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Old 01-01-2007, 08:19 AM   #1
bunny_punia OP
18,634 feet : Oh Yes!
 
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Himalayas once again, the snow ride!

Hi fellas
I did a solo ride to the hills from 18th to 21st Dec, here is the day by day account written each day... plus the pictures.
The place was the state of Himachal Pradesh (my 9th or 10th ride there!), this state lies in north India, in the Himalayas...

My ride was my June 2003 Hero Honda Karizma, a 223cc 17bhp single cylinder four stroke bike.

Day 1 :
Delhi - Shimla - Narkanda (app 425kms)
Why does one need to ride out again when all he has been doing for the past 70 days or so is touring around? I still cant figure it out and my heart still owes an explanation to my mind.
Sitting in this little room at 9000 feet above sea level, with snowy peaks on the left side of the hotel, I am sipping my 2nd cup of hot tea and having steamy hot Egg Pakoras. Narkanda, around 420kms from Delhi on the Nh-22 is my current location.

Starting from Delhi at 7:45am in the morning, it was nice riding solo on the NH-1 to Ambala, keeping around 90-95 on the speedo and enjoying the songs on the Ipod. Breakfast was at Karnal, Makki di roti and sarson da saag - Yummy.
The ride became fast after Karnal, the roads getting better and better till I hit the diversion to Chandigarh. 4 laning is being done along with couple of flyovers and hence the problem. The boring ride to Kalka, from where the actual climb starts was done asap. This being my first ever solo ride to the Himalayas, it was quite an experience riding alone and being just myself!
I stopped for tea around 10kms before Solan (from where the two pics above were posted) and within 2 kms of that place, I got the first glimpse of snow!

The rest is history - Reached Narkanda at around 5:30pm. Negotiated around 10-12kms of Black Ice from Kufri till here. Rode on snow, saw a spectacular view of the snowy peaks being illuminated by the setting sun. Very happy with the days ride, hope you enjoy the pictures

Day2:
Narkanda - Hattu - Kingel - Sunni - Chindi : app 155kms
Last night was one of the coldest ones in my life, with the mercury going well below zero degrees, which was reflected in layers of black ice on the road in the morning. I still wasnt sure as to which route to take but surely wanted to ride to Hattu Peak, around 10kms from the hotel. As soon I left the hotel and took the Rohru road, black ice showed its presence and so did snow on the slopes. The diversion for Hattu peak was just two kms from the hotel and as soon i took that road, snow came my way on the road. Slowly slowly making my way up the narrow road, I wondered what lay ahead. I was around 4kms into the climb when suddenly the road ahead had around half a feet of snow. Acceleration my way into the soft white layer of snow, the Michelins struggled to get grip. Finally pushing my way, I could go till the 2km milestone to Hattu. Relaxed and took some pictures of the beauty around and gave a hug to my 40000km old Karizma, which still is going strong. But suddenly I realised that going back would be very difficult as turning the Bike on the inclined road would be dangerous. It took a lot of patience and strength to rotate the Bike on the side stand and ride it back to proper tarmac!
I had enough of snow riding (today and yesterday) and decided to head to Chindi, a small town located on Shimla-Tattapani-Mandi highway and took the longer route via Kingel-Sunni so as to avoid riding on Black Ice again. As soon as I left Narkanda, I was again greeted by lots of snow and black ice and this continued for around 5-6kms! I left Nh-22 at kingel and took the route that runs parallel to the Sutlej river and it was devoid of any traffic. The road was narrow, broken in some places and had interesting bits like the mountain hanging on top of the road, making it seem like as if I was riding through a tunnel with one side open. There was also a lot of small caves next to the road and I wondered who lived in them centuries ago!
The road joined the Shimla-Tattapani-Mandi highway at Sunni and I took a right for Chindi, my destination for the night. I was aware of HPTDC's hotel there and the ongoing winter discount and headed straight for it. Todays ride was around 155kms, and I was at the hotel by 2:30pm. Tired I was and headed straight to bed and after lunch dozed off too only to wake up in the evening and have a hot bath. The hotel was a very good one and I decided to head to the market to buy some biscuts but little did I know that the couple of shops in the market close down by 7pm! Anyways I was greeted by a magical experience. The sky was totally clear, illuminated by stars. On both sides of the road were valleys with houses in them and their lights too made them seem like stars. In short, it felt as if i was in space and stars were all around!
Dinner was Pulao and Kofta affair and there being no reliance connection, I couldnt log on to the net and instead watched 'The worlds fastest Indian' and went off to sleep at 11pm. Next days ride would be a long one....

Day3:
Chindi - Rohanda - Chail chownk - Mandi - Barot - Mcleodganj : app 290kms
I knew i had to get up early and ride fast as the distance today would be around 240kms, thats around 7 hours riding in hills and combined with stops for butt breaks, pee and pics, it would mean riding for close to ten hours.
Leaving the comfort of the hotel in Chindi at around 8am, only to stop and take pictures of the sun tearing out of the clouds and the rays playing a game of their own. And then the snowy peaks, always making me crave for more. Damm!
I rode on, alone, casually, enjoying the scenery around and continued for Mandi via Chail Chownk. This particular route is one of the four option to go to Manali from Shimla but is seldom used and hence there was low traffic on road which I meant I could be me!
Chindi being at an elevation of around 6000 feet meant views were good but as i approached Rohanda, which was at around 7200 feet, the views became better and did the chill in the air! Just on the outskirts of Rohanda, I came across a small path leading upto a hill where a resort was situated, sadly closed, it could have been a perfect spot for the HX IV riders to relax at night.
I joined the Manali highway and roads being wide and good, the needle kept flirting with the ton mark quite often, the Michelins inspiring confidence every time I leaned the Bike into a longish corner. Filled up at Mandi and she returned 36kmpl!
Leaving Mandi, I took the bridge to the highway that goes to Dharamshala and Pathankot and lemme tell you, this highway can give the Shimla or Manali highway a run for their money at certain stretches. And it was a co-incidence that i was listening to the 'Crazy frog remix of I like to move it move it'. Yeah, I surely moved the Bike from one corner to another, with the pegs milimeters away from mother earth. Guys, leave those MRFs, Dunlops, CEATs and Continentals, Michelins do rock. I must be averaging like 70km/h on hill roads when the sigh board for Barot came. I stopped, saw the map and set off. The initial 5kms were all uphill on narrow roads and then the elevation came down. I had alwaays wanted to do this route and loved doing it this time. Quite narrow roads, with views of snowy peaks and no traffic. Loved it. But the sad part was that the bridge to Bir wasnt up so it meant riding back 25kms again. Wasted 90mins riding to and fro and once again was on lovely grippy tarmac to Mcleodganj. Hadnt it been for the amazing roads and riding fast, I wouldnt have made it to Mcleodgaanj by 6:30pm. Rode straight to the end of road in Bhagsunath and into Hotel Meghavan, one of the oldest (but recently renovated) hotels here. The night was quite cold and I spent the evening in the room relaxing and dozing off early as the next day was a 530km ride back to Delhi.

The route of HX IV (HX IV is himachal explorers IV, an event i do every 6-8 months) is clear in my mind now and will be up soon. Feet of snow assured


Day 4
21st December : Mcleodganj - Kangra - Phagwara (NH1) - Delhi : 530kms
Nothing much today. Left at 7am from my hotel and was back home by 3pm. Highlights were the ride: just after Kangra, where the fields on both sides had a layer of frost and it was magical riding between the fields. Quite a fast ride today. Around 160kms of hills and single lane roads and the rest being 4lane NH1. Had brunch around 30kms from Ludhiana (also filled up here and she returned around 31kmpl) and from there on covered 257in the next three hours crossing the Delhi border at around 2:30pm. Love my bike, it has now clocked 42000kms and returned an overall avg of around 32kmpl including the blast back home.


THE PICTURES


On way to Shimla, day 1




After Kufri, day 1




On way to Narkanda, day 1




500 mtrs from Narkanda's main mkt, day 1




Same place, with the sun going down



More pictures coming up soon, resizing them from to around 100-120kb each
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:07 AM   #2
GB
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Wow! another outstanding Himalaya report!!

Keep it comin'
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:21 AM   #3
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:27 AM   #4
buzzardair
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Really great write up. I look forward to your next set of pics.
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Old 01-01-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
richc
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Sir, you are an adventure rider - for sure. Great pictures. Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2007, 12:45 PM   #6
Dessert Storm
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Fantastic ride, fantastic report, fantastic photos!
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Old 01-01-2007, 12:56 PM   #7
bunny_punia OP
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Thanks all :)









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Old 01-01-2007, 01:13 PM   #8
lefty15
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Once again, an awesome look at a part of the world I'd love to see in person.
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Old 01-01-2007, 01:27 PM   #9
GSRoundtheWorld
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Swwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeet.....Know that you are inspiring people all over the world with your pictures! My wife and I are doing a RTW in April 2009....You have re-emphasized our decision to visit the Himilayas.

W
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Old 01-01-2007, 03:30 PM   #10
TrashCan
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Great looking bike.

Keep it going.

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Old 01-01-2007, 03:43 PM   #11
PackMule
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I can't get enough of these reports.


Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:23 PM   #12
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We don't see nearly enough of your part of thr world-thanks for putting up the pictures!
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:34 PM   #13
Desi_Kermit
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Wicked !!!
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:29 PM   #14
bharadwajdayala
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Thumb Weldone Bunny

Hey Bunny,
Thats a nice ride and great pics man. I am just struggling through that kind of weahter in USA too...But hope to ride with you some day back home. And we both use the same machine....look at my blog at www.bikingtheworld.blogspot.com
Bharadwaj
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Old 01-01-2007, 10:30 PM   #15
bunny_punia OP
18,634 feet : Oh Yes!
 
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Thanks all once again

hi Bharadwaj,
I was keepin an eye on you while i was working with BIKE INDIA/CAR INDIA mags, did couple of articles on you too on it but ever since i left it (in sep 2006) and went on the 20000km india ride (www.thegreatindianroadtrip.com) , i wasnt able to follow ur blog. will regularly do now :) all the best...

thanks all, its a pleasure to share pictures of my country will you everytime (having done it on earlier occasions too, you can search for threads started by me..)
I organise himalayan rides every 6-8 months and the next one is scheduled for 24th jan, if any one is remotely interested, lemme know :)

I love the R1200GS and dream of riding one some day. As of now, i have to do with my 223cc 17bhp bike, still good for a top of 135km/h and cruises happily at 100-105 and still returns around 27-29kms to a litre ridden like this. Its a carb one, but the company is coming out with a FI version in a months time, that would be quite good.

Also with time, i have graduated to a better riding gear, with elbow,shoulder,back and knuckle protections. Plus better tyres too, Michelins M45. I use saddle bags and a tank bag and a laptop backup for daily updates on my website (www.xbhp.com)

GSroundtheworld : looking forward to meeting you guys if you do come to india, would love to show you around

I would again thank you all with some more pictures :


The sky looked awesome, this is on way to a small village of barot



Sometimes, out of nowhere, flat pieces of land do emerge up, nestled between mountains..



That are the snowy peaks of Dauladhar range, on my way to Mcleodganj and Dharamshala, the place of the dalai lama



The sky can look weird sometimes!



Yep, I am a dog lover
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