“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.” -Henry Ward Beecher
For Dev, the view was all that mattered, and that is why, he drove all the way from Faridabad, to the moonscapes of the land of high passes Ladakh to have a ball of a time in the Himalayas, making a lot of memories on the way. Speaking fondly of his life, which now also has a snippet of adventurous Ladakh, Dev says “I come from Faridabad in Haryana and works in the sales department. I think my choice for profession evolved from my love of traveling and meeting new people on the way.”
The Crazy Rider
Dev took his own Royal Enfield Himalayan to Ladakh, which defines his love for the machines in all the senses. He says “I truly found my adornment of bikes as an inheritance from my father, who gave me my first ever bike, a Suzuki GS 150, in the year 2010.” From there till 2014, Dev rode the bike in the state of Karnataka and in many parts of the Western Ghats. When he moved to Chandigarh in the year 2015, Punjab, Himachal, and Uttarakhand became his favorite go-to place on the back of his bike.
In the year 2016, however, Dev bought his own beast of a bike. “I usually prefer riding solo and have explored numerous places over my weekend and week-long trips, including the Spiti Valley. Ladakh, however, had always been on my mind, it was like this dream that never let me sleep. So, I chose that I will go when the time was just right for me. And I did.”
Forming New Bonds
Talking about his fellow travelers, Dev found them to be really amicable, so much so that they all just bonded quickly with each other within the first day together. They made this trip the most memorable one for him with their excellent company. It was sure going to be one hell of a ride for him.
Forming New Memories
Talking about the ride, he says “I started from Faridabad itself, with all my bags and riding gear. The first stretch was to reach Chandigarh which was 250 km away. Chandigarh was my first pit stop, and I was off again the next day, with the mind made up to reach Manali. After quick repairs and checks in Manali at the RE Ladakh Riders Camp, I went on to meet Nawang who was our trip organizer.”
The trip had only just begun for Dev, as he started on the 3rd day to ride for Jispa from Manali. While on the road, this was the moment that riding in groups was a lot more fun than going solo on exploration. The moment he started the ride down from Rohtang Pass was one of the best off road experiences that he ever had. With proper stops and rest time in the day’s journey, Dev and the group reached Jispa in the evening to a beautiful campsite by the river. The party for the day started at around 6:30 PM that evening, with music, campfire, and delicious food.
“Before going to Bed that night, we met our troop leader, Apgen, who planned with us all about the next day’s ride before we settled in for the night.” When Dev woke up the next morning, he found that the bikes were already checked and green signalled by the mechanic to go for the ride. After breakfast, they were on the road, reached Baralacha La, passed streams of water and after the ride, reached Sarchu in the late afternoon. To avoid AMS at the height and weather conditions of Sarchu, Apgen came to their rescue, helping them with all that he had.
“The ride from Sarchu to Leh, which was about 250 km, was the best I have ever had. It rained that day as we departed, but by the time we hit Pang, it was gone. Clear skies was what greeted us greeted us as we rode into Leh. After resting for the day, we hit the local sights of the city of Leh the next day, like Sangam, Leh monastery, markets, magnetic hill , etc which was fun. Evening was full of shopping and the amazing street food of Leh.”
The Leh Experience
Next day, as the group left for Khardung La, it was a dream come true for Dev, who says “It was a proud moment for me, to have reached Khardung La on my own bike”.
On the top, they realized that this was a great time, and hence started to dance with their bluetooth speaker. “It was so infectious that other riders also joined us” Dev remembers while laughing. From there on, the group went to Nubra Valley, covering Diskit monastery, Hunder sand dunes, before arriving at the camp for the night. “The best road that I have ever rode on, was the one between Nubra and Pangong. “Every turn was a new surprise, great company made things better. First view of the lake left us all mesmerized. Apgen took us on an off road trail right next to the lake which tested both our’s and our bikes’ limits. Must say, it was a piece of cake for my Himalayan though”. After crossing over Chang La the next day, going to Leh, the group was asked to be in bed by 9:30 because the ride next day was a crazy 350 kms.
The group rode for Jispa at 4 AM, and was there by 6PM. This was the time for Dev to say his goodbyes to the valley of Ladakh and to this amazing group of people that he had met, as he had to start early the next day to reach Chandigarh. The ride of 450 kms took him 15 hours to complete, but he was there by 10 in the night. As he describes it, “Riding back from Manali to Delhi was the hardest stretch for me since there was a drastic rise in temperatures and returning home with infinite amazing memories was really tough”
What the Future Holds
He says that the experience was so amazing that he would want to come back again, maybe even bring his wife this time. “The peace and the simplicity of the place calls me back”
Upon being asked about when is that dream coming true, he responded, “Do not call it a dream, call it a plan”