Ride from Manali to Manali via Padum, Leh in 2 Himalayans

As the title suggests self and my brother had undertaken the journey in bikes during 1st week of Sept 23. A picture of Phutgal trek route to start with.

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My sincere thanks to my wife who understands my urge to travel. Sincere apologies to two daughters as I couldn't take them on trip but owe them one trip elsewhere soon. Zanskar is not the place where they should travel at this age that too in a bike? No. Maybe when they are adults and make a visit to Zanskar I can happily join them in case they plan and wish my company there.

Thanks to many BCMT friends here. With the data/content available here, YT, teambhp we had successfully completed our bike ride to Manali, Zanskar, Leh, Manali circuit.

Since the beginning of 2023 season, I was closely following BCMT, YT videos. In fact I had made a tentative plan to ride solo either Spiti or Umlingla.
With more inputs from @sajalsheth ji's Umlingla ride travelogue and his videos through Devilonwheels channel, I had my itineraries jolted.

My June plan was cancelled due to office commitments. In fact that was a blessing in disguise as I had seen from YT videos that the Ladakh terrains received inconsistent snowfall and lower hills received irregular rains.

When I had met my brother in person in August I shared the idea of a week or 8 days ride in Himalayas maybe in 1st or 2nd week of September. He then immediately said yes for the ride. And my better half said yes immediately as she felt that I have a very good company for the ride. So we booked our flight tickets from Chennai to Chandigarh and back.

Then started next rounds of preparation/discussion which in itself is very satisfying to mind and heart to any traveler and rider.

Which bike?
I own a TB500 and my brother owns a 4v Xpulse. Although we briefly thought about bike parcels, luggage parcels and all but I ditched this idea as I wanted to make this trip a less burden on us as we both are new to long , several days of riding. So we had opted for 2 nos of 2023 make Himalayans from Manali Bike Rentals near Mall Road.


Started from home with all luggage.
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How we reached Manali?
Chennai to Chandigarh flight and then from there to Manali by any Volvo/comfortable bus was the original plan. But we changed our plan from bus to cab owing to poor road conditions in lower hills.


Day 0 - Saturday - Chennai to Chandigarh Flight and then evening cab towards Manali. Stayed somewhere after Bilaspur at a place where the owner has hosted several cinema stars. But what we wanted was a safe place to retire and it proved to be so.
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Day 1 - Started towards Manali by 6 AM. Bilaspur to Kullu via Kamand Road. Then Kullu to Manali took us close to 3 hours after crossing the bad roads along the bank of Beas River.

IIT Kamand or Mandi. What a place to study! I wish I get an opportunity to stay there for few days among hills and do some research work.
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The sad look of highway leading from Kullu to Manali
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We reached Bike rentals around 12 PM.
Both of us had one tail bag and one tank bag.
Freshed up a bit there. Shifted our luggage from car. Test rode our bikes to Hadimba temple. Had darshan and prayed for a safe journey.
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We found that the bikes are OK. My brother riding a Xpulse back at home found vibrations on petrol tank, handle of Himalayan unnerving. I said it is OK like any other RE.

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My steed for next 1000 kms of gruelling offroad.
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We then filled forms, made necessary payments for bikes. We had tied each of our Via Terra Claw Mini tail bags, sorted out our tank bag luggage. We were almost ready except our plan to get gum boots for the treacherous water crossing that we will encounter post Shinku La. So we went for a stroll around Manali Mall Road.

We had a sumptuous apple juice as our lunch as we had a very late breakfast.

Then we went ahead and purchased 2 pairs of gum boots for about ₹300 each. I had purchased a strip of diamox. Popped one each before start of ride. So we were all set by 230 pm. A customary click was made before our start.
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The first job was to tank up the bike. Manali was eerily vacant due to land slides and rains. So with no traffic around we were very calm, composed in inner roads and reached highway towards Keylong highway in no time. We entered into the first petrol pump and filled our for bikes for ~₹1450 each. In no time we reached Atal tunnel entrance. Still I wasn't comfortable with bike dynamics with a tail bag. So better that I rode with extra caution.

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We rode at 40 to 60 kmph and completed 8km tunnel. Then we took a break immediately after crossing tunnel to sort out our niggles with almost everything. The wind was too cold by around 4:30 PM. We wore our thermal jacket inside our riding jacket. I then switched over to my ViaTerra Tundra winter riding gloves. We spent around 15 to 25 minutes to sort out luggage, gear things and get some breathe as we had made decent progress.
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Our plan was to reach Jispa before dark and we comfortably did that. We stayed in same place where @sajalsheth ji had stayed during his trip. Happily retired for Day 1. Not a bad day at all.

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But the night wasn't great !

(To continue)
 

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J.Ravi

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Nice starting.
Bilaspur to Kullu via Kamand Road. Then Kullu to Manali
As per your advice, I drove from Keylong to Karnal, 443 km in 13 hours via Atal Tunnel, Manali, Naggar, Kamand and 5 tunnels of Swarghat on 24 Sep 2023. Thanks, again.
 
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As per your advice, I drove from Keylong to Karnal, 443 km in 13 hours via Atal Tunnel, Manali, Naggar, Kamand and 5 tunnels of Swarghat on 24 Sep 2023. Thanks, again.
At what time you faced Traffic Jam on 24 September 2023 ?
As construction on this route was going on day & night to move traffic smoothly.
Only small & private vehicle traffic was given preference.
 

J.Ravi

100% Petrol Powered
At what time you faced Traffic Jam on 24 September 2023 ?
I did not face any traffic jam on Manali-Naggar-Kullu-Kamand-Mandi route. On Manali-Naggar-Kullu stretch, traffic volume was high on the narrow roads, but flowing smoothly. On Kullu-Kamand-Mandi stretch, there were very few vehicles upto IIT, Kamand; afterwards, traffic volume was more upto Mandi. There were absolutely no traffic jams anywhere.
As construction on this route was going on day & night to move traffic smoothly. Only small & private vehicle traffic was given preference.
My Google Map suggested the regular Pandoh dam route, but I avoided it and took the almost-empty route of Kamand and did not face any problem. Of course, the road was very narrow upto IIT, Kamand and some stretches were really bad.

I left Keylong homestay at 9 am and arrived Karnal Haveli at 10 pm. 443 km in 13 hours.
 
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