Beautiful valleys, sceneries and unexplainable joy and thrill, this blog will take you through my serene journey to the magically whimsical land of Leh…
With the fantasies to feed my wanderer soul with the very famous, talked-about, breathtaking landscapes of Leh, one fine afternoon I picked up my Bullet 350 Electra (the love of my life) and embarked on this journey starting from Manali, with my spirits ever-so-high and excitement barely contained!
The ride up to Rohtang Pass is a treat for your eyes as much as it is for your passionate rider soul! There is greenery all around and the roads are smooth as butter and unstained! It gave me the joy of a child in a playground where I could run, swing and enjoy freely like a bird who knows no cages!
I rode fast without stopping much except for capturing a few breathtaking shots on my way, with the aim of crossing Rohtang Pass in broad daylight because even the bravest and most skilled rider would not dare to cross that pass at
Rohtang was a tough destination to reach even after the smooth roads. Thanks to the hopeless traffic system in Manali, the journey of 52km took almost 4 hours to complete that too with credits to my Bullet which led me through the jam! You must be thinking that I would have lost my cool by now and must be completely frustrated but that’s not the case! As soon as the view of Rohtang Pass filled my eyes, all my frustration was swept away and replaced with joy and excitement. The way those hairpin looped roads challenged my inner rider, I got so charged and excited to conquer those risky roads and be victorious! Also, the greenery and calmness beyond gave me a sense of spiritual sanctity.
The steep turns of the Rohtang Pass were conquered soon and I reached the beautiful village of Keylong by evening. The day’s ride, though awe inspiring, got me tired and spent, and to keep cherishing every minute detail of this celestial journey, a good meal and proper rest was much needed and desired!
Early next morning, I woke up with a refurbished zeal and enthusiasm, for this was the day, when my rider soul was going to conquer a major milestone in its bucket list: Leh!
The first pass of the day was Baralacha La, which marked my ascend in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Before embarking the deep valleys, steep curves and hairpin bends of Baralacha La, I stopped at the very beautiful and breathtaking ‘Suraj Taal’ lake whose water was so clear that I could easily see the debris lying below. The entire scene in front of my eyes was a visual treat! My heart came into my mouth with awe and amazement washed all over me as that scene in front of me filled my soul with its beauty and serenity. Also, Baralacha La was the last stop with civilization; calm, quiet and deserted lands lay ahead from this point.
The next challenge was the Gata Loops, a place which was as beautiful as it was scary! There were a series of steep hairpin loops that were looping upwards. The thrill of just scraping off one of those loops was scaring the life out of me and was a very risky affair too.
I thanked God for keeping me safe through those life threatening, scary looped roads which were no less in invoking the excitement of adventure too! What lay beyond was the Leh-Manali highway which was characterized by wind battered, red rocky mountain faces, the beauty of which cannot be contained in words. The ride was smooth on these roads and also very captivating. Looking at those rugged and broken mountain faces made me wonder how long have they been standing there? That they must have witnessed the journeys of so many travelers and adventurers like me. They gave me a ‘know-it-all’ vibe and these thoughts made me smile at the child inside me…
Wandering and wondering, I now reached Nakee La and by now I was accustomed to my ‘heart-in-mouth’ condition! The beauty of watching the Indus River flowing through the valleys of these huge mountains was a sight to be cherished throughout my life. It gave a sense of fulfillment to my hungry wanderer soul. With so much beauty and awe to take in, I only have one thing to say to all you passionate bikers out there, that Leh is the place to satiate your thirst and hunger for a challenging and awe inspiring adventure.
The surprises never end in Leh! The second pass of the Manali-Leh route, Lachung La, was characterized with overwhelming magnanimity! With mountains in beautiful shades of brown and natural land formations which are hard to believe. There were wide open valleys with narrow roads and natural tunnels made out of rock formations. The valleys are so serene and sparsely populated; it made me wonder that with almost negligible civilization, how do the BRO employees manage in these tough conditions? Where do they get their supplies from? My thoughts were soon answered by an employee himself with whom I got an opportunity to have a conversation with. He told me that in spite of the difficulties, they do this to make money for their family’s livelihood that lives far away from Leh. It was good to talk to someone after travelling in a deserted place since morning, but to see their complete disconnection from the society and civilization got me a bit melancholy. I put these thoughts aside and resumed my journey, this time heading towards the highest peak in Leh: Tanglang La.
5300m above sea level, Tanglang La was a mind boggling sight which gave me goose bumps! By this time, even the minutest of civilizations had vanished and this highest point of Leh was no longer just that but also the highest point of my excitement as well as my journey. The sight gave immense satisfaction to my soul and the pleasure I felt was like never before. The mountain peaks were clad in snow and the prayer flags splashed accents of color against it. A sign board read that I was at the highest point in Leh, but I felt otherwise. I felt like I was on the top of this world! These peaks were a part of the magnanimous Himalayas, only wilted with age and accompanied by their age old companion- the savage winds.
Leh is a magical land and this statement knows no opposition till date! With valleys so beautiful and experiences so mesmerizing, it remains in India’s top 5 road trip destinations and seems like it will hold this place forever. When you get off your bike and stand on the side of the road, looking upon a valley that would take your life before you know it, and looking up too see buildings perched on top of undulating rocks, you will find a purpose for your soul for which it has always been hungry…
With such strong forces of nature in action, one can never guarantee a safe passage. That’s where a biker’s gear plays an important role. On such bike trips, one must be well equipped with their gears and most importantly in the right outdoor shoes! Red Chief has launched their own unique and snug range of outdoor shoes: Rockwolf, which are the perfect solution for your outdoor ventures. Not only snug and comfortable, they also bring unbeatable charm to your outfit and I say that with personal experience that these shoes made my journey smarter and better.
All in all, the Manali-Leh journey is a power-packed, jaw dropping, awe inspiring and mesmerizing experience, with epic written all over it! With roads which open up only for a few months in a year, this 470km journey is a spiritual experience which will shock you, challenge you, please you and leave you dumbfounded with its magnanimity!