Kaza and beyond – A difficult road ahead !
Kaza to Kelyong is the most dreaded route of this trip. You have to cross difficult waters and rocky roads. Then 70 km ahead is Losar, which offers pretty good roads and the views all around will continue to mesmerize you. After the difficult ride, a quick break at Losar will refresh you for the ride ahead, which is a 19 km ride up hill to Kunzum La, the first mountain pass. It serves as a link between the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti. The Shigri peak in all its grandeur. Right before steeing off on Kunsum La, people offer prayers at Durga Devi temple and ask blessings for a safe journey. Also, Chandra taal, one of the highest lakes in India is also located here. A little ways off, you will find Chandra dhaba, and no power in the whole universe will stop you from having a hearty meal here. The food is delicious and cheap.
But the worst ride comes after this. When you find that the “road” you were about to take has already been occupied by the off course flowing river. Here you realize that nothing, no gumboots, no rain boots, nothing at all is waterproof and they rather miserably fail before the powerful flow of the river. Once you cross here though, the worst is over and all the comes will seem easy.
180 km from Kaza is a little village called Tandi, just 7 km before Keylong. At Tandi, is the meeting point of river Bhag, with river Chandra, which makes it the river “Chandra Bhag” or “Chenab” as we know it.
Steadily from here you reach Keylong, which is the administrative headquarter of Lahul-Spiti valley. Here you need to refuel your petrol tank because the next petrol pump is only 365 km away, that is 40 km before you reach Leh. In Keylong, you may like to halt at hotel Dekyid, which is regular of the Odyssey travelers. It is a neat and clean hotel in which one can easily feel at home.
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Early next day you would set off for Sarchu, 130 km from Keylong, short distance, but it is not such a short drive. You have to ride through world’s third highest pass the Bara-lacha La today. You will find small towns like Darcha and Jispa on the way and may need to rest at small intervals due the difficult road as well as thin air. Ahead of Darcha, you will find a place called Bharatpur, it is full of small little colourful Dhabas, that cajol and beckon you. 45 mins from bharatpur, you will reach Sarchu valley. Sarchu is also called Sir Bum Chum, it is a tent bearing camp town on the border of Himachal and Jammu & Kashmir.
You will take an overnight halt here, your first halt in tents.
The ride from Sarchu to Leh shows you different kinds of trails. Thus, it takes about 2 days due to the unpredictable weather and terrain to reach Leh. And then the final destination Ladakh is just around the metaphoric corner. But I believe this journey cannot be justified in this same chapter. It needs its own special article. So today we leave you in a cozy little tent in Sarchu, to ponder over and get excited for the last bit of our journey to Ladakh.
Sweet dreams, from Wheelstreet (a reliable and affordable bike renting portal).