Uncharted Trails: Turning Challenges into Adventure
Chapter 1: Leaving Singapore to Manali
We were two motorcycle enthusiasts who had planned a 12-day trip to Manali, Leh, and Srinagar to show our solidarity towards Sadhguru’s “Save the Soil” campaign [https://consciousplanet.org/]. Sadhguru’s “Save the Soil” campaign is a rallying call to raise awareness about the critical importance of nurturing and preserving the Earth’s soil. With a deep understanding of the integral role soil plays in sustaining life and the environment, the campaign emphasizes the need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, reforest degraded lands, and enhance soil health to ensure food security and ecological balance. By promoting conscious and responsible land use, Sadhguru aims to create a movement that fosters a harmonious relationship between humanity and the planet’s soil, safeguarding its fertility and resilience for generations to come.
We were excited about the trip and couldn’t wait to hit the road. We left Singapore on the night of 8th July and landed at the IGI New Delhi Airport the next morning. We hired a taxi to reach Manali, but we faced multiple diversions en route due to heavy rains and water-logged roads from Ambala onwards.
View from the hotel at Kullu:
Landslide at Mandi:
Massive Landslide due to heavy rains at Kullu:
As we crossed Sundar Nagar in Himachal Pradesh, we realized that we were in the middle of a natural disaster, declared as a red-alert disaster by the Indian Government. The roads were in a terrible state, and we could see the destruction caused by the heavy rains and floods. We were amazed by the efforts of the BRO and local bodies in Himachal Pradesh, who were constantly cleaning up the landslide rubble to ensure traffic flows smoothly.
Sundarnagar to Kullu ( We were consistently behind a JCB clearing landslides debris) :
We reached Kullu after 18 hours of travel and realized that the four-lane highway from Kullu to Manali was washed away. We were tired and decided to stay in Kullu overnight. The next day, we decided to head back to New Delhi, but it was difficult to cross from Himachal to Punjab due to water-logged roads. It took us more than 20 hours to reach the New Delhi Airport, and we took flights to Dehradun on 11th July. We were devastated to see the destruction’s aerial view.
Kullu to Manali Highway Washed away:
Fury of the Beas River ( Taken from the Hotel) :
Chapter 2: Dehradun Adventures
We were disappointed that our original plan didn’t work out, but we didn’t want to give up on our trip. We decided to explore Dehradun and its surroundings on our motorcycles. We hired two Royal Enfield motorcycles and headed to Mussoorie. The scenic beauty of the place was breathtaking, and we were glad that we didn’t miss out on this experience.
From Mussoorie, we went to Nag Tibba and stayed in a guest house overnight. However, we were stuck by a stray rock from a landslide and met with an accident. We were lucky to escape with minor injuries, and we decided to be more cautious from then on. The next day, we went from Nag Tibba to Lakha Mandal, which was total off-roading. From Lakha Mandal to Tyuni, we stayed overnight as the roads were broken due to rains.
Accident at Pantwari Village , Tehri Garhwal:
Chapter 3: Back to Dehradun, Tyuni to Chakrata
The journey started with extreme off-roading, no roads 🙂
We went back to Dehradun and then traveled from Tyuni to Chakrata. The roads were challenging, but we were up for the adventure. From Chakrata to Vikas Nagar and then back to Dehradun, we had a thrilling experience on our motorcycles. We were glad that we didn’t give up on our trip and explored the beauty of Dehradun and its surroundings.
Chapter 4: Learnings from the trip
Our 12-day motorcycle trip to Manali, Leh, and Srinagar didn’t go as planned due to the natural disaster and heavy rains. However, we learned several things from the trip, including:
- Preparation is key: Nature is unpredictable, and we should respect it. Before embarking on a long journey, it is important to prepare thoroughly. This includes planning the route, packing the right gear, and ensuring that the motorcycle is in good condition.
- Adaptability is crucial: The Himalayas can be unpredictable, with weather and road conditions changing rapidly. Being able to adapt to these changes is essential for a successful trip.Always be prepared for the unexpected and have a backup plan.
- Communication is important: When traveling in a group, clear communication is essential for safety and coordination. This includes using hand signals, staying in contact via radio or phone, and communicating any issues or concerns.
- Trust your team: When working with a team, it is important to trust each other and work together towards a common goal. This includes relying on each other for support, sharing responsibilities, and communicating openly.
- Stay focused: Riding a motorcycle in the Himalayas requires focus and concentration. It is important to stay alert, avoid distractions, and maintain a clear head. Safety should be the top priority, and it’s essential to take precautions while traveling.
- Take calculated risks: While it is important to be cautious, taking calculated risks can lead to new opportunities and experiences. This includes exploring new routes, trying new foods, and meeting new people.
- Perseverance pays off: The mountains can be challenging, but with perseverance and determination, it is possible to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. This includes pushing through physical and mental fatigue, staying positive, and focusing on the end goal.
We should be mindful of our impact on the environment and take steps to reduce it. Thought it might sound like an oxymoron as we took carbon emitting motorcycle to the mountains but as travelers we should minimize our impact on the mountains. As travelers, we have a responsibility to minimize our impact on the environment, even when we are riding motorcycles in the mountains. Here are some creative ways to be mindful of our impact and reduce it:
- Offset your carbon footprint: While motorcycles emit carbon, there are ways to offset this impact. Consider investing in carbon offset programs that support renewable energy or reforestation projects.
- Choose Eco-friendly travel companies: Look for travel companies that prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility.
- Be aware of your emissions: While motorcycles may be more fuel-efficient than cars, they still emit pollutants that can harm the environment and human health. Be mindful of your emissions and take steps to reduce them, such as maintaining your motorcycle and avoiding unnecessary idling.
- Reduce waste: When traveling in the mountains, it is important to minimize what you leave behind. This includes packing out all trash, avoiding single-use plastics, and using Eco-friendly toiletries. I used the same plastic bottle throughout the trip by refilling it various local restaurants.
- Support local conservation efforts: Consider supporting local conservation organizations that work to protect the environment and wildlife in the Himalayas.
By taking these steps, we can enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas while minimizing our impact on the environment.
Despite the challenges, we had a memorable experience on our motorcycles and learned valuable lessons that we will carry with us on our future trips. We were glad that we explored the beauty of Dehradun and its surroundings and had a thrilling adventure. We may not have reached our original destination, but we had an unforgettable journey.
Thanks for reading this.