarh to Ladakh

Excellent travelogue bro. Went through it in a single read . Rated 5 stars.

Guess you are busy as it's more than a month since your last post. Looking forward to the rest of the travelogue.

Planning to buy an Ertiga soon, Would like to know the drivers perspective as how it fared on Zojila & the rest of the trip.
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