Dream Ride 2017 | Bangalore to Ladakh and back | 25 Days, 5175 Kms

TrailBlazerVinay

Avid Biker
An Epic Journey of 25 days covering 5175kms on my Bike. It was definitely, 'The Journey of a Lifetime'.

The Struggles, Learnings, few tough Choices and Decisions, the Challenges, the People, Mind blowing Landscapes and Nature at its Best!! Memories to Cherish for a Lifetime..
The Solo Bike Ride from Manali to Bangalore was a Dream come true and a Life Changing experience. All I can say is - "Chase Your Dreams and Conquer your Fears. Cheers!!"

Riders: Vinay B M and Nitesh Chandra
Bikes: Karizma ZMR and Pulsar 200NS

A Big Thanks to all the people who helped us in the trip. We are grateful for all the support and encouragement we received. Would like to share the travelogue here to inspire others and hope the information is useful to others planning for Ladakh.

A short Trailer of the Trip:


Bangalore-Delhi: We traveled by Flight and Bikes were shipped through VRL.
Ride Started from Delhi. Took Srinagar route while going and Manali route while returning since the elevation is gradual and that minimizes AMS(Acute Mountain Sickness). I'd recommend the same to others. While returning, I Rode solo from Manali to Bangalore. My friend took a flight from Delhi to Bangalore and shipped the bike through Train.

VRL Bike Shipping Cost from Blore-Delhi: Rs. 7400
Transit time: 10 days, So need to leave our bikes at VRL warehouse, 10-15 days in advance.

Options to Ship the bike: Train, VRL, Ghati and others. Train is the Cheapest option. VRL is safer and convenient, since they provide a palette(cage) for the Bike and our Riding gear, Helmet and luggage can be sent along with the Bike. But it comes down to personal preference.

VRL Office No.s
Bangalore TPT, Shankar - 9379015377, 9379168869
Delhi, Kirtinagar Office, Shanth Kumar- 9980182617
Delhi, Rama Road Office- 9643820763

***Before you go to give the Bikes at the VRL Godown, call them and check if the palettes(cages) are available.
***Carry all documents: DL, Passport, RC and Insurance.
***Carry enough empty bottles and a petrol draining pipe.

Things to Carry: Excel Document

Route Map of the Trip:

Google Maps showing the exact Route I took:

Solo Ride: https://goo.gl/ShBqkN

Group Ride : https://goo.gl/xKSAKN

=============================
A Rough TripLog
=============================

Day1: Banglaore to Delhi- Flight. Collect Bikes from VRL. Halt at Karolbagh.

Day2: The Ride Begins with my Ride Partner 'Nitesh'. Delhi to Ludhiana, Punjab

Day3: Ludhiana to Patnitop, J&K

Day4: Patnitop to Dal Lake, Srinagar

Day5: Srinagar to Gulmarg to Srinagar

Day6: Srinagar to Kargil

Day7: Kargil to Leh

Day8: Getting Permits at Leh- Rest and Halt

Day9: Leh- Khardung La- Leh

Day10: Leh- Pangong Lake(Halfway)- Leh

Day11: Leh to Pangong Lake-SightSeeing to Leh

Day12: Leh to Shanti Stupa to Leh- Rest

Day13: Leh to Sarchu

Day14: Sarchu to Manali

Day15: Manali Sight Seeing and Halt

Day16: Bike Fog Lamps Repair. Rest and Halt at Manali. 'Nitesh' leaves for Delhi.

Day 17: Solo Ride Begins.. :)
Manali to Mianpur Bandalian, Punjab

Day 18: Rain Ride Begins.. :)
Mianpur Bandalian to Bawal- Rewari, Haryana

Day 19: Rewari, Haryana to Amratpuri, Rajasthan

Day 20: Amratpuri, Rajasthan to Udaipur, Rajasthan

Day 21: Udaipur- SightSeeing, Bike Service - Rest and Halt at Udaipur

Day 22: Udaipur, Rajasthan to Vadodara, Gujrat

Day 23: Baroda(Vadodara) to Thane West Mumbai, Maharashtra

Day 24: Mumbai to Pune

Day 25: Pune to Home (Bangalore, Karnataka)


2 ways to Reach Leh from Kargil

Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru- Alchi – Leh = usual route

Kargil– Batalik – Dah – Skurbuchan – Leh = more scenic.(need permit from Kargil DC office)

Regarding Permits:

1) From 2014 onwards, Indian Tourists don't need permit to visit Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Turtuk etc.
But we still need to take permits to visit Hanle, Chusul, Tsaga, beyond Loma bend, Chumur, Marsimik La, Batalik sectors.

2) Inner line permits are issued from DC office in Leh (10am to 3pm).
Closed on Sundays.Getting Permit may take 1hour to half a day.
Need to carry few attested copies of Permits with Photo-IDs (Passport, Driving License, Voters ID, PAN card etc.) and submit that in check posts. Good to carry a Self Declaration form mentioning the Details like Name, Age, ID No., Vehicle details etc Places and Dates.

Self Declaration Form
Permit Form
Application Form Format
Filled Form Sample

3) If we are going to Leh from Manali, need to take permits to cross Rohtang pass from SDM office at Manali (10am-5pm closed on Sunday n second Satday). Need to submit DL, Vehicle RC, pollution certificate. Again might take half a day.
*Rohtang pass permit is mainly for our vehicle, to prove its fitness & validity of registration, whereas Leh Inner Line permit is to prove our identity that we are indian citizens visiting the places as tourists.

4) The good thing is Rohtang pass Permit is not needed if we coming to Manali from other side(Leh-Rohtang-Manali).
All the more reason to take the route: Chandigarh-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Chandigarh

Packing Related:

http://tollfreetraveller.com/packing...-my-checklist/
https://2uptrails.wordpress.com/2016...stance-riding/

Route Plan, Maps and Info:
http://devilonwheels.com/how-to-plan...r-leh-highway/
http://devilonwheels.com/india/road-...t5264-190.html
http://tollfreetraveller.com/riding-...-need-to-know/
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ate-guide.html
http://www.bcmtouring.com/travel-gui...-travel-guide/
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ate-guide.html
http://www.bcmtouring.com/cms/how-pr...rcycle-ladakh/

Our CheckList:

1) Flight Tickets
2) Riding Gear: Helmet, Jacket, Gloves, Knee Guard
3) Bike Service and Extra cable fitting
4) Tyre Change, Engine Oil Change
5) VRL Booking
6) Saddle Bag, Tank Bag
7) Puncture Kit and Foot pump
8) Mobile mount and USB charger for Bike
9) BSNL and Airtel Post Paid Sims
10) Rain Cover for Shoes
11) DSLR n Action cam
12) Final Bike, Luggage and Documents check
13) Route map, documents, ID Proof and permit Application forms
14) Bookings for Hotel/Stay if any.
15) Fog Lamps for Bike
16) Toolkit, First Aid Kit and Medicine
17) Rain Coat and RuckSack
18) Water proof Gloves
19) Windproof Gloves
20) Tarpaulin and Rain cover for bags
21) Tripod, GorilloPod and Mounts
22) Memory Cards

Some Pics..


Love taking pics of my Bike. Who doesn't?? :) This is somewhere on the way to Pangong Lake from Leh.



Mesmerizing Snow Caped Hill top at Sonmarg


Beautiful Leh City surrounded by Hills

Snow Caped Hill covered in Fog. Clicked by my friend using Zoom Lens


On the way to Lamayuru Monastery. Beautiful Landscape. You can see this in the videos too.


Beautiful backdrop. My Sports Tourer going places! :)


Waterfalls on the way to Manali from Sarchu.


Scenic Landscape


Khardungla Top! Finally!!


Sliding on Snow on top of Khardungla



Beside a River. Good that we took a detour to this place. Scenic beauty with the backdrop of mountains (can't see here).! Pics don't do justice to this place!. Hope the Videos will.



Admiring the beauty of Nature.. The Gift of being a Biker.



At Pangong Lake. Dr. Rajkumar Pose



This needs some brightness adjustment. I know!


Shooting a Chipmunk at Udaipur Palace. GoPro at Work! The Tripod did come to use.

The Majestic Udaipur City Palace. It was worth the Visit.


Colorful City View through an Arch. Artistic Click! :p



At Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, Belgaum. Last Day of the Ride covering 808kms from Pune to Bangalore. So Happy to be back in Karnataka.


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Last edited by a moderator:

rameshtahlan

Super User
Fantastic,
BUT
I am still looking for which month and date did this journey start,
wish u can edit and mention right in the first line of the travelogue.

Love the way you have given a line for each image, it really gives a lot of meaning as one goes along.

happy landings
RT
 

TrailBlazerVinay

Avid Biker
=============================================================
Travelogue
=============================================================

This will be long and detailed. Please read only when free :) Will add the pics later..

Day1:
Our flight to Delhi was at 5:55am. Had to reach Bangalore Airport 2hrs before departure. My friend Nitesh stayed at my place so that we start together. Reached home late, was pretty tired and exhausted, mind wasn't working normal and as usual last minute jobs: charging phones, cams, copying songs/music etc. Took a bath and finally laid down on the bed around 1:15 am. Got up at 2:15 am. That 1hr sleep felt so good. Left home at 3am. Cab dropped us at the airport by 4am.
Had never been inside an Airpot. Airport was looking posh. The outside view was spectacular. Also my first time in flight. So was pretty excited. Took lot of pictures and videos :p

Note: Carrying bungee chords, tubeless kit (any sharp objects) will be an issue during luggage checking at airport. And Liquid, only 150ml is allowed.
We were aware of the liquid part, so were carrying Empty bottles. When the security guy saw some sharp objects inside my bag(in the scanning camera) he asked me to open all the items in the bag one by one and place it in a tray. I explained that its for our bike Ride so he said this time its fine but next time do not carry any sharp objects.

Reached Delhi by 8:30 am.
Airport terminal to Dhaula Kaun(its a place in Delhi) by Volvo.
Dhaula Kaun to VRL Kirtinagar Depot by Auto.

Though we had parceled both our bikes to Kirtinagar Depot, only one bike(Nitesh's) was there at Kirtinagar depot. They said my bike was in Rama Road Depot close by(4.5kms) and have to collect from there. So we thought of first taking delivery of Nitesh's bike and then going to Rama Road. But first we needed Petrol. So kept our luggage there. Carried the bag with valuables and went to Petrol pump(around 1km away) to fill petrol in the empty bottles we were carrying. In that 1km walk we realized that its going to be tough Riding in Delhi. The heat was getting to us. We were sweating like anything and feeling exhausted with no food, no sleep, even carrying those small back packs and walking was damn tiring. Had tea at a small tea stall and after that we felt better.

Now here's the twist, once we came back with Petrol to VRL Office, they said my Bike has not reached Rama Road Depot and its still in Gurgaon.(Bilaspur Depot). This was totally unexpected. We had sent the bike 10 days back and also I had checked with the consignment Id and had seen that the bike has reached Bilaspur TPT some 4 days back itself. So it was hard to believe that the bike had not left Bilaspur depot even after 3-4days. This was a big goof up by VRL.

I called up the guy we booked our Bikes with, who's also the incharge of Bangalore logistics and spoke several times, explaining, requesting etc. But they said Bike would reach Kirtinagar only the next day evening and even that's not guaranteed. When we insisted that the bike be delivered to Kirtinagar since our plan was to leave Delhi asap and get to Punjab on Day1 and we had planned everything accordingly, they started giving excuses and instead asked me to go to Bilaspur to collect the bike if I need it the same day and that was the only option.

I was pretty dis-appointed and pissed off with this response but still trying to think of the best possible option. Time was already 10:30am then. No breakfast yet.
Now Bilaspur(Gurgaon) was 70kms from Kirtinagar in opposite direction to our route to Punjab. How would we navigate to and reach that place in that heat and then come back the same way(70kms) again to Delhi? Wasn't keen on taking a bus/metro in that heat. Also this to and fro journey of 70kms all alone in Delhi just seemed unreasonable.

We could take Nitesh's bike and go after getting it out of the cage. But with the luggage on the bike there was no space for pillion. Also my helmet and Riding gear was with my Bike. Other option was to halt at Delhi for 2 days. We weren't keen on that either. I went Blank!

Collected the address and phone number of Bilaspur depot and confirmed through consignment Id that my Bike is still with them. After some thought, Nitesh said its better to take his bike and we go to Bilaspur together. Used some common sense, kept the heavy luggage at VRL, borrowed a helmet from the VRL guy by requesting, carried only Riding gear and bags with valuables and decided to go together to Bilaspur in Nitesh's bike, collect my bike, fill petrol and come back to Kirtinagar, collect all the luggage, return the helmet and halt at Delhi for the day and start afresh to Punjab the next day.

The staff at Kirtinagar Depot initially weren't even keen on taking the bike out of the cage. After complaining, they started to untie the tags etc. We joined hands and untied the tags with the help of a knife. Now there's a rubber belt which secures the bike inside the cage and the staff struggled to loosen this belt. This turned out to be the nail in the coffin. After numerous attempts by different persons, they finally asked us for the Knife to cut the belt. The Bike finally came out of the cage by 11:30am. Paid 100rs to the workers there on demand. By the time we moved out of the place it was already 12pm.

Plan was to reach reach Bilaspur by 2pm, Have lunch somewhere on the way, Take delivery of my bike and Ride back to Kirtinagar by 6pm.

We first got a tank full for his bike in the same petrol bunk where we had got the bottle filled. The Ride from Kirtinagar to Bilaspur was a tough one. The heat was unbearable, add to that the Delhi midday traffic. I was happy to see Nitesh ride the bike calmly and carefully not losing his cool anywhere. Safely first, everything next was the Mantra.

Riding as Pillion with a backpack was damn tiring. Drank some Juice and water. Covered around 45-50kms without any stops (my toughest and longest Ride as Pillion). Probably because of the heat and lack of sleep and food.

Stopped for lunch and took a much needed break. Time was around 3:30pm. Felt better after lunch and resumed the Ride to VRL Bilaspur Depot, which was not too far. On reaching Bilaspur we came to know that the location shown on maps for VRL Bilaspur TPT(Pataudi Road) is the old one. The current location is not updated on maps. We moved here and there asking people who were clueless. Called up the VRL guys again, asked for address, directions and contact numbers. Finally reached Bilapsur TPT and collected my Bike.

VRL Bilaspur was a big Depot, similar to VRL Depot in Dobaspet, Blore. The workers here had some idea about the palette. They could easily loosen the rubber belt but again struggled to loosen the bolts near the bottom of the cage to get the bike out.

We were kind of exhausted at this point. Our only consolation was that both the Bikes were totally safe and did not have any damages. My bike was with Riding gear and the heavy luggage (tankbag, saddle bags, rucksack) plus the bag that I got by flight.

Pulled some petrol from Nitesh's bike to my Bike using the pipe and bottle we were carrying.
I took a long time to move the contents from one bag to another, fix the luggage on the bike and secure everything with bungee chords. Realised that its the lack of sleep and the heat which is slowing us down. All Thanks to VRL.

Decided to call it a day as soon as we reach Kirtinagar. Add to this, the security guy stopped us at the gate asking us to first show the gate pass/receipt. Now it would take half an hour to untie the bags and get the receipt out from the bags. So explained the same, but they were not ready to budge and behaved rude. Gave them a mouthful and put some sense into them that we've been roaming all over Delhi in the heat because of the goof up done by them. Finally got gate pass and moved out of Bilaspur.

Stopped at the first petrol pump, got a full tank for my bike. Stopped at a small shop, Opened up my bike's mirrors with allen key, washed face and drank lots of water.

The Ride back to Kirtinagar was pretty much uneventful. Although tired, felt much better Riding the bike as compared to riding as pillion. Took some breaks to stretch our backs every now and then.
I started noticing some noise on my bike only to find that one of the number plate screws had gone missing but the other screw was holding the plate securely. Must number plate must have got loosened while pulling the strings attached to the bike in the palette at VRL.

After Navigating through traffic, we reached Kirtinagar around Depot around 7:30pm. The guy who's helmet we had borrowed was waiting for us to collect his helmet. Poor guy. Handed over his helmet. Took our luggage, emptied the backpack contents and stuffed it into the rucksack and secured the luggage. Asked them about the lodges nearby and they suggested us to stay at Karolbagh, which was close by.

We moved to Karolbagh and found a decent place for the halt (Shimla Heritage). They even allowed us to park the bikes inside the lodge. The staff were very co-operative. Dinner was damn good and spicy. (Hot and sour soup, Aloo Parantha with Dal).
We called it a day, deciding to change plans and starting late the next day to get some good sleep and much needed Rest.

To be continued..

For now, a video montage of dialogues that strike my mind and instantly remind me of this trip. You can also see the Ride on Zojila Pass in chilling weather.

 

SHEKHAR 257

Be a Good person but Don't try to Prove.
Awesome Vinay & Nitesh. Great Start. Such a goof up by VRL was not expected. Have heard quite good things about Gati, Not tried though.
 
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