Monday, July 18, 2011

Bike trip to Ladakh, Delhi to Leh

Riding to Leh has been my dream for many years. This year the dream became a reality. After planning to do this ride the first step was to look out for a team to ride with. Met Ragu and Thomas on-line and we formed a team "Enfield tribes".

The next step was to prepare the man and the machine. Both of us were not in any condition for a ride like this. Took the birdie to the service center (manjunath motors). There was some serious problem with the bike. It has already covered 50K kms without any major overhaul. So fixed everything except the types. And for the man, i started working out 1 hour every day.
1 Week Before D-day, Packed the bike to Delhi via Railways. Also started packing Spare parts, Toolkit for the machine and Medicines, Winter clothing, Rain gear, riding gear etc for the man.

Day 1. 18th June - Took a flight to Delhi and collected the bike from the railway station. We faced the best part and worst part of Delhi. The airport, metro was wonderful. Reached the Railway station in full comfort. Once we came out of the metro station the scene changed completely. It was hot, dusty and every one was trying to take a pie of our wallet. The worst part was to come out of delhi. Many of them does not know the way to Chandigarh. Finally met couple of bikers who directed us "out of Delhi".
On the way my bike suddenly stalled. I was little worried, and found my engine dry. Filled the engine with the oil which Ragu has brought and reached Chandigarh. Found a hotel, and slept hard.

Day 2. 19th June. Checked the Bike and found the air intake pipe broken. Fixed it with tape and took the bike to the enfield service center. The owner of the service center (garg autos) was very helpful. It being a Sunday many options were closed. He called one of his friend in the motor market (Chandigarh has a separate place only for vehicle spares and service) who helped with the pipe. changed the bike front tires and we started for mandi.

Day 3. 20 June. Started from Mandi to Manali. For some one who has never seen Himalayas, i was mesmerized by the views. stopped in many places to take indulge in the bueaty. Till manali we also had to negotiate some decent traffic. I lost my digital camera somewhere here on the road. It was good in a sense that i started using my DSLR seriously. We were riding along the Beas river. The river itself was majestic and the mountains around was making it more beautiful.

After Kullu the fruit orchards started. There were apple, pears, peaches. The fruits were just on the road. It was an awesome ride. The landscape was changing and also the temperature started to drop. Just before manali, it started to rain. It was a sudden heavy downpour. Quickly wore the rain gear and ducked my camera inside and continued the ride.

Once i reached manali the traffic was completely jammed. It was a mad rush. There were vehicles every were. We found a nice hotel away from the rush, on the road to rohtang. Had a late lunch. My bikes front fork was leaking. Took it to a service center. He took some 4 hours and gave it back in a clean state. Only that the leak was not fixed (It started leaking after 20 kms). The good part was, we did meet lot of bikers in the garage. Next day we planned to hit the roads early to avoid the maddening rush to the Rohtang pass.

Day 4. 21st June. Manali to Keylong.
Started early in the morning. The ride to rohtang was cold but the route was getting more beautiful. Around 6 km before the pass we were stopped by the army. We were told that tuesday was meant for repair work and no vehicles will be allowed. They were fixing a landslide that has happened earlier. The landslide was all the way till the pass.
By this time there were more bikers who have come to the point. The total number was around 100. The good part of this was that no one was hurrying up to go past the place neither return to manali. the place itself was very beautiful. We started inquiring in the makeshift tented dhabas. One guy agreed to accommodate us for Rs 200. But fortunately/ unfortunately the army allowed one batch of vehicles. We started to move slowly and reached the Rohtang pass around 2.00 PM.

Just before the pass there was a landslide and the army was clearing it. The road as slushy. When i was trying to cross a deep slush my bike slipped and fell on me. My leg was caught in between the rear foot rest. The pain was severe, based on the pain i thought i should have got my leg fractured. But then it was not that bad, though the pain was there for almost a fortnight.

By the time we reached the rohtang pass, we were exhausted. There was only one dhaba in the pass, but the good thing was they were serving Rice and mutton curry. I had two plates of rice, took a small nap. I was getting very tired after the nap. Only then i realised that it could be the AMS kicking in. So left the place and started the descend towards keylong.
After the rohtang pass the scene change completely. Mainly there was no traffic. This stretch forms part of the beautiful spiti valley. There was one waterfall every kilometer. The place was so beautiful, that it can neither be explained nor captured by camera. It should be experienced.

Reached Keylong before the sun set. Filled up up the tanks and extra cans at tandi.

Day 5. 22nd June Keylong to Sarchu.

After a good rest in keylong, we rode along Bhaga River to the right. We crossed Jispa and Dracha. Dracha has a police check-post where we have to register our details. A small road runs to the left just after Darcha, connecting the villages deep in the mountains with the Manali-Leh highway. It is though this road that trekkers begin the long walk to Zanskar and further to Lamayuru Village in the Indus Valley.

From Darcha, it is a steady climb for next 40km to Baralacha la, the highest point in the road so far. Before the pass one of the rider from a team from europe fell down near a water crossing. His bike was laying some 300 feet down. Luckily he survived the fall. Later he was airlifted from sarchu.

One of the risky activity in the entire ride is water crossing. The ice from the higher side of the road melts to form a water fall. The water flows with decent force across the road. The road here will be broken badly and water ice cold. Without fellow riders who encourages and also helps at these water crossing, it will be almost impossible to cross them

Descent from Baralacha is quick. At the floor of the valley is City, which is nothing more than half a dozen parachute tents huddled together. Beyond Bharatpur City is the high altitude plateau of Sarchu. It is now one long straight road, which feels like an expressway after going through ups and downs of the mountain roads for the whole day. It is now the turn of Yunam River to accompany us till Sarchu.
We halted in sarchu and stayed in a tent. Even inside the tent it was very cold. Without knowing the seriousness of the cold i removed my dress and thermals and started shivering in side. Wore all the dress again. Slept with full 5 layers of clothing and two thick blankets. Still it was cold. The High altitude only made things worse. It was very difficult to sleep continuously for an hour without waking up.

Day 6. 23rd June Sarchu to Leh

Left sarchu early in the morning and passed through Gata loops. It was indeed a great climp to such a height in such short distance. At the top of the Gata loops is Nakee la. The terrain was very dry from here. After pang we reached the Morey plains. We expected a fast ride here, but in most of the places BRO was still laying a new road. Which means more gravel and slow ride. Many places we have to cross sand tracks which was very soft. The best way to ride through this sand patches is to switch to first gear and use both legs and walk with the bikes.

The road begins the climb up to Tanglang la(altitude – 5328 meters or 17,582 feet) which is the second highest motorable pass in the world and the highest point on the road.

Just after Tanglang La there was a water crossing. The water crossing here was quite different, because the place was made of soft black rocks. So where ever there is a water crossing the roads were eroded. when i was hopping from one stone to another in the water crossing, a Ford figo was behind me. He was honking and coming in a decent speed. The road was so narrow that i cant even move to any side. I knew he is going to hit me. So applied full brake and hoped that he when he hits me i will fall on the ice to the right. cause the left hand side was a deep valley. He did hit me and i was thrown on the ice (as hoped). But the fall was not as cool as you see in a movie. Hit real hard head first. Luckily there was no injury. More than me the driver of the car and his family were more scared. The bike was damaged in the rear and the real wheel was jammed to the mudguard. The driver of the figo fixed the mudguard with his hands, while i was sitting inside the car and was sipping the glucose mixed water. With some minor fixes the bike was ready to roll. Any way it was an unforgettable incident.

The rest of the ride to leh was good. Till Upshi it was broken road. We took a break in Upshi. From here Ragu and Thomas left early. The plan was to find a place and call me. But something unplanned happened here.The mobile phones were not working. We were told that BSNL phones will work, but only after we reached leh we found out that the mobile phones work when there is power. When there is no power to the town, (which happens 50% of the time) the mobile and the internet is also down.
So We got seperated here and stayed in two different hotels. I stayed in Hotel Kangri. I got the room for almost 30% of the cost displayed.We also got decent discount in srinagar and kargil. Though the oqners of the hotel told it is because we came in bikes, etc i now think it should because we came quite late.

Day 7. 24th june Leh

Leh is the most laid down place i have travelled yet. Things happen very slow here. We just decided to spend one full day here to refresh ourself and our bikes. Next day took the bike to a mechanic by name mohan. He is a very good person. He fixed my bikes airfilter, Front forks mudgaurd and tail lamps, which were broken. In the afternoon just rode around leh.

We found a nice place to hangout here. Forgot the name. Had lots of Thukpa and momos...

Day 8. 25th June Leh to Khardungla to Leh

Rode from leh to KTop. The roads was decent. Not tarmac, but there was not much water crossing. Reached the top. It was indeed a great joy to stand in the highest motorable road of the world.

We spent some time there and came down to leh. Again spent some relaxed time here. Ragu left from here. He was getting home sick, mainly because of the inconsistant phone connection :). Me and Thomas planned to leave the next day through srinagar.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coorg - Kuruva falls - nagerhole

This is another unplanned trip. We had a long week end and wanter to go some where. We finally decided to go to coorg..Click here for pictures

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kodayar lower camp

Kodayar is a very bueatiful place. There is two stages for the dam. The upper dam is in trinelveli dist and the lower one in kanyakumari district. I went till the lower kodar dam. The upper was one mile above this. The only way to reach it is either through a "winch" or take a detour through tirunelveli (around 160 - 200 Km)

Bangalore Mysore Ooty Avalanche Coonoor Salem Bangalore - The monsoon trip

Few friends from ITC infotech planned to do a bike trip. The trip itself was fun and thrilling. The details of the trip can be found in the photolog. The trip was done during Aug 2010.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trip to hogenakkal and yercaud, Bypassing the bypasses

Since the monsoon started i wanted to go some forest. There were lot of forest in the list. It started from bandipur, Nagerhole, shimoga, etc.. But finally ended up in hogenakkal and Yercaud
Before i start the travelougue a small prelude. Friday after noon, my thunderbird was in the parking of my office. It was in the same place for 3 weeks. It needed some major overhaul (or thats what i thought). Around 2.00 PM called manjunath motors and told them to fix the kicker so that i can start the bike and take it in for service (to change the tires, battery, oil service etc) . But then after the kicker was fixed i thought i will give it for service after some time. I also had some plan to go for some jogging next morning.

Sat morning, we (me and my panther) rode to ulsoor lake and after going some distance i wanted to just keep riding. So i finished some running and then came home. I was tired and the thought of riding went away.. For about an hour. Around 9.00 AM, got up from the couch and opened my laptop (google maps) to check if there is any "Forest" close to bangalore. It was a nice climate and i didnot want to miss it. I saw some green patches in near hosur. Thought i will go to hosur and have lunch may be ride some where into the green cover and come back.

Day 1: Bangalore-Hosur-Denkanikottai, Anchetti, Billigunda, hogenakkal, Pennagaram, Mecheri, Salem

11.00 Am - Started from Bangalore with a small backpack and reached hosur around 1.00. Had lunch and was cheking my mobile maps. It seemed as if hogenakkal was close by. There was two roads to the falls. One was through pennagaram which was in the map. There was also another one thhrough anchetti, billigunda. After billigunda there was no road in the map and the route was running close to kaveri.

1.00 Pm -Decided to take the route closest to kaveri. It was a wonderful route. Full of green and fresh landscape thanks to the monsoon. For some part (around 10 km) the road was dug up. So had to ride along the road.

On the route i saw an small river with little water flowing through it. Saw some kids plucking Jamun from a tree. Rode into the river and plucked some jamuns. Got only a few. Got some more from the kids and rode along.
4.00 Pm. Saw something white close to the road. It was kaveri. Rode off the road into the vegetation and parked close to the river. Spent some peacefull time there. 5Km down the river was the falls. spent some time near the falls. Got some new friends there. Asked them about any decent place to spend the night. They told Dharmapuri or salem. Salem.. Sounded "Close" to me because it is close to yercaud. :)

5.30 Started from the falls. Had two routes. Take the route through dharmapuri and ride on the NH or go through mechere which was more of ghat roads (not big mountains). Around 6.00 After pennagaram it started to drizzle. Took a break and had a tea. After i left the place it started to rail heavily. Took a break in a bus stop. Then it was dark and almost 6.30 Pm.

When i continued from there i rode into a small pool of water. It covered half the bike and then the engine went off. It was pitch dark and was drizzling. Removed the spark plug wiped it and again started. Boom.. it started immediately. Reliability of the bullet. Reached Salem around 8.00 PM and checked in to a hotel. Was damn tired. Had some tasty briyani and chilli fish and hit the bed.

Day 2. Salem to Yercaud and more of yercaud

Started from salem at 8.00 AM. Its was a bueatiful ride to the top. The Climate was again very good. Typical monsoon morning. It was green all the way up. Reached the lake at 10.00. It was a slow ride. Had a nice hot tea here and then checked the maps.

The lake is only a starting point to yercaud. There are many routes that could be taken from here. First i took the route towards nagalur. There was a view point. It was a nice ride. How ever when i reached the peak found the entire place covered with concrete. Its very bad to put so much concrete in such a scenic place. I came some 200 meters down from the place. There was a nice place with grass to sit and with a bueatiful view. Sat there for almost an hour. It was a nice experience.

On the way back from here saw a estate with orange trees. There was guy selling orange fruits plucked from the garden.

Came down and saw a sign board for water falls. Went to the place which was 2.5 kms from the lake. From there another 500mts walk. But there was no falls. we have to walk another 300 feet "Down" from there. Remember it is not 300 feet distance but 300 feet depth which should be covered in some 500 meters distance. It was too steep. Went half way. Felt too risky for me expecially when i was alone. So came back . Was able to see few families who were misled by the board and they were also comming back cursing every one. The walk might be intresting if you have gone as a team. But still too risky

Came back to the lake. Visited the park near the lake. It was small but still bueatiful. The lake itself is a nice place to sit and relax. Had lunch in hotel sheveroys. It was a good place. Thought of going to pagoda point and then leave back to bangalore. But then i felt very bad to leave the place. Went to pagoda point. Spent some time there. Called up sheveroys again and asked for accomodation. They had room available. So checked in. I wanted to see the salem city lights during night from the view point. Had similar experience in coonor and yelagiri. It will be a magical experirence to see so many light litting up slowly
Went to ladys seat. There was a man drawing protrait. Drew mine and was spending some time there. But then the view was not very good due to mist. Still stayed there for some more time. It started to rain again. Made some nice friends there, all 40+ age who has come from salem. We were able to see the rain comming from the distance. It slowly engulfed the place. The view point shelter was of no use. we almost completely drained. The rain slowed down only to be covered with thick cloud. It was so thick that we could only see 10 feet. We started to leave. Even with full bright headlight we were not able to see anything. Those friends guided me till the hotel. Had some nice dinner and slept.
Day 3. Yercaud - Uthangarai- Krishnagiri - bangalore
Got up around 6.00 AM. It was no nice climate did not feel like getting up. Ordered tea and then breakfast, it was already 8.00 AM. Took bath and started at 9.00 AM. Now we have two ways down from yercaud. One is the nice road through which i came. There is also another route in the map. Tried to take the second route.

It was a very good decision. (apart from the fact that i was delayed by another 2 hours). The route was so prestine. Check the youtube video

On the was my bullet reached its 50000 Kms. Stopped there for some time and we both celebrated the great occasion along with the trees and birds. Invited some monkeys to join the occasion, but they refused.

We came down slowly and reached the foothill. Had a tea there and asked the options i have to reach bangalore. The tea shopkeeper told that i can go to salem and go from there or i can take the Uthangarai route where i will save 20 kms. But it will be the same timing because the salem route will be the highway.

I choose the shorter but more scenic route. It was a nie route again. No traffic, good road. for the first 20 kms it was nice scenic route. After that it was a normal route but less boring compared to the highway till Krishnagiri. From krishnagiro to bangalore took the Highway to save time.

Over all it was a great experience and my panther stood with me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

intresting bird happening in my house

Pair of birds was building a nest in our house. We used to protect them from crows etc. Birds building nests and hatching are not un-common in our house. But after this egg was hatched and the chick came out we noticed some thing interesting.

The parent birds were looking like this.

But the chick was very much different.

The nest where the chick was hatched

It was really different to see a different chick hatching from a different species of parent. We have heard of this kind of incident in crows and koel. But this is a completely different species of bird. Is this kind of incident common in all bird species?

There is some thing more. After my dad told me about this I went to take some photos of this chick. For almost one hour the parent (foster) birds were safeguarding the chick. The chick was not able to fly for long distance.

It can be seen in these photos both the parent birds were always trying to warn the chick.

One more intresting thing is the chicks wing looks like a maina but its head looks more like another bird (I forgot the name) which has a small cap on its head.

If some one who knows more about birds can explain this phenomenon it will be great.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Travel is

Travel is letting one free and going to places where legs (or wheels) take him. Flying to a far off place and seeing "Top ten places to see here" has never attracted me.

In this blog i am posting the places i have experienced (and few places i have just visited).

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