HINDUSTAN MOTORCYCLING- CHANGING THE DYNAMICS OF MOTORCYCLING IN LADAKH
Ladakh, also known as a land of high passes, is a region in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that extends from Kunlun mountain range to the great Himalayas, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. With the Internet revolution, more and more people have started to know about this magical place and the number of tourist flocking the region is on its peak.
We spoke to Surbhit Dixit from Delhi who is probably one of the very few people who knows Ladakh like he probably knows his own living room. Surbhit currently runs a company called Hindustan Motorcycling and organizes guided tours to Ladakh every year. As they say, Ladakh is a once in a lifetime experience, but for Dixit it is not. He has been extensively riding in Ladakh every year and will be completing his 50th trip in the next few days. Every year, as the calendar hits June, people start looking for travel packages to Ladakh. Many of them keep postponing it for the next year, while others dare to be different and achieve their dream.
With many stories to tell, Surbhit talks about Motorcycling and his love affair with Ladakh below…..
THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA:
It all started way back in the year 2007, when I was pursuing Hotel Management and Interning at Hotel J.W. Marriott in Goa. My social nature always urged me talk to people and guests arriving at the hotel. The first time I got paid for motorcycling was when a foreign guest at the hotel befriended me and asked me if I could take her around Goa on my Motorcycle. I agreed and showed her around 29 beaches in Goa and to my surprise, she also paid me money at the end of it. I was too young to realize and make it into a profession, but at that point I just knew that this is what makes me happy. In between my studies I went on many rides without thinking much to places like Rajasthan, Punjab, Ladakh, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh among many others. With every ride the love affair and bonding with motorcycles just got stronger.
It started as a casual discussion on a bar table with my brother and the next morning, we established Hindustan Motorcycling without thinking much about the profits. All we wanted was, to give an experience to people that they could cherish for lifetime. It has been 6 years now since I started in 2010 and have clocked over 3 lakh kms in Ladakh. We have learnt and grown with time and have successfully fulfilled dreams of over 3000 people from India and various other countries. We roughly take 6-7 batches, each batch consisting of 20-30 riders, between June to September every year.
LEH LADAKH, THE MECCA OF MOTORCYCLISTS- KEEP IT CLEAN:
We all know about the beauty of Ladakh and how excited we are about this trip. Ladakh has some of the breathtaking landscapes and some of the most challenging conditions which give you a sense of self-achievement. Everybody talks about riding to the highest motorable road in the world and people come with different purposes. Some come just because they are awestruck by seeing the pictures shared by their friends and some visit this mecca to tick it off from the checklist. But, what worries us is something else. Something that goes undiscussed and unnoticed all the time. In our experience at Hindustan Motorcycling, we have seen a serious rise in the number of people coming every year and Ladakh is being abused by tourists in a way. Every time we go to Ladakh, we see plastic wrappers and empty plastic bottles everywhere. Our counterparts and partners in Leh are extremely disappointed by this and do not appreciate this carelessness. Every rider with Hindustan Motorcycling is given strict instructions at the start of the tour to respect the nature and people in Ladakh. Since, our focus is not on just making profits; we are okay with asking anybody to leave the ride midway if the social responsibility quotient is not ingrained.
PEOPLE WHO LEFT AN IMPRESSION:
What started as a casual discussion is now a brand that is fulfilling thousand dreams. We have come across many stories from riders, each inspiring in some way or the other. But there are few people who leave a long lasting impression on you. It just proves, “If it is to be. It is up to me”. There are so many people who have life stories that you can discuss the entire night. But there is someone who I was extremely impressed with from my close to 50 rides in Ladakh.
Seema Srinivas is a Bangalore girl who joined Hindustan Motorcycling to achieve her dream of riding to Ladakh this year. What was shocking and surprising for me was that this girl had just started to learn riding a motorcycle few weeks back. The videos of treacherous roads in Ladakh can scare any experienced rider as well leaving no guts to attempt it. But Seema is a fine example of “Strength of a Woman”. Nobody believed that she will be able to cross some of the toughest patches in the world, but she proved all of us stunned and wrong by doing it with élan. It taught me a lesson that if you have the hunger and desire, you can achieve anything.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
It has been a roller coaster ride so far. Our experience has taught us how to exactly get bodies and bikes to acclimatize and adapt to the dry conditions in Ladakh. We follow a very systematic and calculated route ensuring that a rider gets enough rest in order to enjoy the experience. What most of the people fail to understand is that exploring Ladakh is not like going on a regular holiday, it’s about living and being there with all your senses. Undeniably one of the toughest journeys anywhere – we take you across some of the highest roads on earth on the roof of the world and at altitudes that will leave you speechless with anticipation and exhilaration. The mighty Himalayas with its wilderness and barren landscapes will eclipse anything you might have ridden through before or ever imagined of in your wildest dreams.
Ladakh is an experience and an extraordinary place where stupendous scenery and its people are truly charming. Immersing yourself in ancient cultures while thriving in these remote areas of the upper Himalayas is an experience worth taking away for life. We guarantee this journey will definitely leave a remarkable impression on you.