THE PARVATI VALLEY PANACHE – Arijit PaulFebruary 22, 2016
5 a.m. on the clock! 23rd January on the Calendar! Hardly even a stray dog on sight! Only the street lights near The Great India Place Mall, Noida were lit up for the luminescence. A bunch of Bikers gathered together to head towards somewhere which would eventually become one of their most loved and crazy trip ever taken! The place where they set their eyes was Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh!
We started out in a group of 7 of us on 4 bikes planning to meet another couple of guys at Rajghat,New Delhi before we finally kick start our journey full fledgedly. As feared by most of us the thing which we so desperately tried to avoid…..FOG!!! Well it’s the month of January and how can we even expect that there won’t be any Fog! As we crossed Mukarba Chowk and started picking up on NH-1, we had to slow down owing to the diminished visibility due to dense fog and heavy traffic mostly due to trucks. We somehow maintained a speed of close to 50 kmph and started steering ahead. As we crossed Murthal the visibility range increased and we could pick up the speed and make up on the lost time. The temperature on the bike was shivering and its quite a common experienced fact that on a moving bike the temperature felt is generally 5 degrees lower than the actual temperature. As we moved towards Panipat, the conditions started improving and we revved up our velocity. By the time we crossed Karnal and Kurukshetra and reached Ambala, the weather was sunny and perfect for biking! But we had lost considerable amount of time in between. We headed towards Panchkula and crossed Pinjore to head towards our next pitstop i.e. Swarghat. As we moved towards Nalargarh passing through Baddi, we somehow felt that we lost our way but thanks to the owner of the Dhaba where we stopped, we got back on the correct track.By around 4 pm we had crossed Swarghat and the final pitstop for our night was Mandi which we planned to reach by 9 pm since the road conditions were not that good as we had read earlier from articles on the Internet. The stretch from Swarghat to Mandi was both an amazing one as well as a ‘Not-So-Amazing’ one since there was a stretch of around 5-6 kms where the road was really bumpy owing to the on-going construction. We halted for the night at a hotel a little prior to reaching Mandi.
We started again at 10 am in the morning and headed for Bhuntar which was our next pitstop. Quite surprisingly, there was no fog!!! From Mandi onwards to Bhuntar, the road was as Smooth as Silk! The amazing turns,the tempting 200 metres straight stretches,the surrounding scenic beauty of the rivers and the dams was really a treat to the Soul! We were pretty excited to ride through the much heard and talked about ‘Mandi Tunnel’. But frankly, its all hype and no Hap! Its just a plain simple tunnel with nothing so exciting about it! As we reached Bhuntar well within our speculated time, we took a right turn crossing a bridge towards Kasol. The road gradually started becoming narrower and the turns and curves started becoming sharper with quite a number of Blind Turns on the way, but this did not really create a major problem on our ride.
As we neared Kasol, we spotted the way to Malana on the left 5 kms pior to it. En-route Malana, the Registration Numbers of our Bikes were noted down by the security personnel as per Government rule. The next phase of our ride was something which we would remember for the rest of our lives. After a smooth ride for around 7-10 kms we noticed some construction work going on and the roads being broken.
Initially we assumed that it was for probably some 200-300 odd metres. But then came the surprise!!! It was a stretch of another 7 kms of Pure Mountain Off-Roading. The slope was extremely steep, there was Practically No Roads, there were too many rocks on the way, the path was filled with mud, there was a huge log of tree broken down in the
middle of the way and the already setting in ‘Icing on the Road’. Since none of us had ever taken a ride
on such a track and condition, it was a challenge for us and we pulled it off pretty well and managed to reached Malana Village very much in time.
The next day as we reached Kasol, I noticed I had a flat rear tyre caused due to a shrapnel probably during the downhill ride from Malana to Kasol. Two of us headed towards Manikaran in search of a mechanic whereas one of us stayed back and started opening the tyre. Luckily, we managed to get hold of a mechanic and somehow the issue was taken care of and we all headed towards Tosh. The road initially was not that great but after a stretch of 3 kms it was again a smooth track. The next stretch of 15-20 kms was the most beautiful ride owing to the graceful scenic beauty of the Pine Trees and Snow Capped hills and overnight snow on the sides of the road. It was sunny and the wind was cool. We did not rush neither did we moved like a turtle….We were enjoying the whole ambience of the ride!!!
We stopped at a small shop where we did what every tourist does on Hills…….Maggie Time!!! After an amazing plate of Maggie topped up with Egg Burji we found out was way downwards wherein we spotted ample snow and a River bank. The ride on Ice and Snow was thereon an awesome one and we got our Bikes down a rocky road right at the bank of the river. The feeling was…..Ecstatic!!! Snow capped Hills,Pine Trees,Blue Water,River bank filled with rocks ,a small bridge on top of that………That’s Himachal for You! We slowly started winding things up since we aimed at reaching Mandi before night and halt there for the night and ultimately head towards elhi the following day.
If I had to summarize these 3 days, I would definitely have to say that it comprised of some real skillful Biking, Great Surprises, Never before faced Challenges, Amazing Food and of course how can I forget that one word which describes Himachal the best….Beauty. All in All, A Trip to Remember for the Entire Lifetime!
Thanx to all my frenz on our tour!
Thank you Himachal!
Thank You God!
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