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To Ladakh on Bike [Part 7]
by Tejas Mayure
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Like robots, we kept riding all day at a modest speed of 30 kilometers per hour, taking frequent breaks and refreshments to keep ourselves lively. We passed the gorgeous river-side village of Jispa, where we took a brief halt for tea. Soon after Jispa, we went through Darcha and then came to pass a long span with very few settlements in between. Though dusty and slippery, this entire road is a site to behold. We often felt inclined to stop and take pictures, but apart from a few instances, we overcame the urge and kept moving. It was such a right thing to do, for there were sites of unsurpassed beauty ahead and unknowingly we had been saving time to spend there.

 

We had a quiet and modest lunch at a camp-restaurant somewhere before Baralacha La at around 3 pm. It was a lonely tent in the middle of snow. Even though the food was average at best, the owner of this restaurant felt like god to us. In place of chairs he had provided mattresses and cushions to lie down. Though the chill in the atmosphere did not allow us to take off our heavy winter-wear, just to lie down and stretch for a few minutes was a pleasure we could not have dreamt of a while ago. I actually took a nap before eating the not so warm lunch. When we kicked off on our bikes again, we were refreshed.

 

Thanks to the reinforcement of strength and elevation of spirits provided by the rest and the lunch, we were not too stressed when we began the climb of Baralacha La. As I was told before, this is the snowiest region on Leh-Manali road. The views here reminded me of those movies with the scenes from Siberia. The site of the dark road passing through the starkly opposite, white snow and nothing else but the sky to provide a different color was awesome beyond words. The chill in the air was inhumanely cruel, but we were prepared to face it; our padding of protective clothes seemed to do a not so bad job.

 

The mountain way that passes through this region offers undoubtedly the best scenes on the journey. For the first time, we did not mind the biting cold and the ticking clock while we stopped every now and then to take pictures.

 

For the first time, the adventure seemed to make sense.

 


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