In the acclaimed book 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', Robert M Pirsig wrote:"The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed."
Riding to Ladakh is perhaps the ultimate test of that relationship between man and machine. Two wheels hugging the road, biting cold winds, the awe-inspiring scenery dominated by some of the highest mountains on earth, and their valleys in which ice-blue rivers flow...
The sense of adventure of being one with that environment and the human drive to conquer it leads to mixed, often difficult emotions. But bikers learn better than most travellers to understand the terrain, put complaints behind, and confront the challenges of the road.
PRAVEEN GUPTA, an avid biker from Udaipur, Rajasthan, left his hometown to experience a different kind of desert in the high-altitude wonderland of Ladakh. These are snapshots from his story.