Sunday, 19 May 2013

Day - 5 (Lachen - Gurudongmar - Lachen)

It needs to be mentioned that my target was not to reach Gurudongmar only rather go ahead further and reach Donkiala Pass at 18400 ft. to take a view of Tibet Plateau and Tso Lhamo Lake, origin of river Teesta. This zone is fully restricted and no one gets permission to reach this zone. However, I managed to get it done J. Now everything depends on weather.

As per plan we woke up at 3 am and served with hot tea by the owner as they were more curious than us J. Having tea, we found it was raining profusely outside. The 4 wheeler’s are even not starting. Shiladitya told once that he think we will not be able to make it. But I was determined to ride as much as my buddy can and conveyed the same to him. Around 5:10 am finally it started drizzling and we immediately left for our destination at 5:20 am. Driving through the wet road was an enthralling experience and almost everywhere we were skidding. After driving a while finally rain stopped but still weather was very bad.

We took a break to take some snaps …

By that time we got best wishes from some of the tourists for making the trip a success J. Soon we wrapped up and headed towards destination. I have visited the same place 2 months back and could remember a place called Thangu where we could have maggie as our breakfast. I also could remember the big wild dogs, basically hybrid of wolf and dog and my photo session with them. So, we drove well and soon reached the same place. But alas !!! due to bad weather could not found any of them. We went to a shop to have some hot food like Maggie – Egg – Tea etc. During the break I also dried up my gloves as it was totally wet due to rain. After approximately 30 mins. we started once again for our destination. This time there will be no halt before the final check post. We drove well and reached the check post around 9:15 am.

We provided our documents and shown them the copy of our special permission. But we came to know that due to some … reason they can not allow us to reach Donkiala Pass, at Tibet border as it was a fully restricted zone and took the original copy of our permission. They also warned us not to get into the road to the pass and come back before 12 pm as there can be storm at any time due to bad weather.

It’s a very sad moment for me L as I can not think about visiting Gurudongmar only and decided that I will take a try with the copy of the permission I have. We immediately left for final destination. Now the point that’s needs to be taken care of is that there will be nothing within the next 30 kms. So, we have to complete the round trip of 60 kms. approx.  ASAP and return to this check post no matter in what condition we would be.

We started for our journey and it was terrific. We are not equipped with too much powerful machine, only 150 cc motorcycle. But what we have is the ultimate passion of reaching the destination with our favorite buddy’s. Without stopping at anywhere we reached near the destination.

Now it is only 4.5 kms and the road is going to be inclined from 20 degree to 80 degree. This is the distance where most vehicles fails to go up due to very tough inclined angle & lack of oxygen at 17000 ft. including big machines sometimes like SUV’s and we were really underpowered compared to them.

We gathered all our courage and went ahead for the final 4.5 kms. After crossing 2 kms. approx. suddenly the weather became very rough. There were blustery air waves pushing us from left to right on the dusty way to reach Gurdongmar. But I am not someone to quit. We both tried hard and climbed almost to the lake.

We were now at a distance from where we could see the “Sarv Dharm Sthal” (cohesion of all religion) just in front of the lake probably 50 ft. from the temple. But due to the turbulent wave at that high altitude along with very low level of O2, our buddy’s were not performing up to their mark. We were trying our best but rpm of our machine are coming down from 8.5 to 1 in 1st lever within fraction of second after releasing the clutch. It was 11:15 am and I could understand that it will be very very tough to reach to that place. On the other hand we could see the huge dark cloud behind us along with the turbulent waves.

I thought I should at least try to push Shiladitya’s buddy so that he could at least reach. I did the same and managed to push Shiladitya & his buddy for next 20 ft. Now no more I could push due to oxygen deficiency neither the buddy could make it. I just took a look behind and decided to go back with too much sadness inside. I managed to hold my vehicle somehow and took some snaps.


Before starting the trip I promised to my buddy to be till that place up to which my buddy will be able to reach. So, I decided not to walk for 5 minutes and take any snaps of the lake as buddy could not reach there. Shiladitya also accompanied me on the same decision.

We then headed towards the pass but keeping in mind about the consequences we might face, not from Army as we have the permission but we do not want to play with nature. So, we took a halt to take snaps of the bunker’s at Tibet Border.

Soon we were done and headed back towards the check post we left 2 hrs. back.

Now it was horrible to drive against the blustery wave. We were trying to be on the left side of the so called road, full of small stones along with dust, but the stormy wave was trying to throw us off the road. In addition my rear tyre got punctured somehow while coming from Mangan, because the air pressure was 10 ps instead of 32 ps. But as it was raining and we were too late due to the permit procedure, I didn’t told the mechanic to open the tire and check, neither he has informed us. I could realize that my buddy is giving too much pressure to pull itself. It was one of my loves who never behave rudely or betrayed me in last 5.5 yrs in any trip. I have faith on my buddy and know that he could manage to overcome any situation.

We both drove our best through dusty twits and turns and came back to that check post around 12:20 pm. We found the Army personnel’s came to greet us. They took us to their shelter and served with hot water, tea & biscuits. One of them came and asked us if there is anyone behind us. We told we have not seen anyone and he immediately pointed us the black cloud we left behind. They informed us that if you were there right now you would have not survived. We both understood that we could have been in big trouble if took a try for Donkiala Pass and Tso-Lhamo Lake, Origin of River Teesta.

We took rest for 30 mins. and started for Lachen around 1 pm bidding all our well wisher’s. We took break for couple of minutes while returning to take some snaps.

It took time to reach Lachen and we were in at 5:15 pm after 12 hrs. of rigorous riding.

Initially my plan was to drive till Lachung and complete the Zero Point. But weather was so worst that, while returning in many places especially in turns and sharp downfalls, buddy’s brakes were not working and we were skidding as there were only wet stones in front of the front wheel. So, I told my partner to stay back in Lachen and left for Gangtok next morning. After listening he also understood and agrees to me.

We conveyed the same to the owner and now a friend to me. We took our lunch and went to sleep as feeling fatigued. It was very nice sleep until I wake up to Atreyi’s call at 11:30 pm. She requested us to have our dinner. Now I could remember that someone was knocking our door sometimes back probably calling us to have the dinner. But now it was too late. I know that our food is still there for us but may be icy. So, we decide to have some biscuits and continue with our sleep J.

Please click on Day – 6 Travelogue to know our next day’s journey …

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