17th September 2014, Wednesday……Day (7) Leh 20 km
Got up to an amazing sunny morning at Zaltak, Guest House, Leh. I pulled the curtains of the large glass window and got awestruck with the stunning view of the city and landscape all around. The sight of trees ripe with apples and apricots in the well laid garden in the guest house also looked fabulous.
Reached here in Zaltak, GH, Leh the previous night after covering 970 kilometers from Amritsar to Leh on the 6th day of my Solo Bike Ride to Ladakh 2014 after:
1. Crossing 5 major passes, Saach Pass (14500 ft), Baralacha La (16500 ft), Nakeela (15547 ft), Lachlungla (16616), Tanglang la (17480 ft).
2. Riding along 5 major rivers Ravi, Chandra, Bhaga, Chandra Bhaga (Chenab), and Indus other than numerous water crossings, streams, waterfalls and nallahs.
3. Riding on through the mountains of many shapes, shades and colours.
4. Riding through 5 major valleys Kangra, Chamba, Pangi, Lahaul and Ladakh.
5. Meeting wonderful local people, fellow travellers, hordes of bikers and above all;
The most beautiful and adventurous road…….Paradise of Bikers!!!
The room I stayed in was amazing. Wonderful clean cozy beds, nice colorful furniture and an LCD. Amazing two side view of Leh city, a balcony with red chairs, garden full of blooming flowers and an orchard full with ripe apples and apricots, wonderful clean bathroom with running hot and cold showers. Had complete rest till 12 noon.
The previous night they served me home cooked food in my bedroom itself and tea at around 8am that morning. When I was about to leave the GH for days activities, they gave me few freshly plucked apples which lasted the entire day even after sharing with others. The place is run by a wonderful couple Angchok Zal (Husband) and Stanzin (wife)!!!
Leh city (11562 ft) situated on the banks of River Indus is the headquarter of Leh district. It is connected via NH 1D (434 km) to Srinagar and to Manali via Leh-Manali Highway (473 km). It is the second largest district in the country, after Kutch, Gujarat (in terms of area). Leh is a cold desert with long, harsh winters from October to early March, with minimum temperatures well below freezing for most of the winter. It is also connected by air all around the year.
The people of the area are hard and tough as are the rugged mountains which surround their dwellings yet very soft and plane at heart. Buddhism seems to have more influence in the area, although people of all other religions also live in harmony. Women seem to enjoy a greater freedom than other parts of the country. They not only work in the house and field, but also do business and interact freely with men other than their own relations.
After ample rest, cleaning limited clothing and dusting off everything I rode to Manali road to get the bike serviced. Luckily I found mechanics from my own area Amarjit (AMARJIT AUTOS 9906979806) and Gagandeep. After knowing about my background, they took extra care to check the bike. I got the rear tyre changed as per their advice and that was a good decision. After the service, pickup of my bike and average improved considerably.
In the evening I rode to Shanti Stupa, spent around two hours sitting and doing nothing. Gazed at the stars, sat in silence, listened to oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ, walked around the stupa and enjoyed the lights of leh town. Some souls came, walked, took round, sat down and then merged into the silence of the place. It was amazing.
The end of 7th day of Solo Bike Ride to Ladakh 2014!!!