Zenosh, a 60kph member from Bombay working as software professional
teamed up with Ajay, a 60kph member from Hyderabad for a 14-day
ride to the North India. Enjoy this 1500 km journey into the
Total Days: 10 (Delhi to Delhi)
Total Distance: 2056 km
06 June, 2004 - Sunday (In the Rajdhani)
It's a unique experience to tour Himalayas with less number
of people, especially on the bike, since it lets you know
your inner self and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the
Sat in the train on Saturday 5th June, all excited for the
trip, just waiting for Delhi, 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.
Sunday morning I could see Rajasthan's beauty from the train.
Imagined myself riding with the train on the small road, which
was parallel to the tracks. I could see the endless desert
on both sides, camel caravans, small villages passing by.
It was unlike the Rajasthan I saw last year while riding through
it on NH 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
Then I got the shock of my life. The porters at the parcel
office told me that my bike is nowhere to be found, and since
I had sent it by Jammu Tawi, 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 Ajay's
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.
Lesson: Talk to an official 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 luggage carriers at Madan motors. After that we went
to Nishant's place and took rest. I also did some repacking
for the ride ahead.
Went to Vivek's place to meet up with Paraj, V2, and Aman
(60kph-Delhi members), who had all come to meet us. We discussed
the final routes and past experiences of riding in Lahaul and
07 June, 2004 - Monday - Day 1 (At last the ride
starts - but a bit late)
Left at 11.00 a.m. from Delhi. The ride till Pinjore was
uneventful except the green fields of Haryana
on both sides of the amazing Delhi Chandigarh highway (NH1).
Ajay's clutch cable was becoming loose so we tried to find
Ambika motors. Unfortunately it was closed so we decided to
continue and see the problem the 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 it was also getting dark.
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. We stopped at Hotel Poonam Pine resort at Barog.
- Rs.400/- per room.
08 June, 2004 - Tuesday - Day 2 (Ajay's Clutch cable
& a rainy day)
In the morning had a chat with the Hotel receptionist Lokesh
Thakur. He gave us an alternate route. 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 hence there is no traffic on that route, and
it runs parallel with the Sutlej River.
Started from Barog at 7.30 a.m. It was a cold and cloudy
morning, good weather for riding but not for clicking snaps.
I observed that Ajay'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 (Albeit a wrong one for standard
bullet and not for Thunderbird).
We found Royal Enfield Planet at Solan. The owner - Yusuf
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 Altitude desert terrain
similar to Ladakh, that's what we had come here for.
We rested and had some food around Chail. Ajay shopped for
raincoat 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 don't like Bullets, and a 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 the dog chase ended
Reached Narkhanda and stayed at a cheap guesthouse just adjacent
the road going to Hotel Hatu. There was some summer festival
that night in Narkhanda so all shops were closed or were 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 a summer festival :-).
09 June, 2004 - Wed - Day 3 (Amazing Sangla &
The road from Narkhanda to Rampur was good except for some
bad stretches. This gave me an indication of things to come
(Ladakh type terrain) and I was excited. Some stretches of
roads were so good that it felt as if we were riding on European
Today it was Ajay's 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 hydroelectric projects underway
on the Sutlej River. God knows what might happen to this area
if such development goes on.
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 it's on its way to become another crowded
Headed for Chitkul at 5.00 p.m. The road was a dirt track
but not bad to ride on. The surface was uniform so we were
doing a decent 30 / 40 kph most of the time. After Sangla
the Baspa valley looked amazing. The weather was sunny so
the mountains were clearly visible.
Chitkul is another amazing place devoid of many tourists
and were almost in the lap of the Himalayas snow capped peaks.
This place is not to be missed. It's 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
scenery in all the 4 directions, so were a bit camera happy
that day after reaching Chitkul :-) From Chitkul it's a 65
km trek to Tibet.
We stayed at Raj guesthouse, which is a 10 mins trek from
parking place. It was very tiring to unpack the luggage and
do two rounds to the guesthouse. But then the place was worth
the effort. We had a small room - very good place still under
Raj guesthouse, Phone 01786 - 244293 District Kinnaur, Chitkul
10 June, 2004 - Thursday - Day 4 (Rest day turned
out to be very hectic)
Left Raj guesthouse 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.
snaps on the way to Sangla/Kalpa but unfortunately the weather
became cloudy. On the way we met a cyclist Kevin from Australia
who sold everything - left his job to tour India for 6 months.
Isn't that very inspiring for us 60kphers :-)
Nallah's and I don't share a very good relationship. The
nallah 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 the nallah.
The route to Kalpa was a continuous uphill climb and had
a lot of hairpin bends. For some time the sun came out so
we 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 to let the jeep pass. Some locals came
to our help and with some trouble we could reach the end of
But still some more was to come. It seems that the clutch
of my bike was very tight. There was another incline on the
way to the Hotel. Ajay's 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 :-)... We checked in to another cheap hotel
The bottom line - it was not a rest day as planned.
11 June, 2004 - Friday - Day 5 (The infamous MALLING)
I got up at 6:00 am. What a surprise, 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.
adjusted my clutch after my bike stalled twice previous day
on incline. Later in the trip it turned out to be a very good
Now we were again back on the NH 22. Took a 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, landslides.
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
Route: Missed Ropa valley - road goes there
- nice plain 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 Malling at 4.50 p.m.
Finally the place Malling 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 bigger
fell on the road and went down to the Spiti valley. (Bolte
hai yahan se jo neeche jaata hai, Spiti mein woh kabhi upar
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 as rocks fall from top. We both were in a state of panic.
Ajay was wondering as to why he left Hydrabad for this trip.
I was almost shivering from inside due to the fear.
The BRO people gave a go ahead and it was my turn to pass
MALLING finally. I rode 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. Later it was celebration time
and snaps after Malling conquest. It was a very good feeling
which both of us had after Malling. I don't know what it was.
Maybe some sense of achievement, or feeling happy to come
out of that in one 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 problem 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 department). Labh Singh was the caretaker
there. The guesthouse was booked but it was very kind of him
to give us dinner and accommodate us in a room reserved for
workers of the guesthouse.
12 June, 2004 - Saturday - Day 6 (Delays due to the
Started from Hoorling, planned to see the Tabo monastery.
Tabo monastery was good, especially old building but was crowded
due to the planned visit of Dalai Lama that day. We would
have to anyway 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. That wasn't the end. The Lama would
trouble us again later in the trip - read on.
the road opened we headed to Dhankar monastery. The landscape
on the way to Dhankar was breathtaking. We could see the Spiti
river once as we gained height. The river was divided into
many tributaries making their way through the desert sand,
and was very wide. It looked as if someone had painted the
landscape in shades of blue and sand color, can't explain
it in words - see the snaps. Good roads most of the time but
steep incline and many hairpin bends.
The last patch to the old Monastary building was a 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 color. Good view of the Himalayan ice capped
peaks and the desert like mountains on the
other side painted light brown, and looked like huge ant hills.
Proceeded to Kungri monastery. Nothing much to say - only
that the road was parallel to Pin river. Leave it if in a
hurry but don't miss Dhankar's old building.
On the way Spiti River was just opposite the road and accessible
so we got down and sat by the riverside just enjoying the
flow. Also collected some colored stones for memory.
Reached Kaza at 5:00 pm - very dusty place and I did not like
it at all.
13 June, 2004 - Sunday - Day 7 (Petrol Problems at
Kaza, so more delay)
Started from Kaza but the petrol pump was closed being a
Sunday. People told us that the petrol pump attendant (Dayal)
drops in anytime to check if petrol/diesel is needed by any
vehicle, but does not stay at the pump all the time. So we
decided to go to Kye monastery and Kibber and come back and
search for petrol.
route to Kibber/Kye monastery was good and we gained a lot
of height in less time. The view from the Kye monastery was
good. The monk there gave us a small tour of the monastery.
Then we headed for Kibber. When Kibber arrived there was a
big memorial built on the road. It's said that you need to
circle that memorial before proceeding ahead.
We came back and 2 trucks of Himachal Police had come to
the petrol pump. They also needed diesel. It was due to them
that the petrol pump was opened. Chatted there with the DSP
of Dharamsala and he made me all enthu to visit the ChandraTal
lake at Kunzum La pass. They were heading for Manali and would
meet us again in Lozar due to the breakdown of one of their
Route from Kaza to Lozar 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 disappointments of missing it in spite of seeing the
right turn to it. Actually at Kaza we were not aware that
road to Komic is built.
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 Chandra Tal Lake. He had
done it before.
Also had a nice chat with the police officer from Keylong
who was posted at Lozar due to the Dalai Lama visit. Our evening
went very fast and it was pleasant chatting with the Police.
Lozar - very peaceful place unlike Kaza, worth spending some
14 June, 2004 - Monday - Day 8 (The end of the High
Altitude desert and sick feeling of green)
The scenery 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 that there were no roads and very rocky terrain. It
was surely a backbreaking ride.
Info-ChandraTal details :-
to see greenery when approaching Gramphoo and we did not like
it after staying in the remote moonscape terrain of the Spiti
and Lahaul valley.
- Kunzum top route- 19.5 kms by road and a 1.5 km walk
- Batal route - just before Batal - while coming down from
Kunzum La take a right - 10.5 km by road and a 1.5 km walk
Reached Manali at 5.00p.m. It was very hot there unlike previous
year. Stayed at Diplomat guesthouse 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 magic in Manali, you always
like it after some time.
After long we had proper bath and food of Chicken lasagna
and burger yummy :-)
15 June, 2004 - Tuesday - Day 9 (Bypasses are worth
it - and Camping night)
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. It 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 we 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 forests. Then it
was NH20 - good road till Palampur with lots of greenery.
were tired since we had already ridden 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 ead. At the campsite there were lots of
trees that excreted a rubber like solution(resin), which is
used in factories. Also lots of monkeys 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 noodles and in enthu called up
Vivek and Gaurav to inform about our successful cooking and
camping and wished luck to Gaurav who would start his Ladakh
Finally after a lot of talking under the open sky slept at
It was a very comfy night in the tent. Don't get any ideas
guys. It was comfy in terms of sleep we got and the space
available in the tent :-)
16 June, 2004 - Wednesday - Day 10 (Day of changing
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 is a worthless place. Also dropped Masroor and decided
to go to 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 kph on very good roads i.e. NH 22-
and NH 1.
Finally reached Delhi at 12.00 a.m. and slept. The 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 :-)