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Old 31st August 2019, 13:55   #1
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Default An adventure honeymoon: 1500 km bike ride through the Himalayas!

Getting Leh'd on our honeymoon!

We finally get Leh'd!

Two couples getting Leh'd on their honeymoon!


These were some of the titles to this travelogue that I thought of initially, but each sounded as cliched and corny as the next. So lets just stick to a basic one. Please note that this is going to be a very long and exhaustive travelogue. Memories fade over time, but this is one trip I never want to forget. Hence I decided to include every single detail into this! Years from now (if the world hasn't been taken over by machines yet), I'd like to open this page and read through this and remember every single step of the journey.

At the outset, I have a confession to make. I'm not a biker. I have no passion for bikes. Bikes to me, are just tools to get you from point A to point B, when there is too much traffic. I don't subscribe to the two wheels move the soul school of thought. I don't enjoy the wind in your hair feeling. My real passion has always been, and will always be cars. 4 wheels on the tarmac! A low slung, ground hugging, full size sedan would have me salivating any time of the day! The only reason why I pick my Unicorn 160 over my Baleno 1.6 for my daily office commute is because of traffic and parking woes. So that brings the question, why would such a guy opt for a bike trip to one of most treacherous roads in our country, if not the world? And truthfully, I don't have an answer. It was somewhat of an impulsive decision. It's like, you have this dream for so long, and when you get an opportunity to finally see it through, you grab that opportunity the first chance you get!

Its been a month since we got back from our 2 week honeymoon to the mountains and I finally got down to writing this down. It was a hell of a trip, a once in a life time experience! And by once a life time, I really mean once in a life time. I'm not going to try this one again, at least not in the exact same way. I don't think I can.

A special shout out to my better half. Among our group, she was the least experienced traveler. This was her first major trip, and that too to the Himalayas! Kudos girl, for toughing it out over there, and putting up with me throughout the journey! You really are a tough cookie!

Introduction

A trip to Ladakh has always been a dream of mine. And for far too long, it stayed a dream. Every now and then, there would be a I got Leh'd travelogue and finally, some time last year, I decided to finalize a plan. I thought that taking a tour package would be the best option, since they would be taking care of food and accommodation, and more importantly, they would be having a local guide. The one predictable thing about the Himalayas, is that it is extremely unpredictable, as we found out during our trip. So having some one who knows the local conditions over there was crucial.

After a bit of searching, I found a provider. They were offering vehicles, accommodation, food, a local guide, a pickup truck for the luggage and a mechanic. All this for a competitive price. So I decided to take a suitable package from them. And we would be part of a bike convoy! Sweet! The thing bothering me about this, was the ride. It was going to be a 1500 km bike ride through the Himalayas, on Bullet 500's. And why was this bothering me? I'll explain in a minute.

Now the gang. Once I shared the details, it didn't take long for Neethu and Sandip, my usual travel partners, to confirm. Next, Sooraj needed some persuasion before he confirmed too. And of course, my wife! I mean, people don't usually go on honeymoons without their wives do they? Neethu and Sandip got married in June and I got married in July. So it was indeed a honeymoon trip for us! We opted for their July 22 convoy batch, and started making a list of items to be purchased. Quick tip guys: while planning a Ladakh trip, if someone says buy something and if someone else comes along a says Nah no need for that, don't believe the second guy! Not even a single item we bought came back unused!

Finally! We were going to Ladakh! Anticipation! Countdown! Marriage! Everything was coming together! However, as the countdown started nearing the end, a few issues started bothering me. And by issues, I mean the following:

1. The ride:

As I've said before, I'm not a biker. Most of my biking was on my Unicorn 160. In 5 years, my bike odo stands at 13000 kms! Yeah, thats about all of my biking experience! I've never ridden a Bullet, or any other Enfield. I have no idea how they behaved. I've heard friends give 1 hour speeches about how they are in love with their 'bulls' and 'beasts'. I've also heard about people selling off their Enfields within months of purchase coz they were too hard to ride/maintain. The bikes they would be providing us were Bullet 500s. To sum up, I had to ride a bike I've never ridden before, with a pillion, on the Himalayas. Hmmm...

2. The distance:

We would be covering a total distance of around 1500 kms on our trip. The longest bike trip I've done would be less than a 100 km! Yeah (facepalm!). Cars, I've done 1000+ km trips. Bikes, no! Slightly getting worried now!

3. The altitude:

We would be crossing Khardung La. Khardung La is nearly 18,000 ft above sea level. My home is less than 18 ft above sea level! Most of the days we would be traveling at 10,000+ ft altitudes. Thats something I've never experienced before! And words like physical fitness, athletic, lung capacity are not usually used to describe me! Worry level rising now!

4. The cold:

My home is literally less than 50m from the Arabian Sea. Growing up, winter was just a word in the geography text book. Heat I can handle, cold I cannot. I've spent a few years in Dhanbad, and the winters there nearly took me out! I had no idea how I'd manage in Ladakh. Worry was inviting panic to join the party by now!

These nagging thoughts were getting to me. I really don't know how, but all of a sudden, my YouTube feed, FB wall were full of Ladakh videos! Surprisingly, even my TikTok feed! Phones really are spying on us! Anyways, the spectacular views and the awesome videos kept all the worries at bay!

Purchases

A lot of stuff had to be purchased for the 11 day trip. The provider had given us a list of basic items to be purchased and we added more stuff to that.

1. Riding gear (elbow and knee pads, gloves)
2. Riding jacket
3. Thermal rain coat
4. Gum boots
5. Towel
6. Socks/ thermal socks
7. Sandals/slippers
8. Scarves. earmuffs, head covers
9. Winter jackets
10. Thermal inner wear
11. Tees/jeans
12. Toiletries
13. Plastic bags (to segregate used clothes)
14. Water bottles
15. Documents
16. Pee Buddy
17. Tape
18. Power banks
19. Sun screen

Riding gear was made mandatory by the provider (even though people did show up without those!). Easily available online. They would be providing the helmets, hence the need for head covers (unless the Ladakh souvenirs you want to bring back include dandruff and possibly lice!). We bought most of the stuff from Decathlon. We had an argument about whether gum boots were necessary, but we bought them anyway, and they turned out to be life savers! There were places where you had to ride your bikes through knee depth waters! Use tape to tighten your raincoats outside the gum boot to prevent ice cold water entering and freezing your toes off! Also, make sure to get waterproof riding gloves. It was raining on a few days and my fingers got dangerously numb due to wet gloves.

We got the thermal socks from the skiing section at Decathlon! Scarves and earmuff too. Thermal inner wear is a must! On some days, we were wearing up to 5 layers of clothing! Take multiple water bottles with you. You need to keep drinking water over there, due to the high altitude conditions. For female travelers, Pee Buddy is very useful. Helps you pee standing up. Came in handy many a places where there were no restrooms, or the ones available were in pathetic condition.

Mobile connectivity in Ladakh in next to non existent. BSNL works the best, having the most coverage. My AirTel postpaid did connect at a few places. Others have no chance. So be prepared to be off the grid for days at stretch.

We managed to cram all the items into our rucksacks. The flight has a luggage limit of 15kgs while the provider told us to keep it below 10kgs. So we had to select our clothes accordingly. Oh yeah, sun screen. Lots and lots of the highest SPF sunscreen known to mankind! Coz you really can get burned over there!

Purchases done and stuff packed, the countdown begins!

The Itinerary

The itinerary was given to us by the provider. The route was planned from Manali to Srinagar and the following places would be covered:

1. Manali
2. Jispa
3. Sarchu
4. Leh
5. Nubra
6. Pangong
7. Hanle
8. Kargil
9. Sonmarg
10. Srinagar

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As we progressed with our journey, some modifications were made to the itinerary.

Okay! Without dragging this introduction for much longer, let me jump into the travelogue!

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 07:50.
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Old 25th September 2019, 22:47   #2
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 0, 21 July 2019
Cochin to Delhi


Day 0? Why on earth a day 0? Well, the trip was supposed to start on July 22 with an overnight bus from Delhi to Manali. So we decided to reach Delhi one day early to explore the city a bit. Plus our wedding was only a few days ago and who, I mean who, wouldn't want some alone time away from all the relatives? Hence the day 0!

We booked an early morning flight from Cochin to Delhi. Neethu and Sandip would join us at the airport.

Some last minute packing. There is always going to be something missing, so we were going through our checklist multiple times. We had our IDs, flight tickets, passport copies (just in case, we were going to a border state after all). We were also asked to take some passport size photos for permits.

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Our flight was at 6:30 AM and we reach the airport 4:30 AM. This entire area was flooded last year during the flood. Stuff from the duty free shops were floating around! The whole airport was shut down for weeks!

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We all link up at the airport. The domestic terminal was quite crowded.

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Inside the Cochin airport. They've added some new decorations depicting the cultural history of the state.

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Finally we check in and board the flight. It was a direct flight to Delhi, giving us some time to catch up on our zzz's.

The mandatory airplane wing/engine pic. I mean, how else are you supposed to let your Instagram followers know that you are travelling and that your life is way more interesting than theirs?

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We reach the Delhi airport around 10 AM and have some much needed dose of caffeine. We decided to skip breakfast for now and have an early lunch.

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We book an Ola to our hotel. 50 kgs of luggage plus 4 people into a car with a boot taken up by a CNG kit was a helluva tight fit!

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Huge traffic en route, near the Manekshaw Auditorium, as some politician's convoy was travelling there. Or is it the usual traffic? Also check out the number plate of the Ritz in front!

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Finally we make it to the hotel. For our stay in Delhi, we booked rooms at Hotel Hari Piorko, Pahadganj. We chose this one due to its proximity to the bus pick up point.

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Waiting at the lobby, as there was delay in checking in. It was quite crowded. Plenty of foreigners staying there. It was decently clean and the staff were nice. The check in was around 1 PM but they were ready to accommodate us.

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Finally we reach our rooms. We were quite tired after the travel, especially since we had next to no sleep the previous night. A nice hot bath and a change of clothes helped immensely! By then it was nearly lunch time and the coffee we had at the airport was starting to burn a hole in our tummies. The restaurant at the hotel had a limited menu and everything was quite expensive. So we headed out. The hotel was on the Main Bazaar Road or street or 'edavazhi' or whatever it was, and had plenty of restaurants. Greek, Israeli, Mexican, Indian, Chinese! Everything!

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Not wanting to experiment just before a long trip, we decided to have some regular Indian food. So we had some aloo paratha and paneer at Tadka Hotel. Food was yummy and we had our fill.

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After lunch and some rest, we took a walk through the Bazaar road. It was fun navigating through the crowd. After evening tea, we took an Ola to Sarojini market for some last minute shopping. I was in contact with the tour operator and he had informed me that the weather was cold and rainy and recommended we take some extra sweaters. So we purchased those at the market, along with an extra pair of riding gloves.

Payjama and nikkar anyone?

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Well, I too support equality in ... you know... stuff...

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It was starting to rain and the streets were getting messy. We had dinner at Haldirams and took a cab back to the hotel for some well deserved sleep.

End of Day 0

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:23.
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Old 28th September 2019, 10:18   #3
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 1, 21 July 2019
Delhi to Manali


We woke up well refreshed after a good night's sleep. We had till 6 PM in the evening for our bus to Manali. That gave us around half a day to roam around. We didn't want to go far, as we didn't want to risk getting stuck in traffic and being late for our hotel check out. So after some discussion, we decided to visit India Gate. We planned to have breakfast after visiting the place. We booked an Ola and headed there.

Even though it was around 8:45 AM, it was still very hot!

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Getting some post wedding pics for the album! Apparently these 'photographers' and the security have some sort of a love-hate relationship. They'll chase them away of they get too close.

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The gang!

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Femme fatale! Don't you dare mess with these two! One will cut you up with a scalpel with surgical precision, while the other will code you into oblivion!

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There was some Air Force event coming up later that day and we were soon chased away by the security. I think it was a parade/demo, as there were Air Force Gypsies performing some maneuvers around the place.

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By then, it was around 10 AM and we were all feeling hungry. We found a Saravana Bhavan on the map nearby and took an Ola there. The thought of having to spend the next several days on aloo paratha is more than enough to send any South Indian running to nearest idli place!

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We had breakfast there. It was extremely yummy.

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Once done, we went back to the hotel. We stopped the taxi at the entrance to the Bazaar road and we walked the rest of the way. It was really crowded. We did some shopping at some souvenir shops and spent time till noon. We had to check out at 12 PM. But since our bus was in the evening, and we had lots of luggage, they agreed to let us keep one of the rooms till around 4 PM for some extra charge. Well and good. Would give us an opportunity to freshen up and use the loo before the overnight bus ride.

Sooraj joined us around 12 PM and freshened up in one of the rooms. By then it was around lunch time and we headed out looking for a hotel. Yeah, all of our trips revolve around food! We decided to have lunch at the Drunkyard Cafe.

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Food was delicious! And we had fun talking to the owner. We told him about our upcoming trip and he suggested some places for us to see. He mentioned a hot water spring, Vashisht IIRC, and some trekking sites, all very close to Manali. Since we would be going in a convoy, we would not be able to see any of those places. But there's always a next time!

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After lunch, we headed over to Ugrasen ki Baoli. It was the nearest 'attraction' from our hotel and I had never seen it before in any of my previous trips to Delhi. It is a water storage tank, and has been designated as a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. It has an interesting history and is thought to have been rebuilt under the Delhi Sultanate.

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The water tank is at the bottom, with plenty of hidey holes all around. We walked all the way to the bottom. The air was musty (bats perhaps?). We found out that this happened to be a popular make-out spot for the local youth! All manner of smoochy-grabby hanky-panky going on!

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We spent some time there, but Sooraj was starting to get a little lonely watching all the couples! And it was around 3 PM, so we decided to head back to the hotel to freshen up and checkout.

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Back at the hotel, we freshen up and wait for the checkout procedures. There was some delay and so we bought some jamun from a shop nearby. It was very tasty, especially with the masala they gave along with it.

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We were told to report to the RK Ashram Metro Station by 6 PM. So around 5:30 PM, we took an e-rickshaw from the hotel. There were plenty of those things shuttling that area. Our stop was at the end of the Bazaar road and it was an interesting ride. It had rained some time earlier in the day and the road was covered in trash and sludge! The rain had also turned up the humidity. Nice! The provider had sent me the registration number of our bus by SMS. There was a super long line of buses, many of them to Manali, and other tourist places. Guess this is the common bus pick up point for this part of Delhi. We found our bus soon. Sooraj was still feeling a little lonely!

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The bus started soon and we were on our way to Manali. Most of the passengers in the bus were from our tour group, as we would find out later. Saw this interesting structure on the way. What is it?

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Is that a giant mountain of garbage??? WHAT THE HELL??? There are ghat roads on that mountain for lorries to travel! This is ridiculous!

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Crossing the city was a slow affair. Once outside the city, we picked up pace. We crossed Panipat, Karnal and Kurukshethra. It was a bit strange seeing these places, as I've only read about them in history text books back in school! By around 9:45 PM, we stopped at Swagatham Hotel, near an HP petrol pump just outside Kurukshethra, for dinner.

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There was a huge delay in our food getting delivered. Everything was expensive and wasn't very good.

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By the time we finished, it was quite late and our bus driver was starting to get annoyed. There was a rush at the payment counter and guys there tried to pull a fast one on us! Nice math bro!

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We freshen up at the restroom, which thankfully, was clean. Boarded the bus soon after and settled for the night. I am never comfortable travelling in buses and needed some stemetil and vertin to knock me out.

Manali, here we come!

End of Day 1

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:23.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 15:27   #4
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 2, 23 July 2019
Manali


Had a nice sleep in the bus, thanks to the cocktail of nausea medication. Around 5 AM, the bus stopped at a hotel outside Mandi. The hotel was facing the Beas river and the view was beautiful! We had some coffee and the mandatory morning sprint to the washroom! We stopped there for around 15 minutes, giving us some time to stretch our legs.

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Soon we started again. Most of the passengers fell back asleep, but the view was too gorgeous for me to miss! For the rest of the journey to Manali, the road was parallel to the Beas river. This gave us excellent view of the river from different heights. Some more pics along the way. Sorry for the blurry quality.

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Took a few videos of the Beas river. Again, sorry for the low quality.



Heavy construction work going on all the way to Manali. Guess its some road expansion/widening. We crossed some tunnels too. We saw plenty of demolished buildings (land acquisition perhaps?). The entire area was covered in dust and mud and wasn't very pretty. Personally, I'm not a fan of development work in ecologically sensitive areas, especially the bull headed way we do it.

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Crossed this bridge somewhere near Kulu town. Any idea what its called?

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The route was very beautiful. I would love to drive myself here if possible. Here we are somewhere close to town.



Around 8 AM, we reach Manali town. The bus drops us off in a huge bus/taxi parking lot, where there were several other such buses. This must be the bus drop/pick up point in Manali.

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From here, the tour provider gave us the name of our hotel in Manali. We had to find transport on our own. We hired a Sumo taxi. 5 people, each with 2 weeks worth of luggage... tight fit to say the least!

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The route to the hotel was very interesting. We had to cross a couple of bridges on the way. One was for Beas river, while the other was for a tributary (maybe?). The sight of water gushing below was mesmerizing!

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The provider had booked rooms for everyone in Hotel Asia Holidays, Shaminala. Took us around half an hour to get there from Manali town. This was on the other side of the Beas river. The route was very narrow, and to be honest a little scary, though our definition of scary was going to be re-written over the next several days!

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We had to wait in the lobby for some time for our rooms to be allotted. The rooms were on a 3 sharing basis, except for couples, who were allotted separate rooms. This was indeed a new experience for me, as it was my first trip as a couple Soon we were given our keys and our rooms were on the 4th floor. No lifts! And I am SEVERELY allergic to stairs! There were some motivational posters along the way though!

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Finally we reach our room. Rooms were clean and had a spectacular view of the valley! Weird heart-shaped bed though. Honeymoon suite? How did they find out!!

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Once we freshened up in our rooms, we headed back down again for breakfast. As per our tour package, food was included from dinner on wards. So paid for our own breakfast. Food was decent, bread-jam, aloo paratha. We were informed by the guy at the reception that someone from our tour company would be coming here and giving us basic instructions. We were told not to leave the hotel till then. That was fine with us, since we could use that time to unpack and take a much needed bath. More importantly, we were able to enjoy the spectacular view from our balcony.

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Around 12 PM, we were informed that the person from the tour company had arrived. We went down to the dining room (damn these stairs!). He talked for almost an hour and answered our questions.

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Some of the stuff he talked about:

1. Importance of riding gear. Roads would be bad and slippery and there's always the risk of a fall. To sum up, gear saves lives.

2. Altitude sickness. This is extremely dangerous and has claimed several lives over the years. He mentioned that some guys from a previous convoy batch had to cancel their trip half way and had to be taken back to Manali as they had collapsed due to altitude sickness. He gave us some tips to counter it. Apparently garlic water is used as a local remedy. He also instructed us to take frequent sips of water, which according to him would break down into oxygen in our bodies! (We'll let that slide). They specifically wanted us to stay for a day in Manali to get us acclimatized to the high altitude. My wife's college senior had passed away due to fluid build up in his lungs. He had proceeded directly from Delhi to Leh without waiting to get acclimatized. If you feel sick or tired or anything, stop immediately. The backup van has an oxygen cylinder. Use it.

3. Our expectations. He was very particular in pointing out that this was not going to be a leisure trip. The journey was going to be tough. We would be staying in camps. It was going to be cold. We were going to be out of mobile coverage area for several days at a stretch. Consider it a miracle if you come back without a scratch.

4. The bikes. The tour company was providing bike trips between Manali- Srinagar and Srinagar-Manali. So the bikes we were getting were the ones dropped off by a previous batch who had started from Srinagar. The bikes were not going to be serviced at some service center, but by a mechanic. Don't expect it be like new. Take some time to get used to it. Basically, don't show off. If at all you feel something is wrong, stop immediately. The backup van will be at the end of the convoy and the mechanic will be travelling in it. He will assist you.

5. Convoy. Don't break convoy. Ever. The marshall leads the convoy. No one over takes the marshall. He leads, you follow.

Once the instructions were done, we were free to explore the city. Our bikes would only arrive the next day, so we needed to use local transport to get around. We decided to have lunch somewhere in town. We were told that Manali Mall Road was worth visiting. There was a bus stop a few meters from our hotel and we soon got a local bus to town.

We got down at the bus stand and it was a short walk to the Market. It was beautiful, spread out and very clean. There were plenty of souvenir shops along the main Market Mall road.

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It was around 2:30 PM by the time we reach and so we started looking for a hotel. There were plenty, and we got into this one. We had some chowmein and it was quite tasty.

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Once we had refueled, we set out to explore the market. We needed some more items for the trip, like scarves and socks and we found those soon enough. Bargaining was very important, as almost always we got stuff at less than half the price that was asked initially. We also got some of those elastic ropes with hooks attached. They became quite useful in our journey. The weather was pleasant the entire time, though the altitude was a bit of a problem. Our bodies were still adjusting to it. Maybe it was placebo, but taking frequent sips of water helped. We were also told that aspirin helps with acclimatization. Not too sure about that.

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We walked deep into the market. By then it was around tea time. We stopped at one of the shops and had some nice masala tea and a plate of momos. It was nostalgic for me as the last time I had momos was way back in college in Dhanbad, years ago.

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Northern Railways office at Manali. I guess this is a part of the proposed Bilaspur-Leh line. Now that would be a hell of a journey!

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By the time we were done with our shopping and exploring, it was around 6 PM and we were feeling a little worn out. We went back to the bus stand to take a bus back to our hotel. We had to wait for nearly an hour to get our bus and there was a huge delay due to traffic at one of the bridges. We got our bus around 7 PM. This is the view from the bus stand! I really am jealous of the people who get to see this everyday!

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As we approached the hotel, we got down a couple of stops before and walked the rest of the way. There was still a few minutes of daylight left and we wanted to enjoy the scenery. Finally we reach our rooms around 8 PM. By then dinner was ready. Food was included in our package from todays dinner onwards. It was decent and we had our fill. Spent some time with the gang, speculating about the adventure yet to come in the days ahead. Tried messing around with the exposure duration settings in my Canon 1500D and took this pic of the town.

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Soon it was time for bed and some much needed sleep. We were about to start our 'once-in-a-lifetime' journey tomorrow and it was hard to contain our excitement! Finally exhaustion took over and we fell into deep deep sleep!

End of Day 2

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:22.
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Old 5th October 2019, 17:01   #5
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 3, 24 July 2019
Manali to Jispa


We woke up early in the morning to a barrage of thump-thumps! The bikers on the reverse journey had reached Manali and had dropped off the bikes at our hotel. The mechanic needed a couple of hours to do some patch up work on the bikes, which gave us plenty of time to finish packing. It wasn't very cold and so I decided to wear just my riding jacket. We kept most of our stuff in our rucksacks and took just some essentials, like scarves, gloves and water bottles in our small backpack.

The bikes were kept in the basement parking of the hotel, and we went to check them out. They seemed to be in a reasonably good condition, though still dirty from their previous ride. The bikes were not yet allotted to us, so we couldn't take them out just yet. The mechanic was hard at work, greasing and tightening stuff.

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There was some delay in breakfast, so we took a walk outside. The weather was really pleasant and the view was very beautiful. I mean the background!

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By then food was ready. Simple breakfast, tasty though. We ate well, as we didn't know when or where we would be stopping for lunch.

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By then the our luggage pickup truck had arrived. We went back to our rooms for some final packing and to use the restrooms. Damn these stairs! Once done, we all brought our luggage downstairs and started loading them into the truck. It was a Mahindra Camper (only now did I realize why everyone was referring to it as Camper van!). We had to squeeze in all the luggage as some of the cargo space was already taken up by spares for the bikes. The cargo bay was covered, so our luggage won't get wet if it rains.

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By then, they had started to allot bikes to us. We got ours soon and prayed it was in good condition. Ours was one among the bikes parked in the basement. HP-58-8570. This was going to be our ride for the next few days. We were told that different bikes would be allotted to us once we crossed into J&K. We wore our riding gear and tied our gum boots to the saree guard of the bike using the elastic rope we bought the previous day from the market.

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We were also given helmets. Most of them were in decent condition, while the damaged ones were returned. Most had visors. The gave the ones with the visors to the drivers and the pillion riders had to make do with the ones without. Thankfully, both the ones we got had visors. We took the bikes for a spin, to check if the brakes and clutch were OK. This was my first time on a Bullet and I had to learn, and learn fast! It had a self start and started in the first attempt itself without any fuss. First things first, the vibrations were nothing like I had felt before. Being used to the butter smooth engine of a Unicorn, this felt like I was sitting on a diesel generator! It was loud and rough. A beast some would say. The clutch bite point was quite high and needed some getting used to.

I rode it for a couple of kms to get used to the brakes. The front brakes were very tight and quite aggressive, while the rear was extremely spongy. I needed a combination of both to bring this thing to a stop. Now it was only while I was making a U-turn that I realized the weight of the Bullet. Man this thing was heavy! My Unicorn felt like a paper weight in front of this! I nearly fell as I didn't anticipate the weight. And the gearing ratios! 1st and 2nd felt the same. I mean I couldn't differentiate between the two. Both pulled equally well. Must be due to the truck load of torque this thing makes! Once I felt a semblance of confidence, I rode back to the hotel. Still had apprehensions though. Having mostly ridden only one bike before, I had to un-learn my biking skills and learn it all over again. To expect the Bullet to behave like my Unicorn would be stupidity of Himalayan levels!

Once everyone had got back from their 'test drives', we parked our bikes in a convoy formation, waiting for the marshall to start. Once he made sure that everyone was ready, we started off! The marshall, along with a few 'experienced' bikers rode ahead, while I was towards the tail end of the convoy. The Camper made up the rear. Our first stop was to refuel, as the tanks were empty. We stopped at a petrol pump a few kms from the hotel. Here is where we faced our first issue. Our bike ran out of fuel about 50 meters from the pump! What luck! We had to push this thing all the way! And it wasn't easy. Someone from the convoy did come and help me though.

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The marshall made sure that all the bikes were topped off. And I mean filled to the brim! They filled it so much that when I kept the bike on side stand, fuel started running out from under the filler cap! Once everyone had refueled, we once again formed a convoy outside the pump and started. There were around 20 bikes in our convoy and the sound of 20 Bullet 500s zooming through the town should have been loud enough to shatter a few window panes!

We followed the Leh-Manali highway, which ran parallel to the Beas river. The route was beautiful, a river flowing just beside us while the mighty Himalayas with its snow capped peaks lay ahead.

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We rode around 15 kms till we reached Palchan. We were told to wait on the side by the marshall, as one of the bikes had a puncture and the mechanic was fixing it. There is a forest check point and everyone needed to cross it together, since all our names were there in a single permit.

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We had to wait for around 20 minutes, which gave us plenty of time to click pics of the river. The water was muddy and perhaps not in full flow yet.

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Once the bike was fixed, we started off again. The marshall told us to stop at the Gulaba check post, as they had to verify the permits. Permits are needed to cross Rotang La and the provider had obtained them for us. It was a narrow and winding route to the check point, with trees on both sides. It was a pleasant ride, riding in the shades. Most of the people were considerate, slowing down and giving way to oncoming traffic.

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We hit some major traffic en route. A bulldozer on one side and a mini lorry on the other. Thankfully our bikes were able to squeeze through and we headed off again. Again, the scenery was awesome!

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Around 12:45 PM, we reached the Gulaba check point. We waited for everyone to catch up, and by that I mean everyone waited for us to catch up! They checked the permits carefully and counted the number of bikes. There are clean restrooms available, which the ladies used while we were waiting to be cleared.

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We were cleared through soon and we started again. Clear blue skies, trees on either sides and a direct view of the mountains and glaciers! This is a dream come true for any traveler!

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We were thoroughly enjoying the ride, when we were asked to stop again. Some other bike had an issue and we had to wait up again. The marshall and the mechanic were in contact and they were able to keep everyone together. While we were waiting, I took this panoramic shot of the view. You can see the glaciers in the distance!

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There was some hold up again. Looks like a recently cleared landslide.

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The road ahead. It was tough keeping my eyes on the road! The view was irresistible!

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Sharp drop on the side! Scary!

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Something terrible has happened. We saw many many such sights on the way.

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Immediately after some hair pin bends, we stopped here for a quick break. Looks like a water storage facility. Any idea what this is?

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We stopped here for a few minutes. Had some water and put on more sunscreen. A few bikers had lagged behind, trying to get some pics of the route and we waited for them to catch up.

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Once everyone had caught up and re-hydrated, we started off again. Soon we had our first sight of ice. We saw this! Looks like a frozen waterfall/glacier. It was slowly melting and flooding the roads. Looks like this will become a water crossing once more ice melts. My wife was able to scrape a few pieces off the ice wall as we rode past it.

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This was during the climb to Rotang La. The entire stretch of hairpin bends were covered in these 'ice walls'. With each hairpin, it was starting to get cold. Breathing was starting to get a little more strained now.

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Soon we were at Rotang La. It was quite cold and I had to get my jacket. We stopped there for some time waiting for everyone to arrive. There was a temple nearby too and most of our co-riders went there. We used that time to get some grilled corn! It was around 3 PM and we were quite hungry!

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There was a restroom and we used it as well. The view from the top was spectacular! There was ice on the ground and people were playing on it. Soon the area started to get covered in fog. By then everyone was back and we started off again.

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On the way down from Rotang La, we saw more ice. There was still fog but sunlight was peeping in between the clouds. It was a beautiful sight.



Once we started our decent, the fog cleared quickly and it became very windy! Must be something to do with the orientation of the peak. The view became even more beautiful on the way down.

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The road deteriorated quickly. Tarred road gave way to mountain road with loose pebbles. It was quite slippery and the handling the heavy Bullet was starting to strain my shoulder.

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Some where near Gramphu, towards the end of the hairpin bends, the marshall made us stop, as a couple of bikers were missing. He went back up the hairpins looking for them. This gave us some time to relax. It was still very windy and we thoroughly enjoyed the view.

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We waited for around half an hour for the marshall to return. Seems those bikers had stopped somewhere for food without informing anyone! How inconsiderate! The rest of us were exhausted and hungry and had to wait for them while they were having their fill! Me and my wife had some corn at Rotang La, so we had some fuel remaining. The others were running on fumes and had started to get headaches. Once everyone was back, we started again. There were some more hairpins remaining till Gramphu. The road was still bad but construction work was going on in full swing. Once we crossed Gramphu, the roads became much better and soon we stopped for some really late lunch.

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Day 3, to be continued....

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:22.
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Old 6th October 2019, 16:47   #6
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Day 3, 24 July 2019 continued...

At the hotel, we ordered food and used the restrooms. The Pee Buddy was really useful in these situations. We ordered Thukpa, a local dish, which turned out to be watery-soupy-noodles. Was quite tasty though.

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A pic with our marshall, Ranjith. A very friendly guy. Took his job very seriously. Every now and then we would make sure no one was missing. If someone had lagged behind, he would go back looking for them.

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Rider gangs from all over India have stuck their logos/stickers here. The shop had boards for them to stick them. Nice way to let people know you were there.

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After everyone had food, we started by 5:30 PM. The road ahead was good and we were able to pick up the pace. Perhaps this was the first time I was using 3rd and 4th gears! The Bullet was very stable on the highway and cruised effortlessly. Acceleration was slow, so overtaking needed some planning. We were riding parallel to Chenab river for more than an hour.

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Again, the view was spectacular. Sunset was approaching and made the scenery even prettier!

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Somewhere near Gushal, we stopped for petrol. This was going to be the last petrol pump for next several hundred kms. The camper van arrived soon and filled petrol in two large barrels.

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A view of the Chenab river from the petrol pump.

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Once we were done re-fueling, the convoy started again. Soon we crossed Tandi Bridge and were riding parallel to Bhag river.



It was starting to get dark now and we maintained a tight convoy.

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We had to stop once again near Gemur, as the headlights of one of the bikes was malfunctioning and had to be replaced. Couldn't help but admire the bike. She's perfectly at home among the hills!

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The rest of the ride to Jispa was uneventful. It was dark and I had to focus on riding. Couldn't get much pics though as all of them turned out to be blurry.



Our overnight stay was at Nomadic Camps, Jispa. We reached there by 8 PM. The camp was literally on the banks of the Bhag river. There were around 15 tents in the camp.

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Our camper van hadn't arrived yet. They allotted the tents during that time. Couples were given a tent for themselves while the others had to make do on a 3 sharing basis. The 'tent' was not merely a tent! It had a bedroom, a toilet and a porch (kind of?). The floor was carpeted. It even had power supply and running water!

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The attached 'toilet' was clean and usable. There were bugs and insects though. Still it was better than what I had expected when we were informed that we would be staying in tents!

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By then dinner was ready. There was a separate dining 'tent' with satellite TV! We had our dinner. Food was satisfactory.

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By then our Camper arrived and we were able to take our luggage.

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There was a campfire later that night, but the guys were getting drunk around it. We decided to skip it and turned in for the night. It had been tough, the first day of the ride and we needed some sleep and rest for the journey ahead.

End of Day 3
Distance travelled: 150 kms

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Day 4, 25 July 2019
Jispa to Sarchu


It was a surreal experience, waking up in a valley, by the banks of a river, surrounded by snow capped mountains. The view was just spectacular! We woke up a little early so that we would have time to walk along the river bank. This was the view outside our tent! Just awesome!

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The mechanic was up early and was working on the bikes. Some of the bikes needed some serious repair, but thankfully, ours was fine. Had a minor issue with the rear brake pad occasionally rubbing against the wheel. Mentioned this to the mechanic and he promised to look into it. There she is, looking forward to todays ride

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Breakfast was ready by then, and we decided to have it before there was a rush. It was in the dining tent and was ok.

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Once done, we went towards the river bank. Had a really good time there. A local of the area. The dogs here are bigger and have fluffier fur.

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Some remnants from yesterdays campfire I guess. Guys, this is a serious problem here. We have tourists leaving behind tons of trash every year. How hard is it to hold onto your trash till the next dustbin? We found trash everywhere! We even had to remove some, to get a good picture of the river and valley! Just remember, all trash we throw in the rivers will eventually come back to bite us.

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Snow capped mountains ahead.

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We walked a few kms along the bank. Soon the ground became muddy and soft and our feet were sinking in. We headed back.

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My wife made this. Isn't this a more eco-friendly way to leave your mark behind, than lets say, graffiti or trash? We also collected a few pebbles. Wanted to bring back a bit of the Himalayas with us!

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After spending some time by the banks, we returned to our tents for some final packing. The marshall told us to wear our gumboots as there was going to be several water crossings ahead. The ones I bought were a size too small and I had to perform some strange acrobatics to put them on! Apparently I looked silly as my wife couldn't stop laughing! Once done with the packing, we loaded our luggage into the Camper. The convoy assembled soon and we started off by around 10 AM.



For some more distance we rode parallel to Bhag river. The view was spectacular all the way!

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The roads were mostly OK, with some broken spots in between. We kept good pace till Lingkyam.



After Lingkyam, there were a couple of hairpin bends. The roads were bad, but construction work was going on. We saw plenty of military trucks along the way. At that time, we didn't know why. All of them were extremely considerate and stopped to give way, even for a single biker. Respect!



A few kms after the hairpins (Darcha, IIRC), we faced our first water crossing. There was a good flow of water. The marshall stopped the convoy and made us cross one at a time. Water wasn't very deep, came just above my ankles (while sitting on the bike). I wasn't too confident crossing with a pillion, so my wife got down and came with another biker. She and a couple of other female pillion riders wanted to walk across but the marshall stopped them. Even ankle deep water has enough force to knock you down. Add to that the slippery pebbles, risky!



We stopped after the crossing, waiting for the others to catch up. Got some time to goof off!

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Soon our Camper caught up too. Experienced driver + capable vehicle = one demolished water crossing!

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The road ahead was bad again. There were few more water crossing, though nothing like the first one.



Somewhere just before Zing Zing Bar, we had an accident. While taking a curve, a rock dislodged by a biker ahead came right into my front wheel. Nothing much I could do, other than to brace for impact. Landed on my knee, and my knee guard took most of the impact. Hit my elbow too. Again the gear took the full impact. However, the only thought in my head was about my wife. I had to make sure she was OK. The convoy stopped to help us up. Thankfully she only had a few scrapes on her palm (when her gloves fell off) and a few scratches on her knee. My elbow guard had taken the full impact and a part of the metal was sheared off. Unfortunately, my knee guard had slipped a little and this caused my knee to hit the ground. I had a nasty cut. Thanks to our luck, or prayers, or to the Guy/Gal above, no broken bones or sprains. The bike had a dislocated crash guard and a busted head light assembly. That was about it.

Once marshall had given us some first aid and bandaged up, I got my wife into the camper truck (despite her very angry and vocal protests!). My knee was still hurting and I couldn't risk another fall if my knee collapsed under our combined weight. Here, we came to know that Sooraj had become unwell and was riding in the camper. He was suffering from dizziness and nausea and was not well enough to ride. One of the others from the convoy took his bike instead.

I went ahead with the convoy, while she came in the camper. Around 2 PM, just after Zing Zing Bar, we stopped for lunch. By then it was raining and fog was starting to descent. Perfect!

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We had Maggi from one of the shops here. Strangely, Maggi seems to be the most popular dish around here. One of the shops gave us some extra bandages and we cleaned the wound and dressed it properly. By then I was feeling a little better. I still wanted my wife to continue in the Camper but she was adamant about riding with me!

Once the convoy had assembled, we started again. By now it was past 3 PM. Sooraj continued to ride in the Camper. Around 4 PM, we crossed the Baralcha La Pass.

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Rest of the ride was mostly uneventful. Road was broken in places, completely non existent else where. Like here, where exactly is the road?

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A glacial path. Would have been covered in ice a few months back.

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For the rest of the day's journey, we rode parallel to Tsarap river.

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Our overnight stay was at Mulkila Adventure Camp, Sarchu. We reached there around 6:30 PM. There were around 15 tents here. The was a strange mix of shade and sunlight here. Never seen anything like this before!

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Altitude check:

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We had to leave our bikes here. We would be crossing into J&K the next day and so we would be getting JK-10 registered bikes. The batch coming from Srinagar would be leaving their bikes here and taking our HP registered bikes back to Manali. One final shot before we said our good byes to her! My first Bullet! Won't forget you!

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Like the ones at Jispa, the tents here had a bedroom and a toilet. However, the thermal insulation of the tent was poor. It was very windy and some cold air was entering the room. It was very cold in the evening and we were all shivering. My wife had to wear several layers of clothes to stop her shivering. I wanted to get my wound cleaned and dressed again. One of the guys running the camp told us that there was an army camp nearby and they had a medical facility. The locals here usually go there for medicines. Our Camper driver agreed to take me there. By then I came to know that Sooraj was very ill and had collapsed. His SPO2 levels were very low. We took him along with us.

At the army camp, they thoroughly cleaned and dressed my wound. My knee was starting to get sore by now. He gave me some antibiotics and pain killers and a shot of TT. Sooraj spent around 15 minutes breathing from an O2 cylinder. Once his SPO2 levels had stabilized, we headed back to the camp. We had dinner soon and turned in for the night. The pain killers had dulled the pain but it was still sore. The tent was extremely cold due to air entering inside from somewhere. It was a tough night, the toughest night of our journey. The altitude was 14,000 ft. Breathing was difficult. It was a difficult night to get through.

End of Day 4
Distance traveled: 90 kms

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:22.
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Old 8th October 2019, 19:28   #8
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Day 5, 26 July 2019
Sarchu to Leh


We woke up in the morning after a restless night. It was still very cold and the high altitude has taken a toll on us. The simple act of getting out of bed left me gasping for breath! Sooraj was still feeling down and decided to let someone else ride the bike. He was going to ride in the Camper for the day.

There was some delay in breakfast, so we walked around the camp for some time.

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The others in the convoy were playing. How they managed to catch their breath, I don't know!

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The mechanic was still fixing our bikes, waiting for the batch coming from Leh to take them. We were supposed to start by 9 AM, but got delayed as our JK registered bikes were yet to come.

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We had our breakfast by then and finished our packing. A new truck for our luggage would be arriving, which too would have JK registration. Once it arrived, we loaded our stuff into it. It was an Isuzu D-Max, an extremely capable machine, perfectly at home in these conditions.

Once our bikes had arrived, the mechanic needed some time to tune them. Finally, around 11:30 AM, we were ready. Looking forward to the days ride.

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Our convoy assembled and we started.

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Going forward, the road was good and we picked up pace.

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Soon we reached the dreaded Gata Loops. A series of 21 hairpins with terrible roads. And to make matters worse, it started raining heavily. We had multiple layers of clothing and a rain coat but still we were frozen to the core. My hand was completely numb and there were times when I had to stop as I couldn't operate the clutch. To be honest, this section completely drained us.

By around 2 PM, we reached Nakeela and stopped there for a while. I was too exhausted to continue and needed a break.

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Beautiful pebble arrangements all around. Someone told me doing this was for luck.

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After a break, we started again. We were to stop at Pang, for lunch. It was still raining the rest of the way and I started to get dizzy. To be honest, I have no idea how I made it there! I don't even remember the ride. I was barely able to keep my eyes open. Somehow we made it to Pang. We had stopped at a shop for lunch. They had carpeted floors inside and I collapsed into a heap. I had fever and almost fell asleep. I decided it was too risky to continue. If was riding solo, I might have pushed myself. But with a pillion, couldn't risk it.

Someone from our convoy agreed to ride our bike rest of the way to Leh and we got into the D-Max. It was a very tight fit inside. Half the rear seats were taken up by bike spares. Sooraj was riding in the front seat. The mechanic offered to ride with the marshall.

The rest of the ride to Leh was uneventful. I fell asleep inside. Somewhere around 7 PM, we stopped for tea. It was really late, around 11 PM, by the time we reached our hotel in Leh. The hotel had prepared food for us and we ate heartily! Food was very tasty and we shoveled it in!

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After dinner, everyone assembled in the hall and we had a discussion. The provider had called us and informed about a change in the itinerary. From Leh, we were supposed to go to Tso Moriri and stay there. They had to cancel Tso Moriri as they had some issues with a previous batch of bikers. It seems the bikers who had started a few days before us, had a tough time at Tso Moriri. The weather was really bad and a few riders had to be hospitalized. Due to the bad weather, that batch was stuck there for a couple of days and the rest of their journey got messed up. The provider suggested us to stay for an extra day in Leh to explore the town. They were also suggesting to drop Hanle from the plan, as the road was completely battered due to a recent landslide. The weather was bad and there was no way we could see the milky way.

All this seemed logical to us, as we could use the extra day to take some rest and do some exploring. The provider had even offered to book a good hotel for us. But as with every group, there were a few who were adamant. They had an argument with the provider about wanting to visit Hanle and insisted that their whole purpose of the trip was to visit Hanle The provider tried to convince them, but the argument got heated and abuses flowed freely. Me, Amju, Neethu and Sandip had enough of the BS and retired for the night. Sooraj had passed out long before!

Leh was at a much lower altitude than Sarchu and wasn't as cold. We had good, comfortable rooms with warm beds! With my knee still bad, we had some painkillers. We too passed out soon!

End of Day 5

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:22.
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Old 9th October 2019, 07:56   #9
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Day 6, 27 July 2019
Leh to Nubra


We were informed by our marshall that our start was going to be delayed. It was snowing heavily at Khardung La, and vehicle movement was stopped for some time. This gave us some time to check out the town. We had our breakfast and headed out. The weather was pleasantly cool and the lower altitude was a relief. We walked along the Skara Road and did some shopping. The town was still waking up.

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After we were done with our purchases, we went back to the hotel. There were some new developments. One of the bikers from our convoy had met with an accident on the previous days ride. He and the pillion had fallen down hard and sprained their ankles. After the fall, the continued to ride and that had made their injuries worse. They had to be taken to a hospital in the morning. We got news that they could not continue the journey and were going back home.

As per the schedule, we were to go to Nubra Valley and then continue on to Pangong. Me and my wife were exhausted and wanted a break. We were hoping to stay an extra day in Leh, as I really needed some rest for my leg. By this time, I could barely walk. The wound would reopen easily. Only the painkillers kept me going. When we checked on Sooraj, he was in even bad shape. He had made up his mind to stay back in Leh and rejoin the convoy once they were back from Pangong. Two more from our convoy had a similar plan. While we were out shopping, they had come up with a great idea. Instead of staying back at Leh, they decided to hire a taxi to follow the convoy. My wife immediately accepted that plan. I didn't need any convincing as I was barely able to ride myself. They made a few calls and managed to hire a taxi. It would take us to Nubra, Pangong and back to Leh. The ride was a Xylo. Since there were 5 of us, the cost wasn't very high either.

Once our plan was fixed, we informed the marshall. We would we joining the convoy in the taxi and staying with them at the overnight stays. Our taxi driver was an acquaintance of our marshall. Once that was sorted out, we returned to our rooms to finish packing.

Our start from Leh was greatly delayed. It was snowing heavily at Khardung La and vehicular movement was temporarily stopped. Our marshall was in contact from some one at one of the check posts. It was around 12:30 PM when we got the green light.

As we left Leh town, the road to Khardung La started to get steep real soon. The hairpin bends started and the view got spectacular! We had a nice view of Leh town from here. Looks like an oasis!

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We stopped somewhere on the way for some pics.

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Our taxi. The driver was an experienced guy and knew the roads like the back of his hands.

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We stopped at a few more places before South Pullu. As far as tourists spots go, this is in a league of its own. I definitely want to cover this route again, maybe in a 4x4.

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At one of the check posts. Theres tribute to the Siachen Warriors everywhere. Boards, shops, painted on hills and rocks. Salute to the brave souls!

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We reached South Pullu around 3 PM. Our bike convoy was way behind. We stopped at a hotel for some tea and snacks while they caught up.

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Soon we crossed South Pullu and started our climb to the mighty Khardung La. There were plenty of hairpin bends. The roads were broken. Breathing became tougher with each bend. As we neared the top, the road was covered in ice. We saw army personnel (BRO perhaps?) clearing the ice.



We stopped for a few minutes at the top. There was snow and rain. It was freezing! The now ex-highest motor-able road in the world.

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Here, we saw a few bikers from Kerala. Usually people transport their bikes to Delhi and ride from there. Not these guys. They rode all the way! One of them on a Dio and the other on an RX-100! How? Why?

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The first time we saw snow (or ice)!



By around 3:30 PM, we started our descent from Khardung La. The road was very slippery from the recent snow and rain. We reached North Pullu around 4:20 PM. We stopped at a shop there for some snacks and tea, waiting for the convoy to catch up. The shops were by a small stream. We were told that all these streams are due to the ice melting/glaciers and would soon dry up when the temperature fell. While were were waiting for our Maggi, we had a long talk with the shopkeeper. He was from one of the more violence prone areas of the state. Some of the stories he had to tell were truly disturbing. Can't talk more about it on an online forum.

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Once everyone had had some food, we started again. We went ahead in our taxi, while the convoy was behind. On the way, we saw plenty of rash and insane driving. One thing we observed was that most, if not all, of the JK and HP registered vehicles were well driven. They always drove well, gave way, stopped to the side and were very careful around corners. The worst drivers we saw were the ones with DL registered plates. Most of them seemed suicidal. While on our bikes the previous days, we were driven off the road a couple of times by DL cars. Somewhere after North Pullu, we nearly crashed head on into a DL registered Scorpio, who came round a blind curve at high speed. Even our driver mentioned that these tourists had become a menace. Many of them had zero experience driving in the hills continued to drive here like they would on highways. We were just talking among ourselves about this when we came across this scene, just around a blind corner.

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It was an MH-12 registered Dzire. Seems he had taken the blind corner a bit too fast, panicked and drove up the sides. The other side was a huge drop, definite fatality. The passengers had been taken out and moved to an army camp somewhere for medical treatment. We were informed by a local that the car will be towed away by a BRO vehicle. You can't take on the Himalayas and expect to win. You always have to respect the hills. I can't claim to be an expert on driving in the hills. Most of my mountainous miles are on the Western Ghats, which now looked like a parking lot compared to this! To all the travelers, use your common sense, drive/ride safe.

By now we were almost at the banks of Shyok river, one of the most important rivers of the Ladakh region.

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We stopped at the side for some time to take some pics. Words can't describe how beautiful it was over there! In between the greenery, you can see the path of the water, formed from the melting ice, as it runs to join the river.

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Oops! Our driver had pulled to the side, while we were taking pics. Got stuck in the loose sand! We weren't able to push it out ourselves, and had to wait for the convoy for some additional man power! A 4x4 would have come real handy here!

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Around 6:30 PM, we crossed Khalsar. Here, we got our first sight of the famous sand dunes of Nubra Valley.

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It was a truly weird experience! Sand, mountains, rivers, snow. All in a single frame!

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All along the route, there were plenty of shops/stalls where one could rent buggies. We wanted to try, but it was absurdly expensive. Plus we didn't want to hold up the convoy.

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We stopped at a few more places for pics. If the taxi driver had listened to us, we would have had to stop every 100 meters! It was incredible!

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These mammoth S/MUVs which rule our city roads, look absolutely puny here!

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We soon set off towards our camp at Hunder. We followed Shyok river for the rest of the way.



The route to Hunder was pretty, dotted with small villages.

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We stopped at Hunder for some pics. There were plenty of camps here, with some shops. Plenty of tourists were there, including several convoys.

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We walked inwards to an open area, where there was a herd of Bactrian camels.

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We spent some more time here, waiting for our convoy to arrive. Had fun exploring the area, enjoying the view.

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One for the matrimonial!

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Soon the rest of the convoy arrived. Someone had brought a bluetooth speaker, and we had fun dancing to some songs. We were there till around 8 PM. There was still some daylight left at that time!

Once everyone had taken their share of pics, we started off to our camp. Our stay for the night was at Nubra Boutique Camp, which was a little further away.

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We reached our camp by 8:30 PM. It was nice, with clean tents. Dinner was good too and we retired to our tents soon after. The rest of the guys in our convoy had a campfire, but my leg was very sore and I couldn't join. We fell asleep quickly, after the long day of travel.

End of Day 6

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:21.
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Old 16th October 2019, 07:27   #10
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 7, 28th July 2019
Nubra to Pangong


Woke up quite early in the morning. We wanted to take a walk around the camp, so we quickly finished our packing. The weather was very pleasant in the morning. The camp looked beautiful, with the mountains overlooking it.

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Just outside the camp, there were plenty of trails, all leading to the banks of Shyok river. We followed one of the trails for some distance. Plenty of water crossings here too! It was quite calm and peaceful.

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We were told that breakfast would be ready by 8 AM. We started walking back slowly. The scene was so beautiful, if we didn't have to follow the convoy, we would have spent the whole day here!

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We started from our camp around 9:30 AM. Our first stop of the day was the Diskit Gompa, a Budhist monastery, on top of a hill. It was a short distance from our camp. The route was scenic all the way.

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At Diskit, we left the main road and started climbing the hairpin bends to the top. We had a great view of Diskit town from up there. Look at the interesting pattern of trees here. These trees grew along the path of flowing water. Life always finds a way!

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We reached the entrance to the monastery. There was a entry check post, with a souvenir stall and a hotel.

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The Budha statue at the top. The view was spectacular from up here. It was a calm and serene place, until the tourists arrived. They were noisy and created a nuisance, throwing trash all over the place. Guys, this is a religious place. Show some respect. Truly, Indian tourists are the worst!

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We walked around the statue for a bit. Saw these prayer flags tied around.

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Translation anyone? What language is this?

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The view from the top was wonderful. Patches of greenery in the middle of a desert!

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Around 10 AM, we left the monastery and proceeded to Durbuk. Our road ran parallel to Shyok river for a long time. It was mesmerizing, watching the river flow!



On one side, a river, on the other, the hills. Guys, this is not an edited photo. In fact, none of the pics are edited (I'm just too lazy for that!). The colours, the light patterns, the shadow! Breathtaking!

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Somewhere before Agham, we stopped for the convoy to catch up and regroup. This was just beside the river. We found plenty of beautiful pebbles, smoothened by years of water flowing around it. We collected a few too. We wanted to bring back a piece of the Himalayas with us!

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We took this opportunity for a group pic. Heres our rider group.

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Our ride from Hunder to Durbuk was by the Shyok river. There were a couple of crossings too.



Somewhere after Shyok, we had our first water crossing of the day. The water wasn't very deep, but the loose pebbles made it very slippery. There was an Innova stuck when we reached. The biker, in our convoy and others, helped to push it free.



We reached Durbuk around 2:30 PM and stopped for lunch. We were ahead of the convoy and so we didn't know where they would be stopping. They had in fact stopped somewhere just before the town.

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Of all the hotels I've been in, this one had the best ambiance of them all! Can't beat this view!

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Once we had our fill, we started off. The convoy still hadn't caught up, but we decided to continue anyway. Somewhere around Tangtse, we stopped on seeing this!

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Apparently some scenes of the movie were shot here. It was indeed a beautiful spot. There was a small stream running nearby. That and the view of the mountains did make it a perfect spot for such movies!

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We stopped there for some time, waiting for the convoy. While waiting, we saw a herd of the famous Pashmina sheep grazing nearby. Those things were sooo adorable! Even the full grown ones were tiny!

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Spent some time there, talking to the lady looking after the herd. My wife loved these things! We've heard of the famous Pashmina shawls of Kashmir for so long. Now we finally found the source. Did I mention how absolutely adorable they were?!

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Once I literally dragged her away from there, we started again. Just a few kms away, we saw a bunch of tourists gathered around some rocks seemingly offering biscuits! Naturally, we got down and went there to investigate. Thats when we saw these guys! Himalayan Marmots! They are a rodent species native to Ladakh and Tibet. Usually marmots feed on plants and such, but these guys had a special appetite for Parle-G! The tourists would hand them out and these guys would calmly come out and take them!

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They were incredibly tame! They were out in groups and had no issues with all the people around them. They even let the people pet them! Never seen anything like this before! We tried offering some cream biscuits to them, but they seemed only interested in Parle-G! Picky eaters!

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We waited for a while, but the convoy was no where in sight. By around 4, we started from that spot. The route to Pangong was beautiful. We were told that all these streams and greenery were due to the melting glaciers, and they were temporary. Once the waters dried up in winter, this area would be barren.

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On the way, we saw many more herd of Pashmina sheep. Guess this is one of their main rearing areas.

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By around 5:30 PM, we got our first glimpse of the gorgeous Pangong Lake. The sparkling beauty of the lake hit us hard! The eyes were sending signals to the brain, but the brain was having a tough time believing! Pangong Lake is a high altitude lake, fed by glaciers, an endorheic lake. Part of the lake is across the border, in China.

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The lake is surrounded by mountains and the view here was truly mesmerizing!

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The area near the lake has many camps for tourists. Waking up to a view of the lake would be the best wake up, in the history of waking up!

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A part of the movie '3 idiots' was shot here. Plenty of fake props from the movie everywhere. All the shops in this area had some or the other reference to the movie. 3 idiots restaurant, Rancho noodles, Rastogi camp! Way to cash in on the movie's popularity!

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Of course, the movie fans had to pay to get their dream pic. Nothing in life is free!

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The convoy was yet to catch up, so we spent time at the banks. Had fun skipping stones! The water was really cold, so splashing each other was out of question!



Day 7, to be continued...

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:21.
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Old 17th October 2019, 23:41   #11
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Day 7, 28th July 2019 continued...

Our convoy had still not arrived, so waited there for them to arrive. There were plenty of stacked stones near the banks, and she added one of her own.

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A view of the other bank. With sunset approaching, there was a very weird play of light!

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Sooraj hit the jackpot here! He got a bunch of awesome pics for his matrimonial page!

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It got cloudy for a bit and there was a very brief drizzle. Perhaps as a sign of apology, the Lake gave us this cute rainbow!

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Once the convoy had caught up, we left for our camp. It was only a few kms away from this spot. There were a bunch of camps, a few hundred meters from the lake. We found ours soon.

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The cabins were warm and cozy. Clean and well maintained.

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Most importantly, it had a wonderful view of the lake! This is literally the view from our window!

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We had a direct view of the lake from here. There were other camps too, all set in a theater seating style.

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We were told that dinner would be ready by 8 PM. Since we had some time till then, we decided to walk down to the lake. It was a steep and slippery slope and we made our way down cautiously. On the way down, we saw a few yaks. The guy taking care of them offered to sell us some yak milk which we declined!

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We spent some time at the banks. Night had fallen by then and we couldn't any good pics. We were contemplating the herculean task of climbing back up to the camp, when we saw our marshall in the Isuzu. He had come down to the bank to pick up a guy from our convoy. He had injured his ankle and the marshall had come to pick him up. We asked him for a ride back and got into the loading bay. There were 2 large barrels of petrol and a whole bunch of bike spare parts. We were hanging on to dear life throughout the way!



Back at camp, we had dinner around 8:30 PM. Here, we had a discussion about our next destination. As per our schedule, we were to head to Hanle and stay there the next day. Here at the camp, we met another convoy, and they had told us that Hanle was a total waste of time. The roads were completely broken. The only accommodation available there was a dormitory an it didn't have much facilities. It was very cloudy and they couldn't even see the sky, let alone the Milky Way. This news eroded away any determination anyone had to travel to Hanle. Even the guys who had adamantly demanded to travel to Hanle now wanted to go back to Leh.

They called up the operator and asked them to change the plan accordingly. They wanted an extra day at Leh to explore the city, in exchange for the day traveling to Hanle. Things didn't go as expected and a shouting match ensued, with plenty of abuses thrown in from both sides. In the end, it was decided that we would head to Leh. One night of stay at Leh would be borne by us, while the second night would be taken care by the operator. TBH, we did have our 'I told you so' moment here!

Once all that was settled, we retired to our rooms. The lake was still barely visible from our rooms and so we slept with our curtains open. The best night of our trip so far!

End of Day 7

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:21.
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Old 18th October 2019, 08:33   #12
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Day 8, 29th July 2019
Pangong to Leh


Woke up very early, after a tug-of-war for the blankets with my wife. The cabin had good thermal insulation and it was quite cozy inside. There was daylight by 5 AM or so. We spent some time in bed looking out the window. What else can you do when you have a view like this!

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We had our breakfast around 8 AM and got ready by 9. The other riders in our convoy were still getting ready. We decided to start before them as we wanted to spend some time at the lake. The color of the lake would be different in the morning light and we wanted to see that. We reached the lake around 10 AM. The lake had a dazzling mix of colors. Deep blue, crystal blue, turquoise, green! Wow!

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A close up shot of the lake water. Look at the colors! Turquoise, of my favorite!

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We spent some more time there. I don't know if it was just me, but the lake seemed to change colors! Maybe it was the angle of sunlight playing tricks. This is indeed a photographers paradise!

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Some of the locals here, resting in the shade. They don't seem to be very interested by the gorgeous display of colors that had overloaded our visual systems!

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Once we've had our fill of photos, we started off towards Leh. The convoy had caught up by now. They didn't stop here, missing out some awesome pics. For our ride back to Leh, we had to cross the Chang La pass. We drove through Tangtse and took the diversion from Durbuk. Soon we started the climb to Chang La. Snow still hadn't melted completely there and we were able to see it on our way.

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We stopped at a few places before chang La for some pics. Our Xylo, extremely comfortable in the hills.

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We reached the Chang La pass around 12:30 PM. Took some pics in front of the signs. The weather was pleasant, but the altitude made breathing a bit difficult. We spent some time there, admiring the view around us.

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The view from the top. There was snow around us. Some of the tourists had gone to play there.

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We didn't want to venture out into the snow. But when you go to the Himalayas, you don't come back without at least touching some snow!

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There was a restaurant at the top, and we stopped there for some tea and snacks.

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There were restrooms available, but the condition was horrible. Only saving grace, the view out of the window! Looks like a painting, doesn't it? PC to Sooraj.

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We soon continued from there. The descent from the pass was equally beautiful too. There was snow all around us!

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The winding road down the hill. Even a lorry would look minuscule here!

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With the melting snow, many small streams had sprung up. Every hairpin bend had a tiny waterfall! We stopped at a few of them for some pics.

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At some points, these streams had grown into proper water crossings!

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Around 2 PM, we neared the end of the descent. There were a few more hairpins remaining. This was the view from one of them!

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Around 2:30 PM, we reached Sakti. The convoy was still far behind us. To wait for them, we decided to stop at a restaurant here for lunch. Food was tasty and freshly prepared. In most of the restaurants around here, the main item in the menu was Maggi! Didn't know it was this popular here!

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Around 4:30 PM, we reached Leh town and stopped to regroup. As per our new plan, we had to manage our accommodation for the day by ourselves. Someone from our group booked rooms for us at Oyo Mir Villa. Fortunately, all of us got rooms in the same hotel. The hotel was somewhere inside the town and we reached by 5:30 PM. Our taxi ride ended here and he dropped us off. The rooms were clean and well maintained. The staff was super creepy though, staring openly at the ladies!

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Took some time, freshening up in our room. Around 8 PM, we went for a walk into the Leh market. Neat and clean market, with plenty of souvenir shops. We took a leisurely stroll through the various narrow roads in the market, occasionally getting into a shop. Good collection of shawls, but overpriced. Bargained for a bit and bought some for friends and relatives.

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Around 9 PM, we got into a hotel and had dinner. Food was very tasty and we had some local Kashmiri dishes. Tried out Kashmiri biriyani. It was... different! As a mallu, its pretty hard to objectively judge other biriyanis! For me, its Malabar beef biriyani or bust!

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Found this extremely tasty apple drink here. Its made locally, from the apples grown around these parts. Fantastic taste! All the appys of world don't come close to this one!

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We left the hotel around 10 PM. It was starting to get real cold and most of the shops started closing. Once we reached our hotel, we started planning for the next day. As per our new plan, we would be spending the next day in Leh town, and the operator agreed to let us use our bikes for local sightseeing. We had made some plans for ourselves by then. We didn't want to go with the convoy for local sightseeing as we'd be greatly delayed waiting for everyone to arrive and finish sightseeing. Me, Amju, Neethu and Sandip spoke to our marshall about our plans to go separately. He wasn't very pleased about splitting the convoy and grudgingly agreed. Once that was done, we went back to our rooms to plan the locations to visit.

After some more time chatting and catching up, we turned in for the night. Felt good to sleep in a proper hotel room after so many days in tents and camps.

End of Day 8

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:21.
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Old 22nd October 2019, 23:15   #13
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 9, 30th July 2019
Leh


After a quick (and rather unappetizing) breakfast from the hotel, we checked out. We loaded our luggage into the D-Max, which would be waiting at our next hotel. We had planned to visit a few places in town and we got some help with this useful little map.

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Our first stop was the Hall of Fame, Leh. It was about 5 km from the town, just past the Leh airport. This is along the Leh-Kargil highway.

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The Hall of Fame is a museum built by the army in honor of the brave souls who died defending our country in the Indo-Pak wars. It has detailed descriptions about the various skirmishes that took place along with captured enemy documents and weapons. These BS spewing politicians can run their mouths all day about patriotism and soldiers, but one needs to experience the conditions there to truly grasp the grit and determination of our defenders fighting on one of the highest, coldest, harshest places on earth.

We reach the entrance to the Hall of Fame by 11 AM.

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There is a booth to take entry tickets. It included the parade and light show in the evening.

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Many of the vehicles and weapons used in the wars were displayed outside the entrance. While Sandip was taking the tickets, I walked around and took some pics. One familiar face caught my eye. This mean-ass SOB has literally conquered the Himalayas!

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We spent close to 2 hours inside. Actually half a day is needed to see everything, but we had limited time. Some of the pics from inside:

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Patrolling the Pangong Lake shore in 1962. We were there just the other day!!

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Display of weapons captured from the enemy.

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The memorial to our fallen warriors. "In memory of those who set out to serve the nation's cause and did not return". While personally not a fan of any sort of armed conflict, this did give me the goosebumps!

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There were plenty of tourists here clicking pics. While all that is fine and good, please show some respect. This is a memorial, not a view point. Shouting, screaming, sneaking inside cordoned off areas for 'the pic'. Sheesh! These guys give no respect here, yet go back home and scream patriotism!

We left the place around 12:30 PM. The others in the convoy had started late and were only reaching the Hall of Fame now. Good thing we went our own way. We rode back into town for a quick lunch at the Leh Dhaba. Parking was an issue, even with bikes. The road outside the hotel didn't allow parking, and we had to park near the entrance to the market. Once lunch was done, we headed to the Shanti Stupa, a Buddhist monastery on the edge of town. It was on top of a hill and had a spectacular view of the town.



Inside the compound, there are several buildings. The first one was a temple.

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It was a steep walk uphill from there. The next one was a meditation room.

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Inside the meditation room. It was eerily silent inside!

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Our yoga guru demonstrating a quick 30 second meditation!

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We had an awesome view of the Leh town from up here. A town in a valley indeed.

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The stupa was further up the hill, at the top. The combination of the light, hills and blue sky made me feel like the stupa was glowing!

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Entrance to the stupa area. There is space to walk around it.

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Buddha sculptures on 4 sides, perhaps pointing to NSEW (?)

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Along the base of the stupa.

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More of these stone pile over there.

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We left the place by 4 PM. Our next stop was the Namgyal Tsemo monastery, which was on a hill on the opposite side of town. Took us nearly 45 mins to get there.



The monastery is on the top of a hill, which can be accessed through a road which took you around the town. It could also be accessed by climbing the hill directly, from near the Leh Palace. Obviously, we took the road! The view of the monastery from the base.

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Steep steps lead to the top.

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Seems like the folks here are keeping up with the times!

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Inside the room at the top. Currency notes are placed as offerings. Local tradition perhaps?

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There is a wooden walkway around the structure at the top.

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The view from the top was phenomenal! Got the complete view of the Leh town from up here! Perhaps this is the highest point in town.

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Spent some time at the top, admiring the view. I heard some commotion around the corner and went to investigate. There was a tourist, lying down, playing PUBG! Of all places! Sheesh!

The climb down from the top was even scarier!



The not-so-candid candid pic from the base!

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She's rearing to have a go at the hills!

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Day 9, to be continued...

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:20.
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Old 23rd October 2019, 23:21   #14
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 9, 30th July 2019 continued..

Some more pics from there. Pic credits to Sandip.

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There was a rock nearby, where there was a bunch of prayer flags tied. It was very windy up there.

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Neethu and Sandip went over there to the top. Took this pic using the zoom lens for my Canon 1500d.

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The Shanti Stupa was clearly visible from here.

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We left around 6 PM and headed back to Leh town. Our marshall had told us to reach the hotel before 9, so we still had plenty of time. We went to the Leh market and did some exploring. It has a very straightforward layout, with 2 main entrances. Its very clean and well maintained. We spent time here, window shopping. Most of the stuff was very expensive. We did get some fresh apricots though. Really enjoyed those.

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The locals here were very friendly and charming. We stopped to talk with several shopkeepers. Many of them were very interested to hear that we were from Kerala. One guy had never seen a beach or a sea before and seemed spellbound by our description of it! As we were exiting a shop, I was roughly pushed aside by some persons. There was a commotion there. The area was crowded and seems one of the tourists used this opportunity to grab a local lady indecently. The locals slapped him real hard and took him to the police station nearby. The guy was pleading with the locals, telling them that what he did was acceptable in Delhi and he didn't know it was wrong here! BS!

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Our stay for the day was at Hotel Royal Ladakh. An awesome hotel, with well maintained lawns and great rooms. I'd recommend this place to anyone traveling to Leh.

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The food was awesome too. We all had dinner together, sharing pics of our adventures.

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Some of the others had visited Leh palace and the 'Rancho School'. Sharing some of their pics here.

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After dinner and some chit chat, we went into the front parking to retrieve our luggage from the D-Max. We packed some of the stuff we bought into our bags and turned in for the night.

End of Day 9

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:20.
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Old 29th October 2019, 07:43   #15
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Default Re: An adventure honeymoon: A 1500 km trip through the Himalayas!

Day 10, 31st July 2019
Leh to Kargil


Woke up refreshed after a good nights sleep. The hotel room was very comfy and we kinda didn't want to leave! Since there was a great view of the hills from the hotel compound, we went for a walk and got some great snaps.

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PC to Sandip.

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We started from the hotel around 10 AM. We were taking the famous Leh - Srinagar NH 1. We proceeded in a tight convoy from here. The road was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed the ride.



Our first top was the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, constructed and run by the army. We spent about half and hour inside. There was a temple (or shrine??, I dunno what its called) on the top of a small hill behind, where we got some prasadam. There is a rock inside the main temple building, which, according to legends, was thrown at Nanak Lama by a demon. It has the body outline of the Guru as well as the foot print of the demon. People were offering prayers there.

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Our next stop was the Magnetic Hill, a few kms away. It is a 'cyclops hill', where the layout of the area makes you feel as if its an upward hill, whereas its actually a downward slope. Unfortunately, you need a 4 wheeler to "experiance the wonder" and we had to leave the area "un-wondered".

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A few kms ahead, we came up at this point. This is the place where the Zanskar river joins the mighty Indus. Its the Indus on the right and the Zanskar on the left. It was a surreal experience, finally meeting the river after which our country was named! There is a detour there, which leads to the Zanskar valley. We, however continued along the highway.

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We followed the NH 1 through Nimmoo, Bagso and Saspul.



Are these some old ruins? Saw a few of these on the way.

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We crossed more villages on the way.



Around 1:30 PM, we reached Khalsi, where we stopped for lunch. Food wasn't very good there and we went to a nearby shop and bough some fresh apricots.

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How do we know the apricots were fresh? There are orchards all around!

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We started from Khalsi around 2:30 PM. From Khalsi, there are two routes to Kargil. One through Damkar, Dah and Batalik and the other through Heniskot and Namik La. We took the second one.

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Somewhere along the way. PC to Neethu.

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The route was very scenic all the way.

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This is a very dry and barren area, with small patches of greenery in between. Kinda the exact opposite of my home state!

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The ride was mostly uneventful. The altitude was much lower than the ones we were used to around Leh. There was noticeable improvement in the bikes performance here.



Around 4:30 PM, we reached Namika La. We had been riding for close to 2 hours and needed a break. We stopped here for nearly half an hour, waiting for the whole convoy to reach. We met another batch of riders from Kerala, who had taken a similar package as ours. There were taking the opposite route, i.e. starting from Srinagar and ending in Manali.

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The view from here was amazing! Note: the pictures are unedited!

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There was a shrine/ building of some sort here. We didn't get enough time to explore it though.

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Once everyone had rehydrated, re-applied sunscreen and stretched their backbones, we started again. We still had a long way to go and the winding road lay ahead.

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For some distance, we rode parallel to the Wakha river.

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Around 5:30 PM, we reached Mulbekh town.

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We stopped at a cafe by the road to refresh and regroup. Had some tea and snacks from here.

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We soon started from there and continued our ride to Kargil. We saw something interesting. As we were getting closer to Kargil, monasteries gradually changed into mosques, a sign of the difference in demographics. One can only hope that such seamless transitions happen elsewhere in our country.

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Continuing to Kargil, we crossed several small villages. The kids had gathered by the road and were cheering the bikers. Many of them had extended their hand and were Hi-5 ing the riders. We returned a few, but soon found that it was very risky. Most of the kids were doing it just for fun, while others had malicious intent. Some of them attempted to pull the bikers down while others tried to hit us with wooden planks! A few of them even threw water at us! How evil of them! The bikers could have been seriously injured or worse.



For the rest of the way, we followed the Wakha river. There were more kids on the way, but we stayed clear of them.

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Just before Kargil town, we reached a checkpoint of sorts. We had to take an entry pass to enter Kargil town. Paid Rs.30 and got a receipt for the same.

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Just as we were about to start, we discovered that we had a flat tire. Our rear wheel was flat. We informed the marshall, who told us to wait for the D-Max. The rest of the convoy continued to the town. Once the D-Max arrived, our mechanic took a look at it. Since the town was close, he chose to fill air instead of repairing it and told we would fix it once we had reached the hotel. He hooked a pump to the vehicle's battery and and filled enough air to last till town.

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Around 6:30 PM, we started to approach Kargil town. Hard to believe that a full blown war was fought here a few decades earlier!

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Kargil town, from a view point. The town is on the banks of the Suru river. The flow of the river was so loud that we could hear it from the view point!

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Entering Kargil town. Around 1:30 into the video, you can see a road diverging and going up a hill. That was the road leading to Batalik, which goes all the way to Khalsi, from where we took the diversion.



We checked into our hotel, Hotel PC Palace around 6:30 PM. There was some delay in allotting the rooms. The hotel was under renovation and so some of the rooms weren't that great.

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Once we had checked into our rooms, we freshened up and went outside. The hotel was near the Kargil market and we took a walk around it. It was a tiny market and most of the shops were old and crumbling. Even the newer ones were only partially completed. Everything appeared dull grey in the evening light. A slightly depressing place. We walked a couple of kms through the town, but it started raining. Roads soon became water logged and we hurried back to the hotel.

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Dinner was ready by 8:30 PM. The food was fine and we had our fill.

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As we were nearing the end of our journey, we were all feeling a bit glum. Maybe it was compounded by the less than appealing state of the town. One thing we had noticed along the way, was massive troop movement. I mean there was military trucks almost at every corner. This seemed highly odd, even for such a sensitive area. While in the market, we did ask a few shopkeepers about it and even they were surprised. Nothing untoward had happened recently to warrant such a large troop deployment. Our rooms had cable TV and we watched the news. There were rumors flying around about some political change happening, but no one had any solid info at that time.

We discussed about it for some more time and decided to turn in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be the last leg of our bike journey and we wanted to be as ready as possible for it.

End of Day 10

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 20th November 2019 at 08:20.
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