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 ‘6 – Rest day at Leh’

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Distance this period: 0.00 km Total Distance: 1507.40 km

Leh – 0 km (rest of 2 days)

I kept going up from the airport; the climb was killing me because of tiredness. I gave up riding and started pushing. Met Jai and followed him to ‘Gomang guest house’, got a room for 400 bucks.

At the junction, there is a big gate kind of thing welcoming us to the city called Leh. From there, left road goes to the main market beyond that all guest houses hotels are located. Right side road goes to the Top – KardungLa and beyond. The middle road takes you to DC office, where I applied for inner line permit and got it in like in an hour, total fee paid 400 inr.

Inner line permit only required if you going beyond Pangong Lake. You need to clearly mention the route, so basically you need to write MarsimikLa, Merak, Chushul, Tsaga, Hanle. This is for Indian citizens; foreigners are not allowed to visit these places.

Check points – Tangtse, Merak, Chusul, Tsaga village, Loma bend, Nyoma. So you need 6 copies of the permit. But keep some more for emergency or if army asks for it.
Oh! Yes, no idea of MarsimikLa as that was not in my route.

It was nice to be at Leh.

Leh and surrounding hills.

North by Northeast ‘5 – Sonmarg To Leh’

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Sonmarg – Drass – Mulbekh – Nurla Camp – Leh
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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..

North by Northeast ‘2 – Kangra to Roadside Dhaba Near Udhampur’

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Kangra – Dandiyara Bungalow HPPWD rest house – Papri Camp – Basohli – Roadside Dhaba

Distance this period: 318.55 km Total Distance: 809.23 km

Kangra – 0 km (Day 6)
Dandiyara Bungalow HPPWD rest house – 98.24 km (Day 7)
Papri Camp – 52.82 km (Day 8 )
Basohli – 55.62 km (Day 9)
Roadside Dhaba – 111.87 km (Day 10)

Rest day at Kangra was without any events, just rested in hotel room, washed bike & cloths.
Kms covered – 0
Total expense – Rs. 575/-

Resumed next day ride pretty early, after 13 kms took right turn at Shahpur on a freshly tarred all uphill road. Nice view from the top, very less traffic all the way up and then down to Sihunta. Touch the bridge after that bad surface starts to Lahru, then road up to Kakira, follow the steep down road to main road, Tanuhatti and 2 kms up to Dandiyara Bungalow HPPWD rest house on Banikhet road. I was not sure about this rest house, one gentleman told me about this @Kakira over a cup of tea. Today was one hell of a ride, spent more than 10 hrs on the saddle. Stay at Dandiyara Bungalow HPPWD rest house.
Kms covered – 98.24
Total expense – Rs. 600/-

Banikhet is further 10 km up, sharp left turn at the check post and you are on a fun ride. Khairi, zooming all the way down 23 kms, hit bridge, hit another bridge and you are into J&K. Police check post there, had a long chat with them. They advised not to go towards Bani Sarthal due to militancy, rain, road blockage etc. suggested Dhar Road. Registered my details and thanked them, packed some fruits from nearby stall, 14 km uphill ride to Papri was waiting for me. Tea at the top and took right towards Bani ignoring all advises policemen gave. But surface wasn’t good; after 2 km I gave up on the road and camped by the road side. Wow! first day of camping, fearful & excited. Kept my knife close by. Stay – camp near Papri.
Kms covered – 52.82
Total expense – Rs. 105/-

It rained all night, gave me a little window to pack my stuff in the morning. It rained all throughout the day; caused two back to back punctures on front, I was zooming on nice downhill surface couldn’t figure out the bad patches on those numerous water crossings. Made it to Busohli by 2 pm. Phone stopped working today and it won’t until I hit HP again on other side of the hill. Hotel – Hotel Ambica near bus stand Busohli.
Kms covered – 55.62
Total expense – Rs. 390/-

I was on a link road today so as expected its a single lane bad road till Mahanpur t-point; where I joined nice Dhar road, less traffic, all downhill. Crossed a bridge, ordered food at roadside dhaba and stayed there for the night. Cyclists love freebies. Stay – Vaishno Dhaba by roadside.
Kms covered – 111.87
Total expense – Rs. 140/-

First view of Kangra.
Lovely road, perfect weather for riding.
It was a tough climb to Bharwain from Mubarikpur.
Beautiful climb. I was panting on this climb, stopped and saw so many eyes staring on me from this bus.
Now it will be a routine; climb the hill to top and let the air soak all sweat on zooming down, hit the bridge and repeat again.
Greenery around
Road passing through small villages
A different kind of traffic.
No traffic road, just keep your eyes on the road and free the bike.
Took SH 28. I was thinking to go Chamba via Jot and continue to Sach Pass but looking at the weather turned towards Tanuhatti.
They would wait for me and then chase barking like maniac. As soon as I stop they too stoped and look around. And start again..
Tough climb to Banikhet. Spot the HPPWD rest house at the left.
On the way up to Papri. Even this guy is wondering what the hell is wrong with me, why sweat when you can sit inside the car and have a beer.
Khairi.. Other side of the river is J&K.
Busohli approaching.
Waiting for rain to subsidies some.

Fading intuition

Last night too was no good just like previous one; I tried to read book “Steppenwolf” by Hermann Hesse, and with that came my own reflection of my living, past actions and foolishly trying to relate that.

I got this intense feeling to talk to my father, which I couldn’t; being late night, it felt like ages then somehow I was able to move the my own thoughts on myself. It was like an intuition like knowing beforehand that something is going to happen or has already happened which I am not aware of but I am getting inside feelings or like someone signaling me or intuition what we call generally. All was well though, looks like this intuition is also fading with the age.

Well, the thing is I have been living in this room as a prisoner; it has no light, no cellphone coverage let alone internet or stuff like that. It’s been over a year now living like this. The book was like my own reflection- isolated and psychotic.

So I decided to open my arms again, socialize, get active on Facebook again, staring on other peoples life and then comparing with my own, moving ahead. I already have this blog to dump all my negativity, Twitter too comes handy sometime.

I really need to create some awesomeness around me.

Something like this is planned; let’s hope it goes well to start with.

Before that I need to finish this book (the writer claimed that it was highly misunderstood, which is exciting). Meanwhile this is the fourth book I am reading written by Hermann Hesse (kind of my favorite now).

Time Metro & Thoughts

Today, I was coming to office on Metro and looking outside of the window pane, weirdness’ came inside, let’s call it Time Metro. I related this with our lives, every station is like a phase of life or say, an opportunity to do, I don’t know, let’s say to do something, act on something so that we can proceed to a new destination. If we miss a station or opportunity, either wait for next station which is some time apart or curse yourself for not acting on the presented opportunity. The train is running like time is and outside scenery keeps changing, greeneries are good times, barren land are thinking phases, ultimate goal is to reach the destination called death.

So, on that travel path that we followed, what matters? This world is just a metro compartment. Whatever is outside that will keep changing and altering that is not in our hands, which I tried to foolishly, now that’s the only thing left I can do, look outside and do nothing.

Last Sunday was fun though, primarily coz I slept most of the time which gave me less time to think (yes, I want to avoid thinking as much as I can) and other half of the day was spent roaming around India Gate. First I went to Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts @ Janpath to witness the joys of North East. The North East Carnival Festival was on, Sunday being the second last day, the food songs paintings’ music so many bands from that part of our country, it actually was great to just sit there and watch all that. Someday, will pay a visit to that part, I promised myself.

Then small an hour walk crossing India Gate, I found myself at Purana Qila. The South Asian Bands festival was going to end today. So many bands from south Asian countries were there to perform conducted by Seher & External Affairs Ministry (annually). It started at 0600PM, Morcha, Afgani Band was first, and then next was from Maldives. Donn Bhat & group was next, the music was kind of fresh, refreshing applaud from crowed was enough to prove that. Nepali band Mukti & Revival was a bomb, the crowed really went crazy on his tunes. He was the man of night I guess.

And last band was The Success from France, I heard some tracks making my way back to the matro station Pragati Maidan.

Currently Reading

Just about to finish “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green. It’s a beautifully written book, humors’ the reader with some great writings. Loved some of the phrases like ‘pain demands to be felt’, ‘starts has tendency to cross’ and many more..

Great Book!!

Bus Trip: Shimla – Reckong Peo

5th of July afternoon I woke with a horrible dream; felt like all alone in a barren ocean. So packed the bag with a wind cheater a towel a book some toiletry items and headed towards the Kashmiri Gate ISBT.

While in metro towards was thinking where to go. Uttarakhand or HP or J&K and chose HP randomly with a decision that first bus boarding towards anywhere with be my destination. I found a Shimla going bus and booked a ticket.

Reached Shimla next morning and saw a bus going towards Lippa, there is a Buddha Monastery in Lippa. The route goes through Rampur-Reckong Peo. It’s an adventurous route in itself, running along the Sutlej River. It was blocked in-between and the linking route was 25 kms more with sharp 360 degree bends where bus couldn’t turn in a single go. That was the best part of the journey. A pure work of hard work and craft on hard rock.

At evening reached Reckong Peo and decided to halt there. Like all the border areas, here too I could see all govt. officials, didn’t felt good so walked across the semi open market and boarded the last Shimla going bus at 0730pm.

Next morning I was in Shimla. Gave myself a tea party; hey c’mon it was my birthday!!

Initial plan was to go to Dehradun to visit a old buddy of mine to have a scooty ride to some watery place but the time crunch; first Dehradun going bus from there was suppose to reach at evening so decided to head back to Delhi.

Life still seems unreasonable sometime. It is like ending everything and start it again with all the freshness but as they say; time goes on’ so do everything else around us’. I didn’t want to be sitting alone at my empty smelly room on my birthday so was this trip. Though there was nothing to witness or something majestic about it but being with the road somewhat solved the problem.

I wish to have some good year to live by and most importantly have some close good companionship; yes, I know I have started talking about company, I think have lived a lot alone.

Happy Birthday to me!! Belated by 3 days now though!

Trip report – Hyderabad – Ooty

As planned, this happens to be an epic of own kind but it didn’t go well.

First I missed the connecting train from Vijayawada, as the train was late by 2 hrs. Had to take general boggy, reached Chennai at 5 in the evening. Walked up to Marina beach and came back to catch the Neelgiri exp. train. I was lucky till here but didn’t go alright at Metupalaiyam station. I was in waiting list and toy train was having only three small bogies; train left at scheduled time but without me.

Lesson learnt here and went to the bus stand which is at the walking distance. I was already heart broken, the missed toy train did no good. Got a bus to Coimbatore and waited there for my return train to Hyderabad.

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@ Marina beach, full of localities…

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