Journey in Manali to Leh highway, Way to Ladhak an experience – Manali to Leh
As usual I was too excited to travel alone in Royal Enfield and to grab photos in my Canon EOS and started planning from almost three four months well in advance about my travel from Manali to Leh, Way to Ladhak
But you all know that planning does work only to certain extent and it always happens what it has to be.According to the plan all set and back packed and I flew from Bengaluru to Delhi and took a private Volvo to Manali and got refreshed in my resort in Manali and ventured myself out to get the booked Bully ‘I mean my Royal Enfield Bullet’ and I came across Madan a superb bully Mechanic who was still getting my bully ready and he made sure that the bully is in great health, I personally saw him working on it for more than 3-4 hrs changing shocks, handle bars, bearings, oils, cables, new tubes n all that mechie stuffs as he new I was set all alone to explore Leh – Ladhak from Manali.
Finally I started my first day aha I can say it was noon already in Manali on the very first day that was 8th of Sep, 2013 and started local sight seeing with the Chotu by the way Chotu was my Manali resort room helper and I took him with me to explore Manali and surroundings so that I can venture out and by the way I will get used to bully too.
Started with Hadimba Temple in Manali and then we went to Maharishi Vishishta Mandir and spent some time their and as you guessed I took some time while on the way too for snaps.
Then we reached Nugger and to Naggar Castle and had a wonderful time around and just opposite to the castle went to a coffee shop and spoke to Abhishek Sharma and also had a nice coffee and some good time with his WiFi spot in so remote and wonderful landscape, aha any how I enjoyed a lot of time an clicks rather than usual surfing, it was already too late and just went to resort room in Manali and got settled bit early as next morning I need to be fresh and relaxed to start my journey to Leh in Bully.
Day 2: I planned to start at 5 or 6 but as usual or might be destiny I started at 7 in the morning and was set on the way to Leh keeping the first target Rothang Pass in front of me and all texts I surfed was going behind my head and was bit scary too to cross the Rothang La any how I enjoyed a lot on the way it was amazing stretch of land and it was beautiful like heaven.
I was almost about to reach Rothang Top but eventually I stopped for my tea in Marhi it’s just some miles before the Rothang Top and was about to sip my tea I met the couple of people all set to Leh in their pulsar from Naggar all the way to Leh in one pulsar by the way they are pahadi’s and basically from Naggar his name is Deep.
So by that time I had a team that is my bully and a pulsar having a target to reach Leh, we reached Rothang Top and as usual pics poses and started back on our move and target Leh, by the way I forgot to tell about road condition … It was a wonderful road with fine finished tar from Manali to Rothang top with loads of turns and always uphill but a good stretch and then after the top it was the nightmare as I read in the googled texts their was no road at all on my down hill and bit of slush and a lot of boulders and mud and also BRO was all clearing it too till my way to the very first police check post in Koskar, as usual reported to police and again sipped tea and by that time I was bit hungry too as started without food and I had a local chowmin in the dhabha just opposite to the police out post and then we started towards Tandi.
In between all was about to cross pagal nala water crossing and couple more small stream crossing on the way finally reached to Tandi and was about re fuel the tank to full, even though I just travelled 110 Kms and has almost full tank and other than that I was carrying 5 Ltr of petrol extra in can it was suggested to get the tank refilled in Tandi as their will be no fuel available for next 350 Kms stretch, and that time I stumbled upon few Bangaloreians in couple of bully’s and just had few talk and Then I met with the Jigger a doctor from Gujrat he was also like me all set alone to Leh in his bully, then a retired army person from Delhi all set to go to Leh in his Hero Honda Passion He is just amazing and doing it third time, according to him first he made it to Leh from Delhi in his Chetak way long back in 1979 when Ladhak was just got opened to public any how this was his third time and it was amazing with him.
Again another person Bharath from Delhi all set alone to Leh in his Bully finally it was a group of few bikers initially all started alone and became a group by itself, as all say the Manali to Leh route itself is like that.We reached to Keylong by mid noon and as all of us were planing to reach to Sarchu we were going; It was a bit rough patch all the way from Tandi to Keylong and till Jispa, by the way I came across Ganesh a army man from 18 Gurkha Rifles in Keylong and he was asking me lift till Pitsio a place just before Jing Jing Bar and around 45-50 Kms from Keylong, I gave him a ride and it was nice time talking to him on the way so that I really didn’t felt the road was pathetic till their as I was all excited to know more about him and his regiment and their routine so on ….
Reached Jispa and then to Darcha another police check post and again some clicks and photo clicks so finally the day two was about to end and we didn’t made it to Sarchu as mysterious and always changing dangerous Baralacha La was in front of us and sun was already about to set, so finally I dropped Ganesh in his camp and I got a chance to speak in Kannada with few more kannadigas in that army camp, well that was a good experience and got them handy while coming back.
So in-spite of few people asked us to stay in their camp in Pitsio we started our mission Leh journey back and reached to Jing Jing Bar and was already it was cold and I think I was wearing t-shirt and a shirt and a light woollen sweater and a heavy woollen sweater and a riding jerkin and a rain coat above that even then was feeling bit cold by that time and was getting bit eager to find some dabha to sip tea by the tea I remember always its better to have black tea or if you are not having cough n cold it’s better to have lemon tea if you are able to find one or else it’s better to have black tea rather than usual milk tea.
Then a BRO person at Jing Jing Bar told its another 5 more Kms we will get some dabhas then again left right up and uphill as usual we kept on moving we got the dabha it was Mr. Funsuk and his family were we all decided to stay and call for the day as it will be dangerous to cross the Baralacha La after sun set and we all enjoyed our evening Tea dance and food, …. dinner and so on.
Day 3: A early morning all was planning to start by 6 Am but eventually all got late it was good or even I should have asked to get bit more late but we all started by 7am finally towards Leh and immediately on our way it was cold and scary Baralacha La, first we got Sooraj / Vishaal Tal and we made it through Baralacha La in a killing cold and sub zero temperature as sun was just peeking out by that time and we reached to Killing Sarai and I was not feeling my fingers in hand and was not able to move at all, I almost lost my hand fingers so just removed my riding glows and the woollen glows and I was not surprised why I was not feeling my fingers because it was frost bitten and full dark blue hands with bleeding from nail beds so immediately got into action rubbing and holding a hot tea cup then a aunty from dabha gave Sarson ka tel just to malish my hand as its better temperature resistant and got arms near fire so finally my hand was back and we all started back our journey towards Leh without thinking too much about hand any how my hand was fine aha now I remembered Bharath also got his both legs frost bitten last evening as his foots were wet in Pagal Nala and few other water crossing and also he lost his back pack on the very first day itself and any how he was fine he got recovered in Jing Jing Bar with Karu ka kashay for his cold and fever from Mr Funsuk.
Then we reached to Sarchu another police check post and after entry as usual we all sipped Tea again when we were almost approaching Sarchu met with two more bikers from Kerala Suraj Jose a techi from Mysore and Ajit Jose a Doctor from Thrissur, so our team was growing all the way till Leh but it was more interesting people I met along and it was all good to know about them and also more over was enjoying with them and as all know we all were enjoying the nature and photography.
Again we started from Sarchu so started climbing Gatta Loops and then Nakee La both was having a better road and a very nice picture squee nature, then we climbed down al just to climb back the mighty Lachung La so it was a night mare ride to Paang finally we couple of bikers were early as it was a bad stretch of road with all cold and dry weather sucking water from body so just remember guys even though you are not feeling to drink water keep drinking more and more electrol / ors / electrolyte mixed water regularly and a loat of water just don’t forget other wise you will start feeling head ache and eventually you will start loosing hopes of reaching and then as all say AMS starts kicking inn…
So the couple of us who reached Paang in advance by noon finished our luch in Dhaba at Paang and was waiting for our other bikers so couple of them reached and as they were having lunch other people joined us too and some bikers called for the day but rest of us kept on moving as we came to know the road ahead is good and more over it was just a mid noon ….!
Then I came across a Moor Plain it was wonderfull road and more over just flat plain after a long journey of left right up down up left right and so on high altitude ride it was good to ride back in a plain was almost flying in moor plain, my custom made / configured to ride in high altitude bully was struggling to keep in top gear in top speed as oxygen was bit less than usual regularly was putting a natural break so we have to reduce gear and get than throttle hit again to get it back to top speed any how we enjoyed a lot in moor plain, and reached Debring.
Then our night mare started again from Debring to climb Taglang La and more over their was no road at all and even we new this as told by another biker who was on his way to Manali he told their is no road from Debring till the Taglang La top and then road is fine till Leh but any how it took a long long time for us to climb till the top and it was just the perfect timing and sun was about to set and had some nice time in the top where oxygen was scare and it was windy too so we all set to climb down again and was good road so we made it till Rumtse and was sipping tea again as usual and was again couple of bikers wanted to call for the day as it was already 20 past 6 in the evening but me and other two Kerala bikers wanted to push till Leh on the same day and started,
Then reached to Upshi the last police check post were we need to make entry and we had a wonderful day with amazing experience and also it was a too good landscape and finally was on bed at my resort in Leh after a few talk as their was a mis understanding and a communication gap between my online booking for resort and the actual recipient of booking / agent and the resort so finally all sorted and was on my bed; after some time got a call and came to know other fellas from Rumtse also reached Leh.
And destination Leh, Ladhak reached and it was amazing to ride from Manali to Leh.
Guy’s I will describe my experience in Ladhak.. double humped camel in Hunder sand dumes and surrounding and sub zero temperature and snow fall while I was riding from North Pullu to Kardungla Top and bleeding nostril and a chance to see the Ladhaki wild Blue sheep in wild so on in my next write up … See ya