Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Hi Viewers,

The picture album is up! The link to my photo album is

Good or Bad, Please do leave in your comments. This would keep me going!

The Entry Point to the Solo Himalayan Blog is


Thursday, July 13, 2006

How to prepare for a solo ride to the himalayas

Entry Point to the Solo Himalayan Blog is

Special Advice to Solo Himalayan Riders:

These are a list of what to know about your bike. It may not be comprehensive, please leave a comment about anything I may have missed.

a. Changing front and rear wheels & puncture repairs, tube replacement
b. Changing clutch wire
c. Changing the accelerator wire
d. Pushrod remounting
e. chain tightening
f. oil check
g. disk brake inspection
h. Carburetor drain out & cleaning
i. Air filter cleaning
j. A bit about the carburetor
And mainly..... Common sense (Problem Finding Ability)! and oh yes presence of mind!

The Tool Kit i carried with me included

a. Foot Pump
b. Tyre Removal Lever Tools
c. Dye to remove the Tube Valve
d. Rubber solution and patches
e. Spark Plugs - 2
f. Three Tubes 19/3.5
g. Chain Link Lock (1 number)
h. DOT 3 brake oil (The heat of the truck will cause the DOT3 disk brake fluid level to come down)
i. Clutch Cables - 1
j. Accelerator Cable - 1
k. Spark Plug Adaptor - 1
l. 3 Pin Halogen bulb for Thunder Birds - 1
m. Tail Lamp - 1
n. All spanners and Allen Keys.
o. Mobile Tyre Pneumatic pressure guage

What i did not take (As my bike is a thunderbird):

Extra Jerry Cans for Petrol
Extra OIL.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Satellite Pics

Here are the satellite images of the important places in my trip. Click on them for a closer, clearer view.


Pangong Tso

Khardung La Top

Chang La

Golden Temple, Amritsar

Contact Database

Contacts, Places and Hotels/Lodges Where I Stayed:

Shanthi Guest House
Near Shanthi Stupa,Changspa,Leh 09419346361, 0990697531

Hotel Gulmarg Phone +91 177 253168 / 256968

Packers (Delhi - Bangalore):
Radhey Shyam - 9810 270370, 011-250 69545

Packers (Bangalore-Delhi):
Kumar - 09845375701

Leh - Permit Processing Guys
Shanti Tours & Travels - +91.1982.250023

Jispa - Tented Accomodation
Tushita Camps & Travels - Mr Gyaltsen

Manali - Kishor Guest House
Old Manali

Royal Enfield Bike Rentals in Manali
Shankar Motor Works

Gongma Guest House - Phone Number 224047

Kargil Continental Hotel

Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Shora, Near Dal Gate

Bike Service
Soni Automobiles
Tuglakabad Ext, Delhi, phone 011-26071111, 011-55652719

Video Files Section

Here are some videos of my Himalayan Solo Trip. Note it will definately take a lot of time to load, but the wait is worth it!

(The Beautiful Pangong Tso Lake)

(The General from Udhampur leaving back.. It looks like he is flying towards china, but he will eventually turn back)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Amritsar - Delhi (26th June 2006)

26th June 2006
Start Trip Meter: 3048.0 km
End Trip Meter: 3720.2 km
Route: Amritsar-Jalandhar-Ludhiyana-Delhi
Stay & Cost: At my home in Bangalore :)

I wake up at 5 AM, cleanup, and go to the golden temple. There is a huge crowd waiting to see the Granth Sahib. There is a lake in middle of a quadrilateral. And the temple in middle of the pool.

A bridge takes you from the rectangular corridor into the temple. In the temple, you will find the high priest reciting verses.

And they will end it with "Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh". It means "Khalsa belongs to God and to God alone belongs the Victory". I get the darshan of the holygranth sahib. Pretty happy, I go to retrieve my saddle bags, shoes and the Wildcraft waist bag.

At 08:00 hours, I Mount the bike and from here I do a dash to Delhi. The normal speed I was doing is 100-105 kph… The roads were amazingly smooth and the bike was drinking gasoline. I enter the crowded delhi, at 17:00 hrs, reach Gurgaon at 18:00 hrs, leave my bike in the truck transport shop.

I made sure that I reached Gurgaon with bare minimum fuel as it would anyways evaporate in the heated transport truck. Gurgaon to Delhi in a commercial vehicle could prove costly due to the toll gate. I take a auto-rickshaw for 5 Indian Rupees to the border. And from there take a Auto-Rikshaw for a price of 70 Indian Rupees to the Domestic Airport.

At the Kingfisher counter, I show the Ticket I won at an IndiaTimes Auction and I have to pay the difference, IN CASH! (Kingfisher wont take credit cards lol).

I reach Bangalore at night and take a prepaid taxi from Airport to my home in Vijaynagar for Rupees 360. As I reach, Win-E boy (My Dalmatian) detects his master has arrived and is extremely happy to see me.

My wife expecting me on the 30th was pleasantly surprised to see me! This marks my end of the journey to laddakh, the valley and the golden temple!

Hope you had fun reading this blog as much as i had writting it


Srinagar - Amritsar (25rd June 2006)

25rd June 2006
Start Trip Meter: 2565.4 km
End Trip Meter: 3048.0 km
Route: Srinagar-Jammu-Pathankot-Amritsar
Stay & Cost: Free Langar Food, And open air bedroom in Guru Arjun Singh guest house Golden Temple

So I wake up at 5 AM and board my bike and check air pressure.. for a change it was unbelievably lot at 30 psi.

I have no option to ride to the nearest Air shop. Being this early in the morning, I pass some time at dal lake.

Dal lake is amazingly beautiful in the morning.

Sringar is so peaceful in the morning with all the tired terrorists of Kashmir sleeping after unleashing havoc the previous day..LOL!

So ditch breakfast and buy some of the best Acrots for 100 bucks a kilo. That’s my breakfast and lunch for the whole day.

One major attraction was the Banihal Tunnel, commonly called the Jawar Tunnel. This tunnel is just above 2.5 kilometers. I was trying to photograph the tunnel, and two security men stopped me from doing it.

I reach Jammu in the afternoon Jammu is very hot and without taking much of a break, I rush to pathankot and do a night ride into amritsar.

At amritsar I locate the golden temple, deposit my saddle bag and shoes into the golden temple cloak room. And go to the Guru Arjun Singh guest house. There are no rooms.. Specially for a single guy. So they ask me where am I from, I say Bangalore. Considering me safe, they allow me to sleep inside in the open sky.

The hostel complex is flooded with pictures of thieves. A thief on the prowl is attempting to rob someone. And the alert guards with spears catch hold him. The thief is escorted into a special room and all I hear is sound of lashes and shrieks of the thief. I wonder why some one would come over to a holy place like this to rob men and women of unshakable faith.

In the Golden Temple, you need to cover your head with a cloth.. Even the cloth is given by the authorities for free. So I cover my head with a cloth and go to the Langar. According to custom, you have to receive the bread (Rotis) with both your hands. And he throws it into the receiving hands with force.

So I have the holy food in the Langar (Langar means free kitchen). And go to sleep in my sleeping bag. I remember that I was so happy to sleep there and I have a sound sleep.

Kargil-Srinagar (24th June 2006)

24rd June2006
Start Trip Meter: 2340.4 km
End Trip Meter: 2565.4 km
Route: Kargil-Drass-Zojilla Pass-Kangan-Srinagar
Stay & Cost: Guest house in Srinagar– 300 Rupees, Single bedroom

I wake up at 6 AM with 4 pegs of OMR lodged in my head.. The COMRADE Network On Ryze should make me an icon for having OMR at a high altitude.. LOL

Typical kashmiri house among the woods.

Pakistan has posts just across the river on the hill

Two Swedish cars doing a Sweden-Denmark-Germany-Poland-Czech-Austria-Slovakia—Ukraine-Romania-Bulgaria-…….pakistan-india-Nepal route… I think they are returning back…because I saw them at leh the other day.

Inspiring…. My blood was gushing up my head when I saw this.

As I approach drass.. Drass was at -60 degrees on 9 jan 1995. Second coldest inhabited place.

Tiger Hills, Drass. The root cause of the kargil war

Tololing heights, Drass.

Backdrop of amazing snow clad mountains.

In drass, I stop over for a coffee.. Strange people with beards, 6 ft tall in a butchers shop across the road, attracted my attention.

But then I just went on towards zozilla pass. On the way I saw a similar looking guy and I stopped over. These are Shepard’s. They come from Jammu and then go back during the winter. They take 2 months to travel from jammu, and 2 months to travel back. The graze around for the rest of the time.

They are at least 6 ft tall, look afghani, are Muslims and have a lot of sheep

As I go forward, Disaster strikes again… this is my third puncture. And its because I was abusing the machine, lashing it against the road.

There is not a soul around. There is no hill for me to lean the bike.

I am so funny.. I keep my spirits high at bad times

So I dismantle the tyre, change the tube again. And pump till 30 psi… it never goes above 30 psi though I was pumping like crazy.

At last I see a car coming and I try stop it.. they ignore me. The local muslim Shepard woman tells me if she helps me hold the bike, I should drop her at a village 6 km down the way.. I didn’t want to attempt that..

Finally some Gujaratis stopped by and helped lean the bike while I put the wheel back in and put the axle back.

Simi (Military Explosive detector) and me.. I think she has a rank.

Before Zozilla

End of Himank…. Start of Beacon

Zozilla Pass

Pagal Slide

Army in Kashmir

Amarnath Yaatri before Sonmarg

Pine Trees to prevent land slides

HAWS Laboratory

I stop by about 10 km before Kangan and have some kashmiri kawa with some para military men

Srinagar has armed gun totting men every 50-100 metres.. women are very very safe... they come out without burkhas.. Security men have a great time guarding them.
The kasmiris are very cool. Heres a conversation i had at a chai shop:
ADK: Chai milegi ? (Can I get some tea)
A: Ji, par chai banane wala kahin bahar gaya hain. (Sure, but the guy who prepares has gone out)
ADK: oh, tab to intejaar karna padega. (So I guess I have to wait)
A: Aap DAL jheel jaao, aur chai peeyo... wah wah. (You go to Dal Lake and have a tea, applause)
ADK: Theek hai.. Yahan par itne pahara?? Kashmir to safe hai na ? (Ok, so much of security around here, is Kashmir safe?)
A (Laughing) : Haan haan kyo nahi.. aagar ye log nahin hote to hum yahan thoodi hoten. (Yes, if these soldiers weren’t here, we wouldn’t be here!)
With my mouth shut, I carry on to dal lake.. but prefer a 300 buck guest house to a 800+ buck dal lake.

At dal lake, I park my bike in a nearby bike parking place and head in a shikara towards house boats to get a feel of what it was.. The Shikara ride was an amazing experience! But the house boats were very expensive.. starting at 700 Indian Rupees a Night.

Shikara Ride on Dal Lake

Dal Lake at night

That day Army Captian (Capt. SD Singh) was lost in Ratnipora, Pulwama district 40 km south of srinagar And some time after, Militants later threw a grenade at a security checkpoint in Lal Chowk area located in the heart of Srinagar, killing a civilian and injuring many

My landlord indicated that Terrorism is now down to 2%.

I was so pissed at these terrorists who made a hell of this heaven; I then have some dinner in a nearby restaurant.

I end the day with some shopping effort for my wife and home.

Khalsi-Kargil (23rd June 2006)

23rd June 2006
Start Trip Meter: 2159.9 km
End Trip Meter: 2340.4 km
Route: Khalsi-Lamayuru-fotola top-hemiskot-buddha khardu-khamral-namakala top-wakhah-Mulbek-Sargal-Paschim-Kargil
Stay & Cost: Hotel Kargil Continental – 300 Rupees, Single bedroom.

I wake up at 5 AM mount the bike. My bikes rear tyre is flat and the puncture shop opens only at 6:30 AM. So I while away my time reading my map, talking to locals, drinking tea.

The puncture shop opens and I get him fix the rear wheel… I am up and running in 30 minutes. I then ride towards kargil.

….amidst amazing valleys.


Bulldozing and clearing of the highway

Aerial view of Kargil

River Karu On the outskirts of Kargil

A Kargili Sweetheart (Note they do NOT like to be called kashmiri) muslim who I gave a drop to from Mulbek. I really like this guy a lot. He invited me and my wife to kargil.

As I approach the (now) famous town of Kargil which is still backward. Its gonna get its own airport very soon !!!!

I then abort plans to go to drass as I would have nothing to do the next day… I sleep at Kargil Continental that night.. Some how I make friends with some locals and 2 israelis who come with a delhi guy.

I have some authentic kashmiri food called Rishta and Kabab (cylindrical meat fried) at Rubby Restaurant Kargil

You should also try Kashmiri Food Like:

Rishta (Meat Balls in curry)
Gushtaba (Meat Balls in Curd)
Kabab (Cylindrical meat shallow fried)

You can eat only 1 at a time.. its filling.

These are available at Rigal Chowk, Srinagar and Adoos hotel in the same place.

The local gives me 4 pegs of Old Monk Rum which I gladly accept as a token of respect towards the Bangalore-Kargil friendship process that’s being nurtured.

The Israelis are smoking weed (Ganja)… I am having the rum and we talk of Israel-Palestinian friendship… funny indeed

The delhi guy says i am frightened of a guy who :

a. Does Not Smoke

b. Does Not Drink

c. Does Not Talk

d. Does not Ride.

So i drink and make up to 75% of the man

But not drinking for a long time, I get Drunk fast and I sleep thru the night.

TangTse- Phobran-Lukung-Leh-Khaltse (22nd June 2006)

22nd June 2006 – TangTse- Phobran-Lukung-Leh-Khaltse & The Marsimek-la Story
Start Trip Meter: 1875.7 km
End Trip Meter: 2159.9 km
Route: TangTse- Phobran-Lukung-Tangtse-ChangLa-Shakthi-Karu-Leh-Khaltse
Stay & Cost: Khaltsi 70 bucks

I Wake up at 5 AM and mount the bike, and check the tyre buildup pressure. I eat 2 laddakhi rotis with lots and lots of butter between it.

I then gulp some glucose, thank the lady owner and head out of tang-tse. Next to the Major Shaitan Singh memorial, I meet a soldier who wants a 30 km drop to Lukung. My tyre pressure is great at 40 and I accept his request. We then ride towards lukung.

This soldier was from rajasthan and I could relate to him with ease because I knew the terrain well. I see the road that goes to marsimikla on my left and this soldier helps me take some snaps.

The road on the right goes to chishul and Pangong Tso. I then drop him at pangong-tso military post. He requests me to have tea at the camp, but I refuse as I have to be at Marsimekla really soon.. my adrenalin is pumping. With a smile on my face, I head to phobran.

There is just a bit over 3 km of tarred roads and then the dirt trail begins.

Another local walks to be and asks me where am I going. I say phobran and he has a son of 15 who has to go there to get ration. He requests me for a drop and I gladly accept.

I then head towards phobran. I reach Phobran at 8:40 AM. I duck and ride under the army stop-gate. And I see a lot of tents. And 2 trucks. I am asked what was I doing and I tell them I need to be in Marsemekla.

Phobran is a camp with atleast 40 soldiers. Its headed by a captain

Then a sergeant walks to me and asks me where am I from. I said Bangalore. He asks me

“Khaana waana ho gaya ?” (Have you had your breakfast)
Chai Peeyoge? (Will you have tea)

Then the Captain comes over. Capt GS Rana.. A hariyanvi guy. Tough, Strong and majestic.

And so does the tea come.

I tell him about myself, I am from Bangalore, he asks about my profession and I say software. I give him my business card, show him I a genuine, and tell him that I want to do marsimikla.

He asks me:

Capt. Rana: “I don’t know why you want to do marsimek-la. I have trucks here that have to go to a forward area called “Hot Springs”… This strikes me.. so Phobran is not the last ITBP post.. There’s one called “Tso-Galu” its pronounced that way.. no clue what it is… never been there.

Capt. Rana: “There is 18 inches of snow… my trucks and the tents that you see are the drivers in transit”

I sip in to the tea, show him the pass.. go a bit aggressive and try a final stunt.. “but the district magistrate has signed this paper”,..

I was so desperate that I was ready to clear some snow and get my bike there.

Capt. Rana: “I cant take the risk of sending you there…sorry.. and moreover you have already crossed higher passes than this”

I say: “But marsimekla is the highest pass!”

Capt Rana: No khardungla is higher,

Me: “Can I just photograph the part of your army satellite topography map that shows the height of marsimikla?”

Capt Rana: It’s confidential. I will not let you photograph. But I can tell you the height of Marsimekla.

Me: That would be a great help.

Capt Rana comes back in a few minutes as I finish my tea.

Capt Rana: “five-five-nine-zero meters”

The height of Marsemek-la or Marsimek-La is 5590 meters (18340 ft MSL), Khardung-La is 5602 meters (18380 ft MSL).. Pretty Close Though!

Theres also a debate that Tanglang-la is higher than Khardung-la!

I try again to convince Capt Rana that I am a seasoned biker who has done west, south, central and north India. He holds to his ground.

I knew I cant shake this guy into sending me to Marsimek-la. I shake his hand, thank him for the tea and hospitability, and go back to my bike

I request the escorting sergeant to click a snap against the bike. So that I remember Phobran and the STRICT COMMANDING CAPTAIN RANA.

(Me with Phobran Camp In the Background.)

The Phobran army gate that I ducked while riding


Its just wrong timing to visit Marsimik-la. I should have come in when the snow cleared. But anyways, Marsimik-la wasnt the only reason i undertook this ride.

I ride back to Lukung/Pangong Tso in the muddy roads of phobran

I see a strange guy with black face, laddakhi look and tall! Out of curiosity I stopped the bike and stared at him with a smile while he was gazing at me.

His finger tips were cut, and slightly bleeding. Extreme Cold has Its toll on this poor man. I request for a photo which he gladly poses for,

I wonder what are the above.

Between Phobran and Pangong Tso


The road to phobran village

I then reach pangong tso.,, and I see an helicopter! Some VIP must be here! The soldier I dropped in the camp told every one about me. And I suddenly get flanked by 2 soldiers.. “Aaapne hamare ladke ko drop diya, aaiye, chai peejeye”.

So army chai again.. I find out that it’s a Lieutenant General from Udhampur who had come over. There goes my plan of doing a lake circuit.. Spangmik-Mann-Merak-Chushul are out of range as the General is here and I need to rush to kargil now !!!

Joyous Adarsh.. I’ve never seen such a blue lake that is Salty in my life !!!

My Bike with a trail

Against the Himalayas

Clear Water of Pangong Tso!

The General arrived in a motorboat from the pangong waters and then took a snap of his against the Pangong Tso lake and flew away.

Heres a video of the general's chopper Flying off (Check the video post!)

Heres a beautiful video of Pangong Tso that I did Solo riding the bike with my right hand (Check the video post!)

The builders of these amazing roads.. Their office in shakthi from the top!

Its 3:33 PM and I rush back to leh.. I find leh costly so I attempt to reach kargil

Zero gravity (Magnitic Hill) on the Leh-Srinagar highway. In the night I enter Khaltse thru really bad roads.. I ran over shattered glass and after some time, I have my second puncture. A glass piece went thru the tyre making a hole in the tube and a long scratch in the tube.

Luckily I was already in the village at Gongma Guest house and the puncture shop was just 200 ft away.

I sleep well after having the worst food of my life.

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