Loops of the haunted!

8:21 pm | | Comments 14

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Its is one of the India’s most popular ghost stories. I wouldn’t say that this story originates at most unlikely of the places, as it is one of the most wilderness of places you will come across. It can unnerve you and mesmerise you, both at the same time. But I will certainly say that I am interested in ghost stories only for sake of reading thrill, not at the point of believing them.

Those who have travelled to Leh from Manali by road will have certainly passed through Gata Loops and would have heard story about it. Now a days those who ride or drive on this road, do good research before hand and hence have a fairly good idea of the place. On Manali-Leh road, after you cross Sarchu, 24 kilometres later you come across a series of hairpin bends or loops popularly called as Gata Loops. These loops take you to a climb of almost 2000 ft upto Nakeela pass.

Also read: Lonely at mighty Baralacha La pass

Actually Gata Loops are to Manali-Leh road what Ka zigs are to Shimla-Kaza road. Both are nothing short of engineering marvels. Ka zigs raise from level of Spiti river to Nako through various hairpin bends. Similarly Gata Loops start at 4201 metres or 13,780 feet and 21 loops take you to altitude of 15,302 feet. Both these roads have been created out of nowhere to get human access via road to most improbable of places.

But these loops are also part of India’s most popular haunted stories. Those who have been to this place might be well aware of the hearsay. I am just briefing it for the sake of those, who haven’t heard about it.

Also read: Himalayan Rides- Chandratal to Keylong

This story is about a truck cleaner who died here a lonely death when the truck broke down in increment weather and the driver walked to nearby village to get some help. Cleaner waited at truck to guard the belongings. But it was late October (as per stories) and no vehicles were passing through as behind that truck the Rohtang Pass  (which provides vehicular accessories to Lahaul & Spiti valleys) was already closed down. Moreover snowfall had blocked all approach roads. Driver got stuck in the village for days. Hence the cleaner was left to fend for himself without an help, food or water which resulted in his demise. Stories say about his ghost still wondering around loops and begging for water to all passerby. Locals have constructed a makeshift temple where lies a human skull and believing the story people leave water bottles at the place.

But as always happens with the ghost stories, there are many versions and another version says about a tanker finding it difficult to climb the loop and driver asked its cleaner to get down and put some stones behind the wheels so as to stop it from rolling behind. But accidentally cleaner came under the wheels and seeing this driver ran away with the vehicle, leaving the cleaner behind left to die.

Nobody knows when these so-called incidents took place. Nowhere I have even read the name of that so-called village where driver went to get the help. There are no accounts to corroborate and it is surprising as by any means story would have been just a couple of decades old. Irony is, now there are hundreds of plastic water bottles scattered at that serene place.

I went biking almost end of the season on this route. I was pretty alone in the sense that I was biking solo and that particular time that stretch was devoid of any other vehicles. I captures whole climb of Gata Loops on video. But I was not able to see or capture anybody or any abnormal activity. Though interesting, it was hard for me to believe that story! I will tell you another thing, while returning back from Leh to Manali I crossed this particular stretch alone in pitch dark as I had decided to take the night halt at Sarchu instead of Pang. But still there was no ghost on the way.

Beautiful landscape around

Well, such stories might keep your travel interesting. But even without this story this particular stretch of road is quite fascinating for the views it gives while climbing up. I will say, it is actually a photographer’s delight to be here. You can just stop at every bend and keep clicking. Its amazing how the landscape changes as you climb, down from the river bed.

Reaching the top

As with every part of this route, it is quite different in different seasons. End of the season in late September or early October would be without any snow but different colours.

Gata Loops actually takes you to a different topography, once you are through, towards what Ladakh is actually famous for.

You can just forget all the ghosts and wonder at this nature’s marvellous creation.

What you see across is actually a view point

You can see a view point in the image above. It also works as a resting point for travellers after all the effort taken to climb the Gata Loops and enjoy some beauty, which they would have missed in all labour to climb up.

Interested in ghost stories? Read: Haunted Fort of Bhangarh- Nothing Spooky about it!

You can see the video of my Gata Loops ride on my channel by clicking on the link below-

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  1. Rajiv Verma says:

    Haha…. Had never thought about the haunted angle 😉

    And this road is a sheer joy to ride on <3

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Actually, as soon as you look around, you are bound to forget any such foolish thought as the view around is so stunning. Thankfully, better roads have also now ensured more time for enjoyment.

      1. Rajiv Verma says:

        Cannot agree more 🙂

  2. What a stark and stunning scenery to ride through!

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Indeed its blissful!

  3. dNambiar says:

    Photographer’s delight indeed.
    Such scenic landscapes! And interesting myths from the area. 🙂

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Thanks you liked it.

  4. So we need to take permit to camp at baralacha La ????

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Not for pitching a tent on the go! Might be needed to create a big camping site for longer time. But camping on a pass is just not advisable.

  5. Great ✌️✌️✌️✌️✌️

  6. Navigers says:

    Request. when u r capturing yr video pls dont put music over it..we would love to hear the sound of your bike and the noise of the wind

    1. swamiupendra says:

      Thanks for watching the videos and the valuable suggestion. I myself love more the sound of my thunderbird than anything else and will actually love to let the original sound be there. In some of videos, I have not overlaid any music so as to let the original sound of ambience be there. But when I took initial opinions from some friends, they found the sound of bike irritating. Actually if the Go-Pro or explorer camera is fixed on the handle bar, than it is very close to engine and the camera microphone catches no other sound than that of the throttle and that too it captures at a very different pitch. So when you listen it post recording it doesn’t feel like a RE engine sound but a sound of some cranked up engine. Hence I used some music as background score. But, still going on your suggestion, I will try to do some adjustment next time onwards.

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