Rain…Rain…Rain…

A bunch of my friends at the office were on a tea break and were cherishing memories of the Dehradun trip that we had done a few months ago. Every one wanted to take a break from the office again and was more then ready to plan a quick get away. The big question as always was where???
Like always when there is too much confusion about choosing a place for a quick weekend; rafting at Rishikesh always turns out to be the best option. Well we found out that the rafting at Rishikesh was closed at this time due to heavy rains in Uttarakhand. “Heavy Rains” that triggered an idea. Why not enjoy the rain itself and live our childhood again. Why not a bike trip to Rishikesh?

The destination never matters to us. It’s the journey that matters. It seemed to be fantastic idea. We had experienced riders like Vishal and Nitin in our group who are ever ready for bike trips. Shiraz has 1966 left hand drive Willis (petrol) which was like icing on the cake.

A long drive in an open jeep and bikes was tempting enough to plan something very soon. All of us agreed to do it the coming weekend itself. Shiraz wanted to get his Jeep checked from a mechanic and wanted to make sure everything goes well. On Friday evening we were all set to hit the road and soon we were on NH 58.

Ready to hit the road


Lets have dinner before we start off

Strike a pose for FB

The weather was perfect when we left. Vishal and Nitin were on their bikes and Inam bhai, Shiraz and I were in the jeep. The feeling of the wind hitting or faces was amazing. In the whole trip we never crossed the speed of 50 KMPH. The road between Modi Nagar and Meerut was horrible and it further reduced our average speed.
All was well till we crossed Muzzafar Nagar. But then the rains started at around 2 at night. We decided to keep moving and enjoy the rain. Well that was the whole idea of this trip. The rain showers were hitting or faces like needles. Well the rain was fine and fun but because our clothes were now all wet, we started to feel cold. We had nothing to cover our heads or bodies. Anyways we kept moving towards Rishikesh.

We reached Haridwar at around 6 in the morning. The rains had stopped by that time. We all needed a hot cup of tea so we pulled over our vehicles at a dhaba after crossing Haridwar. While we were having breakfast and tea we needed to decide what to do after reaching Rishikesh? Did we want to move on further? It was a big NO from Inam, Shiraz and Nitin. They wanted to take rest. That made sense as they had been driving and riding all night. Now the next question was do we take a hotel or a dharmshala. Nitin suggested that we go to Parmarth ashram. It was a great idea we unanimously decided to go to Parmarth ashram.

On the way

Willis 1966 left hand drive

Lets relax a little bit

While driving up to the ashram we came across a number of flooded streams which had formed due to heave rains. Some of these streams were pretty dangerous to cross on bikes. Hats off to riding skills of Vishal and Nitin that all went well. We reached Parmarth ashram at around 9 am and took 2 rooms. Every one was all wet and the first thing we did was to change our clothes. Since we had a heavy breakfast at Haridwar we all crashed on our beds.

On the way

When I woke up at around 3 PM; Nitin and Vishal was missing from the room. I called Vishal on his cell phone and he told me that he and Nitin were hanging around near Laxaman Jhoola. Inam bhai, Shiraz and I also took off and walked towards Laxaman Jhoola. We hung around for some time and I wanted to come back to Parmarth before 5 PM to see the world famous aarti.

The aarti began exactly a 5 PM at the stairs in front of the Shiv murti that is installed in the Ganga facing the ashram. It was an out of the world experience to witness the aarti. The music and the chanting made me feel so relaxed and I felt I was in a trance. After the aarti was over we again went towards Laxaman Jhoola and decided to have dinner at the famous Choti Wala restaurant. After having Poori and Aloo ki sabzi we came back to our rooms and decided that we will wake up early in the morning and hit the road.

It was raining the next morning when we woke up at around 6 AM. We went to the spot where we had witnessed the aarti last evening and were surprised to see that the whole place was submerged in water. The place where there were people sitting last evening was now completely under water and the 6 feet tall Shiv murti that we saw was gone. The Ganga looked like Brahmaputra. I had never seen such a flooded Ganga before.

Inam bhai and Shiraz striking a pose

On the road

We quickly got ourselves ready and moved towards the parking. When we reached the parking we saw that Nitin’s bike had a flat tyre. Vishal and Nitin pushed the bike which was nightmare as they had to push it uphill. While they were gone to get the tyre fixed Shiraz was inspecting his jeep. Initially it had some starting problem but Shiraz quickly fixed it. Nitin and Vishal got the tire fixed and we were on the road once again.

The bikers

While we were driving back from the ashram; we had to stop at many place as the streams were flooded and it was too dangerous to cross them on bikes. As soon as we touched Haridwar we had to stop again at a place as the road was broken due to heavy rain and cars were being pulled by tractors at that spot. We had to wait for 2 hours to cross that place. We again had to stop exactly in from of Cheetal grand but this time it was due to traffic jam. The traffic was just not moving at all.

On-lookers at the background as we posed for a pic

After standing there for about 45 minutes we asked a local shopkeeper if there was any other way we could reach Delhi. He told us that there is road adjacent to the “nehar” which would be a little longer in distance but would meet NH 58 at around Meerut and there were less chances of traffic on that road. By the way I forgot to mention that it had already taken us 7 hours to reach Cheetal grand since we left Parmart ashram at around 10 in the morning. I can’t remember any moment while coming back when did not rain. It was continuously drizzling since morning. We has bought 15 rain coats from Rishikesh (Rs. 10 each) but they were of such poor quality that by the time we reached half way, all the rain coats were torn off due to continues rain and wind.

With great difficulty we managed to evade the traffic for a few meters and took off towards the “nehar wali road” The road was very narrow but there was no traffic. It got dark very soon and we switched on our headlights at around 6:30 PM. After moving on for about 10-15 kilometers we reached a place which was completely water logged. Shiraz switched his jeep to 4X4 and very cautiously tried to cross that place.
But just then the jeep’s engine stopped in the middle of the water pool. This was the last thing that we wanted to happen as we had already spent more than 10 hours on road and wanted to reach Delhi at the earliest. Shiraz kept trying to start the engine but it did not work. Perhaps it was due to water entering the electrical wires. The rain was pouring very heavily and there was no one around who we could ask for help.

Some how Shiraz managed to fix the jeep. We were very relieved. If it had not work then we would have to spend the entire night on the road with heavy rain falling. We lost another 2 hours at that place. Anyways we were back on track. On the way we saw a number of jackals and rabbits and a few neel gai also. Slowly and steadily we kept moving and finally reached Delhi at 3 at night. Overall it a great experience but the continues rain while coming back spoiled our moods a little bit, but there were no regrets as the whole idea of this trip was rain and we got much more than we had asked for.

  • ??? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??, ?? ??? ???? ?????? ? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ????

    • Harish Bhatt

      Bilkul chalo Jaatdevta…mai to ghumakkar hoon lekin Jeep ke malik Shiraz se poochna padega :-)

  • SilentSoul

    great Bhattji… it was really great. It reminded us of our small unplanned trips during 90s…

    the description was mind catching and no where boring or monotonuous.

    you summed up the Ghumakkari by your words -” The destination never matters to us. Its the journey that matters”

    For a true Ghumakkar, travel itself is the destination…how true

    • Harish Bhatt

      Thank you Silent Ji…

  • Good Ghumakkari and very good Group Bhatt jee …………………

    • Harish Bhatt

      Thank you, Vishal Ji…

  • 1966 willy , Bullets and a Ghumakkar group, it can not get better than that. Not going beyond 50 KMPH sums up the temperament, the inspiring one.

    From the time-stamp on a couple of pics, it seems that you guys went in August 2010. I also drove in my car during the same time (a month later) to Rishikesh from the other side of Ganga (Neelkanth side) and we had a similar on-road experience with massive jams, non-existing roads and what not. We decided to stop coming to this side till roads get at least a little better. I had tried the ‘Nahar Waali Route’ as well on that occasion as well as before and it was OK but not inspiring enough to warrant a re-run.

    I went to Haridwar last month and the roads are now brilliant. Rishikesh should happen this year around Sep time frame. A close friend runs a rafting camp and my little one is now big enough to try it. Thank you Bhatt Jee for sharing this wonderful trip.

    • Harish Bhatt

      Thank you, Nandan Ji… Yes i too went to Rishikesh last month and the roads now are indeed very good…

  • ??? ??? , ?? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ???????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ..?? ???????? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ………..?? ???? ??????? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ????? 10 ??? ?? ??? ???? ? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ……….?? ?? ????????? 110 ????0 ??? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ??? …..?? …..???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?? ??? ? ?? ………….??????? ???????? ….???? ???????? ????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??
    rain—rain——rain . i was waiting for bcoz this title was so intresting …….keep traveling and keep writing

    • I agree with Manu Tyagi ,Bhatt jee . You look older in photo.

    • Harish Bhatt

      Thank you, Manu Ji… Parmarth ashram ke photos bahut achche nahi aaye kiyoki jada tar wahan par barish hi ho rahi thi…Aarti ke samaye itna magn tha ki photo lene ka hosh hi nahi tha….

      Profile photo change karne ke joshish karta hoon…

  • Mukesh Bhalse

    Bhatt ji,
    The post was really enchanting and engaging. Photographs and write up both were equally impressive. And yes I too agree with both Manu and Vishal, when I saw your profile pic I presumed that you must be an aged person but when saw your photos inside the posts you look amazingly young. So please change the pro pic ASAP.

    Thankz.

    • Harish Bhatt

      Thank you, Mukesh Ji…I am happy that you like the post…

      I am trying to change the profile picture now on popular demand :-)

  • Vikram Arora

    My words for Bhatt saab, Inam Bhai, Nitin and Vishal.

    “I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.

    Good One!

  • Dear Bhatt Ji,

    Since I was born in Dehradun and have been to Hardwar and Rishikesh innumerable times using every mode of travel – cycle, 1957 model Lambretta, Yezdi, car, bus and what not, I almost relived my youth through your elaborate narrative. Thank you for sharing your adventurous journey which borders on ‘craziness’ in my age bracket ! :) Travelling the whole on bike / jeep during rains !!! Really daring !

    Sushant Singhal

  • Harish Bhatt

    Thank you, Sushant Ji… I am glad you like the post :-)