The Final Destination
Since the whole night none of us could sleep because the temperature went as low as -8° and we were just lying on our non cozy beds.
It was barely 5AM when I heard somebody starting a bike and then that noise kept on coming for almost half an hour, I managed to get out of the bed and went down to check, finally the family , met a group of 12 riders who were all set to leave. We took barely 10 minutes to get ready to leave and at 6:30AM we started our ride to Sela. Trust me now I was more curious to visit Sela then to Tawang as I heard alott about this place.
The road was clear and weather was great and after an hour we reached to a place where we could see the "Gorichen Peak" such a beauty it was. And another hour and exactly at 8:30 AM we reached to Tawang Gate, for me reaching Tawang gate and getting clicked was one of the best moment. Tawang was 78KM from here and the only hurdle between us and Tawang was crossing Sela. So this was the entry to sela pass. We had breakfast at army canteen there and planned to leave and cross Sela within 4 hours , now we were more than 25 riders who all met at Tawang gate and for almost all of us Sela was unknown.
We entered the gate and yes the world inside the gate was totally different , it was all white , nothing but just huge mountains covered with heavy snow beads , narrow stoney road with almost 2ft of snow both the sides, and freezing fingers , we started riding slowly and got a view of Sela lake which was totally Frozen and just after 400 mtr ahead of Sela lake one of our rider got slipped as now the real ride was getting started , yes it was all frozen ice on the road.
We all got conscious when we saw our riders slipping , few of us tied the rope around the tyres as it helps in building the grip since we can't use breaks here and now believing on this fact that we have to ride here for next 75KM was terribly horrifying us. We decided to ride without pillion riders as now building balance was a challenge and I was the one for whom riding on ice was the first time experience so I was being more concerned and was trying to keep myself ahead of all the riders so if I fall the riders can come forward to help. But this way I ended up in losing all of them far behind of me and I end up reaching almost in the mid of Sela alone. Since riding back here was not even an option I opted to wait , apart from us the only other human being was the Indian Army here and their heavy trucks where the tyres were locked with heavy chain to maintain the grip. Now the situation was getting worst as the snow fall got started and it was already -25° there , my eye lids were almost frozen and it was already 30 minutes I was waiting for them. I could not feel my fingers since they were frozen already, my leather boots failed terribly to keep my feet warm and this was the toughest time I had there alone. I moved ahead and saw a army bunker , I asked for the help and yes they helped me in parking my bullet inside the shedd and asked me to come inside , off course for me this moment was almost equivalent to getting my life back, they asked me wait and get warm a bit and after having word with them i realised what pain army actually bears for us , the place where even standing for 15 minutes was terribly painful they were doing duty there.
After half an hour I heard a bike coming and yes my riders were coming but not the all , most of them went back in between and only 8 came till here, watching Amar (my pillion rider) coming gave me a relief. For a moment I was all set to leave this place alone as I felt no one is coming here. But for a rider the journey never stops and even the destiny works accordingly.
From here we started together and the road & situation remained same for next 25km , almost all of us fell down lot of times , helped each other , faced the worst to the worst situation , seeing army guys standing there was the only thing boosting us to move forward. While we planned we will cross Sela in 4 hours it actually took us 8 hours to cross the hardest part of it and it was not yet over. Even today when ever I think of sela I get goosebumps as that place was heaven and hell both. We got the clean road but still the fear of getting ice on the road was not letting us ride in speed so were slow and it was already 4PM when we reached jaswant garh. A memorial being built in the loving memories of Sir Jaswant Singh and our Indian army was serving tea for free for the travellers passing through there. We did rest for a while and started riding , roads were moreover clean so I asked my pillion rider to sit back and we started barely after 500mtr within a blink of eye we fell down terribly, it was again ice on the road and our bullet was almost 200mtr away from us. We got panic and now sky was turning dark and we were still almost 50km far from Tawang , but the worst part that we were alone , all of our riders moved ahead when we were resting for a while. I don't know how we boosted each other , collected the courage all again and started to ride , heavy snow fall was happening and we were ridding non stop and after 3 hours of ride where Amar mostiy did the walk and I managed to ride it without falling again we reached Jung. Where we met 2 army officers at the check post who advised us to stay at Jung for tonight and not to move ahead to Tawang as the weather has turned really bad ahead. They also advised us to meet them on the way back to guwahati so they can help us in crossing sela.
Well I knew they advised us totally correct and we should stay in Jung but now when the destination was so close I could not resist and asked Amar to sit back we will reach Tawang tonight.
This ride from Jung to Tawang was even more thrilling and challenging then crossing sela to us, I don't how how Amar trusted me for this but this late night ride in heavy snow fall was the most riskiest ride I ever had in my life and offcourse after 3 hours of continuous ride on the steep hills while the eyes were facing heavy snow balls and the body was shivering. And now we were out of excitement or out of panic shouting the KM being left, I knew we were about to reach and now we will be having rest in a good hotel there , our bodies will be warm soon , and moreover the mental state of us will be calm soon. Every KM we we're passing now was making a difference to us as we were reaching to the destination that we were chasing since last 4 days without being known to any of the stops we made throughout, it was 10km left when Amar boosted me and asked me to slow it down a bit, my eyes were barely open even now when I try to remind myself how I was riding there with my eyes almost covered with snow I get Jo clue. Off course the roads are meant to end to the destination and every moment was taking us close to it. For a moment I got a flashback of this entire journey, the people I met, the place we stayed, the food we had, the situations we faced and now we were ready for bigger than this. Reaching Tawang while I was totally covered with heavy snow shield was the most memorable moment of this ride. And it was 11:30pM while I rode for continuous 17 hours in the most terrible circumstances where there were no roads , my body was giving me a sense that I have crossed all the limits and am left with no energy I still couldn't resist myself in getting clicked at the Tawang Entry. And Amar who knew that this is more of an emotional moment than an achievement clicked the moment well.
We reached to the hotel and it took us 3 hours to make ourself normal and then we celebrated the victory 🥂
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