NORTH BY NORTHEAST ‘20 – CHISAPANI TO POKHRA NEPAL’

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Agaiya – Chainpur – Butwal – Syangya – Pokhra Nepal

Distance this period: 465.47 km Total Distance: 4874.97 km

Agaiya (camp) – 117.2 km

Chainpur (camp) – 125.61 km

Butwal (camp) – 89.66 km

Syangya (camp) – 91.0 km

Pokhra – 42.0 km

Today’s ride was full of excitement. Started with fear while crossing Birdia National Park. Previous night people at the dhaba told me scary stories of wild animal attacking passerby in broad daylight that too on a wide road. So rode like anything… then at the end, already getting dark and entered Banke national park, again all alone big jungle both the sides of the road. Scary.. Dinner and found a tin shed to camp.

Total KM – 117.2 km
Total expense – 400/- rs.
Approx time – 6.35 hrs.

Hate these flat roads.. breakfast at Kusum. Lunch at Amilia. Met 2 cycling couple all the way Spain. Roads were empty due to strike. Chainpur…. asked a hotelwala if I can camp in his yard, but thats for bus parking he says. But he opens his terrace though, bike parked in garage.

Total KM – 125.61 km
Total expense – 410/- rs.
Approx time – 10.00 hrs.

All flat to Butwal. At Junction turned left to Pokhra road. En-route lots of hotel and food points but none offered proper meal and stay. They were open but offered drink and snacks only. Found a flat ground by roadside and camped.

Total KM – 89.66 km

Total expense – 280/- rs.
Approx time – 7.20 hrs.

Hills again, and I’m loving it. Speedometer stopped working today. Kali-Godawari river bridge… ups and downs continued.. Camped 5 kms short to Syangya town.

Total KM – 91.0 km
Total expense – 290/- rs.
Approx time – 9.00 hrs.

Ups and downs continued.. Sunny day. Made it to Pokhra today. Lake Side area is where all the fun is someone told me.. At 1st roundabouttook left to Taal area, saw a bike shop, went in, found a nice guy, little bit of talking and he refers me to a cheap hotel nearby. Booked it for 3 rest days.

Total KM – 91.0 km
Total expense – 290/- rs.
Approx time – 9.00 hrs.

A goodnight it is..
They say they found first civilization proof somehwere here..

 

Nice spot by roadside.. a cold one though
Views are lovely

 

Nepali breakfast..

 

First view of Pokhra Nepal….

NORTH BY NORTHEAST ‘16 – SUNGRI TO DEHRADUN’

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Sungri – Hanol – Damta – Dehradun

Distance this period: 283.90 km Total Distance: 3439.09 km

Sungri – 0 km

Hanol – 85.10 km

Damta – 99 km

Dehradun – 99.80 km

I entered Uttarakhand today. Its all downhill from Sungri. Rohru… Got a puncture. And while fixing that my front wheel got a bad alignment, which I realised very late. Result… well the tire got some bad cuts which foreced me to take a decision to de-tour towards Dehradun. Thats the only place I could get a new tire. Luch rajma-rice @ Tiuni. A bridge then left turn to Hanol. Right turn goes Chakrata. Before bridge the road leads to Shimla. Rohru to Katkoti is dusty bad riding, bad traffic. Booked a hotel in Hanol, by roadside ovelooking a temple.

Total KM – 85.10 km

Total expense – 410/- rs.

Approx time – 6.00 hrs.

Next day started uphill to Mori. From here straight goes to har-ki-dun. I look right turn to Purola. Lunch. At Naugaon, took straight road to Dehradun. Nice road, Rained. Made it to Dumta. Booked Hotel.

Total KM – 99 km

Total expense – 480/- rs.

Approx time – 8.00 hrs.

Good road till the junction, where left goes via Mussoorie right goes vai Vukasnagar. After lunch of parantha there look left turn to uphill ride. Quite road till the Fall, Kempty Falls then lots of traffic. loud music and waste by roadside. Foggie top at Mussoorie then downhill. Track & trails shop is near Kalika Market but they had no tire for me. Gave address of Firefox store near Wadia Institute. They had one.. Called a friend, stored The X there for next 3 days and went to Haldwani to see my family.

 

Now leaving Himachal… Approaching UK

 

This river divides HP to UK

 

Hanol Temple.. Mahasu Devta Temple.. ASI has marked it as heritage site.. that Tons river or Tamas means the water in it is forbidden.. not to be used for irrigation etc..

 

And I got a weired look
Then there are beautiful villages..

 

Yup.. thats the road I just peddled up..
Thats Kempty Falls on the back.. Me climbing up in fury

 

Mussoorie… in its gloryness

North by Northeast ‘15 – Chitkul To Sungri’

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Chitkul – Chaura – Daran Ghati – Sungri

Distance this period: 232.30 km Total Distance: 3155.19 km

Chitkul – 0 km

Chaura – 100.90 km

Daran Ghati– 56.0 km

Sungri – 75.40 km

Plan was to stay in Chitkul for a longer duration and relax, but I felt kind of odd there so left next day. Breakfast at Sangla, Tea, piranha, Jalebi & kept Bananas for the ride. Urni climb took some time, lunch at Tapri, a nice dadi chawal. Jyori was the target, asked one guy about staying option there. Turned out to be a nice guy, offered me to stay at his place. Had a nice bath, his family was away so just both of us. His cousins cook food for us. He was on leave from his unit J&K rifles. Opened a bottle, rest I have no idea when I slept.

Total KM – 100.90 km

Total expense – 160/- rs.

Approx time – 8.04 hrs.

Army-mans cousin helped me pack my stuff, it was a nice stay. At Jeori took left turn and climbed all the way up to Gharat. Apples everywhere. From Gharat it was a flat ride. Mashnu was messy so was the left turn from there. Real bad kacha road, slush and jungle, on top of it there was no human soul around. I was scared like hell. It was a 12 kms of scary ride all the way up to the top. Tea shop at the top and a HPPWD rest house. Caretaker was there at the tea shop, drunk. I asked if I can camp there inside the rest house perimeter, he says no. So booked a room, bath followed by tea. He tells me it was built in 1913 by British, re-newd recently. Rice meat for the night, lots of stories, his Arunachal trip for a marriage, his encounter with a bear and langoor hunting. The rest house is lovely, in between jungles.

Total KM – 56.0 km

Total expense – 400/- rs.

Approx time – 6.00 hrs.

HPPWD stay was awesome, had the leftover meat in the morning with parantha. Started the journey downhill, real bad loose stones for 4 kms. Hit bottom at the river bridge, Taklech. market, had chowmin, Just after the bridge took left turn. right goes to Rampur. Uphill starts, some curves are quite steep. At top jungle starts, flat riding to Bahli. Lunch, waited for PWD rest house caretaker, but bad luck! no rooms. worthless 2 hours of wait. Withdrawn some cash from SBI ATM, and started towards Sungri around 6pm. Again scared of bear attack peddled hard. Asked The caretaker at Sungri PWD rest house if I can camp. A suspicious guy, but offered me room, ordered food. At night some other fellow came and slept in the same room. Nice view from the rest house. Britishers surely had a good taste.

Total KM – 75.40 km

Total expense – 455/- rs.

Approx time – 7.30 hrs.


Some marvelous job cutting the rock.


Road


Then this iconic cut, selfie to banti hai


After a long long time charm of home & home cooked food.


Place called Gharat at the top. Left goes to Sarahan. I took right turn


Ride at the top was great, view of valley, bad road but worth riding


Through that jungle, scary ride. A bear attack any time!!


Was so happy to see some building and hope of finding some company and rest


The rest house, bike and the caretaker


A tough and challenging ride


The views were fantastic tough

North by Northeast ‘13 – Chandra Taal To Hurling’

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Chandra Taal (rest day) – Losar – Kaza – Hurling HPPWD

Distance this period: 237.68 km Total Distance: 2439.77 km

Chandra Taal – 0 km
Losar – 36.92 km
Kaza – 68.04 km
Hurling – 60.08 km

Took a rest dat at Chandra Taal. Campsite is way below the actual Taal. Ask a tent wallah if I can camp in front of his tent cum food stall, he said yes! ate maggie, 80 rs. for that one bowl of noodles, can you believe? hilarious. got stomach-ache, a sick day, loosemotions, headache. No good.
Total KM – 0 kms
Total expense – 0/-

early morning packed everything, saw another cyclist spreading his sleeping bag open in air at far. bumpy ride continued. Ate nothing the previous day so thought of going back to Batal and have a meal but the thought of the ride back said no so skipped it. 9 kms up to the Kunzum La Top, pretty bumpy and sunny day. at 12 noon made it the top. Rested a bit. Then starts worst downhill, hands shaking like anything, took a lot of energy on concentration & riding. Then some flat and came Losar. 1st restaurant up, ordered food, got talking to the owner, he says I can camp in his premises at the back. He tells me one cyclist met with an accident and taken back to Manali. Then came the other cyclist, from Boka ( a country sandwitched between Spain & France) he tells me.
Total KM – 36.92 kms
Total expense – 280/-
Approx time – 5.42 Hrs

Losar is the place where you need to register yourself with the local police.
Bloody punctured day today; 5 in total. Started with new European guy at 7, 1st puncture just after 5 kms of ride, the guy helped me to fix it. At Kuato, asked locals about Kibber route, got mixed response some said yes we can cross it some said no. The GREF guy confirms road is being built till Chichim; to reach Kibber, a suspension bridge is there, you cannot ride on it. So we went towards Kaza. Flat after flat tire so changed the rear tire just after the place called Hal. The guy continued his journey I fixed my bike. Got ATM near Kaza bazaar. took out 2k, had chowmin momo, then got puncture again. Camped by the road and fixed it. Took off the mudguard as well.
Total KM – 68.04 kms
Total expense – 210/-
Approx time – 6.00 Hrs

Got up at 5, cleaned the bike and started at 9. today was a no water route. Some pretty bad stretches. Following the Spiti river. Lunch at Tabo, other than that no food option in-between. Got talking with the owner Ramesh, nice guy, been there for 15 years, originally from Bilaspur, now organises tours trekking and all. Made it to Hurling. Tea and enquired about Sumdo stay options, reply came as strict NO, said better check with HPPWD right here. Nice guy the caretaker. He allowed me to camp inside. Talks and then dinner at some restaurant Tengin Fast food.
Total KM – 60.08 kms
Total expense – 180/-
Approx time – 6.30 Hrs

Missed the route towards Gue, the mummy place. its 8 kms off the main road. Had tea samosa jalebi at Sumdo. Sumdo is the place where foreigers need to show ILP, can get it from Kaza. I just registered mysellf. Sumdo is just a army transit place no stay option. Here you cross the Spiti river, now it will flow to your left side. Road widening work in progress. Easy climb of 13 kms before Nako. Lunch. Lovely downhill till the bridge where Spiti river meets ugly mighty Sutlej river. Namgia, you can take a turn towards ShipkiLa, doors ro ChinaLand. thought of going up but heavy headwind + late. Made it to Pooh by 7 pm. 3 kms up from main road, found a hotel (Om Hotel).
Total KM – 92.80 kms
Total expense – 610/-
Approx time – 9.11 Hrs

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The Kunzum La top
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The X’ resting 
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The downhill starts, jolting bolting and falling
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This is the road
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Then I could smell the food
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Got a company for a day, lovely
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Amazingly carved
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Some town is coming
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Kibber, I guess and Kibber monastry a little up. The other side of the river Spiti
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Everyday morning routine
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Somewhere into the wilderness
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Not so far to the touchdown

Driving License procedure – Delhi

Driving License procedure – Delhi

Okay, so now that I have got my driving license (2 wheeler vehicle only), let me jot down the procedure here.

  1. First go to https://dlpay.dimts.in/app/index.aspx
  2. Apply for Learner’s License, fill up the form online.
  3. Pick a time slot to book appointment, pay fee, which is rs 30/-+service charge for two wheeler. I booked early morning slot of 07:00 – 07:30 AM. I would advise you to book early one to avoid long queue there.
  4. Print out your filled form, paste a photograph and sign below it, fee receipt along with self-attested below documents.
  5. You need 2 documents –
    • Residence Proof of Delhi
    • Age Proof
    • Passport size photograph
  6. For residence – Aadhar card or voter id card or passport etc. I submitted Aadhar Card.
  7. For age – Pan card or School certificate or birth certificate etc. I submitted School Certificate.
  8. On appointment day carry your original documents, with a copy of each self-attested.
  9. I went to Sheikh Sarai office for 2 wheeler license; there you need to go to counter no 9. Give your filled form, he will ask for original documents. Confirm your details on the system, like name, address etc.
  10. He will give you a fee receipt and pass your form to counter no. 10. There you have to give finger prints; signature and they will click a photo of you. This photo will be there in your DL, so make sure you smile. J
  11. Once this is done they will attest your form, stamp and will return to you.
  12. Now you have to go 2nd floor room no 210 for online test.
  13. Wait for your turn, hand over your form. Keep the only fee receipt with you. Give test. Result will be in front of you. If fail you have to go back again after a week. If pass, you have to wait till 2 o’clock.
  14. At 2 o’clock they will distribute the learner’s license from room no 212.
  15. Now you got your learning license, learn to ride. You got ONE month time to apply for permanent license.
  16. After 30 days you again need to go online https://dlpay.dimts.in/app/index.aspx
  17. Apply for permanent license, book appointment pay fee of rs. 250/- + for 2 wheeler vehicle. Again print the filled form and fee receipt, affix a photograph of yours, self-attest.
  18. On appointment day, carry your bike with a sign L at front & back (imp.) with you, filled form with photo, fee receipt. Go to counter no 9 (Sheikh Sarai), give your finger prints and collect fee receipt.
  19. Carry your form, pick your bike and go to the main road just outside office building.
  20. There will be a long queue with vehicles with sign L, give your form to the inspector. Wait.
  21. As soon as you hear your name; fasten your helmet, start your bike, go to the start line. Listen to the inspector carefully and proceed. Complete the round and reach to the inspector, he will inform you the result. If pass your DL will reach to your address within a week. If fail, come back again after 8 days.
  22. He failed me on my first driving test.
    1. Reasons-
      1. Helmet not fasten correctly
      2. Crossed the zebra line at the red light.
      3. Did not give left indicator while parking the bike.
  23. So I went again after 8 days, (10 days actually). Had to pay 50/- rs fee at counter no 1 and finger print at counter no 2. Gave test again and passed.
  24. I actually forgot counter no 2 thing; didn’t give finger prints. I just paid fees and gave test, went home and then office. At evening I got a call from rto office to come again and complete finger prints part. So next morning went again there and completed.
  25. So on 19th Oct 2016 all formalities completed; on 22nd Oct India Post delivered my permanent driving license at my door.

Happy driving everyone!

North by Northeast ‘11 – Pang To Grampo’

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Pang – Sarchu – Darcha – Grampo campsite

Distance this period: 237.68 km Total Distance: 2439.77 km

Pang – 0 km
Sarchu – 79.16 km
Darcha – 79.22 km
Grampo – 79.30 km

From Pang, the charm of Manali – Leh highwayturns pale. Bad road starts, the rain made it worse. Now that Tanglang La was closed, traffic coming from Leh was stopped too. So it was a good ride. Made it to LachungLa top, then down to Whisky Nallah, had maggie then uphill to NakeeLa. Then downhill, 21 loops of Ghata Loops started. Loved it. Touched the riverbed, then a bridge, broken. BRO was working, even though peoples were walking on that bridge, the main guy didn’t allow me to pass through. Wasted an hour, he made me first to cross, everyone was clapping, nice.
Then flatish ride to Sarchu. crossed a bridge and officially entered into Himachal Pradesh. One guy from tid shed shouted stay dinner daru here, so here I was sipping a bottle of bear in my tent. Adios J&K. Camped
Total KM – 79.16 kms
Total expense – 310/-

One day of rest makes a lots of different.. good ones.

Early morning heard peoples talking about God; well I am in HP now.
Flattish ride to Kilingsarai BRO dett. uphill starts, Bharatpur. Lunch time. Met 2 cyclists going in same direction, then met Worldbiking couple (going opposite, to Leh), some chat, then 2 more Spanish cyclists going towards Leh. Baralacha La Top, again got a chance to salute entire army convoy. Zingzingbar. Tea Chana at Patseo. Made it to Darcha. Room for 100/- rs.
Total KM – 79.22 kms
Total expense – 470/-

Good road continued all the way to Keylong. Had piranha. Then a bad patch of road, Tandi Bridge, THE famous Tandi bridge heard a lot this bridge before now here I was. Two rivers Chandra and Bhaga meets here. Then dusty uphill to Gondala. On this dust met Ahmedabad family of Pang stay. Tanglang La was still closed so they turned back. Luch at Sissu. Koksar, a bridge, the starts the horrible dirly climb of Rohtang La. Dragged myself to a spot where I could camp. Found one, as soon as I opened the tent, a guy comes and enquires what am I upto. Nice guy from Nepal. Invited me to camp next to his camp other side of wallah. He made a nice dinner for me, how lovely.
Total KM – 79.30 km
Total expense – 90/-

first pass of today.. LachungLa
Whisky Nallah at the bottom. Lunch point.
Inside view of the temporary tents..
Sleep is 45 kms away..
2nd pass of the day.. NakeeLa
HP roadways runs a daily bus Delhi to Leh..in 2 days. First stop Keylong. Only during the season.
Well, its time to park The X and salute the braves…
Ghata Loops starts, Thank God, I’m going down..
Sarchu approaching
They look pretty, but quite dangerous to cross. Chilly, fast and too many holes in there…
Baralacha La Pass… Way too windy to breath..
Road is freshly tared and smooth like a skin..
Darcha approaching
Keylong..
from campsite..

North by Northeast ‘10 – Nyoma To Pang’

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Nyoma Camp – Tsokar (Thugje) – Pang

Distance this period: 139.89 km Total Distance: 2202.09 km

Nyoma – 0 km
Tsokar – 79.23 km
Pang – 60.66 km
Pang (rest day) – 0 km

Nyoma has good home stays and hotels, food options available easily. But I was in no mood to spend money on leisure. So had some noodels and headed to a isolated place, camped and slept. It rained at night and continued in the morning. Gave a little window to pack my stuff and keep moving. The night was beautiful but felt lonely.

22 km to Nyoma is Mahe, right road goes to HorLa, KaksangLa to Chusul, I kept my left towards to Mahe bridge, Police check post. Permit and entry. Nice guy, gave me salty tea, I was hungry, wet, shaky completely drenched. Straight road goes towards Leh, I crossed the bridge to my left. 12 km is Sumdho, Before the town is a junction, left goes to Tso Moriri. I took straight to my right. A shop is there at Sumdho but no one was there.

Further 7 kms is Puga, just few houses. Some tarmac road and then starts the bloody rocky climb to Pologongka La. This 11 km to the top is damn nasty, pushed all the way up. 2 days of no food made it worse. It was already 5 pm when I reached the top. Found two guy drinking, continued, hurders camp, kids chased me on downhill. Then weather turned ugly, rained, crossed two dangerous water crossing, water was flowing like hell up my waist. wet pannier, wet cloths, dark, way to windy to handle the bike. Flaged down upcoming vehicle but he responded with a bad news, next town further 10 kms. He suggested to cross the watercrossing from middle of the road, smart guy.

My bike The X was in full mood today, rode it like running for my life and it obeyed me like a partner. I almost kissed it. At 8 pm a shop keeper offered a room for 300/- and warm food. Bargained for 200/- all. One hell of a ride today.
Its 16 kms to Manali-Leh highway! yay..
Kms covered – 79.23 km
Total expense – 550/-

Next day started as late as 11 am. Theres one short cut to the Manali – Leh highway but took a long one. Debring, 40 kms to Pang, Moore Plains, met one Irish cyclist solo and a guy from Banglore, both riding towards Leh. Weather turned ugly, strong headwind, some rain. Then Pang. A lady offered a bed for 100/- rs.
Kms covered – 60.66 km
Total expense – 615/-

Took a rest day at Pang, nothing much to do here. Borrowed some carosine from the owner lady and washed The X nicely.
Then met a family from Ahmedabad, they stayed at Manali for a day and rode straight here at Pang, complaining of headache. I advised to check with doctor and they did. Frightened whole family.

It rained and got a news of Tanglang La being closed.

Sumdho. Left goes to Karzok Tso Moriri.. I took right
Road is full of such stones and hard to ride uphill. Puched all the way up
At Pologongka La Top.. Those who say Cycling touring is easy; look at the face, its no sunshine all the time. I had no proper food for 3 days now… Previous day was just a plate of noodels, today not even water let alone food. Carrying just one bottle on such hills is a suicide mission. And I was in one.
It has started raining other side, I must hurry.
This man at Thugje, Tso Kar keeps oscilating between Leh and here. Entire family moves with him here for 4-5 months to help tourists like me to survive.
Good to see tared road after so many days of off-riding. Its gonna be smooth ride for rest of the day. Manali – Leh highway near Debring..
Moore Plains…
Weather turning bad.. Moore Plains.
Vastness has no limit
The X resting
Pang.
Now its time to rest and eat like hell. I really need to fill my stomach put some serious calories and other stuff.

North by Northeast ‘8 – Khardung Village To Tangtse via ChangLa’

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Khardung Village – Ganglas (upper Leh) – Zingral – Tangtse

Distance this period: 187.94 km Total Distance: 1881.35 km

Khardung – 0 km
Ganglas – 52.96 km
Zingral – 81.70 km
Tangtse – 53.28 km

Early morning; woke up without water or food, rode about 10 km to Khardung village for breakfast.

Then the nasty climb of that side up to the Top was killing. It was already 1 o’clock when I crossed North Pullu, continued, I could see sunny weather turning cloudy and 5 km short of the Top it started raining. I started pushing The X on slippery, watery, cold road.

And then a cabbie offered me a lift, couldn’t say no, looking at the furious weather. My plan was to camp just below the Top (~1 km), while coming down I saw one abandoned road workers camp but lift was there, they dropped me at South Pullu. Had some noodles there and rode towards Leh till I found a camp spot just before Leh town.
Kms covered – 52.96
Total expense – 215/-

The crystal clear milky chilled water.

 

Army convoy, a dream come true to salute the full convoy. Some smiled, some gave weired look.

 

Yes! thats the plan. all the way up to KhardungLa Top.
Leh again.

 

Leh again, but continued riding left on Manali road, met a cyclist from Israel. Little chat. Then late breakfast at Karu, packed emergency food. Straight road goes to TanglangLa, I took left turn. Made it to Sakti by noon. Junction; left goes to WariLa, some eating joints are there, had some food there and headed right to ChangLa. What a climb it is, killing gradient. Asked for shelter at Zingral army camp, denied. Then there was this guy called Shindhe, he pointed me to GREF campsite, other side of the road. Nice stay; got heater, some rum, chicken rice and lots of gyan. Zingral Camp
Kms covered – 81.70
Total expense – 250/-

At Sakti

 

The green Sakti.

 

The lonely climb to ChangLa

 

Pushing is normal here.

Had tea early morning there and left. It took 4 hrs to cover last 12 km of ChangLa top, road was pretty bad. At the top, tea was 30 rupees a cup, noodles 60 a plate, great.
But it’s THE TOP.

And WOW! Amazingly wow!! another TOP!!!
Maggie noodles was banned on lowlands but here, I paid 80 rs for this.

Downhill starts from the top, road are nice and tarred. Rained a bit, repeated same mistake of not breaking at the water crossing and fell off the bike. A puncture, left side of the break system broke, don’t know how will I survive with only rear breaking. It’s all down to Durbuk. Junction; left goes to Agham, I took right to Tangtse. A bad day.
Kms covered – 53.28
Total expense – 900/-

The road, other side of the pass.

 

The risky road, not so great for skinny tire like mine.
But vistas are great.

 

This is the curve I came screaming down and glitched the first bad patch but struck on second. got a bad hit, a distorted handlbar, broke front breaking system.

North by Northeast ‘7 – Leh To Khardung La’

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Leh – North Pullu – Hunder – Khardung Village

Distance this period: 186.01 km Total Distance: 1693.41 km

Leh – 0 km
North Pullu – 56.91 km
Hunder – 80.44 km
Khardung Village – 48.66 km

Leh stay was mesmerizing, would love to be there again for a long stay there. Such a charming place.
Kms covered – 0.00
Total expense – 960/-

It was time to conquer the Top, KhardungLa. Started 0530 am, its easy climb to start. Gentle climb and good tarred road upto South Pullu. Check post. Some tea, food stalls there. Then starts bad road, water crossings, and road work never finishes here.

I was in good company of cyclists all the way up, everyone loves challenges I guess.

I pushed last couple of kms, was damn tired and exhausted. Had Maggie at the top. And The Top. What a feeling!

Then I pushed some downhill too, it was too scary to ride on such boulders, potholes and cold. Some terrible water crossings other side. Lession learnt – no riding after 3 o’clock in hills. North Pullu, Stay at some hotel.
Kms covered – 56.91
Total expense – 390/-

Look at the climb, the sunny day, the surroundings, what else you need to finish your challenge!

 

South Pullu at the first curve and dirt road starts. Your eye balls are dancing, don’t they?

 

The TOP!!… So called highest motorable road, and I did it without a motor; on a cycle. Proud moment. but lonely. Felt kind of sad, remembered the movie ‘Into The Wild’

 

This is what the other side look like from the top. So clear

It was all downhill ride today, road is tarred, smooth like a skin, loved the spinning. A Junction, straight road goes towards Agham, I was loving spinning by now so took the left turn, Khalsar, then flattish road to a junction; right ride goes to Panamik, I took the left one to Diskit and then to Hunder. Found a nice hotel.
Kms covered – 80.44
Total expense – 880/-

The dancing road. Nearing Khalsar…

 

The straight road goes to Agham, another route for Pangong Lake via Shyok village or via WariLa. I took the turn.

Couldn’t go further ahead of Hunder. Return back journey started. At Khalsar had lunch. One army van was stationed there, walked up to the young officer sitting at the front seat and saluted him. Bad news – Agham route is blocked. I asked him how he joined forces and all. On the status of road he said local can’t be trusted better check with the chowki stationed before the junction. But a bad day today. What this means – I will have to climb back to the top. Damn!

Then I did, but found myself uneasy on the climb back and camped 10 km short of Khardung Village. Camp
Kms covered – 48.66
Total expense – 100/-

Hunder is famous for camel riding, I wasn’t aware about this fact.

 

Funny, I was so happy to cross this blockage. I packed everything again just to find out another big blockage about 100 meters ahead. So embarrassing! on my stupidity. I wasted some 2 hrs to figure the way out on first blockage.

 

Khardung Village; from the campsite. I was out of food but just couldn’t ride.

North by Northeast ‘5 – Sonmarg To Leh’

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Sonmarg – Drass – Mulbekh – Nurla Camp – Leh
——————————————–
Distance this period: 354.66 km Total Distance: 1507.40 km

Sonmarg – 0 km (Day 16 & 17)
Drass – 65.05 km (Day 18)
Mulbekh – 103.12 km (Day 19)
Camp Nurla – 101.15 km (Day 20)
Leh – 85.34 km (Day 21)

There was no hope of road opening next day too. I headed to army canteen for breakfast, by now everybody knew me as a freak cyclist; they smiled enquired if I was doing alright. For two days I was like a guest there.

Outside I chit chatted with truck drivers, listened their wild stories of bear encounter in the region. They advised me not to camp in open till I reach Kargil.

After two days of rest I was ready to take on slushy, foggy, chilly, showery, yes! The Mighty ZojiLa!

Foggy morning, Amarnath Yatra camp below
Road to ZojiLa pass..

Initial climb was good; then some up, started dirt slippery road. Switchbacks after switchbacks I started pushing the bike, by 11:00am I was at the top. Bad surface continues till Gumri, road is tarted after that till Matiyan, then again bad surface till Drass. Met a hotel owner from my own state, he shared some good stories of the area like how locals celebrate 6-7 months of snow, no connection with the world outside. Drass
Kms covered – 65.05
Total expense – 680/-

Then a clear view.. ZojiLa and Yatra camp below.
Greenery strats after the top..
Nice road.. at the end the village Matiyan. Kids surrounded me smiling, I was the only one eating.

It’s a great road till Kargil, some small climb, a little bit of bad patch then all the way a smooth ride to Mulbekh.

At Mulbekh I stayed at J&K PWD rest house, met the caretakere by accident. Booked a room, while I was trying to adjust in my room a young fellow came, we started chatting randomly. Early morning when I saw that fellow again when I went there to pay the bill. I think he was gay.
Kms covered – 103.12
Total expense – 510/-

Kargil approaching.
A selfie on the road.
Entering the land of Buddha.

Just after Mulbekh, there is one small settlement where I had my breakfast. From here the climb begins – Namika La. Today I was to climb two passes – NamikaLa & FotuLa. It’s a gentle lovely climb to NamikaLa. Met a solo German cyclist at the top. The ups and downs continue to FotuLa. The descent is fun and amazingly steep down on some curves. Then all the way down to Lamayuru, Khaltse, and 6 km ahead of Nurla, I camped near road workers camp.
Kms covered – 101.15
Total expense – 200/-

Early morning met a solo cyclist from Hungry, headed Zanskar.

Saspol, then up to Basgo plains and afterwards beautiful down to Nimmu, on this section I achieved like 70 kmph speed. Loved it. Had lunger at Pather Sahib Gurudwara, no, no night stay accommodation available there they said.

After passing the Leh airport, I was kind of scared due to tiredness, also didn’t see any staying accommodation. Then I met Jai – a cyclist from Banglore and he said he know some place. Lovely.
Gomang Guest House.
Kms covered – 85.34
Total expense – 455/-

A lovely gentle climb to NamikaLa
NamikaLa Top..
A lovely climb.. a view to die for..
Peddled All the way up…
A selfie on the road… approaching another top
FotuLa top..
My favorite.. I sat there viewing this for like ages..
The moonland.. Lamayuru.
The road… around magnetic hills

Getting Leh’d today yaayyyy..