AtoZ Himachal

Its a unique experience to tour Himalayas with less
number of people , specially on the bike , since it
lets you know your inner self and enjoy the peace and
tranquility of de Himalayas.
It seems now it would be an annual pilgrimage to the
mighty Himalayas every year :-)
Enjoy this 1500 km journey into the himalayas.

Total Days :10 (Delhi to Delhi)
Total Distance : 2056 km

06/06/2004 – Sunday (In the Rajdhani)
————————————–

Sat in the train on Sat 5th June, all excited for the
trip , just waiting for Delhi and meeting Ajay and
starting the trip the next day. On the opposite seat
was seated Mr. Suresh Sharma who stays in Delhi- Karol
baug. We talked about this trip and he was very
helpful and said that if any help needed do let me
know. (Mr. Suresh Sharma- 9899112444).

Sunday morning I could see Rajasthan’s beauty from the
train. Just imagined me riding with the train on the
small road which was parallel to the tracks. Could see
the endless desert on both sides, camel caravans ,
small villages passing by. It was unlike the Rajasthan
we saw last year while riding through it on HN 8.

Finally reached New Delhi Station at 10:00 am.Now the
torture begins – of carrying my luggage to Platform
no:12 , then Platform no:1 – due to the wrong info I
got about the location of parcel office.Finally
reached the parcel office at Platform number 1.

Then I got the shock of my life. The porters at parcel
office told me that my bike is nowhere to be found,
and since I had sent by Jammu Tavi it might have gone
to Jammu. By that time Ajay had come and we started
planning that we will start riding to Jammu after
fixing the carriers on Ajays bike and take my bike
from Jammu itself rather than waiting for it to come
here. After some time the porter came and told me that
he overlooked my bike since i did not tell him that it
was a Bullet.

Lession
——- Talk to an oficial after reaching the station
to inquire for the bike/parcel. Do not talk to the
porters outside.

After settling down and filling petrol in the bike we
went to fix carriers at Madan motors.After that went
to Nishant’s place and took rest. I also did some
repacking for the trip.

Went to Vivek’s place to meet up with Paraj, V2, Aman,
who had all to meet us. Had a good time discussed
routes and past experience and later had dinner.

07/06/2004 – Monday – Day 1 (At last the ride starts
– but bit late)
———————————————————————

Delhi – Ambala – PanchKula – Barog
———————————-

27512 – 27818km. (306 km) – Zen
31878 – 32203 km. (325 km.) Ajay
(Dont worry about 2 readings – My speedo runs a bit
slow but still wanted to record :-)

Left at 11.00 a.m. from Delhi. Since Ajay had some
work to do, and also bought shoes for the trip.

The ride till Pinjore was uneventful except the green
fields of Haryana on both sides of the amazing Dehi
Chandigarh highway (NH1). Ajay’s clutch cable was
becoming loose so tried to find Ambika
motors.Unfortunately it was closed so we decided to
continue and see the problem next day.

Finally we entered Himachal and the ghats started. At
some stretches there was lots of traffic. We had
planned to reach Chail same day but it seemed
impossible due to the increasing cold and also was
getting dark and we were feeling tired.

Suddenly I started feeling very cold and was
shivering. I wore my gloves and sweater but still I
was not in a position to ride.I was a bit afraid at
this point of time ,as I expected that cold could
increase daily as we would gain altitude and the first
day itself I was feeling cold.
We stopped at Hotel Poonam Pine resort at Barog. –
Rs.400/- per room.

08/06/2004 – Tuesday – Day 2 (Ajays Clutch cable and a
rainy day )
——————————————————————

Barog – Solan – Kandaghat- Chail – Khufri – Theog –
Narkhanda
————————————————————–

27818 – 27942 km (124 km ) Zen
32203 – 32334 kms (131 kms) Ajay

In the morning had a chat with the Hotel receptionist
Lokesh Thakur. He gave us some good route info. He
suggested a different route to Narkhanda rather than
the NH22.

Route
—– Take left from Khufri for Dhalli. Then go
towards Tatapani till Sunni village and take a right.
This road comes out at Kinjal on NH22. It is a bypass
built for the army and there is no traffic on that
route, and runs parallel to the Sutlej all the time.

Started from Barog a bit early at around 7.30 a.m. It
was a cold and cloudy morning, good weather for riding
but not for clicking snaps.I observed that Ajaj’s
clutch cable was going to break so we started asking
for a shop which would change it. Ajay had a spare
cable with him (Albiet a wrong one for standard bullet
and not for Thunderbird).

We found Royal Enfield Planet at Solan. The owner –
Yusuf (residence 01794-229126).
We did not try the other route since after some time
it started raining and it became rather cold.Before
that we were doing a relaxed pace taking photos all
the way.
The Chail route was better than the NH22 route.Small
winding roads through pine forests and green hills all
around. Of course the green was pinching since we
wanted the High Alittude desert terrain similar to
Ladakh, thats what we had come here for.

We rested and had some food around Chail.Ajay did
shopping of rain coat and shoes since he came to know
that touring south was different than touring the
Himalayas, and you need to be prepared for it.At last
it stopped raining.

As usual dogs dont like bullets ,1 dog started chasing
me. Ahead of me 2 dogs were ready to pounce on me ,but
Ajay was behind me and he scared the dogs , so here
ends the dog chase.

Reached Narkhanda and stayed at a cheap guest house
just adjescent the road going to Hotel Hatu.
There was some summer festival that night in Narkhanda
so all shops were closed or closing down.Luckily there
was one sweater shop open.I needed to buy a sweater
for the trip ahead.It was very cold and windy at
Narkhanda and they call it summer festival :-).

That night we did some serious planning of the Lahaul
Spiti route which we were going to do. Listening to
the festival music we went to sleep.

09/06/2004 – Wed – Day 3 (Amazing Sangla & Chitkul )
—————————————————-

Narkhanda – Rampur – Kharchaum – Sangla – Chitkul
————————————————-

27942 – 28128 km – 186 km – Zen
32334 – 32529 km – 195 km – Ajay

The road from Narkhanda to Rampur was good except some
bad stretches. This gave me an indication of things to
come (Ladakh type terrain) and I was all excited. Some
stretches of roads were so good that it felt as if we
were riding on European mountain roads.
Today it was Ajays turn for a dog chase. I was right
behind Ajay when a dog started chasing him. I laughed
my guts out. It was a very funny scene.

All the way the road was running parallel to Sutlej.
What I saw was a bit shocking. So many Hydro electric
projects going on Sutlej river . God knows what might
happen to this area if such development goes on.

I spotted a Jackal on the road and took out my camera
to click a snap, thats when a truck came and honked so
a good photo opp missed.

The ride to Sangla (Baspa Valley) was amazing. Pine
forests, snow capped peaks ,narrow winding roads, deep
valleys.The amazing thing was the road was made by
cutting/blasting a vertical rock face ,so all the time
it used to feel as if driving in a tunnel with one
side open.
Reached Sangla at around 2:00 pm. It was a nice place
to relax, with a small market but I guess its on its
way to become another crouded tourist destination.

Headed for Chitkul at 5.00 p.m. The road was a dirt
track but not very bad. The surface was uniform so we
were doing a decent 30 / 40 kmh most of the time.
After Sangla the Baspa valley was looking amazing. The
weather was sunny so the mountains were clearly
visible.

Chitkul is another amazing place devoid of many
tourist and we are almost in the lap of the Himalayas
snow capped peaks.This place is not to be missed. Its
worth the 44 km detour from NH 22. We could hear the
murmuring sound of Baspa river all throughout. From
our guest house we could see different scenary in all
the 4 directions , so were a bit camera happy that day
after reaching Chitkul :-)
From Chitkul its a 65 km trek to Tibet. Any takers
here :-)

We stayed at Raj guest house which is a 10 mins trek
from parking place. It was very tiring to unpack the
luggage and do 2 rounds to the guest house. But then
the place was worth the effort.
We had a small room – very good place still under
construction.
Had an early dinner and went to sleep.

10/06/2004 – Thursday – Day 4 ( Rest day turned out
to be very hectic)
————————————————————————

Chitkul – Sangla – Kharchum – Powari – Rekong peo –
Kalpa.
———————————————————-

28128 – 28197 km (Zen) 69 km.
32529 – 32612 km (Ajay) – 83 km.

Left Raj guest house at 7.00 a.m. Then it was an hour
of packing stuff on the bike since we had to trek 10
mins to bring our luggage to the parking place.
–> Raj guest house, Phone 01786 – 244293 District
Kinnaur, Chitkul – 172106.

Clicked snaps on the way to Sangla/Kalpa but
unfortunately the weather became cloudy ,so not too
good for clicking snaps.

On the way we met a cyclist Kevin from Austalia who
sold everything – left his job to tour India for 6
months. Isnt that very inspiring for us 60kphers :-)

I and Nala’s not very good relation. The nala enroute
to Chitkul was an easy one but still I got stuck since
I had not opened the petrol lock after our last break
, so the bike stalled right in the middle of nala.

Kalpa route was continuous uphill and lot of hair pin
bends. For some time sun came out so took good snaps
of Kinner Kailash. After reaching Kalpa market we saw
a board – Hotel Kinner Kailash 700 mts ahead. We were
anyways tired so thought of checking in there. We
started in that direction in a relaxed pace in 2nd
gear without knowing what lay ahead for us. Suddenly
we saw an impossible incline ahead , so put the bike
into first and started pulling .. but it was too late.
Both our bikes got stuck there , and from above a jeep
was waiting for us to get aside. On top of that it
started raining. First we moved our bikes to the side
of the road and let the jeep go. Some locals came to
our help and with some trouble we could reach the end
of the incline.
But still some more to come. It seems that the clutch
of my bike was very tight. There was another incline
on the way to the Hotel. Ajays bike climbed with ease
, but my bike got stuck again. I parked the bike down
and went to the Hotel reception to ask the rates . Rs
1100 / – per room, cheap by 60 kph standards :-) …..
All this trouble not worth it.And on top of it I was
starting to feel feverish.
After this luckily no more inclines. We checked in to
another cheap hotel (Hotel Shivalik) .

The bottom line – it was not a rest day as planned.

11/06/2004 – Friday – Day 5 (The infamous MALLING )
——————————————————

Kalpa – Rekong peo – Powari – Nako – MALLING –
Hoorling.
——————————————————–

28197 – 28358 kms. (Zen) 161 km.
32612 – 32782 kms. (Ajay) – 170 kms.

I got up at 6:00 am. What a surprize , I got a very
clear view of the Kinner Kailash peak.Yesterday it was
very cloudy so could not see it clearly. Took some
pictures .
I adjusted my clutch after my bike stalled twice
previous day on incline. Later in the trip it turned
out to be a very good decision.

Now we were again back on the NH 22. Took wrong turn
towards Ribba village – had to come back 3 kms.
Malling was to be crossed this day so we were in a bit
of a hurry to reach there early. Had heard a lot about
this place from our Barfani Baba – about big boulders
falling from the top onto the road , and road covered
with muck so bikes get stuck , Landslides happen
……..

So now there had to be delays. Rock cutting was going
on 45 km before Puh ,so we had to stop for 1 hour due
to the road block.

Route
—–Missed Ropa valley – road goes there – nice plane
as told by a local tempo driver. Its shown as a
trekking route on the map but now there is a motorable
road.

We reached Sutlej Spiti river intersection. Stopped
here and clicked a lot of snaps.
This day it was that total moonscape terrain and I
enjoyed it a lot. Lot of ghats and deep
valleys cut by the Sutlej/Spiti river.

MALLING STORY
————-Crossed at 4.50 p.m.

Finally the place Mal;ling arrives. I stopped just
before the curve after which the bad stretch begins,
and Ajay got stuck behind me due to that.
Then while we were discussing what to do next a big
rock of size of a bullet wheel or biggeer fell on the
road and went down to the Spiti valley. ( bolte hai
yahan se jo neeche jaata hai Spiti mein woh kabhi upar
nahi aata.)

Then two jeeps and one truck started crossing and our
bikes were in the middle of the road so we had to move
them.The BRO people said that where we were standing
was also not a safe place and rocks fall from top. We
both were in the state of panic. Ajay was thinking why
did he leave Hydrabad and come to this trip . I was
almost shivering from inside due to the fear.

Now BRO people gave a go and it was my turn to pass
MALLING finally. I did a good idea to ride in the
marks made by the truck tyre so the mud was a bit hard
there due to the pressure. Finally i cleared Malling
without any problems.

Then helped Ajay who got stuck there (bike stalled)
and some rocks also fell besides him. That is when he
thought where have I come. hyderabad was better:-)

Later it was celebration time and snaps after Malling
conquest. It was a very good feeling which both of us
had after Malling.. I dont know what it was .. maybe
some sence of achievement , or feeling happy to come
out of that in 1 piece.

Went to Nako lake – good drive but worthless lake. Not
worth a visit if in a hurry.

Again on NH22 , I saw Ajay going straight into a pile
of rocks. I thought he might be having some poblem
with the bike but actually he was feeling dizzy so he
did not know where he was going. But the fellow
decided to continue as it was his usual habit:-)

Stayed at Hoorling in IPH guest house ( Irrigation and
Public Health deparment). Labh Singh was the caretaker
there.The guest house was booked but it was very kind
of him to give us dinner and accommodate us in the
room of other workers of the guest house.

12/06/2004 – Saturday – Day 6 (Delay’s due to the
Lama )
———————————————————–

Hoorling – Tabo – Dhankar monastary – Kungri monastary
– Kaza
————————————————————-

28358 – 28483 kms. (Zen) 125 kms.
32782 – 32912 kms. (Ajay) 130 kms.

Started from Hoorling , planned to see the Tabo
monsatary.Tabo monastry was good, specially old
builging but was crowded due to the planned visit of
Dalai lama that day.
We would have to any way stop here since there was a
road block ahead , and the HP police would open the
road only after the Lama arrives. So we were baking
ourselves in the harsh sun of Tabo till the Lama
arrived. Thats not the end . The Lama would trouble us
again… later in the trip – read on.

After the road opened we headed to Dhankar
monastary.The scenary on the way to Dhankar was
breathtaking. We could see the Spiti rive once we
gained height. The river was divided into many
tributeries making their way through the desert sand,
and was very wide here. It looked as if someone had
painted the landscape in shades of blue and sand color
, cant explain it in words – see the snaps. Good roads
most of the time but steep incline and many hair pin
bends.

The last patch to the old Monastary building was real
challenge in terms of incline and it was a dirt road.
We did not see the new building since it was not worth
it. It was painted in all possible gaudy colors and
looked like a circus tent.

The old Haunted building had some mysterious peaceful
but haunted feel to it. We fully explored the haunted
old building. The view of the spiti valley was
breathtaking from the top. It was as if it was not
real but painted in strokes of light blue and sand
colour. Good view of the Himalayas ice capped peaks
and the desert like mountains on the other side
painted light brown , and looked like huge ant hills.

Proceeded to Kungri monastry. nothing much to say –
only the road was parallel to pin river. Leave it if
in a hurry but dont miss Dhankar old building.

On the way Spiti river was just opposite the road and
accessible so we got down and sat by the river side
just enjoying the flow. Also collected some coloured
stones for memory.

Reached Kaza at 5:00 pm – very dusty place and I did
not like it at all.

13/06/2004 – Sunday – Day 7 (Petrol Problems at Kaza
,so more delay)
———————————————————–

Kaza – Kye monastry – Kibber – Kaza – Lozar.
———————————————

28483 – 28586 (Zen) – 103 km.
32912 – 33021 (Ajay) 109 km.

Started from Kaza but the petrol pump was closed due
to it being Sunday. People told that the petrol pump
attendant (Dayal) drops in anytime to check if
petrol/diesel needed by any vehicle ,but does not stay
at the pump all the time. So we decided to go to Kye
monastry and Kibber and come back and search for
petrol.

The route to Kibber/Kye monastry was good and we
gained a lot of height in less time.The view from the
Kye monastry was good. The monk there gave us a small
tour of the monastry. Then we headed for Kibber . When
Kibber arrived there was a big memorial built on the
road. Its said that you need to circle that memorial
before proceeding ahead.

Came back and 2 trucks of Himachal Police had come to
the petrol pump. They also needed deisel.It was due to
them that the petrolpump was opened. Chatted there
with the DSP of Dharamsala and he made me all enthu to
visit the ChandraTal lake at Kumzum La pass. He had
been there by trekking and also by road ith his
family. They were also heading for Manali and would
meet us again in Lozar due to the breakdown of one of
their trucks.

Route from Kaza to Losar was very good with some
similarity to Indo China border route last year with
patches of green grass , and ice capped peaks. This is
the highest we rode on this trip – around 4500 mts
above sea level.

Reached Lozar at 5.00 p.m. After some time the H.P.
police van also reached there. had a detailed talk
about Komic village near Kaza which is now the highest
village connected by road. And the disappointment of
missing it inspite of seeing the right turn to it.
Actually at Kaza we were not aware that road to Komic
is built.

Info
—-S.K.Sharma – DSP Dharamsala mobile -9418121387 –
landline 01892 – 223158

Anyway we missed Komic. I had seen the right turn to
be taken but thought it was one of the new roads being
constructed in Himachal. We also talked about the
route to Chandratal lake. He had done it before.

Also had a nice chat with the police officer from
Keylong who was posted at Lozar due to Dalai Lama. Our
evening went very fast and pleasant chatting with the
police people.

Lozar – very peaceful place unlike Kaza , worth
spending some time there.

14/06/2004 – Monday – Day 8 (The end of the High
Altitude desert and sick feeling of green)
——————————————————————————–\
————

Lozar – Kumzum La – Batal – Gramphoo – Manali
———————————————–

28568 – 28635 + 100 speedobroke (Zen) 167 km.
33021 – 33176 kn (Ajay) 155 km.

The scenerary after Lozar was barren but very good
with couple of 6000 + mts. peaks visible and we were
riding between them.
The road condition was very bad from Lozar to
Gramphoo. Can be said no roads, very rocky terrain.It
was surely a back breaking ride.

Info
—–Chandra Tal details – 60kph should do this …

1)Kumzum top route- 19.5 kms. by road and 1.5 km.
walk
2)Batal route – just before batul – while coming down
from Kumzum la take a right –
– 10.5 km.road and 1.5 km. walk

Started to see greenery when approaching Gramphoo and
we did not like it after staying in the remote
moonsscape terrain of the Spiti and Lahaul valley.

Reached Manali at 5.00p.m. It was very hot there
unlike previous year.Stayed at Diplomat guest house in
old Manali. Initially it was a very sick feeling being
in crowded Manali but after some time we begin to like
it and the charm gets on to you. Cant say what but
there is some majic in Manali , you always like it
after some time. Vivek babu – u listening :-)

After long we had proper bath and food of Chicken
lasaugna and burger yummy :-)

15/06/2004 – Tuesday – Day 9 ( Bypasses are worth it –
and Camping nite )
————————————————————————

Manali – Bajaura – Kandi – Mandi – Palampur
——————————————-

28638 + 100 – 28849 + 100 (Zen) – 211 km.
33176 – 33399 (Ajay) – 223 km.

On the Manali Kullu stretch of NH 21 there was lots of
traffic so we decided to take a detour from Bajaura
and go to Mandi via Kandi instead of Aut . That was a
good decision to avoid the crowded NH21. The
alternate route to Mandi was similar to the Jalori
pass route in terms of remoteness and scenery.(Of
course cannot compare the inclines of jalori La). It
was longer than normal highway but worth it. It was
full green with mountains covered in clouds and pine
forersts.
Then it was NH20 – good road till Palampur with lots
of greenary.

We were tired since already rode 200 kms.Finally
before the Kangra Dharamsala phata we found a dirt
track which crossed the Pathankot – Jogindarnagar
railway and we camped in the pine forest ahead. At
the campssite lots of trees were there, which excreted
(raisin) rubber like solution which is used in
factories. Also lots of monkeys around and were
observing both of us as if we were aliens. Then
suddenly all of them climbed up the trees and were
observing us from top as if to attack us.

We pitched the tent, cooked noddles and in enthu
called up Vivek and Gaurav to tell of our successful
cooking and camping and wished luck to Gaurav who
would start his Ladakh trip tomorrow.

Finally after a lot of talking under the open sky
slept at 10.00 p.m.

It was a very comfy night in the tent.Dont get any
ideas guys..it was comfy in terms of sleep we got and
the space available in the tent :-)

16/06/2004 – Wednesday – Day 10 (Day of changing
Plans)
——————————————————–

Palampur – Kangra – Ranital – Mubarakpur – Amb – Una –
Nangal – Chandigarh – Delhi
——————————————————————————–\

28849 + 100 – 29355 + 100 (Zen) – 506 kms.
33399 – 339334 (Ajaj) – 535 kms.

It was the best sleep of the trip in the tent and both
of us woke up very fresh that day.
Today was a day of changing plans. First planned to
stay the night at Nangal, then changed it to
Chandigarh, then Ambala and then direct to Delhi.

Kangra worthless place. Also dropped Masroor and
decided to go Nangal directly. Reached there and found
Chief”s restaurant. Had best tandoori and butter
chicken there and slept for a hour in a huge dome the
hotel had built which was covered by some creepers.

Then the ride till Chandigarh and then to Delhi was
all very fast with us doing 90-100 kmh on very good
roads i.e NH 22- and NH 1.

Finally reached Delhi at 12.00 a.m. and slept.

Next day was spent relaxing and developing the snaps.

After that nothing much to say – just a good ride
coming to an end and many more such rides to come by
:-)

 

Cheerz
Zen

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