The Himalayan Odyssey for long has been considered an iconic ride up in the Himalayas organised by the cult bike maker Royal Enfield. For bikers around the country, wanting to ride to Ladakh and see it as an ultimate riding destination, the Himalayan Odyssey has been the preferred option as it offers all the adventure to them with peace of mind. Now after a 2-year break due to Covid-19, the fortnight-long ride is back and this time it is special, as the participants are getting ready to scale the highest motorable road in the world, Umling La in Ladakh.
The Himalayan Odyssey 2022 will see over 70 participants traversing the mighty Himalayan terrain, covering a distance of close to 2,700 kilometers in 18 days on their Royal Enfield motorcycles. To be held in July, it will bring riders from across India together and provide them with an unlimited supply of breathtaking views of intimidating terrain throughout the journey. The 18th edition of the Himalayan Odyssey will be flagged off from Delhi and traverse towards Umling La – the new highest motorable road in the world at 19,024 feet above sea level.
The expedition will follow two routes and while both the groups will be flagged off from Delhi together, each will ride on different routes before finally converging at Leh. Through the ride, the participants will traverse across the picturesque and challenging regions of the Himalayas in Ladakh as well as Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. While both the regions will throw hostile challenges at the riders in terms of weather and terrain, the riders will also get to experience an adventure like no other.
Started in 1997, the Himalayan Odyssey has been the ultimate motorcycling experience in the Himalayas and continues to challenge the riders at every step with numerous mountains passes and natural obstacles. A journey like the Himalayan Odyssey is a life-changing experience and over the 18 days, the riders will face each challenge together that will strengthen the sense of camaraderie amongst them and in the end, leave every rider with memories that will remain deeply etched in the mind forever.
To reduce the impact on the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas, this edition of the Himalayan Odyssey will continue to bring awareness towards the Royal Enfield journey of sustainability. While traversing through some of the roughest terrains, and highest mountain passes in the world, navigating through empty stretches of pristine landscape and rock-strewn pathways, this year the Himalayan Odyssey contingent will also be strongly propagating the concept of a sustainable motorcycle journey.
In the last held edition of the Odyssey in 2019, the Chennai-based brand initiated the #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter campaign which aimed at a zero ‘single-use-plastic-ride’ by discouraging participants from using bottled water and facilitating purified water by employing dispensers along the way. To cut down the use of single-use plastic bottles, community water purifiers were set up along the route. Six purifiers were installed across strategic locations in the popular Manali-Leh route. These included Keylong in Lahaul valley, Sarchu on the Himachal-Ladakh border, Leh, Nubra valley, Pangong Tso, and Debring near high altitude. 3 additional water purifiers were used throughout the journey for the participants. Pure and filtered water was made available to riders traversing this route, thereby negating the need to purchase single-use plastic water bottles.
The first-ever Himalayan Odyssey for riders in was held 1997 where 40 motorcycles climbed to Khardung La, the then world’s highest motorable pass. Though the road conditions in Ladakh are a lot better now, courtesy of the Border Roads Organisation, the challenges of high altitude and extreme weather conditions remains the same. The motorcycles too are more technologically advanced now and are better equipped to take on the obstacles that will come in their way. Royal Enfield’s latest product in the market, the Scram 411 will surely make its presence felt during the ride. It will be interesting to see how the motorcycle takes on the mighty Himalayas.