A soul that craves to travel is the most difficult to cage. It will never bow down to the routine life that the people around them live. For these wanderlust souls, when mountains call, there is no looking back. One such person is Sachin Ramesh, who had always dreamt of going to the mountains and explore the beauty on a bike. To fulfill his dream, he chose to explore the Land of High Passes, Ladakh, on his bike.
Apart from being a mountain guy, Sachin also identifies himself as a nature lover who loves biking and trekking. By choosing a place like Ladakh, he had resolved to quench all his thirst in one trip to the majestic land which had everything to offer—from extreme deserts to pristine blue waters, from sand dunes to glaciers—accompanied by the thrill of unpredictable weather. All this, while a cool breeze tickles your face to constantly remind you that you are in the lap of nature!
Turning the Dream into Reality
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” is one motto Sachin lives by. Like many biking enthusiasts, he had always dreamt to explore the mighty Ladakh on a bike. After quitting his job, he believed that it was time for him to realize this dream. “I could not have gone to a better place than Ladakh to live my dream,” he said, as he recalls every moment spent in the magnificent land.
Despite hearing that Ladakh is unbearably cold in April, he dared to visit the place with his cousin and doesn’t regret his decision. “Travelling to such a place is all about preparing yourself well,” he said, “and if people, who are approximately 50-year ‘YOUNG’, can pull it off, anyone with a strong willpower can do so,” hailing a fellow travelling couple’s determination.
Sachin was accompanied by his cousin, Satwik, who shared a common dream to explore Ladakh on a bike. “When you travel to places of extreme difficulty, the fun multiplies when you are around like-minded folks who are always in search of thrill,” said Sachin, on having his cousin Satwik along. He also believes that one can enjoy the Ladakh trip only if they are disciplined, responsible and fun-loving.
Together, they booked their flights via Thrillophilia to garner memories of a lifetime! Sachin, who revealed that he hadn’t seen or touched snow for a decade, was spellbound by the aerial visuals of snow-clad mountains.
Living the Dream – The Itinerary
Flying from Delhi, Sachin arrived in Leh to experience the chilling temperatures, and he knew right away that it’s going to be an adventurous ride ahead! He was welcomed by Jigmet, his tourist guide, who took him to the lodge for a breathtaking view from the room.
Soon after the breakfast, Sachin came across his most-awaited moment as he was introduced to his bike along with other fellow tour-mates. He lived his dream for the first time as he went on an off-road trip to the serene Shanti Stupa. He was excited to get his hands on the bike again the next day for a long ride. After all, he had longed to experience it!
As the awaited morning arrived, Sachin and Satwik rode through the Magnetic Hill to witness the confluence of the freezing Zanskar and Indus rivers—a sight to behold!
Not being able to contain themselves, Sachin, along with Satwik, ran into the freezing waters to experience the chilling cold!
However, Sachin terms the first two days as just the “warm-up” for the next four days, which were an epitome of adventure! By the third day, he was also acclimatized to the low temperature in the high altitudes and was ready to take on the mighty mountains.
Geared up, Sachin set off to Khardung La, which is located at an insane 5359 m above the sea level! Passing by the frozen streams, Sachin enjoyed riding through snowy roads and temperatures falling as low as -10 degree C. After reaching atop Khardung La, the cousins had a cup of tea to keep themselves warm before setting off to Hunder.
The road trip from Khardung La to Hunder, as Sachin opines, was the most difficult part of the journey due to the extreme condition of roads and weather. Descending from the snow-covered Khardung La, Sachin found himself in the completely transformed surroundings of the cold desert in Hunder. “Just within a distance of few kilometers, the places exhibit changing moods like they’re miles apart!” exclaims Sachin, who suggests that a humped-camel ride in Hunder desert is a must.
They spent the next day exploring the Thikshey Monastery and traveled through high passes around Khardung La on bikes.
Challenging the Might at Chang La
Sachin was very excited to ride through Chang La, which is the second highest motorable road in the world. On the fifth day of his trip, he set off to Pangong Tso via Chang La, which he describes as a thrilling experience of riding through the ruthlessly cold winds—a ride difficult enough to make you numb due to the cold weather. On reaching Chang La, Sachin recommends relishing a hot Thupka and tea at the café there to keep yourself warm.
Changing Shades of the Tranquil Pangong Tso
The descend from Chang La to Pangong Tso is scenic as you travel through snow-covered mountains into the plains. A memorable camping experience at Pangong Tso awaited him, as he sat mesmerized by the blue waters against the sight of the setting Sun.
The next morning exhibited various shades of the Pangong Tso, which was half frozen, and carried a cool breeze. Spending the day at Pangong was a delight for Sachin and Satwik, as both spent quality time taking pictures around the lake. A lake is a place that has a lot to offer to photography enthusiasts as well as to those who seek solace.
On the way back to Leh, Sachin again rode through Chang La, making the most of the thrill they desired to seek by biking in the extreme. However, Sachin was not done yet with his trip! The market in Leh kept him hooked as he explored and shopped for his friends and family. The Yak Cheese Pizza that they serve in this market is a lip-smacking delicacy every tourist visiting Leh must take a bite of!
Leh-Ladakh has so much to offer, in every sense, is a must-visit place for travellers seeking thrill as well as solace. Not to forget, Ladakh is so picturesque that photography enthusiasts visiting the place will capture the frames of their lifetime! Sachin has had this Ladakh trip etched in his mind forever. Be it the warm reception by the locals or the walk over frozen rivers, he is going to remember it all until time immemorial; now, it’s your time to make memories.