K2K: A JOURNEY FROM SKY TO OCEAN by Captain Suraj Singh Thakur of Indian Army – Part 5


  1. Yes! Now the party have started. From here onwards, the ride begins for “A JOURNEY FROM SKY TO OCEAN”. This journey starts from the World’s Highest Motorable Road KHARDUNG LA Top with a height of 18,389 feet and culminates at KANYAKUMARI (Indira Point). This ride includes 2nd axis to Leh Ladhak which also included Leh – Manali via Spiti valley and highway which is considered as one of the toughest and dangerous roads in the world. I knew only that route via 2nd axis from the beginning and so I have chosen it. Things are gonna be really tough and it’s gonna be a hard nut shell to crack. My journey started on 7th Oct 2016 and culminated on 23rd Oct 2016. So here I am, I hope you are also gonna enjoy this part of my journey.
  2. 1st Day Ride: (Hunder – Diskit – Khardung La – Leh)

 (a) Route Taken: The journey begins from Hunder where I have been staying from last 15 Days and exploring downtown and the area around. The nearby refuelling station is at Nubra. After Hunder, your journey will be moving all around Nubra valley and Diskit. Then by lunch time, you gonna reach Khardung La top and then Leh on 7th Oct 2016.

 (b) Khardung La: The World’s Highest Motorable Road with a height of 18,389 Feet but as the name and altitude suggests, spend less time at such an altitude. Just click some good pictures and make your move for Leh. The initial 10 km downslope is gonna be your biggest nightmare as the patch is just too bad. So just keep moving till Leh.

 (i) Distance: 160 km Approximately

 (ii) Places to Stay: Hotel Grand Dragon and Hotel Zen Ladhak are two of your best options at Leh

  1. 2nd Day Ride: (Leh – Karu – Upshi – Pang – Sarchu)

 (a) Route Taken: My 2nd day journey started on 8th Oct 2016 from Leh and ended at the beautiful Sarchu valley. I started my journey pretty late because, believe me, after my 1st day ride, it was really tiring and the sudden altitude fluctuation might be dangerous for me. So I took my call and the ride began at 1000 Hrs and I reached my destination at evening 1800 Hrs. Piece of advice for riders: Once you cross Karu, then next refuelling station is at a Keylong around 264 Km. So riders better be carrying sufficient amount of fuel with themselves.

 (b) Taglang La: Once you cross Karu and Upshi, you will be riding all along the beautiful upslope of Pang Highway and her beautiful curves will make you mesmerised. You will reach Taglang La World’s Second Highest Pass with the altitude of 17,582 feet. Taglang La boasts several other world records such as the Second Highest temple and even the Highest Toilet in The World. This place is very cold and arid. Once you cross pass, the downhill slope will lead you till pang and the road is just fabulous or I would say a dream-come-true highway. You can even see straight 40 km, one of the best works done by HIMANK, or so called BRO (Border Road Organisation).

 (c) Sarchu Valley: The Beautiful Sarchu valley is seen surrounded by mountains and as you start getting down towards Manali, you start getting lush greenery and the Sarchu landscape is just far apart. You don’t wanna miss the sunrise. So have a good camera and make an indomitable memory of a lifetime. Riders generally consider this Sarchu as an overnight stop, reason being that if you are coming via Manali to Leh, you must plan to stay put for proper acclimatisation for your further journey.

 (i) Distance: 260 km Approximately

 (ii) Places to Stay: Sarchu Camp and Resorts

  1. 3rd Day Ride: (Sarchu – Baralacha La – Kunzum La – Losar – Kaza – Spiti Village)

 (a) Route Taken: My 3rd day journey started on 9th Oct 2016 from Sarchu valley and ended at beautiful Spiti village. As you move towards Spiti Valley, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. So be mentally prepared and move on.

 (b) Baralacha La: It means “Crossroads Pass”. This particular route is one of the hard nut shells to crack as this route is a tricky one. I would say riders, kindly do take care and ride safe on this particular pass.

 (c) Kaza: Kaza is the administrative and transport hub of Spiti subdistrict and it is surrounded by inspirational scenery. It’s an easy going place to spend a few days to rest from hectic and bumpy rides and visit some stunning monasteries.

 (d) Spiti Valley and Spiti Village: Driving from Sarchu to Manali via the most beautiful city of Spiti. The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. The land between Tibet and India and also World’s Highest Village. Explore the dry deserted region and Attend the Ki Cham festival in Spiti. This high mountain passes are open from April to October.

 (i) Distance: 286 Km Approximately

 (ii) Places to Stay: Spiti Kara Resorts and Tents.

  1. 4th Day Ride: (Spiti Village – Bharatpur – Baralacha La – Zingzingbar – Darcha – Jispa – Keylong – Tandi – Sissu – Khokhsar – Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Marhi – Manali)

 (a) Route Taken: 4th day ride started on 10th Oct 2016 from beautiful Spiti village and ended at Manali. One of the major breakthroughs of my ride is that once you reach Manali, I would say the toughest part of ride is over.

 (b) Baralacha La: 4th Highest Motorable Pass in the world, altitude is Appx 15,000 feet and once you reach at the top, then you gonna have good and bad patches. Road condition is bad and challenging. Once you cross this, you gonna face riders’ biggest nightmare nearby Zingzinbar. People named it PAGAL NALA, so riders, be careful about it.

 (c) Manali: Manali is situated in the Beas River Valley is a hill station nestled in the mountains of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu Valley. It is located about 270 km (168 mi) north of the state capital, Shimla.

Things to Do: Visit Hadimba Devi Mandir and waterfalls, Nightlife at Manali is awesome must visit cafe 1947 amazing ambience.

 (d) Useful Info For Riders: Accommodation available at Bharatpur, Jispa, Keylong, Khokhsar, Gramphu and at last Manali. Refuelling Station is available at Manali and last refuelling station before Leh is at Keylong, so get locked and loaded at Keylong. Some of the things to do are Camping at Beas Kund Pass, River Crossing and Rafting at Manali, Para Gliding Manali, Trekking to Hampta Pass, Bath at hot water spring at Manikaran Gurudwara, and Kullu market.

 (i) Distance: 196 Km Approximately

 (ii) Places to Stay: Ride Inn cafe and Resort at Manali – One of the best places to stay for riders

  1. 5th Day Ride: (Manali – Chhaki- Kullu – Mandi – Bilaspur)

 (a) Route Taken: The ride starts after having a party at Manali on 11th Oct 2016 celebrating my victory over Leh chapter. Nightlife at Manali is just fabulous, believe me, you must try it. So after crossing Manali, I got lucky and from now on, the road condition was good and full of beautiful ghat sections which kept rolling like a roller coaster and till Bilaspur, we had a clean go. Route will be all along the beautiful town of Himachal Pradesh such as Kullu, Mandi and Bilaspur.

 (b) Kasol: The tiny village of Kasol has developed into a busy traveller’s hang out. Set amid pine trees and streams, it’s a relaxed place to kick back. But the rash of German bakery, body piercing and trance music gonna move you like hippies.

 (c) Bilaspur: One of the beautiful towns of Himachal, surrounded by lush green mountains and in the middle of the town, there is a beautiful lake enhancing its beauty to the glory.

 (i) Distance: 292 Km Approximately

 (ii) Place to Stay: Lake Side Resort (Bilaspur)

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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