K2K: A JOURNEY FROM SKY TO OCEAN by Captain Suraj Singh Thakur of Indian Army – Part 2

  1. 5th And 6th Day Ride (Sonmarg-Baltal-Drass-Kargil-Nmaika- Fotu La-Nimon-Leh).

 (a) Route Taken: It’s always better when you start up your ride early in the morning at around 0630 hours. It took me two days to reach Leh because it’s always better when you have proper acclimatisation. If you are moving towards Leh Ladhak, there is a famous saying “Don’t Be Gama In Place Of Lama” even if it can be done in a day. This route will be along NH 1 which goes through Zozila Pass and then entering into Drass, Kargil having refuelling station, Namilka, Fotu La, Lamayuru, Khalste having refuelling station, Nimon and at last Leh.

 (b) Distance Covered: 82 and 140 (222 km).

 (c) Things to Do & Places to Stay

(i) Kargil: Hotel Siachen Heights can be an option for overnight stay at Kargil. If you guys are seeking for 5 star service at Kargil, then just forget it. After crossing over Zozila Pass, you will be entering into Drass War Zone. You must be amazed to know that Drass is the second coldest place in the world as the temperature is approximately -60 degree Celsius in January. Also, don’t forget to visit Kargil War Memorial and being a citizen of this country, pay your tribute to the martyrs who fought against the Pakistani aggression and sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

(ii) Leh: Once you start up your ride from Kargil, you will be riding all along the banks of Indus river through moon land by passing through Namika La and Photu la pass. Also, make an endeavour and visit Lamayuru Monastery which is one of the oldest monasteries en route. Towards Leh, you will also come across hills and experience zero gravity at Magnetic Hill. You can actually feel pity about human beings that are actually so small in front of mother nature. You must visit the holy shrine of Pather Sahab Gurudwara and by evening, you will be at Leh. Leh city is full of good hotels and resorts in and around. Hotel Grand Dragon and Hotel Zen Ladhak are your best options at Leh. Also, don’t forget to visit the Leh market.

(Crux of this 1000 km ride: Nothing can beat the Himalayan road journeys, high passes, massive snow-capped mountains, spectacular views and dreamy landscapes. Drass is said to be the second coldest place after Siberia. All riders can ride along the mesmerising Indus river, beautiful ice clad mountains and beautiful NH1 Highway).

Caution: All riders are requested to do proper acclimatisation for at least 48 hours because bike ride on those roads give you a feeling of roller coaster sickness since you’re constantly dealing with high altitude passes, snow crossing, water crossing, bad roads, landslides and glacier melts. Riders experiencing such an altitude for the first time and frequent change in altitude may cause them AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), HAPO (High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema) and HACO (High Altitude Oedema). In case of an emergency, you are requested to report to nearby Primary Health Care centre or any Army Medical Unit.

CONCLUSION OF 6 DAY RIDE

  1. I got a chance to ride on all kinds of terrain. As a result, this journey helped me to improve as a rider as I started my journey from central India to the mighty Himalayas. It really feels great when you start your journey waking up to the views of snow peak mountains at the enchanting Dal Lake at Kashmir. Nestled in the foothills of wonderful Himalayan mountains, also known as Venice of the East, the scenic splendour of Srinagar in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has attracted people since time immemorial. The city has mesmerised the Mughals, the Sikhs and the British over the course of history.
  2. Though I have covered only one axis towards Leh Ladhak via Srinagar, some stretches were too good to not ride at high speeds but it had nominal human presence. As a result, it tested my concentration and mental toughness with no one around you as you will need to stay alert all the time, because, if you crash or breakdown, you’ll be on your own. You have to be prepared for such scenarios. It took me precisely 6 Days to Reach Leh. I reached Leh via Srinagar on 28 June 2016.

To Be Continued…

NOTE: This article continues the journey of Captain Suraj Singh Thakur of Indian Army. To read all the articles of K2K, click HERE.

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