Jay Kannaiyan and sanDRina - Jammin thru India

Day 37 - Leh to Khardung La

Riding through Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world (or so the sign claimed), Jay descends from Ladakh


The check-point at South Pullu on the way to Khardung La up on the right.

There are many places to visit from Leh but with sanDRina's chain not looking too good, I just decided on the main attraction, Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. I set off with my traveling friends, Henry and Clara, and right out of Leh, the climb started. It's just up one huge mountain with every hair-pin bend quickly rising up our altitude. Ladakh is very dry, in general, and as the altitude increases, things become drier and colder. The road is all tarred up to the check point at South Pullu, where we had to show our Inner Line Permits before proceeding for the final haul up to the pass.
Road construction at 5,000 m (16,400 ft). Border Roads Organization doing a tough job in the Himalayas.
From there, the road got rough with bumps and mud and glacier stream crossings, known as nallahs here. Traffic was also pretty heavy as most people who visit Leh make the trip up to Khardung La. Just before the pass, the route was blocked by some ongoing road construction. The Border Roads Organization is doing a tough job by building a two-lane road over such rough terrain, but it's of national importance since this the supply route to Siachen Glacier and the army camps there.
At Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world, but the altitude was only 5,380 m (17,646 ft) according …
After a short wait, traffic was let through and wow, I was at the highest motorable pass in the world, or so the sign claimed. I'm not sure how B.R.O. gets their altitude readings but their claimed elevation of Khardung La of 5,602 m (18,375 ft) is off by quite a lot. My GPS was telling me we were at 5,380 m (17,646 ft), still the highest that I've been on this trip and nice to be here. 

Watch the video postcard from Khardung La:

Lots of prayer flags flapping in the wind and I tied my own up there, wishing for a good end to the journey.

I saw lots of prayer flags all through Ladakh and bought my own set in Leh and let it fly in the wind at Khardung La. I wished for a good end to this journey as from here on, I would be heading south to Delhi.

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The Man. The Machine. The Story

There are love stories and love stories, but none tugs more at the heart than a tale of infinite departure. In March 2010, Jay Kannaiyan and sanDRina, his beloved Suzuki DR650, left on a great journey back home to India. Jay quit his secure corporate job, sold his Chicago townhouse and every household possession, and left with sanDRina on a journey that saw them through 94,933 km, 32 countries, and 1,150 days on the road through the Global South -- from the USA through Latin America and Africa, heading towards India. At the core of this seemingly mindless pursuit was Jay’s desire to raise awareness about sustainability and a unique sentiment best described by an archaic Greek term, eudaimonia – the search for things that are true, good and beautiful. 

Homecoming isn’t complete unless you experience the country you call home in all her varied terrain and temperaments. And so Jay and sanDRina will embark on a journey of discovery through India. 

Yahoo India Travel follows Jay and sanDRina on their exhilarating discovery of India with daily updates from the road in words, pictures and video. If you have questions to ask, or words of encouragement for Jay and sanDRina, follow Jammin India on Twitter (hashtag #jamminindia). Also visit JamminGlobal.com for comprehensive accounts of his journey so far as well as snippets and trivia.