• 10 Breakfast and 10 Dinners plus Morning Tea (Veg Meals)
• Royal Enfield 350 or 500CC
• Fuel Expenses
• Back Up vehicle with Mechanic and Spare Parts
• Inner Line Permits
• Road Captains
• Free Photography
• First Aid medical kits
• Go Pro video of the ride
Have not we all heard about the magic Ladakh weaves around its monastic and scenic beauty? Exactly when we thought this is all a cold desert can offer, Zanskar unveils itself. There is a class and elegance in Ladakh valley which is been pulling thousands and thousands over many years. But to beat the elegance and match the crudeness, Zanskar pulls adrenaline junkies to pave way through rugged brown mountains and barely any road. If Ladakh ride gives a kick, Zanskar will give a kick, bounce and pleasure to float through one of the most barren and rocky terrain in the world.
The roads less travelled often give the best of results and that is exactly what Zanskar valley promises for. This ride is going to be one crazy ride as we pass through not only tarmac roads but off road travelling and water crossings will be the constants. Passing through smooth roads and grey valleys up till Kargil from Leh and witnessing a sudden change to monstrous dirt trails yet welcoming valleys of Zanskar, it will definitely braid a new meaning to exploration. Experiencing different glaciers at a glance, through treacherous mountain trail is a common sight in this valley. Riding over these granular ways and reaching to a sparse population is the USP of Zanskar unlike Leh Ladakh which is now a well developed touristic spot.
In the northernmost part of Jammu and Kashmir, lies this huge valley which is known for connectivity via just one road which we will ride through. Unlike the Ladakhi culture, people here are in almost seclusion and are living their unique culture without any blend. With very few guesthouses, it adds to more experience while living amidst the locals. Do not we all at times crave for a life to be lived in the simplest of ways? Then Zanskar is the place to be! Away from the urban civilization, Rangdum and Padum in Zanskar valley are near to the minimalist civilization. From eating food and drinking brewed drinks, all grown and made by the locals themselves and usage of compost dry toilets will pull us all back in time.
Let us mark this journey where Leh throws the card of magical Magnetic Hill, brilliance of 3 Idiot school and unearthliness of Thiksey Monastery, while Kargil brags to be the land of warriors and Aryans. We finally reach to Padum in Zanskar valley which houses not only Buddhism but also Sunni Muslims. From silky soft roads of Leh to roughest of all terrains in Zanskar valley, we will be extracted out thoroughly for an enchanting memory for decades long.
Day 1 Arrive Leh
What could be a better start than a place like Leh? A detailed briefing is given about the onward journey (being the mandatory ritual!) followed by distribution of bullets for the ride. Between the tall barren mountains, in the small city of Leh, we all acclimatize for the day.
Day 2 Leh Local sightseeing
We are at a place which has pulled many filmmakers to capture the extravagant charm at a dizzying height for many years now. Leh not only has its unique culture and lifestyle to offer but has various other sites like Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame Museum and the list goes on. It is a blend with the presence of brilliant heads in 3 Idiot school run by Wangchuk (a.k.a Phunsuk Wangdu), peaceful Shanti Stupa that looks over the city, a road defying gravity which lets the vehicle climb up with engine off Magnetic Hill and a spiritually acclaimed monastery called the Thiksey Monastery. Enjoy the day exploring the city around for today as we will leave for Kargil tomorrow marking a step closer to the battlefield.
Day 3 Leh to Lamayuru
After acclimatizing well at nearly 15,000ft, we move through the valleys where Indus River chases alongside. As we ride farther from Leh, the vegetation disappears in the sterile land of Indus valley. The twisted roads and rock cut mountain is a breathless beauty on our way. To add to the chasing fun, Indus River unites with Zanskar River to catch us until our next stop. We head to a land which might give Elon Musk a run for his money. Though space tourism is yet a thing to happen, but why wait when Apna Bharat Mahan is secretly holding a lunar territory in its lap? This place is none other than Lamayuru, famously known as the Moonland. As far as our eye can reach we see mountain ranges very similar to our natural satellite. It will definitely pay off for all the money spent until now. One can also spend time in Lamayuru monastery which is rich with not just amenities but also the number of lamas who pray here. In evening one can trek up to meditation hill and watch the city sleep.
Day 4 Lamayuru to Kargil
Todays ride will not make you feel any less than an army personnel who marches through the land of Kargil War with various inner line permits in hand. We make our way to the only village where Aryans reside. Dah village has tiny hamlets which are fenced with beautiful flowers adding hue to the monochromatic mountains. Gorgeous women adorned in colourful attire and flowery tiara break the monotony of seeing men in camouflage uniform. Leaving behind the soothing colours of Dah village we make our way through multiple curves to Batalik Sector which is another coaster ride. Batalik was the central battleground during the Kargil war. Even today Indian Army continues to guard this region irrespective of extreme weather conditions or avalanches which strikes here often. Uniqueness of Batalik also lies in its people who make for Drokpa tribe. They are believed to be direct successors of Alexander the Great. We move ahead, as the bullet thunders through the road the quench for a hair bend ride is fulfilled right here as we cruise up to Hamboting La at a height of 13,380ft. We ride through the pass with surreal beauty to make our way to Kargil and sign off for the day.
Day 5 Kargil to Rangdum
Its today we embark our journey to Zanskar valley. We ride through the roads which only leaves one speechless as we see breathtaking hill on one side while encrusted Rocky Mountains the other. Suru valley very well symbolises the two opposite Yin-Yang and their co-existence. Nun and Kun mountains are other examples which beautifully showcases the funda of opposite attracts. One fully dressed in white with snow while the other is grey and barren adds a mystic value to the valley. As we ride to the vast nothings, Parkachik glaciers pays visit on our way to Rangdum. Witnessing a vast glacier land at an eye level is like an icing on the cake. The road ahead of the glacier is mere a gravel path and one would surely enjoy the bumpy ride at the start. The humpty dumpty ride ends as we reach Rangdum. The presence of cellular towers is a paradox to such a secluded place. One can visit the Rangdum Monastery and relax by the night.
Day 6 Rangdum to Padum via Pensi La
No mountain ride is complete without crossing mountain passes at vertiginous height. We pass by Penzi La, the only pass to Zanskar at a whopping height of 14,436ft where only marmots can be seen scurrying around. Moving beyond the middle of nowhere we see Drang Drung glacier which is the source to Suru River which accompanied us yesterday on our way to Rangdum. As a splash of white between the rugged Zanskar Mountains, the glacier marks for a picturesque scenery. With few more rickety kilometres we finally reach our destination: Padum. Unlike the entire way to Padum, the city holds a good amount population in so much seclusion too. Perch on bed as the Zanskar awaits tomorrow.
Day 7 Padum Rest Day
The 6 long nights end to bring us to Zanskar valley. Padum is the farthest motor able city in here. To explore beyond, trekking is the only way out and that is what makes Zanskar valley unbeatable and unique. To reach to the nearest monastery too, one has to trek up few kilometres. There are cave monasteries like Stongdey Monastery which can be easily reached out. The best way out is to soak in the beauty of nature by reclining and soothing oneself in the laps of Greater Himalayas.
Day 8 Padum to Rangdum
We gear up and ride all our way back to Rangdum. The best thing about any valley ride is we get to experience the same place twice unless we follow other circuits (and if only there is any other route!). Enjoy the ride through the crumbling gravels and Rocky Mountains. In case we miss on human companion on our way, humari suru hai na (bollywood reference). Suru River continues to zip-zap along us until we take a pit stop for a night at Rangdum.
Day 9 Rangdum to Kargil
This day will be our last day in the Zanskar valley as we ride towards Kargil. From sparsely vegetative land to pleasant greenery of Suru valley we make our way through crust surface to reach Kargil. Undoubtedly one can strike off adventurous ride from their travel bucket list as riding through the valleys of Zanskar surely needs a strong will and overdose of adrenaline within. The proximity of Kargil can easily be felt as our bullets start gliding in the air through tarry roads. We sleep through the night in Kargil to move to the second coldest inhabitant i.e. Drass valley the next morning.
Day 10 Kargil to LEH via Drass
We embark our return journey to Leh. But our last stop yet remains. Year 1999 witnessed a month long war in Kargil. Drass valley was the main battleground which houses Tiger hill and Tololing ranges. Reclaiming thrones at these peak lead to an Indo Pak war. Many soldiers lost their life and in their remembrance a War Memorial was built at the base. Letters written to families by soldiers can be found in the Memorial and spares none from being nostalgic. Though we could not fight up front in the war, yet one can easily visualise the scenes by seeing Pakistani bunkers captured by Indian Army and reading tales of capturing the peak all around the Memorial field. With extreme temperature of minus 60 degrees, the tricolour yet continues to flutter high up in the air with our jawans safeguarding us round the clock every day, throughout the year. Paying tribute to them is the least we can do and hereby continue crusading to reach our end point.
Day 11 Depart from Leh
It is time we bid adieu to our company and move ahead with our onward journey. Innumerable memories, roads, valleys and friends continue to live afresh as we sing the farewell.
Things to carry
Camera plus Charger
Phone plus Charger
Multiplug Power Bank
Liner Rain Coat
5 Bungee Cords
DL Insurance (self bike)
Photo Id PP Size Photos
Xerox of DL/RC
Xerox of Photo Id
Petrol Jerry Cans
Spare Keys (self bikes)
Personal medication (if any)
Knee Cap etc
Lighter or Matchbox
Debit or Credit cards etc
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