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Archive for August 17th, 2011

Yeh Leh – Part II

(….Contd from Part-I)

The road, the road!!

Day6: Wednesday July6, 2011:

We were already on the road for 5 days & still more than 250 kms from Leh. Mind you, in those terrains, each km feels like a long long road 🙂 . Determined to reach Leh that evening, we started from Sarchu at 6 AM. I rode despite severe AMS, but like someone said, once on the bike, a different person takes over. Went up the fabulous Gata Loops & Nakeela Pass. Reached Pang, doing 88 kms in just about 4 hours! Had breakfast & I passed out again for 15 minutes 🙂 . Just after Pang, we hit upon the famous More plains! Only 5 odd kms of smooth roads, followed by 40 odd kms of hell! Sand, dust, broken roads… no words to describe. Crossed Bharatpur (a 5 tent settlement), and hit Tanglangla. This is the world’s second highest motorable road. Despite all the above, we reached Leh at 6 PM. 250 kms in 12 hours… hmm. Civilization was a welcome sight after all the barren landscapes we passed that day. We found a small guest house, I met a doctor to take care of the AMS & crashed for the night. Mind you, still no bath 😀

 

Day7: Thursday July7, 2011:

Woke up next morning to discover my friends had already arranged for permits, but it would take a day. Took a hot water bath (Yes Finally!) Dressed up & started discovering that mystical land – Leh. Visited the starting point of Sindhu river, followed by Shey Palace. Visited my dad’s old regiment that was posted in Leh then. The Commanding Officer, Second-In-Command and all Officers greeted us and hosted a wonderful lunch for us. Being Army Officers, they wondered why civilians like us would spend so much money, efforts & pains to visit places where they get posted as a norm! 😀 .  Their beer mugs had to be seen to be believed! Left the regiment & visited the War Museum. This place had a collection of the most turbulent times of the Ladakh region & it’s history, pre & post independence. Including pictures, biographies & stories of all wars fought, all the Gallantry award winners & more. To go thru that museum would be a day’s visit, we got thru in 1 hour. A very memorable visit indeed. Rode back to Leh.

Day8: Friday July8, 2011:

Move away!! Lemme see the lake !!

With permits in hand, we rode towards the lake made famous by the Bollywood movie – 3 Idiots. Riding in -3 degree centigrade, past the Changla_pass, we reached Pangong_Tso around lunch time. What a sight! The beauty of the lake cannot be described, in words, in pictures, nothing. You have to see that place to believe it. The colors of the hills surrounding the lake & the water itself changes with each passing cloud. Spent a good 3 hours there. Left at 3 PM and reached Leh again at 8 PM.

Pangong lake

 

Day9: Saturday July9, 2011:

Khardung-La!!

Dinesh’s Birthday! The other riders had a plan in mind. Started late from Leh around 11 AM to conquer the official HIGHTEST MOTOR ABLE ROAD IN THE WORLD – Khardung_La! A distance of only 39 kms from Leh, this was soon to turn into our worst nightmare! The road to South Pullu, 25 kms from Leh was nice, the only problem being rain, snowfall & fog. Nearing this place, we could not feel our fingers & toes. Only heat available was – hold your bike’s silencers! Made it to South Pullu, where the Army served us hot lemon tea & Momos! Nothing tasted better in the world then! They even allowed us to shove our hands into the kitchen stoves to warm up! Had a quick debate about whether to return to Leh & return the next day better prepared, or battle-on, risking AMS & frostbite. The temperature then was already in the negative. Khardung-la that day was -10 degree centigrade! The first idea was thrown out the door. We rode on the remaining 14 kms of non-existent roads and reached K-Top at 3 PM. SUCCESS! The feeling of riding up to the highest motor able road in the world – Priceless! Spent 30 minute at the highest cafeteria in the world, bought stuff from the highest Souvenir shop in the world and YES, celebrated Dinesh’s birthday, the highest birthday in the world! 🙂 Rode back and reached the warm climes (relatively!) of Leh around 6 PM.

A Happy Birthday indeed 🙂

 

Day10: Sunday July10, 2011:

Age is catching up with me, fast 😐 ! Body refused to listen. Dinesh & I decided to stay back & do some lazy shopping in Leh, while Prabul decided to take a crack at the unofficial HIGHEST MOTOR ABLE PASS in the world – Marsimik-La. Feel real proud to say he made it! Kudos buddy, that is something not everyone achieves! We spent the day lazing around Leh town, buying knick-knacks for loved ones back home. Prabul called around evening and informed us he had taken sick around Pangong lake and was staying back there for the night. We were worried, but hoped he would be fit to reach us next morning.

Not everything in Leh is grey and brown and white!

 

(To be continued....)

 

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