01 July 2011
I wonder why it happens every time with me that whenever i have to leave for a trip, my days in the office get super busy. And that’s what happened when i had to leave for Yamunotri on Friday night (01-07-2011). A good night’s sleep on Thursday was all i asking for but it was never meant to be. Anyways, coming back to the journey – After waiting for a long time to get my Bike Registration Certificate, which by the way i received only a month back, Adhiraaj and i planned for a road trip to Yamunotri.
Working on the motto of “It’s better to be safe than be sorry” and learning from the past experience of Chakrata, I started arranging for the puncture repairing kit. The item’s included – 1. Tubes for rear and front wheel, 2. A Foot pump, 3. Tire removing levers, 4. Valve tube removing key, 5. Tube patches and rubber solution. Also, i made a visit to the Bajaj Service Center for a bike check and asked the service guy to teach me on how to replace the clutch wire and accelerator wire just in case and also purchased the same.
I was constantly keeping a check on the advance of the monsoon, and to my surprise it was showing a clear window from 02/07/2011 to 04/07/2011, the period when we were supposed to travel. The route we decided upon was as follows –
Noida-> New Delhi-> Panipat-> Kurukshetra-> Shahabad-> Saha-> Narayangarh-> Nahan-> Paonta Sahib->Kalsi->Nainbagh ->Barkot->Hanuman Chatti->Janaki Chatti->Yamunotri
Total Distance Covered – 475.7 Km
It was the longer route and the difference was as much as 60 km if i would have gone through Uttar Pradesh but the only reason being the safety issue while driving though Uttar Pradesh in the night.
Everything was set, i came from the office around 7pm on Friday, 01/07/2011 and saw Adhiraaj for the first time watching the news channel. He was a little worried as one of his friend told him about a landslide that happened on the way to Yamunotri and the same was in the news. And that’s not all, i too received a similar call from one of my friend.
Me: Hmmmm…. What should we do now?? Too go or not to go…
Adhiraaj: Hmmmm…. (No clue)
Me: As per the weather forecast the window is clear for the next couple of days…And the landslide… It’ll be cleared by the time we reach there…
Adhiraaj: Sound’s good… Let’s go…
Me: Right on…. Let’s go… Start Packing….By the way i told u to be ready by the time I’ll get back from office…. Why???? Hurry!!!
The bags were packed and and it was around 9pm when we left Noida, stopped at the first petrol pump as we entered New Delhi and paid Rs. 800 for a full tank. The roads were inviting, the traffic less and by 10 pm we reached the Delhi Border. The last when i traveled on this road was in May 2011, so i knew that the road condition till Panipat Toll is excellent with no diversions. The speed rose from 40-50 kmph to 80 kmph onto 100 kmph and touched a maximum of 117 kmph. In a matter of 45 Minutes we covered a distance of 80 Km from Delhi Border to Panipat toll and had our first 10 min water break. Soon we reached Karnal, now navigating though the diversions every now and then with trucks blocking our way for most of the time. As we crossed Karnal, we had our long dinner break at Zhilmil. At 11.30 pm also there was plenty of activity going around, waiter’s running around in order to fulfill all the demands of the customer.
02 July 2011
It was around 1 a.m when we hit the road again and soon crossed Kurukshetra, Shahabad. After crossing Shahabad, we took the right turn to the State Highway 31 going towards Saha, further joining NH 73 and then NH 72 going towards Kala Amb, Nahan to Paonta Sahib and Herbetpur. The road till Kala Amb was in excellent condition and mostly traffic free with a truck occasionally passing by every 10-15 mins. The silence of the night was defining, sometimes a bit scary too. There was no one, no light, no sound. Just a well laid road, tree’s on both side and the only sound was that of the bike and the only light was that of it’s 12 W head lamp. Just to get the feel of it i switched off the head lamp of the bike on 2-3 occasions and that to only for 2-3 seconds. All i can say is that it was dark…really-really dark….
It was a matter of time when we reached Kala Amb and crossed into the Himachal Border. In a matter of 2-3 minutes we were gaining height navigating our way through the snaky roads. At first i was a little apprehensive about driving in the hills till the time it was dark but everything went well. The road was generally in good shape till Paonta Sahib with some bad patches here and there. The light was slowly making its way through the darkness but by that time my eyes were begging me to spend some time there.
It was around 5 am when we reached Paonta Sahib. The question now was to continue or to get some sleep. I stood there for a while looking at the Gurudwara, the devotees going inside for the morning prayers and some youth emerging out from the gurudwara with a flag in front of their bike’s depicting the Sikh symbol – The Khanda symbolizing the God’s Universal and Creative power. I felt some energy coming in me and i told Adhiraaj ” Let’s move to Kalsi. It’s not that far away and then we’ll decide.”
As we entered the Dev Bhoomi – Uttarakhand, onto the bridge which was separating the two states, yamuna flowing with full intensity below us and the bridge trembling whenever a truck was passing by, i instantly knew and thanked the power that urged me to continue. Had i put my hands down just 5 mins before i wouldn’t have been able to witness the spectacular scenes of that misty morning….
The sleep was gone. The smile was back. And i was feeling better and better. My mobile was out every now and then to get some pictures. The only thing missing was my digicam which was lying in the bag which in turn was tightened with the ropes to the rear of the bike. It was around 6.15 am when we reached Kalsi and parked the bike in front of a sweet shop just before the check post. Upon inquiring on the route ahead we got to know that the road is closed just 5-6 kms ahead due to a landslide which happened 2 days back and nobody knew when the same would be cleared. Then i went to the check post and the officer stationed there told me the same thing. No damage done as we had a backup plan i.e the link road that we saw on the map just 3 km before Kalsi which joins the Rajbala road ahead and further joins the NH 123 going all the way to Barkot. Upon inuring about the condition of that link road and Rajbala road, the answers we got were positive. After a little rest and buying some supplies for eating we went back 3 km and took a left to the link road. Now following Yamuna to its origin – Yamunotri…..