I, 26 years of age. working as Manager at HSBC along with my six other college friends and IIT Kanpur alumni, Anish K – 26yrs, Anshu Avinash – 26yrs, Meghdeep Agrawal- 26yrs, Mohit Gupta – 26yrs, Pranjal Singh – 26yrs and Pretesh Agrawal- 27yrs went on a journey full of adventures, an experience filled with emotions, thrill, fun and what not.
“A road trip to Ladakh from Bangalore on my bike Bajaj Pulsar RS 200 | 19days | ~8200kms | 12 States | 7 Wanderers (that’s what we like to call us)”. As every other group, we were planning for this road trip since our college days and here comes a day 01 JAN 2018 – the new year. We decided no matter what we will go to Ladakh in summer. It was a kind of New Year resolution we took.
After lots of planning, the itinerary for trip is ready, We started from Bangalore the on 06 Jun 2018 with clock ticking 04:30 in the morning. I was on my bike, Bajaj Pulsar RS 200 and Pranjal along with Mohit and Anish were in his own car Maruti Baleno. Other folks decided to join us from Gurgaon.
We reached Gurgaon in 2 days on 07 JUN 2018, 21:45 in night. The route we took was Bangalore – Hyderabad – Nagpur – Chindwara – Jhansi – Gwalior – Agra – Mathura – Gurgaon. It was around ~2100 kms and ~35 hours of riding time, with only one hault in Nagpur where we took a good power nap for 3 hours.
We had a rest day 08 JUN 2018, where I got my bike serviced at one of the Bajaj service centre and Pranjal gave his car for servicing too. Anish rented a Royal Enfield 500 from Gurgaon and now we are all set for the adventure which we were dreaming of.
Day 4, 09 JUN 2018. I was on my Pulsar and Pranjal with Meghdeep and Anshu in his car accompanied by Pretesh and Mohit in Pretesh’s VW Polo and Anish on his Royal Enfield. Next 13 days what was ahead of us was some of such events or moments which we will cherish for rest of our lives.
The unknown roads, unexpected climate changes, altitude keeps changing every there and now this trip has tested me in every aspects, mentally and physically. With almost 19 days on road, we have experience all kind of weather from extreme summer heat of North India, 45 degrees in Jhansi to temperature falling down to -3 degree celcuis on snowing Khardung La Pass.
The route taken: Gurgaon – Udhampur – Kargil – Zanskar – Leh – Tso Moriri – Pangong – Diskit (Nubra) – Turtuk – Pang – Manali – Mandi – Gurgaon. Along this route, we ascended and desceded few of the top most motorable passes in the world – Khardung La, Tanglang La, Zoji La, Namik La, Baralacha La, Namik La, Nakee La and Lachung La with the highest altitude being 18,380 feet at Khardung La Pass.
Here I must confess, the most difficult road for me to ride on is Zanskar where we coveredaround ~50kms in 5-6hours and as far as climatic difficulties are concerned, for me the most difficult time was crossing Tanglang La where the temperature was negative, wind was blowing as fast as it can and it became worse when it started snowing. I remember I was not able to apply full clutch while ascending the pass and I could not feel my foot, it was completed under snow for more than 6 hours and it was numb as hell.
The target for us to reach the planned destination, enjoying each and every landscapes though I must tell you it was hard to decide which view point we skip as riding 150-200kms in mountains
will take your entire day. We used to start very early around 4-4:30 in morning and took usual breaks for all three meals and once we reach the destination around 8-8:30 pm in night we looked for some home stays and that’s how we managed and enjoyed living there. To all the reader I must tell, if you are a true traveller and a true rider, stay in home stays that gives you different feel altogether.
Travelling around ~4000kms, this was the first time that I had experienced all kinds of weather while riding my bike. I rode my bike in every possible terrains – highways, snow, mud, water crossings, sludge, sand, rocks, pebbles, wood and many more.
What was shocking and impressive at the same time was how my bike performed in those difficult terrians. There was not even a single trouble as such when it comes to performance, some skids in the steep slopes that is understandably because the design on bike is as such that it is very stable to
ride on the highway. But the way my bike performed I was also surprised. It gave mileage of ~40 kmpl in the mountains which still is a mystery for us. All the other vechiles gave mileage more than we expected while calculating the expected cost of the trip. Overall somewhere around 270-280 litres of petrol was consumed in the trip.
They say, it is not able the vehicle it’s about the rider but I would like to mention that given the power of Pulsar RS, just 200cc it becomes difficult when it has to ascend. I would be short of adjective to describe how proud and excited and overwhelmed I am from my bike’s performance.
I have covered lots of miles, ~21,000kms in last 2 and half years on this two-wheeler beast where I have tested my bike on the highways and Western ghats of South India. I have traveled long distance on a stretch like Bangalore to Pune and Bangalore to Goa but Ladakh trip was special as it should be and I think my bike stood like a warrior with me in every difficult situation.
But as they say, every good or bad thing will come to an end, our trip was nearing completion when we reached Gurgaon back on 21Jun2018. Pranjal and I had decided and we will ride back to Bangalore
rather than shipping our vehicles so for us the journey was not over yet, still 2000+ kms to covered with zero enthusiasm and excitement because the life will again be back in corporate world. We started on 23JUN2018 early morning from Gurgaon and again covered Gurgaon to Bangalore tracing back our path via Nagpur in 2 days.
The happiness, satisfaction and the relief on our faces was just amazing and we said to each other ‘YES, WE DID IT”.
Now, as we are just left with such amazing and fascinating memories but everytime I talk about it, it feels like reliving those moments.
To my friends or brothers as we feel about each other, this trip was even more memorable because of your company. It’s been 8 years of togetherness and I hope we are still left with lots and lots of adventures to experience.
My philosophy is very simple, ” the path matters as much as the destination” and I can proudly say that as a biker.
With that, I would like to wish all the traveler reading this post “have a happy and safe journey” and Keep exploring as much as you can because there is lot to explore and life is very short.