My Journey to Leh


Well-Known Member
Dear Khagesh sir,

Ouch, you almost spanked me. By your words. Heh heh.

Regarding english, you have expressed everything perfectly, while I don't even know the meaning of 'dexterous'.

So true about education today. I think it was the nobel laureate Alexis Carrel who declared that ''every newborn child is a genius, only to be converted into an idiot in school.''

Makes me wonder what I'd have been had I not gone to schooling.

How was your trip sir? Hope all hale and hearty. Can't see anything in the signature....perhaps I need to replace my blackberry now... old 2015 phone still going strong. A bit like you sir.

Awaiting your travelogue. And when are you planning Gujarat trip?

Dear Rohit,

Having come all the way this long, I was waiting for your reply.

Alexis Carrel... isn't it time now to look for our own references.. hamara bhi koi baap hai, woh bhee strong... :) not taking western standards....

Nevertheless, knowing a few words would just put us in a better position in saving time and effort in making our idea clear and effective but ultimately what counts is the idea itself. No?

Travelogue is on Rohit. Here is the link. here

Love to make a family trip to Gujarat. Just getting settled after such an exhaustive trip now.

Take care.


New Member
Day 13 : Leh local 5th Oct 2013, Saturday:

I don’t have any long journey to make today. Thought would laze out a bit. But, once your biological system is set, it wouldn’t allow. I got up as usual early. Wanted to get fresh. Then to my horror I notice, I lost strength in my right hand, I mean in the fingers. Cant take the weight of tooth brush even. They just were limp. I was able to move them but they don’t support any weight. I was worried. Not a panic but worried for sure. No panic because I am still able to use my hand and my reasoning was that last night’s chill, lack of sufficient oxygen must be taking its toll.

May be the hand was like that last night itself, but in that Khardungla excitement I did not notice? Could be. But no, later, when I was searching a restaurant, I was perfectly normal. Anyway, may be its just that I did not notice it.

I did bit of Yoga, ‘surya namaskara’ for two or three times to warm up my hand. Believe me, I was doing ‘praanayama’ on the bike while riding when I was on the passes, to consume whatever the bit of oxygen molecule. It helped me a lot. Restore my breathing to normal. Now, this hand, not completely out of action, but its not supporting any weight. Later that day and till I reached Jhansi on my return, I could not break the Chapathi with my right hand. I was trying my best to conceal this even with Pareesh when I had lunch with him. Nor I informed home about this.

For now, I finished my wash then waited a bit, massaging my right hand. I applied Zandu balm also. I know its too cold outside and nothing would be open. I have to wait for the light to come up. And it did. First thing, on priority, I have to get ready for Manali highway tomorrow, so the bike mechanic. Having read about Mohan Sharma on Manali Road I want to check my bike for there is a little oil spill on my front shocks. But he wouldn’t open this early. Had to go into lanes and bye lanes, hunting for tea. Had two cups of tea.

I can manage the bike even with almost limp fingers of my right hand. That’s good. But seriously I must think of return journey seriously before something serious happens. The dreaded Manali road is still ahead. So, no more Pongang Tso and Tso Morriri according to my original plan. Better be a live rat at home than a dead lion on Pongang Tso. Plus, as everyone says, in your Leh trip, you must leave something for next time. Plus, whatever the places you cover, still there is this missing, that missing. There is no end. With this mind set my thoughts are bent on the drive back home now from here on.

I trace Mohan Sharma mechanic with little asking here and there on Manali road. He was there. He says vehicle is perfectly alright and I ask him to take a ride. He did and says it needs nothing. I was so happy. The front oil seals, not available in Leh, so on the plains somewhere service. He says not to worry its just fine. He tightens the chain tension, lubricating this and that. I am so happy that there isn’t a serious problem with bike.

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I asked Sharma about Manali road condition. He said two days back he met people coming from Manali. But it might be snowing a bit on passes. I tried with truck people, they say no problem I can go the next day unless the weather turns out to be nasty suddenly that evening. Little cloud formation towards Manali side.

That being done, another tea on the way, straight headed towards Shanti Stupa. Leh gateway on the way.

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I reach Shanti Stupa. Not even soul there. Nice place. Went up the steps, had a pradakshina sat for a while there. Bike is not allowed inside. Hence just a photograph

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Never knew I could hold the camera so still. The picture is ok. What amused me is the Ladakhi sky and the contrasting stupa.

As I was coming out of the gate a couple came, obviously to visit the stupa in a taxi. I asked the Taxi driver if he has any idea about the condition of Manali road. He says, he just returned yesterday. Nothing to worry. In addition Morey planes all tarmac. Oh, that’s good news!

The AMS and the water crossings on Manali road are the two things that I dread. Slowly I am getting used to AMS with my mobile pranayama and Diamox tablets, one in the evening and one in the morning. But water crossing? Still an unknown factor.

Went back into Leh market area. Bought some essentials: Batteries for Camera. Some sun screen lotion. Few Cadbury chocolates for emergencies on the way. Then I want to buy a balaclava so that I can prevent wind entering into helmet. I bought a nice thick, double layered one. Checked with helmet on. A nice tight close fit. Satisfied. Now I will see how the air enters inside while on the move.

Now, I must eat something. Found a restaurant in a complex, a Punjabi dhaba. Nice place. Pure vegetarian. Had a good meal and went back to guest house. The balaclava was working good. Nice, warm inside the helmet. That’s good now. Plus, I got used to the gloves now. I rested a while. Pondering over my inactive right hand. So far so good, why worry.

In the evening I took the fort road and the fort is here. Curious construction:

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Inspite of Diamox I can feel the persisting nausea and headache all along. I go through military area and join Srinagar highway right at the Hall of Fame. A nice place. I click many pictures here. Apart from armory many navigational equipment on display which interested me. One of the item which caught my eye and fired my imagination is this:

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This simple instrument was used to take the bearings of longitude and latitudes and ground positioning at a time when there were no artificial satellites which feed GPS, nor radio. One can imagine using this instrument on a small boat in a storm where it is impossible to steady on the horizon on those raise and fall of high sea waves. You make a mistake of one degree and Shackleton with his team would have missed the land and pushed into oblivion of South Atlantic rough seas. What a courage these people they had. Courage, not on the journey itself but, the courage to have faith on their knowledge when the lives of seven (?) men depending on the decision made on the readings taken on this instrument in unsteady conditions.

GPS: There was this pilot who crossed north Atlantic on a microlight was carrying two GPS instruments. On the way he was flying so low due to the storm almost the spray from waves below on him and the these two GPS gave up, in the middle of the ocean. What rescued him?

His sense of direction, his ability not to panic etc. So, what ultimately counts is the brain of human being, not the instruments which he created. And then, who controls this brain or our thoughts? It is Him/Her to whom we all bow. Is that not the essence of Gayatri Mantra? When I read the people talk about the sophisticated instruments they carry which in fact not necessary, somehow it gives me a feeling; are they proud of their being in possession of expensive instruments or the journey itself.

Better leave this here, otherwise we miss the essence of a travelogue and enter into theosophy or metaphysical aspects. But those were my thoughts while in Hall of Fame.

Another item of curiosity is the bullet proof jacket. Never seen one nor imagined it to be like this.

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Spent quite a bit of time. And finally out, this persisting headache, I cant shrug off.

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Its already getting dark. I must fill petrol. I filled the tank at that big petrol bunk at the junction. This tank full petrol saw me till Delhi. Unbelievable, but that’s the mileage I was getting on my Platina.

The main bazaar area is a mini Thamel of Kathmandu. Loitered a bit here and there, went to the same Dhaba had my dinner. I must sleep early, tomorrow long drive. Aim to reach Sarchu. Avoid Pang, I know it from the travelogues I read how they suffered here for AMS plus extreme cold. Plus with the off season, the tent accommodation, doubtful. I decided to sleep early and start early. Plus my hand condition.

But before that, I want to check the weather conditions on Manali route. I stopped at a net café. No information on this area on IMD, I have to depend on my senses and whatever meteorological knowledge I have. Just updated my position on BCMT, checked mails and off to guest house.

Once in my room, gave a serious consideration to my further journey. Hunder, Warila, Pongang Tso and Tso Moriri were planned. The temptation is too great to visit these places, especially having come all the way here, leaves and money in my hands. But these limp fingers are bothering me. Not scared, for I know once in to warm climate of plains I would be alright. But I have to reach the plains first. My flying training takes over, and we always follow the norm ‘safety first’. There is a saying in flying community. “There are bold pilots, there are old pilots, but there are no old bold pilots.” I have to reach home safely, that is the priority.

Decision made. I would return home. It doesn’t mean all smooth from now on. The notorious Manali route, water crossings, passes. These however, I can not escape. Moreover, this route is more fun than Srinagar route which is comparatively easy. So, the real show, weather permitting, is on for next three days.

More rubbing of my limp fingers and I don’t know when I slipped into sleep.

Odo: 56586
Local run: 35 kms
Total run of the trip: 3,368
Flying training???
Plz elaborate...
A veteran??? IAF??