A Dream Road Trip Of Abdul With His Friends In The Majestic Valleys Of Srinagar.
Upon hearing that someone is in the IT sector, people more than often assume the said person to be a nerd. Someone who likes to stay indoors and enjoys non adventurous activities more than anything exhilarating. But that's not true most of the time, and one such example is Abdul Salam - a coder who loves travelling and is always busy planning his next vacation. When asked for his preference on mode of travelling he always chooses road trips, because he believes them to be the perfect way to explore any region, meet locals and find the less travelled roads.
Salam has travelled a lot by road and explored many amazing destinations in this beautiful country. So when he was asked what would be his next destination, he decided to go with his friends on a Trip to Manali-Leh- Srinagar. They had been dreaming of visiting this heaven on earth for a long time, and now they had the perfect plan to make this dream come true. Soon, Abdul's excitement knew no bounds as the plan was finalised. He was travelling to the gorgeous backdrop of Kashmir and that too with his friends.
Even though Abdul loves travelling solo, he was more than excited to take on this adventure with his friends. His last successful trip was the Roopkund trek and he hoped this trip would surpass all his previous expeditions.
Lifetime Of Memories With Friends
Abdul planned this trip with 6 of his closest friends who shared the same passion and excitement for travelling. They started their journey from Kochi and met the tour group later on. Since they all shared the same interests and we're eager to explore the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, they bonded with each other quickly. This later on became one of the major reasons that Abdul and his friends enjoyed the trip so much.
When we asked Abdul to tell us about his fellow trekkers, he got nostalgic and remembered all the great moments he spent with them.
Describing the people he shared the best trip of his life with, Abdul chose to do so in single words or phrases.
According to him, Sidharth was the ‘leader’ of their group, Jeffrey the ‘childish’ one, Mike and Khushboo the ‘calm and composed’ travellers,then there were the ‘selfie guys’ Adish, Leena, Divyangana and Sushanta, Jithu was the ‘crazy’ one, Akhil the ‘speedster’, Vineeth the ‘photographer’, and the ‘backup gang’ was comprised of Subheesh, Adil, Mahesh, and Salam.
Watching Abdul talk about his friends from this trip, anyone could understand the sense of togetherness, travelling together had infused in the group.
The Road Trip Begins
Salam and his friends planned their Kashmir trip in the month of September, which was perfect as they could enjoy a cold and pleasant weather in the valleys. From Kochi the group of 7 travelled to Delhi, where they met the rest of the group for this trip. They continued the journey on a Volvo and enjoyed their overnight journey to Manali, sharing stories and feeling the excitement build up. In Abdul's memories, the trip is very clear as if it was just yesterday when he was watching the road wind in the foothills of Himalaya.
"Upon reaching Manali we were greeted by a crisp bold air and a very welcoming homestay. We enjoyed a delectable warm breakfast before meeting the group and from there we got ready to see our bikes. This was something we all were super excited about. Between us 7 people, we had 5 bikes out of which 3 were 350ccs and 2 were 500cc bikes. This was after an upgrade, which came to us as a surprise, but we loved it. That day we took our bikes for test rides in the streets of Manali and explored the locales."
The next day the group had been awake early in the morning, all excited and thrilled to start their bike trip.
The roads of the region were nestled between lush green landscapes and astonishing views. When the group crossed the Rohtang Pass they soon wished to stop for lunch. On their way they found the amazing Sher-e-Punjab Dhaba, where they enjoyed delicious food and freshened up. By the time the sun had set behind the majestic mountains, the bikers reached their destination for day 1 - a campsite on the banks of the river Jispa. Abdul and his friends relaxed at the camp as they were tired after the long ride.
The next morning the group got ready to ride to Sarchu Campsite. It took them a few hours, and by afternoon they had reached their destination. During this day, the group visited the Deepak Taal and the Suraj Taal, in addition spending some time at Baralacha La Pass. Once at the campsite, the group relaxed for a while. Some of them decided to play cricket and this was perhaps one of the first matches they were playing at such a high altitude. Others decided to spend their time enjoying the tranquillity surrounding the canyon.
The next day the group headed towards their next destination, the picturesque town of Leh. Their journey crossed through the Himachal Jammu border, the motorable pass of Tanglang La. While riding their bikes on the gorgeous trails of the Himalayas, they were surrounded by majestic mountains and lush green meadows. They covered around 250 kms before finally arriving at Leh. The group already had a hotel booked for them and they enjoyed an overnight stay.
Abdul and the group had J&K registered bikes, and with them they continued their journey onwards to the Nubra Valley. They passed through the majestic Khardung La and experienced the scenic view of the highest motorable road in the world. From Leh, the journey started getting more difficult and the group would take breaks in between to play with snow or just rest for a while. During these breaks they would sometimes run into the soldiers and they would talk to them. With pride and excitement in their hearts, Abdul and his friends finally made their way to Nubra. Upon arriving at their destination, Abdul was stunned by the change of landscape. One minute they were winding through mountainous terrain and the other they stood in the middle of a white desert with sand dunes. The group took a stop outdoors and enjoyed walking between the sand dunes. They also witnessed a lot of double humped Lamas on their way.
Leaving Nubra Valley behind, the group moved forward to the stunning landscapes of Pangong Tso. The spot got even more famous for its reference in the movie 3 Idiots. After the group arrived at Pangong Lake, they were left speechless. The pristine waters of the lake were so clear that they reflected every change in the shades of the sky. Walking along the banks of the lake the group soaked in the calming and soothing vibe. Abdul sat by the lakeside in silence, taking in every bit of the spectacular view.
During their stay at Pangong the group decided to spice it up a little at night. They all met in the kitchen tent, where they enjoyed a meal together, and sang beautiful melodies under the star studded sky.
On the way back to Leh, the bikers took off beat paths and covered rough terrain. On their way they also made a stop at the Thiksey Monastery, which was unfortunately closed for renovations. After reaching Leh late in the evening, a few bikers decided to take a stroll in the local markets and buy some souvenirs.
The group took this day as a rest day. Some of them explored the markets or just relaxed at the hotel. Others wandered in the beautiful landscape of Leh and got beautiful pictures clicked.
While returning the group took the NH1 highway and even made a stop at the Lamayuru Monastery, one of the oldest of its kind in the region. On Day 8, the group made it to their last campsite - Mulbek. However, a gloomy cloud hovered over them as they realised the trip was coming to an end.
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The bikers began their ride early in the morning on the last day of their adventurous trip. At the NH1, they made their way to the Kargil War Memorial in Dras. It is apparently the world's second coldest place and the experience that the group had while exploring the war memorial with the backdrop of this cold town, it was enchanting. While going through all the memorable items and hearing the story, everyone was filled with a sense of pride. The sacrifice these brave soldiers made is exceptionally brave. Abdul was overcome with emotion when he visited the Veerabhoomi, and stood in front of the Tiger Hall. The letters that the families wrote to the soldiers tore him up and at the same time he was saluting their courage.
A soldier narrates the tale and you are left to wonder about their selfless acts and their brave hearts. The rest of the ride was rather silent and on the way the group passed Zojila pass. The steep cliff and muddy roads of the pass tested the bikers and throughout the ride they could feel the adrenaline coursing through their body. After arriving in Kashmir, the bikers were awestruck. The beautiful landscape of Kashmir is really heaven on earth.
Taking a stop at Sonmarg the group wanted to have a meal at one of the Dhabas. There they tasted the best Mutton Biryani they ever had. The stay in Sonmarg was quite short and the bikers continued their journey towards Srinagar. At this point the roads were getting narrower and it was getting a bit more difficult to navigate with all the sheep herds and the traffic. The group made it to their hotel but none of them were happy. They were going to leave for their homes the next day, and everyone was sad about the trip coming to an end. All of them were thankful to Thrillophilia for bringing together such a wonderful experience and a beautiful trip.
Abdul's Favourite Parts Of The Trip
For Salam the entire journey was a mesmerising dream that somehow turned into reality.
"I loved everything about this trip, from the majestic mountains to the white sand dunes. Staying around the Pangong Lake was a wonderful experience that I had never dreamt of. I will miss this paradise, and wouldn't definitely want to come back."
Tips For Future Travellers
Abdul Salam left a few tips for the travellers looking to travel the same road in future.
- According to Abdul, low expectations will create a better time for the trip.
- Always keep only the necessary items and clothing with you.
- Make sure you have medicine to aid you in case of AMS.
- The weather can change at any point of the day, so be prepared for the same.
Unforgettable Moments Of The Trip
One of the embarrassing moments, Salam recalls it as something he will never forget, "While we were at the Thiksey Monastery, we entered the temple which was undergoing some renovations. We were already tired and had a heavy meal, plus with the calm surroundings we fell asleep in the temple premises. When it was time to leave, the crew members came looking for us. We laughed at it later on, but it also felt bad that people had to wait because of us."
Abdul repeatedly applauds Thrillophilia for the amazing experience and mentions that he will definitely recommend the trip to fellow travellers.
He himself cannot wait to get back to the Himalayas and enjoy the tranquillity there.
His fondest memory of the trip is sitting at the lakeside in Pangong Tso, as he was engulfed by calming silence. He enjoyed the view and the peaceful atmosphere of that place.