Ladakh Diaries

Tripoto
1st Sep 2014

Amigos,

Firstly I would like to thank you for taking time to go through this travelogue.

Just a quick introduction, my name is Sai Sathuluri working as an IT professional who is interested in biking, travelling and photography.

I am creating this blog to share my wonderful experience and everlasting memories of Leh Ladakh motorcycle tour.

Ladakh "land of high passes" is a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. It is a dream destination of many and the Mecca of adventure enthusiasts! Leh, one of the coldest deserts in the world is located at a distance of 434 Kms from Srinagar and 479 Kms from Manali.

To be honest, i really don't know when this thought of riding to Leh Ladakh came into my mind. I have been reading and seeing pictures of this place for quite long and getting totally lost. Started reading travelogues generally late on a weekend and read them throughout the night right up to the early morning hours! Wish i had previously studied with that amount of passion too...Ahh...never mind but that's what effect the place had on me. When i shared this with my family and friends, i came across mixed responses and some people did not even hesitate to call me crazy, insane and show-off. lol :-)

So i would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who encouraged me to do this trip and I'm really grateful to some of you for putting a superfluous effort to make the whole trip easy for me. This trip would not have been possible without the support and guidance of Aman Jain and Sasi Bonam from Xbhp Hyderabad, Sarav Dayal from Himalayan Bike Tour Manali, Prakash and Adarsh from World Peace Cafe Manali.

How it started?

1st September 2014 was the day when I along with two friends(Kiran and Bharath) embarked on a journey that I dreamed of for so long. A journey that took me to a world that was unknown to me till now. A world that casted a spell on me, to an extent that no matter how hard it hit me, I just can't let go of it now. It’s a part of me now, along with all the experiences I have, this one’s right among the top contenders. It’s amazing what travelling can do to you. It can give you the experience that you won't get from anything else. It’s like falling in love, being forgotten, being lonely, being broken, being on top of the world; simply put, you'll never forget it. 14 days of journey to the far, faraway lands with your best friends is a dream come true and when the destination is Leh-Ladakh, it doesn't get any better.

Here is the itinerary of our trip

Riders - Sai Sathuluri, Sai Kiran and Bharath Kumar

Machines - RE Classic 500 and RE Electra 350

Kms Covered - Around 2K

Sep 1 - Hyderabad to Delhi

Sep 2 - Delhi to Manali

Sep 3 - Manali Rest Day

Sep 4 - Manali to Jispa

Sep 5 - Jispa to Pang

Sep 6 - Pang to Leh

Sep 7 - Leh to Khardung La to Leh

Sep 8 - Leh to Lamayuru to Leh

Sep 9 - Leh to Pangong Tso to Leh

Sep 10 - Leh Rest Day

Sep 11 - Leh to Darcha

Sep 12 - Darcha to Manali

Sep 13 - Manali Rest Day

Sep 14 - Manali to Delhi

Sep 15 - Delhi Rest Day

Sep 16 - Delhi to Hyderabad

As it happened...

Day 1 - 

  • Started from home at 5.45pm
  • Snack Break @ Hitech City, Madhapur
  • Reached Airport at 7.10 pm
  • Spice Jet flight Delayed by 2 hours
  • Drinks @ Coffee Club
  • Boarded the flight at 10.30pm

Day 2 -

  • Reached Delhi at 1.15 AM
  • Dining and Lodging at Singh Empire Continental @ Paharganj
  • Visit to India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament of India
  • Started to Manali at 5.30pm thru Laxmi Holidays
  • Dinner at Masala Mantra, Haryana

Day 3 -

  • Reached Manali at 9.45am
  • Lodging at Surabhi Hotel in Vashisht
  • Lunch @ World Peace Cafe (Maggi and Momos)
  • Rented bikes from Himalayan Mountain Club (Sarav Dayal)
  • Photo shoot @ BEAS River
  • Wine and Dine with Sarav Bhai (Yummy Trout Fish)

Day 4 -

  • Started from Manali at 9.45am
  • First water crossing – Rani Nalla
  • Snow & Rainfall on Rohtang Top
  • Slush @ Rohtang Descent (Mother of all roads)
  • Lunch at Koksar at 2.45pm
  • Photo shoot at Sissu
  • Chai Break and Petrol Refill @ Thandi
  • Crossed Keylong @ 5.45pm
  • Reached Jispa @ 7pm in rain
  • Tent stay @ Padma Camping
  • Veg Buffet and Coke
  • Spoke to family and slept @ 9.30pm

Day 5 -

  • Started from Jispa in heavy rain @ 9am
  • Bought cold gloves in Darcha
  • Photo shoot at Patsio
  • Landslides and Snowfall in Baralacha La pass
  • Lunch at Sarchu @ 3.30pm
  • Gata loops
  • Crossed Nakeela and Lachung La pass
  • Reached Pang at 7.30 pm
  • Tent stay @ Skitpachan
  • No mobile network and electricity

Day 6 -

  • Started from Pang at 8.30am
  • Morey Plains (45km good stretch)
  • Taglangla Pass (Second Highest Motorable Road)
  • Snowfall till Rumtse
  • Colourful mountains en-route to Upushi
  • Lunch at Upushi @ 1.30 pm (Yippee...Mutton Curry)
  • Crossed Army camps at Saru
  • Visit to Hemis and Thiksey monastery
  • Visit to Shey Palace and Rancho cafe & school
  • Reached Leh at 5.30 pm (finally got Leh’D)
  • Stay at Solpon Guest House @ upper changspa
  • Wine and Dine with Etai Livne and Gregory

Day 7 -

  • Ride to Khardung La
  • Entry at South Pullu check post
  • Reached K-Top (Yay... World’s Highest Motorable Road)
  • Souvenir Shopping (T-shirts & Jacket)
  • Lunch at wonderland
  • Visit to Leh Palace, Tsemo Fort and Shanti Stupa
  • Walk to Leh Market
  • Dinner at wonderland

Day 8 -

  • Visit to Spituk Gompa and Hall of Fame
  • Prayer at Pathar Sahib Gurudwara
  • Magnetic Hill (Gravity Hill)
  • Smoke break at Saspol
  • Indus and Zanskar Confluence
  • Reached Moon Land (Desi Grand Canyon... lol)
  • Lunch at Lamayuru
  • Ride back to Leh in rain
  • Wine and Dine with Pushkar and Manjeet Bhai

Day 9 -

  • Breakfast at Karu
  • Landslides on the way to Chang La (Worlds second highest motorable world)
  • Reached Pangong Tso at 2.00pm
  • Marmot watch at wildlife sanctuary
  • Bike Service at Army Workshop @Tansey
  • Dinner at K.C Garden @ Leh

Day 10 -

  • Rest Day
  • Drinks and Lunch
  • Fuel Refill
  • Dinner at wonderland

Day 11 -

  • Started from Leh at 7.00am
  • Breakfast at Upushi
  • Crossed Pang at 1 pm , Sarchu at 4pm and Baralacha La @5.45pm
  • Experienced water crossings in dark
  • Dhaba Stay in Daracha

Day 12 -

  • Left Darcha at 7.00am
  • Bike check at keylong
  • Bridge repair at Koksar from 10 am to 4pm
  • Crossed Rohtang @ 6.30 in heavy rain
  • Finally reached Manali at 8pm
  • Wine and Dine with Sarav

Day 13 -

  • Visit to Solang valley
  • Lunch at Himalayan Dhaba
  • Visit to Apple farm
  • Wine and Dine with Prakash

Day 14 -

  • Visit to Hot water springs in Vashist Temple, Manali
  • Lunch at World Peace Cafe Day
  • Off to Delhi via HP Volvo service at 5.45pm

Day 15 -

  • Reached Delhi at 8am
  • Lodging at Mayur International
  • Lunch at Madras Cafe
  • Walk to Karol Bagh market
  • Wine and Dine

Day 16 -

  • Visit to Qutub Minar and Lotus temple
  • Lunch at Bikkinel Restaurant 
  • Reached airport at 8pm
  • Devils are back home 

It's a great feeling to be back home safely after two weeks of bike riding in World's Highest Motorable Roads dealing with rain, slush, water crossings, landslides, snowfall, gravel roads, thin air and etc.

Photo of Ladakh Diaries 1/1 by Sai Sathuluri

I seriously miss those mountains :(

Hope I will be visiting them soon again.

If anyone is interested to do the Leh Ladakh tour, below are some useful details


Best time to Visit - Between June to September

Budget - 50000 to 60000 INR

Manali Bike Rental Shop - Himalayan Bike Tour

Manali Stay - Hotel Surabhi @ Vashist

Leh Stay - Solpon Guest House at Upper Changspa

Mandatory things to Carry

  • ID Proof
  • Trekking Bag
  • Medical Kit
  • Thermals, Sweater and Rain coat
  • Riding gear (Helmet,jacket,cold gloves,elbow and knee pads)
  • Gum Boots
  • Face mask or Balaclava
  • Bike Accessories ( Tool Kit and Cables)
  • Woolen Socks and hand gloves
  • Torch light and swiss knife

Places to visit

  • Pangong Lake
  • Khardungla
  • Tso Moriri Lake
  • Nubra Valley
  • Diskit Monastery
  • Shanti Stupa
  • Hemis Monastery
  • Thiksey Monastery
  • Shey Palace
  • Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
  • Leh Palace
  • Hall of Fame
  • Spituk Monastery
  • Pathar Sahib Gurudwara
  • Lamayuru
  • Magnetic Hill
  • Indus and Zanskar Confluence


My sincere recommendation, if it has to be a vacation in India that's to be lived in memories for a lifetime, it has to be LADAKH! The colourful monasteries, steep curves, snow-topped peaks, double humped camels, burning sun, freezing winds and a destination that comes straight out of the world of fantasies.


I would like to pay special tribute to people who lost their lives and loved ones in the Jammu and Kashmir floods, Indian Army for their valour, courage, sacrifice and BRO(Borders Roads Organisation) for connecting us to heaven.


And before i say goodbye, I would like to thank my wonderful family and dearest friends Priyanka Kaleru, Anthony Francis, Arijit Yadav, Satya Challa, Kiran Chaliboina and Sachin Thandlay for all the love and support.


As someone rightly said, journey is more important than destination and I would love to travel as much as possible and keep writing this kind of blogs and continue troubling you.


Thank you once again for your valuable time and do check out the pictures from the trip attached below.


You can write to me on sandy3736@gmail.com for any assistance.


Cheers,

Sai Sathuluri

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