Travelling to me is a lot more than just an adventure. To meet and associate with new people around the world and exploring the diversities of culture and nature seems to be an addiction to me. Nayara always comes up with new and exciting projects and I, being the Founder of Nayara, have always been associated with young and enthusiastic minds of less than 20 years of age, who with their creative ideas and innovation motivate me to do new things.
What is Ride for youth ?
Our last very successful project ‘Gyanoday’ was a nationally recognised nonstop 25 hours and 30 minutes virtual debate competition in which we had Dr Anil Prakash Joshi Sir, founder of HESCO as our chief guest who inspired us to put in our efforts for the awareness of environment and water conservation.
World Rivers Day which falls on 26th of September was aligned with our thought of Prayan and our idea of ‘jal hai toh kal hai prakriti hai toh hum hai’ so we decided to take this idea further. As the whole world was virtually connected because of covid pandemic, we decided to create awareness among 1 lakh people of India regarding these sensible issues of water and environmental sustainability through an online webinar. The date of the event came out to be 26th September itself. Although our initiative was unique and one of its kind, still the word ‘webinar’ sounded monotonous to the public as hundreds of webinars were being conducted everyday and people were not showing their interests. We were getting disappointed as we started to work for the same. The Naujawans of Nayara are not the ones who sit back after getting unfavorable results but we are the ones with high josh and therefore, we decided to go for one to one interaction with people all over the country and that is how Ride for Youth came into action.
The biggest challenge before us was now to make our voice reach all over the country and as we believe that the future of a country lies in the hands of its youth and therefore we wanted to bring in some changes in this society with and for the youth. Eventually, this ride was named as Ride4Youth which was aimed at covering 28 states, 07 UTs and the 4 corners of the country to interact with over 1 Lakh youth and spread awareness among them.
How did we execute the plan ?
Bhilwara is the hometown of our Program Manager Mr Mukul Sharma and we went there to celebrate the festival of Rakshabandhan.
After a couple of days, the Vice President of our Tagore The Artist Wing, Mr Harshil Chauhan, based in Vadodara, Gujarat invited us there to have a meet and to our surprise we realised that one to one meetings leave a much deeper impact on people.
The seed of a new plan was sown in our minds from there and for a sound planning we headed ourselves to Bikaner where our Assistant Director Ms Sukhmani Kaur resides. We had our prior plans and budgets decided and Jaipur being the capital city of Rajasthan and the hometown of the Secretary of our Manikarnika The Women’s wing, Mrs Kirti Purohit made us go there. We had our plans made and the backend team ready.
Rider Praveen Bisht who was my inspiration behind my previous ride for revolution and Limca Book of record holder rider Ved helped us to make out the route and guide us through the journey. We had to leave a little earlier as the upcoming days were going to be tougher in Ladakh and therefore after spending a good time in Jaipur for a sound planning, we decided to officially start our journey of Ride4Youth from the northernmost corner of India, Khardung La pass which is 17,852 feet above sea level.
Our warm up ride started with much enthusiasm and support when Mr Pradeep Singh Khachariyawas, the Minister of transport and soldier welfare joined us for our flag off ceremony on 12th of September and we were enlightened to have with us The Roaring Hawks riders club to encourage us for the ride.
For a moment the ride proved to be a difficult one as we were not able to find sponsors and posed a challenge. But nevertheless, we decided to go with the plan. From jaipur, we headed towards Delhi and then covered Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil and finally they reached Leh.
The journey begins...
Our bike was lacking some prerequisites for such a long journey and at Jalandhar, Anshu Maini from The troopers riders club hosted us and made the necessary arrangements to make our bike suitable for the rocky paths of northern India and made the modifications.
We were going to do something big and to seek some positive vibes and blessings from the almighty we headed towards the Golden temple, Amritsar where we prayed for the goodwill of the project and then straight away went for Jammu. The safe zone was our hospitality partner for the day and the owner Mr Trilok Singh popularly known as jugaadi engineer made further modifications to our bike. Now our tyres were all set to resist the uneven roads and ensure a smooth ride.
We had to stay at Jalandhar for a day and from there our next stand was Patnitop and we had to hold on for a day there as well. The Green Cottage hosted us there and from here, the ride took a turn. It turned out to be more of a public campaign and we called it ‘janta janardan’. Because we were a day late due to the uncertainty, we were not able to reach our welcome hotel at that time. The Gonna Travel services became our hospitality partner in Srinagar. We rode through a Shikara in Dal Lake from where we were taken to stay in a beautiful Houseboat. Our fuel started to get sponsored and M/S Srinagar Garage sponsored us fuel and became our fuel partner for Srinagar. Our next stop was Kargil but as one says, the journey was much more beautiful than the destination; we explored the amazing glaciers and nature on our way through Zojila pass and finally reached Kargil.
Now, we started involving people and told them about our initiative. We came up with three fuel filling stations ‘Sonam angdus memorial wakha, Kargil’, ‘Khan brothers filling station, Kargil’ and ‘______________________’. We explored the Zojila pass at an altitude of 11649 ft and is the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway. Kargil, yet another place we explored proved to give us an amazing vibe of the brave martyrs. We had a chance to visit the Kargil War memorial built by the Indian army in the town of Drass, commemorating the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan. Rangyul resort provided us with excellent hospitality in Kargil. After Kargil, we had to reach Leh. It is one place in India which remains on almost every travellers’ bucket list. We were hosted by Shey Bhumi Resort and due to some health issues we had to spend another day there.
We were cautious of the anoxia conditions at such a high altitude as Khardung La which was our next stop, and so a portable Oxygen cylinder was sponsored to us by We care chemist. Mikas autos helped us with the refilling of motul oil in our bike and thanks to Zinn Printers for providing us with a beautiful banner of our project. We were now all set to head towards Khardung La. We stayed for the next day in Lamo Guest House, Leh and even explored the magnetic hills and the ATV bike ride. On this magnetic hill, stationary vehicles are attracted upwards, and due to this extraordinary phenomenon, it has been given many names like ‘Mystery Hill’ and ‘Gravity Hill’. The Rice Bowl Restaurant was our meal partner for that day. We visited Sonam Wangchuk’s Sigmol University and got to know plenty of new things and ideas. We checked out the next day for the highest motorable pass of India, the Khardung La Pass at an altitude of 17,852 ft. Alternatively known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’, Khardung La is the inspiration of motorbike, automobile, and mountain biking expeditions. It offers astonishing views of the twisting roads up the mountain and the awesome valley. We found our companions on the way; the riders from Assam and other cities and we had a great time. We had our flag off ceremony with them. That feeling of accomplishment and the vibe of that place made us forget everything, our pains and exertion. All that I can remember is our smiling faces being at the top of the world on cloud nine. Though the sign board saying ‘do not stay here for more than 20 minutes’ didn’t go unnoticed but still we had a good 1 hour and 12 minutes there fortunately without facing any health issues. So finally, the ride got started officially and this is how the end of the warm up ride was marked.
From there, we went to Nubra valley and explored the sand desert. Geygyal B2 guest house sponsored our stay. We headed towards Turtuk which we had heard of being very beautiful but were a bit disappointed and felt it was not worth a visit. The sand seemed to be snow which came out to be an adventure for riding, otherwise turtuk had a general waterfall and an old museum. In the name of India Pakistan Border we were handed with binoculars to have a look of it from a distance. I felt that Turtuk is not worth visiting until and unless there is no snowfall there. That day was a very strange as well as a fearful one, because there was this festival named turtuk festival due to which we were not able to get any place to stay at night. We tried so hard but failed to even find a single hotel vacant. Then we finally found a dormitory. This was the one and only time that we stayed in a dormitory. We were so much exhausted that we didn’t even bother to take our luggage off the bike. All we prayed was just a place where we could spend a night after so much of exertion.
The next morning we left for the Pangong Lake. Tmore Kangsar was our meal partner there and Nubra Valley Filling station sponsored us the fuel for the further journey. The so called roads which were not roads but mere rocky paths posed s big challenge again. To ride duo with this much of luggage is a difficult task. We have Avenger bike which has 220cc engine; smaller than other riding bikes, and moreover we were a duo who were on this journey with these kind of roads for the very first time. The path had river crossings, blind curves and what not and we were completely exhausted when we reached the destination. Another challenge that we felt in Pangong was its extremely cold weather and low temperature. We were already afraid because of an interaction we had with a rider group in Shey bhumi resort who told us about one of their mates’ deteriorating health in that place.
But fortunately, we didn’t come across any such problem as we were continuously adapting ourselves to fluctuating weather conditions due to the ride. As a result we didn’t face any serious issues in pangong, nor in Khardung La except for the extreme exertion. Himalayan wooden cottage was our hospitality partner. We encountered snowfall in the evening as a result of which it became slightly difficult for us to return due to the snowy paths. We also explored the 3 idiots shooting point at Pangong and the very beautiful Pangong lake which is popular for its changing colour ability. Its colour changes from shades of blue to green to red. It is one of the highest altitude lakes in the world that is filled with saline water. This was a very amazing and memorable experience for us. Pangong, an attractive place for the whole leh ladakh journey, gave us such a nice experience.
From Pangong, we left for Leh and from here our project was initiated with a whole new energy. This time, in Leh, we were hosted by Hotel Samaya. It was a wonderful and lively experience with this hotel. The managing team, the staff, the aura of the place, the service, everything was so relaxing and perfect that rather than staying for one night, we chose to stay here for two nights.
The places we explored:
Free Flying Eagle Neetu Chopra