First Big Ride -1 (2009) Lansdowne – Pauri


“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” 

Birth of an Idea

It is from the experience of my first motorbike trip that I came to believe that the best memories are a mix of learning and experiences this was such biking trip for me. About how it came to fruition is a bit of a longer tale but 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 wants, wishes were pushed in the to do list for all those years. With years passed and I felt drained and longed for exciting adventures of motorbiking in the Himalayas.

In 2007 just after the release of Turbogems, we decided to move back to Dehradun and six months after being at Dehradun I bought my first motorbike a 200cc cruiser from Bajaj called Avenger. Thus began the transformation of my nascent wish into a full-fledged hobby. Living in Dehradun have its share of perks such as its proximity and access to all deeper secluded regions of Himalayas.  Fortunately, I have the company of

Fortunately, I have the company of Mammu with whom I already share a lot of travelling history.  After buying my bike we both did lighter trips around Dun, extending them later to, Rishikesh, Asan Barrage, Dhanaulti, Mussorie and Kempty fall. Between Mussoorie and Dhanaulti we had managed innumerable trips within a year.

 

Finally a trip

Pauri have a special place in my heart since childhood, I have lots of happy memories of the small but bustling little life town. Eventually one day I decided to do a trip to Pauri via Lansdowne and shared it with Mammu to which he added a couple of more places to expand the itinerary into a 6-day one of over 850+Kms. The first part of the trip being my ride to Lansdowne and Pauri. Then Mammu were to join me at Pauri and proceed to is part of the trip which was to visit his business contacts for some work.

  • Dehradun> Lansdowne.
  • Lansdowne> Takeshwar> Lansdowne.
  • Lansdowne> Satpuli> Pauri.
  • Pauri> Rudrayaprayag> Agastyamuni> Ukhimath> Chopta> Gopeshwar.
  • Gopeshwar> NandPrayag> Devprayag.
  • Devprayag>Chandra Badni Temple> Rishikesh> Dehradun.

 

Day 1 Dehradun – Kotdwar – Lansdowne 150KMS

dehradun to lansdowneLansdowne being my Home town I have been there countless times. But this trip was incomparable, a newbie rider unravelling the thrill of driving on the highway in peak tourist (May – June) season.

It is absolute chaos during this time of the year, it is unique as this being the single road for bi-traffic. Add to this time heavy traffic which makes a line of vehicles dominating the opposing lane if there is less traffic on other lanes. So if there are only small vehicles such as bike on one lane, the opposing lane will form a train of the vehicles each overtaking 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 you are at ;)

Even more dangerous opposing lane drivers will aggressively blink headlamps at you instructing you to get off the road. This is done by local tourist bus operators who in a bid to out do each other to acquire more running passengers till their destination to make few quick bucks.

Traffic ahead of Doiwala presents another set of problem with sugar cane carriages that clearly want to 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” their owners have acquired over the years. It’s only after you have wiggled out of Najimabad that you can feel relaxed and start enjoying the bountiful nature.

After Kotdwar it’s all charming hilly road with excellent vegetation. Closer to Lansdowne, one finds those majestic conifer forests with brown pine leaves. The hill floor and roadsides are covered with ‘Pirul’ a local name for pine leaves which adorn the hills with its brown shade.

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Lansdowne treks

DSC_5433It was a pleasant drive for me from Kotdwar till I reached home. When I reached home I got news that my cousin and her husband were already there for their holidays. Since Chacha Ji was posted there.

Later that evening we got together and did a long trek in one of the most scenic parts of Lansdowne. This trek starts of from Jaiharikhal road leading to the playgrounds of KV Lansdowne a 6-7 km trek of medium difficulty.

I would rate trekking on older foot routes around Lansdowne as a great way of exploring the charms of the place. There is accessible one called as ‘Thandi Sadak’ it used to be evening walkway for Britisher and no brown skins were to walk on it during their rule, like everything their empire fell and so did the ban.

We enjoyed that evening during trek and I went back home, day2 was to be dedicated for trip to Tarkeshwar.

 

Day 2 Lansdowne – Tarkeshwar and Back 50Kms

Next day we all went to Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple about 40 km from Lansdowne. An enthralling tale in itself whole lot 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 little place hidden in Deodar trees, in Hindi Deodar is known as ताड़ hence the name ताडकेश्वर /Tarkeshwar also that is another name of Lord Shiva too.

This is a place of Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple and Lord Shiva is the deity here. It is a majestic little place hidden in Deodar trees, in Hindi Deodar is known as ताड़ वृक्ष hence the name ताडकेश्वर /Tarkeshwar is also another name of Lord Shiva too.

 

Day 3 Lansdowne

The 3rd day was spent enjoying the quitenss of the place and funk with family members.

 

Day 4 Lansdowne – Satpuli – Pauri 80Kms

Yesterday’s adventure was still fresh in my mind when I woke up and also this being the third day I have one more thing to be excited about and that was lone riding to Pauri a place around which both my parents and thus myself trace our lineage from.

I was going there after a gap of over 10 years. Prepared I left at around 8:15 am towards Jehrikhal – Gumkhal after a full meal of delicious paranthas that Chachi had prepared for me.

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Satpuli town as seen from Gumkhal side. June 2009

The smooth empty and curvy roads and fresh hill air along with its beauty accompany you till Satpuli a small town downwards of Gumkhal. Satpuli is a transit town in this part of Pauri Garhwal region. Most places in hill are currently devoid of useful road markings there were two exits after Satpuli bridge so I inquired the path to Pauri.

 

I was happy and frustrated as I progressed. Roads were non-existent at all places where the broadening was going on. I kept wading through thick dust clouds and unpaved patches that started after Satpuli to about 20 km till you reach the top of the hill to enter the periphery of Pauri City.

 

Reaching Pauri

I stopped to watch over the Pauri city in that dusty and hot afternoon. It must have been around 11:40 pm when I entered the vicinity of Pauri. Stopped to take a photograph.

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Far View of the Pauri City 2009

It’s 2009 and Pauri still managed to hold onto its charms well, those charms which had me in her spell when I was a child roaming freely, running hither-thither along with cousins having a grand blast.

I kept recalling my way down to the farthest place in Pauri where my Mausi lived and I went straight to her house. This house being one of the oldest building of the Pauri is extremely well intact and well kept.

 

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Mausi’s Bungalow at Pauri

 

Here just after a couple of hours later Mamu was to arrive to begin the second leg of our journey a day later.

Mammu reached in time a while later I went to pick him up from the bus stop and we returned back to home to have lunch. We rested for while and Mamu suggested visiting our maternal home 15kms just ahead of Pauri.

 

Evening first visit to ancestral home

 

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The pathway to reach our village from the Main road.

 

We left at about 3 pm 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.

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Our ancestral home
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The Village temple and our home below

It was purely nostalgic moments as Mamu described his life back then in the Hills, all the family members of the ‘कुटुंब’. Their life back then, the forest below where they used to forage for wood for everyday fuel. The school building which still runs to this day.

Talks moved on to the time they had when they were kids. He showed me the stone engraving they left back in the courtyard stones when they were young kids.

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Date when the house was built
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Possibly this was etched by either Mammu or his elder brother both have same character N as their name.
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ओखल or Okhal the stone whole used to crush Dals or to make podwer of various spices.
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बाघ बकरी -Bagh Bakri traditional board game.

Ours was a small village consisting of only a few buildings sporadically placed and strangely enough from one of those buildings down came an old lady to meet us. To our surprise, she remembered Mammu when he told her his name of course mamu was out of Pauri for more than three decades.

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A sweet lady from the houses nearby.

Back in the day the village was your family’s extension all lived and cared for each other. She was very old and a very sweet and loving lady, watching us come to our desolated home she had brought with her a jug full of water for us to drink as that was one sunny day doing a trek down has made us thirsty too.

We paid our tribute to her and updated her about our family members, which seem to bring smile and tears to her eyes as she described the village and its current situation of deserting houses, apparently she was the only one in the village left and one more family which lived in the houses above. Her son keeps visiting her from the city as she likes to spend time in the place she lived so many decades for.

It was an overwhelming experience of emotions and nostalgia and strangely it coincided with my age that is when all humans experience this connection in their lives. We left our village with a heavy heart that day not what I was expecting when I woke up in the morning.

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