It was a regular Monday morning filled with blues, gruelling work hours flashing right on my face. In some moments of relief, while scrolling through my feed, I stumbled across a few pictures which were breath-taking. And without giving it a second thought, I pinged my several biking brothers. The pictures enraptured everyone, and one of them replied – “So when are we heading there?”
If there is heaven on earth, here it is. Dry terrain with no vegetation, the beauty is ethereal. It was something that none of us had ever come across. Crystal clear rivers, starry nights thronging the picture-perfect canopy is synonymous with this place. A minimum of fifteen days is required to enjoy the route and live out those hilly beauties to the fullest. We could go through it all, in ten days, yet, we chose to make the itinerary of fifteen days so that our experience was nothing short of unforgettable and regrettable.
We were lucky to have tripped over these pictures in the month of May and were also able to find the leverage to navigate through our jobs, chores and obligations. We chose a longer, more taxing, yet all-encompassing route. Things went smooth and after a week’s planning, we zeroed in on a budget and the route
Route For Bike Trip To Leh
DELHI – MANALI – CHATRU – CHANDRATAAL – KAZA – NAKO PABO
1. DELHI to MANALI
We started in the morning with our steely wills and thunderous engines to scale the heights of an unfathomable adventurous journey, known as Spiti Valley. The first pitstop was Manali, and we reached there after fourteen hours of the bike ride while zooming past villages and rugged, dry terrain of Haryana. Himachal greeted us with chilly winds and green cascading throughout, treating our eyes and soul to some ecstatic sceneries. After 550kms of the bike ride, every bone in our body was fatigued and looking for a bed to crash on. Now the point of contention was that if we need time to unfurl, who would give us that kind of liberty, comfort, yet, budgeted stay. A lot of twittering regarding cottages in Manali, homestays and accommodation in Manali remained a point of contention. Holiday in Manali needs to be a full-fledged affair and not an ordeal. After much research, one of the group mates suggested a new living space of OYO – OYO HOME.
In the three days of exploring Manali, some of our mates opted for Manali trekking, pumping adrenaline by trailing the local paths for a more authentic experience. They went camping in Manali as well, while they enjoyed the beauty and adventure of a sky full of stars accompanied with a flaming campfire below to keep them warm and hushed with comfort. Others woke up, bought some bread and milk, prepared our favourite beverages and headed for ROHTANG PASS.
The jam at this route is quite famous, and we saw it to believe it. But the wait was truly worth it, a piece of land which is as white as a piece of cake. Even the trees were covered in snow, a breathtaking sight, which at some angles would expect you to move away as the sunlight would be reflected. Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen for the extreme damage that sunlight can do after being reflected off snow
Things went smooth and after a week’s planning, we zeroed in on a budget. After servicing and oiling, we decided that it would be a leisurely trip. The next day was spent walking and exploring throughout the lush verdure of Manali. The third day was booked for Old Manali, a charming place, exuberating Tibetan and Himalayan Culture.
3. MANALI TO CHHATRU (BATTLE CAMP)
The fourth day was laid to scale up our engines till Chhatru, which comes via Rohtang Pass. It took us about three hours to arrive at Chhatru, and the wind was screeching cold and dry. This was the first time that I encountered winds which could literally freeze us with all those coats, fur and leathered garments. Batal Camp took care of us that night, although, we were a little stressed regarding what awaits us. Food cooked on the open flame with rum became a must, which was savoured by all of us.
4. CHHATRU TO CHANDRATAAL
A rocky and broken road, which would sap the life out of you, the journey is not a bed of roses, and you need to acclimatise yourself to the harsh weather as well as the harsher topography. About 20kms away(roughly), the maddening journey was worth it. No planned roads, but pebbles and stones all the way, with rising adventure to caught up in a puncture, we rode carefully throughout.
Chandrataal Lake is astonishingly silent and surreal. We camped for a few days at Chandrataal, but make sure to book before you leave, as this is not a sight where any chances can be taken and you could literally freeze out here. Only guts, expertise can lead you here, do not encourage any mates, who are amateur in bike rides.
5. CHANDRATAAL TO KAZA
89 km of frenzy would lead you to KAZA via the Kunzum Pass. The awe-inspiring view of Bara-Shigri Glacier is unnerving, the second-largest glacier known to humans.
6. Kunzum Pass
We found ourselves driving at the highest motorable pass after driving 7kms from Chandrataal. While being filled with caution at these stretches, enjoyment be the first priority. They can always prove to be treacherous. This pass also separates Lahaul and Spiti and had a place in the bucket-list of several of my inmates. We camped in local stays operated by locals and experienced our own share of adventures.
7. KAZA TO NAKO PABO
Almost medieval, this place reflects the unadulterated Buddhist Culture of Spiti Valley. Backed by steep mountainsides and arid lands, this place has invented vegetation as the stone-wall terracing allows it to flourish.
With stunning landscapes and mesmerising sceneries, Spiti Valley, also known as “Little Tibet” is an ideal respite. It comes with its own thrill and struggles, but the journey is worth it.
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