Every night before I go to sleep, I can vividly remember most of my rides. The places I saw, the people I met; it is all right there for me to savour. I document all my journeys and rides in my bid to explore and see as much of this world as possible and, in turn, share it all with you through my videos. Perhaps that is why I can wake up in the morning with all that energy knowing that I am doing what I love. For a while now, I had been planning a ride to North East India.
Xiaomi Portable Electric Air Compressor 1S Winner
While planning this ride, I came across this contest by xBhp and Xiaomi India. The Portable Electric Air Compressor 1S from Xiaomi is one innovative product as I have found myself in need of something just like this quite a few times. The contest required everyone to share an unplanned and unforgettable journey and so I did. I was thrilled to know that I had won and received the Air Compressor before the start of this journey. And it did come in handy! More on that later.
After a fair bit of planning, I had the routes charted out, the itinerary sorted and my motorcycle ready. I have a Bajaj Dominar 400 that I call White Tiger, a wonderful motorcycle especially if touring is the staple diet of your riding self. The ride spanned 35 days and I covered around 6,000 km I will take you through. I christened this ride as North East Safarnama.
The ride started in Delhi and we rode through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, some parts of West Bengal and Assam before moving to the main part of the ride that covered Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. And it would be very hard to express in words what it felt like, easily one of the best rides of my life. I saw incredible landscapes, met thousands of people, had fantastic delicacies from different states and explored the beautiful culture of North East India.
From Delhi to Sikkim, I had another rider join me, also named Deepak Gupta. On the first day, we covered around 850 km from Delhi to Gorakhpur, Bihar. It was a very long day of riding, especially towards the end. For the initial jaunt, we rode on the Yamuna Expressway and Agra-Lucknow Expressway. Both of those are brilliant highways with butter-smooth tarmac and we were able to cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time. After that, as we inched closer to Gorakhpur, the pace had come down.
The one thing I would like to tell everyone is that in hot weather, long-distance riding is a risky proposition. One must keep themselves hydrated at all times and take breaks whenever needed. Dehydration and fatigue can be a disaster on longer rides. In our case, the first day was fairly okay as for the most part, we were at a fair pace and the wind helped us stay cool.
The second day though was relatively more difficult. We covered around 650 km and the destination for the day was Siliguri. The weather was predictably hot but we felt the heat a little more as the roads were not as open and flowing as the first day. It was a good day of riding nonetheless but it did leave us a little exhausted.
Upon reaching Siliguri, we found that the North Sikkim routes were not open so we decided to explore some areas of West Bengal. We went to Darjeeling, Kurseong, and also, for a joyride till Ghoom Station which is a 14 km track but loaded with beautiful landscapes. The scenery was simply mesmerizing. We were already starting to get a few glimpses of what was in store for us in the main part of the ride. It was now time to move towards Sikkim but as I mentioned, the route we planned on taking was closed. But we were fortunate as we were able to ride via the Silk Route known as Zuluk Loops. Zuluk is a small secluded village situated in the majestic hills of the East Himalayas. During our brief stop here, I could already tell that it would be hard to find a place more peaceful and tranquil than Zuluk.
While traversing this route, we also managed to reach the Indo-China border at Nathula Pass which is situated at an altitude of 4,310m. Apart from Zuluk, we also visited Ravangla, Pelling, Namchi, and Chardham in Sikkim. Although the visits were brief and each of these places deserved a lot more time, I had to continue the ride. Sikkim is also where my riding partner bid me adieu as I continued on the ride.
After Sikkim, the next stop for me was Assam. I have been to Assam earlier as well. That is one of the things that I like the most about being a biker; the people you meet and the friends you make. I got a very warm welcome from my brothers in Assam. After a fair bit of time spent chatting about this ride and motorcycling in general, I was ready to leave for the next major state that I wanted to cover in this ride- Arunachal Pradesh.
Upon reaching Arunachal Pradesh, the first thing I did was to ride to Bumla Pass, another high mountain pass situated at the Indo-China border. As I covered more and more kilometres and locations, I started to wonder if 35 days were too short a time to properly explore this beautiful part of India. As it turned out, it was and since I was on a schedule this time, I could not help it.
Coming back to the ride, the road to Tawang was a joy. The tarmac was in great condition and the scenery was simply breathtaking. Serpentine yet smooth roads, mountains and greenery all around and perfect weather; riding rarely gets better than this. During this ride, I experienced all types of weather conditions; snow at Bumla Pass, rain in various parts, and a fair bit of chilly weather in Tawang.
Riding on the beautiful roads here was a pleasant experience but could have been less than ideal too. Since the roads were beautiful, I was starting to push the pace a bit and that is when I realized that something was wrong as my Dominar 400 was weaving a bit. I could tell that it was because of low tyre pressure. Guess what came in handy? The Xiaomi Portable Electric Air Compressor 1S! Within a few minutes, the pressure was back up to what I wanted and I continued my ride, enjoying it the way I was supposed to. Now you know what I mean that products like these can be lifesavers.
This stretch of riding also made for one of the highlights of this trip. To reach Tawang and Bumla Pass, I had to cross the famous Sela Pass. Nestled high among the mountains, the place was as beautiful as it was brutal. Temperature near zero degrees and insanely cold- it was a wholly different ride in itself.
After covering all these places, I reached Mechuka. Now, due to landslides and incessant rains, I was stuck in Mechula for four days. But trust me, there are not a lot of places where you’d enjoy being stuck. Mechuka is like heaven on earth. The landscape is beautiful and quite different from the rest of Arunachal Pradesh. Surrounded by mountains, the beauty of Mechuka was further accentuated by the rain. The colours of nature were more vibrant and vivid. Everything seemed like it had been washed off and it all just looked clean. It looked like a fairyland to sum it up.
After four days of being stuck, I was finally able to get my ride back on track. My next destination was also the last one on this roadtrip- Dibrugarh in Assam. While Mechuka was beautiful, the roads were not so much. From Aalo to nearly Dibrugarh, the roads were in terrible conditions because of landslides, road cutting, and construction work. The rain had made it worse so this is a word of advice for all the readers- avoid the rainy season when visiting North East India.
Anyway, I was able to reach Dibrugarh without any problems except for the extra time it took because of bad roads and therefore, less speed. This too was a part of the journey so I enjoyed it nonetheless. In Dibrugarh, I loaded my motorcycle on the train and came back to Delhi, my home, on the same train.
This was a brief representation of my North East Safarnama. With that, I’d like to reiterate that the time I had on hand is not nearly enough to explore every bit of North East India’s beauty. There are so many places that I missed and so much that I could have done. But then, that is what makes me think that Safarnaama 2.0 might not be that distant a possibility because if one wants to explore North East India to their heart’s content, they need at least 3 months to do so properly. That gives me an idea of how long my next ride should be! Till the next time then…
This article was published in the Jun-Jul’22 Issue of the xBhp Print Magazine.