Monday, 16 March 2015

Leh-Ladakh : Pillion rider's chronicles - Part 2!

6 souls, a wonderland, 2626 kms and sheer willpower! – The journey made thus!

Chapter 2 : Indore-Jammu-Srinagar

1st June 2014

We left for Jammu from Indore and loaded 2 of our souls, our carriers, our BIKES…onto the train. Filled the remainder petrol in empty bottles and hid them in our hand luggage, which by the way, wasn’t much. But, we managed! On this entire journey, you will hear a lot of “But, we managed!!” The train journey was as always, fun. We laughed, danced, some people fought, everybody freshened up (it seems crazy but is one of the most important things whilst on a similar trip) and waited with impatience as the train crawled into Jammu station on the 2nd. There was a delay of 3 hours and the parcel office shut by then. The adventure had begun! Our initial calculation of reaching Udhampur the same night went for a toss. We stayed put in the Transit Camp at Jammu (these were to become our second home with the journey progressing) for the night and reached the station again at 9.30 next morning. 

3rd June 2014

SS (Sachin and Sanjay) went to offload the bikes and we finally got them at around 11 am. The Bull (Capt. Sanjay aka Capt Nitin’s bike) was missing the fuel pipe. So SS went to fix it and we finally sat on our carriers for the very first time! With no clue as to where she would take us, the unexpected turned out to be the best element on this trip! 

                                    The half loaded carrier
The ride had begun! The first few kilometers were a little scary as both the pillions were not used to bike-riding, in the real sense of the word. As I came to know later on, there was some T-shirt pulling even on the other bike! Our ways of expressing that we were a little scared sitting behind might have been different but the sentiment was mutual! :p This however lasted a few kilometers as we began trusting our riders! It was beside the point that they were our own husbands but trust suddenly gained a new and an exciting dimension! All I had to do was tell myself “He is as worried about you and the bike as his own self, if not more! So cut the paranoia!” That made me relax with each passing minute and Avenger suddenly became the best chair I had ever sat on, only much much longer!! :p :p 

We reached Udhampur and had lunch. The Avvy got a flat tire right outside a puncture shop (God was with us in this entire trip) and by the time we had it fixed, the sun was way over our heads and planning to set. We started the real ride after 4 pm (this was to prove our favourite timeslot later on) and then proceeded to cross the Pir Panjal range near Patnitop. This was our first PASSing encounter. Mud with water mixed in it, what we call “chikhal” in Marathi is lethal for a bike. So is gravel, sand, snow and the worst is melting or ted snow! This is knowledge gathered and I can proudly say - “But, we managed!!”. Having crossed the first minor pass, we decided to hit Srinagar straight and skipped Sanasar. The road was actually good by the standard that we established after the trip ended. We crossed Banihal at around 10.30 pm, met some bikers on the way who thumbs uped us! Much required as we needed some strength to make it to Srinagar. As we were told, we waited for the stretch where the ‘Punjab plains’ were to hit. They did in the last 50 or so kilometers and we could give the Bull and the Avvy a smooth raise. 


Route : Jammu - Udhampur - Batote - Bahinal - Qazigund - Anantanaag - Awantipore - Srinagar.

Distance covered : 325 kms  

Total time taken : Around 14 hours (10 hours of actual riding + meals/recoup/repair halts)


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