Sunday, August 23, 2009

LADAKH & NUBRA: A cherished dream

My Pilgrimage...

A dream ride to the 'Roof of the World' covering some 2500+ kilometers on the trusted 'Uni'.

LADAKH & NUBRA: A cherished dream

A Biker’s Pilgrimage

Leh, capital of Ladakh region always stands in the top of a Biker’s to-do list. So how can we be the exceptions!!! It was a dream when we shifted to Delhi with the Uni in Feb ’08 just after completion of our B. Arch.

We wanted time to get ready for the trip in all senses. With proper riding skills in the hills (which started only after 7 days with a ride to Nainital), proper bike (a ZMA was in the pipeline along with the Uni), proper riding gears etc, we were suppose to hit the road for Leh. We were not in a hurry, so just decided to do Leh during Aug ’09.

Along with many rides to the hills, the research for Leh/Ladakh was in it’s own pace. SPITI peeped in-between and we headed towards it during Aug ’08. It was the real base for a big ride. We were 4 people on 2 bikes (Uni & CBZ) and it taught us many things. And it is the most adventurous ride for me till date. It showed us how the nature/weather can be and how you can expect the unexpected. You can find it here. Though Spiti was untouched because of bad weather and landslides but we managed to reach Chhitkul (Sangla).

Some more research on Leh and at the end of the tunnel I reached NUBRA, a beautiful valley on the ancient silk route.

Things were absolutely fine until my crash on 12th December. This incident turned everything upside down and it’s still a nightmare for me. Ladakh dream was just disappeared as Om gained some weight with the 6 inch long plate and 7 screws in his right ankle. It was because one drunken auto driver hit from behind outside an ATM and we were leaving for Manali then. His first operation was on 13th Dec. On 27th March he was operated again only to remove 1 screw so that he can able to walk without any support. On the very same day we drove to Gulaba to break the jinx over Manali along with our sister and a close friend. And after this we drove to the hills a couple of times and then ‘Ladakh’ came to mind. ‘Scorpio’ was the option to make the ‘Leh’ trip. But nothing was certain.

Till 10th July ’09, we had absolutely no idea, whether we are going / when we are going / how we are going. Strange!!! But it was very true.

There was no permission from home, no confidence on myself to do the ride; I was working in office though I served my notice period after my resignation. But it was sure we are going to Leh for minimum 15 days and we‘ve to return Delhi by the end of July. And initially I had a 20+ days plan doing the Spiti, Ladakh, Nubra, Srinagar and Amritsar but it was to be changed in anyway.

On 11th night we sat together and discussed about the trip. After 2-3 hours discussion we decided to hit the road on ‘Uni’ from 13th. And the route was via traditional Manali-Leh highway. A quick gold service of Uni, some missing spares for the emergency kit from Karolbagh and onetime usable Saddlebag were to be bought in 2 days and I was really excited.

But later we decided to ride via Srinagar because the route is more scenic than the Manali-Leh route and we wanted to enjoy the route to its most. But the whole thing was concentrated with the condition of Om’s ankle, how will it react with long sitting hours on bike!!! As per our Doctor’s suggestions, it is fine to sit for 5-6 hours means 150-200 kms maximum in a day; still it was a great relief. It was fine for us, as in hills this distance is good enough. But what about the initial day, we have to ride long!!!

Till 11th I was working late in the office and there was only one day for every preparation. So with a sudden idea from Om, we searched for Tatkal tickets till Jammu. It was really a fantastic idea. We were lucky enough to get the tickets. So one major problem was solved by this and we got decent time to take rest and as well as avoided the boring stretch in plains till Jammu. The idea proved to be fantastic and saved lots of time and energy. The train was scheduled for departure at 4.00 PM on 13th from Purani Delhi and to reach early morning at Jammu next day.

And it was the unexpected way we started for the expected ride. Good Luck to us to complete the ride and back home safe.


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