Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram

Travel

This Architect Couple From Pune Just Cycled Their Way Through Kashmir And Their Experiences Will Make You Want To Go Too

Written By Diyali Banerjee | Mumbai | Published:

Hack:

  • An architect couple from Pune recently travelled through the Kashmir Valley on their bicycles
  • The gallivanters, who had long held Kashmir in their bucket list, took an impulsive decision to visit 'Heaven on Earth'
  • They chronicled their journey in some detail, resulting in a quite stunning travelogue

“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul,”- abiding by the very famous statement, an architect couple from Pune is setting major travel goals for the Internet. Sayali Athale and Anto Gloren, serial cyclist adventurers who have earlier toured Bhutan and mainland Europe, added perhaps the most intense feather to their caps (helmets) recently as they pedalled their way through India's north-most state!

The gallivanters, who long held Kashmir in their bucket list, took an impulsive decision to visit 'Heaven on Earth', and by all estimates, and from the eyewatering social media posts, they're clearly on to something as they had a 'stunning' experience.

In a series of Instagram posts, the couple has shared their experiences as they explored the Valley.

Here's take a look at Sayali and Anto's Kashmir travel diaries:

The Srinagar to Sonamarg Ride

In an Instagram post, Sayali describes their bicycle ride from Srinagar to Sonamarg. The couple who set out from Srinagar early in the morning expected to reach Sonamarg by 3 pm. However, the journey turned out to not exactly be smooth sailing as just 10 km before reaching their destination, the weather suddenly changed as it started raining and snowing. There was no shelter nearby as they cycled through NH1. After pushing themselves for about 5 km, they had to resort to walking their bikes because pedalling had become impossible. However, finally, they found shelter at a shack where they were served with masala chai and warmth. Although the ride left them drenched and exhausting for sure, Sayali described it as 'exhilarating' and a great ride.

Here's the post:

Sonamarg

After their exhausting exploits the previous day, they decided to stay in Sonamarg for a day and enjoyed a small trek in the snow-clad mountains. They shared a snap of the location on Instagram and the beautiful backdrop is overwhelming indeed. The post is captioned, "Considering how wet we got in the rain day before, we stayed in Sonamarg for a day to let our stuff dry. Did a small trek to reach the freshly fallen snow on the mountains, but some dark ominous clouds sent us running back down. You can see the settlement at Sonamarg in the background. It's a very small tourist village with more hotels than houses, shut during the winters because they receive upto 10 feet of snow."

Here's the post:

Zoji La Pass

The couple then cycled through the 'dreaded' Zoji La pass to reach up to Leh-Ladakh. Sharing their experience, Sayali wrote that they rode 24 km uphill over the worst road possible to ascend almost 3000 ft. In the pictures shared by her, she can be seen riding her bicycle through a starkly beautiful location. Surrounded by snow-clad peaks she is seen riding on kaccha roads with the snow-peaked mountain wall on one side and a steep slope on other -- the classic definition of a pass. However, this ride appeared to finally take its toll as Sayali wrote that she was tired by the end of the journey and seemed to be 'pretty exhausted by the terrible roads and the dust and the trucks passing by them constantly'. Also, it may not have helped that the destination was 'something of an anti-climax'. Still, there was a silver lining -- read below:

Here's the post: 

What goes up must come down, however, and as they crossed Zoji La pass, the couple described their ride downhill as 'the most magical ride ever'. With not many vehicles around they rolled down the hill happily and to add more magic to the moment, it started snowing.

Here's the post:  

Drass

After crossing Zoji La they spent the night at Drass, which is among the coldest inhabited places on Earth. They left for Kargil the next morning and most of the way was a 'complete joy ride' with great roads, and good weather.

Here's the post:

Kargil to Leh

After reaching Kargil the couple rode their way to Leh. Since cycling from Kargil to Leh would've taken them around 3 days, they decided to scale the distance in 2 days of cycling. They took a car ride up to about 25 km outside Leh and then rode up to Leh on bike. They had 'yummy Langar food' before starting off on their bicycle ride and while passing an Army camp, joined them for tea. After reaching Leh the couple enjoyed some sightseeing, including a tryst with 'cute donkeys'.

Here are the posts: 

 

Summing up their whole experience of 12 days, and also writing about the small things and people that make a journey an adventure, Sayali, in one of her final Instagram posts, wrote: 

"The last twelve days in Kashmir were something out of a dream. It's an incredible place with unbelievable beauty and genuinely warm people. We were amazed by the hospitality we received right from the time we landed. The senior airport manager who on hearing that we planned to cycle in Kashmir, decided to personally ensure that we face no troubles and checked up on us almost every day of our time there. Salman and Shabbir bhai who for no apparent reason, helped us put together our cycles first, and then dismantle and pack them. Army guys who invited us for tea when we were cold and freezing in Leh. Small kids greeting us 'happy happy' instead of hello. The truck drivers who offered us lifts when they saw us struggling on the up-slopes. All the people who invited us with a 'chai pi lijiye'. The guy who lit us a fire in the rain. One old man on the road to Kargil who told us stories about all 3 wars he's seen. Another one at a bakery who gave us free goodies, again, for no reason. Innumerable people who very easily shared their phone numbers and insisted we call them if we needed anything. I've never felt this sad about the end of a trip, but this place I'm definitely going back to. Kashmir, you have my heart."

No matter how difficult the journey is, it's always worth the effort because, as Jack Kerouac says, "In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

Here are her other posts:

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

.. Because this is what the water looked like today 😍

A post shared by Sayali Athale (@sayali.athale) on

 

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