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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ladakh Biking Expedition - Part I

Everyone knows that I love adventure riding. My friend Dan sent me this and I'm passing it along in total so that you don't miss any of it. Part 2 tomorrow.

Ladakh Biking Expedition - A Journey to Top of the World

(June 2009)

                          Heaven!!  Any one seen heaven when you are all alive? Majestic mountain ramparts crowned by snowcapped peaks, crumpling alpine slopes draining into wild mountain streams of foaming cascades of immaculate water, deep river valleys with yawning canyons & powerful rivers, blue lakes with the reflection of tranquil mountains, awesome huge glaciers and piled moraine, oasis of green fields swathe by cream-colored desert mountains that all beyond the imagination of human mind and the charm bestowed on this land by the god. That all I am speaking about heaven on earth i.e. Ladakh, my heaven’s bike ride. But wait for one minute, entry to this heaven is not easy, you have to pass through embarrassing conditions...Just imagine when you travel hundreds of miles in barren & no man’s land, devastated & suddenly disappeared roads, swept bridges, steel rods coming out of road, 2 feet deep snow-melts water & mud ponds, harsh and unforgiving conditions. After crossing such an abyss you can see this heaven.
                 One of the toughest terrains to ride in the world- Ladakh is every biker’s dream. I’m not an exception. I am passionate trekker around Western Ghat. Long awaited dream of Ladakh came true by great planning and guidance of my genius friends Sameer Phansalkar & Hrishikesh Tambe with support of other 4 team members.
                  We started our biking from Jammu & then to Paradise on Earth i.e. Srinagar & "Golden meadow"  Sonamarg, crossing perilous Zozi la Pass, saluting tiger hill at Kargil , then Suru Valley of immense beauty, reaching most isolated area of alpine lakes amidst snow peaks of ‘Zanskar Valley’, reaching forbidden city  Leh, visiting mysterious monastery in Ladakh, conquered the world at Khardungla (18,380 ft the world's highest motorable road), then splendid vistas of  scintillating ‘Pangong Lake’ lake, visiting to Lake of God ‘Tso Moriri’, meeting gigantic needles on the way at Pang & Sarchu, traversing through world’s  worst & mighty Baralacha La & Rohtang pass, then ‘land of god’ Himachal via Manali,  Chandigadh & finally completed at capital of  India, Delhi.
                 During this expedition on my bike, Bajaj Caliber (111cc) which already crossed 1,00000 Kms in December 2008 gave me best company without any single compliant though it was harsh conditions or low standard petrol.  Finally there is entry to heaven only for selected persons & I am one of them. So friends take seats & get ready for story of my 21 Days & 3,000Kms of Men, Machines, Mountains & Heaven.

Pune, India.

                              Road to Ladakh

                            a peaceful adventure,
                            an old new venture,

                            a dream with eyes open,
                            a scream with lips sealed,

                            something out of the world,
                            a story never heard never told,

                             i am back to my town
                             leaving something of my own

                             my mind, my heart is there,
                             High Road of Ladakh is where

                            _________________                                                                      Nitin Sharma

Please Check out full detail blog of our Ladakh Biking Expedition By Shridhar Purandare

Leh Ladakh biking expedition -- Challange that one can enjoy

Route Map
Our Route Shown in Red Color

Jammu - Patnitop - Srinagar - Sonamarg - Zozi la Pass - Drass - Kargil - Suru Valley - Rangdum (Zanskar valley) - Kargil - Mulbek - Namika La - Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Hemis - Thiksey - Leh - Chang La Pass - Pangong Lake - Leh - Kiari - Chumathang - Tso Kar - Tso Moriri - Tanglang La - Pang - Sarchu - Baralacha La - Zing Zing Bar - Keylong - Tandi - Rohtang Pass - Manali - Chandigarh – Delhi

First meet our team

Anand Lohokare (Bajaj Pulsar 180cc), Nikhil Upadhye (Bajaj Pulsar 150cc), Ashutosh Khandkar, Sameer Phansalkar (Bajaj Pulsar 150cc),Shrikant Shimpi (Bajaj Caliber 111cc), Shridhar Purandare (Yamaha Gladiator 125cc), Hrishikesh Tambe (Bajaj Pulsar 180cc)

Dal lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Visual spectacle that unfolds before u will put anything that you have ever seen in life, well just scenery.

We started our Biking Expedition from Jammu after Halt at Patnitop we reached at Sringar

Dal lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.

In Srinagar our stay was at House boat at Dal Lake

Dal lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls

Next Day Morning stupendous view of Dal Lake from our House boat

This is indeed a heaven on earth

Dal lake famous for encircling mountains, blossoming gardens and orchards, Shikaras and Houseboats

Floating markets, Dal Lake

Next day morning visit to floating markets
Salesmen paddle from boat to boat, selling everything you could want such as fruit, nuts, fresh flowers, woolen shawls, silk carpets, leather goods.

Journey from Srinagar to Sonamarg takes you through splendid vistas for which Kashmir is renowned

Narrow trails weaving through misty snow-clad peaks, cool mountain air lashing against your face, and charming hill folk greeting you on the way

'Meadow of Gold’ Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir

“The greatest treasures are those visible to the eye but found by the heart.”

Sonamarg surrounded by dense forests, full of sycamore and alpine flowers, silver birch, fir and pine, the meadow presents a fascinating sight. It further enhanced with the snow capped mountains

Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir (6,561 ft)

This is like a fantasy picture, the clouds, the mountains, the river... all in perfect harmony

Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Beauty of this place is beyond the imagination of human mind and the charm bestowed on this land by the gods.

Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Encircled by snow-covered mountains, Sonamarg is a place of enchanting beauty

Zozi la Pass (11,500 ft) Himalayan Gateway to Ladakh

Located at an intimidating 11,500 ft & 100 km from Srinagar on Srinagar-Ladakh highway. Normally inaccessible except the short summer months because they remain ice clogged. Indian Army & BRO (Border Road Organization) toiling hard everyday to maintain the roads as best as they can under the harsh conditions.

Zozi la Pass (11,500 ft)

Riding through steep valleys and deep narrow canyon under over-hangs in the mountainsides, through snow-melts waters and frozen ice-breaks, over narrow & water swept bridges and even across the abyss, this intended only for audacious bikers.

Zozi la Pass (11,500 ft)

Khalid (Ashutosh) crossing nallah. Roads are in bad condition with lots of gravel, during rain the gravel turns to slush

Tiger hill, Drass, Kargil (16,800 ft)

Being so close to the might of Tiger Hill, was an overwhelming experience.

Standing tall and dominating the famous Tiger Hill on the Line of Control (LoC) is a grim reminder of the Kargil war 1999.The highest peak in the region which has a clear view of the National Highway 1 D, occupied by Pakistan

Drass Second coldest inhabited place in the world, 10600 ft. Temp. (-60°C) on 09 June 95
Normally Drass experiences recurring snowfalls during winters lower the temperature to as low as minus 40 degrees

“When you go home, tell them of us & say for your tomorrow we gave our today”

Kargil war memorial, Drass, Kargil

Panoramic view Suru Valley, (9,850ft)
40 km south of Kargil

Panoramic view of Suru Valley, Royal mountain ramparts crowned by snowcapped peaks, crumpling alpine slopes draining into wild mountain streams of foaming cascades of immaculate water, awesome glaciers descending along the Himalayan slopes to the river  bed in riverine formation, maze of mud-mud brick villages surrounded by lush irrigated farmland.

Unique Design farms at Suru Valley

Charming Girls at Suru Valley, Dist. Kargil

“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”

“A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.”

Time - 6pm, Temperature 3 °c, Height -11,500 ft, Spot - No man’s land surrounded with snow-clad peaks, Where - on way towards Zanskar valley, 104 km from Kargil, Nearest village - Rangdum with very rare population (22 km from this spot), Road condition – crushed, What happen - Sameer's bike's rear tyre punched 2nd time, Worst thing - For half an hour, one by one we tried to pump air but it was all in vain. Finally we decided to left Sameer's bike here & move towards Rangdum with punched tire.

Rangdum, Zanskar valley (11,500 ft)
130 km south- east of Kargil

As we moved further the road got worse and beauty got outmaneuver.
Entire View becomes entities to another world, another universe…… Surely the Gods live here.

Rangdum, Zanskar valley (11,500 ft)

The farthest and the most isolated part of Rangdum surrounded by colorful hills on one side & glacier encrusted rocky mountains on other.

Panoramic view of ‘Zanskar Valley’ (11,500 ft).

The picturesque tableland adorned with small alpine lakes and surrounded by snow covered peaks.


Ubiquitous on mountain slopes all over Ladakh

Check Out Full Photos Album @ Picasa