The “Roads To Himalayas” start from Bengaluru By Rajesh Roy & Rohit Kumar (Roy Cruisers)

The title says it all! All roads lead to the Himalayas! But the road from Bangalore to Ladakh is the one less taken. But this time it was! on a Roy Cruiser organised Road Trip. Officially, one of the biggest road trip expeditions that has ever taken place in the country!  Max Participants, Max Distance!

The whole expedition was ideated, and organized by Roy Cruiser, an organisation headquartered in Bangalore, India. Roy Cruiser brought this concept of Self-drive Road trip expeditions to India and is providing these services since the last two years to Indian travel enthusiasts. 

This year in May-June 2022 Roy Cruiser successfully executed another road trip expedition to Ladakh: the land of high passes, that you should never pass by! It started out from Bengaluru, Karnataka on 21st May 2022 and it was called “Roads to Himalayas” Season 03 (Bengaluru to Ladakh). The fifty-eight participants covered around Eight thousand five hundred kilometres across 12 states and 2 Union Territories in 22 days!

Nothing easy about it!

It was not an ordinary comfortable road trip. Its challenging for the vehicles and their drivers, its tiring for everyone involved, and yet it’s a great adventure for the participants. That is why it falls into the category of Expeditions! “From the comforts of a city road to the demands of a national Highway and to roads that seem to go into nowhere. We saw it all on the trip!”, said Ramesh Ranjan, one of the participants!

It was challenging for the participants as well as for cars to sustain with minimal oxygen at higher altitudes. This expedition required a resilient mind-set and physique!  Emotionally too, it was draining, but the participants pepped each other up, when spirits were down because of exhaustion. The rests in between driving spells were a welcome boon, and sight-seeing was what revived moods! The History and Wonders of India were in full display. An education by itself!

But yes, Roy Cruiser made it possible with proper planning of the entire itinerary and the cooperation, nay collaboration, of individual Participants. This was a journey of 22 days with a big family of travelers from different professional backgrounds and of different age groups (4-70 years) and yet the camaraderie should have been seen to be believed.

The beginning and the end in the words of one of the participants!

Day 1: On the very first day we drove to Pune, Maharastra from Bengaluru and then journeyed on to Kewadia, Gujarat

Day 2: On Day 2, we explored the Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the World. 

Day 3:  Day 3 started with a drive from Gujarat to Rajasthan and after exploring Udaipur, we moved on to Jaipur, The Pink City. 

Day 4: Day 4 was reserved for exploration. We visited the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur and started our journey to the next destination which was Chandigarh. 

Day 5: Next morning on Day five we started our journey from Chandigarh towards the Himalayas and in next few hours we were into the foothills of Himalayas entering Himachal Pradesh. The view was mesmerising. Our convoy moved slowly towards Manali as per the SOP for driving on Himalayan terrain.  We reached Manali after sunset, but the drive was memorable! 

Day 6: Day 6 was a day reserved to explore the beauty of Manali and for adventure activities like Paragliding, Rafting and other snow-based activities. In the evening we were entertained by a special Himachali cultural program organised by our travel partner Himalayan Panthers from Shimla.

Day 7: Well, Day 7 was reserved for the final leg of our onward journey to Leh, Ladakh and its majestic beauty! The oxygen thinned out and the temperatures dropped and our resilience and that of our vehicles was put to the sternest test of our journey!

There is light at the end of a10000 ft tunnel, the longest tunnel in the world, one we had to cross to find it and some amazing landscape. Our camera lenses went into over-drive! Engrossed, we woke up to reality when we reached Pagal Nala, which is the first dangerous and challenging water crossing on the Manali- Leh highway. As is our wont, We helped each other cross our first huddle successfully.

The oxygen level had dropped, and we were not able to walk outside comfortably, while the vehicles started facing major power losses. But we persevered and reached our next challenging water crossing at the Baralacha La pass. Collaboration saw us through, and we reached Sarchu which is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

Sarchu is a test for all those who wish to see the beauty of Leh! Its desert terrain, very low oxygen level and sub-zero temperatures combine to put anyone into reverse gear. But we stayed a night got acclimatised and then moved on – a testimony to our determination to see it through!

Day 8: The next day, a new day! A beautiful sunrise shining on the valley, and we got a move on after some vehicles sputtered to a start because of the cold!  Day 8 saw us drive through some challenging terrain like Gata Loops, Whiskey Bridge, Pang, Tanglang la pass etc. and then at last a good flat highway into the Himalayas called More Plains.  We were in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, the northern tip of India, before dark. Had to be!  Leh is only place in Ladakh where you find good hotels, restaurants, Airport, and other facilities. 

Day 9: In Leh next day the team explored the Shey Palace, Santi Stupa, Hall of Fame, lMall Road and other local markets. It was a day of rest, relaxation and acclimatization

Day 10: The next day, Day 10 we moved on to Turtuk, the last village of India, via Khardunga La, the highest motorable pass in the world at an altitude of about 18000 Ft. We entered the Nubra valley and visited The Diskit Monastery situated in Hunder and halted there.

Day 11: On Day 11, of our expedition, we visited Turtuk via Shyok War Memorial which comes under Siachen Range. 

Day 12: The next morning after breakfast we headed towards Pangong TSO, and the convoy reached Pangong lake at around 4 PM.  The beauty was incomparable to whatever we had seen so far! Memories and photographs are what we will cherish! We camped out at Pangong in extremely cold and windy weather.  An adventurous experience to say the least! The next day we were all set to head back towards Leh which was to be our last night halt in Ladakh. 

Day 13: Pangong to Leh; the journey was very challenging journey which required us to do a lot of off-road driving, go through high passes and low oxygen levels. Despite the challenges we all reached Leh on time without any issues. 

Day 14: Still in J&K on Day 14, we started moving towards Kargil. We reached Kargil by evening via the Fatula Pass and the convoy went to The Dras War Memorial which is also known as the Kargil war Memorial.  We thought Ladakh was beautiful; we were wrong! Kashmir was more so!

Day 15: We journeyed through Sonamarg and through nature full of greenery, pure water rivers, mountain peaks and snow. The Kashmir valley is indeed as pretty as is shown in pictures and movies! We reached the famous and beautiful Dal Lake before sunset! We stayed in a Boat House, and went on a Shikara ride into the Dal Lake, and visited the floating Meena Bazar. 

Day 16: The expedition was not yet over. But it was time to journey back to Bengaluru! From Srinagar we reversed direction to reach Amritsar, Punjab. We got stuck in huge traffic jam on the way and could reach our destination only very late night. The highway from Jammu was good though.

Day 17: In Amritsar on Day 17, we visited the Atari-Wagah (India- Pakistan) border to be the part of evening retreat parade of the Indian BSF and Pakistani Rangers. The whole environment was patriotic that evening!  And so felt we! After watching the retreat we visited the most spiritual and beautiful place of Punjab, The Golden Temple, Amritsar and halted at Amritsar.

Day 18: The next morning we started our journey towards Agrar, Uttar Pradesh to inhale the beauty of the seventh wonder in the world, the Taj Mahal.

Day 19: And then on Day 19, we drove to Gwalior where we saw Scindia Fort, Gwalior. A magnificent tribute to the valour of Indian Kings! 

Day 20: The next morning, Day 20, we left Gwalior after eating that famous breakfast at SS Kachori Wala and reached Nagpur by evening, where we rushed towards the Haldiram restaurant, one of the most famous food outlets in Nagpur. Oh! did we enjoy it!

Day 21: After breakfast on Day 21, we drove down to Hyderabad and visited Sevagram which was a little out of the way, but a must see! There we explored the Bapu Kuti and other ancient legacies of Mahatma Gandhi created during his long stay there before Indian Independence.

Day 22: The final day of our Expedition! From Hyderabad to Bengaluru! We all reached Bangalore safe and sound on 11th June with lovely memories and more than few good friends made during the trip!  

“It was a once in a lifetime experience for all of us and we all learnt lots of new things which will certainly add value to our life”, said a participant!

The end of one expedition is the beginning of another one for Roy Cruiser! For them it’s a never-ending journey, high passes and low valleys notwithstanding!  If you want to get on board, Call, or mail 

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