People can either follow what their heart's desire or suppress it for various reasons and move on with their life. That is all the control they have in this matter. And sometimes, even that is not up to them as life comes in the way or they lack the means to fulfill their dreams. Or they are pulled back by the fear of the unknown that stops them from acting upon the inner calling. But those rare people who do listen to their hearts can tell you that it is one of the best decisions they made and how it turned their life for the better.
A biker's heart desires to travel on the best roads of the globe, taking charge on the open road with a cool breeze and scenic landscapes. All they want is to hop on their ride and follow the journey to different places embarking on new adventures. One dream that almost every biker shares is to ride their favorite bike to one of the highest and trickiest pathways of the mountain pass in the Himalayas. And what do they do about that? Well, our travel specialist smiled and made arrangements to fulfill his lifelong dream.
Meet Bhanu - The Rider Of This Travelog
Working in the corporate sector, Bhanu Pratap Solanki comes from the beautiful city of Jodhpur. And his tale is one of many unknown roads, steep passes, and mesmerizing backdrop. His decision to take the bike ride to Leh Ladakh was made in the spirit of a moment on a quiet routine day. And just like that, he started looking for ways to make this thought become a reality.
The Dream - Conquering The Tracks Of Ladakh
Well renowned as the land of high passes in travel circles, Leh Ladakh is famous for its scenic beauty, and every year it attracts the attention of thousands of people from around the globe. People looking to take on adventurous treks, seeking that adrenaline rush, those looking for quiet engulfed in the sacred landscapes - all of them find their way to Leh Ladakh. Ladakh radiates a sense of peace and calm, something that soothes even the most troubled souls. Most of the tourists coming to this magnificent location do so on their bikes, and this is the reason why you will find so many options for bike tours online on travel websites.
The Making Of The Plan
Bhanu started researching bike tours online and, after much conundrum, came across the ‘Leh Ladakh Bike Trip With Camping At Nubra and Pangong Lake’ by Thrillophilia. The tour offered everything Bhanu wanted and much more, making it the best choice for his trip.
"For any passionate biker, the scenic curvy roads and high passes with majestic mountain peaks on the sides is a view that will take their breath away and bring them so much joy. Leh has the charm and allure, such depth and vibrancy that I believed would calm my soul. So I just decided I had to go on this thrilling ride of a lifetime." Bhanu recalls his planning period for the trip.
Bhanu chose Thrillophilia's 7 days and 6 nights package, which was a group tour, and took them on the highly fantastic journey in the lush valleys of Ladakh. Throughout their journey, the group traveled to the most incredible sites in the region, including Magnetic Hill, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Nubra Valley, Hunder Sand Dunes, Central Asian Museum, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Zanskar and Indus Rivers, Spituk Gompa, Leh Mosque and Jokhang. The group also took a trip to the mesmerizing Pangong Lake and enjoyed the scenic route of the Chang La Pass while on their way to Thiksey and Shey Gompa.
The Long Ride Of Thrill And Adventure
Bhanu recalls his first impression and his experience with his fellow travelers with a smile on his face. "When I started on the trip, I wasn't sure if I would like my fellow travelers. But as soon as we embarked on the journey in the scenic routes of the high mountain peaks and vibrant greens with a mellow breeze, we were brought together by this unique experience we get to share."
There was a point, as Bhanu recalls, when the riders faced difficulty in a 2km trek around the dried lake. The terrain was rugged and challenging for the drivers as most of them lacked that expertise and professional skills. Despite all the hardships, the group completed the journey in a reasonable time and brought back a lifetime of memories with them. Bhanu recalls, "The experience of riding through the great mountains, camping in the vibrant valleys, and the time spent at the serene monasteries was something I would never forget. It brought peace to the heart and soul and relaxed my mind."
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The Journey Of Bhanu
The riders covered around 600km together as they started from Leh and continued towards their final destination to Pangong Lake. They then traveled back to Leh as they crossed the marvelous Magnetic Hills and rode their bikes across the Indus-Zanskar meet point. Bhanu and the group decided to take a short ride to the Nubra Valley on their way and were most excited to take their bikes on the Khardung La and the Chang La.
In His Own Words
“I started the trip from Delhi, which was provided to me as the beginning point of my itinerary. From Delhi, I had a flight to Leh, and once I reached Leh, it took me a little bit of time to adjust from the 40° celsius of Delhi to the -2° celsius of Leh. The winds were icy, and the frigid weather indeed sent chills down my spine."
“We were accommodated at the Panorama Hotel, well known for its hospitality and excellent services. After reaching the hotel, I was introduced to the tour guide for our group - Jigmet Tandar. He is the most down-to-earth person I have met in my life. We rested at the hotel for a while, and the cold, too, made it impossible to get into action immediately. In the evening, we all were introduced to each other, and we had seen our bikes for the journey. Once we were done with all this, the group decided to take a trip to Shanti Stupa, a world-renowned symbolic structure of peace. We even explored the local market and tried some street food.”
“Our journey had started, and we rode all the way to the Magnetic Hills, a top-rated tourist destination. Then we continued to the Zanskar Indus Sangam before finally stopping at the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib for refreshments and praying at the Gurudwara. We had to do some off-roading on the way near a dried river, and the group collectively felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement at this 2km road.”
“On the 3rd day, we all began our trip towards the popular destination, Nubra Valley. Our ride was through the Khardungla Pass, paved at the height of 18,380 ft. The group rode through many rough stretches in the frigid weather accompanied by cold winds. The entire journey of 154 km was a unique experience for the group, and upon reaching Nubra Valley we all stayed at the cottages booked for us. We even took a ride on the double-humped camel.”
“This day was entirely spent riding back to Leh from Khardungla.”
“We continued our ride and reached Pangong Lake via Changla Pass. The view during the entire ride was something straight out of a movie set. The off-roading on this ride was thrilling, and once we reached Pangong, we were awestruck. Camping near the picturesque lake and then the barbeque dinner was like a cherry on the top.”
“We went back to Leh from the Changla Pass, and here we found a great 2km road for off-roading. The ride was thrilling and terrifying, both at the same time. After that, we took a brief tour of the Kargil War Memorial.”
“On the last day of my trip, I had a morning flight to Delhi.”
Ode To Good Times
"The days passed by so quickly, and before I knew it, I was back under Jodhpur's harsh sun and warm winds. I will never forget my time there and the great moments I enjoyed with such an amazing group of people. Out team guides Jigmet, Wangal, and Nalson were the best; they made the tour so memorable with their expertise." Bhanu gets nostalgic.
The group bid farewell to the scenery and each other on the last day with heavy hearts. In Bhanu's words, "I miss the mountains, and the deep connection I felt in those paths. It felt like home. As a rider, I had bonded with my bike, and the people of the group are now forever going to be a part of my friends' list. But above everything, I miss the cold winds and being from Jodhpur, that weather, surrounding, the atmosphere is something I dream of every day."
The roads of Leh Ladakh are a challenging path anyways, and a bike ride in those curvy valleys is not an easy task. The mountains demand you be in good health, mentally and physically. The weather adds to this test, and at that point you need to be prepared for everything the frigid cold brings along.
During this time, we enquired Bhanu about the most challenging moments of the trip, and to that, he replied,
"The weather - I wasn't ready for such freezing cold weather. I would recommend eating healthy, Dry fruits and such to fight oxygen deficiency. I was aware of all the necessary items, thanks to the checklist provided by Thrillophilia."
He also added that trekkers should pack medicine for AMS and other essentials of an emergency medical box.