Dream Leh - Ladakh Expedition _ June'16

shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Day 4 : Kargil to Leh

Date of Journey : 28th June, 2016
Distance covered: 253 Km.



After Shambha night, none of us were ready for early morning ride. Our hotel was very next to Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School and Morning 4am Azan on loudspeaker was enough to wake us all. But due to last two day continuous ride we were all very tired. Backs were broken, wrist were sore, eyes were red, approx each and every muscle was in pain. With common intention “To hell with morning ride" and we we went for another nap.

By 7.30, we started to leave beds. But Manish bhai was still napping, Arun took the charge and poked him until he woke up.


It was a cold morning, and Suru River was still on full run with lots of noise. I went out to check bikes, and they were cool as always:


And to the right its Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School


We made some query regarding Leh road condition with local, and review was good. We were happy that road is good and frankly each one got a bit relax. We came down for quick bike check-up, cleaned our bikes and chain lubes were applied.

While guys went to morning ritual, Surprise no water. We came to know that some main water pipeline got broken somewhere and supply was affected. Everything was paused. It took 1 hour for repair. By the time preparation for the day was resumed it was already 9.30 am. It took another one hour for the boys to complete the all ritual till luggage pack.

Every thing was set to leave, but taking in account of our last day ride when we had missed our breakfast and suffered for the whole day; Manish bhai has already decided that he will not start the ride until breakfast is not served. He was right and we went for the food hunt.

But it was month of Ramzaan and during day time many hotel also doesn't serve food out of respect _ I think.

Many restaurants were closed. We found one "Dehradun Dhaba" in kargil market. With close curtains we had our breakfast of Aaloo Parathe and Bread toast.


After breakfast all of us have taken Diamox tablet for the first time. By 11.30am we were ready to ready to leave:


There are two petrol pumps in Kargil. First is at the entry point from Srinagar side and another on Leh highway. We went for Leh highway. Due to traffic congestion, Kargil police has made many way one route and we went in opposite direction to cross the bridge. Moving on for next 4 km we found petrol station on left side. There are only 3 petrol station on this highway, 2 in Kargil and one after Mulbekh. After refuelling we moved for our destination, but again stopped for this beautiful view of Kargil city:


(Kargil City)

We rolled out and met NH1 once again. Road was same as we heard, smooth tarmac with awesome view:



(Anuj Bhai after kargil city)

In was already noon by now and With this luxurious road, confidence was boosted among us. With a plan to reach kargil by 6 pm we left off.


But the happiness didn't last long enough after some bad patches we thought it will be for small distance and will improve soon but it didn’t and turn out as dirt monster. There was only dirt and pebbles. :


One of the best of Ladakhi people is giving you Hope. During our journey whenever we had asked how long these roads will be? Every time answer was just few more Kms after that Road is good. Same has happened here and even after riding many miles, situation was still same.



We rode nearly 20Km on these bad stretch and like a wish was granted a good tarmac road showed again. So we took a break :


It was looking like lovely road ahead by the side of Wakha River:

And Leh was also not so far now:


We started our ride again. Soon we have to cross our first pass of the day. We crossed Shargole, Mulbekh and Wagoo. After crossing Wagoo climb started with numerous of blind turns. After 6km of climb we were near Namika La

By 01:35 pm we were at Namika La – 12198ft.:


View from Namika La:

After Mulbekh you’ll notice drastic change in Landscape. Till their mountains are green but after that it’s completely barren. After celebrating Namika La we moved on and went ahead. Road was still marvellous and we were rolling fast.


After riding for about an hour, we were at Budhkharbu. There we saw an army cafe and went for it.

We saw a white DL reg. Swift parked toward Srinagar direction. We went into cafe and were welcomed by Army personals. There we met a young guy drinking coffee. After conversation we came to know he was coming from Manali. For general information regarding road ahead we made some query with him. He said they came for adventure but it turned out to be punishment. Out of shock we asked about it, he said there are 3 more members in car. They all are suffering badly from AMS, vomit and stomach ache is nonstop. They stopped here to take some medical help from army. About road he showed us some video of bad road condition, watercrossing etc and said not to go on Leh Manali Highway. Later he said, health situation was so worse that they had to even cancel their plan for Khardung la and Pangong.

After this short intro of road ahead, frankly all of us were worried. We ate some momose and bread omelette along with coffee. We wished him luck and guided him complete route till Srinagar. After payment silently every one came out and went for parking. We had some discussion in parking. Group members were worried a little.

With a little worry we started again. Soon we were at Heniskot and after that climb started yet again for another mighty pass.


Moving ahead I saw one Ladkhi home.

After few kms of ride we stopped at somewhere for the members who were left behind:

Soon all showed up:


And some spidersheep:

Landscape photography:



We left after little photography and after riding for about 15 mins. we were at Fotu La by 3.30 pm:


It look like some Ape also made it possible to reach Fotu La and made these graffiti to mark his presence. Pathetic.

View from Fotu La:

It was cold and wind was very strong, we soon left from there. And went ahead for Leh, which was still 125 km ahead.

Down Hill road:


Road ahead:

Enroute pics:


Soon by 3.30 pm we saw the first glimpse of Lamayuru Monastry:

And at same there was also a view point:

Lamayuru Monastry view from the Spot:

All came but Arun was not in sight, we moved ahead and decided to stop for some "Chai Break".

At this place I found mountains very different from other place, there was 5 diff. colour of mountain in single frame:

Landscape was looking very interesting. But the main concern was Arun. 30mins has passed and he was in no sight. Mobile networks was also not there. We were worried about him and group decided that since I can ride fast I was chosen to track him down. But by then he showed up. Actually he was in Lamayuru monastry. We had some chai biscuit and went ahead. Still I was not known of the place and was watching its beauty

Later it was we cme to know that it was Moonland, and it certainly was:

Leh was still 120km ahead, and it was already 4.45pm


And we moved on:

Day 4 Log continue.
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shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Day 4 Log continue:

In these regions one thing I have noticed that days are long and nights are very short. It was nearly 5pm, but sunlight were still very bright like afternoon. Road was amazing and there was absolutely no issue. Soon we reached Khalsi and met with River Indus

Zoomed Up view:


En route photography:

By5.30 we reached Nurla. And then an Army truck was already on the bridge:


Never ever try to mess with army convey. Results could be painful. At that particular stop we noticed beautiful scenery along with mountain water pass:

It was so good we decided to take a break there. Clicked some photos:


And finally a group selfie:

After 15 min of break we left from there. Road was marvellous,


But scene does not remain same during the rain or winter season. Take a look at mountain behind bullet. That entire mountain was piled up with pea sized gravel. There were numerous mountains like that on this route. During rain there were major chances of landslides over here. Salute to BRO and army, they do know how to bind the mountain and look neat as well.

We were riding in a good momentum and in no time we crossed Uleytokpo and Saspul. After riding for about 10km after Saspul, Arun waved to stop:


It was getting game of lights and shadows :




And there was like dragrace runway at the height of 14000ft..


We were near to Leh, it was like a victory moment for all of us:

And for our beasts:



It was time when land and sky was meeting and was leaving us a witness

We thanked god for making this possible

And after many memorable moments, we left from there:

Our destination was still 50km away:

After this we saw another brilliant work of BRO, literally they are so good that they can do anything from Binding Mountain, bridge over furious river, or make a way through rock. Bring it to BRO and consider it done:


Manish bhai saw some interesting geology fact in Rock and made a record of it.


Sun was setting down, and we need to hurry now:

After 15 km ride we reached Nimmoo:




And this is the place where two mighty rivers Zanskar and Indus meets:

By 7.15 we reached at the spot which is one of the most loved tourist spot: Magnetic Hill


We were happy that together we made upto here, and its a milestone in our life:


We saw people were trying their hand in Hill climb. Me, Anuj and Anurag bhai also went for it. We made upto very high


but lose soil and heavy load forced us to return back. Now the major task was to reverse the vehicle. It was very difficult. I saw one guy on Avenger lost control while reversing and came rolling down. To avoid any body roll, Slowly I turned it around and came back safely. Manish bhai told us “Bikes ne kam musibat jheli hai jo aur pahar chadhne chal gaye”. We smiled and asked him to pose for a pic too:


Then there was an Endevour who also dare to take the hill climb, from far it was looking like every thimg was smooth. He also made upto very high, frankly more that what we expected:

Valley was dimming its light and we need to hurry up for LEH:

But again after 6~7km ride we stopped for the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.


This Holy place is made and maintained by Army. Gurudwara was very neat and well maintained. We showed our respect and after taking blessings from Gurusahib we went nonstop 25 km ride for Leh.


(And thats how we got Leh'D :) )

It was 8.30pm, but the light was as bright as early summer evng. What most interesting thing happen at this spot that we met Hemraj and Pradeep ( the guys from Jaipur, who were earlier planned to ride with us but didn’t). Actually it was Hemraj who recognised me with the bike. He came forward and hugged us. We were really wondering, world is literally a very small place. You never know who will you met at next turn. A guy from Jaipur whom we had never met in life, was hugging us in Leh. With this wonderful they went ahead with their group and we went for Leh city. It was small city, but tourist crowd was there.

It was already night and our first requirement was hotel. Arun and Anuj bhai took the charge and finalised a hotel. We did our ritual of parking and unloading. Hotel staff helped us with our luggage.


Even after such long ride, each one of us has a victorious smile on face. We had waited this day for don’t know how long. After getting fresh, me and manish bhai went to bring dinner. We had little discussion after that about the route ahead. Two major topic was Nubra valley and the Manali Route. Arun was interested to visit the place. But me and Manish bhai has some leave constrain and could not visit the place in our timeline. After a long discussion and with Anuj bhai calm words "we came here together and we'll ride together till Manali. There is barren land ahead and he'll not leave anyone to ride alone", we came to final conclusion to leave Nubra valley for this time and tomorrow we'll ride till Khardung La and return- turned out to be wise decision. After this garma garm discussion we did celebrated that night on our wonderful journey till now.

Day : Ride to Khardungla @18000ft
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shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Day 5 : Leh to Khardung La & back

DOJ :29th June, 2016
Distance covered:117km.



Well everyone feels a bit different after getting Leh'd and we were no exception. Today in this sunny day group motto was crystal clear.. It was the day to climb the "Highest Motorable roads in the world".

Since it was 80Km ride for the day, we were relax about it. All of us were still cheering our last night party:

And our stallions were relaxing:

While everyone were busy in morning ritual, I took some time to look around hotel. Met with some local persons and got to know many information about Ladakh. They said as of now from May to Sept. is full of tourist around here. But soon some tunnel project from both Jammu and Manali sides are going on, after completion Leh will be assessable for all 12 months by road and both zozilla as well as Rohtang pass doesn't need to cross after that. Tourism is major player of Leh economy. There is no vegetation in these area. Lands are completely barren all around. Ladakhi people grows their own food in house compounds. During winter vegetables are airlifted from Chandigarh and that too in Army aircrafts and price goes upto 120-200/kg..

Spare some of your time with a Ladakhi and it won't take you long to appreciate his/her simplicity, generosity, way to deal life and every single quality that an ideal human good should poses ... these people are simply amazing and 'THE" best.

I look over watch and it was already 9.30 by now, hence I quickly went back to hotel and got geared up for the trip.
By 10 we were all set and ready to climb the world highest motorable pass:

Without luggage bikes were moving like a flying bee. Leh was full of tourist. Bikers were buzzing all around the city and everywhere there was a biker. We made our first pitstop to refuel ourselves. After a very heavy punjabi butter parantha breakfast we left

and went to refill our lovely rides

But something was missing, it was the Ladakhi flag. I think it's like a tradition to get the blessing and get flagged while you come Leh. With all pleasure and respect we flagged our bikes with peace prayer of "Om Mani Padme Hum". Each one of our bikes personality were like enhanced after that. By now it was 11.45am and we were still in Leh.


We move ahead and came out side the city. Even the view from city is amazing

Soon we reached Leh gate.

The way to Khardung La starts from left side before Leh gate. Initially road is very narrow, with population living aside. One need to be very careful while riding on this stretch as kids were also playing near road and traffic movement of cars are high. We crossed the residential area and soon we were on free road.


After 15 mins. I stopped for the group to re-assemble and clicked following pics to admire the place.




While waiting for Arun we heard a loud aircraft noise. The plane was none other than mighty Globemaster C-17.

A major carrier aircraft in Indian Air force area. It plays a crucial role in transporting essential material to support life even in unwanted conditions.

It was huge. And soon it was gone...

And After many minutes Arun came

We all left after that.

10mins ride after the stop, there was a check point. They have asked for the Vehicle RC and ID proofs. But unfortunately Manish bhai has left his vehicle document at hotel and we thought it might become an issue now, but after some discussion they allowed. The rule is to not allow rented bikes but I have noticed, many rented bikes on the way.

We all rolled off and halted at many other places for the pics.


We saw many cyclists on the route. And I must say it's one hell of a task when you can't even breather properly.

Thank god we were on bikes and things were neat..
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Soon we reached at an altitude of 14000ft and took a halt.




Things started to change from here. Even though we have consumed Diamox last night but the AMS has started showing its effect. It was the highest altitude point we have ever been on the trip. We can feel high sensation in legs. Muscles cramps has been started now. Even ear were clogged. Lips were getting extreme dry and Something was happening in the stomach which was not so please.The worse thing happening was with my bike. It has started showing altitude signs too. Once we left from, there was tremendous power drop and unburnt fuel was coming out of exhaust. The same symptoms were in other bikes too. Road were good and after very honest struggle and effort we made upto South Pullu by 1.15pm

South Pullu has an army traffic post under Siachin Brigade at an altitude of 15300ft. Here we have filled a Rs10 form, sharing our information. Its a rule and every ongoing vehicle need to register on this post. We had some snacks over here and left. With the first left after the post, tarmac disappeared and we there was 14 more Kms to climb.
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But as you can notice in pics that the road construction was going on and soon a very wide road will be there for Khardung La

But at that time I was doing 4th gear full accelerator @10~20km/hr....and that's it. The best I can do was to keep the momentum and thats what I was doing. Regardless of dirt, potholes, water I was just trying to keep the momentum and keep climbing.

Soon we came across our first water crossing of the day. It was long but flow was slow with clear view. We went ahead and slowly crossed it.

But not all of us were that lucky and Mansih bhai was left with wet shoe.

It was very nice view up there, but irrespective of that I was forced to keep the momentum. Because if I had lost it, there was no chance that bike would have climbed that height. Every inch of roll was getting tough and tough. Combustion chamber was lacking some serious amount of oxygen and it was raising my worry.





Slowly we were moving high and by 2.30 Pm we were at sky high "Khardung La". It was one of happy moment of our lives. We all together made it upto this high.

It was amazing up there. High speed wind speed stream was flowing. Sun was high. Temp. was down and most amazingly for a short interval we even saw snow fall. We all were getting crazy here.




View from khardung La


We all had moment with our respective bikes over here, to admire its capability who made this possible. They had suffered way more than us.

But after spending some 15~20, we call feel the low oxy. in air. It was getting difficult to breathe.

As we were about to return a Force traveller came loaded with many young tourists. They were enjoying it, but what I didn't like over there was this


I was thinking its not a "Akhara" or Show place, What the hell are you trying to do? Whom you are trying to show off. Its the land of Lama and one shouldn't be a gama over here. People should respect the place and its essence (my view). I didnt like their action at Khardung La.

Not only this, I saw many broken beer bottles, people dancing outside cars on loud music, throwing garbage unethically. My request, respect the place. Be a responsible traveller.

Day 5 Log Continue.
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shubh Anshuman

Om Mani Padme Hum
Anyway after all this drama we all planned to move back. After 2~3 attempts bike got started but even keeping 15K RPM constant was getting tough. Slowly we started and rolled back. With extreme low power bike was moving ahead. Road was disastrous, but my main objective was to keep the bike rolling. I was going in single pace at low speed. By the time we reached at the water crossing water level had raised up, and flow was high. But the worst part was beast gave up suddenly before that. While rolling I tried to start it again, but there was no effect. And finally it has came to halt.


I came down and tried again, but no effect. After that I switched off the ignition and gave some time to gain some more air pressure. Again switch was on and another fail attempt was tried, by now some other bikes came by to help. Everyone tried its own style to bring it back but this was of no use and resulted in dead battery. Now over here there was no chance that it will fire again. By now except mine each bike of our group has passed the crossing and Arun was guiding other vehicle to cross the water pass. After that Arun and Anurag bhai came. They also tried but same result. They brought the bike through pass. Now the main issue was what to do?? How to bring back bike to life? or brought it back to Leh.

In these regions if anyone bike loses its life and there is no help for next many many kms, don't panic. And I wouldn't suggest anyone to push a bike. Lungs will burst certainly. Wait for any army truck or any other truck. Just ask the nicely for the help, and I can bet no one will deny. thats the best you can do in these areas.

Fortunately in my case it was down roll till Leh. So after crossing I pushed it for some 100m, and believe me my lungs were about to come out. Once the downhill started I jumped over it and started rolling. Road was bad but I needed to maintain momentum whatever I had. With least braking I was on a roller coaster ride. And overtaken all the bike till south pullu. After that road was good and somehow I was doing 40km~50km/hr downhill. The situation got worse when the cars started to come down. It was a nightmare to hold the momentum and maintain the traffic. I was struggling badly during that phase. When it was looking like Leh is not so far now, suddenly a hill climb came and was worried to pull bike up. And then like Hanuman Anuj bhai came from behind and given push through legs. Climb was over in next 5 mins and it was a big relief. From there Anuj bhai was continuous with me. After rollling for about 45km and by 5.40 pm. I reached Leh and thanked god. Literally some pain was over. through my early I had a no. of mechanic in Leh named Kallu. I called him and said about my condition. After few mins he came on black MH registered FZ. it was downhill till his shop, so we went down.

There I met 2 rider from Pune. they had the same story and their FZ lost its breath on taglang la. It was lifted from their till Leh. Not only FZ or pulsar many bikes losses their breath on high passes. FI vehicle are much better than Carb ones. I have seen CBR, 500 Enfield and KTMs were doing fine on high passes. ECU of these bike are well programmed even to handle these roads.

Anyway Bike was in garrage and there was no life, battery was dead and I was worried about rest of the trip.

I asked Kallu to look for carb first, but he has something else in mind. He opened the engine head, tighten and loosen the tappets, even made some fitting in time chain, but no nothing. Once he opened the carb, large amount petrol suddenly came out of it. The reason for engine dead was flooded chamber. He cleaned it and putted some electric wire in main jet to reduce the oil flow. But still issue was there and after many trial something improvement came. It was already 10 by now, and I decided to leave for hotel and look after things for tomorrow.



I paid him 250 as labour charge and went back to hotel. All of other group members were on city tour. I was tired and equally worried. By late night all came and shown pics.


After dinner I went on net and posted FB post in bikers group regarding suggestion. I was planning to leave the bike in Leh or Karu before the pangong trip. but after many discussion it was finalised that to take the vehicle for the Pangong

Coming Soon: the day dedicated to "Bittu"

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Travel Dreamer
It's going simply wow, and needless to say, I am hooked to it. I did a full Delhi-Leh-Delhi ride last year with my blue Pulsar 200 NS and I must say it's an awesome bike. Throughout the journey it did not give me any pain, though I toppled with it at least three times in the entire journey.

One thing I would like to mention, in the picture I saw one guy was riding wearing a sleeper/chappal and in the travelog so far, I can see at least two riders are not following the basic safety norms - they are not having knee-guards.

Choices are personal, but nature does not give a second chance.