Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Day 8: 11th September 2005 Diskit - Leh

When we started packing up and told the old Ladakhi lady we were about to leave, she told us today it was the turn of Diskit to hold Ladakh festival and asked if we wanted to stay for another day. For a moment we were confused, since we did wanted to see the festival but didn’t wanted to spend an extra day in Nubra valley. Finally common sense prevailed and we got ready to leave for Leh.


We stopped at a small village for breakfast and had some delicious momos. Due to the late start the roads were filled with traffic and it started to rain. By the time we reached Khardung village, it was raining cats and dogs. We took up shelter at the same tea stall we had stopped while going to Nubra valley.

We waited for the rains to stop, but it didn’t look like it was in a mood to stop, add to that we got the news that it was snowing at Khardung La. Advice to us was to start as soon as possible, else the traffic from Leh side would start and we would have to wait for couple of hours.

Lack of rain gear meant, once again I was about to take the full wrath of Mother Nature. Rain was making life difficult for us and the winds started picking up as well. After riding for half an hour or so, we reached North Pallu. As soon as we reached there, rain stopped and sun started coming out. But the traffic from North Pallu wasn’t being allowed to go through and we would have to wait. We spent next half an hour at a dhaba, chatting with the army men and eating maggi.

Then we got the news that traffic from this was about to start and we saw a mad rush of truckers and tourist alike to reach their vehicles and start the ascent. We didn’t wanted to get caught up in all that traffic, so we started our bikes and proceed to Khardung La ahead of every one else.

But Mother Nature was not in a mood to relent and within ten minutes snow fall started! This was the last thing we needed and due to the already wet gloves and the dropping temperature our hands started freezing. So much so that it became a chore to operate clutch and front break. Add to that the road surface demanded frequent gear change and breaking.

But there is always light at the end of tunnel and we found ours just as we approached Khardung La. From some distance we saw four bikes parked in front of the K-Top sign board and instantaneously we recognized them and started honking. That drew the attention of four friendly faces and they came rushing out to greet us. It was none other then Manik, Salil, Sumit and Sunil. It was a welcome surprise, since we all meet regularly in Delhi on Sundays and today was a Sunday as well! After teaming up, we headed to the coffee house to get some coffee and once there we found that temperature was around -3 degree!!!

Manik, Sumit, Sunil, Me and Shamik

me with rest of the group at khardung la



Don’t shoot, we are not terrorists

posing infront of the khardung la sign post

View from Khardung La

khardung la

our motorcycles at khardung la top

our bikes at khardung la top

road to nubra valley

After spending couple of hours at K-Top, we started our descent to Leh. This time with six of us riding together there were frequent breaks, since every one wanted to take photographs.

view coming down from the khardung la pass


leh city in distance

Here is a video of six of us riding down from Khardung-La, the video was shot by Salil. The beauty of it is, he held the cam in one hand while negotiating all the gravel filled turns. Video is compiled and edited by Sunil Gupta, three cheers for such a wonderful job.

Just touched the Sky (12.24mb, right click and click save as)

By evening were back in Leh and we went to the hotel to drop our luggage. By this time every one was hungry, so I suggested the hotel where we had momos before. After dinner all we could do was talk and it was late at night when we decided to finally go to sleep.

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