Today was another early start for us; we woke up at 5:00 AM to get ready for a long day ahead. After checking out and packing our stuff on the bikes we were up & running at 6 AM from Rampur. The destination of the day was Kalpa and we also planned to visit Chitkul enroute.
The view from our room was absolutely magical! The perfect start as they say.
The morning was a glorious one giving us many opportunities for short photo breaks which we duly utilized! We spotted the “Welcome to Kinnaur” signpost on the road and decided to take a relatively long photo-op break for formation pics and what not!
And then we came face to face with the wildly popular spot on NH-22 where the road has been made after cutting the mountain and this is a spot which you have spotted in many a pics online! I had also waited for this spot for almost 8 years now and just could not get off my bike and enjoy the much-awaited moment! We clicked a lot of pics and then moved forward.
Few kilometres later we experienced the first landslide of this road and had to wait for 5-odd minutes for the road to clear. There was a long queue of vehicles and thanks to our motorcycles we were soon at the front spot and were the first ones to move after getting the green signal from the BRO Staff.
The next stop was for Breakfast which we badly needed! We stopped at Tapri to enjoy another hearty meal of Omelette and Paranthas along with cups of hot tea at the famous Pappu Dhaba. We also talked to many villagers enquiring about the quality of roads ahead. We met Mr. Pappu as well!
The Karcham Dam greeted us soon after breakfast and the roads were getting better too! The huge water reservoir was quite a sight.
Chitkul was just 60 kilometres away so we decided to take it easy and took multiple breaks enjoying the beautiful scenery and taking photographs. The weather was perfect too – bright, sunny and yet very pleasant. Perfect to ride through the winding mountain roads!
We stopped at Sangla for a short tea break before proceeding towards Chitkul. The shop owner showed us the Kinner-Kailash peaks as Sangla provides the back-side view of these ranges. We had quite a good time here talking to the young shop owners!
We stopped near Mastrang right next to a flowing stream for a Bakar break. The scene around us was too good to resist. Soon after, we stopped at the ITBP check-post to make the registration entries.
Soon enough we were in Chitkul – the most famous village in this part of the World as this is the last inhabited village before the Indo-China Border.
We decided not to stop in the hustle-bustle of the village center and moved forward to traverse the road till it ended but after checking with villagers who advised us not to move forward as it was a futile exercise!
So we stopped in the middle of nowhere for definitely the longest photo-session break of our ride!
Adit gave us the idea of taking the “jumping pics” and soon the 4 of us were jumping like monkeys while burst shots were taken! It was quite a maddening time we had there at that spot! Hundreds of pics were clicked!
But the good times were soon over, moments after we started towards Sangla, George had a puncture in the rear tyre of his bike and Chitkul village didn’t even have an Air Pump leave alone a puncture shop! We stopped and thought about the options available to us. Sangla had puncture stops but it was 22 kms away. We spotted a pick-up vehicle and enquired about its owner who very kindly (and quickly) agreed to transport the bike to Sangla. He rolled down the shutter of his shop and moved with us to get the bike loaded onto his vehicle. We got into action and soon George was up & running after tying the bike with bungee cords.
This short journey of 22-odd kms took 1.5 hours thanks to the average quality roads and George had a harrowing time trying to keep the bike stable across all the potholes. He finally reached Sangla at 4 PM and by this time we were absolutely famished but didn’t have many food options. Spotted a small shop near the Puncture shop and decided to have a Maggi lunch!
The guy running this shop called himself “Dhoni” and had named his shop “Dhoni G Dhaba”! He was quite a character. He claimed he was from Himachal though he didn’t look even one bit Himachali! He even showed some ID card and we got to know that his real name was Naveen. He made quite decent Maggi though; sadly he had just 3 packs left!
And then the moment of the day! We casually asked him “Maal milega?” (I am sure you guys would understand the query) and as they say “pat came his reply” – Haan, Abhi, Isi Waqt! And we went down laughing like there was no tomorrow! We wished him good luck and bid goodbye to Sangla where we had quite a good time.
It was 5 PM already and our hotel in Kalpa – Hotel Monk was still 50 kms away. I dread riding in the dark especially in the mountains but there was no way I was going to get away from those fears today! And to make matters worse the road just after the Karcham dam till Powari was really bad. The first time we experienced the dusty and pebbles filled path in the ride so far.
Just after crossing Powari, our eyes were treated to the majestic view of the Kinner-Kailash range with the sunset rays glowing majestically on its peaks! It was the best possible soothing sight after the road we had just traversed!
And then I decided not to take a break till I reached the hotel and rode very quickly crossing Reckong Peo. It was so much fun zipping on those roads while crossing multiple hair pin bends. I reached the hotel at 6:50 PM and was the first one to reach. I checked in, got into the room and then started calling the other 3 to check their whereabouts.
Saw a text message from Adit informing me that George’s bike had another puncture which they were getting repaired in Reckong Peo! Quite a misfortune getting 2 punctures one after the other. The owner of the Hotel Monk also came to meet us but had to leave without meeting everybody. He was quite a gentleman!
They finally reached close to 8 PM understandably very exhausted. We got freshened up and ordered our dinner which was quite a simple meal and exactly what we wanted. After covering 195 kms in the day with 2 minor breakdowns and being 14 hours on the road we definitely deserved it!
We decided to sleep early as we were planning to get up early the next say to enjoy the Sunrise views which were highly recommended by everybody! We thought sleep came within seconds after hitting the bed but then I and George decided to start a short conversation which soon extended to 2 hours! We talked about our lives in Kuwait, India and what not! We finally slept at 1 AM! Our bodies were tired but our minds were as fresh as ever!
Day by Day Travelogues of the Ride:
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…