The Boiling Point!
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.
The route plan is mentioned with the dates:
- 30 November 2018 – Delhi to Uttarkashi – 420 kms
- 1 December 2018 – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri – Uttarkashi – 201 kms
- 2 December 2018 – Uttarkashi to Delhi – 431 kms
Day 1: Delhi – Roorkee -Haridwar – Chamba – Uttarkashi – 420 kms
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.