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Ride to Shangri-la; Enchanting terrain transpiring ZEN

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by zenwalker, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto


    The mountain framed; yet dominated by the dagger of steep rocky ridge with capped snow around it, was the definitive dream inspired me for last few years.

    LEH: the travelers abode, is the ride i have been desiring to pursue, which concluded recently. Thanks to my trek mate Srinivas, who pulled me into the planning, later to which i pulled in another colleague aka The hulk aka Dhana :p. In the initial days, our efforts just went into finding out proper information about the whole ride and the kind of support one needs and difficulties faced, etc. With weeks passed by, searching many organizers, we finally finalized with HMC who seemed to be effective in terms of cost and offers being laid out.

    We began the talks with them and finalizing the dates, these guys were very co-operative in answering all our questions regardless of how many emails shot at them or even the phone calls. The preparations started around 4-5 months ahead the scheduled batches from the HMC guys. With my leaves getting approved (thanks to my manager, in getting convinced) and so of others while few others (initially agreed) dropping off sadly, we moved ahead in confirming our seats for 23 May 2015 batch with HMC and payment and stuffs.

    Then the more tedious, elaborate process started, which was procuring the gears and other materials needed for our ride. Few of the guys wanted to ship the bikes to Delhi, HMC office from bangalore, the searching and discussions with the vendors started. Finally we decided to go ahead with the Sainik movers and packers. These guys proved to be more professional movers than the rest with a bit cost effective.

    With just a few weeks left, my heart started to thump harder and i was super excited to be part of the most adventurous ride ever. While, all our spirits were high, the discussions, detail planning, gear procurement, etc. continued. Some where in the same timeline, there was a sad news about Nepal’s natural disaster which also impacted all over the himalayan region. Few days rolled by, we kept constant watch on the news from all over; day by day more disappointing news of road closed, weather brutality, land slides, minor tremors occurring here and there keep pouring in.

    With just 2 weeks left, we decided to postpone our slot to the next batch keeping safety, weather, etc. criteria into consideration. HMC guys were very co-operative and accepted our postpone request for 27th Jun 2015 batch. Again, thanks to our managers who were co-operative about the leaves adjustments.

    • I borrowed the safety gears such as knee, elbow guards along with gumboots/rainboots from my close friend Malli. Thanks to him.
    • i bought general purpose rain-cold protective jacket from Decthlon: Arpenaz 100 Men’s Trekking Rain Jacket, which suited very well to this ride in protecting well from rain (riding under 3 days of heavy rain) and from cold of Rohtang pass, sarchu, leh and zozilla pass, etc.
    • I bought bungee cord from Ebay, which proved to be very worthy, reliable and tough for its price.
    • I bought rain pant/trouser from Decthlon: FORCLAZ 300 MEN OVERTROUSER, which is really good quality wise in delivering what it suppose it. Contraire, i also evaluated Wildcraft rain trouser, but for the same price, the material and stitching quality seems to be pretty low standard by wildcraft.
    • We carried 50L of rucksack with us for this ride. For rain protection, we got a custom stitched rexine material overcover for this bag which proved to be 90% effective. I also wrapped 2 big garbage covers for additional protection ;)
    A Profound Ride:
    It was a ride for 3000 kms, roundtrip from Delhi – Delhi via Leh, Indeed, this is an impeccable journey to be started off within few hours after reaching delhi on 26th of June. The day however, was hotter and dry, our zeal to be part of this ride was ever pounding hard in our hearts. After getting our bikes and discussions with the HMC guys, we settled back at our hotel aka youth hostel which really is well maintained and lies in the midst of classy area in New Delhi.

    Day 1: Delhi – Ludhiana
    We were asked to be assembled at the kutub minar by 3 AM next morning to beat all the messy traffic and heat of the day. As instructed, we reached the place by 4, and got settled up quick. Upon introduction speech by the group leader Surbhit and his co-leader Salman.


    Ourselves got introduced to each other and this is where; i happen to meet the To-be awesome people for the entire trip to come. The whole group hit it off in no time with jokes being exchanged, clarifications inquired, etc. A final check up of all our luggage and check lists is done by the HMC folks before start.



    By around 430 AM, we all started our ride. Every one assembled in a line and we started off after filling up the fuel. Our next stop was at a highway dhaba for breakfast. Around 3PM, we reached ludhiana and the weather was really hot. Every one was really tired and frustrated due to the heat with the gears on. The rest of the day just spent inside the AC hotel.

    Day 2: Ludhiana – Udhampur
    Next day, around 5 AM we all started off towards Udhampur, the weather was nice and pleasant for the drive. After an hour or so, we stopped for a breakfast on the highway, with roti and scoop of butter with curd, we were full.



    We then left after an hour or so from this place and proceed towards Udhampur. The roads were in good condition but as the time passed on, the traffic increased and so is the heat. Hence, breaks were necessary.


    By noon we stopped for lunch and so is the time for some snaps ;)




    Reached Udhampur by evening, again due to the weather we all were tired and unfortunately the hotel we stayed didnt had AC and we were bombarded by the mosquitoes all night, thankfully none of us caught issues from them ;)

    Day 3 & 4: Udhampur – Srinagar
    This is the ride, we were all been eager to experience. Up the himalayas; has the great feeling to be part of. As usual, the drive started off early in the morning towards Srinagar. Since the road is over the mountain passes, we were warned about numerous army truck convoys along with the other trucks which naturally slows us down. So with that in mind, we carried off our ride with the stupendous display of mother earth all around us.


    Since this route has alot of traffic and with narrow roads, our ride was a free one. Hence we took alot of breaks for photos and nature view. Every one grouped with their preferred ones and ride along for a better support and company, hence me and Dhana ride along occasionally meeting Srini, Mr. & Mrs. Ramu and other folks enroute.



    Splendid first view of Kashmir valley from Jammu, post jawahar tunnel

    By evening, we reached srinagar. The weather was very pleasant unlike ludhiana/udhampur, yet not too chilly. Since it was the time of ramzan, the streets and shops were not that crowded. The hotel was good and this place was near to Dal lake. We had a 1 day break at srinagar, for us to roam around this place. Initially we thought of going to gulmarg, however later dropped off the idea since it shall take away most of the day time by the time we woke up ;).

    Bike health checkup

    We spent the day lazying and chitchatting with the other folks. While few of the people went for local sightseeing at dal lake and others at the market, we decided to hit the lake by post noon.


    IMG_20150630_185728.jpg DSC_0077.NEF.jpg



    With an entire day just relaxed and roaming around this town, it was time to get some good sleep for the next day up the valleys.

    Rest of the article: https://adventurouszen.wordpress.co...hangri-la-enchanting-terrain-transpiring-zen/
  2. kedarbendre

    kedarbendre Esperto

    MH 12
    Excellent photos and I am really looking forward to our Ladakh drive after seeing these photos.

    zen you had great time buddy.
  3. Naughty

    Naughty Superiore

    Very nice Travelogue and superb photos & Videos...

    You have had great time bro...



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