NORTH BY NORTHEAST ‘19 – DARCHULA – NEPAL TO CHISAPANI’

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Pasti – Khichlek – Amargadhi – Godawari – Chisapani

Distance this period: 386.17 km Total Distance: 4406.31 km

Pasti (camp) – 35.44 km

Khichlek – 74.36 km

Amargadhi Dadeldhura – 80.49 km

Godawari (camp)– 112.22 km

Chisapani – 83.66 km

First day ride in Nepal. Tea and followed the Sharda river for about 20km. Good road so far.. lunch at dhaba then its up to Pasti top pass. lots of punctures today. At top got another while fixing that a nearby shop owner came and helped me. offered to stay with them for the night. Played volleyball, had dinner and set up a tent nearby.

Total KM – 35.44 km

Total expense – 150/- rs.

Approx time – 3.28 hrs.

From Pasti its about 3 km uphill ride, then flat, then downhill. Hit a bridge, then up 10 km to Sillake top. Made it to Khuchlek police check post, little verification and booked a room.

Total KM – 74.36 km

Total expense – 280/- rs.

Approx time – 6.20 hrs.

Uphill for 15kms to Satbanjh jn. right goes to Baitadi Jhulaghat, another entry point to here. I took left to Patan. downhill then up for 22 kms, steep and killing uphill. Khudpe. Left goes to Bajhang, further to China border on foot. I went straight after lunch there. Climbs here are pretty steep. Amargadhi. A motorcyclist offered a stay at hotel Greenland. Met the owner. Mild knee pain due to bloody climb, hope tomorrow’s good.

Total KM – 80.49 km

Total expense – 880/- rs.

Approx time – 8.20 hrs.

Wow… what a ride today…. Started 9ish without breakfast. Tried ATM but no cash. Too many ups and downs… the one steep downhill to Godawari bridge. Lunch at Budar. no pics taken today. Fog in the morning fog in the evening.. then rain made it worse…. Downhill was so fun but scary… low visibility… Found one empty govt. building and camped there. dinner at nearby hotel.

Total KM – 112.22 km

Total expense – 415/- rs.

Approx time – 7.36 hrs.

Speedometer started giving different readings, changed battery. Now I was in the flatland nepal, called Tarai area. Hot and humid. Atariya has ATMs, big town. ATM charged me 500/- nepali rupees for my 10k withdrawl. Night in a shitty room, food is nice though.

Total KM – 83.66 km

Total expense – 1190/- rs.

Approx time – 5.22 hrs.

First day in Nepal.. looks nice
Lunch time..

 

 

Nepal really has some steep climbs… my knee started hurting on some climbs.

 

Mela time… some mandir there

 

Celebration..

 

Sceneries are beautiful..

 

This climb all the way from down… exhausted me completely..

 

Bed time…

 

Bed time… I like this one… this is better than previous one..

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

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.