Khardung La to Umling La, through Rezang La
“We went to bed as Pakistanis and woke up the next day morning as Indians”, he said, referring to the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and the consequent reclaiming of around 30 Kilometers stretch of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by the Indian Army. I could see the spark in his eyes, a sense of courage in his heart and immense determination in his mind and limitless love towards Bharath while he was explaining the history of Turtuk and the contribution of his small but elegant and historically enriched community to the well being of the Nation. He, Mr Hussain, proud of his Mongolian lineage, short but strong build-up and Balki Language, had ecstatically explained to us about the role of his society in providing support services to the Indian Army, of Siachen and other military bunkers, which are highly uninhabitable to normal human beings like us.
On 18th August 2022, few days after the 75th Independence Day, We reached Turtuk, a small border village of Leh District in the Ladakh range, 205 kilometres away from Leh town, from where we embarked on our legendary bike trip. Noticeably, all the houses of Turtuk, where 100% of residents are believers of Islam, had proudly unfurled the Indian tricolour flags, which shows their immeasurable belief in Indian governmental systems and its proud army. The memories of the second highest motorable pass in the world, Kahrdung La[ 5,359 m (17,582 ft)], which connects the Indus river valley and the Shyok river valley, through which we drove on the very first day of our trip, had started fading away as the mesmerizing sceneries throughout the way from Hundar, a small village in Nubra Valley, to Turtuk, had slowly overlapped the icy winds of Khardung La.