Do you know which are the trips that you must do.?
The ones which were canceled once.
Yes !! Even if you are happily ticking off your bucketlist there will be one or few such trips which were canceled because of some reasons and they stick at the back of your head even after you take the best trip of your life.
Sangla Valley was one for me and there is no more joy to anything else than this experience.
So “Sangla will be in my motorcycle” that is what i told myself when last time Sangla was canceled and here i was sitting at outside sitting area of Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba in GT Road MURTHAL, (If you don’t know about this Dhaba you must,Google it.) I was laughing at myself because how i planned to start this ride at 4 in the morning and how i got up from bed at 8:30 AM.
My father was to blame for this delay as he came to see me one day before the ride and we ended up visiting some relatives and drinking some booze it went on till late night and i couldn’t wake up early morning.
So the plan was to reach Shimla by the evening but my 8283’s Air filter was giving us a hard time and after I fixed it i was back in highway 100KMPH again only the exhaust would give me headache.
And the long hours in the motorcycle after a long time gave me a back ache.
After Riding 475 kms it was already dark and i reached Solan and because of the bad road condition i avoided to ride in the night and called it a day at Solan,Himachal Pradesh.
NOTE: Backpackers who do not like to spend much in hotels have a good option in Solang. There is a government guest house where they charge 300 bucks per night.
I was unlucky as the facility was all booked,Book it online 2-3 days before.
Personally i do not like spending a lot of my travel money in fancy hotels, Although a swimming pool would attract me but i was in mountains and it was freezing cold so a pool couldn’t tempt me on this one.
And what i spend most during my travels is FOOD. Some good local and new food.
It was morning and the wind was piercing my cheeks. Yea That cold.
After my morning tea I was on the road again and Shimla was still 40kms from solan and i planned to have breakfast on mall road Shimla and i badly wanted to see the church on mall road.
It was peace and solitude under the warm sun outside the church in mall road .People clicking pictures, kids riding yaks was the usual Hillstation scene going on all over the Shimla mall road and i was at peace with the warm sun and the peaceful church.
After breakfast I started off for another 233 km of Himalayan ride. After 80 km from Shimla when i just crossed Rampur I couldn’t resist stopping at a mesmerizing view even after i decided that i wont stop anywhere before 130 km.
It was still 45 km to Sangla and slowly the brightness of the day was taken over by a dark night and I decided to KEEP RIDING .
And let me tell you something you must ride during the night also, That will the complete treat to your Motor Heart.
The muddy narrow roads to Sangla seem even narrower in the night. And it was an great experience to be the only one on the road, there was no one till the farthest sight and that thrilled me.
It was freezing -6 degree when i reached Sangla and one cup of tea couldn’t do the job and when i got up from the tea house there were 3 empty cups which had the best tea few minutes back.
So basically the season to visit Sangla Valley is from March to October when you can witness green valley of Sangla and heavily flowing rivers but also this is the time when Sangla is full of tourists and that is what i was avoiding, I wanted to have Sangla for myself.
November to February the roads to Sangla often gets blocked because of heavy snowfall and tourists get stuck for good 2-3 days and I was willing to be in this lovely problem of road block as i would get 2-3 extra days in this beautiful valley.
I did not know this wanderlust of mine would have me drag my motorcycle for 7-8 km in snow but at the end it was also a good experience.
When i reached Sangla it was around 8:30 PM and in the valley around 90% home-stays were closed as they remain closed in off-season.
That is when i met Ravi Bhai known as Monu in the valley and his family is one of the oldest landloards of the valley and he has a lot of land in the valley where he has Apple Orchids and on a small piece of his land he has his home-stay which he made in collaboration with a Canadian guy.
Ravi bhai also had his home-stay closed but he opened one room for me and even after having his house in 2 minute distance from the home-stay he opened one more room for himself and took me to the market for dinner in his Mahindra Camper and started a bonfire in the night. where we he told some old stories of the valley and how he hates to come to the city were a thousand cars honk for no reason and people are selfish.
It was -6 still there was no snow and i badly wanted to see the valley covered with white snow sheet, The night passed with bonfire, soulful music and a hope of snowfall in the morning.
I am not a morning person but that day i woke up early in hope of seeing my motorcycle buried in snow, the high mountains guarding the valley covered with snow and the apple orchids beautifully hidden under the fresh snow sheet, but unfortunately it was not the case there was a little snow in the back seat of my motorcycle. Basically it was the frozen dew drops.
Sadly I got ready (Wore the same clothes i was wearing the day before and in the whole trip :p that is how you travel light) went to the market area to have breakfast my Paratha was still on the pan and the vapour from my teacup gave me a warm delight on my cheeks and suddenly the heavens replied, They accepted my prayers and it was snowing all over the valley.
I rushed out and the first cotton soft snow flake on my forehead took me to the heavens of fulfilled daydreams. And in no time my phone screen said -12 degree.
I had my Paratha in supersonic speed and rushed back to the snow filled roads Lallu the Himalayan dog was as happy as i am and we mapped the road all around the valley during the heavenly snowfall. Lallu would pose with me in photos and run after me if i ran off.
Rush to the Apple Orchids, Lallu would follow. Come back to market for one more tea Lallu would follow. Take picture of the view Lallu would jump in the frame.
We became good friends when we both were enjoying the snow and the aura. The whole day we spent doing the same things again and again and i was tired although Lallu still could do that whole day.
I went back to the Home-stay and light-up a bonfire and Kygo and James blunt and passenger gave me good times in their beats and vocal.
After a while in late afternoon the sun was up in its brightest colors, I was awestruck by the view. The shining valley and the crystal clear sky, The Orchids filled with the snow blanket untouched and undisturbed and without anyone’s footsteps and the astonishing view of kinnaur kailash peak . I kept on thanking the almighty for this extraordinary view and the perfect timing of this retreat.
So, Now I planned to ride to Chitkul, The last village in INDO-TIBETAN border and i was warned not to take out my motorcycle as the roads were filled with snow and it was impossible to reach Chitkul in these road conditions.
But i was the crazy one and this kind madness worked out every time for me. But I couldn’t even ride 2 km and my motorcycle got stuck in mud and snow and now dragging it back to the home-stay was only option. But even this 2 km ride gave me goosebumps and the villagers would cheer the fool who tried to ride to Chitkul in such heavy snow. After 30 mins i was back to my bonfire and the music.
After an hour I walked to visit Kamru Fort. Which is a 1200 years old beautifully carved fort of the Ruler of kinnaur and temple.
When you enter the fort the keepers of the historical building will ask you to tie a maroon colored waist-band as a compulsory ritual to follow to enter the temple cum fort.
Slowly it was dark and we had dinner and the most difficult part of the trip was to slide in the bed in a February night in high Himalayas when it was -12 outside.
Next morning after the morning tea when it was still not possible to ride to Chitkul I decided to explore a nearby village “Bhatseri” which i heard about in the Sangla Vallley market area and i heard there is a beautifully carved wooden temple and the village has beautiful view from top of the hill.
To reach to Bhatseri village I had to ride through muddy trails surrounded by tall deodar tress creating a perfect pathway in between and the bridge was beautiful and the prayer flags on the bridge was breathtaking.
After a while of taking pictures and enjoying the view from the bridge I entered the village and the entrance was like a ramp of a parking lot elevated and curvy and was full of snow while riding up suddenly my motorcycle started sliding backwards and brakes rather than stopping the slide encouraged it and I had to use my shoes as spikes to reduce the slide. And finally i parked my motorcycle outside the village and started the hike for the village.
Zanghu temple in Bhatseri village has marvelous carving of wood which is so detailed that you can spend hours in a bench going through them. And that’s what i did with some good music in background i tried to understand and feel every single design in the temple.
After wandering around the village for a while I headed back to my motorcycle and saw a tree coming out of the cliff which made a perfect sitting/meditating area.
I hopped in the tree and it was a cliff tree, one wrong movement from the sitting space you go down. It was so peaceful and the cool breeze and the view of snow capped mountains kept me sitting for a long time which i used to write my trip’s experiences in my diary.
Realizing that this is the day I head back to Shimla to i was back to Sangla market and after a delicious lunch I bid farewell to Ravi bhai and headed back.
OH WAIT.!!! I DO NOT GET BACK NORMALLY.
So After riding for 30-40 minutes i reached to a point i could’t ride anymore because of the heavy snow, My 8283 would slip and create a pile of mud all over the white snow.I tried to hop off the bike and then start it again and get it out of snow, The whole mud of the mountain was in my face and clothes.
How ever i struggled with the snow and dragged the motorcycle for a while hoping that this would end and i would touch the highway anytime soon. This drill lasted for around 3 hours.
To see me dragging the motorcycle go to youtube : https://youtu.be/PdYM5MxskVc
or search for ( Kinnaur Valley Winter Ride And Backpacking) in youtube.
LIKE SUBSCRIBE SHARE. 😛
THAT’S NOT IT. NO THAT’S NOT THE ONLY REASON BEHIND NOT RETURNING NORMALLY.
So it was getting dark and I reached a town and i thought that I’ve reached the highway and was thinking of calling it a day and stay the night in this town.
I did stay there BUT there’s a twist.
It was an unknown town for me till the time a women told me that it was Sangla when i asked her for a place to stay. (Her answer was “Sangla Market m reh jao”) I was like Wwwhhhaaaatttt..????? I left Sangla 4-5 hours back.
So what had happened was. I took a wrong turn somewhere in the jungle and i happened to ride through the muddy road that no one takes during snow as it was not safe and it was the part of town where the snowfall is heaviest. And this road made me take a round of Sangla valley and enter the valley again from the back side.
YEA AND I CALLED UP RAVI BHAI.!!!
The night needed some Rum and story sharing and that’s what happened. Ravi bhai and one of his friend and I sat together till midnight till the second bottle was down and till we shared all our stories.
Next morning right after breakfast I started the ride back home.
This place gave me series of beautiful landscapes and unforgettable memories. The football game in snow, the barely moving more slipping motorcycle tyres, The bonfire and the music, The happy and honest people i met, The 9 km of motorcycle dragging, and a lot lot more is what i was taking with me from sangla. And i am glad that looked back to the trips that were canceled. YOU SHOULD TOO.
“While Travelling, I have learnt not to stop, not to resist . I have learnt to give it all and take it all.
While dreaming, I have learnt to live them and I have learnt to make it happen.
While in wilderness i have learnt to be lost every-time and find a better version of me.
I have learnt that the dreams are real and you and only you are responsible to make it happen, neither the situations nor the circumstances.
While Travelling, I have learnt to be me.”