The Crazy Himalayan Ride

Prologue

It was only a few weeks ago, I first thought of doing The Crazy Himalayan Ride, initially I had planned to visit the Mansa Devi Temple in Panchkula and then ride to Kalka to catch a train to Shimla and then return to Kalka via bus and pickup my bike and ride home, in a single day i.e. 24 hours.

However things didn’t actually go according to the plan…

16th March 2008, 3:30AM:

All preparations were done and as the clock struck 3:30AM, I was idling my motorcycle and biding my parents’ goodbye.

Riding out at 3:30 was a good decision as I encountered sparse traffic, even at Azadpur Mandi and soon I was on the NH-1 riding towards Panchkula.

However this is where the first tragedy struck, the spot lamp that I got fitted a while back, wouldn’t stay on. Thanks partially to the cheap switch and my attempt at refitting it next to the front indicator. Thankfully I still had main 55/60w headlight and it was more than enough for the 4 lane NH-1.

The climate was colder than what I had expected it to be and the wind cheater and full sleeve shirt wasn’t warm enough, thanks to that I decided to stop for tea and breakfast at Zhilmil dhaba at Karnal.

After a quick Parantha and Tea, I was ready to ride again and managed to reach at the Mansa Devi Temple by 8:15am. Once there, I called up Akshay to let him know I have reached the temple.

After buying prasad and other offerings for the goddess, it was time to get in line for the darshan. Thanks to it being a Sunday, there was a large crowd and it took me more than an hour to finally see Mansa Devi.

After the darshan, I met Akshay, Shabz and Sunny, who had came there to meet me. After meeting up, we decided to head for a food joint to eat and talk, since the train starts from Kalka at noon.

After a nice meal and a session of biker/tourer talk, it was time for me to bid farewell to my hosts and head towards Kalka, all the while I was hoping that I had not missed the train and there were still seats left in it (hadn’t booked in advance).

Second tragedy of the day, when I reached the Kalka railway station, I realized how small it actually was. Forget about a secured paid parking, Kalka railway station didn’t even had a proper place to park a motorcycle! Anup Sir had warned me about it earlier, however I always imagined it would at least have a decent size area devoted to parking.

I just couldn’t leave my sweetheart parked on the road side for 10-11hours for a joy ride in a train! It was time to switch to Plan B.

Plan B, Ride to Rajgarh and Nahan via Solan

Thanks to Akshay, I already had a backup plan - a ride to Rajgarh. After a quick call home, informing them of the change in plan, I started my ride towards Rajgarh.

While I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to take a joy ride in the toy train, there was actually a part of me, which was happy at what had just happened and was looking forward to the ride.

After almost a year, I was once again cruising on the NH-22 and I was loving it, despite a few errant drivers, which seem to have become the norm on this route.

Time to take a break for couple of photographs of the scenic road

en route to solan

me and my bike, enroute to solan

Soon I was at Solan and from there I took the diversion to Yashwant Nagar, the immediate deterioration in the quality of road was an indication of things to come, however the ride till Yashwant Nagar was smooth for most part and was full of winding road accompanied by beautiful Himalayan vistas.

my bike after crossing solan

After crossing Yashwant Nagar, the road started getting narrower and more winding, which kind of reminded me of my earlier trip to Rohru.

road to rajgarh

Continued on the next page...