‘In the land of Lamas, don’t behave like a Gama,’ this interesting quote makes a common roadside warning in Leh. By frequently zooming through the cold desert we discover the ‘why’ of this age old saying. Route to Leh is a scenic delight! It offers skin piercing bitter breeze, deadly calmness and lofty mountains.
Well! Unlike many travellers who prefer taking a road we decided to flip on a car to Leh. Travelling by road helps you to get climatised to the rising altitude. But a word of caution. If you are not an expert mountain rider, don’t even try driving on this route.
Crossing five passes, enjoying the panoramic views at lakes and the spectacular panoramic view at the origin of Chenab and Satluj river, Spiti makes this journey out of the world experience. After Rohtang there is no vegetation for miles together. You need to carry lot of grub, juices and, foremost, a hot water-bottle to sustain the cold.
After Bara Lacha and Lachungla passes, the next destination would be the world’s highest pass – Tang Langa. If you make a single driving mistake here, you won’t get a second chance. One rain or landslide block the roads for days together. There are enough petrol-pumps but tyres can go flat anytime, so you ought to be ready with puncture tape or it’s better to get on tubeless ones.
Lake Chander Taal
Throughout the path you will be accompanied by rivulet and cascading waterfalls. Near Chander taal, you are sure to bang into many Europeans who come all the way to enjoy cycling. These hard souls are used to much rough weather, I guess, for them this is pleasant. They love riding to Leh where they spend months together, holidaying. Cheap accommodation, amicable habitats and hospitable guest house at the amazingly beautiful spot- what else do they need?
On hitting Leh you need a minimum three-day rest to adapt to dipping mercury that goes as far as –20 degree Celisus. Thereafter, it’s time to head towards Pangong Tso, the hollow lake. Only it’s one-third-part falls in India and the rest in China. This calm, clear and unending expanse is one of the biggest lake in Asia at an altitude of 14,200 feet.
Mapping Pangong gives a sense of achievement. Even armymen look at you respectfully when you mention Pangong. Its crystal clear water plays with sunlight to display the bands of rainbow hues.