Monday, April 25, 2011

Leh 2010: A Trip of a Lifetime - 6 (Last & Final Part!)

This is the last part of this travelogue. 
[Click on the snaps for larger images.]

We reached Leh late at night and after a bit of searching, found a decent hotel at a decent price (business was down) due to the cloud burst. We crashed out and woke up late next morning to a lazy day in Leh. Our first task was to top up and fill the reserve jerricans with fuel for our return trip. 

Tandi was the last place (365km away) where we had topped up before Leh, hence the need to carry jerricans. 

Having topped up we then we zipped across to Tashi's Workshop for getting the bikes checked out. I had to get a major nut tightened (no, not the one in my head!) in the chassis and get a mirror. Similarly both the others had minor adjustments to be done for their bikes as well. This was when I realised the utter arrogance and lack of sensitivity of Royal Enfield. Every year a few hundred Bullets come to Leh and they do not have an authorised service centre here! This company has survived simply due to the fact that they have no rivals...but the situation is changing and soon bikers will have choices. 
The next day we hit the road for Khardung La, the world's highest motorable road and gateway to the Shyok and Nubra Valleys of Ladakh. Getting there was easier than we thought though the altitude does get to you if you are not careful. After the customary 'chai' break and snaps we headed back to Leh - royally elated at our success. 

Kartik doing what he does best, at Khardung La!

Next morning we headed home...sticking to the route we had come from. Till now we had had a relatively smooth run, but now the hard times were about to begin. It started with a puncture on BD's bike which set us back by two hours. 

 The bike ended up falling on Kartik's foot as we tried to fit the tyre onto it! Still, both made it. 

The simple act of filling air into the tube was made difficult due to the altitude. 
Kartik, our ustad, showed us the correct way to bounce the tyre to settle the tube inside it before fulling it with air. 

This delay ensured we would not be able to reach Pang that day, so we spent the night at a delightful Tibetan Children's School in Sumdo. 

 This little boy was so enamored by the bikes that he refused to get off until someone dragged him off. 
The school catered for children of the Tibetan shepherds who had left for the pastures to graze their cattle and would only return months later before the snowfall.

Next morning we headed for Manali and ended up staying at Kullu. Enroute managed to spot the rare breeding Black-necked Cranes Grus nigricollis. 

Black-necked Crane with a chick. We saw two such pairs. 

 A very photogenic Kestrel Falco tinnunculus looks back at us as we drive by. 

A close up of the omnipresent Rock Bunting Emberzia cia.

That's it folks. Hope to do more such trips in the future. Do write in and comment & criticize so that I can improve my presentation. 


The Restless Souldier.


  1. Thanks for your appreciation, Magiceye.

  2. Great Post...was planning a trip to Leh myself..This and the remaining will help..

  3. Hi Perception, thanks for the visit. Get Leh'ed - its an amazing experience.