Leh….Sumdo….Tso Moriri….Chushul

DAY 9
Nubra-Leh
Total distance covered 130km

Not much to show up here….except this one….

IMG_2212

DAY 9
Leh Local sight seeing

Something weird happened this day.My partner Chinmay had applied for MBA in some college in London.He got a mail from the college for admission for which he was supposed to reach Pune before 30th of June.And it was 18th that day.At any case it wasn’t possible for him to accompany me further at Tso-Moriri and Pangong.Meanwhile I met a guy Amish,who was also from Pune and his group had some different plans.When he went through my plan,he too agreed to join me.

The next day,Chinmay left for Kargil-Shrinagar-Jammu and got reservation from Jammu to Pune by Jhelum Exp.

Day 10
Leh-Sumdo
Total Distance covered- 220km

Now this guy Amish is real crazy.I just had some idea,but he had full confidence that there is a way to go to Pangong from Tso Moriri without coming back to Leh/Karu.The tradional way is come back to Karu and go to Pangong via Chang-La.But we had some different plans.

At about 2pm,we left Leh for Tso-Moriri and decided to halt wherever we’ll reach before sun-set.Amish had a tent and I had a lot of stuff to eat so that we can survive for a night.We had our tanks full and also got some 10lit extra petrol at Karu petrol pump.We were thinking to make it upto Chumathang which was some 150km,don’t remember exactly and halt there.

Things really began to change once we crossed Upshi,no traffic at all.We were surprised that the road was in too good condition.Some pics on way to Chumathang……

IMG_2235

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2238

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2234

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2241

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_2239

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2249

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

IMG_2252

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2254

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_2258

As with Chinmay,I had a kind of agreement with Amish also to drive at our own speeds,but to make sure that the follower is behind.To wait at junctions with no signboard.Proper communication is always needed between two bikers.Because there is no mobile facility to call and ask “kahan mar gaya saale?”…And no petrol sometimes to travel back.So I better cleared out things with Amish too as we were riding together for the first time neither we knew each other much.

Surprisingly we reached Chumathang by 5.30 in eve and we still had an hour or more to drive.We decided to drive till Mahe where we reached in less than an hour.Again we had time,so we marched upto Sumdo,40km further,where Amish found a nice site to pitch the tent.Anyways there is only one tent hotel at Sumdo and we requested him to give us a rajai and a mattress.Within 15 mins,the tent was ready and it had gone darker till that.

IMG_22631

We never thought it would go so cold at night,as strong n freezing wind started blowing.Somehow we ate Maggi and some soup,chatted with the hotel guy for sometime,and dozed off.We were the only 2 at that place,no other tourists.So it was very quiet around except the yaks,horses and sheep of the chang-pas'(the native people there)grazing around.

I was real uncomfortable in the sleeping bag,with two rajai on me.Even with all that,I was shivering.I was just thinking about what not things and not getting sleep.Finally I thought I was half asleep,when suddenly,Amish started shouting from the core of his throat…”NO WAIT…..PLEASE STOP….FUCK MAN…PLEASE DONT DO THAT….PLEASE LET ME GO”….Goddamn I wokeup like I was electrocuted.Also the horses and sheep around started screaming.Seriously…..MERI SOLID PHAT GAYI THI….For a moment I thought somebody is pulling Amish from other side.I checked that too in that fraction of second and finally I understood…HE WAS HAVING A NIGHTMARE. I just held him tightly and shouted “Chill man…take it easy…its no one here”……He bloody slapped me in between
Still I controlled him and within a minute he slept again.I checked the clock at it about 1am.I didn’t get sleep for an hour or more later and I cursed Amish for that.That indeed turned out as a nightmare for me….

Day 12
Sumdo-Tso Moriri-Nyoma-Loma-Chushul
Total Distance covered-220km approx

IMG_2265

Again the beasts around who started screaming for some shit reason around the tent to wake me up at 8.30am.Amish is a kind of very social guy,talking around with everybody he can catch.It’s good actually.Even I chat a lot with local people.But sometime he goes extreme.I saw him out with the entire family of the hotel guy where later he wasted a lot of time.At about 10am,we started for Tso-Moriri which was about 30km.It took damn 1 and half hour to reach the lake as the road was just pebbles and every second only one thought was running in my mind….WHAT TO DO IF THE BIKE GETS PUNCTURED HERE? Still I drove and drove…..There was no road actually,with lots of tracks on an endless plain…

IMG_2322

Also met some friends along the lake…..and the only white yak I saw all my trip,and some MARMOTS

IMG_2267
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2275

The first sight of Tso-Moriri…Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww……I thought I was in heaven….
The snaps would speak much more………..

IMG_2279
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_2280

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2299

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

IMG_2306

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_2309

After having some chinese lunch,we started off for junction at Mahe bridge which we made real quick as it was downhill all the way.I could see Amish talking with the Policewala at the checkpost and I knew there is gonna be issue over the permit.We’d got a permit for Tso-Moriri,Pangong.But the man said that you wont be allowed from this route,go via Karu.Somehow we convinced him after pleading for about 15 minutes.But he said you’ll have to face a lot of problems later.

We just fled away as soon as he said yes rather than thanking him and all,if he would have changed his mind again,then we were over. This was the road on which I saw the most fantastic and fascinating mountains.Just imagine the color variety ranging from red,white,yellow,brown,purple,green…..Just mesmerizing route,totally man less……..

IMG_2322
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_2328

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_2330

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_23321

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

IMG_2330

There were two places with military checkposts further,Nyoma and Loma.Amish as usual was ahead of me and again I saw him talking something with the checkpost guys and I was afraid they might restrict us from going further.But when I went closer,one of the men came to me and Amish asked me to give him lift as he had sadle bag on his bike and the soldier couldn’t sit properly.Amish signed me leave quickly and I did.

The guy behind me was from Haryana and we had a nice chat for the time.He told that there were many marathi people posted in that area and he had some very good friends amongst them.He also asked about our journey and was real astonished to listen the brief story.

I wasnt expecting,but we were actually greeted when we reached Loma where I had to drop that soldier. The other soldiers in the camp came together and inquired about us.Made the entry in their register and offered us tea and some biscuits.I wished to have a snap with them,but in between,one of them mentioned not to shoot anything in the area.So better I kept my camera inside.

A short tea break in the TRP hut,and we were off on way to Chushul at 5.30pm.The soldiers said that we would reacj Chushul within 2 hours or so….
I couldn’t restrict myself from taking photographs in spite of the hurries and worries…………

IMG_2343
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

IMG_23561

This was probably the last point where we were on tar road which we didn’t get for the next 120km approx.The last checkpost we got was at place called TARA where some Marathi soldiers stopped us and they were cheered up to see with bikes having a “MH” number plate.
A chat for another 5 minutes and we hit the road at about 6pm,which was just a track carved out of rare military traffic.The military people warned us that the road is too dangerous and this is the last village on way with nothing for next 40-50km.Also there are no military vehicles going through,forget tourist or commercial vehicles.The China border was all along the right hand side of me.Amish moved faster ahead,and I was alone.

IMG_2354

It was the first time in life I was in fear because of loneliness.Believe it or not,I dint see a human for the next 2 and half hours.And it went darker and darker as I moved ahead.
I was just driving mechanically,actually mind body was doing it and my brain had given up.Last night I had not slept well.At most of the part,there were just two rocks kept to indicate the road at every 50-100 meters. In addition to it,a number of tracks were created because of the trucks going haphazardly without following the indicated lane.

I just kept following the most used track.At a point,the tracks were as deep as a feet or more.I thought of changing the track when I realized the actual depth.I slipped,but dint fall off the bike,neither did my bike fall.It was instantaneous reaction,I just moved my right leg and the bike was standing on my right knee as it does on a side stand.That was because the track was deeper that the actual road level.The speed was very slow and it dint hurt me much.

Frankly,I was scared for the only reason that I was alone.I just kept driving untill I in between I noticed an old rusted board with an arrow pointing straight.Only C and L out of Chushul were visible clearly.It was then some power puffed into my brains and I increased my speed.soon I saw another board clearly indicating Chushul-8km.At about 8.40pm,I saw the headlight of Amish’s bike flashing near a hut in Chushul. He had reached about 20-25 mins earlier.

We moved into the village and it was totally dark.Guess it was time to sleep for the people there.Finally we arrived at a police station but there was no one inside.As we came out we say two faces coming towards us.They were the policemen actually and asked us to show our permit.We gave them a copy,but he said he cant allow us as the permit was not for Chushul,which has to be taken separately. Somehow we convinced him and promised to leave as early as possible in the morning. Again,he said there are no hotels in the village. But there was one govt rest house for which an allotment letter has to be issued from Leh. The policewala called the caretaker of the rest house and ordered him in a harsh manner so that he wont deny to give us a room.We thanked the policewala and went to the room,had some maggi which the caretaker prepared for us later.

This was the most exciting day from the entire journey.I got to face some of the worst and best moments of my life……….

5 comments on “Leh….Sumdo….Tso Moriri….Chushul

  1. Brian says:

    Ashutosh 🙂 Nice story. It’s encouraging that you did it on a small bike. Well done! It means whatever bike I can get, as long as it’s in good enough condition, it doesn’t mater, it doesn’t *have* to be a bigger bike.

  2. Celine says:

    Another lovely post, and what an adventure you both had!
    The photographs of Tso Moriri and those during the journey towards Chusul are awesome!

  3. Yogesh says:

    i have read your leh travelog…hats off to ur passion….
    i have desire for leh ladhakh bike trip…but ..i used to think that one need a RE Bullete…to take such trip…a 100 cc bike can’t take it….but your example have encouraged me..

    and all photos are really awesome.

    i would like to catch up with you sometime for some information and tips..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s