DESCRIPTION: “La” means Passes, and “Dhak” means numerous, and thus Ladakh is known as the “Land of High Passes.”
Total: 10,353 km – Flight: 8913 Km, Car: 540 Km, Bike: 900 km
Singapore to Delhi – By Flight 4150 km
Delhi to Manali – By Car 540 km
Manali to Leh – By Bike 900 km
Leh to Delhi – By Flight 613 km
Delhi to Singapore – By Flight 4150 km
First pit stop food on the way to Manali:
On the training day in Manali, getting to know our 500 CC bikes and how they react to conditions in Leh Ladakh – Nothing like training; it was a small ride to the mall road and back. Still, we got a chance to click a few photos.
Day 1 Ride from Manali took us to the mechanic place to check our bikes for the unforgiving terrain of Leh Ladakh
Pass verification and entry to Leh:
Rohtang La is one of the mighty mountains passes in Ladakh which connects Manali and Leh. Being one of the highest passes in the Himalayas, it offers spectacular views throughout the journey. Featuring clear blue skies it is most definitely a favoured pass of riders who go on a road trip to Ladakh.
We felt our first chills here.
A village in Lahaul, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Jispa is located 22 km north of Keylong and 7 km south of Darcha, along the Manali-Leh Highway and the Bhaga river. There are approximately 20 villages between Jispa and Keylong.
We spend our first night in JISPA. I planned to run and took Sandip along, I could hardly run for a km then I lost Sandip as he kept running, and I was walking.
All the way I was walking back, I was thinking of the race they have in the Leh Ladhak, how people even think of it, and if they think they need to train hard, and JISPA is not the highest part of Leh. Well got to experience how it is to run at that altitude.
Next day all set to drive:
Had to stop at this small lake on the way, but frankly, they are unlimited places all along the way which are picturesque and breathtaking, as this was the first lake, got off the bike to get one, thanks to Yogesh for this one.
ZING ZING Bar – Dhaba: Interesting name, I suppose goes with the roads zig zag.
Some muscles on the go:
Sarchu is a major halt point with tented accommodation in the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway, on the boundary between Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in India. It is situated between Baralacha La to the south and Lachulung La to the north, at an altitude of 4,201 m
Everyone got this photo as soon as we reached SARCHU, our night stay in the tents.
First Group Jump of many to follow @ Sarchu
The longest ride of the trip 251 km
The journey from Sarchu to Leh was quite challenging because we had to cross Gata loops, Nakeela Pass, Lachungla Pass, Moore Plains, and Tanglanga La pass before reaching Leh. It easily took around 8-10 hours to reach Leh from Sarchu.
That day coincidently most of us were wearing some form of red colour.
Gata loops: This series of 22 amazing hairpin bends is winding and steep. You start at 4.190m (13,746ft) to end at 4.650m (15,255ft).
Gata Loops is the name of the sharply winding and precipitous ascent in a steep and narrow zig-zag road nestled in the Western Himalayas in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It’s one of the most famous hair-pinned roads in the world.
The loops are 10.3 km, and each loop is between 300-600 meters. The longest loops are the last two ones 800 meters and a kilometer and a half, respectively.
Tanglang La – elevation 5,328 metres (17,480 ft), is a high-altitude mountain pass in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. As of September 2018, the Leh–Manali Highway leading south from Upshi to Tanglang La is paved, with the exception of a very short (approximately 500 m) unpaved section just north of the pass. The pass itself is paved. On ascending the pass from the Moore plains, the road is well paved with occasional streams crossing.
Ride Leh to Pangong another 200+ km ride
Stay at Pangong Tso (Lake): Pangong Tso Lake: This wide lake covering an area of 130 km has the most peaceful aura due to its sea green color.
One start wondering if this is heaven; Leh Ladakh is just out of this world in terms of its beauty and variety; it never disappoints. The Lake with blue skies and mountains is a feast to the eyes.
Second Group Jump @ Pangong Tso
I also liked the way there are Motivation quotes or saying all along the drive. A couple of them we captured on our back to Leh from Pangong Tso
Changla Pass 17688 feet. It is the en-route from Pangong Tso to Leh – offers a fascinating view of the Ladakh Range. It is amongst the highest motorable passes in the world, the highest being Khardungla en-route from Leh to Nubra Valley.
What a drive. Awesome.
Lunch @ Changla pass
Gurdwara Sri Pathar Sahib
It is a beautiful Gurudwara sahib constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak, about 25 miles away from Leh, on the Leh-Kargil road, 12000 ft above sea level. The Gurdwara was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit to the Ladakh region of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder Guru of the Sikh faith.
History and more information: Gurdwara Sri Pathar Sahib
I took the courage to climb the steps to the hilltop above the Gurudwara, where the Nishan Sahib was installed. Every step was challenging as climbing at higher altitudes with less oxygen is not fun.
According to a local legend, once a wicked demon live in the area who terrorised the people where the gurdwara is now situated. The people prayed to the Almighty for help. It is said that Guru Nanak heard their woes and came to their aid. He settled down on the bank of the river below the hill where the wicked demon lived. The Guru blessed the people with sermons and became popular in the area. The locals called him Nanak Lama. Seeing this the demon got into a rage and decided to kill Guru Nanak Dev.
One morning when the Guru was sitting in meditation, the demon pushed a large pathar (boulder), down from the hilltop, with the intention of killing the Guru. The boulder gained speed as it rumbled down the hillside, but when it touched the Guru’s body, it softened like warm wax and came to a halt against Guru Nanak’s back. The Guru kept on meditating unhurt and undisturbed. Thinking that the Guru had been killed, the demon came down and was taken aback to see the Guru deep in meditation. In a fit of anger, he tried to push the boulder with his right foot, but as the pathar still had the softness of warm wax, his foot got embedded in it. Pulling his foot from the boulder, the demon was dumbfounded to see the impression his foot had just left in the stone.
Footprint in the rock: On seeing this, the demon realised his powerlessness in comparison to the spiritual power of the great Guru. He fell at the feet of Guru Nanak Dev and begged for forgiveness. Guru Sahib advised him to get rid of his wicked ways and asked him to lead a life of a noble person. This changed the life of the demon, who gave up evil deeds and started serving the people.
Thiksey Monastery is located on top of a hill in Thiksey, approximately 19 kilometers (12 mi) east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is the largest gompa in central Ladakh, notably containing a separate set of buildings for female renunciates that has been the source of significant recent building and reorganization.
The monastery is located at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 ft) in the Indus Valley.
This Statue @ Thikse Monastery is so close to my heart that I was mesmerized, and it gave peace to my heart instantly.
I sat there for as long as I could and thought to click a photo and keep it with me and will look into the statue’s eyes when I am not able to find peace. Well have not got to that dark place yet and hope not to. But every time I see the photo, I love it all over again.
I would prefer to end this blog here with this photo.