I got mixed responses from the people around me from my friends, colleagues. And all negative from every member of my family. But personally, I enjoyed the whole trip right from the planning to the writing this blog. It is for sure an awesome journey and worth for everything.
The trip started on Thursday(30-Mar-17) when I left Pune with an early morning flight to Dehradun the one connecting to Delhi. I reached my first destination at around 1:00 PM and got the bike in there which is in not too bad condition and started heading to Manali. Until I get the bike and so related process like documentation and all I got late. When I actually started heading to Manali it was around 4 PM on the clock. So better I checked with Google map and looked for the distance and route conditions and I decided not to go directly but to stay somewhere nearby and start riding to Manali early in the morning. I do appreciate the technology always, but this google map, I find he is only and very very best friend of mine and ready for any kind of help I need on this trip. I stayed at Paonta Sahib Gurudwara for the first night.
I always believe in the quote 'journey is more beautiful than destination' and for this route to Manali is the peak for me this time. River Beas is heading me to Manali from Mandi. As my bike owner truly said to me 'पहाढों विच सैर बढीया होगी'. As I go close to Manali it starts seeing me Himalayas mountains beneath snow blanket and just wow. I reached Manali in the evening around 7.
My plan was to go ahead of Manali at least to the Rohtang pass, but the road was closed due to snow so I have to stay at Manali for 2 nights as I can't go ahead and I don't want to come back from there ☹. I like the nature of local people in Himachal Pradesh. They are very respectful towards the tourists and visitors.
I planned next day as I'll stay at Dharamshala in the night and I'll visit Manikaran - Kullu - Baijnath temple - Palampur. I started around 7:00 AM, winds are slow and so cool that it starts freezing me out. In this fresh air, I feel so calm. As time goes and I am getting down to Kullu that coolness in the wind is disappearing.
Routes in the Himalayas always pleases a biker and this day is not any exception for that. Narrow road, landslides in between, mountain rocks roll down on road and so on.
NH20 Mandi-Pathankot highway is the route to reach Dharamshala. This highway is not that wide and straight. Mostly it is a 15-meter-wide road going through the mountains and valleys. I was taking pictures, coffee break, spending time in valleys. I reached too late in Dharamshala that even market was almost closed in there. Early next morning I roam in McLeod Ganj and to other places, visited Dalai Lama temple and the market, St. John in the Wilderness church. It seems nice to me but not that impressive as compared with Manali. I came back from this short trip in around 4 hrs as I don't find this place that good to spent a whole day in here and plan my next journey and destination to stay later tonight.
NH20 leads me to Pathankot from where I can get NH44(Srinagar-Kanyakumari) to go Amritsar. From Pathankot to Amritsar is a well-maintained part of NH44. It took just 1 and a half hour to reach Golden temple. Most of the routes inside Amritsar city are built such a way that it leads toward Golden temple. I took hotel over there as temple management won't allocate a room for a single person.
Inside area of the temple is clean and well maintained but the surrounding is not that nice and feels congested walking around. Area of the temple is big enough that it will take 3-4 hrs to walk in and roam. It has one of the biggest kitchens in India which serves more than 100,000 people every day.
Attari Wagah border is around 30Km from Amritsar, and It is always a proud feeling for every Indian to visit this place. The environment at Wagah is like the same we feel on Independence Day or Republic day. Songs dedicated to the nation are playing on speakers. People gathered for ' beating retreat ' are yelling 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' 'Vande Mataram'. Indian national anthem is playing in the background. The crowd full of energy making noise and motivating soldiers to make this ceremony like never before. Similar kind of environment is across the border, they also yelling for their country and motivating to their army. At the border, we can feel the respect in the air for our nation. People trust them, support them, motivate them, make them feel like they are the nation in which we are living.
I started my next ride towards Haridwar from Attari. NH44 is leading me Amritsar-Jalandhar-Ludhiana-Ambala-Haridwar. At Attari my bikes taillight was dropped somewhere and riding in the night without taillights is not that safe. So I was looking for a store where I can buy LED strips and fit it to my bike. For that night I stayed at a typical Haryanvi Dhaba on a chaar-paayi.
Last day of my trip is a very tough day. As long as I started my bike it starts raining in there so I covered my luggage bags. I was thinking the rain will going to stop in some time but I had a bad luck that day as the rain does not stop for a whole day and I have to travel all the remaining trip in the wet state.
I took a room at Rishikesh nearby Bus stand. My trip is at its end and have to return from vacation. I returned bike in Dehradun and took a bus to return to the Rishikesh. At Dehradun bus stand I saw many trekkers and travelers, some of them are foreigners, kids, teenagers, aged persons. Rishikesh is the main location for those people to stay in. All trip path Dev-Bhoomi-Path.
On very next morning my machine started heading towards the snow blanket Ohh wow, mountains snow and my machine the Thunderbird, it really started flying in thunderstorms. Amazing view all there. While flying, thunderbird misses the traffic departments road-close board kept in there and as we can guess they charged me fine for breaking the rule and shit. But the worst thing is I have to park my bike down there and go upwards by walking ☹.