In a search of absolution - Solo Ride to Heaven

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by KurtRules, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. darth_lucifer

    darth_lucifer Rides R Us

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Messages:
    3,119
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yaar vaibhav dil khush gaya.
    Doing it solo first time I can imagine butterflies you must have had in stomach regarding dangers ahead,insanity claims friends and family members must have made before the trip and ultimate joy on finishing off the trip successfully.It requires nerves to be stubborn thru all that.
    Kudos.
    Want to read more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  2. KurtRules

    KurtRules Come as you are!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7,082
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    Singapore
    Day4: Leh-Khardungla-Leh and around Leh (~200 km, the whole day)

    The excitement was gushing in my blood. Too much to let me sleep properly. Was thinking of all those vivid images of khardungla, only seen and admired in pictures.

    As usual, I was up early. Went down to the reception and talked to a guy down there for arranging the permits. I included Khardungla, pangong and marsimik la. To my disappointment, the guy told me marsimik permits are not issued to tourists now though he did mention that I had the option of walking up to the DC and requesting him. Hence I went to the DC office, which was closed at that time. Loitered around Leh till 10, had a disaster of an omlette, and then went back. Requested a guy inside, after explaining the whole situation to him. “Bhaisaab, vaha ke passes humne dene bandh kar diye hai….Groups ko nai milte, aap to vaise bhi single ho!”, he blabbered. Dejected, I left the office with only Khardungla and Pangong in my kitty. Determined to convince anybody next time I come!

    I got working on my baggage, just carrying spares and tools for the bike. I left the rest in the hotel room and got moving for Khardungla.

    On the way, I met an army personal looking for a ride till South pallu( where the permits are to be checked). Gave him a ride, though it was quite tough on the bike, which was barely scraping on the steep ascend.

    At South Pallu

    72.jpg

    En-route:

    73.jpg


    As compared to the others, this pass was relatively easy. I made it to the top in around an hour, and just as I entered, I saw a whole bunch of people, singing and dancing. Shouting slogans: “Save the environment, Abolish the use of plastics”!!

    An expedition had come all the way from Bangalore to ride the “World’s highest Motorable road”. The reason for all that commotion!

    74.jpg

    75.jpg

    76.jpg

    77.jpg

    80.jpg

    View from khardungla:

    78.jpg

    79.jpg

    81.jpg

    After a quick visit to the souvenir shop for a few artifacts, I was off on my way back to Leh.

    82.jpg

    Some wonderful sights on descending from khardungla:

    83.jpg

    84.jpg


    During this descent, the eye-sore that I had experienced at tangangla had sneaked in again. The typical me, “just cause of all that exhaustion!”, convincing myself, overlooking it again, and moving on. Little did I know that this was going to cause me a major problem in the forthcoming days and back home!

    85.jpg

    86.jpg


    I had always been fond of riding. Even in the days when a bike seemed a distance dream, the late school and early college days; Back then the scooter was a proud possession, not mine, but a friend’s. It used to seem pretty impractical and highly stupid for others back then when three of us would predominantly jump on one old and retarded machine and voice out in union “Chalo Mussouire!!!”


    The voices still propelled into my mind. All that and much more, history will be re-written, I had promised myself. I guess, it was time for me to keep my share of the vow. Tomorrow will be the day I redeem myself, I thought.


    “”Look where you going son!!!!””, a colonel blasting all his artillery at me. In all thought process, I had reached Leh and was about to crash sideways into an army guy who could have been, well, perhaps more than just a colonel. I barely missed him, swerving to the side mantle onto the gravel. “Phew, that was close”, I sighed!

    It was just 2 by then, and apart from the eye itch, I was more than fit. Decided to utilize this time and squander around Leh a bit.

    Full throttle I rode to the ‘Shey Palace’:

    87.jpg

    88.jpg


    A Thai group I met there:

    89.jpg

    View From Shey:

    90.jpg

    91.jpg

    It was a different feeling all together. It seemed like a plethora of greenery all around. Inhaling the incense in the vicinity, I moved on to the Thiksey monestary. Oh what a huge one, for that matter!

    Thiksey Gompa:

    92.jpg

    93.jpg

    Pillar to Heaven:

    94.jpg

    95.JPG

    96.JPG

    View from Thiksey:

    97.JPG

    98.JPG

    A couple of kids that came for a photograph and then ran off, when I removed my helmet :)

    99.jpg


    On the way back, l came along a little signboard which said “Modern Saboo Village”. Thought of going in and having a look

    100.jpg

    101.jpg

    102.jpg

    After a brief stroll there, I found my way back to leh. It was 5 and the sun was still pretty high. I carried on visiting the Zorawar Fort. The fort has now been converted to a training ground for the army scouts. Just outside the fort I met an army scout trainer who was also the caretaker. Jolly fellow that guy; took me in to have a look around.

    103.jpg


    The Scouts Stable:

    104.jpg

    And now the best part, the awesome museum inside:

    105.jpg

    106.jpg

    Zorawar Singh’s ancient saddle!

    107.jpg

    108.jpg

    The Ladakhi Ruler before Zorawar's Invasion!

    109.jpg

    A well built, well lit museum, full of artifacts. Immensely pleased I came here. Still having time in hand, I took off for the Shanti Stupa. It was perched high above behind the army headquarters, and it was getting dark. So I just had a glimpse of it from a distance and sped back to Leh

    Shanti Stupa:

    110.jpg


    I came back to the Hotel room, a satisfied man. It had been a long day today; I had done quite some sightseeing. My baby was in a bad shape, so I had her cleaned up. The front tyre was bubbling a bit, went to a mechanic downtown to spot the problem. Mighty problem it was! The disc plate had bent a bit due to all that torture, and was scraping against the front brake, preventing the tyre to rotate freely. The guy told me, that I would have to get it changed from Chandigarh itself, as it unlikely to be available here. So I had no choice, but to get it straightened somehow (hammered!!) and ride off. The right eye was paining enormously now. I realized it was all because of a silly mistake I made, of taking off my glasses near tangangla, enabling the sunrays to pierce right through! Damn!! Went up to a local chemist and bought eye drops. Was really hungry, hadn’t had anything since Khardungla. So I went up to Amdo Café(had become my favorite because of the sumptuous food!), tried mutton thukpa, was a revelation on its own for me…he he!

    Went up to a cyber-café : Rs 1.50 per minute!! Graaaaciiiious!!!!

    Reached the hotel room late at night, fell right on the bed, shoes and all, and slept.
     
  3. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    40,895
    Likes Received:
    125
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Wohohooo... ejoying it thoroughly... waiting for next dose ... :)
     
  4. SSSK

    SSSK Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great Pics Vaibhav and the Moray Plains are beautifully captured. Waiting for the rest...
     
  5. SSSK

    SSSK Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, the rest is also here!
     
  6. KurtRules

    KurtRules Come as you are!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7,082
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    Singapore
    Well, apart from playing numbers, i do infact, play with with code, being a software engineer:grin::grin: , which is somewhat, official!!!!:D
     
  7. anupmathur

    anupmathur Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    32,642
    Likes Received:
    1,407
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Code as in playing with Mary Magdalene in the DaVinci Code?? :grin:
     
  8. KurtRules

    KurtRules Come as you are!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7,082
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    Singapore
    Somewhat similar, except this time instead of Mary Magdalene, it is Visual Studio!!!!!:grin:
     
  9. KurtRules

    KurtRules Come as you are!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7,082
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    Singapore
    Day5 : Leh-Pangong Tso-Leh (~300km, 13 hours, inclusive of stoppage time at pangong)

    Early morning, right outside the room:

    111.jpg


    This one was major. The day for redemption!

    The initial plan was, to check-out of the hotel and stay for a day at the Pangong lake. So got all my stuff, tied it on the bike and rode towards Karu, where I had to make a turn towards Changla (another high Himalayan pass). The ride was smooth, roads were newly laid, making the drive pleasurable!

    On the way:

    112.jpg

    113.jpg

    114.jpg

    The roads worsened a bit near the C-Top, which was understood.(The ice melts, leaving streams flowing over which was once a road!!)

    115.jpg

    Here’s where I made the same mistake again. Took of the glasses again, for a video. It was actually snowing at C-Top. Just had a glimpse of the snow, and was instantly blinded for a few seconds!! The army guys there told me, that you should have your glasses on at all times to avoid the focus of the sunrays from the snow, right into your eyes! Quickly put on my glasses, but I guess the damage had already been done, which I would realize when I got back home.

    Had a complimentary tea, and with the blessings of Changla Baba, moved forward towards pangong

    Some pics there:

    116.jpg

    117.JPG

    118.jpg

    ChangLa baba temple:

    135.jpg

    Yaks on the way:

    119.JPG

    A frozen pond, along the road to Pangong lake

    120.JPG

    At Tangtse:

    121.JPG

    Hereon, my nerves were getting the better of me. Wanted to witness the place that I had once dreamt of, seen only in pics, heard of from freaky travelers. My promise, The world famous Pangong lake, was awaiting 30kms away!

    Road to Pangong:

    122.JPG

    There was a renouned “paagal nullah “ just 4 kilometrers before the lake, which was famous for its notorious water flow. I had been warned by many, to cross it early. To be honest, upon my arrival to the nullah, I found it to be well tamed and lean in the flow, so crossed it with ease.

    Just a few kilometers before, I spotted the first view of the lake which saw the adrenaline flow shoot up!

    123.JPG

    Within minutes, finally, arrived my moment of glory! My first sight of the lake up close:

    124.jpg

    I just stood there dumbfound for about 20 minutes. Took of the helmet, glasses and all and stared, stared and stares completely spellbound by the panorama!

    Such brilliant were the colors, pristine was the water and unrealistic was the landscape. I actually felt as if I am amidst a painting of the renowned Da-Vinci, running his brush across the canvas creating such beauty that can only be thought of, not witnessed in reality.

    I am sorry, I am too callous a human to find words to describe a miracle. Here are some pics of Pangong, describing themselves:

    125.jpg

    126.jpg

    127.jpg

    128.jpg

    129.jpg

    130.jpg

    131.jpg

    132.jpg

    133.jpg


    I went for a drive all along the lake till Spangmik( the last post till where my permits were valid). Sat on the shore and made a video, along with a beer to celebrate. I was literally feeling on top of the world. I had done true justice to myself by coming here, honestly.

    After spending a couple of hours in heaven, I started on my journey back, opposed to the initial plan, which was to stay. I don’t know why, but I had become a little skeptic of staying back.

    The paagal nullah, amazingly, was just the way I left it. A mild stream flowing across with minimal pressure which I cruised through. I was in a dilemma cause I had heard a lot about it, but found it just like the other water streams.

    What can I say, Lucky Me!!!

    The return was non-eventful. Crossed the mighty Chang-La at around 5. It was still snowing and getting dark, so didn’t stop for much photography. Made it back by 8 at night, dead tired. Had a quick omlette and hit the mattress.

    Day6 : Leh ( Complete Rest)

    I had reserved this day for introspection! To actually come to face with and accept the fact that, there is paradise on this very earth, similar to the one up there, I believe.

    Woke up very late. My spine was beginning to give me trouble after all that riding. The television in my room had stopped working so got that replaced from the hotel authorities. Loitered around the place lousily, came back and went to sleep.

    Woke up again, this time with a pain in my stomach because I hadn’t had anything since last night. Went to the nearest possible restaurant(don’t remember the name) and had chicken momos, again. They were enough to insatiate me for a while. Walked out a happy man. Storlling down the by-lanes of Leh, I thought of going to the Leh Palace. It was closed when I reached it, the guard mentioned “Julley saab, 5 bajey bandh ho jaata hai public ke liye”….

    Well, here it is from the outside, the Leh Palace:

    134.jpg

    Nothing spectacular occurred throughout the day. Splurged money on surfing again and by time I came out, well, time for dinner!!

    Decided to feast myself today, so went up to this authentic Tibetan garden restaurant. Was called the “Tibetan Kitchen” on old fort road and what an ambience it had! Ordered, for the very first time in my life, Tunafish momos! with a beer to wash it down. Were kind of squashy but can be classified as tasty anyhow.

    Went back to the room, it was 10 by then and had a long way to go on my return journey tomorrow, to Kargil (or I thought so!)
     
  10. anupmathur

    anupmathur Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    32,642
    Likes Received:
    1,407
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Wow, Kurt, you're getting better with every post! [​IMG]



    And what was the outcome of the introspection? To be, or, not to be?!! :grin:
    Or was it simply, "I think, therefore I am"?!

    Talk about rock and philosophy in combination! :)
     

Share This Page