Starting Their Journey From Kashmir to Leh
Embarking on a breathtaking journey that defied conventions, father and son duo Hussaini and Rizwan Moiwala from Udaipur, set out on an epic bike trip to Leh Ladakh. The seed of this extraordinary journey was sown in the heart of Rizwan (Son), who had a passion to travel these roads. Initially, Hussaini (father) was not ready for this trip due to his work responsibilities and other commitments, but persistence from Rizwan and his love for travel finally made him give in to this extraordinary adventure.
Realizing that this journey could not only fulfill his own dreams but also deepen the bond with his son, Hussaini Moiwala agreed for this trip. Here’s the entire journey of them speaking about the world’s highest motorable road experience which they will cherish forever.
The bike trip strating from Srinagar to Leh via Sonmarg and Zojila Pass was the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime for the two. The journey took them through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Himalayas and offered a glimpse into the life of the brave soldiers stationed in Kargil. Their adventure began in Srinagar, where they rented sturdy motorcycles and geared up for the challenging journey ahead. As they left the bustling city behind, the serene beauty of Kashmir Valley enveloped them. The lush green meadows, crystal-clear streams, and the iconic Dal Lake provided a picturesque start to their trip.
Leaving Srinagar, they headed towards Sonmarg, which translates to 'Meadow of Gold'. The road meandered alongside the Sindh River, and they were surrounded by towering mountains. The sight of the sun-kissed meadows with colorful wildflowers was nothing short of magical, says Rizwan.
“We couldn't resist stopping for photos and taking in the pristine beauty of the area.” - Rizwan Moiwala
Continuing their journey, they faced their first major challenge, the Zojila Pass. This high mountain pass, at an altitude of over 11,649 feet, is notorious for its treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather. As they ascended, the landscape transformed into a barren, rocky wilderness. The narrow, winding road curving into the mountainside tested their riding skills and nerves.
“The weather gods smiled upon us that day, and we managed to cross Zojila Pass with clear skies and awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped peaks.” - Rizwan Moiwala
Descending from Zojila, they entered the district of Kargil, a place that has been etched in history due to the Kargil War. The sight of uniformed soldiers, their camps, and the memorials to those who sacrificed their lives for our nation served as a stark reminder of the challenges they face in these rugged terrains. They decided to pay a visit to the Kargil War Memorial to pay their respects to the brave soldiers who defended our borders. The memorial, nestled amidst majestic hills, was a poignant and emotional experience for them.
“The stories of heroism and sacrifice depicted through photographs and artifacts left a lasting impression on us. We also had the privilege of interacting with some of the soldiers stationed there, and their unwavering dedication to their duty in such harsh conditions was truly inspiring.” - Hussaini Moiwala
One of the most prominent rivers in Ladakh is the Indus River, also known as the Sindhu River. The Indus River flows through the region and is a major water source for the people of Ladakh. There is also a place called "Sangam" in Ladakh, which is a popular tourist attraction. The Sangam is the confluence of two rivers, the Indus and the Zanskar River. The merging of these two rivers creates a picturesque landscape and is a point of interest for travelers visiting the region. The Zanskar River itself is famous for its remote and challenging trekking routes, and it eventually joins the Indus.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is a Sikh shrine located in the Ladakh region of India. It is situated approximately 25 kilometers from Leh, and is a prominent religious and cultural site in the region which they visited.
Journey Towards Leh
They shared that the landscapes changed once again, with barren mountains and deep gorges surrounding them. The challenges of riding at high altitudes and the thinning air were palpable, but the sense of adventure and the allure of Leh kept them going. While driving they reached Photu La Pass which is situated at an elevation of approximately 5,360 meters (17,590 feet) above sea level. It is located in the eastern part of Ladakh, in the Leh district.
"The air becomes crisp and thin, reminding me that I am in the realm of the mighty Himalayas. Photu La Pass is like a mentor, teaching me to appreciate the simple beauty of nature and the importance of taking things slow in a fast-paced world." - Rizwan
Finally, after days of riding through some of the most incredible terrain, they reached Leh.
Journey From Leh to Manali
Continuing their epic bike journey from Leh to Manali was an adventure filled with stunning landscapes, challenging high-altitude passes, encounters with local communities.
“Leaving Leh behind, we first explored the Tibetan forts associated with the Dalai Lama. These ancient monasteries were perched on rocky cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The sense of peace and spirituality in these places was palpable, and it was a privilege to learn about the rich cultural heritage of the region.” - Hussaini Moiwala
Their next challenge was the legendary Khardung La Pass, one of the highest motorable passes in the world. Riding through this harsh, snow-covered terrain was an extreme test of their biking abilities. The air was thin, and the weather was unpredictable, but the thrill of conquering this high mountain pass was immeasurable.
Descending from Khardung La, they entered the mesmerizing Nubra Valley. Its jaw-dropping beauty, with lush green oases nestled between towering sand dunes, was a stark contrast to the rugged terrain they had just crossed previously. The camel rides in Hunder village, the serene monasteries, and the warm hospitality of the locals left an indelible mark on their heart.
Discovering Small Village Turtuk
Continuing their journey, they ventured further north to the small village of Turtuk, near the Line of Control.
"We experienced the life of villagers who live in this remote region, cut off from the outside world for much of the year. Their resilience, simplicity, and warmth were truly humbling.": Rizwan
Next on their route was the world-famous Pangong Lake, where the movie "3 Idiots" was filmed. The azure waters surrounded by snow-capped peaks were a sight to behold. However, the days were colder, and the nights were even harsher at this high-altitude lake. Camping by the lake under a sky filled with stars was a surreal experience.
As they continued our journey, they encountered the challenging Chang La Pass and Taglang La Pass. These high mountain passes offered breathtaking vistas and the unexpected sight of deer in the snow-covered landscapes added to the sense of wonder. Their route then took them through the vast expanse of the Moore Plains, where the starkness of the landscape was awe-inspiring. Riding through the desolate terrain, they felt a profound connection with nature's raw beauty.
Tackling the treacherous Gata Loops with its spiraling roads, an adrenaline-pumping experience that led them into Himachal Pradesh. Sarchu, with its harsh conditions and extreme weather, was also a life challenging experience for them.
Crossing the Baralacha Pass with its extreme snow conditions was a challenge they met with cautious determination. The clear weather allowed them to admire the pristine beauty of the surroundings.
“Entering Jispa, we were welcomed by the warmth of Himachal hospitality, a stark contrast to the harsh conditions we had encountered.” - Rizwan Moiwala
Finally, it was the time to face Rohtang La Pass, but unexpectedly the route was only allowed for the Transport trucks and they weren’t able to experience riding on Rohtang La Pass, but crossed a long and straight Atal tunnel of 10 kms, under the Rohtang Pass. The anticipation of reaching Manali and completing their incredible journey filled them with a sense of achievement.