Return to the Himalayas, Sarahan
With family trip to Manali cancelled, I knew I had to escape the hustle and bustle of city and head to hills. After all it had been over seven months since I last visited Himalayas.
With the clock ticking, it was time to choose the destination for the ride, Manali or Sarahan Valley. Even though I had visited Manali four times in the past year and a half, it still remains a hot favorite of mine. While Sarahan on the other hand was a new territory for me; add to that, it’s supposed to be less crowded then Manali. With the prospect of exploring a new place, along with the fact that last I had cancelled a trip to Sarahan playing heavily in my mind, I chose to head over to Sarahan valley on Sunday.
After getting the chain and sprocket changed my bike was ready for action. On Saturday evening I gave a call to Salil that I will be leaving on Sunday morning, but little did I know what was about to happen. Couple of hours later, Salil called me up, telling me that he will be joining in as well! Well that’s typical of Salil, always ready for action, especially when it involves hills.
16th April 2006 Delhi – Sarahan
4:00am; time to say good bye to family and head over to bypass to meet Salil. As usual I was the first one to arrive there and around 5 minutes later Salil showed up. After a hand shake and a quick photo, it was time to begin the journey.
Even though neither of us had any sleep before the journey, we were feeling fresh and full of energy. With speedometer needle stuck between 80-85kmph, we chose to cruise rather then rip. However both of us didn’t feel like stopping even after an hour into the ride and I began to wonder how long we would be able to keep it this way.
For the next 3 hours 40 minutes we rode nonstop and finally took the first break 12 kms ahead of Kalka. It felt good to back riding in hills and the weather so far was quite pleasant due to the clouds. Infect the hot weather that we had left behind, had been replaced by the cold fresh air of Himalayas.
After eating paranthas and drinking tea, it was time to move on. With the skies getting cloudier by the minute, we knew we better make some good time before rain starts. Again we were taking it slow and steady, with our next major break coming two and a half hours later. For the first time during the ride, we had stopped to take photos of the beauty of Himachal.
Once again it was time to move on; our next stop came an hour later at Narkanda. It was 1o’clock in the afternoon and it was freezing! We stopped at a small tea stall and had tea along with omelets, also got information from a friendly local that road till Sarahan were in good shape. But the depressing news was that we wouldn’t be able to see snow any where! After leaving the tea stall, we had covered only a km or so, when I saw a beautiful meadow. The moment I saw it, I knew we had to stop and photograph it.
Salil decided to enhance the beauty of meadow, with his bike
After spending an hour photographing, we decided to move on. However, an hour and a half later, we were at it again!
Sunlight was disappearing fast and we knew we had to hurry in order to reach Sarahan on time. To do this, we decided to put away our cameras for the rest of the day. Then on breaks were few and far between, until we decided to stop at a small hamlet after Rampur. A cup of tea and sweets later, it was time to move on, with clouds hovering over our head, threatening to unleash their fury. It was time to rip.
After we took a diversion from Jeori, landscape started changing dramatically. Even though we were riding in the dark, I knew I had made the right decision to come and explore Sarahan. Just as we reached Sarahan and started looking for hotel, heavens gate opened up, as if to welcome us to this paradise.
After a bit of searching, we got a room in a small hotel cum restaurant cum bar. It was time to check out the photos we shot during the day and chat away till we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer.
Breakfast and tea: Rs.66 (for two)
Tea and omelets: Rs.26 (for two)
Tea and sweets: Rs.15 (for two)
Dinner: Rs.109(for two)
Room rent: Rs.220