Writing is not that easy and simple. Your mind needs to be very creative and spontaneous. It is not that your mind is 24/7/365 ready to hit the keyboard keys and present to the world your thought process. The thoughts in your mind are like a jigsaw puzzle, have to be joined and with a calm mind they have to flow. Now let’s get back to travel!
“Travel with less plans and more freedom”
Yes! There was no plan as such to do this motorcycle trip and it was new place for me. As you have already read the title of the blog, Jalori pass is located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh at 10800 feet above sea level. My cousin had told me about this place and I was keen to explore it. With time and money in hand, I packed my bags, got my bike ready and pushed off for the new journey.
Day 1: Delhi to Shoja (550 kms)
I started my ride at around 5.30 am from Delhi. The weather was not hot but it was humid. I was out of Delhi in no time and National Highway welcomed me with very less traffic. 100 kms into the ride, it was time for breakfast and I stopped at 70 milestone for a quick parantha and curd. This joint was better than the mass production factories in Murthal i.e. Sukhdev and Gulshan Dhaba, absolutely tasteless food. I finished my breakfast and started riding again. I crossed Panipat, Karnal, Ambala with ease and encountered rain near Karnal.
Just after Ambala, there was a diversion to the left for Chandigarh and the straight road goes to Amritsar. I took the Amritsar route, just after the flyover from the Chandigarh diversion, from the next flyover, I took a right towards Kharar. Basically, this was Haryana and Punjab border. Talking about the weather, traffic and road conditions, everything was as per my liking. The paddy fields on the both sides of the road and the green fields made the scenery look beautiful.
Hunger struck me suddenly at around 12 pm and I decided to take a break at a Subway in Kurali. There I saw another motorcycle parked. It was a Honda CRF 250 (not on sale in India), more importantly, it was Turkey registered and was ridden by a Turkish woman solo. We did not interact much, I had my sub and started my ride quickly again since I had a long way to go.
I took the diversion to Manali going right because if you go straight, you will head to Kiratpur Sahib and Una. Immediately, the hill climb started with very less traffic, the humidity mellowed down a bit but the sun was still beating me. This time Sundernagar surprised me with awesome roads because I remember when I was coming back from Manali, the roads in Sundernagar were under construction.
Then came a very beautiful stretch between Mandi and Sundernagar. It looked very similar to Kashmir Valley, with green mountains all around. I stopped and clicked a few photos. Also, I saw a rider on the opposite side of the road and waived at him just to greet him. That guy nodded in acknowledgement! On approaching Mandi, I found a lot of commercial traffic and dust flying around, which actually drained a lot of energy out of me.
It was 5 pm in the evening I reached Mandi, made a quick to my parents of my whereabouts before they call the FBI about a missing person and then I called up the homestay owner about my location. I had to cover around 80 kms to reach the homestay. The route from Mandi onwards turned beautiful, with deep gorges, Beas river flowing through them and lofty green mountains. I clicked a few photos and witnessed the sun setting down.
Then came a shoddy patch of road 15 kms before Aut village, I was already tired with full day of riding, this patch added to the misery but when I reached the Manali tunnel, the bad patch ended. From this point, Shoja was around 35 kms will on the ascend to Jalori pass, the road become narrow enough for one vehicle to squeeze in but it was not broken. So, basically after skipping Aut tunnel on the left, you enter into Tirthan Valley. Suddenly, the temperature also fell drastically and gave me a little chill.
The climb to Jalori pass was very steep as I was not able to go beyond the second gear and I never felt that the bike was losing steam. I slowly crawled to my destination for the trip and the last 5 odd kms I did in pitch darkness. Experiencing such a hill climb, I was just thinking that the next few kms I will be saying a ‘Hi’ to Chandrayaan 2. I crossed Banjar, Jibhi and then reached Shoja. The owner came helped me with the luggage and since it was pitch dark, I could not see anything. I decided have dinner and sleep. Day 1 ends here.
“Life is the best when you start counting the stars instead of the coins”
Day 2: Relaxing in Shoja and absorbing the essence of the place
I woke up to a lovely morning with clouds hovering on the mountain peaks but there was no snow. The view from the homestay was soothing and attractive. I could hear the sound of the birds and local villagers taking their livestock for grazing. The pure air opened my body and relaxed my senses.
After getting ready, hot aloo paranthas were served along with a cup of tea. I ate my breakfast with a view. I spoke to the owner of the place about nearby places to explore. He suggested me a 4 kms trek to some lake but I was not in the mood to do that. Yeah! Being a biker, it is not easy to ride 550 kms a day a before and then trek for 8 kms. The owner understood my point and then he said, “Wait for sometime, I will take you to a secret place.” The suspense got me excited. So, we went downhill for about 4 kms towards Jibhi and then he told me take an unpaved path into the forest.
The path was full of mud, stones and slush which was leading us to a small village, we even came across a waterfall. For me it looked like I was riding in a dream, such was the charm of the place.
I also came across one water crossing in which I almost lost balance while crossing on my bike but did not fall. Unfortunately, I could not save my feet from getting wet and the water was freezing cold. There was also a patch where there was a lot of slush and I took time to come out of it. We could not reach the village since the road was blocked due to a landslide. The homestay owner got me some apples to eat and we chilled out there for sometime and then started our way back to the guest room. Overall, it was an amazing experience and surprising, as a motorcyclist such off-road trails are exciting. After lunch, I spent rest of the day at the guest room relaxing and listening music. For Day 3, my intention was not to reach Delhi the very next day, so decided to stop in Narkanda which was 97 kms from Shoja.
“Stop staying alive and start living”
Day 3: Shoja to Narkanda (97 kms)
“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage”
The day started with me getting up late at 8 am and then slowly dragging myself to get ready. Since there was very less distance to cover in the complete day, I took it easy, munched every single piece of my breakfast and drank water as if I was drinking wine. It was time for me to leave Shoja, loaded my luggage on the bike, warmed up my bike and continued the uphill climb to Jalori. It was cloudy and the roads were wet due to a late evening shower a day before. I reached Jalori in no time but I could not see anything since it was very misty.
Even this road was very scenic, I was riding along a river when I reached a village called Anni. I stopped there for sometime to listen to the sound of the flowing river, then pushed further to Narkanda. Later somewhere near Sainj, the converging river Sutlej got really mad with the muddy water gushing through. Finally, I reached NH5 and from here I turned right towards Narkanda, if you go straight, the road will lead you to Spiti valley. The road broadened and I picked up pace to reach my destination.
I reached Narkanda at around 2 pm and directly went to Negi dhaba to have lunch. This was my 4th time at this dhaba and the food tastes good. After my lunch, I found one hotel to stay, dumped my luggage and then rode to Hatu Peak, one of the famous tourist spot in this place. The road to Hatu was very narrow and at some places it was broken. I reached at the top and yet again nothing was visible since it was cloudy and misty.
I returned to my room and then went out for a stroll in the market area for 30 minutes. Finally, I retired to my room and planned for the last day of my trip. I fixed up a meeting with my long term traveler friend in Chail. We were in touch with each other through Facebook and Instagram but had never met face to face. I had my dinner and slept early to start early the next day.
Day 4: Narkanda to Delhi via Chail & Kufri (450 kms)
This was the last day of the ride. I decided to bypass overcrowded Shimla and it’s traffic via Kufri – Chail road which directly leads to Kandaghat. Chail was 80 kms away from Narkanda. Initially I thought the road would not be in good condition but it was in good conditions with scanty traffic. This is the best road to bypass Shimla.
I reached Chail by 12 pm and met my biker friend Siddharth. We spoke at length about our trips. Since it was already 12.30 pm, I had my lunch here itself. The weather did not look good and it started raining a bit.
After saying goodbye to my friend here, just less than a kilometer out of Chail, it started pouring heavily and till the time I found shelter, my lower body was completely drenched in rain water. I waited for 10 mins for the rain to calm down and started riding again. 10 kms before Kandaghat, I stopped to dry my feet and throw the excess water stuck in my shoes. Post this break, I rode almost non stop and when I hit the Himalayan Expressway, the rain almost stopped. After this it was all plain straight road. Somewhere after Ambala, I took a tea break. I told the dhaba guy to make strong tea for me and that cup of tea helped me ride for 100 kms continuously and cover up maximum distance. My personal experience about tea served on the highway is that most of them serve milk with sugar and you have jump into the cup to find tea.
I reached Delhi safely at 10.30 pm and was dead tired. Overall, the trip was very refreshing in terms of visiting a new place and warm up for something big coming up in the coming month. I will post a few more photos which I took on the final day.
Hotel: Satyam Homestay
Review: The room was excellent with wood work all around, the food was delicious and had home made taste, the views from the place were excellent but parking is only issue
Stay Duration: 2 nights
Rental: INR 1500 per night excluding food*
Hotel: Sara Hotel
Review: The room was great, food was decent and parking lot was secured
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 1000 per night*
*Please note that the rentals keep changing based on the seasons and number of pax. On the spot booking also fetch me good deals, so sometimes I prefer that as well.
Hope you liked this small write up. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free connect with me.
Sitting here at Throttle Shrottle cafe in Gurgaon on a cool and breezy evening. Sipping a hot cup of tea, I acknowledge that I am thankful to the people who have come and gone in my life. They have always created a path for me to travel places on my motorcycle.
Munsiyari has been close to my heart ever since I visited this place last time in March 2015. It is a small town located in Kumaon region of the state Uttarakhand at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level. This trip was equally special and memorable for me like the last time. I did this trip because I love this place and my friend Ankur wanted to visit this beautiful Himalayan settlement. I knew the route very well to that extent that I can reach with my eyes closed (not literally!). Please keep you eyes and mind open when you are riding on the road.
The motorcycles which were used in the trip were:
Royal Enfield Himalayan (BS3)
The customary ritual of getting all prepped up for this brief Himalayan expedition was done a day before. The only task remaining was to hop on the motorcycle and start riding to the destination.
90% of the roads were good except for a few bad and dusty patches from Rampur to Haldwani because there road construction is under process. A concrete road is being laid out in patches which will soon make travel from Rampur to Haldwani effortless and will save a lot of time.
Day 1: Delhi to Almora (376 kms) – 25 March 2019
We started the ride very late at 7 am since I woke up late. Exited Delhi via National Highway 24 which is under expansion phase. The weather was cloudy and the air had the chill but my riding jacket was my ultimate automatic climate control device. We had our breakfast at Shiva Dhaba on Hapur road. Trust me guys, the paranthas you get in Murthal are absolutely tasteless and not freshly prepared but here at Shiva Dhaba, we ordered Aloo Parantha. It was crispy, hot and stuffed properly.
After having a sumptuous meal, we carried on with our ride. The scenery on both sides of the Hapur and Moradabad bypass was painted with green fields. The density of the traffic was very less, so we were going at a good pace and covering more distance. We reached Rampur and took a left turn to Haldwani from the bus stand. The traffic increased and the heat also but it was still manageable. The road conditions deteriorated after Rampur. Sometimes I wonder it’s been almost 2 decades, this road is still not fixed. We took a lunch break near Pantnagar after eating dust and gravel as starters. The mountains were visible in the distance which kept our excitement level at bay. The hill climb started at Kathgodam, a small town located on the foothills, which was bumpy but steadily the road conditions improved. We took a water break in Bhimtal on the lakeside and carried on our journey. As the altitude increased, the temperature dropped and our zeal soared.
Leaning over the twisting road was a bliss. We reached Almora at around 7.30 pm and by the time we reached it was dark. The last 30 kms, we had to ride in dark. We stopped at the first hotel which I saw and easily checked in since room was available. Best part about this property was that proper parking was available for us to safely park our bikes. I will give the hotel details at the end. We had dinner and slept.
Day 2: Almora to Chaukori (127 kms) – 26 March 2019
We did not have a definite plan, we decided to start ride towards Munsiyari, capture a lot of photos and if it gets dark, take a room in the next town. We ate breakfast after exiting Almora. The roads were excellent on this stretch. The pine trees of the Binsar Forest were really fascinating and this place always has that tinge of golden color which makes it even more attractive.
After Binsar, we reached Bageshwar and from this town, there are two roads which lead to Munsiyari. One route is via Kapkot, Sama and second one is via Chaukori. We opted for the latter one since I knew that the road condition of the former route is not good. The green pastures on the road to Chaukori are a treat to watch. Cops stopped us to check our bags and filmed a video. They only checked one bag from each bike, just to show they followed the protocol. Then they briefed us about the directions to Chaukori.
We reached Chaukori just before sunset and to our surprise almost all the hotels were full. We kept searching and finally found one. We were able to park the bikes in front of our room. Funny thing, there was a steep incline to reach the room and Ankur did not gain enough momentum so that the bike could climb and he went in reverse gear. Lucky! He did not fall and I helped him to get the bike up. Hunger forced us to order dinner early, we ate and slept.
If in case you are planning to halt in this town, please pre-book since the options are very limited. We were just lucky that we got shelter that day else we were clueless about what next?
Day 3: Chaukori to Munsiyari (102 kms) – 27 March 2019
Day 3 started with Himalayan’s fork seal leakage, engine head leakage and even the rear sprocket was doing the Naagin Dance. The nearest mechanic was in Thal which was around 25 kms. We got ready, had our breakfast and started riding to Munsiyari. The mountains got even more beautiful, the roads narrower and the traffic was very less.
We reached Thal and found a mechanic but unfortunately he did not have spares for the Himalayan which is surprising on Royal Enfield’s part. I told Ankur, chuck it and let’s ride without worrying about it much. Leaving aside the problems, we enjoyed the high mountains, deep gorges and then came Birthi falls. Actually, you can see the falls from a distance. The moment we reached at the spot, it was crowded with lot of dhabas around. The last time I had visited there was nothing here. Just the falls!
We continued our journey towards Munisyari and eventually, saw snow on the side of the road. Then came the turn from where the Panchachuli (5 peaks) were clearly visible. Getting our riding boots into the snow was thrilling, after a long time. After a long break, we headed into the Munsiyari town.
The next task was to find a place to stay. As usual I stopped at the first hotel, finalized the room since there were no steps to climb and view of the snow capped Himalayan range from the room balcony was amazing. After dumping the luggage in the room, we set out for a walk into the town to explore the market and local eateries. We took a shortcut to the market and walking was blissful. We stopped by a cafe and had some coffee. Out of curiosity, we checked the room prices in the other hotel, they were quoting the same price but we had to climb three floors to reach the room. It was dark and we had to walk back to our hotel. We took the longer route and walked for 2 kms. As far as weather is concerned, it was chilly in the evening but pleasant in the day time. After reaching the hotel from a long walk back, had our dinner and slept.
Day 4: Munsiyari to Almora (222 kms) – 28 March 2019
We woke up to a very beautiful morning with view of the snow capped Panchachuli range from our guest room window.
It was time to head back home but before that we went to the Munsiyari Helipad and clicked a lot of photos. It is a very good spot to click photos.
I was planning to stay for an additional day but some urgent work came up in Delhi. So I had to leave. We stretched till Almora on this day and had to ride in dark for the last 25 kms. Riding through the Binsar forest in the dark was a bit scary. We were in no mood to search for a hotel, hence we straight away went to the hotel where we stayed earlier, hoping to get a room again and they allotted us the same room for the same fare.
Day 5: Almora to Delhi (376 kms) – 29 March 2019
We left Almora at around 8.30 am and Ankur met on his Instagram follower in Bhimtal. This guy took us to an undisclosed location from where the view of the Bhimtal lake was top class. The climb to that place was pretty steep. Thanks to his follower. As a normal visitor, we don’t get to know about such places and having a local connect definitely enriches experience. This was a great ending to our brief trip to the mountains.
We reached Delhi at 10 pm comfortably but Ankur had to stretch 30 kms more since he stays in Gurgaon.
Review: Good parking space, good rooms, prompt room service, food is ok, market is easy accessible from the hotel
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 1000 per night (excluding meals)
Hotel: Sunrise View
Review: Good parking space, good rooms, prompt room service, food is ok, hot water is not available and basic things like bucket and mug missing from washroom
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 800 per night (excluding meals)
Hotel: Balraj Inn
Review: Enough parking space, good rooms, prompt room service, food is ok, you will get homely feeling and nice views from the room. Good for bikers, as they don’t have to climb multiple floors to reach their rooms with all the luggage.
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 1200 per night (excluding meals)
I am ending this blog now. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free connect with me.
Stay tuned for more adventures in the Himalayas!!!!
These are some of the answers to the questions posed to me by the people whom I meet and interact in a formal or an informal setting. This shall keep the judgmental folks occupied for sometime, while I move on to the beginning of journey called ‘Life’.
Sitting in my cubicle on the brink of being unemployed, made me browse Google Maps on the laptop. I opened the map of India started checking out new places which I can explore on my motorcycle. Keeping in mind the weather, I dragged the mouse at the western part of the country and finalized to do the ride across Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Day 1 (28 Jan 2019): Delhi to Pali (Rajasthan) – 574 kms
I started the ride at 6.15 am. It was biting cold. Exiting Delhi was a breeze since there was no traffic. The moment you hit NH 8, the traffic becomes mild and from there on the ride becomes smooth! I met my friend Ankur who tagged along with me till a dhaba in Dharuhera. We clicked a few photos, had breakfast and it was time for me to move. The roads were pretty much favorable to ride on and I was able to cover significant amount of distance with the spectacle of the Aravali Hills along the highway. Not to forget there are couple of checkpoints while coming from Delhi:
Take the left cut to Ajmer from Chandwaji via Jaipur bypass because if you go straight you will enter Jaipur city
When you reach Beawar again take a left cut on to the flyover which leads to Pali
Well, highways are very boring and there is nothing to describe about them. The sun was setting down and I reached the hotel in Pali on time. Upon reaching the hotel, I found that there was no secure parking for two wheeler, I demanded the manager for it. He managed to give a space in a small garage filled with hotel inventory which was fine with me. The room was satisfactory for the price I had paid.
Day 2 (29 Jan 2019) Pali to Bhuj (Gujarat) – 575 kms
It was a cold morning! Cold enough to not let me out of the bed but I had to because on this day I had to cover around 600 kms. Got ready, checked my bike, loaded the luggage and gulped a cup of tea. Time to kick start the ride!
Gave a flying kiss to the sunrise! Next prime thing for me was to search for a breakfast dhaba. Not to worry, I found one namely ‘Hotel Baba Ramdev’. It’s just after Sirohi. I ordered Plain Dosa (personal recommendation) and it was delicious.
After breakfast, I kept on rolling the ball to reach Bhuj. The weather was still cold and wind was blasting on to me. The roads were still good with a few unsettling patches. I had entered Gujarat somewhere near Deesa. I got to know this when I saw the sign boards in Gujarati language. It was already 30 minutes past noon and it was time to find a place for lunch with Bhuj still 260 kms far. Actually, I was not able to find a good place on the highway to eat and luckily, I found Hotel Darshan. I ordered Dal Fry, plain curd and tawa roti. The food was palatable. This is the best and the safest meal you can have while you are travelling.
Interesting and misleading thing which happened with me on this day was that I saw a sign board which indicated Bhuj was 211 kms and after 60 kms, again there was a sign board indicating Bhuj was 210 kms far.
Giving a break to my general sense of direction, I switched on Google Maps and followed it strictly. I followed it so strictly that instead of taking the right turn from Bhachau, I went straight to Anjar. From Anjar, I took a right to Bhuj. This is a longer route. The road from Anjar to Bhuj was narrow and had potholes. I arrived at my hotel at dusk and got a secure parking from my vehicle.
I just crashed into my bed after supper and Day 2 came to an end.
Day 3 (30 Jan 2019): Bhuj – Dhordo (The White Rann) – Kala Dungar (Black Hills) – Bhuj – 213 kms
The plan for the 3rd day was obvious, as mentioned in the header. I got up late since I had all the time in the world to enjoy. Got ready, had breakfast and cleaned the bike chain which was running dry. There was no requirement to carry luggage and I only carried my tank bag. While on my way to Dhordo, I came across this sign board which mentioned ‘Tropic of Cancer Passes from Here’. Interesting! We all read this in our geography books and experiencing it in real life is incredible.
After reaching Dhordo before I entered White Rann, I had to fill a form and submit a nominal fee for the permit, as without the permit, you will not be allowed. The permit is only valid for 24 hours. It’s a 15 mins formality starting from form filling till the payment of the fee. The White Rann is 2 kms from here. You will reach a gate where you need to park your vehicle and travel for another 1.5 kms to reach the view point. I took a horse buggy instead of troubling my bones. The view of the White Rann was bewildering from the view point.
After this, it was time for lunch, had Dal and rice for just INR 50! The taste was decent. I saw some motorcyclists from Karnataka as well having their lunch. I quickly wrapped up my meal and then started to ride towards Kala Dungar (Black Hills). The road from Dhordo and Kala Dungar is narrow road and completely secluded. The views were stunning.
Please do not miss the sign board which will direct you to Kala Dungar from the main road. You will also find a few kids running behind you asking 10 bucks for no reason. The uphill climb to Kala Dungar was a bit bumpy. With the bike chain rattling, I took it easy and reached. Kala Dungar is basically a small settlement on a hill top from where you can view the White Rann.
After Kala Dungar, I headed back to Bhuj which was 90 kms from there. It took me around 2 hours to reach the hotel. While having tea and few snacks, I finalized the plan for Day 4.
Day 4 (31 Jan 2019): Bhuj – Mandvi Beach (Gujarat) – Bhuj – 156 kms
The combination of a beach and desert in a single trip intrigued my mind, so I planned to visit Mandvi beach, as suggested by my friend Ankur (who never visited this place). So my day started by getting the bike chain fixed by a mechanic.
I started my ride to the beach, the weather was pleasant and as I was approaching the beach, the coconut trees were visible. The combination of coconut and keekar trees made it a more interesting geography. Google maps led me inside the town of Mandvi. I navigated through narrow lanes and later on realized that this is not the correct route to the beach. I asked people on the road side for the direction to the beach and finally reached the location.
The climate on the beaches generally is humid in India but here in Mandvi, with the western disturbances hitting the Indian subcontinent, it was cold and windy since it is located in near the desert. The beach was quiet lively and chirpy, as there were a lot of water sports activities happening and scores of tourists were also taking camel rides. There were some obsolete windmills near the beach which made the locality look more different. On the cleanliness quotient, I would rate it 7 on 10. I spent about an hour’s time at the beach and started my ride back to Bhuj.
On my way back, I halted at Domino’s expecting them to have non-veg menu since I did not get non-veg meal at the hotel but Domino’s had veg menu only. So I managed with a Paneer pizza.
I reached the hotel and I started to plan my route to the next destination that was Barmer. Got fuel filled and air pressure checked a day in advance. The bike chain was rattling yet again so I got it tightened again from the same mechanic.
Day 5 (1 Feb 2019): Bhuj to Barmer (Rajasthan) – 505 kms
Plan was to start from Bhuj at 6 am and I was well on time. It is just that the day started with a deflated rear tire. I inspected the tire but could not find the puncture. One option was to fill the air with the electronic air inflator, then fix the puncture myself on highway after finding the puncture, if the tire deflates again due to the puncture. The second option was to wait for 3 to 4 hours for the puncture shop to open. I chose the second option because it was important to find the puncture. At 10.15 am, the shop opened and the guy checked to tell me that there was no puncture. Now to be double sure about this, I asked him to refill the air and I will get checked at some other shop as well. I got ready and went to straight to another puncture shop. The outcome was the same after a thorough check. This made me think that something mischievous happened in the hotel parking. Nevertheless, I was 3.5 hours late, I shrugged off this worry from my head and continued my journey but I did not speed up to munch more miles and compensate for the time lost.
I did the last 100 kms in darkness but the highway was so well marked that I did not find it difficult to ride. I reached Barmer around 8.30 pm and checked into the hotel. To my delight they had a secure basement parking and the room was splendid. I had my delicious dinner and went to sleep.
Day 6 (2 Feb 2019): Barmer to Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) – 164 kms
With Jaisalmer just 160 kms away from Barmer, I started riding from Barmer comfortably around 9 am after having the complimentary breakfast.
The road was literally world class to travel on but you need to be careful of the animals crossing the road. This is very frequent in this part of the country.
I reached Jaisalmer by 2 pm. The location of the hostel which I had checked into was in the proximity of the fort. The view of the fort from the roof was excellent.
After getting rid off my luggage in the room, I walked to the fort which was just 1 km. The fort was a great sight from the inside as well with small shops in the contracted lanes selling the culture of Rajasthan.
Most the view points are taken by the slew of cafes opened in the fort. There was one view point which was open to public and it was crowded like flies sitting on food. I walked till the end of the fort to explore the place and came back. I had my lunch in a restaurant near the fort. While on my way to back to the hostel, again, a couple of kids said ‘Hi’ to me and asked for 10 bucks for no reason!
I spent my evening sitting on the roof of the hostel to experience the sunset and also view the sun baked walls of the fort. What a pleasurable experience!!!
Day 7 (3 Feb 2019): Jaisalmer – Longewala Border – Jaisalmer – 234 kms
Longewala has a national significance in the history of India. In December 1971, Pakistan had planned to capture Jaisalmer by attacking Lonegwala Army post but the regiment led by the then Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, of 120 soldiers defeated them with the help of Air Force. The place was converted into a museum and I recommend you to visit this place to understand importance of this event.
The road to Longewala is narrow and decent to travel on. It is isolated and under surveillance plus there is no network here. There is a wet canteen for the visitors to have snacks, tea and coffee. Video recording is not allowed in any form, so visitors carrying Go Pros or other action cameras, please don’t use it.
Day 8 (4 Feb 2019): Jaisalmer – Sam Dunes – Jaisalmer – 105 kms
My friend had recommended Tao Lakhmana Desert Camp for ATV riding in Sam. So this was the plan for Day 8. The riding to Sam was quiet a touristy experience with desert camps on both the sides of the roads and locals inviting you for camel rides from the main road itself. To reach this camp you need to take a detour of 2 kms into the desert. I started enjoying the off road and I was about to fall from the bike. I reached the camp by 1 pm. It was completely empty which meant I could ride the ATV in peace but no! There was a couple also who were a part of the batch. The rate chart for ATV ride is pretty good. For 20 min, they charge INR 2,500 and 30 mins, they charge INR 3,200. I tried to negotiate but my attempt went in vain since the in-charge told me that it’s very expensive to maintain them and parts are not available in India. The experience was incredible as I rode on the sand dunes and machine was very powerful. I got good Go Pro footage and few photos as well.
This sums up Jaisalmer chapter for me!
Day 9 (5 Feb 2019): Jaisalmer to Jodhpur – 323 kms
It was time to hit the blue city known as Jodhpur, which was the last destination of this tour. I had my breakfast, loaded my luggage on the bike and was on highway once again. I wanted to visit the Bhardariya library which is known as the largest underground library in Asia but unfortunately it was closed. This library is located in Bhadariya village, on the way to Pokaran, 75 kms from Jaisalmer.
I took an early lunch break in Dechu around 124 kms from Jodhpur. I had my lunch and then started riding. Animals crossing was very frequent during my tour and I dodged animals multiple times on the road but this time it was a check mate. I crashed into a goat at 80 kmph, I did not fall because at the very last moment I steered my bike to the right. The goat hit the left crash guard and then hit my left foot. After the impact I parked my bike on the left side and sat on the road side because of the pain. I was about to black out but fortunately did not. Locals did not help. After gaining full consciousness, I took the medical kit out, took my boot out and sprayed Moov spray for immediate relief. The goat owner came and said that the goat had died which meant I need to pay. To my luck, there was big hotel opposite the road. Looking at this drama, the hotel official came, spoke to the villager and told him that I am their guest. Finally, it was decided that I can pay as per my wish. So I paid INR 500 to the owner to settle the case and exited out of this situation. I rode for around 130 kms in pain, when I reached the guest room in the Army cantonment, I immediately informed my father and the commanding officer of the unit about the situation and the need for medical assistance. He immediately arranged his personal vehicle and 2 jawans to assist me. Since I was limping, they picked me up by holding both my legs and placed me in the vehicle. They went out of their way to help me. The check up was done at the hospital and to my relief the doctor informed me that there is no fracture but sprain. I was advised bed rest for a few days with a few medicines. More or less my trip had ended since I wanted my foot to recover so that I am able to do the rest of the journey.
Day 10 (6 Feb 2019) & Day 11 (7 Feb 2019)
Bed Rest and Sunny Deol movies on Zee Cinema.
Day 12 (8 Feb 2019): Jodhpur to Delhi – 605 kms
After 2 days of bed rest, I was able to put my foot down and walk, though the limping did not stop. I got ready, packed my riding boots and wore the soft sport shoes. There was no pain in my foot while I was riding. I rode comfortably with that extra attention to animals crossing the road. I was able to cover a lot of distance with a few water breaks. I had my lunch in Ajmer and met an Instagram follower in Jaipur. We had a cup of tea and discussed about riding to Ladakh, which I intend to do in 2019. From Jaipur to Delhi, the ride was decent but there were certain patches of roads which were bad. It was already dark before I reached Neemrana. I faced a 2 kms long traffic jam near Dharuhera but after that there was no traffic. I reached home safely around 10 pm.
Places to Stay
City: Pali, Rajasthan
Hotel: The Amba Villas
Review: No Parking, good rooms, prompt room service, food is not ok, it is better you go out in the city and eat, market is easy accessible from the hotel
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 1600 per night (excluding meals)
Review: Secure Parking, good rooms, prompt room service, food is just ok, poha is a must eat in breakfast, medical shops and puncture shops are nearby
Stay Duration: 3 nights
Rental: INR 1750 per night (via Make My Trip) and INR 1500 per night for on the spot booking. Please note this is for a single bed room.
Hotel: Kailash International
Review: Excellent room, lousy room service, basement parking, located on the Barmer by pass road and good food
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 1900 per night
Hotel: Fort Side Hostel
Review: Decent rooms with attached bathrooms, since it is hostel don’t expect room service, no food service, they offer tea and coffee, good for solo (especially woman) travelers, Jaisalmer fort is a kilometer walk from the hostel and on the way you will find a lot of eating joints to fill your stomach.
Stay Duration: 2 nights
Rental: INR 600 per night
The rest of the accommodations were booked in Army Cantonment. Hence, I cannot disclose the details. Please make sure that you book in advance especially the hotel properties since they fill up fast, hostels are still available.
“The gut feeling is the real you and sometimes you should listen to it for your own good”
If you have any feedback/inquiry/questions, please feel free to connect with me.
I don’t understand the looks of the motorcycle! Its ugly!
When did Mahindra started selling two wheelers?
Is this the same testing mule which we saw in 2010 on some random Italian track?
What is the purpose of this motorcycle?
These were some of the statements and questions posed when the Mahindra Mojo embarked it’s journey in India in October 2015. Little did I know about this motorcycle and it’s capability. Fast forward this to late 2016, I took a test ride of the motorcycle for good 30 kilometers and I was impressed. This motorcycle checked all the boxes in my mental checklist listed below:
Smooth & stress free engine
Long fuel tank range
Luggage carrying capacity
I will not bore you with the history much. I bought the Mojo (Touring Version) on 26 March 2017 in Delhi from Khandelwal Motors and I have clocked 28,000 kms till now. I will break the review into points which will be detailed and easy to understand if you are contemplating the purchase of this motorcycle. Please pardon me since I am not technically sound, hence this will be purely my natural experience, which I will share.
Point 1: Kitna deti hai? Mileage!
If you are sane person and ride a motorcycle with respect then in the city you will get a maximum mileage of 30 kmpl and minimum of 28 kmpl. On the highways you will get a consistent mileage of 32 kmpl. Now to measure the mileage of the bike the most accurate method is the full tank method. I always use this method since I don’t trust electronic displays and even the analog ones.
Point 2: Comfort
Long hours on the saddle are not at all an issue for the rider but pillion comfort is zero since the rear seat is narrow and in a tapered shape. Don’t be disappointed because the BS 4 model has a wider pillion seat. So, it will be easier for you to convince your wife/girlfriend. I never looked for alternative seat options, although a lot of Mojo owners have got their stock seats changed. The handlebars are also tilted towards the rider and the foot pegs are also positioned in such a way, that rider triangle becomes ideal for a long distance riding. Please note that it is not meant for the city commutes simply because it is heavy from the front. I have got use to it and riding it in the city is not much of an issue now.
Point 3: Handling & Suspension
With Diablo Rosso tires installed as stock, the motorcycle is a good handler on tight corners and gives you a lot of confidence. Even the tires which I am using now i.e. Michelin Pilot Street Radial are also very good under dry and wet conditions. In off road conditions, you will feel the bike is heavy from the front and you will find it a bit difficult to handle and at the same time the suspension handles the off road very well. Even while you ride on tarmac, the undulations on the road will not hurt you. The front USD forks and rear mono shock work like a charm.
Point 4: Tires
Well! The stock tires on the Mojo XT 300 are from Pirelli, namely Diablo Rosso. The specs of the tires match up to the tires used on racing track which means they have excellent grip but less life. In my case, the rear lasted me for 13,000 kilometers and the front lasted for 18,000 kilometers. I switched to a mixed compound tire (Hard and Soft) which meant longer life and good grip. Michelin Pilot Street Radial (150/60 R17, rear) and 110/70 R17, front was the answer to this.
Point 5: Engine & build quality
I have ridden this motorcycle in the Himalayas and recently did a Bangalore to Delhi road trip. Trust me guys! The engine is bloody refined, there are no rattling sounds, no vibrations, no loose nuts & bolts, no seepage, no weird noises from the engine, no loss of power & torque. The built quality of the motorcycle is top notch and you won’t be disappointed at all. I have ridden the bike on good, bad and ugly roads but till now the motorcycle is solid as a rock. The only downer was the water seepage in the speedometer, which was replaced under warranty at 22,000 kilometers. There are no problems in cold starts and make sure you idle the motorcycle for 30 seconds after the cold start. Don’t worry, you will not be late for the ride.
Point 6: Braking
Braking is a major issue in this motorcycle, to be very honest. The front brake is decent but the rear brake is dangerous. The rear tire use to get locked under hard braking. I went through a lot of forums, consulted Mojo owners and my friends. The problem was solved by doing two things i.e. changing of the brake pads and changing of the tires. I have not faced any tire locking issues after that. Touch-wood! At the same time, Mojo needs ABS for sure.
Point 7: Luggage Carrying Capacity
I had opted for the touring version which had saddle stays, so the motorcycle can carry luggage up-to 90 liters (rear) easily and benefit of having a metal tank is that you can use a magnetic tank bag. So the headache of opening and tying the straps is gone. Till now the saddle stays are holding good and not loose at all.
Point 8: Fuel Tank Capacity
21 liters of fuel tank! This is pure bliss. The fuel tank will give you tank range of 550 kilometers which is good enough for any long trip. Personally, I don’t prefer to ride my motorcycle in reserve since low fuel can reduce the injector’s life. If you own this motorcycle you will forget about petrol pumps!!
Point 9: Headlights & Auxiliary Lights
The stock headlights are not that effective during night rides and since I have taken the touring version, I use auxiliary lights to get more visibility. Is it age catching up or illumination problem? I really don’t know! Mostly, I prefer to ride in day time and avoid night rides unless it is necessary. So for me it is not a negative point.
Point 10: Service
The service network of Mahindra is not that vast and present in Tier 1 cities only as of now. Now coming to the cost of service, an average cost will be around 1800 INR to 2000 INR. The service is good and I get it done in front of me which also means peace of mind. Spare parts are available easily and I didn’t face issues on that front as well.
I think I have covered most the elements of the long term ownership. So to summarize this, I would say Mahindra Mojo is a very good package overall for motorcyclists who are looking for good quality touring bikes within budget. On a scale of 10, I will rate this bike as 8. The only thing which I feel lacks in this beautiful motorcycle is ABS. If ABS is installed in the motorcycle, it will become a hell of a deal.
Please do share your feedback and questions. Also, let me know if I have missed something which can covered here.
Sitting in my cubicle, bashing the keys on the laptop keyboard and attending to boring souls, somewhere in my mind it struck me that I need to ride to the great Himalayas. My stint down south in Bangalore deprived me of the privilege to travel to these mighty mountain ranges.
I had a lot of places in my mind to explore and I shortlisted Gangotri, the holy place which is the origin of Ganges. The plan was to do a 3 day ride, Gangotri was fitting the slot very easily, considering it’s an off season so no traffic, empty roads and empty hotels. No cribbing and whining tourists.
Peace of mind!!
I did not book any hotel in advance and personally I prefer to find the place after reaching the destination because a lot of properties are not registered online. You will get better deals on ground and you can see the place properly rather than being disappointed after travelling 400 kms and finding something not as per your expectation.
This time as well couple of my friends were not able to join me for the ride citing medical and work reasons. So this was solo ride for me yet again.
Alarm went off at 4 am and my mom woke me up at 5.30 am. Damn! I was late! I got ready in a jiffy. My bags were already packed, loaded them on my bike, said bye to mom and started rolling at 6.34 am. It was cold but I could not feel it since I was properly packed up with thermals, sweater and riding jacket. The cold air couldn’t sneak in from anywhere. The exit from Delhi was a breeze via Delhi Meerut expressway and then I took the Hindon elevated road.
Around 65 kms into the ride and I hit the Meerut bypass. I was expecting fog but there was no fog at all which meant more distance could be covered in less time. After riding for around 110 kms, I took a water break. There was still time for breakfast and on this highway, the place for breakfast is fixed i.e. Mc. Donalds at Manuspur just before Muzaffarnagar.
For the very first time, I liked the hot coffee of Mc. Donalds and Mc. Veggie was decent. After my breakfast, I headed towards my destination. After being so late, still I was able to cover good amount of distance. By 10 am, I reached Roorkee which is exactly 200 kms from my residence in Delhi. I encountered fog just before entering and exiting Roorkee. Reached Haridwar in no time and holy city was absolutely quiet. After crossing the city, I could see the mountains in the far horizon which got me excited just like good old days. Home Sweet Home!
The welcome to home sweet home was not that sweet because I took Chamba route via Narender Nagar which is under expansion phase. For the first couple of kilometers I thought the good patch is not that far but it never came. For almost 35 kilometers, it was dust, slush and stones. On a couple of occasions, I was about to fall because my bike was slipping on the wet roads. Luckily, I was able to handle the situation. This complete patch took almost 2 hours of my time and drained out a lot of energy. After crossing the bad patch I took a maggi break with chai.
After Chamba, the road was smooth till Uttarkashi with a few rough patches. The route became more scenic and I started clicking more photos. I think I should let the photos do the talking.
After riding for almost 12 hours, I reached Uttarkashi. Checked out a few hotels, did not like them. My friend who had not come for the ride advised me to search Oyo rooms and bingo I got a property just at the entry of the town. The name of the hotel was Hotel Sahaj Villa, it was completely empty and had ample secure parking space. The rooms were decent. I just checked in and dumped my luggage in the room. I had dinner at 6.30 pm, came back to the room, informed parents and friends that I have reached safely. I literally sunk into the quilt and slept @ 7 pm!
A few more photos of the day for the pleasure of your eyes:
Day 2: Delhi – Uttarkashi – Harshil Valley – Gangotri – 201 kms
I slept for straight 12 hours and woke up fresh at 7 am. I got ready at my own pace. Initially, I was planning to do Gangotri on Day 2 and head to Dehradun on the same day but I changed my plan and extended my stay in Uttarkashi by another day. I just took my tank bag and left my tail bag at the hotel room. The bike started in a single crank and did a minute warm up. The morning sun was so soothing to the body and eyes. Just 4 or 5 kms out of Uttarkashi towards Harshil, I stopped for breakfast @ Rawat fast food center. It was an English breakfast i.e. bread and omelette, my favorite. After the breakfast I started riding and the scenery became more beautiful. The gorges became deeper and mountains became taller. The road condition was good and I was moving at a decent pace. From Uttarkashi, Gangotri is around 96 kms.
After the Khedi waterfall, the climb to Harshil started and I could see the snow capped mountains.
The temperature was dropping drastically, my finger tips were almost frozen and paining. The views were so good that I stopped feeling the pain after sometime. All these years, I saw Harshil valley in photos and viewing it with naked eyes was an out of the world experience. The roads going through the woods was cinematic and the cold breeze was lovely. Then I saw a helipad where I took my bike clicked a few more photos.
After riding for around 4 hours I reached Gangotri. I could see snow on the side of the pavement which led to the temple. The temple was closed. I took a round of the place. Sat on the banks of Bhagirati river, thinking how beautiful life can be. I sat there for about half an hour. It was time to go back before it got dark.
On my journey back to Uttarkashi, I gave lift to a jawan from GREF (A parent cadre of BRO – Border Road Organization). I had company on my return journey and this guy had a lot of stories to tell me. He told me a lot of secrets of Nelang valley (you need permits to visit this place) which I plan to explore next year. I dropped him at Bhatwari and he offered me a cup of tea, I obliged to his request. The family members got excited to see a biker in their house and asked a million questions like where are you coming from? Which bike? What are you going now? How do you travel solo? I answered all their questions.
On way back to Uttarkashi, I again stopped at the same dhaba, where I had breakfast in the morning. I had tea and maggi.
I reached the hotel and took rest for sometime. Then I headed towards the town to explore some good cafe and found TFH run by Mr. Tilak Soni and I also saw Old Fox sir (Mr. Sandeep Goswami) from Xbhp. I ordered a cheese burger and hot coffee. The taste and preparation was good.
After coming back to the hotel, I just swiped through the photos in my phone to see what I had experienced today. Finally my tired body gave up and I slept. Time to head back.
Day 3: Uttarkashi – Dehradun – Roorkee – 431 kms
Woke up at 5 am and had a long way back home. The main entrance door of the hotel was locked. The reception guy was too lazy to get up and open it. He suggested me a back door exit. Interesting! Before loading the luggage on my bike, I cleaned and lubed the chain because it had dried up and was rattling too much. This is important because a dry motorcycle chain can break under high pressure, which can lead to a life threatening situation. Slowly and patiently, I did everything and I was set for the journey back home. Clicked a few snaps before exiting the hotel.
Again the morning Sun was so soothing and refreshing.
This time I took the road to Dehradun to avoid that Narender Nagar stretch, which was suggested by the family members of the GREF jawan. So when you are coming from Uttarkashi, you will reach a small village called Chinyalisour and just after this village, there is a hair pin bend turn to the right for Dehradun which is 100 kms from there. The road was in good condition and scenic too.
I took a break in Mussoorie. It was overcast and I was expecting rain but to my luck it did not rain.
I saw college going kids riding their motorcycles like rats running to save their lives. Nevertheless, coming back to the point, I crossed Dehradun via Rajpur road. I took the Saharunpur highway which is still under construction. The last time I time I had gone to Chakrata in 2015 through this road and it’s the same. The only difference was the weather. Last time I got roasted in the summer heat. All I could see was heaps of dust flying and potholes which could shake your soul. From that road I took a left for Roorkee. Once, I crossed Roorkee, the ride was pretty smooth with an exception of Modinagar traffic after Meerut. I reached by 8.30 pm.
Posting the hotel details below for your reference:
Hotel Sahaj Villa, Oyo Rooms
Per night: INR 600 (excluding the meals) – Off season rate
Review: Decent place to stay, food is not available, parking space is ample and secure
Location: Just at the entry of Uttarkashi, on the left hand side of the main road
I hope you found this blog useful. Please feel free to connect with me if you require any further information and do give feedback.
How would it feel like to ride on an endless road with nothing to hold you back? You are riding your motorbike, your mind, heart and soul just belong to you and no one else. That day no one can steal you from you. The winds that day are just strong enough to make you smile inside that helmet.
Background and Ride Preparations
Coming back to reality, I was serving notice period in my current organization and only a fortnight was left for me to join the new organization. Sitting in the living room of my rented apartment, I was thinking I should take leave for some days before I join the new company. Initially, I was hesitant to call up my new manager thinking that he might reject my request as I was required to join early but I wanted to give it a try. I called him up and asked him to give me a week’s break since I had not taken leaves for almost a year. To my surprise, he said ‘Ok’ and an explosion of joy occurred in my heart. I promptly thanked him for allowing me. Then he asked me about my plan for the week. I told him that I will be riding from Bangalore to Delhi on my motorcycle. Normally, people will say are you crazy? Why don’t you just catch a flight/train? He said, “Nice, do it and sleep well before the ride!” After hanging up the phone, I immediately started to plan for this ride ranging from bike preparations to spares (which I already had) to stay arrangement. The thought of riding for more than 2500 kilometers scared me a lot but that fear went away when I started preparing for it. Actually there was no preparation required because I already had 100% waterproof luggage solution except myself! The only thing required was bike service which was done in timely manner and I even got adequate time to ride it just after the service to check if there were any issues.
So here is the list of apparel/gears/equipment, I will used to complete the ride:
The last working day in my current organization was 27 July 2018, so I decided to start the ride next day and as per my plan I also kept 2 days in buffer as a contingency plan. So the ride dates were from 28 July 2018 to 3 August 2018. As far as the route was concerned, I kept it very simple and relaxing. The route plan is mentioned with the dates:
It was the first day of the longest solo ride of my life, had a sound sleep and woke up on time (4 am). Got ready with ease and my luggage was already packed. My friend Vidur sir (@travelmynation) helped me load the luggage on the bike and we had small selfie session. After the photography session, I took a deep breathe and bid goodbye to sir (he was half asleep) and Bangalore until next time. Cranked the bike, slotted the first gear and started rolling.
I took the NECE road to exit Bangalore onto the Bangalore – Pune highway. The weather was mind blowing and the tarmac was good. The traffic was very less so the exit from the city was hassle free. I maintained speeds between 70 kmph to 90 kmph because I had all the time in the world to reach home. After riding for around 100 kms, I took small tea & Parle G break and then continued my ride to Goa. Due to intermittent rainfall, I witnessed green pastures and the scenery was beautiful. Again after 100 kms, I took a water break and clicked a few snaps.
After good 330 kms, from Haveri I took a left towards Sirsi and started riding towards the coastal region. The dampness in the air increased the more I got closer to the coast. The tarmac was decent to ride, traffic was mild and I could cover a lot of distance. When I reached Sirsi, I had a small lunch break in a small tapri where in I had bread omelette and it was yummy but the tea which I had ordered after the meal was really bad and spoiled the taste of the meal. I paid my dues to the tapri owner and pushed off to Yellapur.
Now in the process to reach Yellapur, somewhere I took a wrong turn to Hegdekatta/Devanahalli, I really don’t know but this place was a maze for me due to two reasons, firstly I was going round in circles and secondly, all the signages were in Kannada. To my bad luck, it started raining heavily and to my good luck, I met a person who gave me the correct direction to Goa. The road was real bad, somehow after an hour of off-roading, I managed to reach Ankola. I still don’t know which route did I take, moreover GPS was not working since there was no network. I never reached Yellapur from Sirsi! Anyways, the moment I hit the coastal road, it was easy for me to navigate the route to Goa.
While I was riding, suddenly it struck my mind that a rider who I follow on Instagram posted photo of his bike on the Tagore beach in Karwar. So I also decided to go there and see if my bike could do the same. When I reached Karwar, I straight away rode to Tagore beach which was easy to locate and parked my bike on the beach. Clicked a few photos and sat there for sometime. This was a special experience for me and sound of sea waves was so soothing.
The day was coming to an end. I had done the booking in two hotels, one of them called up and asked if I am coming to the property. Although, they were charging INR 500 extra compared to the other hotel but the rooms were really good. Hence, I decided to go for Ciarans, Palolem. After crossing Karnataka border and entering into Goa, the first thing I did as a ritual was to crash into a petrol pump and get the fuel tank filled up to the brim because petrol is cheap here (INR 70 per liter). I reached Palolem in no time and it was easy to search the property. One guy helped me with my luggage to the room and the room was good for the price I was paying.
After dumping my luggage and riding gears, I freshened up and straight away headed towards the beach. The sound of the waves made me feel so relaxed! I went to a nearby restaurant, had dinner and came back just to crash on the bed. Day 1 comes to an end. Goodnight!
Day 2: Goa – Goa – 0 kms
Woke up late and fresh on Day 2, the shower was really soothing for my body, the cold water calmed my senses down and I was ready for Day 2. My friend had told me explore Goa but I am one lazy butt and decided to chill in Palolem itself. Ordered bread omelette in breakfast (my staple diet) and glass of fresh water melon juice. Good start to the day.
Talking about the weather, it was sunny till noon, then it became cloudy and then there was intermittent drizzle which would try to spoil the beach fun. The owner of the property had couple of pet dogs who were playful and we became good friends. Considering the fact that it was off-season, still there was a lot of hustle bustle on the beach which was decent for my liking. To be very honest, I wanted a company in Goa but there was no one with me. Sometimes, travelling solo is not good! Especially to Goa!
I took my bike out to check if everything was working fine. I cleaned the chain, checked for any puncture and there were none. Lucky me! Went back to the beach, sat on the sand and kept looking at the waves. When it was time for me to introspect, my brain was blank and I could not think of anything else. I just wished I had company. Took more photos.
In the evening, I had dinner and started to plan the route for Day 3 which was again not difficult to figure out. Thanks to Google Maps! After having a light dinner, I came back to my room with lot of beach sand sticking to my feet. Simply laid down on my bed, bidding farewell to the beach and Day 2 comes to an end. Goodnight!
Day 3: Goa – Pune – 521 kms
It was a Monday morning! I got up at 4 am and took my own sweet time to get ready for the day. After getting ready it was time to load the luggage on the bike. Loading was easy but the humidity was energy sapping. The house keeping guy was just looking at the way I was loading it and strapping it. Bikers who tour know that how difficult loading and unloading is on daily basis. Thanks to these motorcycle apparel and gear making companies, who have come up with bags which can be loaded easily on to your motorcycle. By 6 am, I was ready to move to my next destination Pune!
So I was on my way to Pune, the route which I took to get into Maharashtra was via Mollem. It was drizzling throughout and I was enjoying it. Since the roads were wet, I was riding slow and feeling every moment of the ride. Then I entered Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary which was dense and while I was passing through it, the road became narrower. I was expecting to witness some wild animal crossing anytime but it didn’t happen. I could not even stop in the sanctuary due to fear of a wild animal attack. I have crossed Bandipur and Agumbe forest but never crossed such a dense forest. I think I was the only one riding on that road that day. I found civilization when I reached Khanapur.
After crossing Khanapur, I headed towards Belgaum in order to catch up again with the Bangalore Pune Highway. After reaching Belgaum, it was 9 am already, so I decided to take a Parle G break with a cup of tea. Oh man! I loved that cup of tea! Informed my parents about my whereabouts. After this quick break, I started riding again and the views were really beautiful. I could only see lush green landscape on left and right side of the highway. It stopped drizzling and the weather was pleasant. I clicked a few photos. Enjoy!
I was just maintaining speeds between 80 kmph to 90 kmph and got a very good mileage of 33 kmpl. When I reached Kohlapur, it started raining again. I took a water break and stretched out my body.
I took a lunch break at Bhau ka dhaba in Satara and Pune was around 100 kms from there. Ordered dal and roti. The food was good and hygienic. After lunch, continued on my last leg for the day. So, my destination for the day Dehu road, Pune which is located on the outskirts of the city in Northern Pune. I did not enter the city and took the Mumbai highway, just like a Pune bypass and reached Dehu in no time.
My stay was arranged in Dehu Cantt and I cannot disclose the location where I was staying due to security reasons. The room was excellent, there was so much of parking space and I parked my bike in front my guest room. I called up my Pune friend and we planned to meet the next day in the city, plus I had to get my bike washed and checked. I have already stayed in Pune for 2 years and studied in Army School, Khadki, Pune. So, I knew a lot about the city but never knew I would ride to Pune. Day 1 ended with me relaxing in my room. Dinner was being served and after it, I just slept like never before. The day ends!
Day 4: Pune – Pune – 0 kms
Woke up around 7 am, got ready and met my friend in the city. From Dehu road, Pune city is around 28 kms. Although, it was a working day but I did not find any traffic. Met my friend at F.C. road from there we went to German Bakery to have breakfast. We both spoke at length since we were meeting after a long time and discussed random topics.
After meeting my friend, I headed towards the Mahindra service center to get bike washed and checked. The name of the service center is Solum Mahindra and you can just google for coordinates. The bike was washed properly, the chain was tightened, coolant was topped up and the bike was good to go. I started back to Dehu Cantt and in mid way also went to Nigdi Pradhikaran, as I had spent a lot of time here when I was in school. It’s a nice place to chill and relax. I had my lunch here and came back to my guest room by 6 pm. I met my dad’s friend there and we went out for dinner. In dinner, I had Maharashtrian Thali (Veg) and it was decent. Post dinner came back home and slept early to gear up for the next day.
Day 5: Pune – Indore – 617 kms
I woke up early, got ready and loaded my luggage. I left Dehu Cantt around 6.30 am. I exited Pune from Chakan Industrial Area. Fueled up for the day and started riding to my next destination Indore. While exiting Pune, there were a lot of bad patches of road which I had to encounter and after that the Nasik Highway was superb. I encountered a bit of rain as well but all went away after 50 kms from Pune.
I took a small Parle G break with tea and then continued my journey. So before entering Nasik, I reached a place called Sinnar and from there I took a right turn towards Chandwad which directly connected me to the Nasik-Indore Highway. It was just like a Nasik bypass but unfortunately, there were good amount of bad patches to keep me wide awake. The country side was beautiful and the villagers were looking at me as if an alien had entered their locality. After reaching Chandwad, the good highway started and I was zipping my way to Indore. The weather from pleasant turned out to be a bit humid and blowing wind kept me cool.
My butt was giving up after every 20 kms, so had to increase the frequency of water breaks and do some saddling.
I reached Mhow around 5 pm and Indore was around 40 kms far from there. I had booked a room in Hotel Somdeep Palace through Make My Trip which is near the outer ring road, so finding the hotel was not that difficult. Around 6 pm, I reached the hotel and checked in the room. The room was awesome. It gave me a feeling of staying in a 5 star hotel and in actual it was a 3 star. After dumping my luggage, I took a shower. Seriously after such rides, you take shower in lukewarm water, all the fatigue will go away in no time. Updated my parents and friends about my ride status. I ordered Chinese for dinner, which I shouldn’t have. Anyways, I could not even have half of it. Simply, posted some photos on Instagram and slept! Day 5 comes to an end!
Day 6: Indore – Jaipur 551 kms
Next day I got up a little late knowing the trip is coming to an end and I was in no mood to end it. Anyways! I got ready, packed my bags, checked out of the hotel, loaded the luggage and fueled up. By 7 am, I was on my way to Ujjain. A girl was crossing the road on her scooty, looking at me in full gear, she gave a thumbs up to me. This really motivated me for the day, not because she was a girl but the kind of respect you get as a motorcyclist. Took a tea break after exiting Indore, the weather was pleasant and there were no signs of rain.
From Ujjain, I took Mandsaur – Chittaurgarh route. The road was damn straight that at some point I was feeling sleepy while riding. I just kept riding, riding and riding. At one point, I started counting the number of trucks which I was overtaking. Nothing much to tell you for this route. The weather was warm but not hot. I kept singing a song by Nelly Furtado, “Why do all good things come to an end?”. Took a lunch break in a dhaba. Just before hitting Chittaurgarh, there is a left diversion to Udaipur (NH8). I missed the turn and went 1 km ahead just to realize that something is not right. The general sense of direction really helps sometimes. I checked the maps again and had to take small wrong way to avoid doing 10 to 20 kms extra because there were no intersections on that road. In no time I was back on NH8.
I had to fuel up for remainder of the journey, so just before Ajmer, I fueled up and while I was relaxing at the petrol pump. Some curious souls came to me and asked me the same questions list below:
Kaha se aa rahe ho? (From where are you coming?)
Kaha ja rahe ho? (Where are you going?)
Bike kitne ki hai? (What the price of the bike?)
Weird question alert – Aapki jaat kya hai? (Which caste do you belong to?)
I patiently answered all the questions and for the weird question my answer was, “Mujhe nahi pata!” (I don’t know!) and then they left me in peace. I reached Jaipur at 7 pm, the traffic made me real mad and crazy. I went from being a peaceful biker to an abusive one. It was humid and hot. Somehow I managed to reach my guest room which was not good at all and I don’t want to give the details of it. I just had simple dinner and slept. Day 6 ends!
Day 7: Jaipur – Delhi – 265 kms
With 2400 kms marked on the trip meter, I was just thinking how far I have traveled on my motorcycle. I opened Google Maps and just kept looking the length of the country I had covered. Remarkable for me at least! A dream come true! Day 6 started with the same feeling and this was last leg of my longest solo ride. Done and dusted!
Every mile I inched closer to my home gave me a sense of achievement. This feeling disappeared when I saw traffic in Gurgaon. It was hot and humid. I called my friend Ankur and told him that I will meet him on the way. I also ordered two bottles of water. Seeing him after 6 to 7 months was good.
The bike stopped at 2786 kms. JP Nagar, Bangalore to Malviya Nagar, New Delhi completed. Normal people travel from Bangalore to Delhi by flights, trains, cars and only crazy people like me can think of doing this. I did it. Initially, I could not imagine myself doing such a long motorcycle tour and that too solo! My fear and anxiety simply vanished when I hit highway. I felt I am home when I was riding on the highway.
Posting the hotel details below for your reference:
Per night: INR 2,000 (excluding meals)
Review: Excellent place to chill, the property is premium and pet friendly
Location: Palolem Beach
Hotel Somdeep Palace, Indore
Per night: INR 2,500 (excluding meals)
Review: The hotel room is good and the service is also up to the mark
Location: Ujjain Road, Indore (Ring Road)
Please do use the comments section for feedback and questions.
Sitting in my home in Delhi, I was contemplating about my motorcycle ride to that part of the Himalayas which is yet to be explored by a lot of people around the world and has a beauty which is very unique. I decided to explore Spiti valley as I had seen a lot of people riding to that place and posting photos on their social network. Moreover, life does not give you many chances to explore places and it also depends on your willingness to travel. The right mix of these ingredients and you will be steaming with all the enthusiasm you need!
My intent is to keep this travel blog simple and more informative in order to help motorcycle tourers in the best way possible.
Ride Dates: 3 Sep 2016 to 11 Sep 2016 (I know I am very very late!)
Riders: Initially, it was just me and later on I was being accompanied by Shashank and his wife Ayushi on a Bullet 500
Planning: Do I look like a guy with a plan? 😉
Most of the planning was done by the nice couple who were my partners. I give them the complete credit. Hotel bookings, places to visit, route to be followed and intervals to be taken. Everything was planned meticulously.
Pulsar 200 NS
Face Mask for preventing you from inhaling insane amounts of dust
Sun glasses for preventing you from becoming blind
Medical Kit(s)/Cosmetics/other essentials:
Combiflam/Disprin for headache
Diamox (for breathing related problems) and Stemetil (for nausea) – AMS related
Crocin for fever
4 Bottles of water
Nivea Milk Cream for dryness (Remember Spiti is similar to a cold desert and dryness is all what you will get)
Cash (Never trust ATMs in this part of the country)
Clutch wire (Because you don’t want to be stuck in a place with a broken clutch wire and no one around)
Accelerator wire (Take it easy but if in case you have a bad day, you should have it)
Engine Oil (Bullet friend had it but I did not, because I trust Motul)
Tubeless Puncture Kit (Pulsar 200 NS)
Although, the valley is a rain deprived area but do keep your rain gear handy because before entering or exiting the valley, you might encounter rain and we did, while on our way back from Manali to Chandigarh. One sweater and muffler will be adequate to save you from the cold in the evening and at night. During the day time, you will not need it because the blazing sun while give you just the right amount of tan. Make sure you take adequate clothing and take care of yourself because you need to.
D-Day minus one, I was packing my bags and so were my friends. Bike was serviced and all the regular checks were done. The meeting point was Dhaula Kuan and the time was 6 am.
Day 1: Delhi to Narkanda (450 kms)
We started our ride at around 6:30 am from Delhi. Getting out of Delhi sometimes is a cumbersome task but it was a breeze this time and we were cruising on National Highway 1 (Karnal Highway). The mandatory morning tea with paranthas and curd was taken at Food Garage restaurant which is 90 kms far from Delhi.
After having breakfast we started our ride towards Narkanda. The highway is awesome but be careful of local people crossing the road and lorries zipping past you. The weather was not that hot, very less traffic, we reached Zirakpur in no time and took a right turn towards Shimla under the Zirakpur flyover. If you go straight, you will reach Chandigarh which was not in our plan. After that turn Shashank noticed that his bike’s speedometer stopped working and then we stopped to have it checked which consumed an hour. Somehow the mechanic managed to fix it! We started moving towards Shimla. The Himalayan Expressway was amazing to ride on and then started the hill climb but to our dismay the widening of the Shimla highway was in progress so the roads were not good, there was traffic and lot of dust flying. Our hunger made us stop at Sagar Ratna for lunch and we still had good 120 kms to be covered.
After lunch, we started our journey towards Narkanda, the road became smooth as we gained altitude. Leaning into the curves with the cool breeze touching me gently made me think of the mightier Himalayas more and more. We crossed Shimla and reached Narkanda after sunset. The couple hunted for a hotel and finally we took shelter in Hotel Mount View after rounds of negotiations done by Shashank. We dumped our luggage in the room, had our dinner and slept. Day 2: Narkanda to Chhitkul (190 kms)
So for me the second day started with a headache which was almost unbearable, so I had to take the medicine after having breakfast and it was time to gear up for the day.
Initially, I was not keen to visit Chhitkul which is a detour of almost 55 kms from the main highway (NH505) starting from Karchcham Dam. On our way to Chhitkul, we crossed Jeori, Wangtoo, Tapri, Karchcham and Sangla. The beauty of the Satluj valley was out of the world. The tarmac was good till Wangtoo, thanks to the defence settlement in that area. You can easily do speeds of 80 kmph to 90 kmph. Enjoy the slideshow!
We had lunch at Sarahan just before Bhabhanagar. The greenery was really good post the monsoon season. We went from superb roads to no roads after Wangtoo till Karchcham dam which means dust flying and your butt getting a good massage. No problem, this is a real life biker. Once you reach Karchcham, there is a T intersection from where you need to take a right turn towards Sangla valley.
After entering Sangla valley, the tarmac more or less disappeared and was visible only in fragments. The place is picturesque and takes your breath away. After 30 kms, we reached Sangla and halted for a quick snack. Shashank and Ayushi insisted on having Thupka, the local dish made of soup, noodles and lots of vegetables. After looking at the quantity, I felt already full and had noodles. After having the “quick snack”, we started towards Chhitkul. The vistas were just mind boggling. We reached the place at 7 pm. With the clouds hovering over us and the sound of the river flowing just next to us, we couldn’t have wished for anything better.
One guy approached us to offer tents and to our surprise it was just on the banks of Baspa river. It was cold and the sound of the river flowing through was really soothing. The camp is known as Baspa Camp. The man in-charge gave us the biggest tent available since all the tents were empty due to off season. This was the first time I was staying in a tent and I must say nature’s lap is really comfortable. Dinner was served to us in time and beer (some local brand) was arranged for my dear friend. Lying in the tent I updated the notes in my phone and slept. The sound of the flowing river made me more excited for Day 3.
We woke up to a beautiful morning and I was the first one to get up to view the sunrise from China’s side. It was simply mesmerizing and it completely refreshed my mind. I clicked a few photos as well.
We started getting ready, had our breakfast and clicked a photograph with the guest room caretaker.
We commenced our journey back to National Highway No. 505 and again entered the bad stretch of road at Karchcham towards Kalpa. The primary reason for us to visit Kalpa was to refuel our tanks, because the next petrol pump was in Kaza which is around 200 kms from Kalpa. After reaching Kalpa, we stopped at a small shop and had noodles with a view of the Kinner Kailash Range. Here are a few photos:
After having an early lunch, we started our journey towards the majestic Spiti valley. As usual the road conditions were not good and we could not stop to click photos because we were being warned by security officials that these are landslide prone areas. The roads were so bad that I had to stop near a bridge to relax my back and butt. Watching me do that a security personnel came and asked me, “Are you alright?” and I said “Yes!”. This gave me a very clear idea that it’s not gonna be easy road ahead and the terrain will get tougher. Around 6.30 pm, we reached Spello, we did not plan to ride further as it was getting dark, also there was no place to stay in Nako. Checked into a small hotel. The room was not at all good, no fan and mattresses still covered in plastic sheets. I could not sleep properly. The hotel owner told us that Dalai Lama had stayed in his hotel which I refuse to believe looking at the condition of the place. Day 3 ends!
Note: Later on, I came to know there were good places to stay in Nako as well. If I go next time, I will stay in Nako
Day 4: Spello – Nako – Tabo (112 kms)
We woke up around 7 am, got ready, had breakfast, loaded the luggage and started moving towards Tabo. The scenic beauty of the place was amazing and seriously can’t be explained in words. We were gaining altitude at a good pace. Then came the board where it was written Welcome to Lahaul and Spiti. Euphoria for me! Enjoy the slideshow!
While ascending towards Nako, we witnessed beautiful gorges and pure blue skies. Every turn was a new story for us.
As the altitude increased, the oxygen level reduced but being well informed and aware riders, we took decent number of water breaks and Shashank’s wife had got Patanjali energy bars (Ramdev baba is everywhere). This kept us energized and hydrated. Unfortunately, the Bullet started giving problems while climbing. It was losing power, black smoke was coming out of the exhaust and finally it broke down at Nako. We asked the locals if there was a mechanic and none of them had any idea. This got us worried but we all kept our calm.
A group of Bulleteers where coming from Spello and Ayushi decided to stop them for help since we did not have options and to our good luck they had a mechanic with a back up vehicle. The lead of the group was from Gurgaon. He was very kind and helpful. The spark plug had gone for a toss and was replaced with a new one. We thanked the mechanic and the group lead. While heading towards Sumdo, we faced a small road block as BRO folks were were constructing a road and within 30 minutes, the road was done!! Below is the photo:
Never in my life I was so happy and scared to death on the very same day. The death defying moment came just 500 meters before the check post at Sumdo, Shashank was just 50 m ahead of me, meanwhile the BRO labor told me that rocks can fall anytime so don’t wait. The truck coming from the opposite side passed Shashank’s bike clearing our way to move, he had moved just 10 m ahead and rocks came tumbling down. They were not that big in size but big enough to take away a life. Seconds after witnessing this, I slammed the 1st gear, rode over the stones, mud, dust and crossed that shooting stones area in a single breath because there was no going back. We stopped at the check post and for 2 minutes were thinking what had happened with us. After drinking water, we finished the formalities at the check post. Continuing our journey towards Tabo, we clicked more photos:
We took a detour of around 20 kms to Giu where there is a beautiful monastery. Our bikes started asking for oxygen and somehow we managed to reach Giu village, where a couple of villagers fed us with Maggi and tea inside their home.
After having our lunch and getting hydrated, we headed towards the monastery. The main shrine was closed but that section was open where the mummy was placed. Shashank and Ayushi went inside and got to see it closely, unlike me as I was wearing boots. Opening and wearing them back again was an upheaval task since it has laces. I clicked the photo from outside the door.
Shashank also had a brief chat session with the ITBP soldier, he told us that the mountain you see on the left, on the other side of it is China. After this visit, our minds were relaxed and we continued towards Tabo. The earth was gulping the sun and it’s rays made the barren mountains look even more beautiful. Here are more photos on our way to Tabo:
After a long and an adventurous day, we finally reached Tabo and checked into a guest house managed by a Nepali couple. I had never seen such a calm and peaceful place. After dumping our luggage and changing, we went for a stroll in the village. It was magical. All we could see is the locals and Israelis. We entered a cafe where people were smoking up, drinking and playing guitar. All were in a merry mood and I could not see any Indian which is personally good for me, we have enough of them in our metropolitan cities. This a different world all together and you need to enjoy it.
Dinner time! The couple cooked good food for us. We ordered a Taco and thought that the quantity would be just like the ones we get the cities (peanuts!) but two huge tacos were served to us. There was an American sitting just next to us who suggested us to order Shakshuka (Famous Israeli dish) which normally is served in breakfast but we decided to have it in dinner.
After having dinner, the guest room manager told us to come out and look at the sky. We came out and kept gazing at the sky. Never in my life I had seen so many stars, it was the Milky Way galaxy visible to the naked eyes. Sometimes I just wish life was so simple. With all the good thoughts pouring into my mind, I went back to my room, ducked into my quilt and slept. Day 4 finishes!
As usual I woke up early morning to see the sunrise. The couple was too lazy to get up early but finally got up after I got all animated. We got ready and proceeded to have our breakfast. We ordered bread and omelette. The preparation was good as usual. The food is very rich in this part of the country.
After having breakfast, since we had less distance to cover that day and had time in our hand. We decided to visit the Tabo Monastery. Photography is not allowed inside the premises and there is no light inside the main shrine but it was so peaceful.
“You want to find the lost person in you, come to Tabo!”
We went to shop and I bought the prayers flag. The actual story behind this was that I wanted to earn this and not just buy the flag from Delhi. The feeling was amazing to earn that prayer flag in Tabo. My advice to all the bikers, you should always earn this. Ayushi tied that flag on my bike and voila! Here I will leave you with a nice quote from Dalai Lama:
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”
Time to move ahead. We loaded our bags on the bikes, bid good bye to the lovely couple managing the guest room and cranked the bikes to explore more. The road from Tabo to Kaza is picturesque. At every turn you will felt like clicking pictures.
From the main road to Kaza from Tabo, we took a detour of 8 kms to Dhankar Monastery. The road conditions were average which I feel is excellent in such places. The monastery was beautiful but the main shrine was closed. Not sure about the reason. We took a stroll around the complex and clicked again.
After Dhankar, we headed towards Kaza which was close to about 25 kms from Dhankar. The beauty of the barren land could not be matched. This part of the country is totally different. The dry and cold geographies have their own charm. As a human you need to embrace it and respect nature as always. We kept looking left and right while riding our steeds to enjoy the nature. The road conditions were not that good but not that bad either. You need to be careful of the stones which come in your path. We took those much needed water breaks energized with energy bars. Life savers, I must say.
Finally, we reached Kaza. Shashank had booked couple of tents in Zostel which was just before entering Kaza city on the left hand side, downhill. Due to fatigue, unloading the luggage took our breath away. Here is a photo of our bikes parked adjacent to the tents.
After looking at the tents, I got excited yet again because it was my second time in a tent. When I entered the tent, it looked comfortable initially but it actually restricted my mobility a lot considering that I am 6 feet 2 inches tall. It was difficult for me to adjust in that small space. Anyways, took hotel manager’s mobile to inform parents the status since we were out of network for more than 2 days and will continue to be till we reach Manali. We inquired about the nearby places to visit around Kaza, the manager suggested us to visit Langza, Hikkim and Komic but before that we had to make sure that we tanked up for the ride ahead because after Kaza, the next petrol pump is Manali. We immediately rushed to the petrol pump but the pump was not working some kind of pressure created in the day time in the underground tanks due to which the pump was not able to pull the fuel. This was the reason explained by the attendant and he requested us to come at 7 pm. The road to Langza, Hikkim and Komic is scenic and you get lost in that beauty. Langza has vast grasslands and a statue of Buddha facing the village in the valley. May his blessings keep the village safe and sound.
After Langza, we went to Hikkim where the highest post office (4440 m ASL) in the world is located. The post office is located down hill, so need to park your vehicle on the road and walk. Ayushi and Shashank were really excited about sending a postcard to their own residence, which they did. The uphill walk literally took our breath away, so much so that one local villager got me a mug of water to drink. We dragged our tired butts on our lovely machines and moved to Komic, which is the highest village reachable by a motor-able road. On our way back to Kaza, it was almost dark, we reached the petrol pump. I got my bike filled first and when the attendant finished filling petrol in Shashank’s bike, electricity went out. Luck was on our side that day! We came back to Zostel, had dinner and slept.
Day 6: Kaza – Key – Kibber – Losar (90 kms)
Our next destination was Nomad’s Cottage located in Losar village. We started riding from Kaza, visited Key monastery and rode around Kibber village. Riding is freedom, which took us to this little village called Losar. We reached the guest room. Bullet broke down again, we checked with the locals if this can be fixed, but there was no hope. Shashank was hopeful that the group helped us in Nako will be crossing Losar. He rode to the main road and unbelievable, he found the group again. The guest house was very cozy and the hospitality was good. This place is a must stay. The dinner was served, there were few more guests who arrived late in the evening, unfortunately one of them was not well. Post dinner, our tired bodies made us retire to the bed. Day 6 over and out.
Day 7: Losar – Kunzum La – Chanderatal – Gramphu – Manali
This was the toughest part of the journey simply because after Losar there were no roads. Literally, no sign of any kind of tarmac whatsoever. We woke up at our own pace, got ready, had our breakfast, bid adieu to the gentleman who served us and headed towards Chandratal lake. This time it was just riding on stones and rocks. We reached Kunzum top and Shashank rode till the Kunzum stupas, while me and Ayushi were waiting on the main road. On my downhill ride from Kunzum top, there was a truck coming from the opposite side. The driver got animated and asked me, “Bhai maza aa raha hai?”. I just smiled. We even encountered a lot of small water crossings on our way to this famous lake. There was a stretch where even the non-metaled road finished and I was left clueless about the direction to ride. Somehow we managed to reach that place. Again the bullet broke down, so the couple parked the bike on that spot itself and walked for good 1.5 kms to reach the lake’s parking lot, from there the lake was another 1 km walk. With no energy left in our bodies, we just glanced at the lake from the top, clicked a few photos and did not go down hill since we had to reach Manali before it was dark.
So back on our bikes, we started our ride towards Manali. We reached Batal and had our lunch at Chacha-Chachi ka dhaba. My friend Lovish Juneja, who has been to Spiti, I don’t know how many times, had told me how dreadful this Batal-Gramphu (50kms) stretch is. Yes! It was scary, fun and exciting. We literally were riding on a river bed with stones hitting under the belly of my bike. Then, Ayushi got hurt on her foot while Shashank tried to save the bike from crashing into a big rock. I am sure that was painful and it was decided that she should not take her shoes out. Next up, was the Chhota Dhar (water crossing), which we crossed easily but the mad nallah was really mad. I thought it is the river flowing across and there is an alternative route but no we had to cross that. I managed to cross it with ease but unfortunately, the Bullet got stuck, so I had to go back into the water and Ayushi had to get down from the bike and push it from behind while I pull it from the front. Oh man! It was crazy! The water was very cold. After reaching Gramphu, when we turned towards Rohtang and saw our bikes moving over tarmac, I yelled in joy! Finally!! We reached Manali somewhere around 8.30 pm and straight away went to the hospital for x-ray to ensure that there is no fracture and fortunately, it was a sprain. We searched for a place to stay and found Oyo rooms. We had our dinner, did not talk much, may be we were still thinking about the experience which we had and slept. Day 7 comes to an end!
To be very honest with you guys, I did not click a single picture of that horrific Gramphu stretch as I was very tired and a bit scared about reaching late. I will be doing this circuit again and I will be better prepared.
I will merge these two days since nothing significant happened as we were returning home. Yes of course, we had that feeling of nostalgia. We left late from Manali for Chandigarh. It was dark by the time we reached Swarghat, the roads were not good and then we took a short cut to Pinjore via Baddi since our guest room was in Panchkula, so it would not make sense to go around Chandigarh and then enter Panchkula. So the road from Swarghat to Baddi was really bad and the weather was moderately hot. We thought we were lost because we could only see lorries, but I knew we were on the right path. After taking a beating of the bad road, smooth road began and we took a halt for dinner. The tired and broken couple were wanting to book a stay nearby but I told them just hold on for some more time, the guest rooms which were booked are worth it and you wont regret. After eating dinner, we carried on and after 20 odd kms, finally we hit a T point on the Himalayan expressway from where we took a right turn to Panchkula. Out of happiness for no reason, we literally ripped our bikes on the expressway. We reached our guest room around 11 pm. Shashank and Ayushi liked guest room very much. Next day, my old friend Harsimran surprised me with a visit. We studied together in Army School, Kirkee, Pune. It was nice meeting him after so many years and thank you for coming.
After a good night sleep, we left our guest room in Panchkula by 11 am continued our journey back home. In the complete journey, there were no puncture and after the Panipat toll, the Bullet got punctured twice. Luckily, the puncture shop was not far and the attendant told that it is not easy to take out the rear wheel of this model plus we had to unload the luggage as well. Anyways, things were sorted in an hour’s time and we were on track. Around 4 pm, we reached Delhi, safe and sound. I felt a sense of achievement after I parked my motorcycle and just kept looking at it for a minute. This trip taught me a lot of things and I will be better prepared next. While the Bullet was plagued with issues, my Pulsar 200 NS performed exceptionally well and did not break down even for a second. Kudos to Ayushi and Shashank for being patient and contributing for majority of the photos. Thank you to my parents for believing in me and my brother for bugging me while I was packing my luggage before the ride began.
You know when riding a motorcycle is in your blood, you cannot survive without it and that craving makes you go crazy. This is what happened with me since I had not ridden in May. Luckily, my friend (Kaushik) called me and asked me if we can go to Chikmagalur. I said yeah why not! Moreover, I had not seen this place. The search for a place to stay began and my friend booked a room in Zostel. The usual preparations a day before the ride. In addition to this, we were also prepared for heavy rainfall.
Day 1 (16th June 2018): Bangalore to Chikmagalur (265 kms)
Actually, it was 300 kms for me since my friend had called me to his residence in Bellandur (meeting point), and from there we took the outer ring road, instead we could have easily escaped the city by taking NECE road (aka Nice Road) from JP Nagar. We were super late, thanks to me for getting up only after my friend called me up to check, started from Bangalore at 8 am and managed to get out of the city by 9 am. So to reach Chikmagalur, we took the road to Nelmangala and from this place, we took a left towards Mangalore highway. The weather as usual was very nice. It was time for us to have our breakfast and we took our first stop @ Thatte Idli in Kunigal which is around 47 kms from Nelmangala’s exit to this highway. I gulped two vadas and Kaushik had idli. After the sumptuous breakfast, we headed to our destination. The roads are mind blowing, you just need to slot the gear and hit the gas. We reached Hassan which is around 150 kms, in no time and from here we turned right towards Belur. The farms on both sides of the road were green due to monsoons. One of the reason as to “Why We Ride?”. We reached Chikmagalur by 2 pm, checked in Zostel, the room was spacious, there was no provision for main course meals, we managed lunch with bread omelette and Maggi. In the evening, me and Kaushik decided to roam around in the town and this place for sure is happening. We were trying to search a good place to eat dinner and found Mughal Darbar. The butter chicken, chicken biryani and rumali roti was decent. Post dinner, we headed back to Zostel and slept like never before. Day 1 ends.
Day 2 (17th June 2018): Chikmagalur – Mullyanagiri – Bangalore (325 kms)
We woke up at 6 pm and the plan was to head towards the highest peak in Karnataka i.e. Mullyanagiri. Idea was to reach there early morning but we were late already. We got ready, paid the food bill and pushed off to our next destination which was just 25 kms away. Riding to this place was a bliss. I switched on my Go Pro and made some videos which I will post later on. There was a little bit of off-road during the hill climb. The complete mountain was covered with clouds and we could not see anything once we reached the top. We parked our bikes just a few meters before the main location where there were many cars parked. Kaushik started making a time lapse video from his Go Pro and was waiting for the clouds to move away, so that the video would make sense but it never happened.
On way downhill, we found a spot which gave a full view of the lush green valley. We parked our bikes there clicked a few more photos.
Back into the town, we had our breakfast and headed back to Bangalore. We reached back around 5 pm. In the complete ride, it did not rain. The last leg of the ride, when we entered NECE road, it started raining heavily. Both of us reached home safe and sound.
Posting the hotel details below for your reference:
Per night: INR 2,500 (excluding meals)
Activities/places to see: Mullyanagiri Peak
Review: Good rooms but no full time meals available and the other guests keep chatting loudly late in the night which is the same problem I faced in Zostel, Kaza.
Honeymoon in a corporate office means either you are a new joiner or you are serving notice period. I was service notice period and there was no pressure on me to work, so taking advantage of this time, me and my best friend (Ankur) decided to visit a place called Tordi in Rajasthan which is around 370 kms from Delhi. It was the onset of winters in Delhi and the right time to hit the tarmac. This was our second visit on motorcyle and the reason to go there again was pretty simple, the host is an amazing person, a famous personality in Tordi and owns the historical Tordi palace which is converted into a luxurious hotel. After coming back from office, fueled up my bike, got the air pressure checked, also checked for any punctures, packed my bag and essentials for the trip, the usual drill for every motorcyclist. The starting time of this trip was really relaxing i.e. around 6.30 am since the roads are good and distance could be covered easily.
Day 1 (18th November 2017): Delhi to Tordi (370 kms)
The loud alarm smashed my ear drums and I was wide awake. Got ready comfortably and loaded the luggage on my bike. The route I took was National Highway 8 towards Jaipur (now know as NH 48). Ankur was waiting after the IFFCO Chowk flyover, as always ready on time, sometimes I wonder whether he sleeps properly or not. We both were really excited and were looking forward to this trip. And here we goooooooooo!
NH8 is a 6 lane highway and the ride was pretty smooth. Our first stop for breakfast was Cafe Coffee Day. We had some sandwiches and hot coffee. The coffee was really nice!
After the breakfast, we continued riding to our destination. There will be some patches on NH8 which will keep you on your toes and then there will be patches which will make you feel sleepy. We covered good amount of distance and 40 kms before entering Jaipur, took the left exit towards Ajmer from Sundarpura. Now we were on the outer periphery of Jaipur city. We had ridden for more than 200 kms, so stopped for a water break and clicked some photos.
After the small break, had to put the navigation since we had forgotten the exit which we took the last time on the left. Following the google maps, we took the exit and turned left towards Diggi-Malpura road. Ankur didn’t look confident that we had taken the correct exit but I insisted that this was the correct one. We rode further and to our surprise the road finished. It was all sand! I checked the maps, the route was correct but we had taken the left turn before the actual turn. The sand and off road got us excited.
The exciting off road ended in a couple of kilometers and we came back on the tarmac. Finally, the right turn towards Malpura arrived and we were heading on the right way. A photo of Malpura road.
From Malpura, we took a left to Tordi and we reached our destination. Siddharth, the property owner was waiting for us. We greeted each other with a smile. We were hungry and delicious lunch was served to us. After the lunch, Siddharth told us to explore this place more, unlike the last visit in which I slept after lunch, what a waste that was. He got his Bolero, took us to his farms from where all the vegetables are taken & cooked, then he also showed us Tordi Sagar lake and the defunct dam. We sat there for some time and that area is very peaceful. He also showed us his English made double barrel guns and that were class apart. Truly vintage stuff! Enjoy the slideshow.
After the sunset, Siddharth took us near the sand dunes to see if there were any foxes and yes we found a few of them, the headlights of the car helped us to locate them, we returned to the property and it was time for us to drink and enjoy the view of Tordi from the rooftop. Three of us discussed Goa at length and made more plans to travel. During this conversation, we also decided to head to Sambhar lake from this place because Ankur had not seen it, the last time. Dinner was served and I ate like an animal. It was time for us to sleep.
Day 2 (19th November 2017): Tordi – Duddu – Sambhar Lake – Delhi (440 kms)
Got up with a hangover on Day 2. Ankur woke up early and had gone to check out the vicinity early morning. I shouldn’t have consumed so much of alcohol since I missed the sunrise and also could not click good photos. I got ready and both of us had breakfast. Got a few snaps in front of the property.
We thanked Siddharth for his hospitality and headed towards Sambhar lake. So from Tordi, you need to head back to Malpura, go straight for 100 kms and you will reach Sambhar lake. The road was under construction and was not in good condition but our bikes were forgiving, all thanks to the good suspension set up. Here is a snap of the road.
There were some patches where tarmac was present but most of it was off road. After crossing Duddu, we were just waiting to see the sight of the lake. Sambhar lake is huge and there are multiple entry points to it but the best one is from the temple’s side. The name of the temple is Mata Shakambhari Mandir. From this location, you will get the complete view of the lake. We entered the lake and were amazed by its vast expanse. Ankur made a small video as well before being interrupted by a grumpy police official who said no to video recording because he was expecting us to pay for this. Just like kids, we said, we will not record, when he went away, we started recording again. Leaving aside the unimportant incident, I clicked a few photos as well.
After staying there for good 20-25 minutes, we headed on our way back to Delhi. It was a long journey way back home but we did it quite comfortably. Overall, the trip was very relaxing. Me and Ankur will definitely come back again. This time will make good amount of videos.
In the end, I would like to tell you that Tordi is the hidden treasure of Rajasthan which people generally ignore but it is really nice and peaceful. So go for the hunt.
Posting the hotel details below for your reference:
Per night: INR 2,500 (excluding meals)
Activities/places to see: Jeep ride, sand dunes and Tordi sagar dam
Review: Excellent place to chill, good food & the owner is now our good friend
I know this is an abrupt start to a blog but aren’t we all bored of the conventional things in life!
This trip was planned on a short notice because I was supposed to travel to Delhi for some personal commitments but those plans got postponed. My leaves were already approved, so I had 4 days in hand. Sitting in my office, tapped on Google maps to check out the nearby locations to visit and found Wayanad. I zoomed in the map to see if there are any home stays and I found a place called Hiliya Resort. Immediately called them up, and got the booking done easily.
A day before, I finished my office work, came back home, completed the pending household chores, packed my bags, prepped my bike gears, set the alarm and slept. Actually, I could not sleep properly, that anxiety and excitement to ride the very next day is still there, even after riding motorcycle for 10 years now.
Day 1 (7th April 2018): Bangalore to Wayanad (282 kms)
*Alarm goes off at 4 am*
*beep* *beep* *beep*
I slammed it shut and slept again. When I woke up, it was 6.20 am and I was super late. Got ready in a flash since I had done the preparations a night before. So the ride started at 7.22 am and there I go!! I took the NECE road and then the exited to Mysore road. The traffic was mild, my mind was free and I had a smile on my face. The weather was good and I breezed through the road. Took a pit stop at my favorite Cafe Coffee Day, Maddur.
After having a regular cappuccino and a sandwich, I continued my ride, crossed small towns like Ramnagara, Channapatna, Srirangapatna, Mandya. So just before entering Mysore, took a left turn onto the Outer Ring Road which leads to Gundlupete. The road was almost empty with very less traffic, so the bike and rider were very happy.
After reaching Gundlupete, I took a right turn towards Wayanad via Sultan Bathery. There’s something special about the highways down South, they are very scenic. Plugged in my earphones to listen some light music while I gently pull the throttle. Next up on my way was Muthanga Wildlife Forest and I was expecting some elephants crossing the road but there were none. I did witness some deers. Nature is beautiful!!
Decent slideshow there. Hope you liked it! So after crossing the forest, I reached Sultan Bathery and from here the resort was not far. I took a tea break at the Karnakata and Kerala border, where the cops were stopping almost every 4 wheeler to check for alcohol.
I was not clear about the direction, so simply started the navigation on google maps which led me to Beenachi. From there, I took a right turn on Panamaram Beenachi Road and the road was completely covered the green trees and grass. I was feeling hungry and started searching for some decent place to eat. I stopped at restaurant which was looked good.
Ordered a chicken biryani and lime juice. The biryani was not at all good as the chicken was hard. I managed to eat half of it and left the rest. Gave a nice feedback to the owner and got rid of them by paying Rs. 140. Continued the ride towards the resort and from Panamaram Beenachi Road took a right turn towards the resort.
Finally reached the resort and the location is amazing. The property looks very traditional and old school, typical South Indian architecture at the periphery of a forest. I checked in and the room was also excellent. The view outside the room was refreshing and surprisingly a mild breeze started which made the evening cooler.
The resort staff was very courteous and welcoming. While chilling on the hammock in front of the room, I started planning my second day. I asked the manager if there are any nice places to visit nearby in Wayanad. He suggested me a lot of places out of excitement but I shortlisted a couple of them i.e. Banasura Sagar Dam (40 kms) and Lakkidi view point (38 kms from Banasura Sagar Dam). Took a stroll around the property and had dinner. Just rewinding the events during the day in my mind, I slept.
Day 2 (8th April 2018): Hiliya Resort – Banasura Dam – Lakkidi View Point – Hiliya Resort (118 kms)
I woke up to a nice morning, had my morning tea, sitting in the veranda and listening chirping of the birds. It was time for me to get ready for the day. The complimentary breakfast was decent and as per my request. I always eat omelette and bread in breakfast. My conversation with the manager continued and we discussed a lot about Kerala. After the breakfast, packed my essentials in my bag and it was time for me to explore the place as planned. The motorcycle started without tantrums, as always and I headed to the main road.
I was in no mood to rush things as I had a lot of time in my hand. I was not riding fast and enjoying the lush green geography. The breeze was cool and sun was bearable.
After reaching Kalpetta, I took a right turn towards Banasura Dam. The roads were nice to ride on but the omnipresent smell of sea food is something which I personally didn’t like. Nevertheless, my focus was on reaching the dam. After riding for an hour, I reached the place, found a suitable space to park my bike and the place was full of people. No surprises there, since it was a Sunday. The guy over the entry counter asked me, “How many tickets?” and I answered, “One”. He gave me a strange look as he might be thinking, who comes alone to such places.
Now the dam from the counter was at least a kilometer walk which was good enough to tire me. After reaching the top, the view of the reservoir was spectacular minus the people around. The authorities have maintained the place very nicely. I also did a live Instagram video (@theroamingdelhite) to show my followers how beautiful the place is.
My friend had told me not to miss the speed boat activity, so I rushed to the counter on the right hand side of the dam but unfortunately, it was closed for booking and I was informed that the next booking will start at 2.30 pm. It was 12 noon and I was not in the mood to wait. So I clicked a few more pictures of the place and headed to Lakkidi view point.
Lakkidi view point is situated on the southern edge of Wayanad. It is at an altitude of 2296ft from the sea level and is at the distance of 5 km from a famous town, Vythiri. I had visited this place 4 years back as well, when I had come with my friends again on a bike ride. On the way I also found a lot of tea estates, so took a detour to get some nice snaps.
During monsoons, the view point is covered with clouds which makes it look more beautiful. I took an hour to reach this place. This view point is also full of monkeys, so I kept all my stuff inside my bag. I spent around 15 minutes there and enjoyed the view.
It was time for me to head back to the home stay but before that had to serve my never ending hunger, so my friend had reminded me of the Cafe Coffee Day on Lakkidi road. I halted there for a sandwich and a frappe. After the meal, I reached the home stay and slept for an hour. A couple of photos I clicked on my way back.
It was dinner time and I had to plan my Day 3 which was the ride to Ooty. The hotel booking was not yet confirmed and I was trying to find home stays but they were way too expensive or already booked. I called up my friend and he suggested me Kalahatty Mountain Resort. Got my booking done and I was all set for Day 3. Time to sleep!
Day 3 (9th April 2018): Wayanad to Ooty (110 kms)
I woke up, got ready, packed up my stuff and loaded my motorcycle. Basic checks were completed. The breakfast was ready on time and was finished on time. The manager clicked a few photos of me with the property. Here’s a slideshow:
I thanked him, the cook and started my ride to Kalahatty Mountain Resort, Ooty which is located between 19th & 20th hairpin bend while you are descending from Ooty towards Masinagudi. The manager of the resort helped me with the coordinates and also sent one person to pick me because its a complete off road trail from the main road and elephants/bisons do cross. I thought it will be easy but it was scary. My bike handled it very well both downhill and uphill climb. The property has been given a look which very well merges with the forest.
Lunch was quickly served and it was delicious. Since it was too sunny to take a stroll around the place, I took a quick nap. In the evening the helper took me for a stroll. We had just covered 100 m of walk and bison was standing 100 m away from us. The wild animal looked at us, vanished into the forest and I could not click. The person with me said that it is not safe here, so we went downhill. I saw some deers, Malabar squirrel and I was expecting some elephants but there were none. The evening was cold and I was not carrying my jacket, so had to wear my riding jacket. Dinner was served by 9 pm and I slept.
Day 4 (10th April 2018): Ooty to Bangalore (260 kms)
I woke up to a very nice morning and sipped my cup of tea. It was time for me to head back home, taking all the memories from this wonderful trip. Got ready and loaded my bike with luggage. This time I had to do that off road track all by myself with the luggage. The manager was kind enough to help me during the downhill ride and it was time for me do uphill to reach the main road. I was just hoping that elephants should not be crossing will I make the climb else I will lose momentum. I slotted the first gear and did the climb in one shot. Pheww! That was difficult but I did it. It gave me satisfaction and a sense of achievement. From here on the journey was smooth, I crossed Masinagudi and Bandipur forest. I didn’t click much. Posting some photos of Day 4 experience.
I safely reached Bangalore by 3 pm and this ends the trip. I wish I would have ridden more but this is life. Good things are just round the corner and you need to be patient.
Posting the home stay details below for your reference:
Hiliya Resort, Wayanad
Per night charges: INR 2,500 (only breakfast included)