Ride to the Land Of Gods

Its a cocktail of emotions. Not everyday I feel such high levels of excitement and fear at the same time.

We’ve entered the tiger reserve area of the Corbett national park. This is a proper, proper jungle. Road, if I can call it that is rocky and full of loose mud, add to it the dense tree cover and a scary silence. To give you a better idea, its just 4:30 pm but the tree cover is so dense that I can see headlight beam falling at a distance. Few hundred meters in and we are greeted with open skies and a flowing river. Amazing sight! Stuff of the dreams I’d say.

But wait; there is no bridge to the other side! And these seemingly fresh footprints on loose river bank mud belong to a very, very big cat. We’ve surely got company! Now, normally this is when everyone in the tiger safari rejoices for they are about to sight the elusive tiger.

But this is not your regular safari, is it? whats the fun in that? 😛 Here there is no guide, no fellow safari goers, and no jeep to hide in. “we” here is just me and my bike. I’ve come 1800 kilometers from home, I’m unarmed and only human in this jungle!

But I’m not scared… or so I would like to think 🙂 But the truth is that now my cocktail of emotions just has fear in it. I can’t remember the last time I was so scared. So what the hell am I doing here? You’ll have to read the full story for that:

The Ride

The idea of Uttaranchal ride was sparked by a wedding invite. Wedding was in Delhi, and while everybody else was booking tickets and checking RAC status, I was dreaming about my bike ride to Delhi. This would be my longest solo ride yet. My daydreams ranged from attempting Saddle Sore1 to exploring places like Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Himachal etc. The fact is… even after 2 days into my ride I was unsure of my plan. The only thing fixed was that I was going to attend the engagement and wedding.

1 Saddle sore is a documented ride of 1610 kilometers within 24 hours. More details here.

Day1 – Friday, April 25, 2008 – In pursuit of the Pink city

Plan was to come home from office by afternoon on Thursday, get good sleep, leave at 12am early morning, and ride through the night. Met Murphy and got seriously delayed at work. Reached home at 7pm and managed to get just about 3 hours of sleep. I had left all the packing for the last minute, like always, so by the time I left home it was already 1:30am – thats one and half hours off schedule.

Today’s target was Jaipur, 1250 kilometers from home, which I was not going to change because of this delay. The best I’ve done before is 1050 kilometers ride to Bangalore in 17 hours. So I thought 1250 kilometers of gooood NH8 roads would be easy and can also be done in 17 hours flat. I was in for a BIG surprise 🙂

Ride till morning 6’o clock was uneventful and fast. I didn’t cross 85 kmph mark, but still managed to maintain a good 70 kmph average speed. I was delighted! I thought if this is what can be done at night, I will fly under sun light. Took my first tea break and this is when I noticed something unusual on the side of my fuel tank. At first I thought something was sticking there, but closer observation confirmed that they were scratch marks from my cramster knee protector. Damn! Scratches were on both sides and they were bad. I have a habit of hugging the tank and these knee protectors had big metal screws at the joints sticking outta them, which i didn’t notice at night. Made a conscious effort from now on to keep my knees apart and rode on.

The NH8 that I knew – wide and smooth, is only till Navsari. The entire stretch from Navsari to Ahmedabad is bad. There were endless diversions or mad traffic or both! My average speed came down to around 58kmph and I was not very happy about it!

Kept riding and took a break at 12:30pm, gobbled up a chocolate bar. It was some 100 kms from Udaipur. The roads had improved in Rajasthan, my average was around 60kmph now, but the heat was something that I’d never ever experienced before. It was so hot that over time, truck tyres had sunk the road at some places. However, my mesh jacket was doing a very good job of keeping me cool and I felt the heat only when I stopped (I hardly stopped). The 1.5 liter hydration backpack I’d bought just before the ride was a lifesaver. This meant i didn’t have to stop every time i needed to drink water. I used to empty one full fill in about 2 hours time.

I was actually more concerned about my bike, engine was running continuously and I was not sure how such extreme weather would affect the machine.

On road to Jaipur:

On road to Jaipur

Udaipur – Chittaurgarh – Kishangarh sector is a mixture of ok and good roads. Kishangarh – Jaipur is extremely good.

Reached Jaipur at around 9:30pm and found a nice cheap air conditioned hotel for just 150 bucks! It was near Rawat misthan bhandar – a famous fast food joint. Had dal-bati-churma for dinner, but didn’t quite like it as it was too sweet for my liking.

I didn’t find Jaipur city all that impressive, but the people there were amongst the nicest people I’ve ever met. Didn’t find even an ounce of cunningness in anyone. My takeaway from Jaipur is nice, colourful and beautiful people.

So on day 1 I did around 1250 kilometers in 20 hours. Not bad, but I was expecting better figures.

Learning of the day – until now I thought Saddle sore attempt was overhyped and not all that tough, an opinion formed after having comfortably done Bangalore – Mumbai ride in 17 hours. I couldn’t be more wrong. This 20 hour ride was just 3 hours more, but those 3 hours were grueling. I got all signs of fatigue – tunnel vision, confusion etc. Learnt the importance of breaks and a good sleep before the ride.

Day2 – Saturday, April 26, 2008 – Engagement

Objective today was to reach Noida by 2-3’o clock so I can attend the engagement ceremony in the evening. Easy task.

Leaving Pink city:

Checked out of hotel and went to Amber (pronounced as Ameer) fort. Was a bad decision. I should’ve left the baggage at the hotel itself. It’s difficult to lug so much weight around. Didn’t enter the fort and took pictures from outside. Remember, I had still not decided where I will ride after attending the wedding. So I thought maybe I’ll visit this fort on my way back.

Amber fort in the background:

View from Amber fort:

Roads leading to Delhi were awesome! Wish Mumbai could have such wide roads.

Payed my first 2-wheeler toll for using DND flyover while entering Noida. I really don’t mind paying if they make such good roads.

Reached Noida by 3pm and attended the engagement ceremony in the evening.

With friends in Noida:

Day3 – Sunday, April 27, 2008 – The big fat Delhi wedding 🙂

It was an overnight wedding, so took time out to visit relatives in Delhi in the morning. But first stop was Karol Bagh, my bike desperately needed an oil change and I also wanted to buy HIDs.

Had some chole-bhature and Lassi in some famous shop in Karol bagh. It was and is the best Lassi I’ve ever had. I am told that there are better lassi joints, what can be better than this? Delhi is simply amazing when it comes to food.

Karol Bagh was a let down with regards to HID though. I was getting one for 2400/- but with absolutely no guarantee. He even refused to test it before selling. I couldn’t possibly buy something so expensive without even checking it once. Especially when I was about to purchase 3 units.

Headed towards Pitampura and had a small collision with a car. Entirely my fault. He braked, I couldn’t, hit it from behind. The rear bumper of maruti omni was damaged. No visible damage to the bike, me or pillion. Moved on 🙂

Wanted to meet Sumeet in Pitampura, but spent too much time meeting all relatives and had to head back to Noida.

Attended wedding at Pragati maidan in the evening. Had a wonderful time!

Evening belonged to these two:

Day4 – Monday, April 28, 2008 – Harr ki paudi

In the last two days I had made up my mind to ride to Uttranchal. I already had the plan chalked out by Sumeet. So thought of sticking to it.

Uttaranchal ride plan, as suggested by Sumeet:

Day 1: Delhi – Haridwar / Rishikesh Camp
Day 2: Haridwar – Rishikesh Camp
Day 3: Devprayag – Pauri – Lansdowne – Ranikhet
Day 4: Just Ride! in Kumaon. Lovely places like Binsar, Bageshwar etc.. end up at Munsiyari 😀 comfortably doable
Day 5: Another Just Ride!
Day6/7/8 – Rip to mumbai 🙂

So objective today was to reach Haridwar.

Got up late and thought of doing something about the scratches on the tank. I put layers of insulation tape I was carrying and left the hotel at around 1pm. It was a nice small ride to Haridwar. Good roads all the way. Reached there around 5:30pm and got a hotel for 350 bucks. Explored the place. Went to Harr ki paudi, it was an amazing sight! I was returning here after such a long time. Felt nice just sitting on the banks of river Ganga.

Later I found out there are better hotels much closer to Harr ki paudi at same rates just after ‘Juna akhada chowk’, just in case anyones going there.

I enquired about a good eating place and everyone suggested ‘Hosiyarpura’. It was indeed nice. The person there was very modest. He said he himself doesn’t know why people suggest this place? We serve normal food here.

Day5 – Tuesday, April 29, 2008 – White Water Rafting

Got up at 5 am. Its today! Its today! Its today! Like a boy I was excited. I was going white water rafting! 🙂 But first, an early morning dip in holy Ganga before heading to Rishikesh. So went over to Harr ki paudi, stripped and I had two choices:

  1. Slowly get into the cold water, allowing my body to acclimatize.
  2. Jump into the river and go from all dry to cold-and-wet in a second.

Guess which option I chose? 🙂

Saw this huge figure of lord Shiva on my way to Rishikesh. Its soooo huge.. just compare it with the statue next to it.

Went to Muni kei reti and met up with an adventure tour operator (tour operator details here). I wanted to do 26 kms rafting, but being a weekday, they had only 17 kilometer one available. Price was 780 bucks inclusive of lunch, pretty decent I think. Signed some papers which said its dangerous and they wont be responsible for any injuries blah blah blah.. Parked my bike at their office and headed to Shivpuri (rafting start point). And what a wonderful sight it was.. I was ecstatic!

There were only 4 people on the raft including the guide. I requested him to take us through the best rapids. The water was cold and the water splash while hitting the rapids is such a wonderful experience. I am totally addicted to it. I wonder why people call this scary. Cause frankly speaking, its not. Its good fun, a bit tiring I agree, but not scary. Mid way through the rafting circuit we halted for a lunch break. They’ve made these camps on white sandy river bank which looks very beautiful. The sand is better than what I’ve seen in goa. Here are the pics, you decide.

Spot the Kayaker:

Lunch too was good. We hit the rapids again and when the river was relatively calm we got into the water and floated 🙂

Its time for cliff jumping, said the guide. My eyes lit up instantly 🙂 WOW! This, I was not expecting. The fact that I don’t know swimming makes things even better.

The other two people on my raft backed out, till now they were very sportive but this was something they didn’t wanted to try. They were on their honeymoon 🙂, I don’t blame them.

The ‘cliff’ was actually just 2-3 floors high, but I have to confess that the view from the top was more scary than what it seemed from below. The fact that theres a flowing river, not still water sped up my heartbeat. Before I could think, I realized that my camera was already recording and I know it can take only 3 mins clip at one time. Fearing my jump would not get recorded I took the plunge.

I asked my guide if theres a better place to raft, with more and stronger rapids. He said Himachal Pradesh. Guess where I am heading next..

Floated all the way to the finish line and saw Laxman jhula across the river. I remember crossing Laxman jhula on foot long time back. This time I was crossing it from below floating in river Ganga!

I wondered how else I can cross it? Hey.. how about taking my bike across?? So I did just that.

Next stop was Devprayag. Devprayag is where the Ganga is formed by sangam of Alkananda and Bhagirathi. Rode all the way to Devprayag passing some very good and bad roads.

The best part about Uttaranchal is.. no matter how bad a road is.. its always picturesque and pleasant to look at. Riding on them is, well, not so pleasant on the butt 🙂

Devprayag was a double treat. Firstly, its a very calm place, especially at the sangam. And secondly, the tourist guest house in Devprayag is unbelievably cheap. 50 bucks only! Food too was cheap, hot and like home.

Devprayag:

Spot the truck:

Devprayag at night:

The sangam, clean waters of Bhagirathi meets slightly muddy water of Alkananda:

So day 5 was an eventful day with the early morning dip, river rafting, cliff jumping, floating in the river, riding in the hills and finally resting at a very soothing place.

Day 6 – Wednesday, April 30, 2008 – The unexpected safari

With lots of action happening yesterday, today was supposed to be a relatively chilled out day. I couldn’t be more wrong. Plan was to ride to Pauri Garhwal then to Lansdowne and finish off at Ranikhet.

Rode through very beautiful roads in Garhwal and took a breakfast break in Pauri.

Thirsty Bike(r):

Pauri is a very beautiful town. Had breakfast at a hotel named Barakhamba. The service I got was exceptional! Food too was amazing! Has to be the best breakfast I had in Uttaranchal. Continued my ride to Lansdowne and reached there by 2 pm.

Good road:

Bad road:

Lansdowne is an army cantonment. So like any other army cantonment, its well maintained and beautiful.

Now this is where it all started. I asked for directions to Ranikhet and everyone suggested just 2 routes:

  1. Trace back my route to Pauri and then go via Rudraprayag, karnaprayag etc.
  2. Go all the way down to Najibabad, in UP and then climb back up.

Now, I didn’t want to trace back the same route. Also, I was not going in UP and coming back again. So both routes were a no-no for me.

The print out of a map which I had showed a road directly from Lansdowne to Ranikhet which strangely no one was aware of!

I called up Sumeet who had suggested me this route. But he said I should’ve gone from Ranikhet to pauri and then to Lansdowne and that I was going the other way round. This was not very comforting. My plan suggested something else. Taking either of these two routes would seriously throw my plan off schedule. I had to find a shortcut.

I rode to a place called Dugadda and came to know about an internal road which goes to Ranikhet. Everyone said its ‘kaccha road’ but bike can easily go through. I took the road, as I had no other choice.

Initially the road was patchy, as expected, but soon there was no tarmac.

The road was full of rocks with no human in sight. It was around 3:30 pm, I just hoped my tyres would take this beating and make it to the other side. The punishment continued for 45 more minutes and only god knows how I managed to keep the bike upright. And then I saw a man on a bike. I don’t know of a time when I was so relieved seeing a man! :-P. He said there are 2 roads, one that goes through some villages and other through the tiger reserve. Road through the villages will take 5 hours to reach Ranikhet and the one through the reserve should take about 2 hours. He strongly suggested against taking the reserve route as there are wild animals there.

Just before the junction where the roads separate, was a forest range camp. One needs to take permission here before entering the tiger reserve. They don’t normally allow people after 4 pm and it was already 4:20. I was skeptical but thought of giving it a try as taking the 5 hour long route through villages meant I had to stop somewhere at night. I was not too comfortable with this idea as it was a very remote location.

Range officials were nice people and agreed to let me pass. Problem started when I spoke in my broken local dialect. When one of the officials came to know I was from Kumaon, he refused to let me pass. He said it was too risky! Now, I was scared. I was trying to convince him, but in my mind I was having second thoughts.

Here is a list of things they said:

“The entire length of the road is 21 kilometers”

“There are no roads, jungle track only”

“Be careful of elephants”

“There are no elephants”

“There will be no problem unless your bike stops”

“There is no bridge on the river; you will have to ride your bike through it. Don’t worry; water is not above knee height. But be careful of slippery rocks”

“You are alone, its always good to have company, one can console other if something happens”

“We have a range station after 7 kilometers, and then after 3 kilometers” – I asked who stays there? – “No one” they replied.

I asked for a telephone number which I could dial if something happens, to which they all laughed and said “there is no network here, son”.

Mustered all my courage and rode on.. I following things were on my mind:

  1. Its just 4:30 pm and nowadays sun goes down at 7, so I have plenty of time if something goes wrong.
  2. If faced with elephant/ any other wild animal, I’ll just race my bike.
  3. If all else fails, I’ll run to the nearest range station.

The thought of late sunset and riding in daylight was shattered the moment I entered the tiger reserve. Tree cover was so dense that I could see my headlight falling at a distance.

The thought of racing my bike in case of an encounter with a wild animal was also shattered – This jungle road was full of loose mud and rocks. Loose mud meant bike goes down if I try to steer my bike and big rocks hidden in this loose mud kept throwing my bike all over the place. Riding for even 1 kilometer took a lot of concentration.

Some distance into this forest and the tree cover disappeared. There was wide open plain with a small river. Beautiful sight which I thought I would capture once I cross the river. There was no bridge on this river so I had to ride through it. Took my shoes off and thought of walking the bike through the stream whilst still astride the bike. Didn’t take time to understand what they meant by slippery rocks. Rear tyre simply kept spinning and I was doing all the pushing. Me still astride made pushing the bike even more difficult and by the time I crossed the 30 feet stream, I was totally exhausted. I put the bike on side stand and while I was catching my breath and putting on my shoes, noticed deep, fresh tiger foot prints on soft mud. They were HUGE! I had seen Lion foot print in Gir forest and this was as big as that. Hold on. It was not one foot print, the entire place was covered with it!

Shit! I panicked! All sorts of bad things came to my mind. I remembered all those visuals from Discovery channel where tigers hide along the river and pounce at the right moment.

There was no way I was going to stop here. I just sped away as fast as I can. I was so scared that I was riding recklessly. Add to it the bad roads. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall. Road then led to dense forest and climbed up the mountain. The road was narrow and full of loose mud and rocks. There was real risk of skidding at every turn and falling down, but somehow I kept riding fast, it was pure adrenalin that was keeping me going.

I dunno why but I kept watching my rearview mirrors. As if I could’ve done something if a tiger would’ve followed me.

This is when I spotted a herd of deers. Damn! These are huge animals! In the TV they seem to be small and dog-sized, but they actually as big as a donkey. I had seen them in my Gir safari, but this time I saw them very, very closely. They were running like crazy just few feets from me. I mean, I could’ve touched one if I extended my arms.

Then there were Neelgais. These too are HUGE! Like horses! And they too run fast and are too random.

I couldn’t decide if it’s a good thing or bad? Me being with them means tigers are not around, but if one of these were to collide with me, I am dead meat for sure!

I was enthralled by the size of these animals! I wondered how big and fierce a tiger would be?

Before I could think anything else, I reached the next river. But I couldn’t see the way beyond it. There was no trail. I was terribly scared this time.

Without thinking anything else I quickly removed my shoes and decided not to do the antics I did last time – I will walk my bike across the river with engine running in 1st gear. Got down and started pushing. Water level was higher this time, it engulfed the silencer completely. And even my cramster was slightly submerged. I knew if my engine stopped now, water would get in through the silencer and I would be in deep trouble. The tyre would get stuck in the river bed and I had to do a lot of half clutching. Engine was constantly running at 8000+ RPM.

By the end of it I was too exhausted to even ride my bike. But the mud on this river bank too had lots of fresh tiger footprint. I dunno how I kept the bike moving, has to be pure adrenalin.

I just randomly chose one direction and thankfully got a trail.

Again saw loads of wild animals. My headlight and red taillights were on. And all kinda weird things kept popping in my mind

“Will the tiger mistake me for big red-butt monkey?”

“The guide in Gir said, more dangerous than Lions are the Panthers and leopards who attack from behind”

“I don’t wanna be the one to make these tigers man-eaters”

“I’ve seen such beautiful places, and so many wild animals up-close. Will I get out alive to share this story?”

“The range officer told they have a range post at 7 kilometers, but its no where in sight.”

“Have I wet my pants?” – no its just the water from the river.

I was riding as fast as possible and the roads made sure I don’t even blink, as a blink is all it would take to hit a rock at a bad angle and be thrown off the bike.

I wondered.. “ what if my engine stops running? Or my chain breaks? Or if tyres get punctured?” I didn’t have the energy to walk even for a minute.

And then I saw the range station and there were two roads. Which way do I go? Thankfully I saw 2 range officers who were coming from the other side. I was relieved.

I took my eyes off the road, looked at them and asked “which way?” before they could reply, I hit a big rock and the whole bike was in the air. Thankfully, the bike didn’t go down! They asked “where do you wanna go?”. “Ranikhet” I shouted. They showed me the way and I continued riding.

Approached another river. I almost gave up this time. I said there is ABSOLUTELY NO way I am going to cross it. I just didn’t have the energy to do it! I would go back to the range station.

Luckily there was no water here and I rode over the rocks.

Encounters with deers and Neelgai continued till I reached the other side. Which was 24 kilometers and not 22. Felt relieved. Stopped my bike just before the check post and took this snap.

The officer at the exit gate was furious!

Officer – “Who let you in?”

Me – “I have the pass”, handed over the pass.

Officer – “These guys are crazy, how many times should they be warned? Are they waiting for some accident to happen? How can they allow a bike to pass? Only 4 wheelers are allowed in here”

Me – “Has anything happened here before?”

Officer – “no, but there have been numerous narrow escapes. Where are your friends?”

Me – “I’m alone”

I cant describe the look on his face. It was as if he has seen a ghost!

Asked him for directions and headed towards Ranikhet.

What a day it was! Given a choice will I do it again, alone? Hell no! With friends? Now I say maybe I would, but if you’d asked me then, the answer would have been NO.

Has to be the scariest one and half hours of my life. I will cherish it all my life.

Having done this, I can confidently say, no amount of skill, technique, or practice can prepare you for this. Me coming out of that place in 1 piece is plain luck. There were many threats, wild animals, bad roads, reckless riding due to panic. I came out with a little more respect for nature and tigers.

The tiger reserve, which is a part of extended Corbett national park exits close to a town called Mohan.

Forest fire:

Ranikhet is less than 2 hours ride from here. Halted at a good hotel in Ranikhet and called it a day. So I was back on schedule.

Important learnings of the day:

  1. If a road is not there on the map, its not there for a reason!
  2. Follow this road 😛

Day 7 – Thursday, May 01, 2008 – Back to my roots

Having reached Ranikhet on time, I was back on track. Plan for today was to ride through beautiful Kumaon and reach Pithoragarh.

Saw the bike in the morning; It was covered in dust and chain had lots of sand and mud in it, and it looked worse than it actually was.. Tyres felt as if they were low on air. Checked up the pressure and rear tyre was around 15 PSI less. It was not unexpected. I was running tubeless tyres and in Rishikesh itself I’d spotted 2 nails in my rear tyre. All that pounding on jungle road might have accelerated the air loss. Filled up air and headed towards Kausani. Though I knew which roads to take, I asked locals for help. They always show you the shortest way, which also happens to be the loneliest! 🙂 Sometimes I used to be the only person in the entire stretch of the road.

Spotted this graceful fox on my way:

Kausani is a beautiful place. I just love those pine trees and their lovely smell.

Reached Garur and visited my cousin. My actual village is far up in the mountains but she lives down in the plains with her kids. Kept all my baggage at her place and visited Baijnath temple.

Colourful fields on my way:

Baijnath temple:

Check out the name of this market, I didn’t stop to shop though 😛

Continued my journey towards Pithoragarh.

It was around 5:30 pm when I noticed strange noise coming from my front sprocket area. The chain had become extremely tight! I wonder how that happened. Emptied my cramster and took out my spanner set to loosen up the chain. To my surprise I was carrying the wrong size spanner. The spanner for left size was 2 sizes down. Now I had to search for a mechanic in this lonely place. I had 2 options:

  1. Continue towards Pithoragarh and find a mechanic in Thal, 20 kms from where I was
  2. Go to Berinag, 7 kms in the opposite direction.

The chain was making too much noise and the last thing that I wanted was a broken chain. Chose the closer distance and headed towards Berinag. Found a mechanic who did the job in just a couple of minutes. Now Pithoragarh was 55 kms away, and it was about to get dark in about 30 minutes time. That would mean no time to explore the place. So decided to halt at Berinag itself. Found a extremely good hotel for 350 bucks. This hotel didn’t have any fans or airconditioning. All one needs to do is open the windows and the air is so cold that I had to use a blanket at night. Yes, a blanket when rest of north india is at 40 degrees+ !

Berinag is famous for the view of Himalayan range it provides, that explains the cold climate. But I was out of luck. There were forest fire all around and it was difficult to see the next mountain, forget Himalayas.

Maybe this is natures way of saying “come back again”. I certainly will.

I enquired if there are any good places to visit and came to know about this cave, Patal Bhuvneshwar, which one needs to crawl and lie down to get into. So next day’s agenda was fixed.

Day 8 – Friday, May 02, 2008 – Underground caves and beautiful lakes

Cave opens only after 9am, so lazed around in the bed and left hotel at 8:30. It was a nice 45 minute ride to the cave.

Photography is prohibited and having a guide is mandatory here. I never understood why we cant take pictures of such heritage sites.

Anyways, the cave’s entry is something which I had never expected. Its only as big as a bucket. I first thought it was some idol or something. I had to crawl in, thank god they have provided chains on either side. Cave was super spacious from inside. Temperature has to be atleast 4 or 5 degrees lower than outside temperature and there were many natural idols and things of religious importance.

Crawled back up, rode to my hotel, picked up all my stuff and headed towards Nainital.

Ride to Nainital was nice but uneventful. Visited Saat tal and quickly moved towards Haldwani.

Sat-Tal:

Found a nice hotel and called it a day.

Bike’sopen chain guard couldn’t take all this beating and finally gave away. Tied it to the saree guard and re-stickered the scratched tank.

Day 9 – Saturday, May 03, 2008 – Mission: City of Lakes

Today I wanted to reach Udaipur and explore the place, but I think that’s a big ask. Everyone said it takes around 8 hours to reach Delhi. I know Delhi – Jaipur is 3 hours, and Udaipur is around 420 kms from Jaipur! Forget about exploring Udaipur, I might not even make it to Udaipur today. What the heck? I’ll give it a try anyways.

Left early at around 4:30 am and covered good distance.

Mosquitoes while entering Uttar Pradesh:

Was in Noida by around 9 – 9:30 am.And then traffic happened. As if Noida – Delhi stretch was not bad enough, the Delhi – Jaipur road was jammed because of some accident. Decided to take a break at Mc Donalds. Seeing the mad traffic in blazing heat from an air-conditioned cabin was soothing 😛 Changed oil and left for Jaipur.

It was really very hot, but my mesh jacket, hydration pack and Electral were doing a great job of keeping me cool and hydrated!

Jaipur came up fast and it seemed I could make it to Udaipur today itself.

Reached Udaipur at 7:30, got a hotel and dumped myself in. Plans to explore Udaipur went down the drain 😦

Today I’d travelled around 900kms in 15 hours. That’s an average speed 60 kmph. Nice.

Day 10 – Sunday, May 04, 2008 – Ride back home

Started off at 5 am, target today was to reach home.

It was still dark and I was doing around 80 kmph. I carelessly took my eyes off the road for a second and the next thing I see is a cattle bang on the middle of the road just a few meters away from me. I skipped a heart beat. Dodged this fellow and slowed down as fast as I can – I was afraid there might be some more on the road. Usually these guys move in groups and cross the road at the same time. Actually I was surprised to see it so early in the morning. Thankfully all his friends were waiting patiently outside the road 🙂

Reached Gujarat, and there was a sudden increase in humidity. It felt as if I jumped in a swimming pool. Believe me.. Rajasthan, at 40 degrees with low humidity is more livable than Mumbai at 28 degrees with all this humidity.

Was able to maintain good speeds till I reached Ahmedabad. Beyond that, till Navsari road conditions are horrible. You will get miles of bad road or loads of traffic or a combination of both! Stopped at a Reliance A1 plaza – This one was about to close in a couple of days time.

A wise truckie who finally figured it out. Read the slogan just above the wheel cap.

Reached home at 6:30 pm. Covered around 825 kilometers in 13.5 hours with an average speed of 61 kmph.

Bike’s condition after the ride:

1.Leaky front forks:

2.Scratched tank:

3.Battered and bruised:

And so a 10 day solo trip, passing through 7 states and covering 4000 kilometers had concluded. It was a very nice experience and I hope to do something like this again, soon.

Though I agree in a solo trip one does feel lonely at times, but its quite refreshing in its own way. You need to experience it to understand what I mean.

Finally, without taking any names, I would like to thank everyone who supported me in this ride. Thank you!

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24 Responses to “Ride to the Land Of Gods”

  1. Bhupesh Says:

    Awesome buddy……..

  2. Totally cool ride – am feeling like “finding” that Corbett wala road right now! I guess given the noise of your engine, you were less at risk than it seemed at that time – though a puncture/chain-damage would’ve been it.

  3. Fantastic trip !! .. adventure all the way 🙂 .. great goin!.. right from day 1 😀
    Corbett stuff is good .. looked through Picasa as well. Awesome.

  4. Amazing write up….
    thnx for sharing

  5. Beautiful ride and very nice log, I almost felt like being through Corbett!!
    Way to go dude!!

    Cheers n Ride safe!

  6. Fantastic trip log dear…
    I appreciate the guts, with which you started and the whole thing you have taken and done.
    Tell me, how does your body(read butt) takes all this beating of 800, 1200 kms in a single day. I rode for 300 kms in 6 hrs yest on NH 8 and my arse is still in gross pain.
    Good photographs.
    cheers…

  7. An amazing writeup ! Can feel all the tension and the happiness in the writeup !

  8. Manish Singh Bisht Says:

    Great great trip. I always dream to tour Uttarakhand on my Avy, but could’nt make it as of now. Your trip log is really a insight and I can feel your enjoyment there. Being an Uttarakhandi myself, its really a must for to go there on bike and you have added fuel to fire.

    Great trip and excellent writeup and pics. Thanks for sharing them.

    Manish

  9. hey i must say now i admire ur guts and yeah d way u wrote ur whole experience is awespme…my creative mind is at one of its peak now aftr experiencin ur experience while readin dis..:)

  10. has to be the best trip log ever read….
    awesome boss……….
    hope to join u for something like this………

  11. dude, this is awesome……i would have been a part of this experience had u not asked me to back out.i am not gonna do so in future even if it means i have to go thru all the hardship & pain….
    waiting for the next ride….

  12. Praful Mane Says:

    Dude, Has to be the best trip log I have ever read. I have read this trip log over and over again, each time i read, I feel the same adreline and excitement to know what happens next. Cant belive I missed it. Hopefully i will join you next time.
    I could actually picturize the events and your reactions. hehe..

    Cheers,
    Praful

  13. Kranti Sety Says:

    You’ve got guts…too good.

  14. Shweta Daswani Says:

    Fantastic Solo Ride! thats not easy. Reading you’re blog is sheer nostalgia for us…we did a similar ride last may’08. all those interested should include okhimath and chopta..its heavenly. cheers shweta and amish

  15. Shweta Daswani Says:

    not yet. but, inspired to put up one, after our next jaunt in himachal.

  16. Kapil muley Says:

    Hey Man… thats simply great… hats off to you…
    one question…. What was your reaction when you reached home…

    – A big shout… Yeahh… or … a big smile????

    Surely want to know on this in more detail…

    Its really very exciting… thrilling… and inspiring!!!

  17. hell boy Says:

    hats off to u…..even i am planning something similar ……if anyone intersted please reply back ….

  18. Salaja Madhavan Says:

    Its really nice the narration as well as the photographs. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  19. Thats kapil for you…what a wonderful ride bruv..reading itself makes one feel the experience…its awesome..and i would try this someday..

  20. Came to this post today, while surfing for ‘Dugadda- Ranikhet’ road.

    I was to Report on transfer to Ranikhet in May this year and the map I had, showed a distinct road from Dugadda through the Corbett.

    So, self with wife, started off from Dehradun. At Najibabad, we turned north, crossed Kotdwar, reached Dugadda, turned right to Sendhikhal and stopped at a small village ahead of Sendhikhal for tea at a road side stall. This spot was about 20 KM ahead of Dugadda.

    Here it was already 5PM and we thought that, off the map, it would be a max 3 hrs further to Ranikhet. But the locals asked us to turn back and proceed back to Najibabad.

    I can understand why now, but back then it surprised me because buses passed us routed for Medhavan. And from Ranikhet we can see buses routed to Mohan and Salt Mahadev. All these are in close vicinity!

    An excellent account. Bravo!

  21. Awesome writing…

    during reading the whole blog, i felt as if i was travelling in the whole journey… I thoroughly enjoyed and felt the journey.

    thanks for writing on such a vivid experience !!!!

    best regds,
    Chandra

  22. memorable journey

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