Travelling Fast is a Waste of Time. Solo Cycling to Leh-Kargil-Kashmir.

14th Jun 2019
Photo of Travelling Fast is a Waste of Time. Solo Cycling to Leh-Kargil-Kashmir. by Ravinder Bishnoi

I have been traveling for three years and for last two years I have been traveling on bicycle. During these years of travel I have cycled through the entire Himachal, Ladakh and Kashmir and have met many people from different corners of India and abroad. One thing we all know is that most people travel in a very planned manner and they travel in cars, taxies or bikes and within a matter of few hours they reach their destination. But I personally feel with my own experience that this way they miss the essence of traveling , which is to explore and experience. Traveling is not a picnic activity. Traveling is a way of exploring the world, learning and growing with each new experience. It opens up new horizons for us, wipes out a lot of doubts and fears about the unknown and unexplored territories, people and their cultures. Traveling on bicycle gives me the opportunity to travel with patience and courage, to meet the locals and stay with with them and have conversations and explore their lifestyle, culture and various other things about a particular place. I have met many people who would boast of the speed with which they had covered hundreds of kilometers in a single day and I only wonder why are they doing this and where do they want to go? We have to stop running after the destinations if we really want to enjoy the process of life. This is one thing we have never been taught or told by either our parents, elders or the teachers that there is no fixed destination for anyone and all we have is the journey, the journey of life which is the sum of innumerable journeys throughout the years we live.  We should be taught in schools the importance of traveling but unfortunately we aren't even motivated at the higher education level. Traveling and reading are two activities we all should participate in because most of our learning comes from these. I started reading and traveling roughly at the same time and I am fortunate to be doing so. Recently I went to travel Leh-Kargil-Kashmir on my bicycle and this trip is about that journey. Cycling helped me enjoy and cherish each and every glimpse of those fascinating landscapes of Ladakh and the heavenly beauty of Kashmir. I started my journey on 14th June from Manali and cycling through the beautiful valley of Lahaul , gorgeous Baralacha la, evergreen More Plains and mighty Tanglang la I reached Leh on 22nd June. I rested for a day and half in Leh, spent most of the time sleeping or roaming around in the Leh market. This is my second cycling trip to Leh, but towards Kargil its my first one so after a day's rest I started cycling towards Kargil and its a beautiful road by the Indus river. You will find many small beautiful villages on this highway in the Indus valley located on the banks of the Indus river and Nimmu, Bodhkharbu, Lamayuru and Khangral being the most beautiful villages where one should stay overnight if you travel to that region. Comfortable in four days from Leh I reached Kargil. 20 years ago when I was a kid I heard the name of Kargil first time on the Radio and from the elders, both of which were talking about this place in terms of war. Since then most of the time Kargil has been referred to as a site of war (Kargil war 1999) and I never even imagined growing up that one day I will travel to this place all alone on bicycle and 20 years later here I am and I can only see a place full of natural and cultural beauty and generous hospitality. In Kargil I stayed at one of my friend's house and the family hosted me like one of their own, thank you Tohwa Palay. From Kargil to Srinagar took me three days and just before Drass the chain of my bicycle broke down so had a tough afternoon but in Drass I was welcomed by some generous Punjabi merchants and they invited me to stay with them for the night and it was one of the best on this trip, thank you guys. I stayed for three days in Srinagar, met my friends who went there from Chandigarh and we explored the nearby places. Srinagar is a fascinating place, I fell in love with this place when I cycled to Kashmir in winter and it was whitewashed with snow, cycling around the Dal lake in snowfall in the evening and the soothing sound of azaan is something you cherish for a lifetime. Then the last leg of this trip from Srinagar to Chandigarh took me six days, and finally a long trip came to an end but its not the end actually its the beginning because I have decided to continue this epic journey throughout India and after relaxing for a few days, meeting with family and friends soon I am leaving for my all India solo cycling expedition. Thank you and yeah if you also want to travel then please don't postpone, if you really feel the fascination for it then go for it because everything else can wait and you won't get this life again. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Happy Traveling!

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