By now, having travelled through different parts of Himachal we had clearly learnt one thing.....though the hard way – Never Trust Locals For Judging The Roads…..they always seem to say “achha rasta hai, Sadak achhi hai”……”koi problem nahin hai”.....and whenever we had these assurances the roads were no where near these acclaims. So when we had to travel from Losar to Koksar it was by far the most dreaded ride…cause this time the locals claimed the roads were bad!!!…..and the recent snowfall would have only made it worse.
We were stuck in Kaza for a long time because this route was blocked, due to landslides after snowfall…..so we ended up making a lot of friends who were holed up with us…..we labelled it the ’Community of Castaways’. A lovely couple from US/Israel (Josh and Idit) who were on a bike trip to India, joined us on this route. We all wanted to get out of here at the earliest not only because the halt was consuming our time, also fresh snowfall was being predicted everyday…..and rumours spread faster when there’s no technology supporting the truth or otherwise. The media on the other hand hyped up things, so couldn't differentiate between trustworthy and cooked up information. And the worst was the locals now certified…..“raasta bahaut kharaab hai”.….if this was their opinion….just imagine….what would be ours !!!
Stupas at Kunzum La (14,931 ft)
Buddhist prayer flags at Kunzum La
'hELLIONS and their mEAN mACHINES'
....this lovely couple joined us for the ride from Losar to Manali
Scared but determined we left for koksar…..and hell the locals were wrong again…..Bad Roads?? BLOODY WHERE WERE THE DAMN ROADS!!! We had only water, muck, and stretch of snow. On reaching Kunzum La we decided to take a breather, but it proved to be fatal. My bike fell while putting it on stand and the left foot rest broke… ..and had to ride with my left foot on the gear box for rest of the jourrney. For most part of this ride the speedometer just hovered between 10-30 with no sign of relief. We reached Batal, with no stoppages on the way; and only thing there was a tented tea stall, Chandra Dhaba. This was also a refuge for around 35-40 travellers during snowfall, who were trekking nearby to Suraj Tal.
'Truck on the wRONG tRACK'
....unwinding along slithering Chandra River
Chandra Dhaba at Batal
It was an endurance test for us and our bikes coz we still don’t know what to call the piece of land we travelled upon…..it wasn’t anything close to being even a track…forget about road. Batal to Chhatru was a tougher test ….it was a concoction of mud, water and gravel with our bikes fighting all the harshness of nature…No amusement park could offer such a ride!! Josh & Idit, our co-riders, had a bike which they thought was jinxed as it always had a flat tyre. We all prayed that atleast the bikes don’t give up……but Alas! luck was in no mood of favours. Their bike had not one but two flat tyres, only to realise that the inside of the wheel was rusted, and was cutting through the tube even without any external element to interfere. We gladly duct taped it and after a whole hearted effort were surely sorted for the rest of the journey. Funnily, this time their bike’s ball bearings gave up just before Chhatru. For once we were happy for having carried so many extra tubes and spares along.
....fighting with muck and water
....and the fight continues...
1st puncture in Josh's bike...one more to go & also the wheel bearing was replaced soon after
Our shoes, denims and socks had given up by the time we a reached Chhatru, we were all soaked knee down, wondering if we should try moving to Koksar or spend the night here at the tea stall, which offered some disdained lodging. Putting on the armours of our courage we left for Koksar with the sun almost yelling good byes. Then came the weird cranking noise from my bike's shock absorbers; while the guys were busy setting them right the girls were saying their silent prayer….and the final test was the last leg of ride to Koksar, when it was already dark and we barely knew what lay ahead……just hoped nothing more would go wrong.
'the rOAD less tRAVELLED'
Finally prayers were answered and we reached Koksar….the hunt for accommodation began. All done when we rested that night, painful though, but it was our most exciting ride.
This ride is not just captured in our memories, but also on camera.
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Amit Singh ( read: the tranquility of the Himalayas) Jasleen Chopra (read: the effervescence of the Ganges) In the little journey of knowing us better that we are about to take you through, we hope to give you a reason to hook on to us.
This Dehradun guy has a keen interest in photography & observations he always seems to have a new muse. Travel albeit has remained a constant. Jasleen, a chatterbox, is happy with whatever comes her way.