Common Wealth Games season on peak in Delhi and a long weekend ahead of us, we were trying to figure out the best deal for four days. It started with ideas to go to Darjeeling then Jim Corbett Park in Uttaranchal and finally we concluded with a plan to Ride up to Himalayas on bikes.
After lot of research and discussions we finalized the route which was Gurgaon – Delhi – Chandigarh – Chail – Kufri – Narkanda – Rampur – Shimla – Chandigarh and way back to Gurgaon. The total distance we calculated was around 1150 KM.
The group of four crazy riders was Anurag Bisht, Vaibhav Gupta, Rajat Tandon (Pillion Rider) and me.
Three Bikes Pulsar 220 CC (Anurag B), CBZ Xtreme (Vaibhav G) and Pulsar 150 CC (me) were all set to cruse and fly.
|From left - Me, Vaibhav and Anurag, Rajat is missing here :(|
Day 1 – 14th Oct 2010
It was a Common Wealth Games closing ceremony day and I was bit apprehensive about Road’s accessibility to cross Delhi City hence we started early morning at 6:30 AM. All of us met at Gurgaon Toll Point and started the trip.
The objective of the day was to finish off the distance of Gurgaon Chandigarh and reach Chail by evening same day.
Both Anurag and Vaibhav are extremely superb riders and along with them I also started cruzing bike on National Highway 1 which connects Delhi Chandigarh. We soon were riding at a speed of 90 – 100 kmph. Since all of us had an experience of riding in extreme weather conditions hence had enough of arrangement to protect ourselves from Cold winds of highway and tanning during day time.
Our first stop over was at Murthal, around 85 KM from Gurgaon, where we had heavy breakfast and soon we were set to fly. All of us were extremely excited to reach Chail as soon as possible.
The National Highway 1 is so smooth that it becomes monotonous many a times and you never know when you go to sleep while riding. But Anurag had a benefit of Pillion rider Rajat who always ensured that Anurag is awake invariably.
Cruzing our bikes at 100 kmph plus speed, crossing crowded small towns on NH 1 and flying on overwhelming over bridges to avoid traffic, we soon finished off with NH 1 and took diversion from Zirakpur (near Chandigarh) towards NH 22 which leads to Shimla and Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh.
I was shocked to see the Road Zirakpur - Panchkula - Pinjore. I could see the difference of today’s situation and a three year old situation. Earlier the road from Panchkula to Pinjore was such that one would really feel that we have started a journey to a hill station, the road sides were full of trees and Greenery, the situation which we faced was extremely contrary, NO TREES, NO GREENERY and Flyover under construction creating traffic havoc all around. I was really shocked to see this. “If industrial development comes at this cost, simply hell with it.The world can live on eco friendly modes.”
|Himachal Pradesh Entry at Parwanoo|
Rough roads increased our appetite and need of the time was to have lunch somewhere. Beautiful Valley and Thrilling terrains took us till Dharampur where we stopped at Gyani Da Dhaba for Lunch. We simply loved the food.
It was time to take last ride of the day from Dharampur to Chail and we had to cross Solan City before we take diversion from NH 22 for Chail. There were few stretches of rough and sturdy roads before we reached Solan.
I was stunned to see the beautiful valley of Chail as I had never expected this place to be so breadth taking and calm. We enquired about best hotels in Chail and landed up in Hotel called “The Lions”. It was an impressive deal and Food served here deserves a special mention, it was superbly delicious.
|Spectacular Chail Valley|
|At Chail with Local kids|
The day ended with superb experience of riding, food, fun and masti.
The Bike meter read 407 KM for the day.
Day 2 – 15th Oct 2010
It was a pleasant day at Chail and our Ride started bit late at 10:30 AM. It was Vodka hang over for two and other two had to accompany them last night in gossiping.
The route for the day was Chail – Kufri – Narkanda – Rampur. The distance was around 170 KM. Cozy morning of Chail and uphill ride from Chail to Kufri was a memorable experience and like a cake walk, our bikes were cruzing up very easily. The entire road was very picturesque and we stopped at few places to capture those memories in our cameras.
|On the way Chail to Kufri...Team ready to raid the Himalayas|
At Kufri we stopped for tea break and headed towards Narkanda which was around 70 KM from here.
It was a real surprise when we were in very very horrible roads and dust everywhere suddenly. In hope of good roads ahead of us we kept riding slowly but it worked exactly other way round and road condition became bad to worst. There were times when we were standing on our bikes and riding among trucks and no visibility because of the dust. Somehow we manage to reach at Narkanda by 2:00 PM and decided to stop at Roadside restaurant for Lunch. All of us were irritated with road conditions and one thought came that let’s head back to Shimla as there is no fun of wasting time in such horrible roads. I was surprised with the condition of NH 22; moreover this is the road which connects the eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, a strategic link for ITBP as well.
|Kufri Stop over for bikers|
After Lunch we learnt from locals that this is the last point of worst roads and best was ahead of us. We continued our journey towards Rampur which was still 80 KM from Narkanda. It was ride downhill till Rampur which was another surprise to all of us. We had thought that we would be raising high altitude as we ride but it was other way round and Rampur City was at very low levels. After experiencing worst stretch we enjoyed the smooth ride and took few breaks before we reached Rampur.
|Satluj River and Rampur Town in the Valley|
Second day of the tour was really hectic and full of surprises; all of us were very tired. The food here again deserves a mention; it was completely delicious and incomparable.
We decided to explore alternate road to reach Shimla next day as we were not in a mood to experience the same horrible stretches on NH 22. We were told that there is an alternate road which is around 40 KM longer than NH 22, since we had enough time on Day 3 we decided to explore the new way.
Day 3 – 16th Oct 2010
16th Oct, a lazy morning and relatively warm weather, the day started at 8:30 AM with breakfast and pack up at Hotel. We filled Petrol Tanks and checked Tyre pressure; this was needed as we were heading on a road which was supposed to be isolated and no man land kind of stretches.
We drove along Satluj River on NH 22 before we took a diversion from place called “Kingal”. Somone advised us to not to opt for this way as this was longer than NH 22 and isolated. However we were determined to find out the alternate of NH 22 and it was in front of us. As we drove on the road, first board I saw was “Road Maintained by BRO” and that was the biggest relief for me. I know the work of BRO and now I was sure of having an amazing ride, and it happened so. Uphill ride brought us the most beautiful valleys which we would have missed out otherwise. Hardly had we found vehicles on that road, perhaps we can count the number of vehicles we crossed on a distance of 190 KM.
|Thrilling terrains on Kingal Shimla Road maintained by BRO|
|At tea shop on the way to Shimla|
We entered Shimla via Village called Mashobara which is around 10 KM before Shimla. I would advise all people visiting Shimla to stay at Mashobara rather than crowded places of city. This village is simply awesome and roads are surrounded by Oak and Pine wood. After smooth ride through Mashobara, Shimla’s dirty and dusty roads welcomed us at 4:30 PM. It is really shame for Government to keep roads of Capital in such a bad condition.
As usual the first activity was to find out Hotel for night stay. In another one hour we were at Mall Road of Shimla, where every tourist reaches. We took two rounds of the mall, had Pizza and headed back to Hotel.
|Most photographed Church at Mall Road Shimla|
|See Shimla with my eyes|
Day 4 – 17th Oct 2010
Last day of our tour and we were to head back to Gurgaon from Shimla, a distance of around 400 KM which included 200 KM steep downhill ride and then NH 1 straight ride till Delhi.
The day started at 7:00 AM with morning tea. And it was 7:45 AM when we started the ride from Shimla. Contrary to last three days, this day was very cold and all of us were freezing on bikes, but this also could not stop our accelerators and we reached back at Dharampur for Breakfast at 9:30 AM. Exceptionally heavy breakfast filled us up with energy for rest of the day.
Ride beyond Dharampur till Parwanoo was non stoppable and it was Kalka’s horrible traffic which made us cool down our engines.
Once we touched NH 1 at Zirakpur in Punjab all of us took our speedometers till 100 kmph. We took some small breaks but it was 130 KM before Delhi when we stopped for Lunch. Had a superb lunch again and then we stopped at Delhi entrance from where Vaibhav had to go in other direction.
The best part of the ride was that we did not have any break down and unplanned delay. The turn on of the trip for me was the great company and turn off was NH 22 rough stretch from Kufri to Narkanda.
Every time I try to do something different, it brings me new experiences, learning in my life and provokes me to go beyond it. I would really love to have a longer trip than this one with the same group.