The diary of a few rides and clicks!

Monday, August 1, 2011

On 1:09 AM by Yashwanth Rao   60 comments
The Journey :

Day 1 : 
So, after planning for more than an year, our dream was finally about to come true! Ladakh trip on bikes! After a month we took for preparations, when we were about to leave and packed the bags, we realized how much luggage we were carrying. Our trip was of 10 days and we had bought too many Maggi packs, MTR Ready to Eats, Chocolates, Biscuits, etc etc. Along with that, we were carrying our own tents, sleeping bags, a small cylinder and utensils as well to cook when required. You can imagine how bulky it would be, and we had to pack them all on bikes later. 

Just after Sunrise.
Our trip actually started when we gave our bikes to Blue Dart, 2 weeks before the date of our departure. After confirming that the bikes had reached Chandigarh, we left Bangalore on July 8th, 2011. We reached the airport by around 5 and then reached Delhi by 9.30. We had booked a taxi from Delhi to Chandigarh before only. In case you want to book taxis from Delhi to Chandigarh, you can find many contacts on Google only. So we tied all our bags and the road trip started from Delhi. 

The Blue Dart godown.
Delhi - Chandigarh highway is of 6 lanes and is neatly maintained. It started to rain on the first day only, and we were sure it'd be one hell of a trip! We reached Chandigarh by around 4 and were glad to see the bikes after two weeks, totally packed. We were 6 of us, and were about to go in 4 bikes ( Thunderbird 350, Machismo 500, 2 Pulsar 180s). Due to some loose contact, no matter how much we tried, we were not able to start the Thunderbird. So we had to search for an Enfield showroom in Chandigarh and brought a mechanic along with us, who took half an hour to fix it. So it was around 6 by the time we left Chandigarh in bikes. The bikes were heavily loaded with the luggage and had to carry 2 pillions as well. 

The place where we stayed!
We crossed Mohali, Rupar and it was around 9.30 when we reached Rupar, where we had our dinner. We were confused regarding our further plans. Our initial plan was to ride till Mandi and stay there. But from Rupar, we learnt that Mandi was further 150 km away and we were very tired already. So we decided to ride as far as we can and stay anywhere where we felt like.

We weren't even searching for lodges, as we had sleeping bags and tents with us. We rode a further 60-80 kms and slept in front of some random general stores shop, since it was midnight and there was nobody who'd ask us not to sleep over there. It was the end of the first day of our trip, which constituted of getting the bike repaired and we went to a sound sleep, hoping our trip would be smooth from the next day. 

But.. did it really go smooth?

Day 2 : 
We woke up and started to ride immediately, and our target was to cross Manali and stay somewhere near Rohtang on that day. After riding for around 10-20 kms, we got a Bilaspur Lake view point. It was a pretty decent landscape. We stopped there for 5 minutes and left again towards Mandi. We came across a dam as well.  We were hoping to reach Mandi asap and have breakfast there. But god had other plans....
When we were nearing Mandi, the Machismo met with an accident. Some crazy fellow started to cross the road all of a sudden, and the machismo guys had no other option but to apply brakes and fall. The bike got damaged and even they had minor injuries, thanks to the helmet and the jackets. So we it was already afternoon by the time we got the bike repaired and reached Mandi. We purchased jerry cans to fill petrol at Mandi and did some other shopping as well. Mandi is a small town where you can stay as well.

Then we started towards Manali, passing Kullu. If only those two weren't injured, we'd have gone for rafting here as well. Kullu is very famous for white water rafting in the majestic Beas river. I had never seen such rivers flowing with such a force in south India ever. The road from Mandi to Manali is very scenic and you'll have to pass through a 2km long tunnel as well. We were enjoying the ride to the fullest, with so many huge mountains and waterfalls all the way.

Finally, it was evening by the time we reached Manali. To go in the Manali - Leh road, you'd be requiring permits for vehicles which are not from Himachal Pradesh. We had called up a guy from Bangalore and he had taken the permits on our behalf. We met that guy and collected permits from him and had our lunch. There was nothing to roam around in Manali. So we thought about covering some more distance by the nightfall, and decided to ride till Marhi, which is 35 kms from Manali. The roads were pretty normal with some mud slush on the way to Marhi. On reaching Marhi by around 7.30-8 pm, we set up our tents in front of a dhaba and could easily see the huge traffic jam right in front of the ghat section to Rohtang La. We knew it'd be a long day and were trying to get mentally prepared for the next day. And also, it was the first time we saw beautiful snow capped mountains right in front of us. It even started to rain heavily that night and we fell asleep amidst all these. More the rain, more bad the conditions of the road. Sigh..

Guidelines :
  • Always carry a first aid kit with you.
  • Always wear a helmet if going on bikes. Even the pillion must wear helmets. Without the helmets, we don't know what would have happened.
  • Better stay at Marhi than Manali, since you'd be knowing the condition of the road once you reach Marhi.
Some more snaps from the trip can be seen below..


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