After embracing the might of the world’s highest motorable road, Khardungla, it was time for us to experience the serenity and beauty of Pangong! Pangong – the world’s highest salt water lake, Asia’s second largest lake and a water body that extends so far and wide that a quarter of it lies in our country land, and rest of the three quarters lie in China; the white sand on the shores of the lake, the changing colours of the water right from shades of deep blue to turquoise and green, and the extremely strong blows of wind throughout the day and night make Pangong a perfect destination for some relaxing and rejuvenation, which us, as riders, needed the most.
Remember singing the song ‘I’m on the top of the world’ in school? We were literally going to be on top of the world after about 48 hours of reaching Ladakh. How? Our troop of soldiers (read riders) was making plans of conquering Khardungla, the highest motorable road of the world, which lies at a height of 18,380 feet above the sea level. With the four of days continuous riding that we had been doing, our confidence levels had definitely risen, but the sight of the mountains, clad with heavy snow, which we got from our hotel, still gave each one of us the shivers.
After the excitement of finally being in the northern-most state of the country began to sink in on day one, day two is when our real adventure started! 4 days of riding to reach Ladakh, distances of 110 km, 183 km, 237 km and 210 km to be covered, and one hotel, one houseboat and one tent stay. Bikes, riding gears, helmets, rain gear, gloves, riding shoes; all the dressing up made us feel like soldiers, soldiers going on wars to conquer different mountains. In retrospect, we did, in fact, conquer them! That’s how we dressed up, and that’s how onlookers on the road made us feel. Waves from friendly locals, hi-fives from excited kids, looks of amusement from pedestrians and thumbs-up from fellow riders.
Ever been to Pakistan? I have. Well, if standing at a point in Jammu, where you are at the extreme end of the India-Pakistan border, to the extent that if you cross that line, you are most likely to be shot by one of the Pakistani militants counts, then I have. My recent, highly adventurous trip to Leh Ladakh started from the land of Jammu, a place with high security, very helpful army guys, slightly rude locals and a lot of sardars, which wasn’t surprising, of course!