Friday, March 26, 2010

Leh Ladakh Biking Expedition - A Journey To Top Of The World Part III

Route For Part III
Chang La Pass - Pangong Lake - Leh - Kiari - Chumathang – Tazang tso - Tso Moriri - Tanglang La - Nakee La - Gata Loops - Pang - Sarchu - Baralacha La - Zing Zing Bar - Keylong - Tandi - Rohtang Pass - Manali - Chandigarh - Delhi

 Pangong Lake (14,108 ft.)
Pangong Lake it is the highest lake in Ladakh situated at the altitude of 14,108 ft. 160 kms from Leh
It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet.

Pangong Lake (14,108 ft.)
This is indeed a heaven on earth. To be lucky enough to visit heaven while you are alive
Pangong Lake (14,108 ft.)
A long narrow basin of inland drainage, hardly 5-6 km at wide & over 130km long
Panoramic View of Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake affords spectacular views of the mountains & their reflections shimmering in the ever-changing blues & greens of the lake's brackish waters.

Pangong Lake
What strikes the eye in coming first in view of this lake is the lovely color of its water

Pangong Lake
The best sculptor you would ever meet, meet God aka Nature....
Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake is surrounded by giant peaks that are well over 6400 mtrs 

Enroute to Chumathang & Kiari is laced with Brilliant multi colored mountains

Ladakh, which rests in the lap of Mother Nature with serene beauty surrounding it
Valley is a contrast of sorts on one side you have lush green stretches & on other we have rock beds
Tazang-tso Lake 
A small lake 20 km before Tso Moriri Lake
The scintillating lake waters & tranquil mountains under shadow of clouds are some of the traits which make this destination worth visiting. 
You don’t pick a picks you
My bike Bajaj Caliber & Tazang-tso Lake
It was a dream ride; ride of a life time
Feeling of calm had settled & mind was at peace.
Many times road is disappeared, however the view one gets at the end of it makes it all worth it.
Tso Moriri Lake (15,075ft)
Tso Moriri means "the lake of mountain” & is 240 kms, from the Leh

Tso Moriri Lake (15,075ft)
‘In a hundred ages of the Gods I could not tell you of all the glories of the Himalaya’- Old Sanskrit Poem
Tso Moriri Lake (15,075ft)
Tso Moriri Lake (15,075ft)
View was observatory @ Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri, a pearl shaped lake
"God's own country” Tso Moriri
Scenery forever etched into your memory

The vision is spectacular to a level words will fail, Tso Moriri
Through clouds shriveling bands of light across stony mountain side

Scenery look still like a painting, time freezes as you take in the beauty, Tso Moriri
Whatever challenges of harsh & unforgiving conditions we had, it was all worth even for single glance of blue lake tranquilly residing amidst mountains

Make your own track
On Return journey Track is a mix of sandy and dirt trails littered with small stones, Near Tazang-tso 
Superb ice formation @ Taglang la

More Plains
Moving towards Pang, flat piece of land is located at an altitude of 15,400ft.
Valley of Pang
High mountain passes, towering barren mountain ridges, deep river valleys with yawning canyons, incredibly beautiful.

Parachute tents @ Pang
We got shared tent at Pang easily. Parachute tents will refuel you with steaming glasses of chai, a bowl of 2-minute noodles & omelets, after a hard day on the pedals. Such tents are available for accommodation @ just Rs. 100-150 per day

The most beautifully sculpted gorge & mountains, Pang
Claim to have the world’s highest Army transit camp at Pang at 15,640 ft
Designed by god crafted by nature, Pang
Precisely crafted by winds over hundreds of years. They are found all along this route starting from the Sarchu plains and maximum are found just as you are about to reach Pang
The Mighty Baralacha La Pass (16,040 ft)
Baralacha means 'pass with cross roads on summit '.
Near Baralacha La Pass one glacier dropped on the road blocking us for few minutes
Baralacha La 16,040 ft, 8kms long pass, equal in height to highest peak in Europe
Riding through steep valleys and deep narrow canyon under over-hangs in the mountainsides, through snow-melts waters and frozen ice-breaks, over narrow & water swept bridges and even across the abyss, this intended only for audacious bikers.
Last day there was heavy snow fall on the way so we decided to stay in the tent @ Zingzingbar
Our Frozen bike @ Zingzingbar
This mountain pass is considered being very dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards.
Last petrol pump by Indian Oil @ Tandi, near Keylong, Himachal on Leh - Manali Highway
Next petrol pump is at 365 km ahead, if you moving towards Leh from Manali
Land of God - Valley of Himachal
Enroute to Manali 

Darcha, Himachal
Himachal pradesh is blessed with some of the most fascinating and exquisite landscapes. 

After halt @ Manali we moved towards Chandigarh & after that our last destination was Delhi, where we successfully completed our Biking expedition

A Dream Called Ladakh…

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Previous Parts - Part I & II


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Leh Ladakh Biking Expedition - A Journey To Top Of The World Part II


Part II Route

Kargil - Mulbek - Namika La - Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Hemis - Thiksey - Leh - Chang La Pass

Prodigious view from balcony of our hotel @ Kargil (8,871ft)

Kargil, 204 kms west of Srinagar and 234 kms from Leh, is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh


Being so close to the might of the mountains & clouds, is an enormous experience @ Kargil

Mulbek monastery
Mulbek monastery perched on a rock, Located on Srinagar-Leh road.

Namika La pass, 12198ft

Rounded hills with snow sculpted rocks & beautiful chocolate brown landscape

As you cross Kargil , the change is dramatic and stark. The green valley suddenly becomes barren and awesome, air gets brisker.
Now you are a little closer to the skies. The once forbidden land of Ladakh unfolds itself. An amazing land, top of the world.

Namika La, a windy yet scenic pass

It is a land which has no match.
Ladakh means Land of the High Mountain Passes
Ladakh is a cold desert lying in the rain shadow of the Great Himalayas

Descending from Namika La

It was a grand sight with black ribbon like metal led road winding through mountains side by side

Lamayuru Monastery (9,800 ft)

Beyond the Kashmir valley lies Ladakh, the land of unsurmountable mountains, and fascinating Monasteries.
Lamayuru Monastery is oldest & spectacular, situated about 127 kms from Leh
It located on a steep hill between Bodhkharbu and Kha-la-che.

Lamayuru Monastery (9,800 ft)

A tantalising glimpse of the mysterious monastery of Lamayuru, located on hillocks invites everyone.
The monastery is house to 150 monks and follows the Red-Hat sect of Buddhism.

Menu Card @ Lamayuru restaurant 

Two egg’s Omelet -                Rs. 125
Veg Hakka Noodles -             Rs. 150
Veg. Schezwan noodles -        Rs. 160
Veg. American chopsuey-       Rs. 180

But taste of food was No.1 in the world

Small village @ Lamayuru

Little rain reaches this dry area, where natural forces have created a fantastic landscape.

Small village @ Lamayuru

Green landscape surrounded by rugged multi color emblazoned mountains with azure skies.

Hangro Loops

Hangro Loops, the 18 loops are fast yet sharp loops with steep gorges.
Descending to the Indus valley & towards Khalsi

Brown to green, yellow to russet, and Grey to chocolate, all dazzling contrast of highs and lows

‘Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going’.

Road to Forbidden City Leh

It was a time for dream biking
When you come closer to Leh, you will be greeted with spectacular long - long straight roads and, your spirits will start picking up and you will feel rejuvenated by the time you reach Leh city

Road after Leh

Roads are devastated but a boom for off road junkies

The topography throughout the journey shoots up so abruptly that they throw off all calculations of distance - what looked to be a ten-minute crossing easily required an hour or more?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
T.S. Eliot 

Snow  which is melting fast & causing floods downstream...nature’s generosity is turning into nature’s fury....many bridges have been swept away 

Khardungla Pass, world's highest motorable road 18,380 ft.

It’s unbelievable. Dream of every bike & biker- khardungla Pass

Khardungla Pass is the gateway to Siachen Glacier (highest battleground on earth) & Nubra valley.

Height of Mount Everest - 29,029 ft
Height of Khardungla Pass - 18,380 ft
Mont Blanc, Highest mountain in the Alps, Europe - 15,774 ft
Height of Pune - 1,837 ft

The Winners Team @ Khardungla Pass, world's highest motorable road, 18,380 ft

Anand Lohokare (Bajaj Pulsar 180cc), Nikhil Upadhye (Bajaj Pulsar 150cc), Ashutosh Khandkar, Sameer Phansalkar (Bajaj Pulsar 150cc),Shrikant Shimpi (Bajaj Caliber 111cc), Shridhar Purandare (Yamaha Gladiator 125cc), Hrishikesh Tambe (Bajaj Pulsar 180cc)

The Land is so barren and the passes so high that only our fiercest enemies or our best friends would want to visit us” - A Ladakhi Saying.

Hemis Monastery. 

On the west bank of the Indus river and around 47 kms from Leh
Founded by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in 1630

Prayer wheels @ Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

Biggest and most affluent monasteries in Ladakh.

Hemis Monastery

Big copper statue of Buddha

Thiksey monastery

Thiksey monastery located 17 Km from Leh is 12 storeys high & more than 800 years old

Thiksey monastery

A 15 m high statue of Buddha, largest Buddha figure in Ladakh

Thiksey monastery

Which took four years to construct, made of clay and covered with gold paint.

Thiksey, Leh

Nature made landscapes & men made borders 

At hilltops of Thiksey monastery casting a panoramic view of valley below & surrounded by spectacular peaks

Thiksey, Ladakh

Situated on a splendid hill-top perch, overlooking the green valley of the Indus

Sindhu ghat, Leh

Reveals a canvas full of colors, painting a soulful harmony

Sindhu ghat, Leh

Sun playing hide and seek

Ladakh, which rests in the lap of Mother Nature with serene beauty surrounding it.

Ladakh know as 'Little Tibet'

Ladakh is blessed with some of the most fascinating and exquisite landscapes.

Tibetan style houses

Tibetan style houses - maze of mud brick and concrete flanked on one side by cream-coloured desert and on the other by a swathe of lush irrigated farmland.

Picturesque valleys dotted with small villages

Beyond these remote villages there is nothing but the extreme mountain ranges for company.

Marvel of nature, superb ice formation on the way towards Chang La pass & Pangong

Way towards Changla pass- third highest pass in the world (18,000 feet)

Freezing cold, harsh winds and Heavy snowfall on the way towards Chang La pass & Pangong Lake
As you move towards Chang La, road conditions start to deteriorate and steepness increase

You are invited to view Shrikant's photo album: Ladakh Biking Expedition- Journey To Top Of The World Part II

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Previous & Next Parts - Part I & III