Today was the big day! It was my 36th Birthday and it was the first time in my 8 years of Motorcycling that I was going to celebrate it during a ride and on the road! And what better to celebrate it with my comrades and in the beautiful Lahaul Spiti circuit! The original plan for the day was Kaza – Langza – Komic – Hikkim – Kaza but we added the Key & Kibber circuit as well to make things even better!
In 2003, I spent my entire birthday on a hospital bed in an ICU in Delhi. 13 years later, I had plans to turn the clock completely and be on the roads instead! Those days were horrendous ones and continuous severe pain taught me a lot. At that time I had no hopes to survive the ordeal but now when I look back at those harrowing days, I feel so lucky to be alive and still flourishing! All thanks to God, my parents, my bhai-bhabhi, my angels – Chona & Goga, my wife, my son and so many of my friends. Hope the forthcoming birthdays are as crazy as this!
We started the day with a hearty breakfast of Aloo Paranthas and Pancakes followed by copious amounts of coffee! I called up my family so that they could wish me and all of them told me to stay safe!
Today was the first day when we were going to ride without our luggage and this was a major blessing! So no packing and loading; straight to riding! We started from our hotel at 9:45 AM and the beautiful roads beckoned. The scenery was absolutely magical and we could not find a single soul on those magical roads. I was just thanking God all the way for giving me this opportunity to celebrate my birthday in the most special way!
Our first destination was Komic (‘Ko’- snow cock, ‘Mic’-eye), situated at a height of 4513 meters is supposedly the Highest Village in the World connected with a Motorable Road and literally means the eye of a snow cock.
It is a very small quaint little farming village which boasts of a “population” of 84 in 13 households. One of the world’s highest monasteries (4513 meters), called “Komic Lundup Chhemo” is situated in this village and belongs to the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
The village remains cut from civilization for 5-6 months in a year due to snow and no roads. Yaks are then the only transport mode available. There is no doctor and the closest school is an hour or more trek through the mountain. And even then, the villagers seem most happy and not bothered by lack of infrastructure or public services that seem so essential to all of us.
We met a group of kids who were in such good mood! Their smiles were infectious!
We also met 2 Motorcyclists from Indore whom we had earlier met in Reckong Peo. They were 2 mighty brave young kids who were riding a Suzuki Gixxer. We got photographs clicked with them and wished them the best of luck for the tough ride ahead! Even though their bike was under-powered and thanks to pillion riding they were facing a lot of problems riding uphill especially on the tough roads of Lahaul Spiti, their spirits were always high and smiles never left their faces! Kudos to both of them and hope they keep riding like this forever!
And then the inevitable happened! While negotiating a steep turn I slipped and once again slid on the road. And this time, damage was done to my bike. My left foot peg came off due to my high-skill turning and it was a major issue, as I could not get any grip on the rear brake and had to ride with my front brakes! And them being disc brakes, I was in an even bigger mess! Plus to make things worse, I had to keep my left foot on the pillion foot peg so I also had minimal control of the bike! And not to forget I had to ride downhill which is the tougher than riding uphill with all the Hair-Pin bends! So you can imagine the colossal screw-up!
I wanted a breather and found a spot to just relax and get the rolling off my mind!
I was on a roll! And literally too. I fell down 2 more times before finally finishing the downhill stretch, all thanks to the front braking. Luckily, no other damage was done either to the man or the machine.
And then Adit came to my rescue once again. he thought of a genius idea of using Bungee Cords to connect the Brake Pedal to the rear foot peg and make some sort of a connection or a bridge so that I can use it to keep my foot on and then brake! It was quite creative and helped me a lot!
Once again Adit, THANK YOU.
The views were absolutely gorgeous and majestic. We just couldn’t get enough of them.
I safely reached the road where we had to turn towards Kaza where I planned to get the foot peg repaired.
We reached Kaza and after struggling for almost 90 minutes, I finally got my bike ready to rock & roll! The weather was very hot that day and I was sweating a lot. And once again my “food packing” skill came to everybody’s rescue. Because we had lost a lot of time due to my falling and sliding, we had to skip our Lunch-in-Kaza plans and proceed straight towards Kibber, I got the packed Aloo Paranthas out and we all shared the spoils!
And then another beautiful road beckoned. This time towards Kibber Enroute we saw the Key Monastery perched on a hill.
We stopped to take photographs and as expected I had no plans to visit this monastery. I was more than happy gazing at it from a distance!
We reached Kibber at 3 PM and I did a Parikrama of the small Gompa on the road before heading towards our lunch rendezvous. This was quite a chilled out place with a gorgeous view of the valley below. We ordered our lunch and the staff took their own sweet time to prepare and serve! We were in no hurry so we didn’t mind it at all. We asked them for places to explore nearby to pass our time!
My lunch was Maggi and Doodh-Daliya (yes you read it correctly, Wheat Porridge with Milk). The moment I saw it on the menu I ordered it as it had been a long-long time since I had it.
The restaurant owner suggested that while we were there, we may want to visit the next village, Checham, a few kilometres ahead of Kibber so George and I took the road ahead while Adit and Hari took a different route to enjoy some off-roading fun!
They came back with some amazing pics and lot of fun stories to share!
The restaurant owner had also recommended us to take a trolley but once we reached there, we found it too scary and I was in no mood to risk my life taking that small makeshift trolley to cross a gorge! We bid goodbye to Kibber and headed towards Kaza. I was in no mood to fall again you see!
We came back to our hotel and enjoyed another round of sleep to get rejuvenated. Evening was spent in the hotel just relaxing and enjoying our bakar session. I made coffee for George and myself as well. Birthday treat you see!
We enjoyed a wonderful Mediterranean Special dinner and I ended the day on a food high!
I spent 7 hours in breathtaking terrain on crazy roads traversing 109 kms through Hikkim, Komic and Kibber. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday celebration. Yes I was missing my family back home especially Abhay but I can just thank God for giving me such a good time inspite of the 3 falls I had earlier in the day! I am sure I would never forget falling down like crazy throughout my life! Thanks to my fellow Leonines for making this day so special.
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…