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Old 22nd March 2011, 19:35   #1
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Default Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

My wife Medini and I have travelled through Ladakh on two occassions. The first time was on a Motorcycle (solo) in the year 2007 and the second time was majorly for photography in the year 2009 on a hired Tata Sumo.

The easy part is travelling. The difficult part writing. I hope to finish this trip log on Team bhp within two weeks. That is the style here on Team Bhp. BTW, we are Senior Citizens and were crazy enough to drive on a Motorcycle solo thanks to the encouragement we got from members of BIKENOMADS.

We transported the Bajaj Avenger 180 cc mobike from Pune to Jammu. The ride started at Jammu. The route we did was Jammu > Srinagar> Drass via Jhojilla Pass> Kargil> Lomayuru>Leh. Return was Leh to Sarchu>Manali>Simla>Chandigad>Delhi.

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This is how badly the Avenger was overloaded! Medini had carried her entire wardrobe sufficient to load a Santro!
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One hot crazy ride!
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And this is how clumsy it gets!

Riding on top of the world
We became grand parents to beautiful girl named Anika, on 11 June 2007. She was born in the land of Microsoft, at Redmond in USA.
To celebrate her arrival we decided to RIDE TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD!

We started our journey by Jhelum Express from Pune station to Jammu on the evening of 27th June. We arrived at Jammu afternoon of 29th June, picked up the bike from GATI go down. They had neatly damaged the Speedo and both RVMs of the Mobike! We gave the AVENGER a nice wash and we were ready to load the 30th morning. Loading was tedious, with two extra bags mounted on the specially fitted carrier designed by Mr. Pendharkar of Bajaj Auto Services at his garage to mount Mediniís luggage. I had the Cramsters for my luggage. 30th early morning we were at the base of the lovely twisting roads leading from Jammu to Patni Top. The mountain roads are super twisties, but the traffic discipline is poor. After a 30 kms I had got used to traffic and the roads.

We started for Patni Top (distance 114 kms) through beautiful twisties. It was obvious the bike was groaning under overloaded conditions.

We arrived at Patni Top in good time to take a tour of the wonderful place. Rode a 1 hp horse for 12 kms out there. Stayed the night at JKDTC cottage (Rs 800/-) . Patni Top is a magical place.

01 July, started for Srinagar (198 kms). Again great ride through the Kashmir Mountains. Jawahar tunnel was a scare though Banihal pass was very very charming. Arrived in good time in the valley. We had Army booking in the BB Camp, a high walled high security area. I had to clear my luggage through a sniffer dog bomb disposal squad. He sniffed around my Cramsters bikers luggage and neatly peed on my rear wheel

The Army Transit Camp mess was simply magnificent. We had time to do a quick tour of the city. Picked up a few maps. Had dinner, drinks and slept through the night. The Mess bill was a princely sum of Rs 114/-

02 July: Set off for Sonamurg, on a route skirting the awesome Dal Lake. The road was a beauty, with green hills on both sides and a lovely river bisecting the hills through the middle. Arrived Sonamarg around 2:30 pm at the Jammu n Kashmir Rifles TA Bn Camp. All the officers, including Col Pathania, the Commanding Officer, were waiting to receive us. The weather was wonderfully cool. A few Brandies followed by a sumptuous lunch, afternoon siestas for an hour and off we were to the beautiful meadows of Sonamurg for a photo shoot. We off roaded to the hills on a beautifully green carpeted terrain. The scenery was beautiful. I got a glimpse of a Para glider, but missed the shot.

Sonamurg is like Paradise on earth. Even the militants love Sonamurg. Who wants to do Switzerland? Not me!

Early morning 4 AM, I rode off some 30 kms for photo pics. An extra day at Sonamurg was most welcome. I got some magnificent pics of the sunrise here, the dark blue clouds.

Some pics !

Exiting the Jawahar tunnel. She was scared stiff drive through the tunnel!
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Pic 2: At some places she had to dismount and walk!
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Pic 3: The Army BB camp where we stayed for the night.
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Last edited by Stratos : 24th March 2011 at 10:23.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 20:11   #2
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post
BTW, we are Senior Citizens and were crazy enough to drive on a Motorcycle solo thanks to the encouragement we got from members of BIKENOMADS.
Senior Citizens???? I am sure you both will put a lot of "junior citizens" to shame with this trip log of yours. I am sure it must be back breaking!!

Does your wife ride/drive a bike too??

Regards
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Old 22nd March 2011, 20:30   #3
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Senior Citizens???? I am sure you both will put a lot of "junior citizens" to shame with this trip log of yours. I am sure it must be back breaking!!

Does your wife ride/drive a bike too??

Regards
Back breaking? No, but we were scared stiff on the passes. Medini is a great car driver but on a bike she always rides pillion. But she is an excellent Navigator. Without her I would have bottomed out into a valley. Besides she is an excellent logistics Manager, which is very important on a Motorcycle ride because you can carry that much load and no more.

It was the JUNIORS at Bikenomads who put us on to Ladakh. They made sure were ready for this ride with all logistics required. They ensured we practised offroading before we started the ride. We did group rides with the Nomad juniors many times over hundreds of kms. Once we had won their trust they goaded us to ride to LADAKH !!
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Old 22nd March 2011, 21:10   #4
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Behind every successful man there is a woman. Great to see that you went fully prepared. hats off to maam for her successful management. Ladakh is a logistical nightmare with surprises coming your way at every turn. Cant wait to read the details. Please if possible ask Maam to write her side of the things as well.
PS> Looking at the picture, where did she SIT?

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Old 22nd March 2011, 21:16   #5
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post
Back breaking? No, but we were scared stiff on the passes. Medini is a great car driver but on a bike she always rides pillion. But she is an excellent Navigator. Without her I would have bottomed out into a valley. Besides she is an excellent logistics Manager, which is very important on a Motorcycle ride because you can carry that much load and no more.

It was the JUNIORS at Bikenomads who put us on to Ladakh. They made sure were ready for this ride with all logistics required. They ensured we practised offroading before we started the ride. We did group rides with the Nomad juniors many times over hundreds of kms. Once we had won their trust they goaded us to ride to LADAKH !!
Sir ji just one photo!!!!!!!! pls post some more photos sir and also details of the trip.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 01:47   #6
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

kya that much load and no more nandu saab?

What nonsense! I still remember us speaking that time & you even emailing BN about
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Medini carried enough luggages both by volume and weight to load a Santro!


Looking forward to hear the good story again! When are you in the gaon next, eh?
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Old 23rd March 2011, 02:44   #7
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

This has all the makings of turning into a 5 star thread. Cant wait for the rest.

Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 23rd March 2011, 11:05   #8
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Wow!! How were you able to balace your bike. BTW, don't call yourself a senior citizen. It does not do justice to you

I just happenned to meet a guy in BR Hills - A wild life sanctuary near Bangalore - last week. The guy has a small estate close to sanctuary, bachelor, fit as fiddle and lives life king size. He is 75!

He is one of the few guys who produce Civet Coffee - The costliest coffee in the world!!
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Old 23rd March 2011, 11:57   #9
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Hey you just stole an item off my bucket list!!

Splendid. This gives me more push to do this travel one day soon. Not yet in to grand parent category but with one son married and other out of college should be getting there soon ;-0
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Old 23rd March 2011, 12:27   #10
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Commander, glued to the thread. Want to relive Ladakh through your eyes.

Senior Citizens? You are embarrassing us. If you had not mentioned your relationship with the Commandress, I almost would have asked her for a dance...

Pardon my misdemeanour..

Hats off to you both for undertaking that back-breaking gruelling journey that even younger brood with powerfull 4 wheelers shy off from doing..

I also see you both wearing the same kind of Tees. Got it specially for this trip?

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Old 23rd March 2011, 12:43   #11
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Behind every successful man there is a woman. Great to see that you went fully prepared. Hats off to maam for her successful management. Ladakh is a logistical nightmare with surprises coming your way at every turn. Cant wait to read the details. Please if possible ask Maam to write her side of the things as well.
PS> Looking at the picture, where did she SIT?
@ WonderNomad> Behind me was a very professional Pillion rider, great with maps, distances, traffic and safety guidance. Her side of the story? She aint done yet! Well she wants to ride again the Ladakh which I refuse to do. When I look back at the pics I wonder with horror how we did this ride!

There was space for her to sit on the saddle but in addition to the luggage loaded she also had a back pack which caused here enough discomfort through the ride. She overloaded the bike so she had to live with that!

Thanks for the compliments
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Old 23rd March 2011, 12:48   #12
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For some there is therapy,
For the rest of us there are Motorcycles.

That is how it was !

Commander Nandu Chitnis (Retd)

Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Commander, glued to the thread. Want to relive Ladakh through your eyes.

Senior Citizens? You are embarrassing us. If you had not mentioned your relationship with the Commandress, I almost would have asked her for a dance...

Pardon my misdemeanour..

Hats off to you both for undertaking that back-breaking gruelling journey that even younger brood with powerfull 4 wheelers shy off from doing..

I also see you both wearing the same kind of Tees. Got it specially for this trip?
Guru > Sure she will dance with you Sir ! As f0r the tee, tis a BikeNomads tee shirt.

www.bikenomads.com

We have been riding with this group for last five years! There is a BikeNomad Member here phamilyman (real name Hitanshu Gandhi) who helped us a lot planning this Ride. He was a crazy rider and lives in Gudgaon.

Last edited by Stratos : 24th March 2011 at 10:06.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 12:57   #13
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Wow, keep the pictures coming. I've done 4 trips through these mountains but im always excited to read such TLs. It's like reliving those moments over and over again.

Hats off to your passion of riding thru the beautiful landscapes. Believe me, its the most rewarding way to experience it!

My wife's missed the trips for the last couple yrs since we had our first born, she's eagerly waiting for the little one to be big enough to ride with us I should make a special mention for your wife since riding pillion is more taxing than riding from my experience
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Old 23rd March 2011, 13:18   #14
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
kya that much load and no more nandu saab?

What nonsense! I still remember us speaking that time & you even emailing BN about


Looking forward to hear the good story again! When are you in the gaon next, eh?
Hi Hitanshu> Gaon no idea. But yes, without old BikeNomad vetrans like you, Roy, Navendu and 60 kph ka Ashwini, and Baja Auto support from Venkat this Ladakh ride would not have been remotely possible. And No I am not riding to Ladakh ever again !! Will catcha plane !!
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Old 23rd March 2011, 13:55   #15
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Capt. I for one was eagerly awaiting this TLog! After you happened to mention it in the recent meet, I have been building up the courage to do this.

Great narration till now, and some superb pics at that! Go on with the TL. Waiting for the rest of the story.

To you and your better half - RESPECT!
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