I am Nikhilesh Dubey from Bilaspur and this is the complete story of my adventurous journey to the land of lamas and the high passes “Leh/Ladakh”. I along with my 20+ friends had planned this ride at least a month before the start date however as the time passed everyone backed off and I was left alone but, that dint stopped me from living my dream. I went on to explore Leh Ladakh solo.
Day 1 (14 June 2018):-
My journey started from Jammu at around 11AM as it took time to collect my bike “Bajaj Discover” from Indian Railway. After collecting bike I headed towards Katra and took NH44 which I would say is one of the best highways I have ever ridden my bike on. At Katra, I offered prayers to Mata Rani then had food at the dhaba and continued my journey towards a small village “Khriv”near Srinagar to meet my friend.
Sharp turns and beautiful sceneries were slowing down my speed to 25-30 KMPH then I received a call from my friend waiting for me and suggested to increase my speed else I would not make it before night. Despite the construction and maintenance work on roads I managed to speed up and reached “Chenani Nashri Tunnel”, it was really awesome. Once I entered the tunnel I felt like my bike regained its power.
Chenab’s fury was creating horror. Waves were very fast and sound they were making were enough to create panic. I was fortunate that Jawahar Tunnel was open by the time I reached there. After crossing the tunnel, I managed to keep my speed between 70-80kmph and by 8 PM I reached my friend’s bungalow. Kashmiri food I had there was too delicious.
Day 2 (15 June 2018):-
The second day started well with a bath in the natural resource of water, as the water was chilling cold I couldn’t bear it and came out early. Kashmiri hospitality really touched me, the people there are very good at heart. I was lost in the greenery of Kashmir and it really made feel how we have destroyed the greenery in our surrounding on the name of development.
By 11AM I said good bye to my friend and went to meet my other friend in Sopor. On the way a guy at petrol pump did a miracle by filling 8.18 ltrs of petrol in bike my which has a petrol tank of 8ltrs . Due to rain it took 2 hours to reach spoor covering the distance of mere 66 Kms. I left from Sopor for Sonamarg at 4:30 PM and it started raining again. I was assuming that rain will stop soon but unfortunately it didn’t and I couldn’t enjoy my ride. I spent night in Gagan hill. Today I covered 180Kms.
Day 3 (16 June 2018):-
I woke up at 4:30 in the morning but couldn’t get off the bed before 6:30 Am as it was too cold.
After getting out of my room I felt like I am in heaven on earth, in front of me was the mesmerizing beauty of Sonamarg which cannot be explained in words and I was literally lost in it for almost an hour.
Now was the time to continue my journey and face the mighty Zogillla Pass. While climbing up I understood why it is said to be one of the world’s most dangerous road but me and my bike managed to climb up. Feeling of having hot chocolate coffee with the cold breezes at dropati kund was something which vanished the scary thoughts of climbing Zogilla Pass.
The next stop was Drass which is said to be the world’s second coldest place with the temperature reaching up to -62 degrees. After visiting the Kargil war memorial, one can only imagine the greatness and how brave our Indian soldiers are who fought for the victory on tiger hill against Pakistan. A normal person can’t even think of climbing the tiger hill and our soldiers fought for our pride and won there, A big Salute to the Indian Army!
Had lunch in Kargil and then covered Naamkila pass at 12000Ft, Fotila Top at 13000ft and finally reached Lamayuru also known as moon land. The 11th century Gompa (Monastery) makes it special.
Spent night in a guest house and enjoyed Ladakhi Special “Thupka”.
Day 4 (17 June 2018) :-
In the morning, I visited the 11th century Lamayuru Gompa and experience was really nice. Then continued my journey towards leh. On the way, I visited the Gurudwara Patthar Sahib had langar and then visited the famous magnetic hill.
The stories of vehicle moving against the gravity was true.
By 2pm I reached leh and rested in Varila guest house. Also got my bike serviced.
Day 5 (18 June 2018) :-
I was confused whether to go to Khardungla or continue straight to Manali. Finally, I made mind to continue to Manali as Khadungla and tanglangla pass, both are at the almost same height. Also, Khardungla is no more the world’s highest motorable road. The title has been taken by Umlingla which is at 19300Ft.
I visited Thiksey Monastery then after having food at Upshi, continued my journey towards Tanglangla. The height of 17582ft and the beautiful sceneries fills you with thrills. Also completed one of my journey’s target to hoist the flag of Maa Mahamaya on the top of the Tanglangla.
On the way to Pang Google map was showing Tso Kar at a distance of 2 Kms so, without giving a second thought proceeded towards Tso Kar. After a kilometer, it was almost impossible for me to ride the bike because of sand, and hence had to drop the plan ☹. Spent the night in the tent at pang and here I met some friends from Tibet who were traveling to Leh from Manali.
Also met Mr. Sameer Singh, he started his marathon from Wagha Border covering Kanyakumari, Kolkata, Northeastern states, Manali, Leh and ending it at Wagha Border. He is doing this marathon to aid the family members of martyrs of our Indian Army. His marathon was sponsored by BSF and Actor Akshay Kumar. I Just saluted him and offered an oxygen cylinder I had with me.
Day 6 (19 June 2018):-
From pang to Sarchu I covered Lachungla and Baralacha but the real adventure was at Gata loops. The 21 loops really test your skills and make you ecstatic. There I met Thor Riders Group, 13 riders on 12 bikes were the best example of discipline, Riding in a single line with a constant speed of 50-60kmph. Got my fuel tank full at Tandi and had to spend the night at Koksar because of rain.
Day 7 (20 June 2018):-
Left koksar by 5:30 in the morning and in an hour reached Rohtang Top. Roads to Rohtang were muddy and are in bad shape and then due to heavy traffic, it took 4 hours to reach Manali covering 50kms. Unfortunately, after Manali also got stuck in traffic and it took 7 hours to reach Bilaspur(Himachal Pradesh)
Reached NH44 after Swargate and rode my bike at the speed of 75KMPH. Gave rest to my bike after every 45Kms. At about 3 AM Thor Bikers met again, they were a bit surprised and after riding for a while they went ahead. After traveling for almost 530 km fuel got into the reserve. My 6year old Bajaj Discover gave the mileage of 70+ kmpl and that was more than satisfactory for me.
Day 8 (21 June 2018):-
After Riding my bike all night, I explored Delhi and slept on the bike at around 3 PM.
I said goodbye to Delhi and took the Agra expressway to reach Dhaul Pur. I really enjoyed riding on Agra Expressway and reached dhaulpur at 1 AM and rested there in a hotel.
Day 9 (22 June 2018):-
Morning at 7 started my journey towards Mandapam. After a long time, I had samosa 😝. Near Gwalior, I Saw Miraaj fighter plane’s stunts in the air. This is was the first time I had seen a fighter plane in action.
I set small-2 targets for myself in the journey and near Sagar, it started raining and had to stop there. I had three roads to Jabalpur and chose a route via Swahili with a distance of 140Kms. I Had dinner at 11 PM in Raheli.
People suggested me not to go further as I may have to face wild animals and it would be too dangerous. I had to do it and hence Ignored what people said and continued towards Jabalpur.
For about 40Kms there was not even a single vehicle, person, or animal, it was just me and my bike.
I spent night in Mandpam. I was so tired after riding 500Kms all day that I slept in open.
Day 10 (23 June 2018):-
After Sleeping in open outside a Dhaba, I woke at around 7 AM and continued my journey. My bike started giving problems. I checked the spark plug and cleaned the air filter but of no use. As I was so tired I preferred not to check the fuse as I had to unload the bike to do so. After some time and few kilometers, I finally gained some strength and checked the fuse and changed it.
After riding for 150 km I started feeling tired and parked my bike somewhere near Dindori and slept with my helmet on for 2-3 hours. Roads with dilapidated condition started after crossing the boundaries of Madhya Pradesh. To my surprise, I met two of my biker buddies Mr. Sandeep Rathore and Rachit Sandolkar while collecting passes at the check post. They were waiting to receive me, this really surprised me and I was happy with the gesture. We three headed towards our home.
About 40 Kms before Bilaspur I asked them to continue and stopped to take some rest. I reached home at around 7 PM. I was so tired that next day I was just resting.