This is a story of four bikers Harry, Pradeep , Anshul and Rohit and their two bullets- the Rocco and Rancho! The journey on which they were going to embark was going to be tough, rugged and difficult as it would take them from New Delhi to Lake Chandrataal – the moon lake then to the Spiti Valley. It would take them through Chandigarh-shimla-narkanda-rampur-kaza-spiti-kunzum la pass before they reach the moon lake. A legend has that mermaids once swam here. And who knows they are still there as locals claim to have seen them!
We started early morning from New Delhi and as it was very cold so they had all the gear ready to keep them warm during the ride. They crossed Chandigarh and by 4 in evening they entered Himachal Pradesh – the devbhoomi. The new himalayan expressway gives them a free wheel and they sped up really fast. The cool breeze blew against their helmets as they crossed the barog tunnel. It was getting dark but they did not stop because their first pit stop was still far so they continued and crossed shimla which by now had switched on its lights and its inhabitants were getting ready to retire for the night. They were cruising along on a steady pace as traffic was easy. They went past sleepy kufri and soon entered into rhythm of their own when they were the only ones and lonely ones on the road. The famed dug-dug sound of bullets was breaking the silence of the hills as they thumped majestically on the curvaceous and dark road ahead. It was quite late at night and they were feeling tired so they halted and called it a day. They had wholesome dinner at a roadside diner cum motel. The long ride had left them tired and soon all four were getting drowsy so they wished each other goodnight and retired into their cozy beds and were soon fast asleep.
Next morning they got up early and checked on their rides inspecting oil and other stuff. It is very important to do that because if there is any problem it has to be sorted out before beginning a new ride. They had a good breakfast and were good to go. The engines again came to life and roared along with their hearts which pounded as fast as there bullets. The road ahead was very rugged and tough but for us it was a challenge which they had accepted many a times and came out victorious. As they crossed beautiful hills and valleys it was noon and sun shone brightly overhead. They cruised their way through Narkanda, Kumarsein and Rampur before they stopped for lunch at jeori. Surprises are part of a journey and soon they were going to get one. Suddenly it started thundering and black thunderous clouds had covered the sky and it started raining cats and dogs. They had no choice but to look out for a shelter which they found in a roadside shack which probably belonged to road contractors but luckily for them it was good enough to accommodate them for two hours. They were falling behind their schedule but there was nothing they could do so they waited for the rain to stop. It was 4 p.m by the watch and rain had finally ceased. We again mounted their bullets and were on the road again thundering like before. They cautiously sped fast as they wanted to make up for the lost time. They were cruising gallantly like men on a mission. Reckong peo was in sight by 10 p.m and they stopped here for the cold night. Rohit, a local friend had arranged for a dinner and some old monk which really lifted the spirits and worked as a tonic for their lethargic bodies. They had their spirit and dinner and went to bed and were fast asleep as long ride leaves your body really wanting for some good night rest.
Next morning started with routine check of bullets and breakfast. This day was going to be a tough one for the bikers because they were to travel through kinnaur district which is dusty, very rugged, windy and isolated and there are very less people on the road. So everything was to be properly inspected because help does not come easily in this part of himachal. We met some trucks carrying apples which grow in abundance in upper parts of kinnaur and this time being their harvest season. We were again amidst the beauty and splendor of lavish high mountains. They zigzagged their way through sturdy mountains and were taken aback by the beauty of the place. We stopped for police entry at the spiti border which is done to keep a trace of visitors and also for their security and safety. Policemen took them for foreigners but soon realized they were fellow Indians and let them through after a hearty laugh. No matter how much you prepare for a journey and make your calculations, you are surely going to miss out on some things so did us as we were now running short on fuel! They had miscalculated and now they had no choice but refuel their bullets at pooh- a small settlement which like many parts of spiti valley seems to be influenced by bordering Tibet area of china. Though the fuel which they could buy was only from the black market and was also adulterated but they had no choice and thus were able to carry forward their ride. It was getting dark and road was becoming more and more treacherous. We were worried as it was very cold and they had no place in mind where they could take shelter for the night! Help came in form of some Indian army officers who acted as angels and took them in for drinks and dinner and turned out to be best hosts they had met on their journey so far. Now we were safe from chilly wind and below zero temperature and had warm cozy place to rest for the night.
Next morning they were served hot tea and breakfast -again the courtesy of Indian army. Officers wished us best of luck and they were all fired up for day ahead which would take them to their next stop -Nako.
We left pooh and were riding on winds cutting through sharp bends and curves of the road. They passed through remote but beautiful and scenic villages such as yangthang and leo. Mountains were shining brightly under the strong sun. The terrain becomes more moonlike and loopy and is dotted by small green pastures and apple orchards. Their mind wanders away in appreciating the gorgeous landscape which is a treat for human eyes. After riding the whole day they enter a small beautiful village surrounded by high mountains with a small but elegant lake in middle! This was it they had reached Nako village which is named after the lake Nako. It was so serene with clear blue water and acted as a mirror showcasing all the majestic mountains around the lake. So heartwarming that We stayed there until they had their hearts fill of that natural beauty. After staying put for some time and having a chit chat with locals We started for their last leg of their journey that day and rode off to Kaza. Road to kaza was very scenic surrounded by high majestic mountains on both sides. A river with a huge basin flowed silently to their left, what a beautiful road to ride they all exclaimed! Just before entering kaza We stopped over to pay their homage to Gods at Tabo monastery. It has a mud wall and building stands unchanged as if time has stopped for ever here. It showcased the culture and spirituality of the area. It has beautiful paintings of Lord Buddha. After visiting the monastery We started off to kaza and were soon there. It is a small beautiful town surrounded by high mountains with very scarce population. The monasteries can be seen dotted on high hills around the town. We soon checked into a motel room which had hot water and a TV! They had a warm dinner along with some old monk that helps one to keep warm at such high altitudes. They slept soundly and got up early and were happy to cleanse themselves in ravishing hot water luckily! That day We had planned to go for sightseeing around the kaza town. They visited Khibber village, kye monastery and dhankar monastery. After roaming around in beautiful valley they slept early as they had a tough and long ride next day ahead.
When you go to bed early you also get up early so did us. Bullets were checked and they had hearty breakfast and were soon ready to ride to Lake Chandrataal. Off they went and were soon talking to the winds dug-dugging across the rocky road. They crossed many small settlements before they reached the mighty kunzum la pass. It is one of the highest motor able passes in the world. We sought blessings of Kunzum Devi which is guardian of these mountains. They carried on the rocky road onwards to chandrataal lake where their old friend and mentor Jamaica stayed. It was going to be a surprise for him to see him again. Upon reaching Jamaica they shouted out his name and there he was standing at his kitchen door looking rustic but sturdy and was very much surprised to see his old friends it was a moment which cannot be explained in words. They hugged each other warmly and were soon talking about their older days over pegs of old monk. As they sat and chatted they heard a voice outside, Jamaica checked out and found out that one more traveler had come up for the night at his place. He was from Bhopal and had come all the way to celebrate his birthday at Chandrataal Lake – Spiti Valley! He had ridden solo on his bike all the way up to the lake. That was a wow moment for everybody and we felt inspired by the fellow adventurer. Soon the dinner was eaten and everyone was feeling sleepy so they slept.
They woke up early next morning and were soon staring at beautiful gorgeous magnificent lake. They were taken aback by the calmness and serenity of the lake with crystal clear blue waters. Finally they were admiring the beauty they all had ridden hard to see and experience. It was a breathtaking view of the lake. The high snow capped mountains were mirroring themselves in calm waters of the lake and it was very silent and quite out there. The local people say that there are mermaids in the lake! It does seem true because as for beautiful creatures like them they had chosen the right place to call it there home. We enjoyed the beauty for a long time and then got ready to say goodbye to Jamaica and the lovely moon lake. They headed straight to manali through rohtang pass which is a challenging specially for bikers as road becomes slushy due to snowfall. But kudos to their bullets they had no problem crossing over and amazingly they never had a breakdown on their long journey to and fro. We had another promise which they had to keep so they headed out towards kinnaur through jalori jot pass to attend a traditional wedding party at kinnaur. They stayed put for the night there and had a really good time at the wedding ceremony which is famous for local country liquor and rams meat cooked in a traditional manner. Dancing comes naturally when you have had 2-3 hand-cups of local spirit. They slept late that night and were awakened by loud beatings of the drum next morning in the groom’s household. We checked up their rides for any flaws but bullets were absolutely fine and their engines roared to life on first kick. That very day they rode back to New Delhi leaving behind sweet memories of the spiti Valley which they had taken together as a team – as We and making plans of new ventures which they would take up with fire in their eyes and goodwill in their hearts.