Chandigarh, Sep 29 | As the nation is celebrating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, in a first-of-its-kind expedition in adventure sports, 23 ITBP bikers in a long-distance cycling rally of almost 1,800 km have crossed all major ranges of the Himalayas.
On Gandhi Jayanti (October 2), they will be reaching the national capital to celebrate the occasion.
Embarked on August 27 from Gogra along Indo-China border, the bikers crossed one of the highest motorable mountain passes, the Marsimik la. The team crossed seven mountain passes en route till Kullu in Himachal Pradesh.
On Wednesday they embarked their onward journey from Jind in Haryana. So far they have covered 1,700 km.
The expedition, organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), will culminate in Kevadia in Gujarat by covering 2,700 km where statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s is installed.
Sharing his experience, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Assistant Commandant Adheesh Gupta told IANS over phone that, “Well, the experience has been one of its kind and phenomenal because such a long-distance cycling has been conceived, planned and executed for the first time in the history of adventure sports in India.”
The bikers have traversed over all major ranges of the Himalayas namely Karakoram, Zanskar, Great Himalayan and Pir Panjal.
“We crossed over at least seven major passes, including Marsimik la (18,953 ft), which is also the highest motorable road pass in the world.”
According to Gupta, Ladakh has always been a paradise for adventurer lovers and to be on a cycle with cold raw winds blowing past, crossing icy rivulets with glacial water and the mighty Himalayas looming in the background is a fortunate blessing.
The challenges the bikers faced were diverse, besides the weather that was always not easy to brave the high altitude rarified atmosphere that threw up challenges of discomfort.
“One cannot over exert or ignore any condition of breathlessness or high blood pressure in areas where medical support is at least a few hours away. Though we have acclimatised at every stage but precautions needed to be taken. We maintained our cycles on our own because the wear and tear of gear over such a large distance is expected,” the Assistant Commandant said.
“I remember the moment when were crossing Marsimik la where there was a snowy blizzard for about 30 minutes. It really made the spin downhill challenging, the raw biting chill in the drier trans-Himalayan desert was indeed intimidating,” he said.
“I guess the warm spirit to do something which has not been attempted before kept us going,” he added.