Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Day1 : 4th September 2005 (Delhi – Manali)

Before the start of this trip, I had planed to do a lot of things differently from what I have done on my previous trips. But as time grew nearer to the start, I was once again on the brink; once again I had not slept before the trip, after all old habits diehard.

As my phone rang and showed Shamik’s no. I knew that my trip has officially started.

starting from home

It was time to embark on a journey that will take me though the highest and coldest passes in the world.

Soon our bikes were piercing through the darkness to make way to the Delhi border fully packed with luggage and riders. This objective was accomplished in half an hour and then came, oh so familiar NH-1. This was the first time in my life when I was riding on this highway so late in night or should I say early in the morning (3 o’clock)!

After a couple of hours of riding, it was time to make our first pit stop, since both of us were feeling hungry. So we pulled into a dhaba and soon we were gorging on the tasty paranths.

our bikes at the dhaba

Ride in plains was uneventful; but like I said old habits die hard and I was about to get the taste of another one. I have passed through Chandigarh twice before, on my previous trips to Manali. And each time I went through different roads before finally joining the NH-21 and this time was no exception! Once again I was lost and again took a different route to finally reach NH-21.

Due to the lack of sleep, we started feeling tired and sleepy and to add to the woes, it was really hot in plains. Some where along the way Shamik got some sand in his eyes and now it was starting to take effect and he was having problem riding. We took another break at a dhaba for tea and to get a little bit fresh.

my bike

Shamik had only one question every time we took a break, when will we see hills. And soon enough his and my wish came through, as we watched the gradual transformation of landscape from planes to hills after Kiratpur.

himachal

I was once again enjoying the view and curves of nh-21, while Shamik was getting frustrated to see the amount of traffic here, since he is used to deserted Uttaranchal roads.

I could see the weather change from sunny to overcast and knew there will be rain and that meant trouble for me. Moment’s later heavens door opened up and we were greeted by rain shower which according to locals were uncommon for this time of the year!

Since I was not carrying any water proof cloths, I knew the ride from now on will be a bit uncomfortable, while Shamik slipped into waterproof jacket and lower. But rain was not able to dampen our spirits and we soldiered on, unabated. After an hour and a half of rain we got clear sky and dry roads just before Kullu. This meant only one thing, it was time to rip and I soon found my self racing with one of the mahindra pickup. Despite the best effort of the pickup driver he only got a view of my bikes tail light over and over again.

hotel in manali

By evening we reached Manali and the first thing we did was to go to the petrol pump to tank up. At the petrol pump couple of guys on rx100 came to us and asked if we needed a room. After tanking up we went with them and found a nice room for 150 bucks.

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