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The International Writers Magazine: India

The Leh Trip
• Mr. Praveen Kumar, CEO, JoGuru.
Touted as a bikers Paradise, Leh is one of the must visit place for a biker especially for the sheer driving experience. Once you visit Leh on a bike, you feel like you have conquered the world. The best time to visit Leh on bike would be anywhere between June – Sept.

Leh Peak

No matter how much so ever we plan for a bike trip to Leh, it can never be a perfect plan. The reasons for this being that the road conditions on these highways are never the same each year and the weather is very fickle. It is very essential to carry some spares for you bike and some essentials on this trip. The spares will include a puncture kit, spare tubes, break wires, clutch wires, engine oil etc. The other essentials include a swiss knife, a torch, some bunjee chords, water proof covering for you and your luggage.. Also carry some high energy chocolate bars.

My trip to Leh started from Delhi…. I rented out a Bullet electra 350CC from stonehead bikes in Delhi. I rode it a couple of times on the Delhi –Noida –Delhi Express way just to get a hang of it.

Bullet Day 1
We start to Chandigarh on NH1 at 5:30 PM….  This journey is generally uneventful. You will get used to your bike and can make any minor adjustments if required. There are numerous dhabas on the way to Chandigarh, you can have your dinner on any of them.  This journey of about 270 kms will take you roughly 6 - 7 hrs.

Day 2
We start to manali at 5:30 AM the next morning after a cuppa chai, the 285 Km NH 21 till manali is mostly very good. One will get their first experience of the winding mountain roads. This stretch is extremely scenic. You will also encounter a couple of water falls. You should easily reach manali by 4 -5 PM - A piece of advice here is to start very early from Chandigarh early so that you can get your bikes serviced in Manali for the hike ahead. Also buy some spares if you have not bought any along…  The one night stay at Manali will also help you acclimatize with high altitude. This is essential as AMS or Acute mountain sickness can be a very serious concern at high altitudes.
Day 3
If you start early, say by 5AM from Manali,  you will beat the traffic (the traffic is generally high as most people who come to Manali do go to Rohtang  La) .  Rohtang La is the first pass you will encounter at 13051 feet. - 18 Kms from the top of Rohtang la, is a small sleepy village of Dishkit where you can have a pit stop for some snacks.

You will reach Tandi, a 100 Kms from Manali.  This place is very important as this is the only petrol pump getting into Leh. (For the next 374 kms that is). So make sure your fuel tanks are filled and also carry some extra fuel along. This is very important as no one will help you with fuel on the way to Leh here onwards.

Immediately after Tandi, you will come across Keylong…. Get your bikes serviced or repaired here. Because you will not get any bike mechanics till the time you reach Leh. There are a lot of stay options available here.  But I suggest you move on. About 35 Kms from Keylong, you will come across Jispa. You have few concrete structures. But the accommodation options are generally costly here.
Darcha is a very small village about 35 kms from Jispa. I prefer staying here…. You are very close to nature in this place. Also you will get a bunk to sleep for just Rs.100 or 200

Day 4
 Start early from Darcha…. You will reach Baralacha la (16040 Ft) pass very soon and then you get into Sarchu (14070 ft) . Sarchu is about 120 Kms from Darcha and offers breathtaking views. This is generally the most preferred location to stay by travelers…
Leh Road
Leh Road evening Day 5
Day 5, will see you getting in J&K. You will immediately encounter Gata Loops (a series of 21 hairpin bends which will lift you by 1500 ft).  Then you will cross 2 more passes, Nakela (15547 Ft) and  Lalchungla (16616 ft). After that you will reach a small settlement “Pang”(14900ft)  you can stay here for the night or push ahead to Leh.
Day 6
If you start early from Pang, you should reach Leh by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Immediately after Pang…. You will get into moore plains..which is one of the highest plains in the world a 42 Km stretch surrounded my majestic mountains on all sides…. A pure bliss riding experience. Generally the road in the moore plains are good (they were getting re-laid when we were there so we had to face difficulties). Immediately after moore plains you cross Tanglangla the second highest motorable pass in the world at 17582 ft.

Once you cross Tanglang la… Leh is just a flat ride of 70 - 80 kms away.

Leh In Leh
There are a lot of locations to see around Leh….. Two of the compulsory ones are the Nubra Valley (till Hundur) crossing Kardungla, the world’s highest motorable road at 18380 feet (interesting you have aritel reception here ). The native breakfast of hundur called…"Khambir" is a must try. Also a ride on the two humped camel on one of the highest deserts in the world (Hundur). Come back to Leh…and then Visit Pangong lake….this lake is the pinnacle of beauty on the trip to Leh. I would also recommend the Leh – Kargil – Shrinagar (NH 1) for a return journey into Delhi.

© Mr. Praveen Kumar, CEO, JoGuru July 2012
blue lotus

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