Traveling to Explore the Unknown – The Ladakh Tale by Bhanu Pratap
Traveling to Explore the Unknown – The Ladakh Tale by Bhanu Pratap
The heart wants what it wants. You can just suppress or act on the heart’s desire, that is all you have in terms of the control. Sometimes we don’t have the means and the other times we don’t have the will to act upon the inner calling, but once we do, it turns out to be the best decision.
For a biker, the passion is to burn the rubber. When their heart desires, they hop on their two wheels, rev the engine and drive their soul to places. Now, to top that, when your inner self-calls for a ride to scale the highest and toughest of the mountain pass – what do you do? You smile and make the arrangements. Yes!
Bhanu – The Rider, The Explorer
Bhanu Pratap Solanki, a corporate professional, hailing from Jodhpur has the same tale. One sunny day, it just struck him to plan and scale Leh-Ladakh and he went on the spur of the moment to decide on a Bike trip to Leh-Ladakh.
The Quest – Scaling the Land of High Passes
Leh-Ladakh aka the land of high passes is famous for majestic views and tourists in the number of thousands flock every year to this destination seeking thrill, adventure, and solace. The soothing Ladakhi vibes have a unique calm that you must experience. A large chunk of these tourists choose to scale Ladakh on their two-wheelers and hence you can see the plethora of options inline when it comes to Leh-Ladakh Bike trips.
Finalizing the Itinerary – Choosing Thrillophilia
After researching few packages, Bhanu finalized on the ‘Leh Ladakh Bike Trip With Camping At Nubra and Pangong Lake’ by Thrillophilia and took on the journey in April, 2018. “If you are an enthusiastic rider, then definitely its winding roads and mountain passes will flash before your eyes. Nothing but Leh had that intensity and enigmatic charm to soothe my soul and hence I took the plunge for this adventurous journey,” quotes Bhanu.
The 7 days, 6 nights package that Bhanu chose was a group package, which included the ultimate experience of getting close to the Ladakhi ambiance and exploring the gems like Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Magnetic Hill, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Ladakh Hall of Fame, Spituk Gompa, Zanskar & Indus, Nubra Valley, Hunder Sand dunes, Jokhang, Leh Mosque and Central Asian museum.
Also, the group was mesmerized by the majestic Pangong Lake and had fun on the route through Chang La pass to visit the Thiksey and Shey Gompa.
The Rider Pack – Kilometers of Memories & Thrill
Upon asking about his tour buddies, Bhanu smiles, “Initially, I was a bit skeptical concerning my fellow travelers. But the serene beauty of mountains and the mellifluous chimes of nature brought us all close as we shared the same passion for the trip.”
Bhanu recalls that at one point, driving on the dried lake for approx 2 km turned into a challenge as the group had little professional experience of driving on such pathways. Though the group completed the journey successfully to take home memories that will be cherished for the life.
The group had a lifetime experience throughout the journey. In Bhanu’s own words, “It was the sheer bliss to experience the scenic beauty of the serene mountains and the quiescence of monasteries which brought divine peace to both mind and soul.”
The Trip Tale
The bikers covered almost 600 km on their trip starting from Leh and concluding their trip at Pangong Lake before driving back to the rendezvous. They crossed the marvel of Magnetic hills and drove through the Indus-Zanskar confluence, took a short trip to Nubra Valley, tested skills on Khardung La, took a halt at the Pangong Lake and crossed Chang La to reach Leh.
Bhanu was thrilled to share his tour details with us. Excerpts of the same in his own words are listed below:
- I began my journey from Delhi on 14th April, 2018 where I took a flight for Leh and after landing, the cold winds chilled my spine as I experienced the temperature change from 30 C to -2 C.
- Day 1: Upon reaching Panorama Hotel which is renowned for its excellent hospitality services, I met our tour guide – Jigmet Tandar who is the most humble person I’ve ever met.
- By evening, the group was introduced and bikes were allotted. Post which we went to Shanti Stupa which is built for World Peace and devoured the local delicacies.
- Day 2: We began with a journey to the Magnetic Hill, Zanskar River Sangam and the Patthar Sahib Gurudwara where we had our lunch. The off-roading to the dried river for 2 km was a thrilling experience.
- Day 3: We started our journey towards Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass, which is situated at a height of 18,380 ft. with freezing and windy weather. We covered a lot of off-road stretches in our 154 km journey to reach Nubra Valley where we spent the night in cottages and also took a ride on double humped camels.
- Day 4: It was spent on going back to Leh via Khardungla.
- Day 5: We went to Pangong Lake via Changla Pass, located at 17,688 ft whose picturesque view will always be personified. Four different terrain logs of off-roading experience and camping beside the freezing Pangong Lake along with a barbeque.
- Day 6: We went back to Leh via Changla and also did off-roading for 2 km on the steep dried lake which was equally dangerous and adventurous. We also visited the Kargil War Memorial.
- Day 7: I had an early morning flight for Delhi.
Things to do and places to visit in Leh: https://www.thrillophilia.com/leh
Time Spent Traveling, Time Spent Well
Bhanu wraps, quoting, “I couldn’t believe that the days went by so fast and I was back to the warm and balmy weather, cherishing the memories from the cold land. A big shout out to the team – especially the tour lead Jigmet, Wangal and Nalson for making this experience more special for all of us.”
The group shook hands and headed back to their homes on the 7th day, taking all the memories with them. Bhanu says, “The connection with those mountain roads which I can now call my home is the one thing I miss the most. Being a rider, I had a special connection with my bike and the bond of friendship shared with my fellow riders and our tour leader will be cherished forever. Not to forget, the chilly tranquility of the mountain apogees is engraved in my soul and as I belong from a desert land, the low temperatures are now my utopia.”
Taking a bike trip to Leh-Ladakh is not a small feat by any means. It demands you to be prepared for what you are signing up for and you need to be on the top game regarding your health and endurance. The mountain weather takes its tolls eventually and then all your preparations come to rescue.
Whilst our interview, we also asked Bhanu on what was the toughest part of the trip, to which he responds
- Temperature – “I wasn’t expecting the extremity of the weather.”
- He recommended the use of dry fruits to combat the perils of oxygen insufficiency
- Packing the medicines for Acute Mountain Sickness also came in handy for Bhanu
- “I was well informed about the checklist by Thrillophilia before the onset of the trip,” which helped him to prepare for the essentials on the trip.
At one point in our conversation with Bhanu, he interestingly quotes something that we at Thrillophilia relate to greatly. He says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
If you are a traveling soul caged in the urban hustle, burdened with a schedule or maybe simply postponing your quest to explore, believe us, traveling to your checklist destination will help clear your mind. From the numerous feedbacks that we get every day, one thing remains common – everyone who takes a trip, even a short one, gets a better perspective of life and feels a greater drive to get back and tackle all the equations of the life.
You get one life and there is so much to explore, it is a good time to start scaling some of the unknown lands. Don’t you agree?