Dream Leh - Ladakh Expedition _ June'16

shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Day 1 : Gurgaon to Jammu tawi

Date of Journey : 25th June, 2016
Distance covered: 620 Km. Mode : Train



After waiting this long, finally the day has come to start the journey. We were super excited for the trip. All packaging were ready by last night. After again cross checking every luggage for once we left for office. Somehow we managed our works and by lunch we took gate passes. But as we were leaving office, it started raining heavily. We were aware that the traffic situation will get worse due to rain. So, we decided to take Metro for the Delhi Railway Station. By 4pm we booked a cab and left for Huda City center Metro stn. Till then I haven’t thought once that carrying saddle bag could be so inconvenient. Can win award in most inconvenient bag category. Shoulder carrying a big backpack, a saddle bag and a helmet is no joke. I was drench in sweat, and was shifting saddlebag from one side to another. Somehow after a numerous of stop we reached on metro floor and we were off to Delhi Railway stn.


With a tons of crowd and after one hour we reached stn. Taking luggage all at once from metro was like replaying the scene from Sparta… Ufff that was one heck of task.

Anyway we reached New Delhi:


Somehow luggage were brought on platform. We had some snacks and waited for train .

At around 8:15 pm Rajdhani Express came on platform 14.

But wait. Our coach B1 was next to engine and were on the other end of platform. We looked at each other and laughed hard while lifting luggage. Carrying those luggage for entire 15 coach was as tough as entire Ladakh trip. By the time I reached there, shoulders were numb, back was broke, and oh man! Terrible sweat.

Thought, pain is over…….. but devil had planned more. Anyway, We got in train and was accompanied by very lovely kashmiri family. They heard about our plan and tipped up with lot of useful tips.


That’s all for the day folks.

Next part : Hill Climb baby
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shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Day 2 : Jammu to Anantnag

Date of Journey : 26th June, 2016
Distance covered: 275 Km.



With dawn we have entered in State of Jammu and Kashmir, Rajdhani was on full run and so was our curiosity. By 5.40am we reached Jammu Tawi:


( Jammu tawi station)

Train moved forward and we saw which is not very unusual in J&K: Army and Guns


(*AK-47 – medicine for militancy)

The train halted and we quickly came out as soon as we can. Weather was same hot as compare to Delhi. With a Railway staff we asked about the private third party railway warehouse. He pointed it toward the other end of platform. And I was like “oh no! Not again”. Again on sorrow of pain we carried those bags to the other end, somehow we reached there and called our logistic guy, Amit. He came and brought our Iron chariots out. We unpacked the covers and checked for any damage. There were not any kind of damage and were standing proud.



We handed him Rs.100 as a parking charge for 4 days. Bikes were dry tank, and petrol was needed. We called Anuj bhai who has already reached Jammu yesterday and was in same hotel with Anurag bhai and Arun.

After few mins by 7.30am he showed up on a shining new RE Classic 350 and with a bottle of petrol (later we came to know that the bike was only 26 days old, and was about to lose virginity in Ladakh). We hugged each other and after few greetings, petrol were filled in bikes. We fired our engines, and in no trouble they were breathing again. In a temporary way we loaded our luggage on bikes and rolled off. Anuj Bhai escorted us to Hotel, where Anurag and Arun Bhai were awaiting us.

Hotel was nearby and within few mins we reached.

Out of curiosity I looked for the other two bikes in parking, but only Arun’s was there… it was like a twin pair of Manish’s Thunderbird only right mirror was broken (during tranist). Exactly the same silver colored TB. We parked our bikes, offloaded luggage and went to meet our Rider brothers.

We were welcomed warmly with all arms open…


(We met and clicked together (this kind of pics come if you are bad with self-timer posing))

It never felt for a min that we all had never met before. Luggage were kept, and a much needed classic was burnt (not the RE one). Later we did talk about for nearly half an hour about our journey till here and many more, meanwhile Manish bhai took some rest to straighten his back:


(Everywhere we stayed, room scene was nearly same)

Anurag’s bike was still in Railway w/h and will be delivered by 9 am only. So, we had some tea and started reshuffling our luggage. We took out our safety gears and helmets. By 8:45 Anurag went with Arun to collect his bike. And I started assembling mirrors and seat cushion over bike. By 9.30Am they returned but they were not alone. Rain was along with them. It started raining cats and dogs for next 50~55mins. We have no other option than to wait.
For the day the plan was to ride to Srinagar, which was around 300km away and we were losing precious time.

We had kept everything ready and packed, as the rain stopped we brought our luggage down and now the major task of luggage loading was started. It took approx. 40 mins to load and pack. Due to rain weather was humid and we were sweating bullets:



Manish was first to pack and Arun was last with lots of complicated knots. By 11:30 we were all set, and Anurag bhai took the start log pic


(Tasan mein)

But it was Kodak moment:


(Yaara di tolly…)

And then we rolled off for today’s destination - Sringar (but could made up to Anantnag only).

Before Joining the Highway we topped up our Tanks


(There is no issue of petrol on Jammu -Srinagar highway)

Actually before starting from hotel I forgot to lube chain and chain was running dry, aware of the side-effects I unhooked the luggae again and lubed the chain. As a suggestion I would like to say keep the necessasry things on upper hand. Otherwise during bike trip this could be one of the biggest pain.

Since it was Sunday noon, and city traffic was minimal, we quickly came out of city and moved forward on NH44. It’s 4 lane highway with butter smooth roads. Bikes were heavily loaded and these kind of riding conditions were new to us. We all were cruising at decent speed.

After riding for about an half an hour we felt that body fuel was also low and pitstop was needed. After crossing Nagrota, around 12pm we stopped at a dhaba :



(Back view of hotel)


( Anurag bhai’s RE classic enjoying view)

After lunch break, we decided to ride continuous for some next 100 km to recover lost time. And then we left. Few clicks from the route:


(Anuj bhai and his Lucknowi chappal) (Udhampur Highway)


(Valley view)

Road was awesome and we were enjoying ride. It was so smooth that at many places I even touched 3 digits but it never felt like high speed. We were spreading our wings and roaring ahead. Believe me following bullets is not a good choice, exhaust loud were real irritating. I chose not to and overtaken all of them and started leading. After riding many miles, I felt bike to be extremely bumpy and jerks were unbeareble. I pulled up on next tyre shop. While air check it came out that rear tyre pressure was boosted upto 43unit (normal is 32) and front was also 10 unit UP. Air pressure was brought back and I started ride again, but sadly gloves which were stuck in ropes had fallen somewhere on road.

By 2.30 pm we reached Udhampur:


(Udhampur welcome board)

We were all thirsty and experiencing dehydration due to riding in such hot condition. We quickly had some snacks and water.

As a suggestion, keep yourself hydrated on this route. I felt in compare to car on bike rides dehydration level is high.

After 5~10 min stop we started again.. Road from Patnitop is narrow and hill ride also starts.

The major issue on Jammu_ Srinagar is high traffic. Its very busy highway. You’ll see all traffic stuck behind a struggling truck on hill climb. Also due to truck load and pulling power, wave like structure has developed on tarmac, which can be dangerous not only for bike riders but also for cars. I have seen a Tavera losing control over this waves. Bike riders be cautious over it, high speed over these can be fatal.

So form Udhampur we started for Patnitop. Climb started now, I was zooming ahead my group and has overtaken atleast 300 vehicles in an hour. Weather also changed now. It was cool breeze and for the first time we felt like we are in Kashmir.

But I felt that bike was stroking back some time. I neglected it and continued ( Big mistake). Also I was cutting sharp on curves, at one curve while rotating 180 front tyre lost the traction and started sliding left, for seconds it was some divine power that bring back me on line otherwise could have fallen very bad. I stopped after that. Took a look over front tyre. Tyre was already 14000km old, and due to frequent hard braking over curves it was very hot. finally I concluded that mainly due to high temp of tyre, and back luggage, it has lost its traction. I thanked god for saving me, and took precaution from there ahead till Delhi. I was aware of this failure and had never tilted my bike behind safety grip. Even though front tyre lost its grip at many other place during trip but it was not as bad as that turn.

I started again and stopped again after few kms at safe spot to wait for the guys. After 15mins one by one they came. Few clicked some pics:


( Beautiful.. isn’t)


(Thumps – Up after big save)


(with Anurag and Anuj)


(Ciggy time)

One of the most amazing that happend here was that a guy on electra came and tried to sell weed. The important part was he was weraing my left hand gloves. I even asked him about the gloves and he replied "I like wearing gloves on left hand". We laughed and told him to find another customer.

As soon Arun came, we started again. It was all steep inclined here and to boost us, there was a huge traffic jam. Both lanes were on freeze. It was our bikes, that’s why after filling the bumper to bumper gaps we came out of the traffic. Still it took around 30 mins to cross. After I came out I saw my right bag plastic cover was torned. May be while crossing trucks it got stuck somewhere. Once all riders came out of jam we continued our journey.

Soon by 4.30pm, we reached Patnitop.

Few clicks:




We were already way behind our schedule, so with just 5 min break we started again… Srinagar was still 185 km away. After riding for about an hour Near Chanderkote we saw a dam over river Chenab:

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After spending few mins, we left. We started riding, but the Truck traffic topped with blind corner were getting worse. We were very cautious while overtaking them. Me and Manish bhai were riding together, rest of the group was far behind us. On this route we saw Naveen’s Hayabusa. They were returning from Leh. With a glimpse they got disappeared in traffic. Being a part of Suzuki group I also felt proud of Naveen’s and Hayabusa’s Achievement.

We were ahead of our group, and they were in no sight. After crossing Ramban, we waited for them at a sunset point. It was beautiful. Have a look.

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( Sunset)

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( One by one all came)

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(Group Click)

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(Beautiful Nature)

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(And we left again)

Even though it was sunset, but there were abundant light to ride. We continued our journey, and without making any mistake we were riding safe.

By 7 pm, we crossed Banihal. Road was also under construction after banihal. After that we came across after first water crossing. At that time water was less but was continue for next 50m. I think in its full form scene would be completely different there. Now it was started to get dark and cold. We took our Jackets out and soon by 8pm we reached Jawahar Tunnel, which was built by two German engineers in year 1956. It is two lane thick tunnel but are seprated by wall.

An inside view:

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(Jawahar Tunnel)

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(View after Jawahar tunnel)

Due to security reasons, army will not allow one to stop. I resumed my ride… soon we were in Anatnag dist.

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I waited over there for the fellow group riders.
By the time they all reached, it was already dark.

Mutually we have discussed that riding in night will not be a wise option and hence we decided to stay at Anatnag, which was still 30Km away. It was getting dark, we have not wasted any minute and rode for Anantnag. Road for some kms were extremely bad in this stretch, after that we saw 4 lane project was under development. Road till Anantnag was both single and double lane. And it was a straight stretch so riding was not so tough in night.

By 9 pm we reached Anantnag. Markets were closed and streets were empty. We rolled down to city from NH, but couldn’t found any good hotels there. We came back on chowk on NH, there were three hotels. Only in one Parking facility was avl., so we finalized for it. Our negotiation expert member Manish bhai came forward and got us a deal of Rs 1500 for 5 members. It was a fair deal. We quickly parked our vehicles in garage and unloaded our luggage.


(Sleeping Beauties)

Once all took bath and shaded the dust… we came down for dinner

Full day ride and heavy dinner has made our bed more magnetic.
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and thats it for the day.

Prev. part: Day 1: Delhi to Jammu
Next part: Day 3: Anantnag to Kargil



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