What does your mind thinks of when you hear the word travel. Does it excite you or boost your energy or you start imagining your last trip. Well in my case it reminds me of sitting near a river side alone with my favorite music plugged in. Traveling just makes me reinvent myself and I do recommend that you guys should travel to a place you have never been before once or twice a yr.
How good it feels to be in a place where nobody knows you!
Hello everyone, as you all know this is my very first blog post and it’s about my recent trip to the Indo Tibet border in Kinnaur Himachal Pradesh. We had been planning this trip for the past 6 months and finally, the day had come.
As of any usual day in Solan, this too was a normal chilly morning. It was freezing cold outside and the mercury marked it’s reading at 2 degrees Celsius. The plan was to leave at 6 am, but me and my travel mate Pavan managed to wake up around 7 am, by 8:30 am we were prepared, we had our tea and left our hostels by 9 am. We had to take a bus from Solan to reach Shoghi (A small town between Solan and Shimla) which was approximately around 33km as our plan was to rent a RE Himalayan from Shoghi. We reached Shoghi around 10:20 am and started searching for the shop from where we had to pick the bike. We completed the paperwork and left Shoghi around 11:40 am. Then for about 30 minutes of continuous driving, we reached old Shimla Lakkar Bazar, there we got our petrol tanks fully loaded and decided to take stops after every 60km and set a benchmark to cover till Rampur in the first day only. Till Fagu Shimla everything was going smooth until the roads were getting bit wet and dusty, after a few minutes of riding, we witnessed sheets of snow that covered the coniferous trees along the highway, I was so enthralled to see this serene view as I saw snow for the first time and the driving on those roads felt as if it was a road to heaven. I was enjoying the moment, but I was not really aware of the dangers that awaited next, in the next frame we entered Theog which the locals call “death route”. Theog, a place which was fully covered with snow up to 4-5 ft, temp -3 degrees and we both looked at each other anxiously and started laughing out loud, we started heading towards the roads that were covered with a sheet of black ice i.e… a mixture of mud and ice and our speed decreased to 2-3kmph, After a few meters we slipped, both of us including the bike were helplessly lying on the road, I was very scared and demotivated as my body was shivering in cold and secondly we didn’t have much amenities to protect ourselves from the harsh cold weather.
We took a halt at a village, had some tea and omelette, gathered some courage and decided to move ahead slowly and steadily. I asked the locals about the road conditions and every one of them said that the road conditions were pretty much the same for the next 80km I was like “F*#k, why did I even give a green signal to this trip”.
I had a bad omen that with this kind of frosty weather we are gonna die after the sunset as the temp drops to -10 degrees so I decided to hitchhike and in the very next moment I stopped a pickup truck and asked for a lift and he agreed to give me a drive for the next 25km and I hadn’t had any reason to deny his offer, we then reached Narkanda, I got off the truck, waited for a while for pavan to catch up and it was almost 5 pm, the sun started sinking, the temp started to drop, and we were stranded in the middle of the mighty Himalayan ranges, with snow all around for the next 40 min we couldn’t find anyone on the road, the whole region was filled with silence and we thought to move ahead as staying for the night in Narkanda could be problematic as heavy snowfall was forecasted the following night, and Rampur was still 67km, it was a do or die situation so we had to reach Rampur to safeguard ourselves. It was dark but we gathered courage to move on and after a few km, I again hitchhiked, this person (Jag Mohan) who agreed to give me a lift was so humble that he offered us the help till Rampur, now at this point pavan was dead tired and I asked him to get into the car I drove the bike for the next 40 km on the roads paved through the dense forests and I must say it was the best moment of my life.
It was a completely different experience driving through the snow-capped roads. After 40kms of my continuous drive now it was pavan’s turn to lead till Rampur. By 9:40 pm we reached Rampur and we were almost dead, our whole body started aching, and we were craving for sleep, rest, food, and a glass of rum (Old monk). We had our dinner in a local Dhaba and the Dhaba owner referred us to a homestay where we crashed at for the night.
So, its Day2 another bright sunny morning. As we were dead tired last night we woke up at 9 am and were still sleepy but we had to push ourselves out of our beds and move on with our plans, we prepared ourselves for the trip, had our breakfast and left the room by 10:15 am. The plan for this day was to reach the last Indian village of the Indo-Tibet border in Kinnaur HP. The distance is around 140kms from this hotel and this was the day our driving skills were put to test on NH22 which arguably tops the list of world’s dangerous roads. This is undoubtedly the scariest road in India. It is featured on History TV Channel’s (IRT Deadliest Roads’ series). It is also known as the Hindustan-Tibet Road, which starts at Ambala and goes through the Indian states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The road spans over 459kms.
I was so excited and full of energy, we started with our day journey and after 2 hr of continuous drive we experienced a very strange thing, Indian army stopped us at a checkpoint and asked us to wait for a while, I asked officer the reason before he could tell us the reason we heard a very terrible heavy base noise and due to echo we heard it many times and then he told us that, that was dynamite which was used to pave the roads through the mountain or rather just widen the roads. We both were excited and shocked at the same moment, We then headed towards Rampur Hydropower plant. The view here was breathtaking and I can’t put it into words, one can feel connected to nature at this point. We were enjoying the scenery and left the point after a while and by 2:40 pm we reached Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant which was 3,450 m above the sea level. Here we experienced a very overpowering headwind. We faced difficulty to control our bikes since the bike didn’t have a good aerodynamic design as it was meant for offroading so we stopped for a while until the wind speed decreased. we started heading towards Sangla which was around 20kms and at this point, the road was so narrow, gravel and a bit covered with snow that only one car can pass at the same point of time and the view was so breathtaking and mesmerizing that I felt like I was in Switzerland.
By 5pm we reached Sangla Dwar and started searching for a homestay and got one after a while. Here the whole frame was covered with 6-8 ft of snow and I was so f***King happy to just capture the moment in my heart and just feel it. We got freshened up in an hour and left to explore the local places. We had our first Tibetian dish i.e… Thukpa a noodle soup with black coffee.
Then we explored an Ancient king’s palace and a monastery which had quite an amazing architecture from the ancient times and had a few words with the locals over drinks and left for our hotel as we were a bit tired.
So it’s day 3, Last day of our trip. We woke up at 10 am and the temp was -25degrees, and I couldn’t even think of leaving my bed but I had to. As I entered the washroom the bucket filled with water, was now a solid rock of ice and I was like WTF. we then managed to melt with the help of an immersion rod and got prepared. As we opened the door of our room the gallery was fully covered with a blanket of snow, I got super excited but that excitement didn’t last for long until I reminded myself how about our bike after being stranded overnight outside the hotel. we had our breakfast and decided to visit Sangla valley which was about 2kms from the hotel and we can’t take the bike as the whole road was blocked with snow, so we had to go on foot. In an hour we reached the valley and here at this point, the snowflakes were sparkling like millions of little suns and one could see the snow-capped mountains up to his/her maximum sight and one could feel the positive vibes emerging from the valley.
We sat there for half an hour, clicked some photos and played with some local snow dogs. So as this was our last day we have to return to solan the same day. We left Sangla around 1 pm and today we have to cover a total of 350kms, this was an endurance test for us as we had to cover this distance in one single day. While returning we thought not to take the narkanda route as the whole road was blocked so we took the Basantpur route which got diverted from Rampur and this road looks so stunning and beautiful as this road was built along the banks of satluj river, mountains on one side and river on the other.
Do check out this link for photos and videos…
We kept riding for about 4hrs and it seemed like a never-ending road, it was 6 pm and we were running out of fuel, riding somewhere in the remote areas of Himachal Pradesh, the atmosphere there was very calm, we could hear the flowing sound of satluj valley from a km distance. Solan was around 80kms and somehow we got hold of some fuel at Siwan, a small village near basantpur. Now at this point in time, we both were exhausted and our only goal was to reach solan by any means. We headed towards our next stop and by 9 pm we reached Shoghi, returned the bike and completed the paperwork and hopped onto the bus to Solan. We reached solan around 10:20 pm and rushed towards our hostels and just crashed. The next day we woke up around 1 pm and started going through our photos and discussing the cherishing moments of our trip.
So this is all from my side. I hope u guys liked the blog if u, don’t forget to like and share it with your travel mate. See u all next time with another travel blog…
Do check out the photos on my Instagram……
Do check out the video: