2 Wheels & 5 Passes – The road from Manali to Leh-Ladakh spans 500 kms. These paths can be covered by car or bike but this is a journey of the soul above all else. And the bare, free soul rides on two wheels. The most recommended bikes are tourers with big engines that will have no problem conquering the changing terrains and carry you with ease. The Royal Enfield Himalayan, Royal Enfield Classic and Bajaj Avenger are the standard bikes available for rent but your own wheels are always the best. As for the time of the year, any time between June to mid-October will have forgiving roads and thriving greenery after which the snow makes the journey precarious. So, in this new month of July, the legendary trails are awoken that have been deepened by wheels trading over them for decades.
The journey will begin by tracing the Beas river through the narrow, scenic and breathtaking Rohtang Pass. There is little to no allowance for any mistakes because the road really is narrow. While two vehicles can pass through simultaneously, there isn’t much room to meander or swerve, and the harsh, muddy paths won’t have any of it. The elevation of 3980 meters, however, is enough for the mind to wander endlessly. The world drops off into nothing and panoramic scenes unfold on the path to Suraj
Tal, the highest lake in India. You and your bike can get ready for the photoshoot of a lifetime set against a lake so blue it puts the sky to shame. By now, your warmest jackets and innerwear have been worn and you’re covered from head to toe with your bike’s angry engine as a respite from the cold.
The next landmark will be the Gata Loops. The Gata Loops are filled with exhilarating bends and quick braking zones that will elevate you over 400 meters in 7 kilometers. They are a taxing portion of the journey but also one of the most memorable and of course, are surrounded by myth and mystery. More breathlessness, elevation and terrains filled with imposing trees or lifeless rock will greet the rider. Grit and a need to see the beautiful valleys of Ladakh will take you halfway; the right gear and protection will give you the confidence to make it across!