Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 52 - April 29 - Bum La & Madhuri Lake

April29 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

For some reason i hardly slept the whole night. After breakfast got boing by 6.30 am. Ask my way around to the Pass. Have taken the rain gear, tripod and a warm layer in case i need it. Weather looks clear as well and hope to catch some views atop BumLa. BumLa just some 40 kms from Tawang and the climb starts soon. Cant take many pictures around here as there is lot of army establishments. I was under the impressions that the road would be a straight one but found quite a few detours guess my way on the right one and some times asking the army folks around.

Now see snow beside the road and the mountains beside me. There was army chief along with his family in a Scorpio on the same trip as well. Reach y junction, which is a post enroute. I was stopped not just for permit entry, also a call confirmation with the brigade. Say a civilian motorcycle as come and wants to go to BumLa. He was told to let me All India rider go ahead. While making the entry asked me if my bike would climb BumLa? well i dont know but has been done on a bullet by Gourav Jani before in much tougher weather conditions. The road ahead gets tougher and i hope the panniers can take the torcher. It gets much colder and get into extra layers of clothing. Take my time at every clicking opportunity. Quite a few lakes around. As is pass the 7th Sikh regiment some 6 kms after the Y junction, i was stopped and was told that Cournal Shree kumar wanted an audience with me. Go into the fantastic office with great views. Had a conversation about my travel and relations with china, over a coffee. Came to know that there are like 106 lakes in that area big and small and that were are already over 15000 feet! He asked his people to get me a picture of them along with me bike. Thanks again. As i climb up the road over looking the regiment there is a climb down quite a bit i wondered if i have already passed the highest point in BumLa road. Then i come across the 4x4 section. I mean there was a painting on the wall to engage 4 wheel drive. yeah right. I see the scorpion which had gone ahead, come back struggling quite a bit. i wait below to wait my turn.

After the 4/4 passes i get to the starting of the steep section with nothing but 2 to 6 inches of rounded stones and also water flowing on it! This was as far into the curve above i could see. For a second i thought should i turn back, but before i thought too much on that, not willing to give up another route, i just started shouting go go go go go to myself and i listen. The wheels having quite a bumby lateral moment fighting the gravity. I really miss my rear michelins. Have to take care not to exert myself too much else i might endup with cramps and be immobilized for half hour. Cant hope to lift the bike here if it falls. Just keep saying go go go go and was getting really exhausted managing the bike on the climb. Feel pretty strained but coaxed myself saying its just a lil ahead and 'You can make it' and stuff. The last 20 feet i just gunned the throttle no matter what happens. And luckily made up the stretch with rubber side down and the stone stretch ended just beyond the curve. A normal biker with sustained effort can comfortably cross this sections. Just that i had the disadvantage of getting cramps and the bike too heavy for me. Then on things were easy and the climb also gentles up. The Views around just mind blowing as i am riding with snow on either side and all the mountains around white quoted. Pretty happy to have made the tough stretch. I see the Indo-China meeting hut. And as i near it, couple of sikh soldiers stop me and the questions flow. My bike was not allowed further. Then they take me on a tour around the place. One of the soldier took my cam and was pretty good at directing the different poses. Just stood there looking all around the place and it was like being on a different planet. Was told that we are walking like 20-30 feet in china land. The Chinese move back pretty much in winters as their the land in their side of the border is pretty inhospitable. I see no china flag at the indo-china meeting hut. was told it will be put up when the Chinese put the india flag in their land. see the couple of empty poles and a fragments of tent. Was told that it was the remains of chines tent from last season and are yet to setup their tent this season. Around September October Chinese tourists visit the place it seems.

Then i was invited into the meeting hut and was soldiers quite impressed with my travel hosted me well with water, snacks and coffee. I was even asked to sign the guest book. It was around 12 noon and could see mist build up i thought bettor to get back before the weather gets colder. Bid farewell to the punjab soldiers and rode back pretty happy with making it to the awesome place. Just when i was getting to the 4X4 stretch saw three guys walking up. They were the same people Arjun and friends who were applying their permits at Tezpur. Their 2 wheel drive sumo just refused to climb the stretch it seems so there were walking up to the pass. Take a slow ride back and reach the Y junction and was told about the Madhuri lake detour which is like 13 kms and half hour drive. Bettor condition than Bumla road. Had heard about it the previous day at the brigade also. I was really battered with the BumLa effort and was thinking whether i should put myself and my bike on that. But just took the detour and the road tough bettor but still is a bumpy ride. So many times i was thinking of turning around but curiosity got the bettor of met. The road has this lot of small stones give my bike plenty of lateral movement. I should have thought that its half hour on the 4/4s and took me like 45 mins to get to the lake. It was all downhill with quite a few bad sections from the y junction.

The lake was famous cos of part of the shooting of Koyla movie was done there. I see a cafe from the top and thought would be nice to have a lunch there. When i get to the lake it was nice with dead tree trunks stuck in the middle like in Tekkady in Kerala. The Lake was in between towering mountains. Pretty but really not worth the effort i put in and was very missable. To add to that the restaurant is closed as it was booked by a couple of army familes coming to picknik there so all the people attending to them. Man i am hungry. Make do with the chocolates i carried and as i start back i see the name of the lake as Sangster lake. Man i should have thought that the lake is known as Madhuri lake after the Movie shooting there! Ride back with more effort as its climb up now. As i get to the Y junction the soldier manning the post asked me if i had lunch. I was pretty hungry so went along with him inside his barrack made of steel. Kinda like a hanger. Welcomed by three more soldiers who were pretty happy to receive me. Gave me plate of steaming hot rise, dhaal and Sabzi. It tasted really great. They told me about their life there. They are posted there from couple of years and stay there through out the year even in winter. Some times when they wake up in the morning they have to dig their way out through the snow. One person got into conversation on fone requesting some one from below to get some hot water equipment as they had not taken bath in 20 days. Boy do these people lead tough life. Coming from different parts of the country and manning this isolated posts all through with remote hopes of getting leaves. Bid farewell to them with thanks and started towards Tawang. By now i had started breathing hard, prolly i spent quite some time above 14500 feet and exerted myself quite a bit with less food.

Get to Tawang by 5 and retired for the day with a smile in the face :)

Bike at the pseudo parking lot...


Wow if only we can ride all the way...


Bike peering at the hills...


One of the many lakes i see on the way....


Army bunkers prolly used in the war with china...


Strange Rock falls...

Now i ride along with snow...

Tricky paths...



Yeah snow baby!!


Riding near the top of snow peaks...


Now where did the road go?... had to back track and do a water crossing..




One crazy ride on the edge...




Amazing view from the 7th sikh brigade at Klemta. Took it from the base but avoiding the amry installations..


The 7th Sikh brigade soldiers honoring me with a pic.. and boy is my dressing disproportionate...


riding with the snow...


small climb down after Klemta...


So many lakes entroute...


one more lake...


Water crossing... Just waded a foot once but the gaiter saved my shoe...


Road gets narrow...


The 4X4 section...

Holy moly one tough climb ahead...


yeppie i made it and its easy after that...


frozen lakes nearing Bumla top...


some creamy roads...



Hurray there i made it to the top of Bumla.


Memorizing views around BumLa top...


Pic of the Border meeting Hut from the edge of border...




The soldiers believe the more stones people put in the pile the friend ship increases between the countries...


I support it on the rock of peace...:)


Those are the flag posts in the Chinese territory.. they are yet to setup their tent this winter... You can see the remains of their previous tent...


Thumbs up for that... but we know how difficult it is going to be to gain mutual trust...


My bike at the border meeting Hut...


Thats no Tsunami, but snow...


Altitude at BumLa, my phone says 14,645 feet where as Bumla is supposed to be 15000 +!


I am signing the latest Indo-China peace treaty!!... Nah just the guest book.. But hey i gotta sign the guest book!


The sikh regiment soldiers stationed at the Bumla top...


Got a Hero's welcome there. But these guys are the real heros..


Returning from the amazing moments...


Getting down the toughest section on the entire strech...






The two wheel drive sumo just would not climb the 4x4 section! Guys in that trekked to La top...


The memorial to the brave soldier...






Just did not want to leave the place but have to get back as the weather was deteriorating..


I hold the snow...


One more tricky section but manageable..


Road towards Madhuri Lake...


The Lake itself...


Its pretty for sure but not worth the ride...


I can only take the pic of the cafe as it was closed and boy was i hungry!!


Its Shungatser lake and i guess the name Madhuri lake came when the shooting of the Movie Koyla was done here!




The road with a layer of pebbels making my bike sway side by side...


Verticle travel from Tawang to BumLa

8 comments:

Arun said...

the snow peaks and the road through it looks tempting.
i doubt you would get better views than this in Leh circuit except for the vast plains.

Praveen said...

Yeah Arun that was great. You will be the bettor judge as you have been to Leh.

Sharath Byregowda said...

Praveen,

You are the MAN dude, what a ride what a journey, I found the link to this blog from XBHP, and have been reading each day of your journey, I have never seen India so close. Thanks man :)

I wanted to do a small south India trip on bike, but was very good to come up with some reason or the other. You have shown the way to others dude.

I stay in Bangalore, if you have time/free on your return will sure meet up.

-Sharath.B

Anonymous said...

Hi,
You have covered the trip to Bum La very well.
We live there for you guys. Do motivate more people to visit that place.
We are your Army, will be glad to help anyone.
Major X

Praveen said...

Major X: Very glad that you liked the log. Visited Bum La in best of the weathers. But the brave army personnel stationed there stay through out the year. I Salute you Army for the sacrifice, efforts and determination, so that our way of life is possible for us.

Praveen said...

Sharath: Thanks man. Sure we can meet up some time :)

kapil said...

the photo bucket is excellent. First time I saw how the army jawans must have fought in 1962in this treacherous terrain without any where withalls.Hats off to them and to you for making such an adventure in high himalayas.

pooja said...

good yaar