A dream that lasted for 12 days, a bike trip to Ladakh with some of the best ever friends cum fellow riders. My zeal to make a bike trip to Ladakh ignited in 2010, when I had gone to Leh by Air with a friend. Two things clearly fascinated me, first, thumping bullets on curveous BRO maintained roads and second, to ride all the way from foot of Himalayas to the peak, Khardung La Pass (World's highest motorable pass).
The very first day of 2011 brought me a gift in the form of Brand new Royal Enfield Classic 500. This great beginning made me confident that this is the year when I will be embarking on life time ride to Ladakh on new beast.
Lot of things changed on professional front with higher responsibilties assigned to me alongwith movement from New Delhi to other location. Though I was very happy with the change but little nervous on uncertainity on Ladakh trip.
When all other riders were exchanging messages on facebook about their excitement and plans; I was skeptical about my abilty to join these guys. My plan was confirmed four days before start of the trip.
Trip started from Chandigarh of five riders. The start of the journey happened in heavy rains and mixture of excitement and nervousness in mind.
The company of other four riders is worth a mention. All of them great human beings and great riders. Whole trip was full of humour and fun. We faced all hurdle with smile and high enthusiasm.
The epic ride offered us everything one can imagine in a ride. It started with rain, dust, traffic and breakdowns. As the ride grew a day old, it offered us, slush, mud, traffic jams, breakdowns and steep bad roads.
Then on offer was long stretches of awesome roads to ride, river crossing (some easy and some difficult like unprecedented), high altitude, extreme weather conditions, Snow all around riders, Passes (among top five of world), sand, deserts, dust, hot climate and fascinating terrains.
When dream ride was on its peak, we got to explore unexplored by riding off road. We rode on some of the most dangerous roads with rocks falling in front of bikes and behind bikes.
Later part of trip took us to the smoothest era of my dream. Rode through border roads of Kashmir valley through historical places like Kargill and Drass. A flavor of patriotism filled an unique energy in our ride. Crossed world's second coldest habitat Drass early morning before sun rise.
We rode down to Srinagar, Hot climate disappointed us. We made our stay arrangements in house boat, enjoyed Shikaara tour in Dal Lake in the evening. But Srinagar is more commercial than a geniune tourist place.
Ride down from Srinagar to Jammu was all done like mere formality. The only attraction on the way was Patni Top with low temprature and pine tree covered roads.
Last day of Ride from Jammu to Chandigarh was toughest. As all of us never wanted to come out of the dream which we were seeing through our open eyes from last 11 days. This day was full of rain and extreme hot climate, which we did not like it at all.
As we completed the ride, I felt extremely fresh and satisfied. A sense of achievement, an accomplishment, which I will always count above all. A dream which I will share with everyone with proud. A ride which proved again how much I love the nature.
Many a time during the trip I wished that this ride should never end. I loved each and every thing happened during the trip. The fellow riders were awesome, their riding skills are commendable, their sense of humour is fascinating and their humanity is worth appreciation. I felt really proud to ride with them, proud to be part of such gems, proud to see a dream that lasted for 12 days.