After finishing my first 2 legs of Motorcycle tours from Delhi to Ladakh, am going to write about 3rd leg of the journey in this post. If you missed out my first 2 episode of Solo Ladakh bike trip, please click on the below link.
Episode 1: "Leh Ladakh Bike Trip - Part 1"
Episode 2:"Leh Ladakh Bike Trip - Part 2"
In my previous blog series have written about how I struggled to handle myself during Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and other logistical hurdles during my solo journey from Delhi to Ladakh on my Royal Enfield Classic 350cc. In this blog series am gonna write about How to obtain inner line permits, Offbeat Trails in Ladakh region for Motorcycle traveller and a small story of a Massive Landslide
I reached Leh at 1.00 in the noon on my Motorbike trip to Leh, soon after I enter the city I straight away to fort road which is at the other side of Shanthi Stupa. There I started searching for some guest house or homestay under my budget, but most of the decent hotels are booked before, so I couldn’t get the chance... But there is always better in the store, I got an address of "Harmony Guest House" in the fort road & straight away I rode to the guest house, guess what I got very nice, cosy & wallet-friendly guest house. Harmony guest house is run by an old lady who is basically from Korzok village in Tso Moriri Lake. It has a nice 5 rooms. I took a room and decided to have a small nap. Before that, I took the help of aunt to get the inner line permits from her know travel agent. Inner Line Permit or ILP is an important document where every traveller who visits Ladakh region need to obtain from Leh DC, the process is very simple either you go and stand in the line for half a day and obtain ILP or just take help of any travel agent and chill at Leh market for a while. So I took the second option and it’s very simple and hassle-free.
I all woke up at 5.00 in the evening, guess what. I got the Permits in my hand. I applied for Nubra Valley, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Puchathang, Chushul, Changthang, Hanle, Tso Moriri, Pangong, Man, Merak & Tsaga la.... and by god’s grace, I got a permit for all the above places. After that I headed to Taashi Bhai who is a known Royal Enfield mechanic in Leh, I got some minor things to be done & water wash for my bike. So finally my bike is ready to start the 3rd leg of the journey to Ladakh.
What a blissful night it was, had a sound sleep for the first time after 4 days. Refreshed. I woke up at 7.00 am and started to pack all the stuff. I had breakfast at some Dhaba in Leh town; it was yummy & awesome. I Bid goodbye to Leh City & started ascending towards Khardungla top, the first few km are in good shape as soon as I enter the Ktop the roads are in bad condition with Landslide last night happened. I waited there for 45mins to get that clearance from BRO(Border Road Organisation), finally, a green signal from BRO gave me more spirit to ride. After riding for more than 3hrs I reached Khardungla top finally. The mission accomplished.
The movement I saw the snow I started to run on it, but within 30seconds I started to feel low energy & lack of oxygen. I spend some quality time there and headed towards Nubra valley… After I descend from KTop & once I entered the Nubra valley it was too hot since I had to visit Turtuk I decided to visit Hunder on next day, I had quick lunch in Diskit & headed towards Turtuk.
Believe me, Turtuk is one of the most beautiful villages in the world, most of them are Baltis & they can speak good Hindi too… I reached Turtuk at 5.00 pm, stayed at Turtuk Eco Resort; this is the only good place to stay at Turtuk at that time.
Time: 9.00am to 5.00pm
Turtuk Eco resort is very well maintained place. In Turtuk the supply of electricity is very less. They have fixed timing morning 8 to 10 & evening 8 to 10…. Just imagine how they will be leading their life, I couldn't tolerate if there any power fluctuations for 30mins, but they lead a life without electricity. Since I got the permit to Tyakshi & Puchathang, after breakfast I headed to Tyakshi. Tyakshi is some 5km from Turtuk. I start proceeding towards Tyakshi after driving for 5 km I got an Army Check post; the entire region is controlled by Ghurkha Regiment which is a division of Indian Army.
This is the conversation I had with the Ghurkha Regiment officer. Here goes
Ghurkha Regiment: Stop, where r u heading?
Me: To Tyakshi…
Ghurkha Regiment: This is Tyakshi, and u are not supposed to cross the check post.
Me: Sir, but I got the permits from Leh DC office.
Ghurkha Regiment: Throw that Permits into the bin, I required a special permit from Indian Army to cross this check post.
Me: Sir, but I came from Bangalore to have a look at how really a Border looks, pls allow moving ahead. Within 10min will go back.
Ghurkha Regiment: Since Indian Army has not Issued NOC to LEH DC, I cannot allow anyone beyond this check post, if u cross this post also the next one is Puchathang & Thang village check post definitely won’t allow u to cross. Since u has come from that long distance I will give u some small info on this village… then he started to explain the story. Earlier it was under the control of Pakistan but after the battle of Chalunka in 1971 I captured these villages from Pak… (Chalunka is a small village in the Shyok River valley, which was on the India-Pakistan border until 1971 when Indian army officer Chewang Rinchen raised the Nubra river valley guards from local men and captured considerable territory along the valley until they got near the village Turtuk where the present border is today.).
He contd… after Tyakshi you will get Puchathang, Thang & Gridge, after Gridge the Pakistan border will start. From Pakistan side, there is one small village after that u will get Khapalu, Skardu & Gilgit. All are part of Baltistan. And he also shows one mountain which is very near to that check post & told that is Pakistan & they have Bunker in that mountain. He also shows the pic of K2 on his mobile phone.
To be frank it is magnificent. He told to take the pic of that mountain not the check post or any photos of people are prohibited. I Bid goodbye to officer & started to take the excursion of Turtuk village. Turtuk village is at top of the mountain where the grow Barley, Apricot, Apple & other grains. Apricot from Turtuk has a great value in Ladakh & Kashmir.
I started my journey towards Leh at 11.00 am and headed towards Hunder, in Hunder I took Camel ride & spent some time there. Since it was getting dark I need to cross the Khardungla point very soon, coz in evenings it will be very cold at the top. With due respect everybody started to cruise at max speed & reached K top, again I spent some time there & reached Leh at 7.00 pm.
Time: 8.00 am to 7.00pm
After a great ride to Ktop on my Delhi to Ladakh Motorcycle Trip, I decided to take a break for 1 day; the main reason is to sightseeing, shopping at Leh. I all woke up at 9.00 am & left the guest house for sightseeing & some minor repair to the bikes.
First I had breakfast at “Chaska Maska” hotel in Leh Bazaar, this is the only hotel in Leh where u will get South India Dosa for breakfast… it is a kind okay. Soon after breakfast, I headed to “Hall of Fame” the Army museum at Leh-Srinagar highway, it gives you the glimpse of overall Ladakh region & the war story.
When u are at Leh, don’t miss to visit “German Bakery” in Leh Bazaar, the best doughnuts I ever had. And also Yak cheese pizza & some cookies. Also, I visited Shanthi Stupa & did some shopping. Don’t forget to take souvenirs from the Hall of Fame museum. All the products are made by the Indian Army.
And I know that tomorrow is another great day for us, because of
“Mighty Chang La”. Next blog series will be how I came out the Massive Landslide.