Manali To Khardung La : A Cycling Expedition by Assam Teen

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To pedal on the one of the India’s most dangerous highway, all it took was determination for a teenager. Raktutpal Saikia, a student of Class XII-cum- amateur cyclist from Guwahati started his expedition from Manali to Khardung La Pass on July 15. He reached Leh on July 23. The next day he cycled from Leh (elevation 11000 feet) to Khardungla Pass (elevation 18340 feet) and reached there, covering 39 km.

The entire cycling route has an average elevation of 4000 metre(13,000ft).

Along the route from Manali to Leh he crossed some of many high altitude passes. They are Rahtong La Pass (13060feet ), Nakee la Pass (15547feet) , Baralacha La Pass (16500 feet), Lachung La Pass (16616 feet), Tanglang La Pass (17484 feet).

The distance between Manali and Khardungla pass is 512 km. The condition of the road is pitiable in some sections . He carried all his clothes and equipments on his own cycle. He cycled without any back up vehicle  All his equipments weighed 15 kg which was loaded in the rear of the cycle. He stayed in nomadic tent dhabas which spring up along Manali Leh highway during summer season when the highway is opened. These dhabas provide food and shelter and a single bed costing 200 to 300 rupees per night.

He had completed a cycling tour from Guwahati to Dibru-Saikhua as the youngest member of the “Jajabor” Cycling Group in the year 2017. He aspired to cycle to Khardungla pass (Ladakh), the highest motorable pass of the world at an altitude of 18340 feet cycling solo before attaining 17 years age.

Raktutpal is studying in Sarla Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati.

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