Day 112 – 14th June, 2014 – Karu to Leh, Jammu & Kashmir (Kanyakumari to Leh Cycling)
We were quite happy as we knew Leh is just 35 kilometers from where we were staying. The sun was already up and it became very hot. We sweated while packing the tents. We had “paranthas” before leaving and filled our bottles with cold hand pump water. I really liked the taste of water there.
We left at 10:30 am from Karu. Whole route from Karu to Leh was inhabited. There were many villages which we came across. We saw Thiksey Monastery which looked like Kye Monastery near Kaza, Himachal Pradesh.
It was so hot that we had icecream many times. In between came Shey Palace as well at Shey village. This journey was not as scenic as it had been before. It was sunny, dusty and too traffic when we were about to reach Leh. Route was almost fine whole way but it was gradual up slope for last 4-5 kilometers.
There was a flyover construction going on so there were many diversions and short duration traffic jam. We reached Leh at 2 pm. I was already cycling ahead from my friends so I was the first one to reach Leh on cycle from Manali in the 2014 season. We all were really happy but calm after reaching there.
My Kanyakumari to Leh cycling expedition was over and I can say that Yes, I did every inch of India from South to North on cycle. This is where I received my mobile network and phone was working. Now we had to arrange accommodation. I got accommodation arranged for us in Army officers’ guest house through one of my uncle.
We went outside in the market next day and found it all dug up. This did not interest us much. We hired a bike and went to Khardungla, the world’s highest motorable road. The bike was in pathetic condition so we had to return it in the evening only and had to drop our plan of visiting Pangong Lake. In the night, we roamed around in the market eating street foods. Mutton is widely available here. Market looked quite good to us during night time and many foreigners from various countries were there too.
We stayed in Leh for 3 days. There was a direct bus from Leh to Srinagar and we had to take it on 16th June only as it would not be running after that because the authority told us that it would be deployed for other purposes as Dalai Lama is going to come to Leh for Kalachakra.
We put our cycles on top of bus for extra 300 rupees over and above our ticket which was already Rs. 1,058 from Leh to Srinagar. It took us almost 19 hours to reach Srinagar. We put our luggage at the tourist reception centre there and roamed around Srinagar on cycle. We also cycled around Dal Lake which is really big and went to few tourist places.
This is how my journey got over and I am back home with many valuable memories and experiences.