Leh Ladhak - A Dream Ride - Part 1

The wind that blows in these mountains has a divine healing power which heals your heart and soul. The mind becomes more clear. At least ...

The wind that blows in these mountains has a divine healing power which heals your heart and soul. The mind becomes more clear. At least this is what it did to me!

Hey guys,

I am super excited about my new blog post, as this is the best ride of my life till now. Hopefully, I will keep you interested.

Prologue :

Do you remember yourself dreaming of something for a very long long time, and one day, bam- it comes true? Yeah, exactly. My dream of riding my bike in Leh Ladhak was coming true finally.

Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies!!

I had always fantasized about me riding my own bike in the Himalayas. I love my bike for what we have been together in. And I trust my bike.
Leh Ladhak was my unfulfilled dream ever since the college days. One fine day, when 8 of my friends were all in for the trip somehow, and I jumped in too.

For more details on preparation, read this (Opens in new tab): Preparing for Leh Ladakh Bike Trip

For details on the itinerary, read this: Leh Ladakh Itinerary

The Story Begins

Days 1-3: Manali- Rohtang - Keylong- Jispa - Sarchu - Pang - Leh

Day 1 : Manali - Rohtang La Pass - Keylong ( 120 kms - 8 hours ride)

This is when the real ride starts. We all 9 of us, started from Manali. As we began our ride, just outside the city we saw some beautiful mountains far away, the streams appeared to originate from the mountains, the lush green grass, and the green trees far away, it was a sight to enjoy! Right then I knew it's gonna be the best ride if my life ever.

First sight of mountains in Manali 

Huge scaly mountains

Since it was "the" season for travel in these regions, we had to toil through a lot of traffic enroute Rohtang La Pass. It was really frustrating to say the least, for a person who is already coming from Bangalore and expecting to see a beautiful landscape. But as they say, You are not stuck in traffic, you are the traffic. I quickly settled in and I seemed to lose the rage.

These were few clicks I clicked on the way to Rohtang La..

Beautiful! Isn't it?

I would live in this house forever!

A small stream enroute Rohtang pass

On the way to Rohtang, you get to see huge mountains covered in a blanket of greenery all around, and the first half of the ride to Rohtang pass was pleasant with occasional, not so tight curves. It was a smooth ride. After the checkpost, where the permits are checked, the traffic was on the rise. It was worrisome how the nature had mixed with traffic even at such heights.

Snow-clad mountains at Rohtang pass - 13,050 ft 

Me posing at the Rohtang Pass signboard

What followed Rohtang pass was even more scenic, but only no traffic here. It was a sight to believe. I was in awe of nature. Even though I was thousands of miles away from home, it felt just like home. Me, my bike and the mountains. The sacred mountains seemed to be whispering in my ears and telling me how grateful I should be. I was indeed. I somehow had this very gut feeling about the whole journey that nature's gonna be in my support throughout. I felt a deep connection.

The road after Rohtang pass was... well there was no road. It was all stones and mud and the dust, waiting for their opportune moment to show us what they are capable of. A small negligence, and off you go down the valley. It really hurt my butt a lot. A hell lot.

We were near a beautiful village called Koksar, about 20 kilometres to Keylong. When the road was good, and going downhill, I spread both my arms on bike, looked up the sky. And for those 20 seconds I was free. Nobody can take away those 20 precious seconds.

Valley near Koksar!

Zoomed in a bit

Pahaad ki aad mei meri bike! (Couldn't come up with a caption in English)

Triple peaks near Tandi

Finally witnessing the Alpenglow! :)

I loved every inch of my ride. It was time for sunset and we still 15 kms away from Keylong. We had to fill up the fuel and carry some extra fuel, as the next fuel station was only 365kms away. Yes you read it right, just 365kms away.

Representation Pic - Credits due to original author -bmctouring

After an hour of searching around, we got managed to get tents to stay, at a reasonable price.
I never knew when I had slept off. The much needed sleep was done.

Day  2: Keylong - Jispa - Deepak tal - Sarchu (110 km - 8 hour ride approx)

When I woke up today, came off the tent in the morning, this picturesque view captivated me for a while before I ran off to get my camera.

Beautiful scenes just outside our tent in Keylong :)

Farms at Keylong

Today, the stream crossings appeared sooner than I expected. 2-3 hours into the drive-through lustrous and curvy roads up and down the hill, and the beautiful valleys all along, I joined few of my friends, who were taking some time off by the side of Tsarap river. It was amazing to see the true colors of nature with those naked eyes. The feeling, of feeling so tiny and insignificant amazed me. I wished I could live in the mountains forever. For that brief moment, the time stood still. The heart felt lighter!

The deep valleys of Keylong

Another hour of drive, and we were at our first stream crossing. Since this was our first one, we waited for everyone to join. Watch the video below. Do subscribe for more such videos.

Fun times :)

Two handed selfie ;)

Scenes near Darcha

We hadn't even clocked enough to shift into the fifth gear, and we found ourselves at this pristine lake Deepak Tal. It was the most beautiful lake, I have ever seen, and clicked! It felt like a dream. It looked aqua blue from one angle, and would turn to green from another. What I loved the most was the symmetry of the location with respect to the mountains behind. 

I am so in love with mountains :)

This guy fell at least 10 times on the whole trip and not a single scratch!

I felt really grateful to have lived that day! It was just a beginning of how my perspective towards life was gonna change. I also felt closer to my bike! As if it spoke to me in its own language with sound of  the engine and the occasionally cranky chain!

My moment of happyness 

It was already 3 pm, and we had so much distance to cover, and also had to go via another high altitude pass. I was feeling tired already and bit of dizziness.

We stopped at Zing Zing Bar for lunch and quickly continued towards Baralacha La pass, which was at 16000 ft. The drive after Zing Zing Bar is very laborious, in a sense that no matter how many hairpins you cross, you would not have traveled more than a km. Such curvy roads.

Delicious Black tea - at Zing Zing Bar

Inspiration at such heights :) 

Amazing view!

Army camps on the way towards Baralachala pass

On the wayBaralachla pass, we encountered a stream rightly named the Pagal Nala (Insane Stream ), as it was the most difficult one. When I reached the spot, few of us had already crossed, and I waited there to see how other bikers cross, so that I learn the depths of it. I saw a few people fall off from their bikes, and others coming for their help. I knew that if the shoes get wet, it would never be dry in such a weather. I just put my bike to the first gear, accelerated for a couple of vrrrooom sounds, and then in one go, I was able to cross the stream, without touching my feet down! I felt like I was the best rider!

Bikers lending a helping hand to each other. 

As others continued their journey forward, I, along with Nikhil stopped in between to click some pictures. The toughest calls we had to make was to decide where to stop for clicks, as everything around was mesmerizing. I lived those moments to the fullest!
Views 😍

Selfie at Suraj Tal, Baralachala pass - 16000 ft

Yet another beautiful lake - Suraj Tal

For the love of photography, I and Nikhil stayed behind and it was 7 pm already and every minute we would become more worried. Still, we went down the road towards the river to click some pics.

Snow!! :)

Nikhil clicking few

Reflections - 1

Ripples set in just a moment before I clicked this


The last 10-15 kms was the real test. The road was horrible, my ass had become numb literally. Speed never crossed 15kmph. I was cursing myself for the state of my bum! Why did I have to bring my pulsar, I asked myself. Finally when we reached Sarchu, it was a sigh of relief. An end to day's amazing ride!

As if it was not over for us, me and Nikhil, the crystal clear skies with lots of stars called us out for a view! We had to capture this. Looking at the sky, I could easily spot the milky way! Such clear skies. This one below is my shot, while I believe he might have got a much better shot.

READ ALSO : Trek to Sandakphu - First Himalayan Trek

My impression of The Milky Way!

Day 3: Sarchu -  Pang - Leh ( 265 kms - 9 hours ride) 

This day "The day of high passes", hands down, was the most difficult day of ride, because of the large distances we had to cover. We virtually divided the journey it into two parts. One from Sarchu to Pang which was 60-65 kms away, while the other one was Pang to Leh which was about 200 kms.

Group pic! :)

Leh just 250 km away!! 

Rock tower at the base of Gata loops!

Captured while on the ride!

READ ALSO : In the company of Solitude - A solo bike trip to offbeat places Sharavati Region

We were informed by the locals that the road from Pang to Leh was top class and one of the best roads. Reaching Pang was our first goal.

The journey from Sarchu to Pang is interesting and equally exhausting. After an hour drive from Sarchu, we were at the base of Gata Loops, a series of 21 hairpin curves. I loved these curves more than any other. Many bullets and other bigger bikes went past me, while I maneuvered my bike slowly over the hair pins. Needless to say, I always stayed behind in the pack. Watching these majestic mountains over and over, made me realise how tiny we are, and how insignificant our problems seem. For this duration of time, I had no problems at all. I was enthralled by the sight of these mountains.

Gata loops

Another half an hour drive from the end of Gata Loops, we were at Nakeela Pass 15547 ft. At Nakeela pass you would find a a lot of colourful prayer flags waving in the cold winds. The fluttering of these colourful waving flags and the wonderful rock towers made by people as a symbolic of the prayer, added a divine touch to our experience. The place emitted very strong and peaceful vibes.

Tired and trying to pose

Fluttering prayer flags at Nakeela Pass

Rock tower and prayer flags at Nakeela Pass

At Nakeela pass - 15,547 ft

Can you spot those small rock towers all over?

Winding roads ahead

We could almost see the roads leading to next high pass of the day Lachungla at16616 ft. But only the tiresome winding roads separated us. Since I was the slowest one because of my very own 150 cc bike, it became even more challenging to ride. It was a painful ride to Lachungla, where on some stretches, I had a stand and ride and while for some parts, I rested my foot on the crash guard of my bike.

READ ALSO: 10 Reasons why you should travel solo at least once

Pathetic roads

At Lachungla pass 16616 ft

Riding at such heights becomes even more difficult when you are alone, and the sun is sharp, and when you have a slow bike. At a point in the ride, I felt very dizzy and had to stop to pee and eat some dry fruits which I carried. The sun grew sharper and hotter, making the ride even more tougher. Those 20-30 minutes seemed impossible.

Had to stop here 



Long way to go still!

Amazing structures! Felk like heaven!

Absolutely in love!

Finally at Pang after a tough ride :)

A quick lunch at Pang was much required, and we were on our way to Leh quickly. While 2 of us felt dizzy owing to altitude sickness., others motivated them to keep going. And somehow, they managed to complete the rest. After about 5-6 kms from Pang, you get into a different zone altogether, and you see a never ending straight road right into the mountains, just like you see in movies. My eyes lit up seeing the magnitude of the vast landscape I was witnessing. I must admit, two eyes never seemed enough to capture this beauty. This was the best road in the entire trip.

READ ALSO: How I did my first Bungee Jump! - Scariest Jump!

Dream come true! 😍

This is real!!

Wide roads, no traffic, panoramic mountains around you, and the sighting of cattle grazing at a distance in the plains was a sight to behold. It never felt enough! The heart wished for a little more!

The milestone!

The soothing sound of these tiny flags! :) Om Mani Padme Hum!

I had always dreamed of myself driving my bike leading to the mountains, into the eternity. It was that kinda road. In fact, just a month ago as a part of an activity at my workplace, I was asked to draw a picture that describes me, I drew the very same picture, that I was living now! My happyness knew no limits. It was my kinda happiness. Those 80 odd kilometers from Pang to Taglang La Pass 17480 ft, was the smoothest drive I have ever had.

READ ALSO: Pahadi Log - The Mountain People

Objets in the mirror are farther than they appear!

Roads like these!😍 Moore plains

I believe the wind that blows in these mountains has a divine healing power which heals your heart and soul. The mind becomes more clear. At least this is what it did to me!

Taglang La Pass is yet another high pass at a height of 17480 ft. It has a temple, where you see a temple, and needless to mention the colourful prayers flags, bringing that vibrancy at such heights. Road from Taglangla is in superb condition, except for the 10km around the pass due to streams formed by melting of snow.

Temple at Taglangla pass

Yay! Second highest pass in the world it is!

Now that we had conquered Taglangla, we only had to descend down towards Upshi. This seemed easy at first, as you don't have to do anything. But the sharp turns and occasionally incoming vehicles, made us be attentive even when we were exhausted.

On the way to Upshi, one shall find some green fields, and riding on the road by the side of big mountains is a wonderful feeling in itself.

READ ALSO: Why did I cry at the Rupin Pass Summit

Mesmerizing :)

Sthupas by the side of the road

Had to capture this moment!

A village near Upshi

Towards Upshi

First sighting of Sindhu (Indus) river

As we neared Leh, we found various army headquarters and the blockades at various locations. At first, it felt hostile, but by the time we reached Leh, we were used to it. After a good tiring day, it was time for some rest!

If you have read this till here, a big Thank You! In my next part, Leh Ladakh Part 2  I will take you through the adventures of Khardungla pass, Changla Pass, and the dreaded Zojila pass. keep watching, keep traveling.


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Little Detours: Leh Ladhak - A Dream Ride - Part 1
Leh Ladhak - A Dream Ride - Part 1
Little Detours
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