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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lucknow to Leh by Motor Bikes

So finally the day has came 14th August, day of our journey starting. Anxiety was on peak and I couldn’t sleep properly in night and woke up in 3:00 AM.First let me introduce me with my biker’s gang:
From left to right:
1. Bhaskar Gupta, age 31yrs.
2. Rishikant, age 51yrs.
3. Subhash Gupta, age 54 yrs.
4. And Me-Lalit Kaushik age 30 yrs.

Day 1: 14/08/09
At 7 AM we all met at Hanuman Setu Temple. We pray for our good and safe journey, and we started for NH 24 on 7:30 AM
Weather conditions were in our favor, no sun shine, only rainy clouds.
We stopped at Sidhauli (50 KM from Lucknow) Janta dhaba for breakfast.
Whole day we drove through NH 24 via Sitapur-Bareilly-Rampur-Mooradabad-GarhMukteshwar and in night around 8 PM we touched our first day destination- Meerut (455 KM from LKO).

Day 2: 15/08/09
We left Meerut at 7 AM and took the route to Muzaffarnagar.
At 8:00 AM we stopped on highway for our flag hosting ceremony, we were not carrying our national flag so we celebrate with national anthem without Flag.
Rain started on around 8:30 AM at Shamli and we drove throughout in rain till Panchkula.
On the way from Meerut we crossed Muzaffarnagar-Deoband-Saharanpur-Yamunanagar-Jagadhari-Panchkula-Chandigarh-Kiratpur and in night we stayed at AnandPur Sahib (351 KM from Meerut).
Day3: 16/08/09
Early morning we went to anandpur sahib gurudwara for darshan, and we left anandpur sahib at 9:00 AM.
Now hills started from here, and Bilaspur is the first big town on the road to Manali is 70 KM from Anandpursahib.
Then Sundarnagar (115 KM from Anandpursahib), Mandi (132 KM from Anandpursahib), Bhuntar (192 KM from Anandpursahib).
Bhuntar is only airport for Kullu and Manali, and It’s distance from our Lucknow is exact 1000 KM.
Then we reached to Kullu (202KM from Anandpursahib)
We halted in Kullu for 2 hrs due to heavy rain in hills and it was not safe to drive.
Finally we reached Manali (242 KM from Anandpursahib) at 7:00 PM.
We already booked SBI Holiday Home in advance so it was very easy for us to find accommodation in Manali.
Day 4: 17/08/09
This day was reserved for our acclimatization and Bikes checkup.
We went to Hidamba Temple, Manu Temple.
Then we found Mr. Raju the bike Mistri (basically he is very famous in Manali, u can ask any person for Raju Mistri) and he checked up our bikes and tunned according to hill conditions. I changed engine oil of my Pulsar 180.
At Raju’s place we found lot of apple trees and we taste green Himachali apples at free of cost.
Day 5: 18/08/09
We left Manali at 7:15 AM and drove to our first halt Rohtang Pass (52 KM from Manali). We reached Rohtang at 11:30 AM (4 hr 15 min), because road was in very bad condition. We drove through all wet Mud, and Kichad.
We all were very tired so we decided to rest at Rohtang Pass for 1 hr.
After Rohtang we crossed through Koksar (70 KM from Manali), Sisu, Gondla, and reached Tandi (106 KM from Manali).
Tandi is the Last filling station before Leh, so we got our bikes tank full with petrol and took petrol in all 6 canes which we were carried from LKO. After Tandi we reached Keylong and stayed there for refreshment.
We reached Jispa (137 KM from Manali) for night stay, we got good hotel there at affordable price.
Day 6: 19/08/09
As usual we started at 7:30 AM from Jispa and crossed Dharcha (7 KM from Jispa).
In the way we got one point called DipakTall ( 23 KM from Jispa), we stopped there for refreshment and some photographs around one beautiful Pond. Mr. Tilley and Mrs. Suman was owner of the only Tent house there, they also provide accommodation @ Rs100/- per bed.
We crossed Patseo, Zingzingbar and reached to Baralacha Pass (54 KM from Jispa) at 16500 Feet above sea level, and it was really difficult to stay there because weather was not good and oxygen level was very low.
After few kilometers from Baralacha Pass we faced heavy snow fall around 11:45 AM. It was really a cool experience for us to drive through snowfall. This time we all four bikers were badly feeling High Mountain Sickness problems like Headache, Vomiting, and nervousness.
After driving few kilometers my foot got wet in ice cold water which was crossing over the road, and really this time I felt lot of cold and pain in my whole body, anyways luck was in our favor so we got one refreshment centre at place Bharatpur (57 KM from Jispa). We had hot soup there and I bought one pair of socks made by locals.
Around 1:40 PM we reached to Sarchu our day’s destination (83 KM from Jispa), but we had half of day ahead with us so we decided to go to Pang (75 KM from Sarchu) for night stay. Here we took wrong decision to stay at Pang because when we reached Pang we all were badly tired and feeling very cold due to around 2-3*C temperature at Pang.
Anyways we left Sarchu in afternoon and crossed GATA LOOPS (105 Km from Jispa) around 2:30PM. After this point we reached LachulungLa Pass (Altitude 16616 Feet) at 4:00 PM.
After driving for half an hour we met one more Pahadi Jharna which was crossing over the road, and one of our team members Mr. Rishikant slipped with his bike into chilled water.
Finally after whole day’s hassles we reached Pang at 5:20 PM (157 KM from Jispa). We got Tent accommodation there @ Rs 100/- per bed.
None of us were able to sleep in night at Pang due to very low oxygen and HMS.
Day 7: 20/08/09
Morning at7:00 AM we left Pang and drove to Leh route. After 40 mins we reached to big plain road which was not very good but it was OK. Really great great scenery around everywhere and we were confused which snap is to be taken and which is to be left. After 3 hrs driving from Pang we reached World’s Second Highest Pass TANGLANG La (65 KM from Pang) at 17582 FT
Really unbelievable to be there and condition was worst there.We could stay there for hardly 5-6 mins. All snow covered peaks around everywhere, amazing scenery.
We reached Rumtse (100 KM from Pang) around 12:45 PM, and got very good road first time after Manali. From Rumtse to Leh road is good but do not drive over 55-60 KM/hr speed because roads are bumpy. We reached Upshi (125 KM from Pang) at 1:45 PM and took some refreshment.
After Upshi we crossed Karu (140 KM from Pang KM from Upshi), Shey and reached Leh (175 KM from Pang) around 4:00 PM
Before reaching Leh we passed through Thiksey Monastery (very famous and religious in Ladakh). Leh is at distance of 1647 KM from Lucknow and 470 KM from Manali.
In Leh one of our old friend from Lucknow Mr. Prafful (working in ITBF, Leh unit) booked guest house for us in Changspa area.
Actually Prafful helped us lot and made every possible arrangements for us in advance. We got 2 rooms in guest house for Rs 500/per day only.
Day 8: 21/08/09
This day started with lot of trouble like no extra toilet on the floor (Ladakhi made only one toilet for one floor due to water probem), Rishikant bhai’s sickness etc.
We decided to go to Doctor for Rishikant bhai’s checkup, and Mr Vanchuk (guest house owner and friend of Prafful) took us to clinic of Dr. PT Aanchuk (very busy and famous doctor in Leh). After waiting for 2 hr doctor checked up and recommended to immediately admit Rishikant bhai into hospital.His oxygen level was only 40%.
We took him to SNM Hospital and waited there for 3 hrs for our turn. Then doctor came and admitted him into Tourist ward.
Our whole day passed in the hospital only with Rishikant bhai.
In the evening we changed engine oil of Discover and Apache bikes.
For dinner we went Restaurant “Gesmo” and found it very tasty food at affordable price.
Day 9: 22/08/09
Started with stomach upset problem of Bhaskar, so he decided to not to go to Khardungla Pass (40 KM from Leh). Now we four (me, Subhash bhai, Prafful, and his son) left to Khardungla Pass on 11:00 AM.
Road is good of first 30 KM till South Pullu. In South Pullu at Army check post, officials check your permission letter for Khardungla Pass (permission was taken in advance by Prafful).
Road from South Pullu to Khardungla Pass (10 KM) is very bad. After this last 10 KM tough bike ride we reached to our dream destination and our target KHARDUNGLA TOP at 18380 FT.
It was like a dream to come true. We all felt great to be there and it was hard to believe that we are at the top road of the world. Now our mission was completed. We captured memories in camera and returned back to Leh.
Day 10: 23/08/09
Day started with visit of local places in Leh.
First we went to Tsemo Gompa. This Gompa was built by King Tashi Namgyal on Namgyal Tsemo peak overlooking the town. The monastery contains a three-story high solid gold idol of Maitrieya Buddha (future Buddha also called laughing buddha) and a one-storied statue of Avaloketesvara and Manjushri along with ancient manuscripts and frescoes. The fort above this gompa is ruined, but the views of Leh from here are breathtakingly beautiful.
After visiting gompa we went to Ancient Leh Palace, a mind blowing piece of architecture.
Then we reached to visit DIHAR (defense institute of high altitude research), basically a government body of research in Ladakh region.
One of our friends of Lucknow Dr. Ashish Yadav is working as scientist in DIHAR. He showed how they are working to build new breed of Zanskar Pony, Pashmina goat, sheep research, horticulture research, all types of vegetables, different type of apples, apricot etc. In one line “if you do not visit this research centre means you missed a lot”. Thanks to Ashish Yadav.
After visiting local market we went to taxi stand to reserve a seat for next day to Kargil for Rishikant bhai.
Day 11: 24/08/09
Time to leave from Leh now. First we reached to taxi stand and left Rishikant bhai in taxi and reached at Prafful’s home and after a hot cup of tea we left Leh.
After 8 KM we reached to Spituk Monastery. The gompa stands prominently on the top of a hillock, and commands a panoramic view of the Indus Valley for miles. Many icons of Buddha and five thankas are found in 15th century monastery. There is also a collection of ancient masks, antique arms, and an awe inspiring image of Mahakal.
Then we reached Alchi Choskor (70 KM from Leh). We found tallest Buddha of ladakh in Alchi Monastery. Also visited newly constructed Alchi Dam. Then we proceed toward Lamayuru (135 KM from Leh). A famous and oldest monastery in ladakh. This is only monastery which is based on Kashmiri Architect.
After another rought road driving we reached to Kargil (230 KM from Leh) at 7:30 PM. We have already booked guest house of 121 artillery brigade in army camp. It was a nice experience to stay there.
Day 12: 25/08/09
Early morning after taking fuel for our bikes we left Kargil. After few kilometers we found many sign boards indicating that “don’t stop here u are in the range of Animy” or “Dushman aapko dekh raha hai”
We reached Drass War Memorial (52 KM from Kargil and before 6 KM from Dras). Really this is the only place where I would like to go again and again. Great great touch of patriotism. Salute to our solders. We visit “Manoj Pandey OP Vijay Gallery” inside the memorial and saw the documentary film made my army on Kargil war.
Then we reached to Drass (58 KM from Kargil)(World’s second coldest place after Siberia) and took some refreshment. We saw Tiger Hill, point 47 peak and Mashkoh valley (all symbol of Kargil war). After Drass road is good.
On the way to Srinagar we crossed through Zozila Pass, Baltal (startng point of Amarnath Yatra), Sonamarg, Kangan, Ganderbal and reached to Srinagar (206 KM from Kargil).
Day 13: 26/08/09
After heavy rain we left Srinagar around 10:45 AM to Jammu. Jammu-Srinagar highway is very good but full of traffic so we reached Jammu in night 9:30 PM. We reached to RBI guest house which we booked in advance. Here we got complete ready kitchen in guest house so we decided to prepare our food our self, and really this food was best after leaving from our homes.
Now we left hills behind us with lifetime memory and precious moments
Day 14: 27/08/09
Morning 8:00 AM we left Jammu and driving through Kaluchak, Kathua, Lakhanpur, Pathankoat, Jalandhar we reached to Ludhiana (280 KM from Jammu) for night stay.
Day 15: 28/08/09
Morning 7:00 AM we left Ludhiana for Meerut. After driving of 350 KM we reached toMeerut.
Day 16: 29/08/09
Morning 8:00 AM left Meerut and reached to Lucknow in night 9:00 PM.

1.Check and prepare your motorbikes properly because in case of any breakdown after Kiratpur you’ll be in big trouble and will lost your momentum.
2.Keep Clutch wire, puncture kit, air pump, and empty petrol canes with your luggage.
3.Keep all warm clothes with you like Woolen sweater, a good jacket, good quality rain coat, water proof gumboots, 4-5 pair of woolen socks, good quality heavy gloves, monkey cap, muffler, one pair of inner (upper and lower)
4.Keep good quality sunscreen lotion, and lip guard jelly.
5.Use sun goggle.
6.Carry complete road guide, journey information, and proper plan.
7.Carry necessary medicine and first aid box.
8.Eat light and energetic food in hills.
9.Drink lot of hot water (not normal or cold water) only for proper oxygen. Again I am telling do not intake cold water.

1.Do not take any kind of risk while driving because roads are very dangerous and life is very precious.
2.Do not eat Maggie noodles in hills.
3.Do not drive fast on hills because roads are very bumpy.
4.Do not carry extra luggage on bike.

Distances and Roads at a glance:

Lucknow to Meerut 455 KM : Road is Good
Meerut to Chandigarh 250 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Chandigarh to Kiratpur 90 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Kiratpur to Anandpur Sahib 10 KM : Road is Good
Anandpur Sahib to Bilaspur 70 KM : Road is Good
Bilaspur to Sundarnagar 45 KM : Road is Good
Sundarnagar to Mandi 17 KM : Road is Good
Mandi to Bhuntar 60 KM : Road is Good
Bhuntar is exactly at 1000 KM from Lucknow
Bhuntar to Kullu 10 KM : Road is Good
Kullu to Manali 40 KM : Road is Good
Manali is at 1050 KM from Lucknow
Manali to Rohtang Pass 52 KM : Road is very bad
Rohtang to Koksar 18 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Koksar to Tandi 36 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Tandi to Jispa 31 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Jispa to Darcha 7 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Darcha to DipaKTal 16 KM : Road neither good nor bad
DipakTal to Baralacha 54 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Baralacha to Bharatpur 3 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Bharatpur to Sarchu 26 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Sarchu to Gata Loops 22 KM : Road is Good
Gata Loops to Pang 52 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Pang to Tanglang La Pass 65 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Tanglang La to Rumtse 35 KM : Road is Good
Rumtse to Upshi 25 KM : Road is Good
Upshi to Leh 50 KM : Road is Good
Leh is exactly at 490 KM from Manali and 1542 KM from Lucknow
Leh to KhardungLa Pass 40 KM
Leh to Alchi 70 KM : Road is Good
Alchi to Lamayuru 65 KM : Road is Good
Lamayuru to Kargil 95 KM : Road is very bad
Kargil to War Memorial 52 KM : Road is Good
War Memorial to Drass 6 KM : Road is Good
Drass to Zozila Pass 37 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Zozila to Baltal 16 KM : Road neither good nor bad
Baltal to Sonamarg 15 KM : Road is Good
Sonamarg to Srinagar 80 KM : Road is Good
Srinagar to Jawahar Tunnel 93 KM : Road is Good
Jawahar Tunnel to Ramban 57 KM : Road is Good
Ramban to PatniTop 40 KM : Road is Good
PatniTop to Udhampur 42 KM : Road is Good
Udhampur to Jammu (Rly station) 63 KM : Road is Good
Jammu to Samba 40 KM : Road is Good
Samba to Lakhanpur 50 KM : Road is Good
Lakhanpur to Pathankot 55 KM : Road is Good
Pathankot to Ludhiana 135 KM : Road is Good
Ludhiana to Meerut 360 KM : Road is Good
Meerut to Lucknow 455 KM: Road is Good

"This was happy ending of our dream journey, and believe me it was really dream to be there with bikes"
I wish to go there again in future but after around 4-5 years, because Manali to Leh highway is not ready and road builders are working to make two lane road, i think it'll take around 4-5 more years.
"I thanks to all bikers those were there in past and wish good luck to those are planning to go there in near future"
At last thanks to all my team members (Subhash bhai, Rishikant bhai, and Bhaskar). Without them it could not be possible for me to be there.