[Updated:29th July]17 days and 5500 Kilometers of being ME… My solo Himalayan ride report.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by chiyaanchinnu, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Bangalore, India
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    Image Courtesy: Tumblr

    Hello Riders, this is my third ride report on the forum. With this thread I would like to take you all to the places that I had visited during my solo motorcycle ride of 5500 kilometers in 17 days into Himalayas.

    I’ll be listing out the important things that I did on daily basis. This could be the shortest RR for such a long ride :)

    Rider: Prakash G aka Chiyaan Chinnu
    Nationality: Indian
    Ride: 2011 Yamaha YZF R15 V1
    Route taken: Bangalore - New Delhi - Amritsar - Patnitop - Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Khardung La - Leh - Pangong Tso - Phobrang - Leh - Manali - Chandigarh - Udaipur - Thane - Belgavi - Bangalore
    Total distance: 5500 Kilometers
    Dates: 11th June to 27th June 2016 (17 days)

    This ride actually took a lot of preparation and planning. Preparation for bike, preparation for my mind and body for high altitudes, route planning, luggage planning, right from purchasing socks, a lot of reading and a lot of googling went in. Let me know if you’re planning to visit these places and have any queries.

    Day 0: Bangalore to Dwaraka (New Delhi or just Dilli)

    • Met some great friends who’re colleagues, Pankaj, Dinesh and Pradeep
    • Delicious food, actually too much of food :p But yeah the best way to start off a long journey.
    • Delhi Metro, the best way to commute inside the city. Cheap and a lot of time saving.
    • Picked up my motorcycle from New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) which I have transported three days before I took a flight from Bangalore to New Delhi.
    • Experienced Delhi temperatures, soaked in sweat. I guess temperature is around 38o~40o C.
    • Happy for visiting Red Fort and India Gate.
    • Spent evening at a nearest park, talking a lot of crap.
    • My arrival made all three families to meet after a very long gap.
    • Amazing lunch and dinner, night stay at Pankaj’s house.
    Packed and ready for loading into the next train to Delhi
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    Though we chat daily over Skype, I’m meeting these friends for the first time. We all work for same company from different locations. Very thankful to these wonderful people for being with me from the moment I landed in Dilli till I left. Thanks for everything friends. Left these buddies with a heavy heart and good memories.

    Left to right: Me, Dinesh and Pankaj.

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    Left to right: Pankaj, Me, Dinesh and Pradeep.
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    Red Fort or Lalkhila (wiki)
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    India Gate (wiki)
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    Day 1: Dwaraka to Amritsar (470KM)
    • Amritsar is too hot to handle, one more day soaked in sweat.
    • Golden Temple, you will be mesmerized by the way temple looks from each side of the sarovar.
    • Jallianwala Bagh, walls that speaks.
    38o C is not new to me but the humidity is just unbearable.
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    The Golden Temple (wiki) (360o view of temple interiors, not shot by me)
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    Traditional wear
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    Jallianwala Bagh (wiki)
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    Bullet Firings
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    Martyrs Well
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    This is what I can show you all for today. Best is yet to come, so please stay tuned. Thanks
    #1
  2. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Extremely sorry if I kept someone waiting for the pictures. Was busy with office work. So here I continue with the rest of my journey.


    Day 2: Amritsar to Patnitop (300KM)
    Patnitop is a hill station in Udhampur district in Jammu & Kashmir state. There’s a drastic change in temperatures from Amritsar to Patnitop. Beautiful place with thick forests of cedar and pine trees.

    Somewhere inbetween Amritsar and Patnitop
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    And a few bad patches here and there
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    Entering the first tunnel of my life :p
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    And finally my destination for the day, Patnitop. This is the view from my hotel balcony.
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    And lunch
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    Pine tree forests
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    Made some friends, patnitop localites :)
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    #2
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  3. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Day 3: Patnitop to Srinagar (190KM)

    It took a good 7 hours to reach Srinagar which is the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir state. Faced a lot of truck traffic and also the Army vehicles.

    Reached the place around 1:00PM, checked in to a homestay kind of place which is comfortable enough with access to ATM’s, fuel, eateries and almost all tourist destinations. Had an awesome lunch at near-by dhabha and took rest for an hour or so and then visited the beautiful Dal Lake.

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    And the beautiful kashmir valley
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    Dal Lake, Srinagar
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    Boat shikara
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    He's the one who took me to the shikara... Made a boat house and lives in it with his family.
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    Through out the shikara, you can see numerous textile, Dry fruits and spices shops built on the Lake.
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    #3
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  4. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Day 4: Srinagar to Kargil (200KM)

    Early in the morning 6:00 AM, I was stopped by two local guys who are illegally collecting 50 rupees from all the road users.

    Me: Why should I pay money to you?
    Guy1: Just like that
    Guy1 to Guy2: He’s asking why should he pay, I told that he has to pay for no reason. Both started to laugh loud at me.

    I paid 50 rupees for no reason and left the place. A lorry driver who also gave money to those two, has stopped me and started scolding the two guys for being a Muslim and doing such dirty deeds. From that moment, I felt very insecure even to stop and click pictures. When I'm writing this, I felt that I should have complained at nearest police station, it would have saved somebody.

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    A frozen waterfall
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    Sonamarg, altitude 8950 Feet.

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    The Kargil War Memorial, Drass (Wiki) In my opinion, this is a must visit place for every Indian at least once in their life.
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    Drass is at a height of 10765 feet and also the coldest place in India with -60c as lowest temperature recorded in 1995.

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    Sun down behind mountains, Kargil.
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    #4
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  5. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    I have crashed on this day while exiting a corner because of my bike rear overloaded and front got wobbled. Crashed at very low speeds. I somehow managed to escape my leg from under the bike but I’m not able to lift the bike since it’s fully loaded. A local cager travelling with his family had come to my help and he asked me to ride in front of him and he followed me until I reached my destination safe. Such a nice person. I thanked him and his wife as much as I can and we departed.

    From the place I stayed, India and Pakistan are separated only by a big mountain and are just 5 km away, this side of mountain is India and other side is Pakistan.

    While my dinner is getting prepared, hotel owner asked me if I’m a Christian. I said yes. And I’m shocked to hear that he’s a Church going Muslim. We then spoke for almost two hours what made him go to Church, the issues they face being very close to Pakistan, spoke about his relatives who were Indians but living in Pakistan because of India partition, lifestyle, food, and a lot of junk talk. He also gave me his brother-in-law’s contact number at my next night halt. Had dinner and crashed into bed happily.

    Day 5: Kargil to Leh (220KM)

    Leh is a district in Jammu & Kashmir state located at a height of 11,600 feet. One of the best places to acclimatize before you make your ways to even higher altitudes.

    Leh is city with a lot of tourists. Has a very big market and has an Airport as well. Met Australians who are exploring India since past three months, German suffering from Altitude Sickness, and some Brits cycling in those mountains. We all are exploring the mighty and breathtaking Himalayas. Met so many riders whom I befriended since past two/three days of riding.

    Reached Leh by 2:00 PM and gave a call to the contact I got last night in Kargil.
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    The prayer flags
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    Prasar Bharati Broadcasting Corporation of India at Fatula Top.
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    The Moonsland

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    Leh City
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    Lemon tea with city view...
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    Leh Palace
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    Ladakhi food, prepared by homestay owner's wife.

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    Plan is to stay in Leh for two days and get acclimatized to the altitudes. Also Leh is the place from where you can visit multiple destinations like Kardhung La, Nubra, Diskit, Pangong Tso and return back. So I have booked a room in the homestay for 3 days.

    Because of the altitude, I was feeling tired and exhausted even if I walk a kilometer or climb stairs. Visited Leh Palace at evening, ate dinner and I'm off to sleep.

    Leh is the place which leads you to many destinations, it has ATM's, Internet, Gas, tyre shops, mechanics, a big market place for almost everything. From here one needs to carry fuel to reach and come back to Leh from the above mentioned destinations without running out of gas or depending on people who sell fuel for double price which has chances of getting kerosene mixed which is not good for the engine. So better to always tank up the fuel in the evening before you leave Leh. Tank up and along with a backup of 5-8 liters.

    I have planned a ride to the worlds highest motorable road, Marsimik La for which one needs to take permissions from the Superintendent of Police, Leh. This permit is to enter protected areas. I made some friends, Saurabh and Akash who are also staying at the same homestay I explained them about my plans of Marsimik La and they wanted to join me for this.

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    On the second day evening I have been to the Leh market to walk around and met this lama named Lobzang, meaning Intellectual.

    He took me around the market and helped me buy some gifts for friends back at home. He was a teacher at Thicksey Monastery but returned to spend rest of his life serving his parents at their old age. Had a great time talking to him and going around the market.
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    #5
  6. krl

    krl semi noob

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    209
    Location:
    Calgary
    Chiyannchinnu, I am really enjoying your report and all the pics. Thanks for doing this RR. Great stuff.
    #6
  7. transalpkeith

    transalpkeith Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Fantastic post so far Chiyannchinnu! What amazing places to visit. Really like the feel of the photos too - are you shooting film?
    #7
  8. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Gilroy, CA
    Amazing pics and narrative, CC!
    Superb!!!
    #8
  9. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    @krl thanks a lot :)

    @transalpkeith welcome aboard buddy. Thanks for the compliments. I'm not into any film shooting.

    @JoeBiker25 thanks a lot friend.

    Thanks everyone... Continuing with the report:

    Few more pics from Day 6 @ Leh:

    A prayer wheel
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    There will be some mantras written or wrapped around the bottom of the wheel, these are all over the place.
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    Leh City Market
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    Visited a book shop and found these great lines by 14th Dalai Lama
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    Day 7: Leh to Khardung La Top to Leh (Approx 40KM one way)

    Khardung La (La means Pass in Tibetan) is known as the highest motorable road in the world with an altitude of 18380 Feet or 5602 Meters. However the metadata of the image taken at the K Top shows the altitude as 17631 Feet or 5374 Meters. Leh is at 11683, Kharundg La is at 17631 feet which is a straight climb of 5948 feet in just 40 kilometers. Since the air is thin, you'll find yourself breating heavy and your ears poping out.

    At any high altitude pass, take care of yourself first before you run to somebody's help. Don't ever strain your body. If any person is acting hyper active, he/she is suffering from Altitude sickness, rush him to nearest hospital or immediately take the person to lower altitudes.

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    Prayer flags welcomes you at every high pass
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    "You're driving on the highest motorable road in the world and not a shortcut to heaven" - Written on the rock on left side.
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    And here I'm at the K Top
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    In India, any full faired bike is considered as a big bike, so my Baby-R had become a celebrity with army soldiers and some cagers taking turns to click pictures at K-Top, my bike also featured in some group photos. I'm a proud owner of Yamaha YZF R15 at K-Top. :)

    Teaser from Day 8:
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    #9
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  10. simbaboy

    simbaboy Lansing MBS Supporter

    Joined:
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    Thank you for the RR.
    If ever in The USA, PM me and I will make a bike available to you.
    Simba
    #10
  11. tbird649

    tbird649 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    235
    Location:
    West Sussex, UK
    Thanks for taking the time to post your journey. I am hoping to travel the same area in 2017. Keep it coming :-):-):-)
    #11
  12. El-Nidjo

    El-Nidjo n00b

    Joined:
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    Great RR and awesome pictures. :D
    #12
  13. vanveen

    vanveen Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    140
    great story and cool pics, I like your bike, is it Indian made or japanese
    #13
  14. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Hey Simba, thanks buddy. I'll surely PM if I come to US.

    Hello tbird, if you ever ride these places, you're going to cherish the moments for life time. Let me know if you need any help exploring the places or planning.

    Thanks buddy.


    Thanks Vanveen, this Yamaha is Indian made by the Japanese giant. Thanks again.

    Continuing the report:

    Day 8: Leh to Spangmik or Pangong Tso Lake (160KM)

    Pangong Tso Lake is at an altitude of 14052 feet and it's one of the most beautiful lakes we have on Planet Earth. This salt watered lake extends from India to China, around 30% is in India and rest in China. After three days of acclimatization, I had slept at a high altitude. But yeah, the air is thin here when compared to Leh, so walking a little or climbing up a little steep makes you very tired. A lot of lemon tea or black tea makes you feel easy in such high altitudes.

    There are luxury tents and then there are just tents. Free camping space, you can literally pitch in your tent anywhere you want.

    If you plan to stay in any rented tents, make sure you reach the place by noon. I have paid 200 rupees for a tent shared by 5 people, cheapest I have spent on a night stay during entire trip.
    As the Sun began to settle down for the day, the temperatures also dropped drastically. As per the Royal Enfield Himalayan’s digital thermometer, the temperature was 5 º C.
    Hot soups, momos, noodles and fried rice are some food that one can get there. Drinking water is a little costly affair here since the place is thrown away from normal civilization.

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    The first view of the lake
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    HDR
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    Toy camera
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    This is the stay tonight
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    Hope you enjoyed the blueness :)
    #14
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  15. chiyaanchinnu

    chiyaanchinnu Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Bangalore, India
    Day 9: Pangong Tso to Marsimik La to Leh:

    Marsimik La is one of the highest motorable passes, yeah it's higher than the Kardhung La. Marsimik La is at 18853 FT while Kardhung La is at 18380 FT.

    This region falls under protected areas so even the Indian tourists needs a permit called Inner Line Permit. I have posted all the pics of permit in my earlier post. From here I had to ride with two more guys from Rajasthan, India. Since the permit issuing office has added up my name in their permit. So the permit has total three names, Saurabh, Akash and Mine.

    Though the climate is very cold, we managed to wake by 6:00 AM and left our tent by 8:30 AM.

    Sunrise over mountains
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    So we need to produce a xerox copy of the permit at the India Army checkpost at the end of Phobrang village.

    Officer: Where are you heading to?
    Me: Marsimik La, Sir.

    Officer: Why do you people come here to die? We suffer a lot here, why do you want to suffer like us?
    Me: Sir, we're all proud of our Indian Army, we come here to feel what you are feeling, protecting the country border in these harsh climatic conditions, away from family and all other comforts. This is not something which we can do daily, this once in a lifetime experience for us.

    Officer: Sorry, but I can't let you go forward.
    Me (speechless):
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    Officer: Last night two Royal Enfield motorcyclists went and got stuck at the top because of lack of oxygen. When we noticed them didn't returned, we had sent Army trucks at night 10'o clock to their help and we towed the motorcycles in our truck. So I don't want the same thing happen to you. Please understand.
    Me: Sir, we don't and we can't come here every year, so please let us go. I have been to Kardhung La and I'm not hit by AMS. We three are physically fit Sir. And we paid a lot to obtain the permit. Please consider.
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    When I'm still trying to convience the officer, other two guys came with me have already turned back.

    Officer: Please understand, I don't want to go up there searching for you in pitch dark night and bone freezing temperature.
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    Officer: Please don't get disappointed, there're many more challenging places than this, enjoy rest of your trip.

    Ended the conversation and I bid him good-bye with a huge disappointment.

    In all this disappoint, I was hit by a Ford Endeavor climibing up a mountain.

    I have seen many cars climbing the mountain one after the other.
    I have seen a white Ford Endeavor in all those cars.
    I have seen the Ford overtaking the cars infront of it while climbing up the mountain with incoming traffic. Not at all a good driver.
    I have seen him overtaking another car.
    I have seen a family traveling in the Ford.
    I have stopped by my extreme left to let him pass.
    I have seen him coming into me
    I had bent the bike slightly to my left.
    And the very next second...
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    Because of his bad driving skills, he had hit me, I fell down to my left and he ran away. A clean hit and run. He didn't even cared what happened to me and how I'm.

    By God's grace, riding gear has saved me but the bike... Entire front right fairing was gone, no headlight, slightly bent right handle bar clip-on, slightly bent front brake lever. Lucky enough that bike is in rideable condition, otherwise I had to tow it till Leh, which will be heavy on my pocket.
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    And from then onwards, this point, 9 kilometers to Zingral, has been named as "R15 Point". You can see the broken side covers placed on rocks behind me.
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    Worst part is, many bikers are of no help. Many saw me and the bike down, none has stopped. The two guys came with me were ahead of me.

    Two guys, riding on one bike has stopped and asked me if I'm OK. They gave some water to me and asked how it happened. Thanks a lot for stopping by guys.

    I then continued riding back to Leh to reach my homestay and managed to reach by evening 5'o clock.
    #15