Ask a cyclist their favourite place to ride in India and without a doubt Ladakh would be on their list. Same were the words when we spoke to Mumbai’s cycling Queen – Hitisha Mehta. A cycling fanatic, who often breaks away from the daily grind and finds tranquillity in the mountains of Ladakh inspite of her busy schedule.
While there are many others who have already fallen in love with this magical land, here are seven reasons why Hitisha feels every cyclist should go cycling in Ladakh at least once in their lifetime.
Nestled in between the Himalayas and the Karakoram mountain ranges, Ladkah is untouched by the hustle and bustle of city life. The bright blue skies, the snow-capped mountains, green patches of land and the beautiful lakes make Ladakh simply unimaginable.
Cyclist looking to explore the beauty of Ladkah should ride the Chang La and Khardung La Pass (highest motorable pass in the world). The view will take you through snow clad mountains, desert, lush greenery and more.
If you crave nature’s beauty, Hitisha also recommends a visit to the Nubra valley, Spiti, Tsomoriri and Pangong. She says, no matter where you go, you are guaranteed to feel relaxed and refreshed while cycling in ladakh.
The Momos and Thukpas-
Now that your scenic beauty is taken care of, Ladkah also has quite a few lip-smacking dishes. When here, be sure to try the Momos, Thukpas, Sku, and the local bread (pav). It doesn’t matter where you are in Ladakh, the food here will never disappoint.
However, if Maggi is your comfort food, be rest assured to find it at most eateries around Ladakh.
Meet like-minded people-
With winters being harsh, this nomadic land is often visited by several cyclists, runners and motorbikes during the peak season (June-August). As a result, you are bound to meet like-minded people who share the same passion, cycling!
Comfortable and affordable accommodation-
Many of you might find getting to Ladakh to be a costly affair, but living here is actually not! If camping is your thing, this mountain land will definitely fit your budget. Also, the food here is not expensive. If you find a Gurudwara on your way, you can enjoy a simple meal without having to pay a penny.
Away from the daily grind-
How often do you check your mobile phone in a day? How often do you login to check for emails or scroll through Facebook? While in Ladkah, you won’t bother checking your phone. Since mobile signals are weak and the network poor, you will be lost in tranquillity (whether you like it or not!)
If you are a citizen of India, you will know the poor quality roads that we are used to riding on. But when in Ladakh, it’s a whole new story, the roads are a haven for cyclists. These pothole free roads with clean air and a scenic view at high altitudes; make riding on them a dream. Just make sure, your water bottles are full and you’re well equipped with biking essentials.
The endless climbs-
Not every cyclists is a fan of climbs, but if you love climbing and enjoy suffering, this cycling paradise is just what you might be looking for. There are four mountain passes that require you to climb every now and then. So make sure to eat and rest well before you go ahead and conquer them all.
So if you are a free bird like Hitisha, make it a point to travel to the mountains, in fact go ahead and start planning your getaway to this little piece of heaven we call Ladakh.
Edited by Tracy Alvares
Photo by Sayan Nath, google and Veera
Special thanks to Veera Manikanta,Vidya Ranga,Hema Kaverappa, Mahesh Shetty,Arun Gowda,Naveen Solanki,Mahesh Choudhary, Roopesh Tambat,Ankoor Solanki, Venketesh VC, Vijay Rangaigh