My Journey To The Top Of The World!

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“A boy is a virgin until he gets laid; a biker is virgin until he gets Lehed"

The moment we turn the calendar pages to April, my soul starts feeling a magical pull towards Himalayas, it’s like some divine power attracting me towards it. To feel that nirvana over and over again I visit Himalayas every year. It was not only me who was feeling this alone, there were nine other souls who felt the same divine pull this year.

It all started with month long mail trails, searches on travel forums, numerous route planning, hundreds of views-counterviews and some cajoling to the weaker hearts. Finally ten of us decided to travel to the top of the world. There was one common string which held us together – the passion for ‘Travel & Adventure’. Though the starting point was decided as Delhi, but there were people who joined us from as far as Mumbai and Indore. Since the group also had some non-bikers as well, so we hired an Innova. Finally the most awaited day arrived; there were six people inside the Innova and four bikers on their respective machines. After months of preparation it was time to hit the roads.

Though we were sure that Day 1 will be quite easy for both man and machine as the drive was mostly through the Highways, but I had little doubt considering the fact that I didn’t sleep for 2 nights before the departure. I decided not to discuss this with the group and we went ahead with the schedule (It was a bit of shanpanti on my end, but actually it was a testing ground for my body as I prepared myself for my next saddle sore trip). Prima facie the decision may look dumb but I had nine others accompanying me and if I would have felt discomfort at any point of time during the journey, then I had the luxury of sitting inside the Innova as well.

Day 1: 421 KMs, New
Delhi – Murthal – Panipat – Karnal – Ambala – Rajpura – Ludhiana – Jalandhar
We started around 7 AM from Vasundhra Enclave, Delhi. First we had our customary tank full session and then we cruised on the outer Ring Road to hit NH 1. After we had our breakfast at Murthal (It has become a tradition now) we quickly moved towards Ambala. Heat waves already started talking its toll from as early as 10 AM in the morning, which forced us to take frequent water breaks. This reduced our average speed, moreover we had to stop to get a carrier fixed over Innova as the passengers inside Innova were really feeling uncomfortable with loads of luggage, courtesy the females in our group. The roads were butter smooth inviting the drivers to cruise at needle touching the ton mark but careless pedestrian crossing over the highway restricted us to sane speed limits. By evening we crossed the “Mercedes capital of IndiaLudhiana, and finally we ended our journey at Jalandhar. It was more than 60 hrs that I was awake, so it was time to hit the bed to gather energy for the next day.

Day 2: 272 KMs, Jalandhar – Bishanpur – Mukerian – Damtal – Pathankot - Lakhanpur – Udhampur
With some slight body pain due to dehydration by traveling in the heat during previous day we started Day 2 of the journey. There were no smooth stretches anymore and we drove mostly on single lane roads. Lots of road construction work was going on between Jalandhar and Pathankot stretch so we couldn't cruise at high speed. Our bodies could still feel the heat as we were traveling through Punjab, but once we approached Pathankot we could see the changing landscapes. The first sight of twisties rushed adrenaline in our blood and all the bikers had some spirited driving. By evening we reached Udhampur, the weather was awesome we experienced some light showers as well which turned out to be a bliss. Finally we could feel the difference in the temperature as now we were in J&K.

Day 3: 243 KMs, Udhampur – Batote – Ramban – Banihal – Awantipura – Srinagar

Since morning all the bikers were very excited as we had left behind boring straight roads, from here on the real journey started. Once we crossed Banihal it was time to wear some woolens, a little surprising as just two days back we were sweating like hell. Pine trees, black tarmac tempted us to twist the throttle to Srinagar. After lunch we crossed Jawahar Tunnel it was like a childhood dream coming true because we read about it in our Geography books only. It took us around 15 minutes to cross the tunnel, one way, dark smoky roads inside gave us lots of goose bumps. Shortly after that we reached Titanic Point from there we could see the entire Kashmir Valley in one frame; it was truly a divine experience. By evening we reached Srinagar and all of us decided to check-in to a house-boat instead of a hotel room. Later in evening we went for a Shikara ride around the lake, it felt like as if we were strolling through the heaven. It seemed, in terms of beauty God was not only partial to Srinagar but also to its inmates, half of the females looked like siblings of Katrina Kaif. The gala dinner was followed by a lovely chit-chat session, after that all the members went to sleep as next day we had some tough terrains to cover.

Day 4: 201 KMs, Srinagar – Ganderbal – Sonamarg – Baltal – Zoji La – Mughalpura – Crass – Thasgam
After late night chat sessions most of the member woke up late in the morning. Srinagar is famous for its shawls, saffron and food, so nobody wanted to miss out on any of the stuff. Everybody was busy in buying specialties for their dear ones. Moreover when you have female members in the group the shopping time stretches further. It was around 1 PM when we started from Srinagar, since we were late so we decided to skip our lunch so that we can make up some time. Drive from Dal Lake to Sonamarg was bliss; it looked like as if somebody painted the entire valley with green color, misty clouds added character to the valley, we felt as if we were driving through a wonderland. Sadly our happiness lasted short as immediately after Sonamarg it started drizzling which turned into heavy rain after a while. With heavy rain, mud, slush, skidding tyres we reached Zoji La (11,649 feet) (Who says Bolivian death road is the scariest in the world, just visit Zoji La once during monsoon you will get your answers). It was not enough for us as our luck added some more misery; just after crossing Zoji La we had a flat tyre in one of the bikes. We took the chance of changing the tyre in between the harsh weather but had a reality check, when frost bite made our fingers literally numb. We quickly decided to leave our bike at a nearby Army check posts. Our condition was really bad but we decided to continue as Army men at the post assured us that they will transport our bikes to Drass. Around 8 PM we reached Mughalpura Army camp, our friends traveling by Innova were waiting for us. We were literally freezing as our gloves and boots got drenched in ice cold water, thankfully Major Rathore and Lieutenant Sandeep knowing the local conditions had perfect arrangements done for us. Sitting next to a fire place with hot cup of tea and snacks helped us recharge our batteries. After bidding goodbye to them we cruised towards Thasgam, our final destination of the day. Around 11 PM we crossed Drass (World’s Second Coldest Habitat Place), after that two of the bikers left for AT Ground army camp as next day the punctured bike was to be delivered there. We were frozen deep till our bones by the time we reached Thasgam, around 12:30 PM. Thankfully Major Shriram, who was our host there, already had necessary arrangements for us. A hot water tub to soak our numb legs was like heaven, never ever in my life I felt so cozy. After a late night dinner at 2 AM it was decided that we would rest the next day.

Day 5: 70 KMs, Thasgam – Drass – Tiger Hill – Thasgam
After a horrendous night the day before, everybody slept tight till noon. When we woke up, we found sumptuous paranthas were waiting for us. I can bet the cooks at the army kitchens can any day give top notch chefs from five stars a run for their money. It was an altogether different experience inside an army base camp that too so close to the international border. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the big Bofors guns, I was in awe. Quickly we chalked out plan for the day, it was decided that we will visit the war memorial at Drass. The atmosphere in war memorial was different; the moment we entered we could feel the presence of the souls of those martyrs. After spending some quality time there we moved towards AT Ground to meet two of our fellow bikers, they seemed to have a great time as well with Major Barua. The icing of the cake was yet to come; from AT Ground we cruised towards LoC to see Tiger Hill top more closely. Since we were (special) guests of Indian Army that was the reason we could drove on roads where no civilian bike would have ever reached. I had one fellow MOBian doing pillion duties on Elena, and we started following the army gypsy on the incline. At such height my 125 cc punny bike was coughing and gushing lots of unburnt fuel, but I still managed 40 degree inclines with a pillion on board, that was truly an achievement for Me and Elena. In the evening Colonel Dutta hosted a party for us; thankfully this was the only time when all of us reached the venue on time. We had some amazing discussions till late night which will remain with us as treasured memories forever.

Day 6: 173 KMs, Thasgam – Kakshar – Kargil – Saraks – Heniskot – Fotu La – Lamayuru
After spending two days at the army camp in super luxurious facilities (I would even call a hot water bucket a luxury at such place where there are snow capped mountains all around and with no geysers, it was all done manually), it was time to hit road to reach our next destination. A sunny day was utilized as an opportunity to click lots of photographs. Finally we had one last break at an Army camp where Lieutenant Neeraj was waiting for us to have a cup of tea. On our way to Kargil we had mixed feelings of fun, adventure and fear because we were crossing a territory where enemy can take a clear shot on us from the top of the mountains. Once we reached Kargil we took a breather and refilled our bikes. We were planning to reach Leh as early as possible but a slight miscommunication cost us few hours as some of the bikers took a different route to Leh. Thankfully we had two phones which had BSNL/MTNL connection and both the owners were with different groups at that time. After numerous call drops we finally regrouped at a petrol station, since we lost a lot of time during coordination so we decided to halt at Lamayuru. It was quite dark by the time we reached Lamayuru, but the last 15-20 KMs was fun to drive, with newly constructed patch of NH 1D we could do some spirited driving on the twisties in pitch dark conditions. On our way to Lamayuru we crossed Fotu La (13,479 ft) it’s the highest point on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. Luckily we got some decent accommodation and after having dinner we hit bed.

Day 7: 159 KMs, Lamayuru – Khalsi – Nurla – Saspul – Mechakka – Magnetic
Hill – Spituk – Leh
Though we were pretty behind our schedule but the thought of finally reaching Leh (Mecca for touring bikers) gave us butterfly in our stomachs. After Lamayuru the sceneries around us totally changed, we were surrounded by huge barren mountains and shadows from the cloud created beautiful patterns on the mountains; it looked as if God was in a mood to paint modern art. After crossing some small villages on our way we hit a straight and clear stretch of tarmac, it looked as if earlier the BRO planned it to make an airstrip there but finally gifted that to the bikers visiting Leh. After a photography session we quickly cruised towards our next destination, Megnatic Hill. It’s an optical illusion created by nature, the surroundings at Magnetc hills gives a feeling that an individual is climbing uphill but actually one goes downhill. All the bikers did some off-roading on a nearby incline and tried to reach as close to the summit. After some fun filled riding, finally we reached Leh, now it was time to visit the DC office to get the permits for the next few days. We barely managed to get the permits before the 4 PM deadline; everybody was excited as we were one step closer to conquer the highest motorable roads in the world. After taking a stroll around the Leh market in the evening we finally reached our hotel rooms, it was time to take some rest and gear up for next day.

Day 8: 167 KMs, Leh - Karu – Shakti – Zingral – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangtse – Lukung – Spangamik – Pangong Tso
The world famous blue waters of Pangong Lake was always a dream destination for bikers, especially after the success of “3 Idiots” it has become a hot tourist spot as well. All of us were excited to reach the lake as soon as possible. Thankfully we hired a local driver this time to do the driving duties on Innova. After a quick tank/tummy full we drove towards Karu on the Manali-Leh highway, from Karu we took a left cut for Shakti. By the time we crossed Zingral (15,500 ft) we already crossed our previous best Kunzham La (14,931 ft) we did in 2009. From Zingral the roads were pretty rough and after driving few kilometers there was snow all around, the water stream were flowing across the roads making our drive slippery. Finally we managed to reach Chang La (17,586 ft), “World’s Third Highest Motorable Road”, but all of a sudden bad luck struck us, one of our bikes the Royal Enfield Electra got a slight leakage in its rear tyre, and to add to our horror we found that we have forgotten our tool box at the hotel itself, so we decided to fill air with the help of a foot pump. We were not aware of the catastrophic effect of exertion at that altitude; one of the biker who was inflating the tyre suddenly started bleeding profusely from his nose. We pressed the panic button and immediately took a call to drop the bike at the Chang La top itself. The most effective medicine for AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is to descend towards lower altitude. We quickly came down to comparatively saner altitudes of around 15,000 ft. By late afternoon we reached a small village called Durbuk, from there we took a right turn towards Tangtse. After reaching Tangtse town we searched for a mechanic and a tool shop so that we can change tyre the next day, but we didn’t get any success. Pangong Tso was still 30 odd kilometers away so we thought of driving non-stop to reach the lake before sunset. Thankfully we were welcomed by freshly laid black tarmac so it was time for some Moto GP style driving. Though the roads looked smooth but it was nowhere close to the level of doing knee scrapping. I realized that fact immediately once I had a bad skid at a wrongly banked turn. Though nothing serious happened and I was intact on my bike but yes after that it was more of sane driving till the time we reached Lukung. The last few kilometers were just rocks and pebbles but we managed our way to Spangamik by dusk. We checked in to a camp and it was time for celebration.

Day 9: 171 KMs, Pangong Tso – Spangamik – Lukung – Tang
tse – Durbuk – Chang La – Zingral – Shakti – Karu – Leh
The next morning after breakfast everybody was in a mood to capture the beauty of Pangong Lake. The blue water of the lake was literally hypnotizing; one can look at it for hours without even blinking. Everybody in the group started getting their pictures clicked in frenzy as if they would post them on some matrimony site to get hold of a good match. The scenery around the lake was so beautiful that an amateur can also point on objects and click better pictures than Atul Kasbekar. Even a plain Jane will look like a Kingfisher calendar model in such location. We wrapped up things quickly as now it was time to hit Chang La; a two legged beauty (The Electra) was waiting for us to get her fixed. Once we reached the top we managed a spanner and quickly got into the act. By the way we were not that quick as the whole process took us close to two hours since we mistakenly put a small cut on the new tube while replacing it, so had to repeat the entire process twice. After fixing the puncture it was time to move towards Leh. By this time we had already spent more than two hours at a point where officially people are advised not to spend more than 20 minutes so everybody was experiencing dizziness. Once we got back to Leh it was time for some more route planning and strategies. Sadly two of our fellow MOBians had to fly back to Delhi the next day because of their professional commitments. From here on we were reduced to a group of eight.

Day 10: 86 KMs, Leh – Khardung La – Leh

The tenth day of our trip was going to be a memorable one for the entire MOB group as we planned to capture the “Highest Motorable Road in the World” Khardung La. Two MOBians decided that they will take bicycles to capture the K-Top, so we hired two bicycles tied them over the Innova and moved towards the summit. After the Chang La episode we were mentally prepared for Khardung La since it was the highest of the lot. To our surprise, drive till South Pullu check post was a breeze, we quickly submitted our permits and move towards the top. The roads after the check post suddenly vanished; we realized the fact that since it was the highest road in the world so drive to the summit won’t be a cake walk. By this time we were quite acclimatized with the weather and since past ten days we were driving on such rough terrains, our bikes actually felt like our body parts. I don’t have words to explain the feeling when we reached the Khardung La (18,640 ft), driving to the top of the world with Elena was nirvana. We did some photography there and then we headed back towards Leh. For me the adventure was not over here, after we crossed the South Pullu check post I decided to do some speed trap. I set the GPS lap times on my Nokia E71 and zapped my way towards the downhill slopes, in no time I was in the Valentino Rossi mode. Gravitational pull already increased a few horses in my bike and I was insanely cruising at high speeds (touched a GPS measured 80 Kmph). In just 20 minutes I covered around 14 KMs which was around an average speed of 42 Kmph that too after crossing countless hairpin bends and driving on slippery sandy roads. To add on to that I faced strong crosswinds that disturbed my line of turn around corners. Clocking such time on a 4 & ½ year old 125 cc Bajaj Discover was an achievement in itself. We reached Leh around late afternoon, since plenty of day light was left, so we decided to visit Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa. Before that we went to the local Himachal Pradesh Bus stand to check the status of Manali-Leh highway, there we got the good news that it was open. We were excited by the thought of taking a different and challenging route on our way back to Delhi.

Day 11: 218 KMs, Leh – Karu – Upshi – Miru – Rumtse – Tanglang La – More Plains – Pang
So it was time to say goodbye to Leh which was our base for four days. We packed our bags and headed towards the Manali-Leh highway. We took a halt for breakfast at Karu, there from the locals we got to know that Dalai Lama has visited Hemis Monastery. All of us agreed to take a de tour as this was a unique opportunity to see him. It took us around half an hour to reach monastery. But unfortunately it was a rumor, some other Monk who was next to Dalai Lama in hierarchy was present there for a local fair, so we decided to take a brief tour since we came that far. After an enchanting experience in the monastery we quickly hit the highway and drove towards Upshi. The roads were decent for next 50 odd kilometers but once we reached the incline for Tanglang La the road condition was really very bad. We could easily see freshly removed snow and rocks from the road. The tread patterns created by bulldozer drive belts were still fresh on the snow and mud. Somehow we struggled our way to the top and finally conquered Tanglang La (17,582 ft) World’s Second Highest Motorable Road”. The top was deserted, only eight of us were standing at the summit. We hardly stood there for ten minutes as chilled wind blowing across the top made the area inhospitable. We quickly descended to the other side of the pass and after driving few more kilometers we finally hit More Plains. It’s a 40 kms plain stretch between Tanglang La and Pang with an average elevation of more than 13,000 ft, the plain is flanked by beautiful mountains on both the sides. Once we reached sand formations along the Sumkhel Lungpa River, it looked as if we were driving through the sets of “Totall Recall”; crimson red barren mountains surrounded us. From More Plains we again started our climb towards Pang; around 5:30 PM we reached Pang and had sumptuous Maggie in one of the tents. We quickly finished our meals and again hit the road since we were targeting Sarchu. It was only 5 Kms from Pang and I had two massive tyre skids so I requested the team members to call it for the day. Since it was already 6:30 in the evening so we decided to return to Pang. After we checked in to our tents we got in a mood to dance and requested the locals to tap their feets on Punjabi tunes. Really it was a heartwarming experience and tiring too. The GPS showed that we were at half the height of Mount Everest and dancing at such altitude requires some insanity. After a brief chit-chat sessions we quickly sneaked inside the quilts as it was freezing outside.

Day 12: 130 KMs, Pang - Kangla Jal – Lachulung La – Nakee La – Gata Loops – Sarchu – Baralacha La – Zing Zing Bar
On papers it was the toughest day of our trip as we had to cross at least three mountain passes in a single day. We started very early (As per our usual standards) and quickly covered the stretch till Kangla Jal. While driving along the river it looked as if a slight overflow of water will submerge the entire road. Since BRO recently opened the road, so there was hardly any tarmac stretch available (I wonder how these roads are called national highways). After some tyre spins and wobbles we reached the top of Lachulung La (16,616 ft), took few snaps and after that we immediately moved towards the next pass. Then came Nakee La (15,547 ft) which was the easiest of the lot (May be after crossing so many tough passes in last 12 days this looked like a drive down the pothole laden Delhi roads). Few kilometers from Nakee La and we reached descend for Gata Loops. Driving down 21 hairpin curves is a mouth watering proposition for any biker. After some spirited driving on steep curves we hit another beautiful plain called Sarchu. We decided to break for lunch as we had the biggest task of the day ahead of us, the Baralacha La. We slowly started the climb towards Baralacha La, after few kilometers we couldn’t believe our eyes; an entire glacier was flowing across the road with knee deep snow. I could see bicep laden surds struggling on their bullets while crossing the crushed ice stretches, after watching this I was wondering how would I cross my 125 cc bike. I simply closed my eyes and whispered to Elena (Please Paar Kara De Yaar Apni Izzat Ka Sawaal Hai), one-two three, I twisted the throttle, engaged the first gear, depressed the clutch slightly and here she goes. Without even stumbling once I crossed the most difficult stretch of our trip unscratched. But we still had a bigger problem in our hands, after pushing two Apaches through the stream, my legs were actually numb. This was not the end our stupid Innova driver hit a boulder and was stranded in between the icy water stream. With no traction available and after numerous wheel spins finally we pull the car back with the help of a tow rope attached to a Tata 407. But this was not the end as the car still had to cross the stream to reach the other side of the glacier. We had a ray of hope when we saw an Army convoy coming from behind, we thought we would easily manage to cross the stream with their help, but to our utter horror the first army stallion which tried to cross got struck in the snow. They sent a recovery van which also got stuck (By this time our souls already started sinking). After numerous attempts finally the first truck managed to cross that stretch, one by one finally 5-6 truck crossed us, after that with the help of a local driver and some towing from the Army stallions we managed to cross that stretch at around 6:30 PM. It was more than 5 hours we were stuck there and with sun going down the temperatures quickly reached sub-zero levels. We decided to move towards Baralacha La top, but to our worst nightmare there was a 3-4 kilometer long jam. The bikers were already freezing in cold so we decided that we will cross the pass and will wait for Innova at the first possible shelter. Due to snow the road towards Baralacha La was so narrow that we literally drove with our left leg over the slope created by snow and right side of the handlebar touching the body of the vehicles we were crossing by. It was around 7:30 PM when we reached Baralacha La (16,040 ft), and the temperature was around -10 Degrees, we had around 10-15 ft snow on both the sides of the road. We wasted no time and quickly descended to the other side of the pass. While going downhill we crossed several water crossings and were totally drenched by the time we reached the tents at Zing Zing Bar. The problems didn’t end there as four of our friends were still struggling their way through the pass. I don’t know when I slept on the lap of Morpheous. It was only next morning I got to know that the car reached at 12:30 in the night.

Day 13: 191 KMs, Zing Zing Bar – Darcha – Keylong – Sissu – Khoksar – Gramphoo – Rohtang La – Manali
After a journey back from hell the other night, next morning we had cracking bones and aching muscles. Baralacha La already ruffled our feathers badly but there was no time to ponder as there were still lots of miles to munch. We had a slight problem in the morning, one of the Apache got a flat tyre, but thankfully there was a repair shop few kilometers down the hill so we quickly got it fixed. It was more than 10 days that we were driving around hills so every body was craving for smooth roads, especially after the bashing at Baralacha La the previous day we had our souls “Shaken not Stirred”. After lunch at Keylong and moved towards Sissu but there we wasted close to an hour as due to a fresh landslide we had to take a different route, the misery didn’t end there, just before Gramphoo one of the Apaches got another flat tyre which again cost us around 45 minutes, thankfully this time also we got a repair shop nearby. Finally we decided to do a final check up of our tyres before we hit the last mountain pass of our trip. A flat tyre on Rohtang La (13,051 ft) during dusk is suicidal. We thought we were prepared to conquer the last mountain pass easily and will reach Manali by 7-8, but weather God planned something else for us. The moment we reached the top we were engulfed in a hail storm, the small ice pieces felt like bullets, it was like somebody firing an AK-47 from a close range. Since Rohtang La is notorious for its landslides, so we decided to continue in the storm itself. Heavy lightening with thunders sounded like as if somebody dropped a nuclear bomb nearby. With rocks tumbling, heavy stream flowing across the road and lightning striking every now and then it was one of my scariest rides till date, By the time we reached Marhi the situation got better and the sky cleared up, we took a small brake after that torturous drive of around 20 kms. We reached Manali at around 9:30 PM, and searched for an accommodation (During summers it’s hard to find a good hotel in Manali than water in deserts). Everybody was happy that finally we covered all the passes successfully.

Day 14: 159 KMs, Manali – Kullu – Mandi – Sundernagar – Bilaspur
With nothing new to discover (Since it was the third straight year MOBians were visiting Manali) everybody slept till late as if there was no tomorrow. By the time we checked out from the hotel it was already time for lunch, so after having a grand lunch at a restaurant on Mall road it was time to move on. Driving along the river Beas was something I always cherished, but the traffic was pretty heavy till Kullu. Every second vehicle was a DL/HR/PB series car, with so many Surds in Manali I think Government of Punjab should declare Manali as its summer capital. Once we reach Pandoh it was time for some serious foot peg scrapping on the roads but I resisted myself this time and cruised easily. It was one of those rare occasions in the trip when even the non biking members also joined bikers to do the pillion duties. Once the “Back Bencher Boyz” regrouped on bikes after ages, everybody stretched their vocal cords and hummed the lines from their all time favorite movie “Dil Chahta Hai”. Since we started late so it was decided that we will stop somewhere near Sundernagar or Bilaspur. A day without adventure is not what MOBians look forward to, and this time it was of different sort. All hotels were occupied by students, since there was counseling for some polytechnic course in Sundernagar. We searched through some 20 odd hotels but all in vain. Finally we decided to keep on moving and look for hotels and guest houses on the highway itself. It was only when we reached the outskirts of Bilaspur, we got a decent accommodation. Since this was the last night of the trip so everybody was in a celebration mode. The chit-chat session went till wee hours and nobody had an idea that why we booked two rooms as everybody was sleeping in one room like “Gunnybags filled with potatoes in other words Aaloo Ki Bori”

Day 15: 451 KMs, Bilaspur – Swarghat – Kiratpur – Rupnagar – Ambala – Karnal – Panipat – New Delhi
Since one of the team members had some personal work so he left early in the morning, he was accompanied by one more biker. Finally the six of us got up a bit late (We had this luxury of sleeping since most of our journey for the day was through 4 lane national highways). We started around 11 AM from Bilaspur, but we forgot to take account of two things; unbearable heat in the plains and enforceable mishaps. By the time we reached Swarghat tragedy number one struck us, one of the apache which was running perfectly for last two weeks got a flat tyre. This time we had no choice but to do away with the repair duties ourselves, finally in the heat we barely managed to unbolt the rear wheel, after that we took it to a nearby shop for repair. After the turmoil we started off and did some spirited driving to complete the last stretch of hills before we hit plains. We reached Kiratpur around 3 PM and a board read “Welcome to Punjab” and we heard a fizz and I shouted “Ohh god another flat tyre”, this time again it was the Apache (Seemed like she was really annoyed with the owner and wanted to show him her resentment). Another hour was wasted there, but since we were already on NH 1 so it was time to up the ante and drive non-stop till Haveli, in Karnal. Overall Haveli is a nice weekend get away and we enjoyed the food and ambience. Around 8 PM we finally started off for our final leg of the journey. We decided to do it non-stop as everybody wanted to reach their home soon. During night with four wheelers flashing high beam straight into our eyes it was difficult for the bikers to match the pace of Innova, so we decided to move at our own speed. Probably this was the only time in the entire trip when the car was leading us. Around 12:30 AM we reached Vasundhra Enclave, Delhi, which marked an end to our journey. The team members who already reached were waiting for us. It was an emotional time for all of us as finally we completed the journey to the top of the world successfully.

It was time recall those beautiful moments; when we crossed our bikes over dividers to take a grab from the Mc Donalds at the opposite side of the road; when we had gala dinner session in the house boat at Dal lake; when four bikers straightened up one bike to 90 degrees at Zoji La top to remove water from the exhaust; when we all saw that documentary at war memorial and couldn’t control our tears; when we posed with Bofors guns at the Army camp; when we drove our bikes with our hands off handlebar near Magnetic Hill; when we first saw the blue water of Pangong Lake and were in awe; when we posed for group photograph after conquering Khardung La; when we fought for quilts at Pang; when we pushed our bikes through knee deep snow at Baralacha La. At all times there was one thing which never died down, the spirit of MOB

15 Days, 3,112 KMs, 9 Mountain Passes, 6 States, Top 3 Highest Motorable Roads in the World, Mission Accomplished!!!


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