The Journey so far…
- My Never Ending Journey to Ladakh
- Sham Valley – Nature, Monasteries and More
- Stakna, Hemis and Chumathang Hot Springs
- Magical Colours of Tso Moriri
- Hanle – The Cold Desert in Changthang
- Remoteness of Changthang
- Blue Hues of Pangong Tso
- Adventures of Shyok Village Route
- Sacred Yarab Tso Lake at Panamik – Nubra Valley
- Exploring Hunder and Deskit – Nubra Valley
- Khardung La Pass – Where Snow Galore
Day 8 | Leh – Magnetic Hill – Chilling – Nimmu – Basgo – Leh
We had come to the closure of the trip being the last day before we flew back to our homes next day by morning flight after an adventure filled journey over past 5 days within Ladakh. The feeling was amazing, nothing would have worked out better than this trip which had everything – beautiful vistas, adventurous roads, tonnes of snow, sacred / holy places, spiritual time, remote Himalayan terrain, scary experiences, lovely weather and what not… Everything one could expect from a trip!! Still, we were thinking “Everything??” 😀 … Probably not!! A Bike Ride would be perfect end to this trip, so we got up early yet again and went to our favourite Lamayuru Restaurant at Leh for the breakfast and then got the bikes from Apex Tours and Adventures for Rs 800 and Rs 1000 with 5 Ltrs of Petrol. We decided to have a bike ride to Chilling + Sham Valley and then later half of the day we decided to spend in the market shopping for the loved ones.
Well, I hadn’t ride a bike for last 5 years almost and above all I have never ride a Royal Enfield in my life 😯 … After doing the paper work and getting the bikes, one RE Electra and other one RE Classic (brand new it was, just 34 KM on odo), with so much confusion and apprehension I slowly left the clutch as the bike moved ahead. I decided to take the old one with Tejas as pillion and Himanshu ride the new Classic. For first few KMs it was difficult for me to manoeuvre it but I slowly got into the rhythm as we passed by Hall of Fame. After a while I was riding confidently and riding it slowly the feeling was amazing!!! It was out of the world, there was so much chill in the air and beautiful vistas around through the helmet looked ominous. The only issue was “How do I click pictures??” … Every time I stop for clicking a picture, I had to remove gloves and then helmet and then take out camera,finally click picture and repeat the process. It was frustrating so decided to click as much less pictures as possible and enjoy my maiden ride…
We reached Magnetic Hills and on the way we saw some shooting of Ad Film going on where the Model was showcasing a saree (not sure why Ladakh was chosen here to showcase a saree). Nevertheless we moved onto Magnetic Hill and spent sometime there, clicked few pictures and decided to take the road to Chilling or as far as we could go towards Chilling. This road will connect Padum in Zanskar Valley and the road runs aside the beautiful Zanskar river that meets at confluence at Nimmu. As we passed by confluence and crossed over to the other side, the vistas appeared superb. We were enjoying the ride and soon the water of Zanskar river was purely Aqua in colour and was looking pristine / holy. Chilling is also famous as a starting point of rafting in Ladakh over Zanskar river where it finally ends at Nimmu. We continued for about 14-15 KMs on that road before finally turning back as we were unsure of the fuel and also vistas were more or less similar so we decided to turn back. On the way, the bike sought of skidded a couple of time at loose gravel and sand but I managed to keep it running 😀 … Hats of to other riders as I felt it quite tough to ride or perhaps may be I am out of touch of bikes now 🙂 …
On the way back, just before the confluence we decided to spend sometime on the banks of Zanskar River, so parked our bikes aside and went on the shores. It was so magical, the sound of water, the color of water and magnificent scenery of hills behind overlooking Nimmu Village, a feeling that brings a smile to my face even now as I write this. We decided to have lunch at Nimmu Village and headed there because we wanted to go ahead of Basgo Plains to click some pictures while riding on that famous straight road that looks like a runway to heaven… On the way we saw that Ad Film group had come to confluence to shoot but this time we bypassed them without stopping. After a nice veg. chowmein and momos at a dhabha at Nimmu we moved towards Basgo Plains and reached that road where we wanted to click pictures. It was around 1 PM and we clicked alot of pictures. Even Tejas ride as well and felt the thump of the Enfield as well… After a nice time, it was time to head back to Leh as weather had turned overcast by now.
As we moved back, I had become confident to ride the bike around 50-60 KMPH and we had a smooth ride so far. We crossed Magnetic Hills, Pather Sahib, Phyang and were nearing Leh. There were lots of diversions on the highway as construction work was going on and the sideways was a dirt track where I was riding at around 20 KPMH but it was faster than morning when I was almost at 10 KMPH. As we passed 4-5 of such diversions, I was pretty confident of the balance and may be a lapse in concentration as I saw a truck hurrying up towards that diversion. I decided to exit first so turned the accelerator a bit to exit that diversion before those trucks enter it only to find lots of sand and loose gravel on the road and when I applied breaks — BANG… The bike skidded, I put my feet to hold it, once, twice, but it was too late as I saw the vistas ahead go down my sight as we kissed the road with bike lying flat… Camera rolled over out of Tejas hand to the other side and we both were lying flat on road with bike on my feet. As I stood up, I carefully examined all my body parts by moving them – There was a little pain in Shoulder, some bruised knees and elbows but nothing serious… Same was the story with Tejas with little bruises on knees and elbows but as I had took the pressure twice on my foot, it saved us alot otherwise things could had been worse. This was only the thing left to happen to end this trip 😀 … Well, I looked at the camera and its lens and everything was intact and there was a sigh of relief BUT tension as we had switched the bikes on return and it was new RE Classic that was lying on the road. An idiot tourist was filming it only to record some helping verbs from my side instead of lending a helping hand… Now, probably he could watch it with family muting those verbal 😉 … Bloody Jerk!! Meanwhile, Himanshu had also arrived from behind amidst all this mellow-drama. We picked up bike, checked it thoroughly and thankfully everything was intact except Leg guard had taken all the impact and proved much worthy. There was a headlight cover that had bended but that would not cost us a bomb and thankfully no major damage had been done to the bike as well being slow in speed!!
With lots of tension in mind and a painful knee we resumed the final part of ride towards Leh town and within 20 minutes were in Leh town as meantime it had also started snowing on the way. We inquired about the light cover at couple of shops but non had it with them and finally decided to tell the shop we crashed their bike 😀 … The reaction obviously not good as the owner took it for a test ride to see everything was intact. We told him frankly what happened and asked him to make himself confortable and confident that nothing major has happened to the bike. He tested it thoroughly and asked me to pay Rs 200 for the damage which was a major sigh of relief considering all the tension I had in mind. I thanked him and he gave us the medical kit as well to drape and clean the bruises and told that I had used the hand brake which caused the skid and I did not remember what exactly happened. I was only happy to see all my body parts are intact and I can walk on my foot and so as Tejas :D
We decided to rest for sometime as we moved with smiles out of the shop and then go for some shopping in the evening. It was very cold as it was snowing lightly in the evening when we walked out to shopping where we met Rigzin as well who was helping the other group to buy some local clothes and specialities. We exchanged few words with him, told him today’s story on which we had some jokes, asked him to be on time tomorrow morning for a drop to airport and finally after buying couple of things for my wife and mother, we went to Gesmo Restaurant for the dinner. After a delicious dinner at Gesmo, we went back to Paul Guest House, where we were putting up in Leh for a final night sleep at the heaven and lots of dreams of the trip!!
The Journey ahead…