Ride to NIRVANA on two wheels.

Hi welcome to RideToNirvana. Some things that life has given me and I am so greatful to share them with others. There are somethings that make us diffrent from others and give us our identity ,Then we find people with similar notes and it becomes music. Most of it is dedicated to Himachal , The Himalyas, Rock Music and other things that matter.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kugti Pass Trek.

Kugti Pass (16,600 F/5059.68 M )  lies between the Chamba and Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh.The pass in itself is pretty remote at the top you are at least three days away from the nearest town. The trek leads one through some very stunning landscape including apple orchards, pine forests, miles of green meadows and some spectacular waterfalls. The camp sites are lush green complimented by ever flowing streams. On the higher reaches one climbs through a huge glaciers surrounded  by ice falls. Though the pass has been user by shepherds and locals travelling between Lahaul and Chamba for centuries I would not recommend the trek for first time explorers and without a good guide, one has to be conscious on the glacier and the last stretch to the pass is rocky and steep at an altitude of 5K meters. 

The Route : Shimla > Dharamsala > Chamba > Bharmaur > Hadsar > Dharol > Kugti Village > Kugti Temple > Dughi > Alyas > Kugti Pass > Khodlu > Jobrung > Trilokinath > Manali > Shimla. 

They say mountains are addictive and it is so true, being born and bought up in the mountains most of my vacations are spent trekking or riding in the Himalayas. In September 2014 I did the trek with two of my friends and avid trekker's Vineet Gautam and Guruashish. 

The preparation :

   It was time to get the gear ready as the trek is pretty harsh and one spends more than a week in the mountains so one needs good equipment. Here is the list of things I bought:Trekking Boots (Quechua Forclaz 600) ,Walking Stick,Rain Coat,Trekking pants,Medicines,Head torch this was apart from all the gear like tent trekking clothes and rucksack that I have collected in the past. I tried to be conservative while packing still I had a 17+kg rucksack on my back.  

The start : Home sweet home : Living in the city takes up most of our lives, we stay in air conditioned apartments with all sorts of comforts but with an emptiness inside. The feeling called home only comes once you are where you belong. Home for me is Shimla my home town, I can go an bragging about the town more on that later. Took the night Volvo from Delhi to Shimla and was in heaven the next morning. Spent the next two days with family and friends.

D Day : Woke up early morning and packed my stuff. While Vineet and I were in Shimla and Guruashish was travelling from Delhi, we had planned to reach Dharamsala that day and stay at our guides house for the night. The guide Mr Jang Ram (better known as Jango and deserves one full article) is one of the best in the business, he knows every nick and corner of Himachal and has led numerous treks in the Himalaya. We booked a taxi from Shimla to Dharamsala and reached in the evening met Jango, Guruashish and Suresh (our kitchen porter/cook for the trip)after resting for some time and tasting some home made brew we had dinner. To save a day and rush at the Manimahesh fair we started from Dharamsala by 11:00 PM. Jango arranged for a Tata Sumo and we were off to Bharmaur. Time flew fast catching up with friends and listning to stories comming from Jango. We were greeted by a big trafic jam at Hudsar which is the starting point for the Manimahesh yatra. Looking at the rush of people we gave Manimahesh a miss and headed straight to Dharol.     

Trek Day 1 Dharol to Kugti Village : Dharol is the last point till the Sumo could drop us, the road is really narrow and not yet tarred. Dharol is the start of the trek and consists of three houses. We stopped to rest for sometime as all of us had been travelling for more than 24 hours. There is one dhaba at Dharol and he started cooking breakfast for us after having breakfast we headed towards Kugti village. The walk was easy the landscape lush green and beautiful with the Budhi stream flowing on the side. I enjoyed the climb as this was after almost one year I was venturing into the mountains. I took leisure breaks catching up with the landscape and myself. 

We reached Kugti in the afternoon and settled in the veranda of the PWD guest house just before the village waiting for the caretaker who never showed up. The village is beautiful with its friendly people and all wooden houses the kind of place you never want to leave.  We went to the village to stock up on supplies for the coming days and made phone calls back home from one of the houses,the house owners were more than happy to oblige as this is the last time you can touch base with the rest of the world for days to come. The village does not have a wired phone line the phones run on a WLL(wireless in local loop) system which was interesting to see. Himachal is miles ahead in terms of communication compared to many other states in the country. At this time the feeling started to sink in that I was actually in the mountains, the happy feeling was settling in mixed with the excitement of the days to come. The feeling of being away from the material world and into the wild takes a while to settle but puts into a trance of your own. 

To be continued... 

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yearly Himalaya Ride

My yearly ride to the himalayas this year:

Was out on the road for a week visiting Spiti Valley in himachal and visiting friends at Spiti Ecosphere .

Who are they? http://www.spitiecosphere.com/about_us.htm

Why Spiti Valley

The cold desert zone and untouched places of Spiti, World's Highest village Kibber, World's Highest Petrol Station Kaja, World's Highest post office Hikkim, World's 2nd largest glacier Barashigri, 1000 years old Tabo monastary known as Ajanta of Himalayas, 4550 mts Kunjum Pass, Barren Landscapes.

The Ride:

I was riding my 350 CC Royal Enfield motorcycle, The ride takes one through some of themost rouged and difficult roads int he world going through places like Rohtang - Kunzum La - Malling nala and Kinnaur .

Picks and some wiki gyan

Camera : Cannon 400D
Lens : 18-55 MM Standard Kit lens

The Trans Himachal Ride
The trans Himachal circle starts from Shimla or Manali and ending back at the same place. The road is a part of the ancient Silk Route and has been traveled by traders and shepherds for thousands of years. The ride takes one through the lush green Lahaul Valley till one enters the colorful but harsh high altitude region of Spiti which is known for its old monasteries, apples and vivid landscape, Spiti also has some very beautiful lakes and glaciers ( Chandra taal and Bara sigri glacier to name a few). Spiti is a favorite destination of trekkers and mountaineers from around the world there are some very good treks that start of end in the valley like Pin-parvati trek (starts from Manikaran in Kullu district and passes through Pin Parvati pass at 4810M then decants to Mud village in Spiti). Pin Valey national park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pin_valley_national_park ) is known for its varied landscape, mammals like snow leopard and Siberian ibex which are very rare and for birds like snow partridge and snowfinch.

Colorful Spiti valley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiti_River


(Rohtang La) (altitude 13,051 ft (3,978 m)


Kunzum la ((altitude 4,551 m; 14,931 ft) The highest point in the journey.


Save the Glaciers

Bara Shigri :- Bada Shigri is the largest glacier in Himachal Pradesh. It is located in the Chandra valley of Lahaul and it feeds the river Chenab. Bada Shigri glacier is more than 25 km. long and about 3 km. wide. It lies on the middle slopes of the main Himalayan range. It is also aided by many small tributary glaciers. It is surrounded by high mountains from three sides. It is said that this glacier formed Chandertal lake by causing a major havoc in Chadra valley in 1936. Bada Shigri glacier was conquered by all women mountaineers in 1956. It was further successfully trekked by Stephenson in 1956. There are number of prominent glaciers in Chandra valley in Lahaul. Some of them are Chhota Shigri ( means Small Glacier ), Kulti, Shpting, Pacha, Ding Karmo, Tapn, Gyephang, Bolunag, Shili and Shamundri. Gyephang is the chief deity of Lahaul valley and the Gyephang glacier is named after him. It is full of snow all the year. It is considered as the Manimahesh of Lahaul.
Chandra Glacier:- It falls in the Lahaul - Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is located on the slopes of the main Himalaya. It has been separated from Bara Shigri glacier. This glacier reason behind the formation of Chandertal lake. Chandertal lake is surrounded by snows and acres of scree. This deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 km. It is also called the 'Lake of the moon'. It remains completely frozen during winter. Chandertal lake is the source of the river Chandra.


Chandra River


Chandra Taal ( The lake of the Moon) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandra_Taal


Key Monostory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ki_Gompa )

Muddy water of Paarchu (orignating from Mansarover Lake in Tibet) meets Spiti river to make the mighty Satluj river.

My Backyard (Kalpa in the shadow of the Kinner Kailash mountain)

My Ride (Royal enfield 350) The classic they forgot to stop making. At Kunzum La (4,551 m)

The river bed
After a long day of riding.



Contact me for blow ups and high resolution coppies of the pitures.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dream Rides

Beemers in India are for corporate junkies the 5 series and now the 7 series define luxury and comfort. But for people like me who are no where near to a corporate junkie or luxury freak the beemer defines the dual sport motorcycles that I may be able to buy and afford some day..

some wiki info:

All BMW Motorrad's motorcycle production takes place at its plant in Berlin, Germany,[4] although some engines are manufactured in Austria, China and Taiwan.

Current production includes a variety of shaft, chain and belt driven models from 450 cc to 1300 cc with models designed for off-road, dual-purpose, sport and touring activities. Motorcycles are produced in product families each with a different letter prefix. Current families are:

F series – parallel-twin engines of 800 cc capacity, featuring either chain or belt drive. Models are F650GS, F800GS, F800R, F800S and F800ST.
G series – single-cylinder engines of 450–650 cc capacity featuring chain drive. Models are G450X, G650GS (in some markets), G650 Xmoto, G650 Xchallenge and G650 Xcountry. The 450 cc engines are manufactured by Kymco in Taiwan.[8] The 650 cc engines are manufactured by Loncin in China.[9][10]
R series – twin-cylinder boxer engines of 1200 cc capacity featuring shaft drive. Models are R1200GS, R1200R, R1200RT and R1200S
K series – four-cylinder engines of 1200–1300 cc capacity featuring shaft drive. Models are K1200LT, K1300GT, K1200R Sport, K1300R and K1300S

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Motorcycle Diaries. (The art of breaking things)

All that I can do all the time is talk motorcycles talk more than I ride them. Confession again haven’t been able to ride much lately!!!!! So that what I have been doing “breaking things”
I took this motorcycle attitude test on the internet a couple of days back. and the result was not very shocking yet interesting.
You like working on your bike more than riding it said by the end of it. If I had the time ! yes I have been working on the bike a lot breaking things as there’s nothing broken to be fixed. The Idea is improvement. Now the bike is a simple one to work on as they say but they never said easy to work on. So the first damage was breaking the Oil Filter cover I screwed it too hard after the filter change.

I was able to fix it for the time with some sealant. Next was the electric starter. Who need a starter on such a classic bike? The fun of getting a kick back from the heavy crank is fun if it doesn’t hit you hard. It takes practice and accuracy to start the bike with the kick and once perfected works real well but again it’s no Childs play. So off went the side cover then the clutch and the magneto and off came the sprang clutch making the rattling noise that you never hear while riding. Hmm got my hands dirty, cloths sweaty and one good afternoon with the bike and my tools(collection of every possible tool needed to work on the bike). Started the bike with the kick and it kicked back like a bull. That’s where the work BULL..et comes from. I must have messed up something while putting things back. So off goes everything again but dint find anything wrong. So living with the bull kicking back for now, planning another weekend dismantling and learning the science of adjusting the ignition timing.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The New Enfield "still not the 500EFI"

Last week I went to test ride the new bike from Royal Enfiled. Royal Enfield was doing a customer survey and trying to get detailed feedback. It was a good experience talking to the design head and and some other officials. They did take feedback very positively.

I was expecting it to be the 500 Classic UCE EFI but it was not. It is the look alike of the classic but has the twin spark 350 engine. The styling is good/ old school with the 18 inch rear tyre.

Though one question in the feedback form was the name for the bike il bet its Classic 350.

Being a look alike of the Classic the bike is surely a head turner, One can surely fall in love with the looks if one likes the retro old school looks , The paint job and chrome was real good quality (if all this will be the same when they deliver the bikes)
I have never ridden the twinspark thunderbird but the bikes performance was better than any other 350CC Enfield. the bike did touch 90KMPH well though after that it had to be pushed a bit. I did touch 100 KMPH once the bike can do better than that after a good runin and some performance mods. The torque was good and the delivery was smooth. The gears were precise and accurate felt like a pulsar gearshift.

Not sure if it’s the 18 inch rear tyre or Royal Enfield messed up the bikes handeling(may be just the test bike) but the bike was no where near to my Electra 5S in terms of handelling and breaking. The bike pulled towards the right side under hard breaking think it’s the new rear hub and break setup causing that. Now that the bike did not break well I did not try and bend it a lot. The suspention was better than the current enfields and the bike took humps real good.

Sitting Position:
The feedback form emphasised a lot on this one. The hight if the bike was good and the sitting position was good in terms of the position of the footpegs and break. The handle is a new designe and is better than the standard or electra handle but still not very comfortable I had to lean a bit forward while riding so this will be a problem for long rides. (I have a thunderbird handle on my Electra which is very comfortable on long rides)

The Thumb:

No Thumb at all at idle felt like im sitting on a generator. Once it took off the engine sounded good and there were no vibrations at all even at 80kmph.

Some feedback questions and my answers:

Will you exchange your current Royal Enfield with the test bike?
Ans : NO

How Much will you pay for the Bike:
Ans: Not more than 90K (thuugh they will not launch it below 1.1L as the twin spark thunderbird is more than that)

Will you recommend this bike to friends/family:
Ans: To anybody who needs a retro looking bike with good performance.

The bike defenately performs well and looks good taking into concidration that the breaking was an issue on the test bike only. The new engine is better in terms of reliability as it has hydraulic tapets and a better oil circulation system. Not sure of the fuel average may be someone riding a twinspark can comment on that.

The good news:
Now that I got friendly with the guys I asked them about the new 500 UCE EFI and the 350 UCE EFI , well they did not give me a date of the launch but told me that the 500 UCE EFI will be launched soon and there are no plans to launch a 350 UCE EFI as the EFI has only been tested on the 500CC engine. I asked if we can expect it to come before Diwali the answer was much before that.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ecosphere Spiti

I happen to know some people who indeed follow their dreams and do they dream beautiful. Here is a small part from the dream they live.

Ecosphere Spiti is a collaborative effort of the local community of Spiti and professionals from diverse backgrounds with a wide spectrum of skills and experience, effectively spanning the bridge from the general to the niche.
Our focus is to re-establish the critical link between the custodians of Spiti's natural and cultural resources and consumers, through our product line ranging between travel, organics and health. We aim to create sustainable livelihoods that are linked to conservation.

Our passion for conservation, mountain travel and adventure has brought us all together for this venture. Some of us have college and university educations that strongly support our claims. Other members of the team have (adrenaline) educations that no educational institution can provide.

We have wandered the Himalayas (and will continue to do so) and most travelers we have come across have been awed by its grandeur, very few have been disappointed.

We have a commitment not only to the development of the place, people and resources of this region but also to the outside world with whom we wish to share this rich natural and cultural heritage and the traditional knowledge of healing and health.

So please share, support and enjoy :
Ecosphere Spiti

Back from Ladakh

The trip to ladakh this year was diffrent in many ways from my previous trips. To talk about the the bike the one thing I was most spectic about turned out to be the best thing the bike rocks and I ride good too thats what i realised after the trip. here is a small triplog I posted on one of my favourate forum. .

This was my first trip to Ladakh on my Royal Enfield. In April this year I had three of my best Atul, Gautam and Shwetank come to my house for the usual Saturday party. We were discussing our last trip after a couple of beers and by the end of it we were planning the trip for this year. So the plan was made to travel to Ladakh this year with our wife’s. Apparently three of us Atul, Gautam and myself we got married in the last one year so this time the trip had to be planned and not just done. That was when I decided to buy a Royal Enfield and early May I was riding my black beauty. Atul is a Royal Enfield veteran and has been riding his bike for the last 14 years. Gautam has been riding his 18 year old bike for like 5 years now. Shewetank bought his bike last year and this was his first ride to the Himalayas. For me I learnt to ride on Atul’s bike but frankly I was not very confident about riding the Enfield as initially I was finding the bike heavy and slow the transition from pulsar 180 was taking its time.


So after running in the bike I gained some confidence and on 27th July we left for Manali. We booked the Volvo for the ladies one day in advance and the ladies were in Manali one day before us. So it was four of us riding the usual boring Delhi Chandigarh highway. We stopped at Chandigarh to meet old friends and the old bikes needed repairs after the straight run. Yes they did need repairs Atul wanted to get the gearbox rechecked and Gautam had a leaking head gasket. This was after both the bikes were rebuilt just a couple of weeks back. The Enfield is a repair thirsty bike that is for shore. So after meeting with friends, eating and getting the bikes done we started towards Manali after daylight and were welcomed by rain near Ropar. The roads were in real bad condition and the traffic was crazy well we crossed into Himachal late that night and to make things better Bilaspur area was under a thick cover of fog and there was a major traffic jam due to the trucks from the cement factory. This was the crazies ride I had ever done at times we were thrown off the road by crazy Volvo drivers overtaking on turns and the truckers really did not find any sense in letting bikers with luggage overtake them. Finally we crossed Burmana and were welcomed by Himachal police. The Cops were amazed to see us riding to Manali at 2:00 am. We took a break with the cops and had tea with them. Shawetank being from U.P. was amazed to find cops that friendly. After crossing Mandi we stopped near the Pandow dam and all of us were really tired so we took some rest at around 3:30 am. The ride had now taken its toil on us and breaks became frequent. As we entered the kulu valley the view was really refreshing as the river was completely fogged and the fog covering the whole river looked really amazing like the river had raisen from its base. This was the best view of the river I had ever seen. So finally after packets of cigerates and unlimited cups of tea we finally reached Manali at seven in the morning once again welcomed by heavy downpour at Manali entrance. The rest of the day went sleeping in the guesthouse, in the evening we went shopping and then to get a dip in the holy water at Vashist.



The next day we started for Keylong as planned. That’s when we learnt the first lesson about riding with our better half’s. They just cannot rush into getting ready and packing.
We left Manali at 11:30 and proceeded towards Rohtang. Once again we got rain on the way and the rain made things real bad on the way. The road is being widened by the army hence there was mud and loads of water on the road. Atul broke the Ladakh stand on his bike and was almost thrown off the bike when the stand broke. Finally we reached Rohtang at 4:00 and then proceeded towards Kokhsar. Rohtang was at its worst this time we had never seen it so bad. After crossing Kokhsar tragedy stuck Gautams bike stalled and refused to start. So we started troubleshooting and found every thin to be in place. Tried changing battery checked for fuel etc finally we found a wire loose and loosing current hence the spark was not complete. We started again at around seven and stopped at Sissu instead at Keylong.

The next day we got the stand on Atul’s bike welded and we started again planning to reach Sarchu. We got fuel at Tandi and had early lunch at Keylong. After riding for some time we saw Atul having a hard time with his bike as it was not just getting enough power going uphill. We checked the air fuel mixture the plug the timing and finally got the bike performing better. After we started again there was a road block and we had to wait around two hours. By the time we crossed Baralachla it was almost dark though the road was in real good condition. We reached Bharatpur at around 6:30 we pitched our tents at Bharatpur as it was getting dark and it was no point going ahead.

Staying at Bharatpur was a mistake as it is at around 16200 Feet and real cold. Most of us were not in a very happy mood the next day as altitude had bought every body down. So by the time we packed again and had breakfast at the local tent it was 11:00 am and we planned to reach Leh that day. Anyways we started and crossed Sarchu real fast. After passing Sarchu Atul’s bike started giving trouble again. The road after Sarchu was in real bad condition as again it is being widened. As I approached Lachunglung La I found that Atul was not with us. We waited for some time and still he did not arrive so we started back to check on him to find him stranded at Whisky Nala his bike refusing to go uphill. So the troubleshooting started again and we planned to stay at Whisky Nala that day. We tried everything but the bike just did not rev enough. We worked on the bike real late with no luck. The next morning we worked on the bike and were helped by another foreigner from Dharamsala and knew about the Enfield’s real good. He said that the governor behind the timing plate is not holding and needs to be fixed but we did not have another governor with us. So we opened up the governor and fixed it temporarily and got the timing correct this time. But again one complete day was lost here. The next day we left for Leh and crossed Mori Planes in the afternoon which was real bad again as there was silt good enough to get the bike stuck at some places. That evening we reached Leh and checked into a guest house.

We reached Leh on the weekend so we could not get permits so went around Leh.
On Monday permits made to go to Nubra and Pangong though we got the permits in the evening and had no time to start. Though we did have a real good time in Leh with all the wonderful food and the monasteries. On Tuesday we went to Khardung la and came back to Leh.



Every piture looks good with a Royal Enfield


The next day we started back towards Manali. We planned to visit Tso Kar. We reached the lake in the afternoon and camped there for the night it was real good and relaxing. The next day we spent some time on the lake and then started back towards Sarchu. We had less distance to travel so Gautam and me trekked for around an hour to get to the top of one of the big mountains. That day we stopped at Sarchu and then at Keylong the next day. We finally reached Manali back on Saturday and headed back to Delhi next day on Sunday as all of had to join work on Monday.

So with all the motorcycle trouble we did enjoy every day of the trip to the fullest and have no regrets that we lost time as we did get to spend more time with family and friends and enjoyed the place real good we plan to do the trip year after year in the time’s to come. The ladies were really supportive and courageous they made real good friends with everyone as they were new to the group before the trip.

I am a confidant Enfield rider now and I think Enfield is the best bike to travel if you have a pillion and a lot of luggage. Not at any point of time was I afraid of bike slipping on gravel or water it just seemed to be sticking to the ground. I am really impressed by the stability of the machine and the confidence that it handles bad roads. Unlike my pulsar thankfully I did not get any of the wheels up in the air this time I can imagine what will it be like to have both the wheels of the Enfield up in the air. The riding comfort is amazing and the torque really gives a boost to the whole experience. As per the weight I did get adjusted very well to it and I never had trouble maneuvering the bike with 140+ KG weight on the bike, though it's getting difficult to ride my pulsar now as it seems very light and feels like a rocket after the Enfield. I did get to understand why so many people around the world fall in love with this machine even though it is not the fastest or the most reliable one.

By the end all I can say is travelling makes you learn new things every time specially if you are travelling with your better half. It may be learning to repair the governor on the Enfield (never knew it was there) or being in a group all the time taking care of each other.
It teaches the ladies to cross rivers by foot if they are afraid to stick to the bike and to stick to the bike on the next one. It tells the ladies that they married real hard motorcycling guys and tells the guys that the ladies are not as delicate as they look they can be stronger than the guys at times. So all of you who are reluctant doing the trip with your better half’s should pack your bags and do the trip by the time you come back you will know each other much better and will make place for some very smiley pictures on your bedroom wall with lots of stories to tell.










My best photograph..