Raid de Himalaya

As I get set, think of packing and prepare myself for 13 days on the road, in the hills, waking up at 3 in the morning and coming back in the evening covered in hill dust, I can’t help but think back to last year’s Raid de Himalaya and NOTHING makes me more happy! I’m going again this year!

For those of you who are still wondering what I am talking about, Raid de Himalaya is the world’s highest motorsport rally. Yes, the world’s. Started in 1999, this will be the 16th edition of this mega-awesome event. Last year was my first time at the Raid and I was present there as an official, not a participant. Officials are volunteers who make sure the rally runs its course smoothly – recording time of the participating vehicles, blocking routes to prevent civilian traffic while the leg is active, recovering broken-down vehicles, preventing/penalizing participants trying to take shortcuts are some of the major stuff we have to do during the Raid. There is a lot more but that would take much longer.

If there are any guys who are actually a part of the Raid reading this, they would probably cringe at my failure for using technical terms but I have always preferred simpler language! Anyways, I won’t keep it too long because the photographs is what is worth looking at here, not the text. Here is a quick recap of the Raid de Himalaya 2013 in the form of pics.

Start off at Kandaghat:
Raid de Himalaya | | kandaghat
Scrutiny of vehicles happening before they go for stickering at Kandaghat.
Raid de Himalaya | | kandaghat scrutiny
Stop-over at Manali. The Johnson’s Cafe is famous for its fish.
Raid de Himalaya | | manali
Enroute Jalori pass.
Raid de Himalaya | | enroute jalori pass
Our Post at Chota Dhara. Our job here was to record the time at which a vehicle crossed us and transmit it to the next-in-line officials.
Raid de Himalaya | | chota dhara
A car overtaking a biker during the rally at the Chota Dhara leg.
Raid de Himalaya | | chota dhara1
On the way to Batal from where we deviated towards Chandra Taal (Literal translation = Moon Lake) since that day’s leg was over. Can you spot the car in the lower middle?
Raid de Himalaya | | on the way to batal deviating to chandra taal
There is a bit of a hike to reach the viewing height and this place is quite popular with trekkers.
Raid de Himalaya | | at chadartaal
The Chandra Taal is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres in the Himalayas and has an underground water source.
Raid de Himalaya | | chandar taal
The view while leaving chandra taal is also pretty amazing.
Raid de Himalaya | | leaving chadartaal
On the way to Kaza
Raid de Himalaya | | on the way to kaza
Can you spot the monastery? Thats the Dhankar(Dhangkar) Monastery. ‘Dhangkar’ means ‘fort on a cliff’. This monastery is situated on a cliff at a height of about 3,894 metres between the towns of Kaza & Tabo.
Raid de Himalaya | | dhankar monastery
Dhankar Monastery was built as a fort monastery and was reported to have 90 monks in 1855.
Raid de Himalaya | | inside dhankar
Proceeding towards Debring from Spiti. Thats me in the car, ecstatic for no apparent reason.
Raid de Himalaya | | proceeding towards debring still in spiti
At Kunzum La. La means ‘pass’. The Kunzum pass connects the Kullu & Lahaul Valley with the Spiti Valley at a height of 4551 metres, making it higher than Rohtaang pass. There is also a 12km trek from Kunzum La to Chandra Taal which is quite popular.
Raid de Himalaya | | kumzum la
In Sarchu.
Raid de Himalaya | | sarchu
Towards Debring
Raid de Himalaya | | towards debring
Also on the way to Debring.
Raid de Himalaya | | on the way to debring
Our post for the day somewhere between Debring and Daat short of Yar La. Debring is the place where More Plains end. This was literally in the midde of nowhere. EPIC.
Raid de Himalaya | | our post btwn debring daat short of yarla

Raid de Himalaya | | post in debring daat
Sakti to Wari La.
Raid de Himalaya | | sakti to warila
Near Wari La. This is another pass. All official cars assembling to get things in order at around 5 in the morning. It was still dark outside.
Raid de Himalaya | | wari la

Raid de Himalaya | | somewhere near wari la
Our post for the day at the Wari La leg of the rally.
Raid de Himalaya | | our post at wari la leg
At Wari La top. The Wari La (pass) ia at a height of 5,312 metres between Agham & Sakti. This is the highest pass in the Nubra Valley Trek. We ate ham and drank tea here.
Raid de Himalaya | | having bkfast at wari la top
After Wari La heading towards Leh. Can you see the tiny car middle right off-roading and coming downhill making it own track? This is what most officials do with their free time during the day. Just Kidding. Maybe not!
Raid de Himalaya | | after wari la towards leh

Raid de Himalaya | | enroute leh
Leaving Leh
Raid de Himalaya | | leaving leh1

Raid de Himalaya | | leaving leh2
Rainbow happiness!
Raid de Himalaya | | leaving leh3
Between Leh & Kargil
Raid de Himalaya | | btwn kargil and leh
Climbing Namik La, another mountain pass. ‘Namik’ means ‘Pillar of the Sky’.
Raid de Himalaya | | climbing namik la
At Namik La.
Raid de Himalaya | | namik la
Stopped over to pay our tribute and eat lunch at the Dras War Memorial overlooking Tiger Hill.
Raid de Himalaya | | kargil memorial
Short Of Zozi La. Zozi La is located on NH 1D between Leh & Srinagar at a height of 3,528 metres. We were stuck here for about an hour in a filthy traffic Jam because the road was too narrow and a sight landslide had occurred.
Raid de Himalaya | | short of zozi la
Including all parts of the trip would have made this post very very long which is why I had to do some brutal elimination much against my will. The sheer volume of photographs I had clicked during this was so overwhelming that I kept avoiding going through them and getting down to editing. I will be sharing another post with some panoramas I clicked and a few larger photographs just to take in the beauty of the road a little bit more.

Looking forward to the Raid de Himalaya this year. I leave on the 1st. Toodles!

Raid de Himalaya has an official Website too.
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