Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 12, 1 July, Leh Sightseeing

Today, our first priority was to get the inner line permit for restricted areas. However, we found that the rear tyre of the bike was punctured again. So, we had to search for a puncture repairing shop. We came to know that there was no such shop close to main bazaar. So, we walked around in search of the shop.
Meantime, I asked Suraj to bring the bike while I waited for him. But, he took other road and went in other direction. Fortunately, one military person from Maharashtra saw the number plate and helped him to fill air in the tyre. After waiting for a long time, I returned back to the room.

Between, Suraj came back. He was exhausted after walking down with the bike. Then, I took the bike to get it repaired. It was almost afternoon till all things were settled.

Later, in the evening, we went to Shanti Stupa. It is one of the best places in Leh. It is located on a hill and offeres panaromic view of Leh city. Also, the stupa has magnificent structure of the white dome.
One of the important part of our plan was to do white water river rafting. So, we went to Splash Adventures located in the main bazaar. Also, I asked them to arrange the inner line permit.
I did not want to waste our time anymore. The agent charged 1200 Rs per head for river rafting and 100 Rs for inner line permit other than the wild life entry charges and red cross fund charges. We chose the Zanskar river stretch from Chilling to Nimoo.

Rest of the time, we spent in wandering around and exploring Leh city. The city was full of foreign tourists and we had a feeling that we were not in India. In the middle of city, one can easily spot the ancient structure of Leh palace although we could not visit it. But, it was truly beautiful.

Our time in Leh was full of relaxation and we enjoyed our stay there although we did nothing much other than eating delicious food and rest :).. That's the life, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 11, 30 June, On the way to Leh

On that day, we had plenty of time as Leh was no so far. So, we planned to do Alchi and Likir leisurely.
Except first a few Kms, road was in pretty good shape. Therefore, our progress was nice and smooth. We reached Alchi around 8.30 am. One has to take a right turn after Saspol while going from Kargil to Leh.

Alchi Gonpa dates back to the year 1000 AD and was built by the Translator, Rinchen Zangpo.
After spending some peaceful time inside the Gonpa, we had some breakfast and headed towards Leh route. Next destination was Likir Gonpa. Likir is also one of the best gonpas in Ladakh.
Likir also offers some of the best scenic views similar to most of the gonpas.

We left Likir around 11 am. Except the small stops at Indus valley and Magnetic Hill, we reached Leh at 1 pm. To talk about Magnetic hill, here one can experience magnetic field sitting inside a car. If we turn off the car engine and stand still, the car starts moving slowly. We could not experience it as we were on bike.

Soon we were in Leh, first thing was to find a good and economic accommodation. I found a local boy who helped us to find an accommodation near main bazaar at Ashoka guesthouse.
Rent was 300 Rs per night. Next, we had to arrange inner line permit for the other regions, we had planned to travel. So, after taking a quick lunch, we headed to D.C. office located near polo ground in Leh.

It was 3.30 pm and we were unfortunate as they accept the application till 12. So, they asked us to come the next day. We had plenty of time in hand so we headed for Shey Gonpa.
Shey Gonpa is located 15 Kms away from Leh. The main image inside the Shey Monastery
is that of Buddha Shalyamuni. It is a huge image of the seated Buddha.
It is also famous for the Shey palace, the ancient monument.
Later, we decided to move back to Leh instead of going to Thiksey Gonpa which was just 2-3 Kms away from there. Actually, we were already exhausted by the journey and needed some rest. We arrived at the room around 6.30 pm.

Later, we had our dinner in a restaurant near main bazaar and had a small walk around.
This was our first day when we were quite relaxed after a long time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 10, 29 June, Kargil - Leh

Today, our first objective was to get the bike puncture repaired. So, I went to the repair shop at 9 am.
He started the repairing work after some time. He found and repaired one puncture at the sane place which was already patched. I asked him to recheck the tube to ensure the tube is in good condition and my doubt turned out to be correct. There was another puncture in the tube. By the time, all the repairing was done, it was 10.30 am.
I went to the Hotel and asked the owner for some hot water. Unnecessarily, we waited for it as it took long time and by the time we started it was 12 pm :(..
Now, we were on the way to Leh. Road conditions were better than Kargil-Zanskar route but not so good to drive fast at 40 Km/h :). Our earlier plan was to visit Lamayuru, Alchi gonpa and try for Likir gonpa if we had started early in the morning. Now, we had to restrict our plan to Lamayuru visit only before reaching Leh.

Again, we underestimated the road conditions. Till Mulbek, road was really good. We covered this 40 odd kms in one hour and 15 minutes. Here, we visited the famous Buddha statue of Maitreya. It is believed that the 9 meter high statue carved out of solid rock was built in 7th or 8th century. After taking lime ginger honey tea which tastes really nice, we started our journey towards Leh.
We thought, we would do it without much trouble. But, the best lesson there is, always expect the unexpected :)
Road conditions started deterioting as the road widening work was going on everywhere. Although, the scenic beauty of the mountain was truly amazing. It is said to be like moonscape land.
Meanwhile, we reached Lamayuru at around 5 pm. Here, we visited the famous Lamayuru gonpa. As it is located at good height, it offers some of the breathtaking views. Then, we left Lamayuru around 5.30 pm. We were thinking of finding some accomodation at Alchi which is 50-60 Kms from there.

Around 6.30 pm, we arrived in Khaltse village. Khaltse is a very small village located along the Indus river.
We were not sure of the road conditions till Alchi. Hence, we decided to find some accomodation there only although we had 1.30 hour in our hand.
We could find a good guest house for night halt. There was only one guest house left as the other was closed due to repairing work ;). It was pretty cheap only 150 Rs for a night.

We went to sleep very early to start early the next day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 9, 28 June, Back to Kargil

As we had planned, we departed pretty early at 5.30 am. First objective was to cross the stream Abran as early as possible to avoid any problem.
Now, we were quite used to the roads so the speed was pretty fine. We reached at Abran around 8 am and we crossed the stream easily.
After some time, we stopped at the Darung Drung glacier for some photo clicks. We could feel the freeze in the atmosphere.
It was around 10 am till we arrived at Rangdum gonpa. Gonpa is located at some height from the road. I climbed up to the gonpa while Suraj waited for me at the middle of the way as he was not feeling good to climb up.
Gonpa was pretty beautiful. Also, being on some good height, it offers some of the best views of landscape.
There is a military camp at the base of the gonpa hill. One of them was from Maharashtra, so he asked us for a cup of tea. There were around 5-6 of them. We had small chat about our journey and some other stuffs.
After experiencing nice hospitality from the army people, we headed to Rangdum village where we had to have some food before continuing to Kargil. Within some half an hour, we reached at Rangdum.
We ordered the food which contained some rice, Dal and Gobi. The food was not that good so we did not finish all. Anyways, we had some good talk with the people living there about their lifestyle, wildlife in the area etc. They told us how much difficult life is in winter about water and other things. Also, one of them told that he spotted the famous snow leopard (cheetah in his words) on the outskirts of village. That was really amazing to listen as it inspired me visit the place again :)
Later, we continued our journey to Kargil. We had sufficient time in hand so we were not that much worried. Only thing was that the water passages which creates problems as the day passes by.
With some small halts, we passed Panikhar and reached Sankoo at around 4 pm. Probably, we took wrong route as it was not looking familiar. Also, the distance we covered was more than actual distance. At Sankoo, we had some tea with snacks at the same restaurant. Again, we were ready to move ahead.
Around 6.30 pm, we were close to Kargil and unfortunately, the rear tyre of bike got punctured.
First thing was to search for a puncture repair shop. I asked Suraj to wait with the luggage and I went with the bike to find any shop around. However, there was no such shop around. They were at Kargil town which was around 3-4 Kms far. I walked down in search but unfortunately, they all were closed as it was Sunday and there was no way to get it repaired until the next
day :( .
So, I left my bike in one shop and returned back where Suraj was standing with the luggage.
One local person told us that we can go by a bus in the market and he will help us finding a hotel.
Then, we reached at the market and stopped at the hotel for a rent of 350 Rs.
The next day, we had to depart for Leh and the major issue was repairing of the puncture which was not possible before 10-11 am.
So, our plan was to try to leave Kargil as early as possible.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 8, 27 June, Zanskar Valley

The day started quite early. We had to try to get our bike across. In between, we were searching for the keys of the bike. Last day's incident had lead to big confusion and I had forgotten the keys at the bike.
Certainly, we were worried about the bike's security. It was about 4-5 Kms of distance from the village. We started moving towards the bike and within 1 hr, we reached at the stream. It was a big sigh of relief to find bike along with the key :)
Water level of the stream was decreased significantly so we could get the bike across it.
Here, we met 2 guys from New Zealand. They were riding a truck from Panikhar. But, they had to spent the previous night there itself as another truck was stuck in the stream.
Then, we came back to the home where we had spent the night. The owner offered us some tea along with bread.
There were 3 children in the family. The youngest was about 2-3 years old and he was really cute.
Before leaving the home, I gave them 300 Rs. Although, all the things they had done for us, were invaluable. With a humbled mind, we left for Padum.
Meanwhile, the bike carrier was broken at two places and the bad roads made it difficult to keep the luggage tight on the carrier.
On the way, we decided to visit Karsha monastery, the biggest monastery in the Zanskar region.
We reached there around 10 am. The monastery is located up on the mountain. Climbing up to the monastery was quite a bit tough task. Low oxygen level at that height made it really difficult. Our condition can be imagined easily as we had to take break after climbing up just 2 or 3 steps.
Finally, we reached on the top. The panorama one can see from here is amazing.
You can see Padum village on the other side of Zanskar river. After spending some 30-40 min, we climbed down and headed towards Padum. Roads from Karsha to Padum was really good, a well laid tarmac one.
It was really easy to find tourist bungalow as the village is not too big. After having lunch, we decided to take some rest instead of continuing to Zangla. Also, we had to get the carrier repaired. Between, the brake lever got twisted as our bike skidded on a rock.
We spent rest of our day doing other important things and took some much needed rest.
Next day, we had to start pretty early so as to reach Kargil on the same day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 7, 26 June, Kargil - Zanskar (Padum)

Today, our plan was to reach to Zanskar valley i.e Padum town. We started at 6 am. First important thing was to get the fuel tank full. As Padum does not have any petrol pump, we carried an extra petrol can of 5 lit.
By the time, it was around 6.30 am when our actual journey started and we marched towards Zanskar.
Our first planned halt was at Sankoo village which is just 42 Kms from Kargil. However, other than first a few kilometers, roads were in bad conditions. So, it took us around 2 hrs as we reached there at around 8.30 am. We had some breakfast at a small restaurant. The restaurant was run by 3-4 young boys. They were pretty nice to us. After spending around half an hour, we departed for our next journey through Suru valley. The valley has it's own beauty and the colors of the surrounding keep on changing every few Kms.

On the way to Panikhar which was the next village after we left Sankoo, we stopped on the road side along the Suru river to enjoy the wildness of river. There, we met some army personnel. They asked us to come for some tea and rest. As we were in hurry, we avoided the halt.
Within next one hour, we were in Panikhar. Here, one local villager brought to our notice that the petrol can had a leak.
So, we had to search for a shop to get a new can. It would have been a worse matter if we would not have found the shop.
By the time we replaced the petrol can, it was around 11.30 am. The distance covered till was just 68 Kms. Still, we were around 170 Kms away from our destination.

As I said, roads in Zanskar are rough roads with stones and gravel along with water passages. So, we were moving very slow. But considering the situation and time left, we decided to move fast as much as possible.

Between, we were taking regular halts for snaps. Around 2.30 pm, we reached to Rangdum.
Rangdum is a village with 10 odd houses and 2-3 restaurants and guest houses. Here, we had a quick lunch break. Before departing, we asked the local people about accommodation facility before Padum to avoid any problem if we get late. As per our information, Rangdum was the last place with accommodation facility before Padum. The guest house owner told us that Abran village does have such facility which is around 80 Kms from Rangdum.

Earlier, we had planned to visit Rangdum gonpa which is 3-4 kms further from village. But, we had to cancel the plan. So, we proceeded towards Padum around 3 pm hoping that we would make it.

After we left Rangdum, we were at Penzi La which was pretty difficult to drive with a pillion and luggage behind. To make matters worse, there were 2 army trucks ahead of us forming clouds of dust in front of us and blocking our view at such a difficult route.
That's the way things work in such a desolate part and brings joy in our experience. It was like we were getting used to such dirt tracks :)
Within one hour or so, we were on the top of Penzi La. We could get glimpses of glaciers and snow topped mountains. Also, the wind was getting pretty cold. The descent of the pass was also pretty tough to drive down.

Then, we entered Zanskar valley. The scenic beauty was changing as we were moving ahead.
On the way, we spotted many mermots on side of the road. It was wonderful to watch them sitting on rocks taking sun rays.

Meanwhile, it was getting very late. So, we were thinking of taking halt at Abran village.
Then came the biggest trouble of our expedition. Just before 4-5 Kms from Abran, there was one nallah which was overflowing with snow melted water. As the day passes by, the snow melts fast and by the time of evening, the water level rises high. Here, conditions were quite bad for us. We were trying to judge if we could cross the water passage. However, the stream flow was pretty fast and it had created deep passage.
We were afraid of crossing by foot as well ;).. Eventually, we decided to leave our bike there and go to Abran to spend the night. Fortunately, two local women helped us to get our luggage across the nallah.
Meanwhile, the two army trucks behind us joined us. First truck was stuck for some time. Somehow they managed to take it out. Second truck tried to take other way. It managed to get pass the big passage but it got stuck in another passage. It took them long time to get the truck out.
Finally, they were across the nallah. The truck drivers asked us whether to get the bike crossed over the stream.
First, I agreed but then I realized if the water level did not come down the next day, we would not be able to cross it again.
So, I just asked him to drop us in Abran which was still far and to carry 15 Kgs of luggage that far was a pretty difficult task. We continued till Abran in the trucks hoping to find some accommodation.
The truck in which Suraj had sit, reached first in the village. We had one more surprise left. I guess, it would not have been an adventure without this incident.
The village had no accommodation facility :D.. Between, the army trucks left for their further journey.
I was really baffled to know that we were left with no options. I decided to confirm with another villager if there was any facility nearby. He said there is no such facility.
I asked him if he could allow us to spend a night at their home. Prior to this, I told him about our situation. This was the true example why the Ladakhi people are known for their generosity and kindness. He asked us to wait outside and went inside to clean up a room for us.
We thanked god and the person for helping us out of such the situation. We were just unable to imagine what had just happened with us. We were thinking what we would have done if he had said no to us.

Then, we went into the room with our luggage. Again, their hospitality was so good. They offered us some normal tea, salted tea and provided us warm bedding. Also, they cooked some extra food for us. After taking the meal, we went to sleep with the worries about our bike we had left 5 Kms behind.
At night, we decided to wake up early and walk down to get the bike and check if we can cross it or turn back to Kargil from there itself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 6, 25 June, On the way to Leh, Srinagar - Kargil

On day 6, we started to move towards our actual destination, Leh.
To reach Leh from Srinagar, one has to take a halt at Kargil. Kargil is around 205 Kms from Srinagar.

We departed at around 7.30 am. First well known place on the way is Sonamarg around 80 Kms from Srinagar.
Road conditions till Sonamarg were quite good. However, the traffic due to Amarnath Shrine yatra was quite heavy. There was constant flow of buses and cars towards Baltal, the base camp for Amarnath yatra.

The scenic beauty of the route was pretty amazing. The valleys are full of dense forests and as you reach towards Sonamarg, you will find the golden meadows flourished on the mountains.
Before reaching to Sonamarg, we took a small halt for breakfast and some rest. Here, we met a group of people from Nagar, Maharashra. They were very much wondered to know about our planned journey on bike till Leh .

Next halt was at Sonamarg. Initially, I had thought, it would be a small village but it was just a small army camp with some small restaurants. We clicked some snaps and wandered around the valley and then, continued our journey towards Kargil.

As we crossed Sonamarg, we were at Baltal and then started the first real challenging task, Zoji La (11,640 ft).
The road (there was no road as such) conditions deteriorated drastically. It was full of stones and gravel. Moreover, the turns were so much difficult and steep that driving bike itself was challenging.
By the way, while riding towards the top, one can get the grand view of Amarnath base camp at Baltal.

After some time, we were at "Capton Mode". A small monument has been built there in the memory of the capton who died in an accident while construction of the road. We had to stop aside as a small army caravan was on the way in our opposite direction. As the roads were very narrow, it was not possible drive at the same time, not for bikers as well.

Next a few minutes and we were on the top of Zoji La. Then, we continued our journey to next stop at Drass.
Famous after the 1999 Kargil War. It is second coldest inhabited place. The temperature in winter comes down up to -50 C.
Journey towards Drass was pretty fine compared to Zoji La. Although, there were some water passages in the way.
One important change was, the scenic beauty had changed drastically from the dense forests to almost barren mountains.
Finally, we reached Drass around 2 pm and had the much needed lunch. Although, there were not many choices in the meal. Right after lunch, we moved towards Kargil.

On the way, we visited Drass War Memorial. It makes us really proud to read about the real heroes who conquered the different mountains in adverse conditions when enemy had major geographical advantage.

After these humble moments, we continued till Kargil without any major stop. One of them was at the confluence of Drass river and Shingo river.
Around 6 pm, we reached Kargil. We managed to find a budget hotel for 200 Rs as others were pretty expensive for us. Major issue was with restaurants. It wass pretty difficult to find good veg restaurants.

Between, we took a small walk around Kargil. First, we went to Poyen village and walked around Kargil along the Suru river.
Our next destination was Zanskar valley for the next day.

Day 5, 24 June, Sightseeing at Srinagar

On day 5, the plan was to visit some of the famous places around Dal Lake.
We started around 10 am. Starting point was Dal gate which was around 5 minutes distance from our houseboat.
First place on the way was Chashme Shahi, the name comes from a spring "Chashme Sahibi".
It is also surrounded by a beautiful garden.
2.5 Kms up in the mountains is Pari Mahal. It's an old monument once a Buddhist monastery. The view of Dal Lake one can see from here, is amazing. As it is located a bit high, it offers some of the beautiful views of Dal.

Our next halt was at Nishat Garden. Like other Mughal gardens in Srinagar, it offers eye catching beauty of greenery along with the fountains.

Next comes Shalimar Garden, the famous name associated with Srinagar. Similar to Nishat, it has lot of greenery, flowers and fountains.
It has the longest fountain among all the gardens in Srinagar. One thing can be noticed that all these fountains make use of kinetic energy of the water created by the downward flow.

After taking a small halt for lunch, we were on the way to Hajarat Bal mosque. It is based in old city.
Like all old cities, it is also a very crowded place. Hajarat Bal is the holiest shrine of Kashmir situated on the left bank of Dal Lake.
After spending some time in tranquility of the mosque, we went to the Shikara ghat for a ride.
One of the Shikara owner offered us a ride of one hour in 300 Rs. It was one of the most amazing ride through this picturesque scenery of Dal Lake. He showed us the fishery farms and lotus farming done along the Dal shore.
Between, we also tried our hands on paddling the shikara with a small paddle :)

Then, it was the time for bike maintenance. After that, we returned back to the houseboat. At night, we had our dinner at a vaishno dhaba close to Dal gate.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 4, 23 June, On the way to Srinagar

As we had decided last night, we could not manage to start it that early. We started the journey from Kud around 7 am.
The clutch problem was still persisting. So, the progress was pretty slow.
Around 9 am, we were in Ramban where we took some breakfast, the famous Rajama-Chaval.
The quantity of the food was so much that I felt this would suffice for lunch as well :)

Then, we continued towards Srinagar. Between, we took some small breaks for photos as well as rest.

Jammu-Srinagar highway goes through some of the most beautiful scenic vistas. We enjoyed it as we were heading to the destination. The valleys, river and dense forests of pine were all around us for our company.

Around afternoon, we crossed the Nehru tunnel which is ~3 Kms long. After crossing the tunnel, it was a small halt to take first glimpse of Kashmir valley.

At 3 pm, we entered Srinagar city. First aim was to search for an accommodation. There were 2 alternatives. One was stay in a normal hotel or in a houseboat.
We chose the second one and went to a houseboat on Jhelum river. The deal was finalized on 500 Rs per day.

Till evening, we took the much needed rest. Then, we went for dinner near Dal gate.
But, the traffic in that area was so heavy that it was really difficult to drive a two wheeler as well.
Somehow, we managed to find a good place to park our bike and had some good meal after 3 days.
Although we were lagging behind by one day, we decided to spend the next day in Sringar and explore some famous places around Dal Lake.
Also, the most important thing was to get the bike repaired before proceeding towards Leh.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 3, 22 June 09, Journey on the bike begins..

After 2 days of travel, we reached Jammu 3 hours late than the expected arrival time. It took us 1 hour to unload the bike.
Meantime, we had a quick meal at the Jammu-Tawi station and then started our journey around 1.30 pm.
Temperature was quite high in the Jammu, should have been around 45. So, it was quite tough to ride on the bike because high temperature was causing dehydration. We had to take frequent halts for water. As per our actual plan, we were supposed to reach Srinagar same night.
After so much of delay in schedule, we decided to make it a 2 day journey and take a halt somewhere on the way to Srinagar.
First suggestion was to stop at Ramban which is around 160 Kms from Jammu.
Then came the trouble, the bike had some problems with clutch :).. So, it was not accelerating good enough. It was really impossible to overtake slow moving trucks as well.
To make the matters worse, we lost our track before Udampur. We took Jammu-Katra-Udhampur route and traveled some 50+ Kms extra through some of the bad roads.
Actually, Jammu- Srinagar road is much better. Anyways, this was our first lesson.

On the way, we asked one guy about staying options in Udampur. He told us about his friend's Hotel in Batote which was 2-3 hrs of distance. Also, he added that it would be a better alternative being colder than Udampur. Then, we continued further. Around 6 pm, we were in Kud and Batote was still quite far. So, we decided to halt there itself and continue the next day.
Our total journey on that day was around 170 Kms but actual distance covered was 120 Kms :D.
We went to sleep after a good dinner hoping to start early the next day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

D day.... Journey kicks off

The train to Jammu was scheduled at 5.20 pm on 20 June 2009. However, I had to reach the station 2 hours before to load the bike in the train.
So, I left my home with Papa around 2 pm. As we reached camp area, it started pouring. First heavy rain of the monsoon, right on the time of my departure :).
I decided to continue till station by auto rickshaw to save myself and the luggage from getting drenched. Also, I asked Papa to ride with the bike till station. So far so good. I reached station area and still it was pouring and before I reached under some good shelter I was little bit drenched in rain :)
At the same time, Papa was heavily drenched while driving down here :(.
Then, started the process to get the bike on the train. This was our first time to do such thing.
The luggage dept officer charged around 1700 Rs. Then, the bike packing person charged 300 Rs. and in addition, we paid 200+ Rs for loading the bike on train.
As, we were novice to all this stuff and did not want to take any risk at the start of journey, we paid all those extra charges. Otherwise I think, the packing and loading can be done in 300 Rs only.

Around 4.45 pm, my brother, Suraj joined us at the station as he had to attend exams.
Finally, we boarded on the train and after all the byes and caring words from parents, our journey kicked off.

Finalizing the plan

After doing a lot of ground work about Ladakh, I decided to make it in 3 weeks. Excluding the 4 days of travel by train, we had 18 odd days in hand. So, we had to plan my journey accordingly.
Our rough plan was to visit Srinagar for one day and spend rest of the time in Ladakh exploration.

As far as Ladakh was concerned, we decided to cover major parts like Zanskar valley, Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, Leh surroundings and Tso Moriri.

Also, initial plan was to do white water rafting and visit Hemis wildlife sanctuary.

Next important thing was to prepare the bike to carry luggage of 2 persons. So, I got one carrier fabricated from a local enterprise cum garage.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beginning of the plan

The plan to visit the mighty Himalayas was lingering on my mind since long time.
However, I had not really decided a particular place to visit. It's all started when one of friend, Sujal visited Ladakh last year and suddenly the trip plan came on my priorities.
At that moment, Ladakh expedition started taking shape in my mind. Still, I was checking out all alternatives through different organizations.
Somehow, I was not really comfortable with the money they were charging. Again, it came to Sujal who introduced me to www.indiamike.com where one can form a group to visit any particular place. Moreover, you get almost all kind of information, needed to plan the journey. While surfing through these sites, I came across the amazing beauty of Ladakh and I confirmed what would be my dream destination.

Then, it was time to collect as much as information I needed to do this journey. For almost 6 months starting from January till June, I did a lot of study about the different places to visit in Ladakh.
First thing was to form a group. Till then, it was not clear if the trip would be on motorbikes or a rented car.
Although, I had done quite a few journeys on bike covering around 200-300 Kms in a day, Ladakh is a completely different region to ride with a bike. One more issue was to convince my parents. Somehow, I managed them to convince and not to worry much when I was even skeptical about the consequences :)

Again as I said, I was in the process of forming a group with some good number of bikers. One guy from Kolhapur, Avinash Zalake along with his relative, was ready to do this journey together. He had plans to do it completely on bike, right from Kolhapur to Leh and back to Kolhapur again.
In the initial stage, I was also thinking on the same ways but after discussing with some of the other members on the forum, I came to know that I could get my bike transferred till Jammu and back to Pune with the train.
Certainly, this was going to save some significant time which I could have spent in exploring Ladakh.
Eventually, things were more or less clear on the front of travel means. So, I booked the tickets from Pune to Jammu and Kalka to Mumbai for to and fro journey.

In the mean time, I was collecting as much as information about the region like which all places I can/should visit and what would be the tentative itinerary.