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/-
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/-
Distance this period: 180.85 km Total Distance: 2062.20 km
Tangtse – 0 km
Spangmik – 43.94 km
Chusul – 48.08 km
Nyoma – 88.83 km
Tangtse is the first place for inner line permit check point. There is a bridge before you enter the town, just after the bridge you park your vehicle and go inside a tent. One punjabi aryman was funny enough to make me smile. He told me to be on my right side for the next two days journey. Its a short ride to Pangong Lake. yes, THE FAMOUS PANGONG LAKE. So great to be here. Food was too costly, too windy to camp; so moved ahead to the next settlement called Spangmik. Got a room for rs. 200/- rained whole night.
Km covered – 43.94 km
Total expense – 410/-
So the touristy thing ends here. I was heading to a barren land today; to CHUSUL. It was one hell of a ride, and a memorable one. Along the beautiful Pangong Lake. Started as early as 0830 am and made it to Chusul by 0400 pm.
Lonely road along the lake, so much in love with its water and sorrounding air. Merak, a police check point, here deposited a copy of permit. Didn’t see any food joints, however the policeman told me to ask any villager and they will be happy to serve you one. One motorbiker from Mumbai was turned back, riding without permit.
Alongside the lake, downish ride, just one small hill before Chusul. Rocky, sandy, water you get everything but no proper road.
Chusul was silent like hell. Asked local about staying accodomation, one fellow offered his house, accepted his offer but camped outside in his courtyard. Dinner with them was nice. One policeman came to check upon me, took a copy of permit, a long chat.
Kms covered – 48.09 km
Total expense – 210/-
The Stay was nice, good and honest people. Only man in the house, taking care of his lady and four daughters, a camper jeep. Food supply comes from Leh, little bit of farming, have a small shop, lady runs it. Men & women both do hard work, BRO hires them for road work, and things like that. God! how much for survival. I felt very bad, was worried how he gonna marry his daughters.
Said my goodbyes and kept on the bad road. Very bad till Tsaga village.
Chusul is the point from one road goes to Pangong Lake, another one goes to Tangtse directly, another goes all the way up to Kaksang La and HorLa, and then one goes along the China border which I was going to ride today.
I was out of my emergency food supply. But kept riding. One army convoy passed, I chased the last truck, it happens to be a food supply truck. The man sitting at the back was kind enough to through some dry fruits and a tetra-pack of real juice. wow, felt like rescued from a fight.
20 kms from Chusul is 13 Kumaon War memorial. Strong headwind, bad full of stone road, slightly elevated up road leads to Tsaga La top. There’s army camp at further up and one helipad. Downhill starts here and then tarmac road. Great to be back on proper road. Tsaga Village, then CRPF check point, submitted a copy of permit. Met a jawan from my own land, got hot tea, snacks and some warmth inside the camp. Tarmac continues on downhill. Then Loma Bend, a roundabout, and CRPF checkpoint, another copy of permit, another hospitality from CRPF jawans. From here left goes to Hanle (~ 50 kms), Hanle is the place where you get to see stars in amazingly different way; like the whole of milky way galaxy comes to visit here.
I took right to Nyoma. Barren land again, not a single soul along the road, just army camps at distant places. Nyoma, camped.
Km covered – 88.83
Total expense – 60/-
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/-
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/-
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/-
Distance this period: 0.00 km Total Distance: 1152.74 km
Sonmarg – 0 km (forced rest of 2 days)
I was enjoying watching tv after a long time while it rained outside. I checked-out pretty early in the morning and to my surprise a barrier was put up there by police; no vehicle was allowed to pass. Damn! What to do now? I was out of the hotel already; roads were blocked from both the sides and there was no estimate of clearance!
I locked The X near a chicken shop and walked some 2 km to check out the landslide; sure enough it was massive. Yatris were struck too. Army came to our rescue; they put up some tents for stay and arranged food.
Hotel prices went rocketed high; the room I was staying previous night for 500 bucks was already booked for 1500 today. A perfect business opportunity.
Police was no help, Army allowed to camp the other side.
Distance this period: 343.51 km Total Distance: 1152.74 km
Udhampur – 24.37 km (Day 11)
Ramban – 84.98 km (Day 12)
Toofani Nalla Camp – 55.06 km (Day 13)
Kangan – 134.90 km (Day 14)
Sonmarg – 44.20 km (Day 15)
It was a rainy night at the dhaba, my bags were wet but then it was going to be a short ride today. Found a hotel in Udhampur, washed The X, cloths, myself and rested whole day, it was raining anyway. Stay – Hotel Sasan.
Kms covered – 24.37
Total expense – Rs. 765/-
It rained on n off and in the morning too. I went out to have tea, owner tells me about the blockage after Patni-Top and traffic wasn’t allowed to pass from here itself. I saw an opportunity to have fun on the empty roads. I started in the rain, passing the long line of vehicles.
It was a yatra season (Amarnath Yatra) so traffic was heavy and continuous rain made it worse. I was gaining elevation as soon as I left Udhampur. But the good thing was no traffic, pleasant weather, and roadside Bhandaras. Made it to the top pretty early, so decided to continue on the downhill; a bad decision. Traffic was blocked for two days from both the sides due to a landslide; as I was enjoying the foggy breeze on downhill, something worse was waiting for me. Traffic was open by then, a huge jam, slippery slush, and long array of bloody trucks honking shouting like they just got released from prison or something. One hell of a ride, made it to Ramban. Booked one unmaned hotel.
Kms covered – 84.98
Total expense – 610/-
Now I was in a territory where you see army everywhere. Banihal. Then on my way to Jawahar Tunnel, I met one guy on cycle going to Amarnath cave. He started from Jabalpur and in 25 days he made it here, he was staying in temples, Lungers/Bhandaras. So it was going to be my first stay on Lungers/Bhandaras at Toofani Nalla camp meant for Yatris, just before the tunnel. Though we tried to pass the tunnel but army turned us back; it wasn’t possible to hold the heavy traffic for us.
Kms covered – 55.06
Total expense – 50/-
Next morning we crossed the tunnel, beautiful Kashmir Valley was waiting for us other side. One could clearly feel the difference; Jammu side was bright, sunny and Kashmir was cloudy, a little bit warm. Downhill starts just after the tunnel, again a huge traffic was there. At Anantnag (he called it Chhota Pakistan) departed from the guy and continued to Pampore, then Srinagar, circled the beautiful Dal Lake. Made it to Kangan for the night.
Kms covered – 134.90
Total expense – 630/-
Its been 9 days of ride without a rest day, so it was going to be a short ride to Sonmarg today; where I decided to spend one extra day, resting. but it took ages to cover those 44 km. In between the ride, I washed my bike ‘The X’ on a small river, took a nap by roadside; a sunny day today. I needed a rest now, 9 days of continuous ride was no fun. Finally Sonmarg, booked a room for bloody rs. 700/- after much bargaining.
Kms covered – 44.20
Total expense – 890/-
It rained again, the owner tells me road is blocked from both the sides of Sonmarg. A disaster waiting for me.
Delhi – Karnal – Ambala – Nalagarh – Amb – Kangra
July 2nd to 6th 2015
Distance this period: 490.68km Total Distance: 490.68km
Original plan was to leave Delhi on 1st but then planning is like journey itself. Couldn’t leave on 1st, there were so many memories to leave behind. Finally 4 o’clock next morning I was all set to leave.
First day first show, made it to Karnal on flat road, rode 145.53 kms (longest, record of the tour) in about 8 hrs on a damn hot day. At Karnal bus stand found one hotel, called Hotel Dreemz. It was a long ride today and crashed after dinner.
Kms covered – 145.53
Total expense – Rs. 990/-
Second day; flatish road continued. nothing unusual. Before Ambala cantt. witnessed something cheary, army mens going and coming out of the bushes. On close inspection found some ladies down there doing their business. 😉 LalKurti is the area in Ambala Cantt where you get cheap hotels, I found one, Hotel Sunstar.
Kms covered – 74.49
Total expense – Rs. 600/-
On third day I was riding on foot of the hills, which was pleasant. In Himachal, you must try tasty kadi-chawal on a local dhaba or roadside tin-shed eateries manned by a woman. Made it to Nalagarh, Hotel Shrikant.
Kms covered – 93.00
Total expense – Rs. 660/-
At Nalagarh, got news of Sach pass being open for traffic and also came the first change on original route plan, instead of going towards Swarghat, wished to visit Nangal Dam. So, continued towards Anandpur Sahib, famous Gurudwara. Had lunch there, the lady at the counter was not happy that it took me 4 days of cycling to reach here. Nice. Then it rained heavily. Found one raodside dhaba at Amb and a night stay there.
Kms covered – 96.21
Total expense – Rs. 370/-
Today was 5th day of riding. Lots of ups and down, the killing climb of Mubarikpur, had fruit chat at the fruit chat corner. Skipped Bharwain; I had promised a friend that I will meet him at his home but his nummber was not reachable so skipped. Made it to Kangra. Hotel Jai Maa.
Kms covered – 81.45
Total expense – Rs. 670/-
After 5 days of continuous riding, took a rest day at Kangra. Its my Birthday today.
Kms covered – 0.00
Total expense – Rs. 575/-