“It is to be said that finest of our memories are the ones when our young mind was unaware to the ways of the world.” – gogi yogi
Birth of an Idea
It is from experience of my first motorbike tour that, I came to believe the above quote. About how it came to fruition is a longer tale. It all started during existentialism of my young years being spent singularly on developing computer games and/or acquiring knowledge for the same. All my wishes were kept in the to do list for that long. I felt drained and longed for exciting adventures of motorbiking in the Himalayas.
That needed only two questions to self “Why I am not biking still? and “Where is the bike I promised myself?”. In 2007 just after the release of Turbogems we decided to move back to Dehradun.
Six months later we got back to Dun I procured my first motorbike a 200cc cruiser from Bajaj called Avenger. Living in Dehradun have it’s share of perks such as its proximity to all deeper secluded regions of Himalayas. Thus began my transformation of a nascent wish into a full-fledged hobby. Fortunately I have the company of Mammu with whom I share a lot of traveling history.
For star we did lighter trips around Dun, extending them later to Maldevta, Rishikesh, Asan Barrage, Dhanaulti, Mussorie and Kempty falls. Between Mussoorie and Dhanaulti and Kempty falls we had managed a decent number of 18 trips a year, me and my bike became soulful companions.
Finally a trip
Pauri have a special place in my heart and one day I decided on a trip to Pauri from Dehradun via Lansdowne. Later Mammu added couple of more places to make it into a 6-day drive of 850+Kms in total. The first part being my drive and then accompanied by mamu in the other half.
- Dehradun> Lansdowne.
- Lansdowne> Takeshwar> Lansdowne.
- Lansdowne> Satpuli> Pauri.
- Pauri> Rudrayaprayag> Agatmuni> Ukhimath> Chopta> Gopeshwar.
- Gopeshwar> NandPrayag> Devprayag.
- Devprayag>Chandra Badni Temple> Rishikesh> Dehradun.
Day 1 Dehradun> Haridwar> Najimabaad> Kotdwar> Lansdowne 150KMS
Lansdowne being my Home town I have been there countless times. But this trip was uncomparable, a newbie rider unraveling the thrill of driving on roads like Haridwar-Rishikesh – Kotdwar – Lansdowne in peak tourist (May – June) season.
It is absolute chaos during this time of the year. It is unique because one file of vehicles dominates the opposing file on a single lane highways. So if there are only small vehicles such as bike on one lane, opposing lane will be like a train overtaking the road. All incoming traffic will try to overtake simultaneously ignoring your presence on road, the only option left for you will be to get off the road to save yourself. Even more dangerous opposing lane drivers will aggressively blink at you, even for the space on your side of the road ;)
Traffic ahead of Doiwala present another problem with sugarcane carriages that clearly outdo their engineered specifications for capacity, shape and size.
Some of those vehicles are so big you have to marvel the ingenuity of “overloading efficiency” they have acquired. It’s only after you have wiggled out of Najimabad that you can feel relaxed.
After Kotdwar, nature takes control its charms will have you feeling pampered with vegetation. Closer to Lansdowne one finds those majestic conifer forests with brown pine leaves. The hill floor and roadsides is covered with ‘Pirul’ a local name for pine leaves.
It was a pleasant drive till I reached my ancestral home. I had a good news waiting for me there, my cousin, and her husband were also there on holidays. My Uncle was posted there so I had another home to go to. Later that evening we all took a long trek in one of the most scenic places in Lansdowne.
It starts from Jaiharikhal road leading to the playgrounds of KV Lansdowne a short trek of medium difficulty about 4-5 km’s will do GPS log for it some day.
A lot of tourists come to Lansdowne today, they go to usual places, like Bhulla Taal, ‘Tiffen Top Point’ and a few temples, missing out on real beauty. I would rate trekking on older foot routes as a great way of exploring the charms of the place.
There is also a ‘Thandi Sadak’ it was evening walkway for British and no brown skins were to walk on it during their rule, like everything their empire fell and so did the ban.
Day 2 Lansdowne > Tarkeshwar and Back 50Kms
Next day we all went to Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple about 40 kms from Lansdowne. An enthralling tale in itself whole log of that experience is duly noted down here. This is a place of Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple and Lord Shiva is the deity here. It is a majestic place all hidden in Deodar trees, in Hindi Deodar is known as ताड़ hence the name ताडकेश्वर /Tarkeshwar.
Day 3 Lansdowne> Satpuli> Pauri 80Kms
On the third day morning I was ready, excited to leave for Pauri a lovely place where both my parents grew up. I will be going there after a gap of 10 years, I love the weather, natural charm and simplicity of hill folks of this little hill town.
I left at around 8:15am towards Jehrikhal> Gumkhal after delicious paranthas that Chachi had prepared. As I was nearing Jehrikhal and I saw an unusual scene a truck jutting out of the ground.
The smooth empty roads and natural beauty accompanies you till Satpuli a small town down of Gumkhal. Satpuli is a transit town in this part of Pauri Garhwal region. Most towns in hill are devoid of road marking so I inquired the path to Pauri. I was directed and warned in the same breath about the road condition as the roads are now being broadened a part of modernization of transport infrastructure in hills.
I was happy and frustrated as I had to pass through broken roads, wait through blasting sessions and wade through thick dust clouds. That started from Satpuli to about 20 kms till you reach top of hill to enter periphery of Pauri City.
I went straight to my Aunt’s house where I was supposed to meet Mammu to begin the second leg of our journey a day later.
Mammu reached in time as usual around 1pm, I went to pick him up from the bus stop and we returned straight back to home had lunch and rested for while as we had planned to cram a visit to our maternal hometown Khadet just outside Pauri.
We left at about 3pm the drive took us about 30mins till we reached a place from where we had to trek down to the house. It appeared easy down hill as it usually is but not when we had to head back the same way uphill.