K2K: A JOURNEY FROM SKY TO OCEAN by Captain Suraj Singh Thakur of Indian Army – Part 1

Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K)

(A 1000 km Ride for Every Rider)

RIDE INTRO

  1. It’s been almost 2 months since I completed my K2K solo ride, a Journey from Sky to Ocean, from world’s highest motor rideable road Khardung La Top (18,380 ft) to Kanyakumari at Indira Point. Nothing can fully prepare you for India but, perhaps, the one thing that best encapsulates the extraordinary country is its ability to inspire frustration, thrill and confound all at once.

 (a) Overall distance covered is around 13,000 km ride.

 (b) The journey starts from Kashmir and ends at Kanyakumari.

 (c) Distance is covered through 11 states.

 (d) Type of Bike: Harley Davidson Iron 883 Custom.

 (e) No. of Days taken to complete the ride: 17 Days.

  1. The K2K ride commenced on 7th Oct 2016 and was completed on 23rd Oct 2016 at Kanyakumari’s Sunset Point. If you talk to me from a rider’s point of view, it was a hard nutshell to crack and my ride covered both the axis to Leh Ladhak (Zozila Pass and Rohtang Pass), including Spiti Valley and all four important passes Marsimek La, Khardung La, Tangrang La and Baralach La.
  2. This write up is all about my journey which I have covered and about my experiences en route which might help other Harley riders to do the same in near future and to scale those cold arid desert mountains of Leh Ladhak, Leh – Manali highway which is considered as one of the toughest and dangerous roads of the world.
  3. Climate: The most important thing that you must keep in mind before you start your journey for K2K is that climate is the key factor in deciding when to plan out for K2K. One should keep in mind that climatic conditions in the far north are distantly different to those of the extreme south.

RIDE PREPARATION

  1. It took me precisely 6 months to formulate my overall plan for the journey that included initial recce of the route in the month of April and May on to both axes towards Leh Ladhak (Zozila and Rohtang). After my initial recce, I moved back to central India (Raipur Chhattisgarh), my hometown, where I was having my bike and from where I was supposed to start my journey for K2K in the month of June.

K2K FIRST STEP

  1. To ride all alone on such a long stretch needs a high level of mental preparedness because at last, it’s just you and your bike. The journey starts from the middle of the country towards icy mountains of north and planes of Punjab and then the mighty Himalayas. This is exactly why India is considered to be one of the most diverse countries in the world. I started my journey from central India (Raipur, Chhattisgarh) on 23 June 2016 and it took me precisely 6 days to reach Leh. I reached Leh via Srinagar on 28 June 2016.
  2. 1st And 2nd Day Ride (Raipur-Bilaspur-Pendra Road-Rewa-Sehdol-Allahabad-Kanpur-Agra Highway-Delhi)

 (a) Route Taken: While Driving from Raipur to Allahabad, I have come across one of the beautiful highways of India, my route was via Ballarpur, Pendra Road, Rewa, Sehdol and Allahabad, I totally outflanked Jhansi & Gwalior en route because of ongoing road construction work. Also, the route is not safe if you are riding solo. So if you are planning your ride via Jhansi, you better think off. Later on from Allahabad, I took Kanpur, Agra highway. For me, it was a clean go. Once you hit Agra and are ready to roll on to Yamuna Expressway towards Delhi, it will take precisely 3 hours to reach Delhi.

 (b) Distance Covered: (580 and 697) 1277 km

 (c) Things to Do & Places to Stay

 (i) Allahabad: Allahabad lies 135 km west of Varanasi at the confluence of two of India’s most sacred rivers, the Ganges and Yamuna. The mythical Saraswati river is also believed to joined them here and people call it SANGAM. Places nearby Sangam also have Mughal fort and tombs. Hotel Milan Palace is one of the best places to stay. Remember, Allahabad is one of the sacred places for Hindus and morning sunrise is just mesmerising. Don’t miss it at all.

 (ii) Delhi: J W Marriott is an option for riders where our local chapter has the HOG tie up. So, you will be able to get yourself a room for less cost with 5-star service. Delhi is famous for its nightlife and so, you can have a ball of a time at HAUZ KHAS, F BAR and many other places where you can have a good time. In case you need any assistance, you can buzz Delhi Chapter Manager Mr Tushar who is one hell of jolly good fellow always ready to help. His contact number is 9910401532.

(Crux of this 1000 km ride: This ride is all about beautiful site scenes, beautiful ghat sections and beautiful highways).

  1. 3rd And 4th Day Ride (Delhi-Panipat-Pathankot-Jammu-Udhampur-Patnitop-Banihal-Srinagar-Kangan-Sonmarg).

 (a) Route Taken: This particular journey moves all along NH 1A till Leh. You will be riding all along the long stretch highways of Delhi to Pathankot with beautiful valleys and ghat sections once you enter into Jammu to Udhampur highway and subsequently to Srinagar and Sonamarg.

 (b) Distance Covered: 613 and 155 (768 Km)

 (c) Things to Do & Places to Stay

 (i) Udhampur: Hotel Singh Axis in Udhampur is pretty much good with its awesome Kashmiri cuisines like kheer and kabab. One must try it as the hotel also provides a reasonable discount to riders. So, I am gonna give four stars out of five for its stay and food.

 (ii) Sonamarg: A cluster of buildings strung out all along the highway, Sonamarg is the last town of interest on the road of Ladhak. Its name means “Meadow of Gold” and it sits in a gorgeous location in a cleft of sweeping wooded valley. In happier times, Sonamarg was popular with trekkers. You can plan your stay at Hotel Glacier Heights surrounded by beautiful ice-clad mountains. You can also go for shopping for world famous handicrafts of Kashmir like pashmina shawls and Kashmiri dress. Skiing at Gulmarg and gondola ride in the month of January and February trekking at Sonamarg Tajiwas Glacier can be fun.

(Crux of this 1000 km ride: This 1000 km ride is all about riders’-dream-come-true Highway. Riders can ride all along the highways witnessing beautiful site scenes, beautiful ice-clad mountains and beautiful NH1 highway)

To Be Continued…

Watch this space for more in the coming days.

 

  1. Enjoyed studying this, very good stuff, regards. “It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.” by Aristotle.

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