My Ladakh My Heaven || The Tale of Adventure Continues
My Ladakh My Heaven || The Tale of Adventure Continues
Day 6 – Leisure day at Leh city
This was a leisure day that I had chosen for myself. I decided to explore the Leh city, to be honest it was fun manoeuvring through the Leh city population as the people there are friendly and always welcome you with open arms.
I visited Leh Palace after a walk through the city and I could see the whole city from the palace. Walking through the Old Leh City area, I did some shopping and explored a German bakery by the name of Gesmo. It is one of my favourites now. After walking for the whole day within the city I can say that the city is worth getting tired in and now after all the walk, trek, shop, talk and everything in between the only thing I was looking forward to was my bed and a goodnight sleep because my next day was planned for the big event and one of the most awaited moments of my life.
Day 7 – The day I conquered Khardung-La (K-top)
This was the day I had been dreaming about since forever now, to reach Khardunga-La. This was the day for which I travelled so far. I left on my bike at 0800hrs. My initial plan was to touchdown with my bike to Khardunga-La and then come back for my luggage and leave for Pangong-Tso, because on paper and maps it all looked an easy task and pretty much doable considering the distances.
The initial 20Kms towards K-top was a smooth ride but it was after that the roads got bad and it started to snowfall. The weather turned into a nightmare and so did the roads. I wore 2 layers of gloves and multiple layers of clothing which did not help much. My fingers turned numb due to the sudden temperature drop and there was immense pain. I had to take halts in between and I even jumped around on the road to Khardung-La to keep myself warm.
The weather was challenging my travel spirit. I remember taking some 3-4 halts within that last 25 odd Kilometres stretch and just when I was about to give up due to unbearable cold and pain, the World’s highest Motorable Road- Khardunga-La welcomed me. I had seen pictures of this place and imagined how it would be. I had this sense of achievement, having reached my dream spot. I had finally reached my destination!
That black and white small photograph clicked by my father flashed in my head and I that was one of those moments I cannot describe in words, the memory of Khardung-la was finally coming to life.
I relaxed and took the moment to realize the beauty around. I took out my camera to capture the moments forever in my reel. Sure there were other tourists in cars and taxis but I was the only one on my bike. Also people there were in groups or families. I became the centre of attraction as I was the only solo traveller, that too on a bike. They were keen to know about me and how I have been travelling from Delhi to Khardung-La all by myself. And I lived the moment high!
I spent some time at the top and made friends with a lot of people and getting a glass of hot water from the Indian Army at Khardung-La I was finally able to take all that moment in and capture every bit of my time there.
Finally after spending some time talking to people, I decided to head back to Leh because the weather at Khardung-La was getting bad with continuous snowfall and chilly winds, the roads were very rough still but weather was a little warmer as compared to morning and it took almost 4hrs for me to reach the guest house. I decided to stay overnight because it was almost evening by the time I reached Leh city and I had no strength to go anywhere else, moreover my initial plan of travelling to Pangong-tso on same day was now sounding like a joke, Hence I decided to have dinner at Gesmo again. I was feeling content with my day.
P.S. At Khadrung-La top alot of people clicked photographs with me and the bike and I’m sure I will be a part of their travel tales somewhere, somehow just like they are a part of my experience.
Distance covered between Leh-Khardung-La top-Leh (90Kms)
Day 8 – The most beautiful part of the journey when I reached Pangong-Tso
For today my target was to reach Pangong Lake and on my way cover some monasteries. I started my day and took a halt at Shey Monastery for breakfast. By noon, I visited the Thiksey Monastery, as I always say “If you wish to experience divine peace that calms your mind, spend your time in a monastery, you will never be disappointed and will always come out a better person”.
On my way to Pangong-Tso, I also crossed world’s 3rd highest pass- Chang-La. It had a beautiful view of snow covered mountains and a chilly weather and one more reason I remember the route and experience is because of the fact that I lost my way and started riding in a village for some time before I could realise that I was in the wrong direction (courtesy: no phone network and no one to ask for directions).
I decided to have my lunch at the Chang-La top before continuing on my bike. I was riding through barren lands empty roads, penetrating through peace of that place I reached the almost imaginary place- Pangong Lake in the evening around 1800hrs. It had been a whole day of traveling, the roads were pretty bad but in the end, the bad roads, the lost way, tired body and everything else was all worth it, the view was jaw-droppingly beautiful.
I was going crazy with happiness and to capture the moment I sat by the lake to click some pictures. I met some fellow travellers from the state of Gujarat who were staying in the Pangong Camp Resort and I made up my mind to camp out right next to the lake, so I bid farewell to them and decided to head towards the lake side of Pangong to find a suitable spot and I did.
It was full moon night and a little windy. I also met a French couple named Lucas and Snezania who were on their world tour, we decided to set up our tents by the lake only. We had some rum to kill the cold and we decided to sit together and relax a bit and even share our travel stories, now it was already almost 09:30 in the night, cold and windy too when we decided to get inside our sleeping bags and call it a day.
P.S. This was the most beautiful day I spent so far.
Distance covered between Leh- Pangong Tso (130Kms)
Day 9 – The day of Valleys (Nubra valley, Diskit valley)
Today I had to leave for Nubra valley, I got up early because I couldn’t sleep properly due to strong wind and also because I did not want to spend that time inside the tent, so I spent the morning time clicking pictures of the beautiful Pangong lake and did take my own sweet time to look at the lake. The place was utterly calm and the view was breathtakingly beautiful. I bid farewell to my new camping friends because their plan was to head back for Leh city and my plan was to go further.
I left for Nubra valley and I decided to take the Agham Shyok route. The Agham Shyok route was the most dangerous route I have come across so far. It was the real road less travelled sand, water, big pebble stones, mud, river, mountains and what not. I highly recommend not to travel by this route if you are traveling solo. There were hardly 5 or 6 vehicles on the entire stretch. I was more worried about my bike if it breaks down I won’t be able to get any help, lucky enough we both survived the treacherous route.
I did take multiple stops on that route and took my time to manoeuvre through such terrain, the ride was more of a mental stress then the actual test of your physical strength and capacity of your machine and after riding for almost 7 long hours on this never ending road and covering 110kms, at last I reached Nubra Valley and it was almost evening, now my next task was to find an accommodation for the night, tired and desperately looking to see some faces I entered the valley and booked a guest house to crash, I unpacked and took some rest before I left to explore the Nubra and Diskit Valley.
I also went to the Diskit Monastery and Hundar Village. Even though I was tired, it did not bother me because what I was experiencing was not to miss even for a second, the stretch between Diskit valley and Hundar village had sand dunes on both sides and I even spotted the double humped camels for the first time while riding towards Hundar village(the only place where you can find double humped camels in the world). I decided to spend my sunset time at the sand dunes where there were some tourists having fun with families and riding those camels.
Now the view from Diskit monastery was extremely beautiful and the peace was the cherry on the cake, also view of Nubra and Diskit valley was extremely satisfying for the eyes and soul.
It was now post sunset when I decided to head back to the guest house which was in Nubra, I decided to sleep right after dinner as the Agham Shyok route got me big time and I was way too tired, However all and all my day was well spent with some new experiences some scenic view and alot of off-roading.
Distance covered between Pangong Tso-Nubra-Diskit-Hundar (120Kms)
Day 10- Heading towards the base camp
Today, the only thing on my “To do list” was to travel back to Leh city the same via Khadurdung-La route. I started off in the morning considering the condition I faced last time I was at the pass, surprisingly this time the pass had pleasant weather and the ride was smooth apart from the bad roads which was fine because by now I’m used to the off-roads and high altitudes, I reached Leh by evening and headed straight for the hotel.
I was in Leh city again and thought of exploring the city differently, hence I decided to hire a bicycle to explore the city, I decided to head towards the main market and came back cycling, the day was light and I headed for the Gesmo bakery once again for my dinner before calling it a day.
Also, by this time I had no idea what was going to happen next and till this day my plan was to head back towards home because technically I had explored the major part of the region and my initial plan was almost executed.
Distance covered between Nubra valley – Leh city (130Kms)
The last leg of the journey will be live soon, stay tuned and till then.
KEEP TRAVELLING || KEEP EXPLORING || KEEP SHARING
- Parv Upadhyaya
- Explorer and peace finder