• Travel Story - Lahaul SPITI valley Motorcycle tour - 1900Kms Road less traveled 5 1
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Offline Saurabh Soni

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Day 2: Chandigarh to Narkanda via Shimla

Day 1 was a frustrating and a tiring day and we were already behind schedule by a day and I remembered that for the mighty climbs in store for us, Royal Enfield needed to visit a clinic again and wanted to get its Tapid Rods replaced as the mechanic at Sonipat advised us to do so. So, we packed our bags and went to the Parking lot and met with another surprise, at the parking, Royal Enfield was sleeping on the ground. Somebody hit her and both the rear view mirrors were broken. I mean seriously, we still are curious how both mirrors got a beating when the Royal Motorcycle fell and more surprising was it was standing between other two bikes, which remained unhurt. The Jinx was not leaving us.

Royal Enfield with both mirrors gone
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We straightaway took Royal Enfield to the Auto Market in Chandigarh and then we again waited for 3-4 hours there. Again half of the day was gone. There is not much for this day as I had only one target of reaching Narkanda that day otherwise the trip would have got doomed.

Finally, at around 2-2:30, motorcycle was ready to go and again Mechanic told us, "Sir ab to ise kahin bhi chada lo", Bloody hell his statement was. If I ever go on a same route again, I would love to make those mechanics take that machine and climb a steep peak of Hatu, where the story ended.

So we started and Royal Enfield was again out of sight from rear view mirror within minutes and this time my frustrated mind wanted to leave it behind. I rode at 100 kph on the beautiful Himalayan Expressway entering the great Himalayas.
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Finally, we stopped and waited for Sanjeev to come and then we 3 rode together and within no time we were riding in hills. Still target was Narkanda and I didn't want to stop. Finally near Solan we stopped for a while to take a little break and then we started again to reach Shimla finally at 8 pm.

Near Solan bus stand
Royal Enfield taking much needed fresh air, I hope somebody would invent an inhaler for the ailing machines
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We crossed the Tunnel and entered Old Shimla, there we refilled the Petrol and asked about the Road Ahead, it goes via Kufri and from my last trip I remembered it was an effective inclination. I asked few people about the road ahead and distance left to cover. I got mixed reactions, some told me not to go further in night and some told that on motorcycles it won't be an issue and we would comfortably reach in 2 hours as distance was appx. 50 kms. We decided to go ahead and started, suddenly it was very dark and we were riding in complete black with just headlight on. Frequently we were encountering apple godowns and we always felt as if we reached some beautifully lit village but those were only godowns. And then what I used to be fearing the most on the trip happened again. I got a call from Sanjeev again  :P and now he told me a completely new problem. He said,"Bhai Battery is dying and headlight is very dim". I asked Sahil to be behind his motorcycle and I will be ahead of him to show him the road. Totally frustrated, finally at around 10:30 pm, we reached Narkanda. It was drizzling, and wind was blowing harshly and was very cold and just one shop was opened. The only Hotel we could find was not opening the gates. We were shivering but were clueless about place to stay. All the places were completely booked. Finally one hotel owner opened the gates and offered us a conditional shared room for Rs 4000/- for a night. I mean seriously? shared room for 4000 bucks for a night and the condition was that we needed to vacate the room by 6 am in the morning. I got my senses back and went on to search for some cheap accommodation. Finally one Sardarji came to our rescue and fetched us a guesthouse room for only Rs 500/- for a night. It was a very basic room with no luxury but was decent enough for us to sleep in the night and to get freshen up in the morning.
So, we took our bikes near guest house, threw the bags in the room and went for a dinner on the only opened Dhaba in Narkanda and called it a day and that's how another tiring day ended and we were running behind schedule by a day but there was something to merry as we finally managed to reach Narkanda.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 02:45:15 AM by Saurabh Soni »


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Offline Saurabh Soni

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Amit, yes we stayed at camps near Chandertal and it was one hell of a night at campsite near Chandertal. You will get to know as you read more :)

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Offline ghostrider

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great stuff, I know you went on to Chandratal from Shimla side, but how much time does it takes to reach Chandratal from Manali side, Is it possible to do a to and fro from Manali in a weekend?

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Offline Saurabh Soni

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Actually it is possible to do to and fro from Manali to Chandertal and then back to Manali within a weekend, but that would be too tiring to do. The way after Rohtang Pass (Gramphu near it) till Chandertal is a very difficult terrain. and going doing a to and fro will be way tiring to spend a freezing cold night there at Chandertal. I would suggest to take a day break there and camp there at Chandertal and then come back.

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Offline ghostrider

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Ok...  Getting an off for so long to complete this circuit is a big ask.  I'll try reaching Chandertal from  Manali side when the season comes.  Anyways which is the best month to do spiti and chandertal?

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Offline Saurabh Soni

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well for a trip to Spiti, season starts in late May and ends at mid of October. After mid October, once it snows, it becomes very dangerous on high passes like Kunzum Pass and Rohtang Pass.
But according to me the best time to visit is couple of weeks before the season ends, which is you can plan to start for Spiti Valley at mid September till late September, when most of the streams will be dried up and you will not see much power of flow in those streams. Otherwise the streams you will face between Chhatru and Batal near Chandertal will be very difficult to cross. So as per my experience and the information I got from locals is that the best time to visit Spiti valley is in the month of September.

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Offline Saurabh Soni

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Day 3: Narkanda - Hatu Peak to Reckong Peo via Rampur, Jhakri

After an exhausting second day and after struggling for first two days, we woke up fresh. I had 3 things on my mind while starting the day. First was to visit Hatu Peak asap and come back and start the journey on wards. Second was to cover the delay of a day. In my original Itinerary, we planned to reach Narkanda by end of day one but we managed to reach there by day 2 and thus we lost a complete day and I wanted our trip to be back on track and wanted to be at the place where we initially planned by skipping Chitkul and surrounding areas and slog on to reach Reckong Peo by end of Day 3. The Third and the most important thing, which also worried me, was again that Royal Enfield, now the battery also died and was looking for someone to fix so that we continue our struggle with Royal Enfield.

We all decided to skip bathing and just freshen up to ride on because there was no hot water there. As I wrote that at Narkanda we got a very basic room to stay and that was our worst accommodation on that trip out of many accommodations we took during our 10 days journey.

This was our room at Narkanda:
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At start of the day in Narkanda:
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We were fresh now, went to the main square of Narkanda, it was a bright sunny day. We did our breakfast and started our journey to Hatu Peak.

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Now Hatu Peak climb is a fun but a very steep one. It was one of the steepest climbs we rode on during our complete journey. Way was beautiful, Road was smooth but very narrow. We were on motorcycles so didn't face any issue on those narrow roads but if you are on a four wheeler it would become quite tricky on few turns. So, we were climbing smoothly, I kept my 150cc machine on 1st gear and kept on climbing but suddenly again Royal Enfield refused to climb further. I literally had to get off from my motorcycle and needed to push that Royal Enfield on multiple occasions. Somehow again after a struggle we reached the Hatu Peak and temple. But at that point I decided that this bike ain't be going further and now is the time to take a call finally and ask Sanjeev to end his journey and start back for Delhi. It was late but a wise decision because now I know what terrain we encountered on our way further and Royal Enfield would never have made it through the circuit. Sanjeev's Journey till New Delhi was indeed another interesting story but the copyright still remains with Sanjeev to make that story public.

Road to Hatu Peak:

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3400 meters  above sea level at Hatu Peak.
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We were enjoying the view. We took few pics and I also talked about the issue with Sanjeev, also met a rider, who was doing Chitkul route, riding solo. We shared our stories but his was an interesting one. I forgot his name but he told us that he is an MBA from one of the IIMs, quit his job and now only traveling for the living. Quite inspiring!

I was keeping a tab on my watch, we didn't waste much time and came back to Narkanda from Hatu Peak. We bid adieu to Sanjeev. One of the Biker Gang was going to Delhi from Narkanda and we set up Sanjeev with them. Me and Sahil started further journey in opposite direction.

Our last pic with Sanjeev on our Journey and then there was a farewell:
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It was a long descent till Rampur, Roads were wide and mostly smooth and we were in a hurry that day didn't stop much, not even to click the pics. We decided that we would do lunch at Jhakri as Sahil's father work place at Jhakri only but those days he was on vacations.
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We reached Rampur, my helmet glass broke the other night when we reached Narkanda and I was hopeful that I would find something in Rampur but to my bad luck Rampur markets were closed that day. We were short of cash, searched for ATM but not even one ATM was dispensing cash out of 5-6 ATMs. We moved on and finally reached Jhakri at around 3:30 pm and we stopped for a lunch as we were starving.

Now the roads started to show the real colour. Soon we would be travelling roadless mostly further on. Just small patches of road to be encountered from now on till Rohtang Pass after Gramphu.

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Finally a gateway to Heaven
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By the time we finished our lunch, clouds started building up. We both covered our bags with the polythene sheets and also we put our raincoats on. We started riding, we were lucky enough that we encountered wet roads but no rains that day. Gradually, Sun went down and also we were riding on tough roads. Potholes were there, dust was in heaps and we were riding on and on. Roads started to test us. It was completely dark but Reckong Peo was the only target, though there was no option to stay in between. We found a petrol pump some 30-40 kms still to cover before reaching our destination and tanked full.

Finally around 9 we were in the surrounding areas of Reckong Peo. The town seemed to be a populous one but majorly went to sleep. Suddenly roads started to become better and we started seeing the billboards. But based on our experience in Narkanda, we were quite scared and afraid because it was again the same time and town was again deserted. I saw two people talking on a deserted road, one was in his car and I asked him where are all the Hotels sir. He was an educated  and helpful Man. I was surprised to see a good planned town in that area when the place was somehow isolated due to very bad road connectivity. One of the uncles told me there is a lane further on and you'll find many hotels and then he suggested a hotel JK international and told us to give his reference there. We went there. It was fairly a newly built hotel and we got a very good room with all possible luxuries and amenities in that room and for what price? Just Rs 600/- only.

The bathroom was bigger than the room we stayed in the other night.

Finally we had a dinner. I called Sanjeev and he told me that he was near Ambala and Royal Enfield again broke down as its accelerator wire also broke and the Gang just helped him to find a mechanic and they left him. I was feeling bad for him but he took the challenge and reached back to Delhi that night itself. I called and informed my where abouts at my home also and finally switched myself off for the day.
 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2016, 02:57:13 AM by Saurabh Soni »

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Offline sandhyasingh21

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Pics are just wow, Feeling Go there right now

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Offline Saurabh Soni

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Sandhya, never stop and go right now :) though you should wait for roads to open for the season.

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Offline amit1984

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Yes many are awaiting the season to start
Leave the trail, wherever you travel.


 


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