Motorcycling in Ladakh – Relish the Challenge
There is a Ladakhi saying that “The Land is so barren and passes are so high that only our worst enemies or best friends would want to visit us”.
Ladakh had always been on my mind ever since I heard stories and saw pictures from this Himalayan region which has some of the world’s most breathtaking & awe-inspiring landscapes with vicious roads to navigate through some of the highest motorable passes in the world. Plainly speaking, it is one of the most relishing challenges for a biker to ever come across.
I had always dreamed of biking at such high altitudes, rough terrains, and chilly conditions but then this wasn’t an easy task and certainly a challenge for someone like me who isn’t accustomed to the region, altitudes or biking in these terrains. At the same time, I have always relished challenges and I believe I excel when there is one ahead of me.
It was late October of 2011 when I made it up to Ladakh, just when the peak season was coming to an end, the Himalayan kingdom was bracing itself to the harsh winters which would come knocking and there was a sign of change in the winds. Leh was a lot quieter than normal with fewer tourists, and most hotels and tourist facilities shut down.
A good friend of mine from the region had arranged a couple of Royal Enfields, these machines were rugged and mean, tailor-made for terrains such as Ladakh. After briefly acclimatizing ourselves for a couple of days, we were well set and ready to thump these engines, what followed in the course of next few days was a dream come true for me, I had the time of my life motorcycling across some of the toughest and highest mountain terrains in the world under extreme conditions with bone-chilling winds, fatigue, and altitude sickness. At times, It was physically exhausting and mentally draining, it felt long and painful, yet it was challenging and fun throughout.
At the end of our 6-day ride in the region, we had successfully completed our motorcycle journey safe and sound. We were Alive and Awesome.
The sight, the smell, and the feel throughout the ride had left a deep impression upon us. It was mission accomplished!