Riding a bike across Ladakh does have an element of thrill and danger. But how about riding for a cause? A land that was virtually unknown among globetrotters until a few years ago, is slowly losing its beauty. Save Ladakh before it turns into something unrecognizable. A pristine land far away in the majestic Himalayas, Ladakh has turned into one of India’s major tourist hotspots.
A biking trip to Ladakh’s rugged mountains and turquoise lakes has become the ‘coolest thing to do’. Just log onto any social networking site and you will find at least one status that says, “Finally got Leh’d.” However, Ladakh’s glory comes with a price ‒ beer bottles floating in canals, trash along ice-covered paths, barren lands turned into garbage dump yards. This does paint a sad picture.
Save Ladakh – Preserve the Magnificent Mountains
But, it is not too late. If you are an avid biker, you can do your part in saving India’s crown jewel by following a few simple tips.
Carry your Trash
Non-biodegradable waste not only harms the soil but also the animals and organisms that are part of the habitat. However, in a cold and vast desert such as Ladakh, it might be difficult for you to find a dustbin, even for hundreds of kilometers. The best alternative is to throw your trash in a trash bag and carry it along until you find a safe place to dump it.
In a rush of excitement, we often pack our bags full of unnecessary items. This not only adds to our traveling woes, but we end up leaving most of it behind at the destination, unknowingly harming the environment. Hence, make sure that you carry only necessary items such as medical supplies, clothing, equipment, etc. Check out our article on what to carry in your motorcycle trip.
Be nice to Locals
Ladakhis are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They greet you with a smile and are always willing for a chat. As a guest, it is your responsibility to repay their gratitude by respecting their land and traditions. They lead a simple life and are highly dependent on their environment for their livelihood, most of them being nomads or sheep herders.
Say no to Plastic
We all are aware how plastic is drastically harming the earth’s atmosphere. These effects are magnified when you add such materials to the fragile ecosystem of Ladakh. The cold desert makes it harder for plastic to decompose, harming the soil and the environment. Hence, always consider eco-friendly alternatives such as paper bags, cloth bags, or recycled bags and save Ladakh by saying a big no to plastics.
Homestays are your Best Bet
An influx of tourism in Ladakh has resulted in a sudden mushrooming of a large number of hotels, many of which offer modern amenities which may not be suited for Ladakh’s environment. Homestays are your best option if you want to learn about the traditional Ladakhi way of life. Staying with the locals also helps you discover Ladakh in a more personal way.
Don’t feed the Animals
Ladakh is blessed with unique flora and fauna, which is being harmed not only by pollution but also by certain tourist activities such as feeding or disturbing the animals. The best way to observe these animals and save Ladakh would be – by not interfering with their natural habitat and let nature take its course.
Spread the Word
Spreading awareness can do wonders. If you are travelling in a group, inform your mates to be responsible towards Ladakh’s ecosystem and the prime idea behind save Ladakh. Sharing the same on social media will encourage future bikers to follow your example and be responsible travellers.
It is a myth that tourism and sustainability do not go hand-in-hand. If we become responsible citizens, we can save Ladakh from the fate of becoming yet another polluted Indian destination. So, get ready with your biking gear and explore this land of untamed natural beauty.
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