The road was good, well built and maintained up to a point and then it was a kachha road after that all the way to Khardung La. I reached there, without a sweat. Stopped at the place where they say its Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world. I was not able to believe it would be that easy. A walk, or a ride, in the park. May be the weather was good and by my side on that day, that I did not have to face any difficulties in going up. It was bright and sunny all this time, thanks to that, I could reach here without any problems and the motorcycle chugging out the much needed torque perfectly all this time. She was behaving fantastic.
As I sit wondering about life, high up in the mountains, amidst the desert, the dry, cold wind blows in my face, bringing me back to reality. I look down, sitting atop the hill, along with the fluttering prayer flags creating their flapping sound, having a bird’s eye view of the magnificent town of Leh. Such beauty, such aura. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, set up in the flat lands between them. Slowly the lights start glowing up one by one, as the sun starts to set behind the mighty Himalayas.
Anticipation. Excitement. Adrenaline rush. And all those appealing words come to your head when you think about cycling in the Himalayas!
December 2017. A blast of cold wind hit my face as I touched the highway and opened up the throttle of my motorcycle, in the winter month of December, forcing me to shut the visor of my helmet. I had spent the last 2 hours wading through the Mumbai traffic, even in early morning, before making it to the eastern express highway onward to Pune. This was a winter ride, which I had never done before, albeit small weekend ones. A 10 day long solo trip, never ever until now.
Royal Enfield motorcycles demand respect. Now I know the reason why. Stark blue skies, barren landscape, the so called roads made of stones and sand, at 12,000ft above msl, riding your beloved Royal Enfield, there you stand, atop one of the world’s most beautiful places. No, I am not talking about Ladakh. Welcome to Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, the lesser known of the destinations.
A tiny turtle, this huge world, its first step, watched by hundreds of “spectators”, and there I was, fascinated, awed by looking at it, it’s minuscule size, just born that day, and still it knows how to go about it’s natural home.