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Old 09-16-2013, 04:15 AM   #16
yellowknife
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Definitely In



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Old 09-16-2013, 06:10 AM   #17
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I'm definately in.

The Himmies are on my bucket list of places to take a Bullet.

Its going to be cheaper to go the route of a tour/rental than to bring my own Bullet from Canada to India. I've looked into the shipping and logistics of bringing my bike with me and have found that it is cheaper to buy or rent there.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:38 AM   #18
nikhuzlan OP
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Keylong - Khardang - Jispa. 88km.

Its gonna be a short easy ride today. The last time I rode a bike this high was when I rode Yosemite two months ago, passing Tioga Pass on my way to Mono Basin. Great Ride, but that's another story for another day.

We could have gone straight to Sarchu, 200km away, but we do not want to risk getting AMS so another night getting comfortable at 11,000ft will be a good idea.

Great weather as I looked out the window. The sun lighting up the snow capped peaks in the distance.


Keylong stirs




Breakfast


Met a group of Indian Adventurers. They were from Chennai and Calcutta, met on the road and tagged each other. They were going straight to Sarchu. All were heavily loaded, a few two up. Muddy and rocky roads won't be easy. But they will make it. And they will have fun doing it.






We moved after a short brief by Khem on our route.




The 'road' to Khardang Monastery lies just 1k from Tandi bridge. We started our 1,000ft climb from there on what probably used to be goat tracks, now widened to a narrow one car width.

Tandi - Khardang turn-off




Onwards to Khardang








We stopped here, looking down on the road we came on just now. our two support cars can be seen below.








Passed some cheery kids. Forgot to bring some candies for moments like this.


Khardang Monastery


Kardang Monastery or Gompa is a famous Drukpa Lineage monastery, and is the most prominent monastery the Lahaul valley.

From Wiki;
The monastery is believed to have been built in the 12th century and houses a large library of Buddhist literature, including the Kangyur and Tangyur scriptures in the Bhotia or Sherpa language. There is also a good collection of fine thankas, musical instruments such as lutes, drums, horns, as well as old weapons. There are colourful frescoes and fascinating murals.
The monastery was in ruins until it was renovated in 1912 CE by Lama Norbu Rinpoche (died 1952), who, with Lama Kunga, turned it into "a proper educational and training establishment."
In the first room is a 4 foot (1.23 metres) high silver chaitya or chorten preserving the skull and ashes of Lama Norbu. To the right of it are statues of Padmasambhava and Tara (Devi), and in the back, one of Tagden Shakyashree, guru of Lama Kunga. 103 volumes of the Kangyur are kept here, while behind are 64 tantra books on various subjects. The second room is the main Prayer Hall with an eleven-headed statue of Avalokitesvara. On a high pedestal at the right are some of Lama Norbu's castoff garments and with a skull in front. In the third room is a six foot wooden prayer wheel with a brass bell on it. There are now about thirty monks and nuns (chomos) in the monastery, and two British nuns have studied, meditated, and been initiated in recent years.
The monks and nuns have equal rights, and the monks have permission to marry.The monks spend the summer with their families working their fields, in the winter they return to the monastery. There is a huge prayer drum in the monastery with the sacred six-syllable mantra, Om mani padme hum, written a million times on strips of paper. It also has a Narbo as its head lama.
Because the monastery is on the southern bank of the Bhaga River, it gets very little sun, while Keylong on the opposite side gets far more as it is facing south. Because of this the Moravian Christian mission, which was established here in 1857,was later moved across the river to Keylong.











The view from the Monastery is just awesome. Part of Keylong and the Bhaga River.







We left after an hour there






Back at Tandi we filled up at this most important gas station. There's none for the next 360km until Karu, near Leh. No issue for us as our support cars carry spare petrol.




The road to Jispa was mostly good.












There were still the occasional water crossing and gravel bit.










Nice roads again















Our Hotel at Jispa. Food here was great. Curry chicken after turning vegetarian at Jispa.







Chilling out after lunch






The Hotel also operates this campsite across the road.












Met this young couple taking photos by the river bank.






Sun disappearing behind the mountain range casts spotlight on the cliff wall.




Tomorrow we will experience our first night in a Swiss Tent at 14,000ft. And two passes to cross, both above 16,000ft.

Cool.


VIDEO DIARY DAY 4 - KEYLONG - KHARDANG - JISPA



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Old 09-16-2013, 11:17 PM   #19
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DAY 5 : JISPA - DARCHA - PATSIO - ZINGZINGBAR - BARALACHA PASS - BHARATPUR - SARCHU

Today brings new excitement. Morning started slightly overcast in 14 degrees temperature, light winds with unlimited visibility.
We woke up to the sounds of Enfields being revved. It turns out that a group of Indian Adventurers checked in at the campsite last night, heading more or less the same way we were headed.


One of their bikes had a puncture and our mechanic, Chotu helped out.


Santosh and Payal Pandya


Rest of the Gang


Leaving Jispa



Our Group


Passing Jispa


A short ride to Darcha


Darcha is a checkpoint where permits to enter the Iner Line is required. Hardly a problem for us as all
were already pre-arranged.




There are two Dhabas at Darcha, providing food and drinks in case of a long wait. From here we start our gradual climb, leaving 10,500ft to Patsio, a high altitude Glacial formed valley at 12,500ft.






We left Darcha on roads that started out as gravel, but became a lot better as we climbed.


Bruce thought this is so cool. Mule Train with the walker on a mobile phone. Technology meets 15th Century.




We met other bikers along the way. Everyone friendly.


To keep things interesting, a few water crossings were scattered along the way. The water is from the melted snowcaps, and gets wilder as the sun goes up, heating the snow, accelerating the melting process. Ice cold water.












Our support vehicles made good time as there was virtually nil traffic.






This stretch seems popular with cyclists. We passed many of them. Crazy people. Respect.


We stopped at this Dhaba, all by itself next to a small lake.








Bruce and Margaret


Elliot, our MO checking out the toilet facilities


Dhaba, inside. Godsent if the weather turns bad. In fact, can be a matter of survival.


The Patsio Dhaba


Heading towards the Patsio Glacial formed valley.


Sheep belonging to the semi-Nomadic Tribesmen






Onwards


The Army Camp at the beginning of the Valley.




Beginning of the shallow climb to Zingzingbar






The Valley








Climbing to Zingzingbar, a roadworks encampment








We passed many heavily loaded Enfields on our way up to the Baralacha Pass.






The Baralacha Pass. Our highest point today at 16,500ft before we descend down to 14,500ft, onto the Narrow Plains of Sarchu.










After a short stop, its a gradual descent to Bharatpur, a collection of tents selling drinks, food and souvenirs.














The approach to Bharatpur was quite unreal. After riding through cold, dry and arid landscape, we find this concentration of blue roofed tents right in the middle of nowhere. Plainly awesome.


Chris couldn't resist doing a little shopping




Gerry bought the much needed skullcap and muffs.




Lunch was Maggi Mee, all the way from Malaysia.






Chotu and Anil waiting for their food.


After about an hour there we mounted up for our last leg to Sarchu.












Trail of water from the melting snow at the summit is very apparent. This will be our next crossing.



Landslide clearing. This is so common, and we now know its no drama, all will be well in 10 minutes.








Our campsite coming into view.


Stupa


Home for the night.






The tent comes with attached toilet, a proper bed and more blankets than you need. Good way to camp. Clean




Sp Lee and Florence ( she's into horses ) found paradise.....




The Tents we stayed in is called the Sonam Adventure Camps. I saw three different campsites at Sarchu. The ones we chose had 24 tents of various sizes. Stitched out of tough canvas, its double lined with a carpeted interior with twin bed. The cot inside the tent is provided with a thick mattress, pillow of cotton, bed sheet, polyfil quilt and a blanket. The attached toilets have specially designed western seat & wash basin fitting with Hot & Cold Water provided in bucket.

There is also a dining tent that seems large enough for about 40 people. Food is good ( vegetarian) and if we are better prepared we could have even brought our own stuff to cook there.

Sarchu does not have any electricity, but the camp has its own gen-set that runs from 1830 up to 2230hrs.

Love the campsite




Gerry decided to go riding on the plains.












The moon rising in the East, blocked by the Mountains


The cooks entertaining us with their makeshift instruments




Goodnight from Sarchu, sleeping under the stars, with the Big Dipper in the Northern Skies


VIDEO DIARY DAY 5 JISPA - SARCHU



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Old 09-17-2013, 12:37 AM   #20
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Hi Guys Really Great Photo's Did a similar trip a couple of years back with a big group from Australia. We had a great time and what and experience
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:29 AM   #21
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To say that I am in awe of this trip would be a great understatement. Your storytelling and amazing photography have made this one of my favorite threads ever and I've been around this forum for a long, long time. I am smiling after being taken along on this journey with you.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to post all of these pictures and tell us about them, sharing a part of the world I might not ever get the opportunity to see in person.

The very best to you, always
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:34 PM   #22
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VIDEO DIARY DAY 5 - JISPA - SARCHU


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Old 09-17-2013, 01:13 PM   #23
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I second ClearwaterBMWs comments. Your photos are beautiful and I feel almost like I'm riding along with your group. This is great stuff. Looking forward to more.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:47 PM   #24
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Excellent pictures and amazing report mate!!. Cheers from Paraguay.
I am in!
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:47 PM   #25
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Wow is all I can think to say. Thank you for sharing such an awesome place with all of us. Truly amazing!!!
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:28 PM   #26
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Himalaya Ride 2013 Day 6

We ride from our campsite at Sarchu to our next campsite at Tsokar. Just 24kms after leaving Sarchu, there is this series of 21 hairpin turns that takes us up to our first of two passes of the day, the 15,547ft NakeeLa Pass.

Apart from the stunning scenery and the great ride, Gata Loop has an eerie story to tell.

Some years ago, in late october, the passes were beginning to get snowbound when a truck was making its way down the Gata Loop. The Driver and the Lorry Attendant were heading towards Manali. Somewhere at one of the curves the lorry broke down, and after failing to fix the lorry, the driver decided that he will walk to the nearest village some miles along the route to get help. He left the attendant to guard the lorry as they were carrying valuable goods.

The driver got to the village and called Manali for assistance, but nothing can be done because all the passes from Manali are now closed due snow.
Weather then closed in, and the driver could not go back to the lorry. After a few days, the weather improved and the driver and several villagers walked to the lorry, only to find the attendant dead due to cold, thirst, hunger and exposure.
They buried him where he died.

A few months later, after the pass opened up again, many motorists were relating seeing a dishevelled man begging for water by the roadside. Eventually the villagers built a small shrine and people started putting sealed bottles of water as prayer offerings.



A Video of the Gata Loop
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5xHX8JxXYU

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Old 09-18-2013, 06:44 PM   #27
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Fantastic report and pics!

Subscribed...
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:07 PM   #28
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Gata Loop







Gata Loop Video


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Old 09-19-2013, 06:42 AM   #29
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Absolutely stunning.

Here I sit in my cubicle trying my best to ride along with you. Google maps sat images, your pictures and youtube videos are my bike for this ride.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:04 AM   #30
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VIDEO DIARY DAY 5. JISPA - BARALACHALA - SARCHU


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