Riding on a Shiny Beast: A Bike Trip To The Land Of High Passes!
Sometimes things break; like furniture, shoe heel, pen’s nib, tape recorder, car’s window, air conditioner, even relationships for that matter. So what do you do? You fix it, right? Life that we all are living becomes so monotonous during our daily struggle that even we have a breakdown. In that pause, what can be the best solution? You fix it just like everything else and as much as practices like meditation, retreat, picking up a book and completing it from the start to the end helps, what works the best is packing your bags, leaving the old regular life and exploring the world. Travel!
“Life is quite simple actually. You just need a fix when it pisses you off and becomes stubborn, idiotic and annoying. Travel helps every time. I have been to several trips with many adventures and they were OK. I didn’t want my most awaited trip to be like that as well. As I was browsing the internet, I came across Thrillophilia and their Leh-Ladakh packages read the trips, asked my friends and received a positive feedback.
Within a few days, I had booked the ultimate bike trip to from Manali to Leh and Srinagar,” says Shashank R who took a break from his regular life and went ahead with one of his most memorable trips of 2017!
LET’S GET IT STARTED!
“The trip started with a flight to Delhi, and the hot weather of the city gave us a welcome warmer than I had anticipated. The local Thrillophilia representative picked us up from the airport and the journey began. We hopped on to the comfortable Volvo bus for an overnight journey to Manali which took us around 12 hours to reach. Upon arrival in the morning, we rested our tired bodies and excited souls at the hotel and waited to be acquainted to our bikes.”
The best Leh-Ladakh Packages
“The things that we are most excited about take time to happen, isn’t it? Each passing minute seems to be like an hour and finally, after whiling away the time shopping at the local market, I saw the shiny beasts that I didn’t wait to lay my hands on. The fellow travelers and I went on for a quick bike ride to check the performance and came back to the hotel. I bet no one slept that night with all the excitement rushing through us to kick-start this adventure.”
THE BIKE RIDE BEGINS!
The travelers started the ignition and drove from Manali to Jispa via Rohtang Pass. In between, was the Lahaul Valley which is one of the most spectacular and sparsely populated regions on Earth. Also called as the Barren Splendour of Himachal Pradesh, the valley boasts of pristine rivers, ethereal villages and medieval monasteries. After a ride of around 140 Km, all of them reached Jispa for an overnight stay to start towards Baralacha La the next day.
On the 4th Day, Shashank R and fellow riders crossed the mighty Baralacha La Pass which is at a height of 4,800m and got the chance to witness the beauty of Suraj Tal, India’s third highest lake. After a few clicks at the Lake of the Sun God, the riders finished the day’s ride and landed at the campsite at Sarchu for the night.
YOU GOT LEH’D
“We had still somewhere around 250 Km to cover to reach Leh. We started early morning after a quick breakfast and started from Sarchu. From occasional waterfalls and thick vegetation of Himachal Pradesh, we had entered the zone of humongous, nude mountains, glamorous shades of blue sky and less of green, more of simplistic beauty.
Few days before, we were hitting keyboard keys in front of blinding monitor screen and today, we were in the foothills of the Himalayas, sipping cup of hot tea, breathing fresh air, watching the simmering beauty all around. Afterwards we rode on 21 Gata Loops, Pang ground and mountain pass Tanglang La and entered the city of Leh. I have no words to describe the beauty and I will not dare to do so because you HAVE to come here to see it live.”
RIDE MORE, EXPLORE MORE
“This was our 6th day at Leh and from here; we drove towards Nubra Valley which is reachable via world’s highest civilian motorable pass, Khardung La. Nubra is just another destination altogether in terms of its beauty. With white deserts and huge mountains, it appears like you are on a different planet, something seen in a sci-fi movie.
From Nubra, we started riding towards Shyok Valley and imagine this: one side is the long stretch of curvy roads with towering mountains and on the other side is the Shyok River lowing with us. I thought this was the best part of the trip until I reached the Pangong Tso Lake.
You must have read it everywhere, heard thousand people talking about it and watched it in films and songs but nothing and I repeat, nothing does justice to the beauty of the lake if you haven’t witnessed its charm in real.
Oh! And don’t get me started about the night sky with millions of stars and view of the galaxy while the moon shining on the placid water of the lake and you are sitting with the best people who share same interest as you around a bonfire weaving stories of travel and adventure.”
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
“After reaching back to Leh, we had a day to spare as the next leg of the journey was going to be more challenging as we were moving towards Srinagar. With all the rumors about unrest and agitation going on, we were a bit skeptical about taking the risk to go there. In between, we had another checkpoint Kargil and decided to go there and then decide about going further.”
“On our way, we visited Lamayuru, the oldest monastery in Ladakh region and Basgo Palace to finally reach Kargil. At this point, everyone was very emotional and the patriotic streak towards our brave soldiers was at its height. It went beyond when we visited the Kargil War Memorial. Out there, the rumors of unrest turned out to be true and there was no chance that we could go further due to security norms. We thought that this might be the point where we complete our journey and head back to where we started but the guide came up with a solution- it required us to ride at night and reach Sonmarg checkpost by 8AM and we did exactly that.”
The riders got up in the middle of the night at 2AM, packed the bags quickly and rode towards Sonmarg. They reached exactly at the time decided and were welcomed gracefully by the scintillating beauty of Kashmir.
WELCOME TO HEAVEN: KASHMIR!
“On our way to Srinagar, we passed Drass, the second coldest inhabited place in the world somewhere in the middle of the night and the view of the famous peaks including Tiger Hill. Kashmir is heaven at any time of the day, any day of the month. We had hot cup of Kahwa in the morning and had a relaxing time in Srinagar. Since we had more time, we took boat ride in Dal Lake and shopped in the busy streets and bazaars of Srinagar for traditional handloom items and saffron tea. The aromatic taste of the saffron tea marked the end of our trip and with heavy heart but mind full of beautiful memories, we moved ourselves at the airport to get back to the old life.
But with such amazing journey, I was sure that I was taking back so many enriching stories and high spirits back home that I had no complaints at all. I promised myself that if life gave me another hard time, I will fix it by coming back to take the high road trip with Thrillophilia.”
WAIT, THERE’S MORE
“The most funny and memorable moment came in the night of the ride from Kargil to Srinagar. Everyone was quite pumped up to take the ride in the night as there was going to be no traffic on the roads and just us and our 13 bikes roaring throughout the road trip. All the sense of excitement turned batshit crazy as there came a high beam of light pointing at us from a far away mountain on the other side of the road. All those scenes that you watch in films about people being abducted or caught by the antagonists flashed in front of my eyes and I started counting all my blessings. Looking at our pale white faces with ‘scared’ written all over them, our guide informed us that that was just army searchlights keeping a check.
I am glad to be alive, that’s all I have to say.”