Kushagra has always loved traveling and bike ride. As a kid, he used to travel almost 60 km daily to his school. As a matter of fact, his free times revolved around cycle rides and travels. Obviously, Bike Ride and Travel was in his blood, and that became his bucket list, naturally!
Last May, as Kushagra was thinking of the short span of time allotted for every human being, he decided to start his bike ride before it is high time. Thus, on July 15th, he started an undefined bike ride on his bullet.
It started from Gurgaon. He hit Shimla the first day and then continued straight to Spiti.
On the way, he met some amazing people. A couple from Israel and a group of guys from Gujrat who were visiting the Himalayas. They spends some time in Kalpa. He also met a hitch hiker, Vivek, who was covering complete Spiti by walk.
He then moved ahead to his next destination and reached Sagnam village, after 4 days. It was a dream location. Big green grassland with a river aside and the mountains all around. He camped there for 3 days, admiring the beauty of the place.
From Sagnam, he moved to Kaza, which is the head quarter of Spiti. On the way to Kaza, he decided to stay in Key Monestry. There he got a chance to meet different people and explored Buddhist culture. He met an Italian friend, and they traveled to Khibber, Komic, Langza, and Chiccham together, sharing their stories.
Next morning, Kushagra and the Italian friend departed to their own destinations. Kushagra reached Kaza pretty early and was planning to go to Chandratal after refueling and taking cash from ATM. But he got trapped there because of the unavailability of petrol and cash.
He had only one option, which was to go back to Tabo to get cash and get the fuel. But he didn’t have that much fuel to go to Tabo and come back.
As he was standing there worried, he heard someone calling his name. He turned back to see Vivek, the hitch hiker whom he met in Kalpa. After hearing the whole story, Vivek asked Kushagra to join him.
Thus, Kushagra postponed his plan of Chandratal and they camped in Komik, the highest village of Asia. They spent the night making food and dealing with the foxes near the camp.
Next day, Vivek gave some cash to Kushagra, and both went to their respective destinations. Kushagra headed towards Chandratal that day and reached a bit late. He pitched his camp and spent the night with Maggi, coffee, and outdoor photography.
While roaming around Chandratal the next day, he met some people – Rakesh, Gayatri, Myron, Rupesh, Afifa – and roamed around with them. They were a group of friends traveling to Manali.
Next morning, they went to Bathal and then to Gramphu. The stretch was full of water flows and loose rocks. From Gramphu, Rakesh and team went to Manali and Kushagra to Keylong. From Keylong, he reached his ultimate destination – Ladakh – via Sarchu, Pang, Moore plains Debring and Tanglangla.
Kushagra got the permit to ride international border areas like Loma, Hanle, Man, Merak Tsagala, and Chushul from Ladakh. He started the ride next day and reached Tso Moriri. He stayed there for two days and then continued the journey.
After Iloma, he had to travel through a no-mans-land where he had to deal with the river bed and loneliness. He was literally talking to himself till he reached Hanle, the biggest astronomical observatory in Asia. On seeing the condition of Kushagra, one of the staff, Mr. Ksand gave him dal rice to eat.
After watching the beautiful views from Hanle, Ksand took Kushagra to his house where he was staying with his wife and son. Kushagra stayed there for four days.
From Hanle, he reached Merak via Chushul, after losing the track many times. At Merak, he made some Israeli friends and stayed with them in a guest house for two days. Finally, he reached Leh from Merak.
From Leh, he left to Turtuk, the most northern point of India via Khardungla. On the way, he met with two landslides, and the second one slightly injured his leg. Anyway, he continued his bike ride, and en route he met some Indian soldiers. On hearing his story, they gave him first aid, and a captain gave him his coat and cap.
With that amazing experience, Kushagra continued the journey and reached Turtuk by night. Next morning, as he explored the village, he came to know that the primary school didn’t have any teacher. He took permission from some local people and started teaching the kids. He taught them almost every subject for the following days. The villagers were calling him ‘sir’, and offered their houses to stay.
But as a traveler, he had to leave. He said ‘goodbye’ to his students and the villagers after some days.
On the way back, he decided to climb Mount Stok Kangri (6152 m) and got the permission from IMF. He started his journey on 15th August, reaching Mankorma and then to Stok base camp.
Kushagra started his final summit push after midnight. After one hour, snowfall started. Since the situation was becoming worse, he came back to the base camp.
Early morning after breakfast, he climbed another top, Gulab Kangri right in front of base camp. He went back to the tent and prepared for the final summit push once again.
Kushagra started his push at 9 pm. By the time he reached the glacier, his shoe was broken, and the torch-light was gone. But he was determined to reach the top this time.
There was one more expedition group coming, and Kushagra waited to join them. Thus, he started climbing up with the group. As they climbed another small glacier, heavy snowfall started, again. It was scary, and 20 out of 30 people descended.
Four among the remaining also descended on reaching another shoulder. The remaining 6, including Kushagra, continued the climb. Soon, the climate became peaceful, and they continued the push. After almost three hours, they made it to the top.
“Life is so different at that altitude. Mount K2 and Karakoram ranges were clearly visible from that location. Those moments are speechless, and can only be felt.”
He reached the base camp by the evening. He had a good meal and a sound sleep. Next morning, he started for Stok village and reached by the evening. Thus he completed one of his bucket list, a ride for more than 2 months.
“Let your Faith be bigger than your fear, and the world will come to your feet. Have confidence in yourself. if you have confidence you can do anything.”
His other bucket list is a ride through the craziest road from Manali to Kishtwar via Killar.
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