Day 4 (15th Sep 2014)
We were up by 5 AM and after fresh up and quick tea we were on the road towards Rohtang Pass. For a change, weather gods were on our side today, it was a spotless sky. We moved swiftly and reached the checkpoint post. At the check post, you need to enter your details as well as the vehicle you are taking along with your destination. You pay a small fees and a paper is handed over to you which you need to carry along for the rest of your journey. We moved on and stopped occasionally for photography breaks.
Within no time we were at a place called Marhi; there are over a dozen dhabas here offering variety of eating options. We decided to have breakfast here before we proceed further. After about half an hour we resumed our journey, the black tarmac was still there on road and to my surprise it continued well beyond Marhi.
There was only one section around Rani nallah area which remains non metaled, rest the entire stretch is good metaled road. We were at the Rohtang pass in no time, we didn’t stop at the usual place where generally all tourists sit and enjoy their day but rather went on till the point where the decent to other side of Rohtang starts.
I’ve crossed Rohtang on multiple occasions and weather has always played the spoil sport, but not this time. For the first time we could see Rohtang and the surrounding mountains and glaciers in full glory. After a hearty does of photography we started our decent towards Koksar; as you decent the road conditions start to go bad and then worse. Rains in last two days meant there was quite a lot of slush. We had few scary moments when our motorcycles skid but were controlled without any mishaps.
Finally after riding very slowly and negotiating the slushy road we managed to reach Koksar. At Koksar check post your documents will be verified again and entry will be made. A quick visit to do the formalities was done and we also had a small snacks break here.
From here on the road conditions improved and we had some very beautiful locations along the road to give us company. Our next stop was at a place called Tandi, the place is more famous for its petrol station and rightly so as the next petrol station is 365 kms away at Leh.
We were not headed to Leh but this happens to be the last petrol station in our route as well before reach next one at Chamba (300 kms away). Both the motorcycles got their tank full quota and after a small tea break we left the main Manali-Leh highway and entered into an territory which was completely new to us.
The road was narrow but metaled; this came as a pleasant surprise as I was not expecting metaled roads from here on. Our destination for the day was Udaipur some 46 kms away from Tandi. As we moved on appreciating the good road and beauty of Lahual valley; we noticed that there is lot of vegetable farming done in this part of Himachal. After every few kms we will spot large fields with different kinds of vegetables; and on road sides we saw many small trucks being used to transport the veggies to main markets. This also meant that people in the area were nice and well to do; every other house had a four wheeler or two wheeler at least. Every village we came across had few houses which resembled like 3 or 4 star resorts. We were simply amazed by the architecture of the houses in this area.
The good metaled road eventually gave away to loose stones road after about 30 kms from Tandi. Now the real test of man and machine started, it was bumpy, it was dusty and we had hard time negotiating big stones. It was hard to drive in a single line and eventually we have to drive like we play video games. About 10 kms on the bumpy ride we reached a point where one road was going towards Trilokinath Temple and other one to Udaipur.
We took a break here and thought for some time if we should visit Trilokinath first and then go to Udaipur for night halt or shall we come in morning. Eventually, we decided to move towards Udaipur now and come back tomorrow to visit Trilokinath temple before resuming our journey towards Sach pass. While we were taking break here we saw another motorcycle group headed towards Udaipur, all of us gave each other a Thums up to each other as a matter of respect. It always gives me a good feeling whenever you see other motorcycle enthusiasts on such terrains.
We didn’t make any bookings done for any place on this ride; hence we had to scout for probable options once we arrive at the place. We were hopeful to get accommodation in govt bungalows of PWD/FRH in Udaipur. Our hopes of getting accommodation at these places were washed away as a convoy of chief minister of state overtook us just before Udaipur. It happens to be not so lucky day for us as chief minister of the state was on his visit to the valley; which meant all govt bungalows will be booked for government officials and we will have to look out for private guest houses.
Well, we didn’t have any option but to search for a private guest house. We saw a couple of guest houses and finally settled in one at the end of the main market. The hot water geyser in this guest house won the deal as we were in desperate need of a bath after a dusty ride today. The rest of the evening was spent at the guest house, rest, bath and some late evening photography. The evening was magical at Udaipur as got beautiful orange light on the nearby mountains and clouds.
My Airtel voice and data both were working, so I could send some pictures of the ride today to near and dear ones. We had our dinner around 9 AM and slept around 10 PM.