How I got Leh’d . Part1 ( Manali to Leh )

The journey of getting leh’d can’t be described in words . Even a whole book will be less to share the experiences and the moments we live but I will try to share with you my journey in 3 parts .
Part1 – Manali to Leh
Part2 – That’s Leh
Part3 – Leh to Srinagar

I don’t know if I get heaven or hell after my death . But I will pray for heaven because I have seen the heaven in my last trip and it’s beautiful. A feeling which I cant explain , the moments I would like to live again.
I was planning for this bike trip from a very long time just like a lot of other people around the world but have never been able to . So this year I decided to do it at any cost and luckly lonely India was not lonely this time. I got company from a college friend (Anshul Mishra). So here is how my trip went

Day1 Evening:

Took a bus from Delhi to manali. It cost around Rs 750 for each person in AC semi sleeper. We were excited to explore the top of world but scared as well because of bad weather. The time we were leaving Delhi , it started raining in Delhi and as per news channels, monsoon has arrived in north India. Why we were scared ?. We were scared because it’s not recommendable to ride bike on mountains during rainy season. But as I told you the the trip was planned and we left with our fingers crossed and smile on our face
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Day 2 :

We reached Manali at 11 O’clock morning . We were supposed to reach early but because of rain it took more than what we were expecting. And news channels were correct , monsoon had came. It was raining in Manali also from last few days.

Bus dropped us at New Manali busstop and as per recommendation of my friends who had been to Manali before. Best and cheap places to stay in Manali are in OLD Manali. So we took a autorikshaw from new manali bus stop to old manali which charged us Rs 70. And as we reached old manali , I can feel why my friends had recommended me for old manali and I will recommend same to everyone in this world who want to see the beauty of real manali. Best place to stay in manali is in old manali. We got our room in Rs 300/ per day(with geyser for hot water ). You may even get a good room in less money but we were tired, so we didn’t search for more and decided to stay in that room only

After relaxing for few hours , we got out in search of our Bike “The ROYAL ENFIELD Bullet”. Although there are number of garage from where you can get bike on rent but we needed bike which we could drop at Srinagar. So after searching for an hours or two , we found Negi(From royal riders Manali 9816203978) in old manali . He was ready to give us bike with dropping at srinagar, although he charged some extra money for that . Initially he was asking for Rs 1,500 per day but since we have searched a lot already and common bike rent per day was not more than Rs 1300 per day. So the bike deal was rs 1300 per day + 14,000 as dropping charge in Srinagar. We gave him advance money of Rs 19,000 and asked him to give rest when he come to collect bike in srinagar.

Same day evening we had our bike confirmation which we will be getting at same night after servicing and repairing . So it was time to check out manali. We didn’t have much time to explore manali but I must say you need a month to see manali and nearby places.
Where we went on day 2 evening ?. We just took the road going up in old manali checking out place for photographs
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And started walking till we reach the point after which we couldn’t go .I am not sure if it was the top most point to view manali as well but the view was really great
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After spending some time over the top of manali(I guess), while returning back to our hotel we found a small tea shop. We asked for tea and old man sitting inside the shop invited us to come inside and have tea or whatever we want .
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Within a minute we found that place really peaceful. Away from city crowd and soft music being played on radio (it was not in Hindi or English). Soft music which was making us high for no reason. We came back to our room and slept as tomorrow we would be riding our bike in manali to get used to of roads in hilly area .

Day 3 :

Woke up late at 9 O’clock and decided to visit Solang Valley(famous among people who visit only manali as a place for adventure sports like para gliding etc ), which is halfway in between manali and The Rohtang Pass(why I added THE , you will know soon). As we started moving on hill at the beginning we found very bad road and traffic jam for just 200-300 meter and truly speaking we thought this must be the bad road which people talk about as we didn’t know much about road and people used to tell road will be good after few kilometers.

Back from Sonlang valley we went towards the market for shopping .

Few things which you need while Driving bike in mountains
Hand gloves, windcheater jacket, Inner wear as temperature will be very low at some high altitude points or at night , cap ,scarf to cover your nose and mouth, ropes to tie your bags with bike , gum boots

What do you need for bike?
puncher kit , spare tube for tire, pump , tools , spark plug and petrol storage container

Medicine
scrap bandage , pain relief spray , medicine for fever and cold , glucose and oxygen pump if you think you can get breathing problem at high altitude

When you have these thing you will be ready to go like we did .
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We slept early at day 3 so we can start our journey early morning . Some people suggested us to start early at 5 O’clock and some suggested to start at late around 9 am. The major hurdle in first 150 km as per local people was Rohtang pass, which is land slide prone area and you don’t know how much time will it take to open the road again . ALthough army people try their best but with bad weather noone can take guarantee for anything . We decided if it wont rain in morning, we will leave at 5 otherwise we will wait for rain to stop for some time so road of mountains get clear.

DAY 4: The journey began

I couldn’t sleep properly all night . Checking weather report on phone , looking out of window as it was raining at night and little scared as well because of road in bad weather condition. We tried sleeping early but we were hardly able to sleep for 3-4 hours on last night. When we woke up at 4:30 , it was not raining and less clouds. So we decided to leave early morning at 5 o cloclk .

Till Rohtang pass we didn’t find it much difficult ,

the road was good and showers of rain didn’t ruin the road much . It was smooth ride. Rohtang pass was 60-70km from manali and our plan was to stay at keylong . So we took a break at rohtang pass and had maggie . This is first place of our trip for celebration
IBM Standard Software Installer

It was very cold at rohtang and because we had only one pair of gum boots which we thought will use only in emergency . My shoes were all wet because of rain shower and I was not feeling my feet at all. Then I remember one of the biker told me how to tackle this . I changed my socks and covered them with plastic and then I wore those wet shoes. Although it was not perfect but better then what I was feeling before

We also find little traffic jam at Rohtang pass at around 8 o clock as well but we were able to cross Rohtang pass safely and at good time. After rohtang pass, road starts descending as between manali and leh, rohtand pass is first high elevation point and all journey between manali-leh highway is about ups and down. As we were leaving rohtang pass , the shop keeper who served us maggies told us to drive carefully as the bad road is about to begin . We thought it will be few meter or maybe 1 or 2 km or bad road which we are going to see and it turned out to be so many kilometer(I guess around 15km or bad road stretch ). The road was very slippery filled with mud and it was getting really tough to ride bike on that road. So for that 15km I didn’t know what scenic beauty was around as I was just looking at the road.

You wont get a second chances if your bike slips . We were at 1000 ft above sea level, riding a very heavy bike and that too on muddy road. For that 15km , I didn’t get a second to check out clouds. The bad road ended at somewhere near khoksar. After which we got good road. When you are on manali leh highway, Good doesn’t mean actually good. Good means better then worst you have seen before :). But after khoskser road was really good. We reached Tandi where we filled our bike’s petrol tank and the container to carry extra petrol as there is no petrol pump after tandi till Leh.

As we were about to reach keylong the weather was getting pleasant.
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This is strange to hear but I have observed it. It will never rain in area after keylong even when monsoon is hitting north
Finally we saw sun and was getting relaxed .We have crossed the rohtang pass so one thing was sure. We will reach Leh on time .
Since we reached keylong at 12 and it was our first day , so after having lunch at keylong we decided to stretch a little more and stop at jsipa. We left keylong at around 1 o clock and were at jispa at arond 3:30 . Jispa is where we thought we will stay . Things were getting more beautiful as we were going towards Leh. Now manali landscape view was nothing in comparison to jispa.

We were searching for room and we found a professional tour car driver (why professional , he drive daily from manali to leh and back). As we started talking , he told us he was at jispa from last 2 days . He was not able to cross zing-zing bar and his tavera car got stuck in one of the water crossing .He suggested us to cross that area as early morning as possible becuase water will be less. Water comes from melted ice on hill top. So late you go more wider and stronger flow of water you need to cross(Local people call them Nala). We thought rohtang was only hurdle and we found another one. So taking suggestion from the driver we decided to strech a little more and stay at darcha. Tomrrow we will be crossing zing zing bar .

Zinging bar was not the only thing for tomorrow , we will be crossing Barachala pass as well where most of the people face breathing problem . We stayed in tent for rs 100/ per person . It was like dormitory tent with good home cooked food . We were having very bad headache when we reached darcha and for some reason soup was the medicine . We had soup and we were well. Rom around darchu for some photograph
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We tried to sleep early as we were tired and somehow manage to get sleep of few hours before we start again

Day 5 :

We left at 6 o clock in morning , our second stop was supposed to be sarchu . Our trip plan was already changed as we moved our last night stay location . The road till zingzing bar was good but lot of small water channel between the road. One of them was major where I had asked my partner to push the bike from behind as half of my bike tire was in water and if for some reason bike stop at that location , we need to wait till someone come and help us as last mechanic shop was at keylong nearly 70 km behind . After some struggle we were able to go through the major hurdles of zinzing bar .

We took another emergency stop at zingzing bar as my shoes were wet and this is the place were you will get last shop of tea or anything to eat before sarchu. We took a break of 15 minutes and got ready for sarchu . The barchala pass was not that though as we were expecting but definitely beautiful maybe because we didn’t find any problem in breathing .
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This is the point from where actual beautiful landscape view had started. The road was good (good doesnt mean good as i told you ) and we were able to reach sarchu at 11. Since we have reached sarchu so early so anshul suggested to get to pang. Pang was suppose to be out 3rd night stay but he suggested to skip stay at sarchu and reach pang . Although people say road will be good after sarchu but we can say people lie :P. From sarchu to pang we found some wierd landscape view . They were amazing but I must say weird too
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We were able to reach pang at around 3 or 4 o clock . The landscape view sometimes create illusions and hypnotize you . I got once while looking at the mountains but I realized soon that if I stair at these mountain for long I might crash the bike in valley.

After reaching Pang, we felt what high altitude sickness really mean. I was having very bad headache. I felt like I have brain of iron which is hurting me on moving my head for even 1 degree. But I was not that bad as anshul was. He was down and down mean almost dead :D. Having headache , he vomited countless time. While anshul was facing some extra problem other than headache , how could I be left alone. My eyes were burning like hell , I was not able to look outside in sunlight for second and this happened because my sunglasses were broken in manali and I thought I will manage without them . We didn’t came on this trip with proper plan and whatever plan we made like stay location was already ruined. I felt like we wont be able to move next day but thanks to aunty in our dormitory tent house who prepared soup of garlic and ginger. Not only anshul , out of 10 people in that tent , 7 were in same situation like him. And everyone was sharing medicine and food with other trying to help other to get well. At night we met a cycle rider who gave us medicine as well because our headache was due to less oxygen. He gave us some medicine which produce more oxygen in body

We didn’t sleep well last two night and this night was worse. I try to sleep but woke up at night as I felt I was not able to breath . Somehow manage to sleep so we can get our last day trip to Leh.

DAY 6:

We got up late from bed at 7 am, although we were awake since early morning . The last stretch was suppose to be easy . But first thing I did in morning was to manage my broken glasses with cloth so I can at least ride for few kilometers. It was not possible to watch the road in sunlight without glasses . After few kilometers of bad road after sarchu we got a long strech of good road with amazing view and that was Moore planes.

On Last day trip we were both in hangover state and tired but the landscape view was something worth all this pain . The road was good and it was either very hot weather or very cold weather. The first feeling of proud came when we reached Tagnalanga pass and read the board saying Third highest pass in the world. We were not expecting something like this as we didn’t know about anything on highway. We just let the highway surprise us

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We took a stop at rumste and reached leh at around 11-12 O clock
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Journey to be continued…

For more photos follow me on facebook and flick

https://www.facebook.com/LonelyIndia

https://www.flickr.com/photos/102955448@N03/

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