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The Return to Ladakh!

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  • The Return to Ladakh!

    The Return to Ladakh, 2010


    Hence, I spared myself the agony and set aside the question to focus more upon the ride.

    Archit, Prashant and I, eventually set off on a 10 day long haul to Ladakh on wee hours of the 4th June, 2010.

    The progress was pretty swift. We reached Pathankot in 4 hrs, amidst to and fro calls from Sandeep Mohan as he was also heading this way this time of the year! Just after crossing Kathua, my bike suffered a puncture which we repaired at a shop nearby. In between we met Tanveer. Archit had brought a roll of thin polythene wrap which was supposed to be used to protect the stuff from the rain. We did a quick wrap and we were all set to hit the road at around 10:30 am,a good two hours after the Pathankot and just 20 kms!

    The bypass from Dayalachak:

    Just as we crossed Udhampur, it started raining. And I wished that the bags were safe. If only wishes were horses. Not only was I soaked (except the torso, where the DSG kept me water-safe) but the saddle bags too where drenched and the polythene was tattered and torn at places. The need for a fresh piece of water protector arose.

    Maggi, eggs, a lot of eggs, and some more at Patnitop kept us occupied for the next 45 mins before we hit the road again.

    Near Ramban:

    Beyond the tunnel was a sight to remember. The weather had changed drastically. It seemed a different land altogether. Different, not appreciative, as the rain had turned more ferocious! We continued riding in the heavy rain for like 30 kms till the time everyone was wet to core.

    Then we stopped. The place was Khanabal. The rent was 400/room.

    A new dish to try which turned out to be eatable. Mind you, it was just eatable, I dare not say more!


    There are lazy people. And then there are lazy people who have ridden 600 kms the previous day, some of it in rain.

    2 Cops

    mis-directed into Old-Srinagar where we got stuck in traffic, and took us a whole hour to get to Ganderbal which in ideal circumstances should have taken 30 mins. After all, we had the winged stallion and the black dragon with us

    Enroute Sonamarg:

    We met up with 2 riders on a Mach 500 who were on their 7th Leh ride.

    Had yummy paranthas at Sonamarg before we ventured out to scale Zozila. Now, it started drizzling just a bit when we left Sonamarg. The ascend was gradual and nothing to write home about. There were potholes but where easily navigable. At the top we met a few army guys who were simply frustrated at being posted in Ladakh and were venturing out their anger at the mountains. Understandable indeed.

    Here is where the fun began! Just as we crossed, it started snowing albeit lightly, and then we stopped. For a good half hour we stopped and enjoyed the snowfall.

    On the way to Zozila:

    The army folks:

    At Zozila:

    Where we stopped:

    BUT that was one of the most amazing ride I done in a long time and I was smiling wryly, glancing towards heaven!

    It was 6:30 pm when we reached Drass. Thankfully, Gaurav(TourerSince), had booked us a room in the J&K tourism rest house, Drass, and the caretaker was very hospitable!


    And we got busy in the process of cloth-drying-indoors! The bungee cords came to good use and converted the room into a drying ghat!

    Our stuff:

    Now the time had come to make way with the polythene cover and get a good rain sheet to cover the luggage plus get ourselves some waterproof pajamas (I would be wearing these all through the rest of the trip, while riding!) and a good pair of thermal gloves to keep our hands within the sensation spectrum. The DSGs found their way in a deep corner of my saddle bag!

    Drass is a cold place. And as the surrounding were wet due to the rainfall, I could feel the chill all the more. Even after nestling under two layers of quilt, my feet felt like ice! I had slept for a couple of hours and was quite content.

    The sun would be up soon and I pray that the weather gods remain on our side.

    ...To be continued soon...
    " I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not" - Kurt Cobain

  • #2
    Topic Approved.

    Here we go! I was waiting for this, Kurt. Thanks. I am sure it would be one of the most amazing logs to read and see. Lovely!


    • #3
      Stunning, Mindblowing, Fantastic, Admirable... all this comes to mind!

      I will have a similar thread next year!

      I wanted to re-visit in the same season as you went, just too good....

      Keep it coming!


      • #4
        Vaibhav Rules! The photos are amazing man! I am literally dumb struck looking at them. Keep the log flowing. Waiting for more.


        • #5
          Kurt: Bhai feel aa gayi padh ke
          very inspiring, and few of the shots are just mesmerizing, breath taking... beautiful
          Thanks for sharing and pls keep them coming.
          I'd rather be riding my motorcycle thinking about God than sitting in church thinking about my motorcycle.
          Ride often, ride well, have fun.


          • #6
            Kurt bhai ..Just when i thought I had enough of it........u amazed me more and displaying these skills of yours...Fantastic/wonderful/mouth watering(Nothing suits here) ...I am unable to find words to explain what I felt after reading ur post .........I am glued to it ..bring it on as soon as possible ...Thanks for sharing ..ride safe


            • #7
              W00t!!! Another LEH thread... I believe the DC at LEH should give some discounts to xbhpians... The number is rising every year!
              The Fast and the Curious kind!!!

              Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and then beat you with experience.

              Follow me on TWITTER
              Threads I started -

              My Journey from "X"bhp to "0"bhp
              7 Deadly Sins
              List of all Traffic Penalties in India


              • #8
                @Kurt: Bas ab Chandrataal khulwa do...


                • #9
                  Goody goody ... gee.. geee.. i am getting the goose bumps on seeing the images (The office filtering didn't block these thankfully !!!)
                  Oh please, upload it all !!

                  Oh how i need to ride


                  • #10
                    I am not able to see the pics.... WHY WHY WHY?
                    The Fast and the Curious kind!!!

                    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and then beat you with experience.

                    Follow me on TWITTER
                    Threads I started -

                    My Journey from "X"bhp to "0"bhp
                    7 Deadly Sins
                    List of all Traffic Penalties in India


                    • #11
                      Kurt its beautiful man, bring on more.... its mesmerizing brother......

                      Save the Earth - We are the one who are running out of time, as Earth will take it own time to heal but that time may not be enough for us.

                      I dont just ride my bikes, I live with them.
                      Yamaha RX100 (1987 model)
                      Yamaha YZF R15 (2010 model)
                      Hero Impulse (2012 model)
                      Mahindra Thar (2015 model)
                      GIRed 2012


                      • #12
                        Thank you gentlemen. Shall be posting Day 3 and 4 very soon.

                        Originally posted by Aryan View Post
                        @Kurt: Bas ab Chandrataal khulwa do...
                        Sirjee kismat kharaab hai aapki. This year the weather has been really treacherous! But like I said, don't worry. As soon as I get the updates, you will be the first to know

                        I am not able to see the pics.... WHY WHY WHY?
                        That is perhaps your office firewall prohibits it.
                        Last edited by kurtrules; 06-23-2010, 03:57 PM.
                        " I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not" - Kurt Cobain


                        • #13
                          The Return to Ladakh!

                          Hold on to your seats... fasten your seat belts... coz, you all are going to be on a roller coaster ride.

                          Watch this space for more.
                          The Fastest Indian!!


                          • #14
                            The Return to Ladakh!

                            Thanks Kurt for posting it.
                            This is just a beginning for one of the craziest rides ever.
                            It had fun, snow, rain, inclines , declines.........whatever you say, it had in it.

                            It's one of the memorable rides with you and Prashant. Many more to come
                            Know the power of Bull - The RedBull!!


                            • #15

                              Early morning clicks:

                              Stopped at the Drass war memorial

                              And then we reached the painfully hot and terribly untidy Kargil! Got stuck behind a bus and wasted a good half hour to tank up and get the hell out of there. Up above, there were two ways.

                              One leads to Batalik and the other to Leh. I am skeptical, I am paranoid and I am unsure whether to take the Batalik route or not.

                              I take the Batalik route and the folks follow.

                              Somewhere down the road I stop again. My mind is against the decision as we have no permits for Batalik. You are supposed to get permits from the Kargil DC and then proceed which we quite frankly ignored. I stop; Archit stops and so does Prashant. Should we continue or should we turn back.

                              We continued.

                              Some clicks:

                              Some more:

                              Now, 15 kms before Batalik we were stopped for check of permits. But since we had travelled almost 50 kms without being stopped and we were Indian citizens, we were let off with just our license being checked.

                              Then I take the challenge. I find the area with the low current, I cross mid-way and just as I am about to turn to get back on track, my front goes into a deep pot-hole! But somehow, I wriggle myself out of the crossing, on half clutch.

                              The army guys tell us that was the precise reason they were parked there, when they saw us approaching the water crossing.
                              We thanked them and continued.

                              The road hereon was fabulous, not to undermine the beauty of the valley. The Indus cut through steep gorges that fell for like a mile. I was happy for choosing this route now. No traffic. We hardly came across any civilian vehicles.

                              We reached Khaltse at around 5. Devoured food at a restaurant nearby, hungry that we were. And then began the ride on one of the finest roads I had ridden on 10,000 ft above sea level!


                              Sunset at Nimmu:

                              Again, Gaurav had booked us a hotel in Changspa, Hotel Padmaling. 500 for a triple bed-room. Thanks Gaurav!

                              The room was good, but I believe we were the only guests there as there was not a soul in sight, not even in the other rooms which were either locked or wide open!

                              Anyways, we duped our stuff in the hotel and went off for a walk around Chanspa along with a round of drinks.

                              Day 4: In and around Leh

                              Went back to the hotel and slept for two hours. Then we tied up with Ajay and he asked us to come to a restaurant at round 4, where a meet had been organized.

                              But that was 4, and it was around 1. So we ate to our fill, and got the bikes checked up. Minor checkup, just a chain linked removed on mine and some front brake issues on Archit. The dragon though, was going wonderful till now!

                              After obtaining the permits we met up with Ajay, Tanveer, Sandeep and a few members from 60Kph at a restaurant in Changspa. It was truly wonderful meeting Ajay. Thank you for inviting us!

                              Some pics:

                              The we get back to the hotel, but not before packing ourselves lots of momos and haka-noodles. Tomorrow we head to Nubra. Ajay has promised to let us know by early morning on the status of Khardungla.

                              7 am I get a message from Ajay that the roads are open! Thankfully!

                              7:30 we are off to Khardungla.


                              Here we met Vishwas and Aman, who were also on their way to Nubra. Bought a few souvenirs and dashed off into the Nubra valley. Crossed North Pallu and Khardung in no time and then the beauty of Nubra was bestowed upon us. Multi-colored mountains and the sea green river down below crafted a wonder to the eye

                              We descended till a few kilometers from Khalsar to a flat of almost 2 kms in length with no soul around

                              And then we entered the desert valley. Dust was added to the landscape. But that only enhanced its beauty. A few kilometers later we entered Diskit (Administrative capital of the Nubra Valley). After going through the small town we ended up finding ourselves a decent room in the J&K Tourist Bungalow@ Rs 600.

                              The ride was short, so the adrenaline was still pumping. What do we do next? Ride to Panamik? Nay, not interested, nothing much to see there. Ride to Hunder and witness the sand dunes?
                              You bet!

                              Enroute, the wind gained pace and the sand spread across the road not to forget reducing our visibility. It was like a sand-storm had engulfed the valley.

                              But we eventually reach Hunder. Indeed worth the 6 hour ride from Leh. What a place! I look around for a double-humped camel and spot one. Not many places in the world where you would find doubled-humped camels, sea-green river, ice-capped mountains and sand dunes, all at one place!

                              Me and Prashant

                              Archit and Prashant

                              I met up with Aman and Tanveer there and later with Sandeep and Rahul. Sandeep and we had dosas together at the military canteen and later they returned to Diskit while we went ahead of the Hunder Bridge for a few kilometers. We returned as there was nothing much to see because like mentioned earlier, the valley had become quite dusty and was visibly not worth going into further. Hence we returned to base.

                              We bid Sandeep goodnight and promised to catch up the next day. Went and had the worst dinner at some crappy restaurant in Diskit. Even the menu items were ridiculous:

                              It was drizzling when we returned back to the rest-house.

                              Tomorrow is going to be an important day for us. We were going to attempt a stretch that had opened up this year only (Thanks to Ajay again, for confirming the same) and had been travesered by rare individuals. I mean I did not know anyone (traveller/civilian) who has done it now. This route connects Nubra directly to the Pangong Lake by-passing both Wari-la and chang-la. Flat road, no un-necessary heights, nothing. Direct. When complete, this route will get vehicles from Nubra to Pangong in 4 hours flat! Can you beat that!

                              Note: The pics are courtesy me, Archit and Prashant.
                              " I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not" - Kurt Cobain