THIS IS A JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME that combines breathtaking mountain scenery with exciting and challenging motor biking enriched by history of ancient cultures and time-less spiritual traditions and of-course plenty of time to relax and absorb the unique atmosphere. You will be biking over the world’s highest passes and thorough the wild and barren ‘moonscapes’ of Ladakh; the lush alpine forests of the Himachal and rushing glacial rivers, past nomadic tribes grazing their folks in the Himalayan meadows and plenty of picturesque villages.

Best time: – Mid June to Mid September

DAY 01: Arrive New Delhi
On arrival, garland welcome by our representative & transfer to hotel. Afternoon half day sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, including Red fort and Jama Masjid; and a rickshaw ride. Overnight in hotel.

DAY 02: Delhi – Chandigarh {238 km / 4-5 hrs}
After breakfast drive to Chandigarh in an air-conditioned coach. Arrive and check-in into hotel. After lunch, introduction to all crew members and a detailed briefing on the safari motorcycle – Royal Enfield – by your motorbike guide; you shall personally inspect the machine and later go for a test drive (about 10 km). Overnight in hotel.

DAY 03: Chandigarh – Shimla (first day ride) {120 km / 3 hrs}
After breakfast you start the first day’s 120 km long motor ride to Shimla: the safari begins from the plains of Punjab and soon after climbs into the foothills of the Himalayas. You conclude the day’s adventure in Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of India under the British; this scenic hill-town still retains much of its colonial charm. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 04: Shimla – Naggar (Manali) {270 km / 7 hrs}
After breakfast you start your ride for about 270 km to Naggar. The road to Naggar offers one of the best riding experiences in India: today’s ride takes you over well-surfaced roads, which twist and turn, through and across an endless chain of hills – a veritable biking paradise! Overnight in hotel.

DAY 05: Naggar – Keylong {125 km / 6 hrs}
Today you set out after an early breakfast (07.00 Hours). The first 52 km ride runs up the Kullu valley, and then climbs through the first pass on the tour – Rohtang La [3985m]. From Manali, the road takes you through the village of Palchan, before it begins a sharp climb to Kothi [2530m] set below towering cliffs. Beautiful views of hillsides and meadows specked with conifers unwind, as the road climbs to 2800 metres; gradually conifers giving way to poplars and then banks of flowers. Further, the road climbs through a series of tight hairpin bends to the Rohtang Pass, from where you get spectacular views of precipitous cliffs, deep ravines, large glaciers and moraines. From here you descend to Gramphoo and Khoksar; at the police check-post at Khoksar, it may be required to show your passport. As the road turns north approaching Tandi, the Chandra River rushes through a gorge, giving a superb view of the massively contorted, folded and faulted rocks of the Himalayas. In the late afternoon you check into a fixed camp, pitched between two valleys, offering good views. O/n Camp.

DAY 06: Keylong – Sarchu {130 km / 6 hrs}
After breakfast, at about 07.30 Hours, you start the day’s ride for Sarchu. From Keylong, the road passes through a high altitude desert with extraordinary mountain views. You take timeout for a tea break at Darcha, another check-post, where our companion – the Bhaga River – has been bridged. Further, the road climbs to Patseo, from where you can get bird’s eye-view of Darcha; a little further is Zingzingbar. The country gets wilder now: icy streams flow across the road that at times disappears into grey and red-brown scree, tumbled down from the bare mountainside to the road’s periphery. The ‘now-here-now-gone’ track goes over the Baralacha La [4880m] standing at the crossroads of Lahaul, Zanskar, Spiti and Ladakh regions, before dipping down to Sarchu. On arrival, check into alpine tents with attached toilets, and relax. O/n Tents.

DAY 07: Sarchu – Tso Kar
Have breakfast at 06:00hrs, and be ready and on the bike within an hour for a long ride this day (about 130 km); the road today runs beyond Brandy Nala, by the Tsarap River, before negotiating 22 spectacular hairpin bends to climb up to Nakli La [4950m] and Lachalung La [5065m]. You descend the meandering road, past tall earth and rock pillars to Pang – a summer settlement in a narrow valley – for lunch break. The afternoon ride will be comparatively easier, through the 30 km wide Moray plains [4400m] – a place where the nomads of Rupshu valley come with their cattle, which include yaks, Pashmina goats and sheep, for grazing. After about an hour’s ride you turn right from the main Manali-Leh highway towards Tso Kar (7 km).

Tso Kar Lake is approximately 45 km northwest of Tso Moriri Lake [4485m]. It is also called the “White Lake” because of the salt deposited around it; as there is no outlet from the lake, this makes the water brackish. The water of Tso Kar is so salty that the local nomads known as the Rupshu Chang take salt from its banks and sell it all over Ladakh and Kashmir. All the lakes are breeding grounds for a variety of birds, among them the Bar-headed Goose, the Great Crested Grebe, the Brahminy Duck and the Brown-headed Gull.

DAY 08: Tso Kar – Tso Moriri (Korzok) {105 km / 4 hrs}
The day’s ride begins after breakfast and passes through one of the most beautiful part of Rupshu valley, viewing nomad camps full of their cattle including yaks, Pashmina goat, sheep etc. An hour later, you cross a small pass with prayer flags and dozens of horns of Blue Sheep (believed to be the holiest in Buddhism). Later reach Tibetan village called Sumdo and then the salt lake. Reach Tso Moriri (Korzok Village) overnight in camp.

DAY 09: Explore Korzok & Tso Moriri Lake
Himalayan Adventure Travel,Family Adventure Travel IndiaTso (lake) Moriri is a high altitude Lake in Ladakh. Situated at a height of 4595 metres above sea level, it is the largest of the high altitude lakes situated entirely within India. The Korzok monastery which lies on the western bank of the lake is one of the oldest settlements in the world. Snow which falls in the region during the winter months melts with the coming of summer. As there is an absence of a continuous slope to properly drain the water away, it collects as large brackish water bodies that can be found in the region. The lake is unique with respect to the flora and fauna that it sustains and is a breeding ground for a number of species of birds such as Black –necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose and the Ruddy Shelduck. The wetland is situated in the middle of a cold desert, so the birds and mammals of the region frequent the lake to quench their thirst, as it is the only source of potable water for them.

DAY 10: Tso Moriri – Leh {220 km / 7 hrs}
After an early morning breakfast you will retrace your motorbike tracks till Sumdo village and in about half an hour will be in the Indus valley riding across the Mahe Bridge. From Mahe we bike on a fine tarmac road, vrooming alongside the gushing Indus River and passing a pretty village by the river. On arriving in Leh, you will check-in into a Ladakhi style hotel, for overnight stay.

DAY 11: Leh (‘rest day’ free for your personal activities)
Overnight in hotel.

DAY 12: Leh – Khardung La – Alchi {164 km / 7 hrs, up & down}
After an early breakfast set off for an exhilarating high altitude experience over the highest motorable pass in the world, travelling across the Ladakh range of the Trans Himalayan region, over the 5600m Khardung La pass. Later go back over the route to Leh; after lunch, ride to Alchi. Arrive Alchi and check-in into guesthouse. Evening free.

DAY 13: Alchi – Lamayuru – Leh {175 km / 7 hrs}
Today morning, after breakfast, visit Alchi Choskor (Religious Enclave): a great monk and translator Lotsava Rinchen Zansgpo built this 1000-year-old gompa (monastery). The gompa is famous for rare fresco paintings and Kashmiri-style wood carvings. Next, you ride to Lamayuru, the road following the fast flowing Indus River till village Khaltsi. After small break at Khaltsi you will be riding over some extremely tortuous mountain roads, passing by a quaintly beautiful lime rock formation of Ladakh called the Moon Land. Visit Lamayuru and its fascinating monastery. After lunch drive back to Leh for overnight stay.

Lamayuru Monastery: Lamayuru Monastery belongs to the Red Hat sect of Buddhism and houses approximately 150 Buddhist monks. The monastery is made up of a number of shrines and also has a very rich collection of ‘thangkas’ and magnificent wall paintings. At the outset, the Lamayuru Monastery consisted of five buildings, out of which only the central one exists today.

Every year the Lamayuru Gompa plays host to a masked dance, which takes place on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. The monks from the monasteries of nearby areas also come to take part in the celebrations. There is an interesting legend associated with the Lamayuru Gompa of Ladakh. It is said that the Lamayuru Valley used to be a clear lake at the time of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha), and ‘naags’ (holy serpents) used to reside in the lake.

Long ago, Bodhisattva Madhyantaka had once made a prediction that the lake would eventually be dried, making way for the construction of a Buddhist monastery. The legend moves further to state that Mahasiddhacharya Naropa, an 11th century Indian Buddhist scholar, sat in meditation for a number of years in one of the caves in Dukhang. He was the one who caused a crack in the hillside surrounding the lake. Through this crack, the lake started draining. When the lake dried out, the scholar found a dead lion lying inside it. On the same spot, where he found the lion, he constructed the first temple of the area, known as the Singhe Ghang (Lion Mound).

Another legend has it that the building of Lamayuru Monastery was constructed, as per the instructions of King of Ladakh, under the direction of Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator. After this, the monastery came under the administration of the Zhwa-mar-pa (Red Hats). Later, Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial offered the monastery to Chosje Danma. And this led to the observance of the rituals of the Digung Kargyud School, with the monastery being renamed as Yungdrung Tharpaling. Today, the Lamayuru Monastery is served by the successive reincarnations of Skyabsje Toldan Rinpoche.

DAY 14: Indus Valley (full day excursion) {100Km up & down}
Today we ride to see some of the largest monasteries and palaces in the Indus Valley. Overnight at hotel.

Shey Palace: The old Lhachen Palgyigon, the first king of Ladakh, built ‘Summer Palace’ for the kings of Ladakh about 550 years ago. It stands next to the remains of a larger construction on the east side of a hill, which runs southeast towards the Indus. From the palace you can see over the fertile Indus plain northeast to Thikse Gompa, and over the Indus to the Zanskar mountain range. The old Shey Palace has the largest golden Buddha statue in Ladakh in its gompa. The statue is worked out of gold and gilded copper sheets, stands 12 meters high and has blue hair. King Dalden Namgyal erected it sometimes in the middle of the 17th century. The most important moment in the construction of such a figure is when the eyes are painted in and the statue can ‘see’. No artist or monk would dare to look the Buddha in the eye, so the pupils are painted over the artist’s shoulder, with his back to the idol.

Thikse Gompa: The 500 year old Thikse monastery, perched on a hill high above the Indus, has the largest contingent of monks in Ladakh. On the right of the entrance to the main courtyard a new chapel houses an enormous 15 metre high, seated Buddha figure. About 100 yellow cap monks belong to the gompa. If you get there by 6:30 AM you can witness the daily morning prayers but there are also prayers closer to noon, preceded by long, mournful sounds from the long Tibetan horns on the roof.

Hemis Gompa: Hemis Gompa is famous far beyond the borders of Ladakh for its festival, which takes place every year with mask dances on the 9th to 11th day of the 5th Tibetan month. Hemis also has a gigantic ‘thangka’, one of the largest in the world, which is only displayed to the public every 12 years during the Hemis festival. Hemis Gompa is the largest and one of the most important in Ladakh, quite apart from its annual festival. It was founded about 350 years ago by Stagtshang Rinchen, who was invited to Ladakh by King Singe Namgyal.

DAY 15: Leh – Delhi (flight)
Early morning transfer to airport for the hour-long flight over the Himalaya; if weather is clear you will be able to see the road beaten by you on your motorcycles. Arrive Delhi and transfer to your ‘day use’ hotel till 2100hrs. Later, after dinner, assistance transfer to international airport for return flight to home country.

DAY 16: Fly back to home country