48: The mountains were omnipresent and omnipotent. Fabulous views.
49: The highest point on the Srinagar- Leh Highway. Fatu – la top. At this altitude, the wind blew and blew without respite. The last few kilometers to the top was a struggle due to the cold air, reduced oxygen, and unpaved roads. More fun than most, eh?
50: Prayer flags are found in many places through Ladakh. Fluttering in the wind – sometimes waving gently, sometimes raging. A dance of shadow and light.
51: The view from Fatu – La top was mesmerizing. The weather tended to stay gloomy for most of the morning.
52: Descending down from Fatu – La towards the town of Lamayuru. The famous Lamayuru monastery can be seen in the background.
53: The longest, most beautiful road that I have ever seen. Living life a quarter mile at a time.
54: Like an emerald in the rocks…
55: The monk who rode his FZ..
56: The river Indus, the lifeline of the Ladakh region...
57: The road to Khardungla, mistaken to be the highest motorable road in the world.
58: At 5,359m, (17,582 ft), the views were breathtaking…
59: The board incorrectly mentions the altitude incorrectly. Yours truly feeling very proud, and stupid later.
60: To the soldiers who endure the greatest hardships…
61: K-Top, as it is popularly known. Player flags flutter endlessly here…
62: Time to venture beyond the well trodden places… The mountain pass leads into Nubra Valley…
63: At Northern Pullu checkpost where I stopped to fix a flat rear wheel. These soldiers didn’t let me do the work. They insisted on doing it themselves.
64: Empty roads and curves. The perfect combination for man and bike.
65: The Shyok river is the lifeline of the Nubra Valley. The village of Khardung can be seen at the foot of the mountains.
66: The deserts of Hundur. The road leads towards the village of Diskit.
67: Diskit Monastery. Most monasteries in the Ladakh region are found delicately perched on the narrow cliffs. I wonder why.
68: The Maitreya Buddha at Diskit looks west, over the Shyok river towards Pakistan.
69: Glacial water. Despite the altitude and the heat, the water was cold. Numb toes made for a good experience.
70: Solitude was ever present.
71: The village of Thoise. The evening sun cast a serene haze over the place.
72: The shadows were getting longer. After handing my inner line permit at the checkpost near Thoise, I was off towards the village of Turtuk
73: The mighty Shyok kept me company all the way.
74: I stayed with a local Balti family. Nice, warm and humble people. Their knowledge of Turtuk’s history is a treat to listen to.
75: Little Nasser Hussain and his brother helped to get my saddlebags to the house.
76: This baby was the darling of the family
77: She’s as smart as she is beautiful. She opened up on her dreams, and I couldn’t help, but listen in admiration.
At Turtuk, I stayed at Rangyoul guest house, run by Hussain Beig and his family. You can contact them via phone on this number: +91(0)9419510776, +91(0)9469181654 or on +91(0)1980-248206. Traditional Balti food, nice people and an informative and knowledgable Hussain Beig make this home stay a very charming and attractive option to stay at Turtuk.