Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Day 9: 12th September 2005 Leh – Tangste

After a light breakfast of tea and cookies, Sumit, Salil and I went to the DC’s office to arrange permits, after persuasion we were issued permits in half an hour!

This meant we could leave for Pangong tso today; we rushed back to the hotel to inform others. Soon all of us were packing; our goal was to reach pangong tso by night fall. But getting ready and then going for lunch etc meant a late start for us.

But before we could leave, we needed to get our bikes oil changed and for that we headed to a Mechanics shop on the outskirts of Leh.

motorcycle mechanic at leh

By the time we got our bikes oil changed, it was almost 4o’clock. Soon we were on a mad dash toward the mighty Chang La. There was little day light left and the story of Chang La’s roads and steepness that we had heard, made us a little uneasy about crossing it in low light conditions.

But to our surprise the roads were in a good condition, but we thought things would change once we start the real ascent to Chang la.

manik posing after village of shakti en route to chang la

When the ascent started we were surprised to find super smooth roads, which were probably laid couple of days back. When we reached the TCP of Chang la, they were hesitant to let us through. Since the official time for the last civilian vehicle is 5:30pm and it was well over 6o’clock when we reached there. After requesting the officer in charge and the reference of my dad’s friend we were allowed to proceed. But they warned us against coming back in night, infect they told us to stay at Tanksey. Since there was only one guest house near pangong tso and according to the information they had, it was full.

After thanking the officer, we started our ascent and found the most of the patch till Chang la to be quite good and even the last patch wasn’t as bad as the roads to Khardung la. When we reached Chang la top, we were greeted by Indian army who took us to a warm cabin and served us hot tea! After chatting with them and getting a little warm, it was time for us to move on.

The descent from Chang la was steeper and had bad roads, but you can’t get scared of some thing that you can’t see. Now we were riding under the cover of darkness and proceeded toward our next destination, Tanksey.

Despite night and bad patches, the ride was better then what we had expected. Infect by 9:30pm we were in Tanksey, here we got a cottage for Rs500. it was really big and had a large living room and two large bedrooms. But there was some thing strange about it, to begin with the inside of the doors didn’t have any locks! It meant door could be locked from outside, but not from inside and the only light there was the lights running on solar power!

But we were too tired to think much of it and only thing in our mind was watching sunrise at Pangong tso tomorrow.

Preface, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7-1, Day 7-2, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16-17