Pune girl completes biking trail on Spiti’s dangerous roads

Debasmita Datta
Saturday, 17 February 2018

Pune: While a lot is spoken about women’s safety in India, there are many out there who dare to venture unknown places all alone. Prajakta Bhave, the true replica of a dare-devil woman, has recently ridden on the snow-covered roads of Spiti valley, hidden in the trans-Himalayan range between Tibet and Ladakh. This valley, often known as White Spiti or Frozen Spiti, is totally covered in ice from the winters of Himachal, which also lowers the temperature to -30 degrees Celsius.

Pune: While a lot is spoken about women’s safety in India, there are many out there who dare to venture unknown places all alone. Prajakta Bhave, the true replica of a dare-devil woman, has recently ridden on the snow-covered roads of Spiti valley, hidden in the trans-Himalayan range between Tibet and Ladakh. This valley, often known as White Spiti or Frozen Spiti, is totally covered in ice from the winters of Himachal, which also lowers the temperature to -30 degrees Celsius.

Prajakta, along with another female rider Menka Kand and with the guidance of Jagbir Singh from Delhi Royal Riders Club, completed the 1,800 km journey through one of the toughest adventurous roads on this planet. The desert mountain valley, located in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, has terrible narrow, sharp turns and steep roads carved into the mountains. Due to its unique location and the climb in elevation over thousands of feet, there are no residents in the region.

Prajakta has also won an award from Jammu and Kashmir Tourism to complete her expedition on the world’s most dangerous roads between Kishtwar (Jammu and Kashmir) and Killar (Himachal Pradesh). With the stretch of 114 km, the terrific high mountain trail is located at the eastern extremity of the Kishtwar district of the Jammu region. The road is so narrow and windy that even the fearless would think once whether to cross it. The road has no guard rail or secure edging for about 100 miles, with views of the valley thousands of feet below. The road is a part of the National Highway 26, running along the Chenab river. The surface of the road is gravel, stones and sand and it’s carved into the side of a cliff. The one-lane path on the overhanging cliff is so low that the winds can swing the bikes over a 2,000 ft drop. Even the rocks hanging down obstruct the view of oncoming traffic.

While sharing her experience, Prajakta said that there were only two women riders selected for the expedition, Prajakta from Pune and another woman from Punjab, along with 70 male riders from all over India. Finally, after the 7 days of the expedition, only 35 riders including Prajakta were able to reach till the last spot.

“The bike ride felt to be easier as compared to convincing my in-laws to make them understand my dreams. Being married in a conservative family has always been a journey of choices and compromises. But then I have always made sure to choose for my own stand. Every ride is a challenge to my limits. It not only calms me but also changes my perspective,” said Bhave.

“I am always against gender-bias decisions and especially when society limits a woman into a specific task of domestic works. People have to change the mindset that nowadays girls can do anything and everything they want. Every human being has a passion and dream and such things are irrespective of gender,” said Menka Kand.

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