Leh - The Addiction

January 12, 2019
So first time to Leh was back in 2016 by Car, 4 friends, 3600 kms.. 14 days.. One of my favorite journey but couldn’t visit lot of places because of some or other reason. But I wanted to see
more and live the moment once again.

One day I met one person in some random event and casually talking about our likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc., we both realized we have something in common-madness to travel. Also, the common destination was Leh-Spiti.

And we started planning but we had loads to plan. After months of planning on people to go with, mode of transport, route to take, places to stay, places to visit, what to carry, gears, leaves,
etc., finally we started the journey on Aug 3 rd , 18 with 8 people and 4 bikes.

DAY 1 TO 4

Flew to Chandigarh from Banaglore. Spent the day roaming around in Chandigarh. Never knew there is something called Soya Chap and that was yummmmm.  Next Day took a bus to Amritsar. Like any other traveler/tourist, went to witness Vagha Border and Golden Temple. Ate some amazing Amristsari Kulcha, amritsari machli.


Finally, all geared up for the journey to Patnitop from Amritsar. 280 KM, sounds easy but this was one of the toughest one because of the rain. And as we call it Chocolate road made it difficult for us to reach the destination. Started around 7AM but by the time we reached it was 11 PM.


As all were tired, we started the journey late and we were supposed to reach Srinagar but on the way we decided our destination will be Gulmarg which was about 235 KM. But fortunately or unfortunately, we could not reach anywhere as one side of the Jawahar Tunnel was under construction and there was a huge traffic to cross the tunnel from both the sides. And to top all that, when it was our turn to cross the tunnel, one car over sped and hit the barricade from the other side and suddenly we felt it is a scene from some movie. So many soldiers appeared out of nowhere with the guns in their hands, pointing to the car and asking them to come out of the car and in other hand shouting at us to hide behind the trucks or cars but we froze in horror as nothing of this sort we had ever experienced. And, finally when all was clear we were asked to go back and stay in nearby places. So we took a U-turn but we could not go very far as it was late night and dense fog made it difficult to ride anymore. So, we took a shelter a place called Infamous Shaitani Nala. Hats off to the Soldiers who came to check on us every now and then, and told us not worry or not to be scared of anything as they are there to protect us. Proud Feeling.


New morning new day! And the place “Shaitani Nala” was so beautiful. Beyond words. Once again we started the journey to our next destination – “Gulmarg”. And oh how beautiful the journey was through the nature. Except one thing, we got scolded by soldiers as we almost entered some sensitive area. But the beauty of Kashmir is just Breathtaking. Gulmarg is beautiful. After some amazing experiences on the way, so thought we of just lazing around and pamper ourselves with good food, bath and bed. We decided that next day we will cover short distance and enjoy the nature when on roads.


Destination was Sonmarg. As I said earlier, Kashmir is total bliss. Beautiful curves, greenery around, cute little places to eat, beautiful people. After so many days on road, now we were eager to reach Leh. So we decided will hit the road early.


All geared up for next destination to Leh. We had couple of pit stops, like Zero point, Drass War memorial, Kargil, Fatula, Lamayuru, Mulbekh etc. 340 KM and we took good 15 hrs to reach our hotel. We all were exhausted and dead tired.

DAY 10

Today was “Take a rest” “Nothing Doing” Day for few of us. But few of us had some energy left so they went for Zanskar River rafting and rest of us slept whole day, ate some good food, took a walk in Leh market, and bought some souvenirs for our friends and family.

DAY 11

Once again on road to Cold Desert – Nubra via Khardungla. Some of us got slight headache and suffered nose bleeding.

DAY 12

We were supposed to head Pangong early but few of us got AMS so it made difficult to ride. By the time we ate something, medicine and hired a vehicle for the journey to Pangong and then to Leh, it was quite late. And we knew nothing about the roads. Experienced some bad water crossings, bad weather, no maps, and no roads. Have to go with the instinct. And by the time we reached Pangong was around 9:30 PM and it was pitch dark so we straight went to the first place we got for stay. And wow what a beautiful night it was. The best starry night we have ever experienced. It was freezing, but still we were standing outside and watching night sky and shooting stars.

DAY 13

Early morning we got up to see the Pangong and we all were awed by the morning sight. The beautiful ocean like lake was looking mesmerizing. We could not utter a word seeing this beauty. We had our breakfast in lovely dining hall, which was completely out of imagination. Not even in our wildest imagination we thought that we will get to see buffet served in cozy dining area in the extreme corner of the world. That was just cherry on top. So like a tourist, we clicked lots of pics and started our journey to Leh. In between we stopped at the spot where Jab tak hai Jaan was shot and the place was very beautiful. We stopped at Chang La and got to see snow. Loved it.

DAY 14

This day was totally dedicated to Leh and bike servicing. Visited Zanskar, Gurudwara pathar Sahib, Magnetic hill, Spituk Monastery and Shanti Stupa.

DAY 15

We carried too much of luggage so we couriered our bags back and geared up for the next destination to Sarchu but around 5:30 we took a pit stop at Whisky Nala and we started talking to the shopkeeper. She told us, it is getting dark so carry some water and cigarettes and we thought she is saying this because may be there is no other shop after this but less we knew, she asked us to carry this for the ghosts. According to her story, some random people stop the traveler and all they seek is water or cigarettes. And we dropped the idea to travel further. We asked the same lady if we can get a stay. She gave a tent which looks very warm and cozy but whisky nala is a valley, even after tons of quilts (thick rajais) we could not sleep as the place was very windy and cold.

DAY 16

We just wanted to get out of that cold place called “Whisky Nala” so we started as soon as it was possible. Next destination was Manali through beautiful Tanglang La, Lachung La, Nakee La, More Planes, ghata loops, Sarchu, Baralach La, Zing Zing Bar, Darcha, Jispa, Keylong, Rohtang. But the moment we finished our lunch and left Darcha, we got first water crossing of the day. And we were happy because it was a small water crossing but the happiness didn’t last for very long, after few kilometers we got next water crossing which was for around 750 mtrs but the water was too heavy so all pillions got down and took a walk to cross. And journey was filled with landslides and water crossings. Luckily or unluckily, we reached Rohtang by 5:30 PM and we thought now all is good, we are safe. But then landslides and rain made it very difficult to ride further. Now we are in a situation where we cannot even go further or take a u turn. So we all gathered some courage and started riding further. Next comes dense fog, so dense that we couldn’t even see a vehicle which is 2 mtrs ahead of us. With great difficulty we reached Old Manali around 10:30 and checked in at Riders Inn. That day we all became God believer. We never prayed so much in our entire life.

DAY 17

In morning we realized how beautiful the place was. So now when the trip was almost getting over. Today we took time off from riding and just slept, spoke about our experiences and visited few places in Old Manali.

DAY 18

With heavy heart said bye to beautiful Manali and head to Delhi for the next journey.

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