The Road to the Himalayas, a huge road trip from Bangalore to Leh/Ladakh and back, is about to begin. We covered 18 cities across 10 States and 2 Union Territories. On this Road Trip, we travelled 9500 kilometers over the course of 22 days.
Bangalore-based 56 people and 15 vehicles crisscrossed the nation and rumbled into the Himalayas.
We left on May 21, 2022, and we got back on June 11, 2022. We left from Bangalore and travelled to the following locations.
2. Kevadia in Gujarat
8. Nubra Valley via Khardungla
Pass (one of thee highest motorable road in the world @ 17,582 ft)
10. Pangong Tso Lake
11. Leh Via Chang La Pass, (another highest motorable road in the world @ 17,586 ft)
12. Kargil via Magnetic Hill
Flag off & Bangalore to Pune
It was a memorable trip and helped fulfilled the long-standing dream of self-driving in the Himalayas. We drove through highways, deserts, hills, mountains, dirt roads, snow, dirt roads, river crossings, sandstorms, etc. and it was a test for man and machine, as well as for physical and mental endurance. It is not for the faint of heart, but as Evazubeck says “the world belongs to the brave”.
The travelers got convinced that age is just a number. We rode almost 4,000 miles & Yes, the thought of embarking on a 9,000-mile journey across 15 states spread over 22 days is daunting, but if you’re passionate and like to navigate tough terrain and explore the world, it’s not more stressful.
It is not the absence of fear, challenge, and stress, but the overcoming of fear, challenge, and stress that makes the difference between a successful person and a less successful person.
We drove through mountains, forests, and other difficult terrains at night with almost no visibility. We have faced dust storms, hailstorms, snow, and other challenges that Mother Nature has thrown at us.
Experienced The temperature at Pangong lake was -5 (actually it felt -10 ° C due to the wind) and in 4 days we were in Amritsar with a temperature of 47 degrees. By the grace of God, we were able to overcome the ordeal.
Every day we thought we had overcome the most difficult roads and challenges only to realize that the next day would be even more difficult.
If we thought Day 1 – Bangalore to Pune 900km away was difficult, the journey to Kevadia was even harder, sailing on Navi Mumbai. The next day in Jaipur was even more difficult, the path from Manali to Sarchu was difficult with Pagal Nala, dirt roads, waterways, snowy roads, etc. but the next day from Sarchu to Leh it was even more difficult to climb the dreaded 21 rings of Gatala and pass Khardungla. When we thought we had conquered the second-highest passable road in the world, we found that the path was even tougher. We passed some of the highest passable passes Kardhungla Pass, Changla Pass, Tanglang Pass, Bara Lacha La Pass, Fotu La Pass, and Zoji La Pass, and each of them was more difficult than the previous one.
We passed several sensitive areas across the Turktuk, Siachen, Tiger Hill, Drass, Kargil, Srinagar, Pulwama, Anantnag, Udampur, and Pathankot borders, but never felt unsafe. Of course, there has been a sporadic presence of army men deployed in some of these sensitive areas.
When we thought we were done with the Himalayas with Srinagar, we went into a sharp shock. The journey from Srinagar to Amritsar was the toughest and took almost 16 hours to reach around 450km. The heavy movements of the army convoys, the narrow roads, the roads under construction, the landslides and the movement of heavy vehicles towards Jammu made us move from one bumper to the other for most of the journey. And when we thought we had climbed the highest peak and come down, another peak to climb and we had to climb a wave of mountains and winding roads before driving through a national reserve forest near Udampur in the dead of night.
Roy Cruisers’ entire team and Jaideep & Munish of Himalayan Panthers did a great job planning the itinerary and coordinated all arrangements to ensure that the large convoy and participants successfully completed the trip and returned safely. There was not a single safety incident or accident for all 15 cars and 58 participants. The accommodations were good and the security was very reassuring. Roy and the team worked tirelessly, stood up for themselves but kept their cool, and always had a smile on their face.
We have met many people, and made new friends immersed ourselves in wide cultural diversity, and will truly cherish this journey in my life and also look back with a sense of accomplishment……
There were ups and downs and through it all we felt like family. Without their support, it would not have been possible to master this arduous journey.