“Winter is coming” “The mountains are calling”
And a few more. There are quite a few phrases and quotes that paint an amazing picture of mountains and winter. Even when you want to escape a sticky situation, “You run for the hills”. All this and my love for motorcycles made me think that a trip to the mountains in winter was long overdue. The calm of the mighty Himalayas summoned the explorer in me. Me and my Dominar shod with CEAT tyres decided to chase the winter all the way to Kasol and then a trek to Kheerganga would make for a perfect getaway. 558 km + Dominar + Riding in the night = Instant Nirvana.
With excitement up to the brim, I finished my work at the office (a really long day) and got home in a jiffy. I packed my stuff, had a brief conversation with the Dominar and a friend who rode with me and we started our journey to rediscover myself, both on two wheels and on foot. We left from Gurugram at about 11 PM. The highway greeted me and my Dominar and we acknowledged it with a nod. The highway was almost empty. The only thing that lit the road was my soul. I mean my Dominar. We ripped the throttle open as the road was empty and roared through the howling wind.
The first stop that we took was at Murthal to refuel our bikes and our bellies. And then we were back to setting the tarmac on fire. A cloak of darkness surrounding the road, with other vehicles making rare appearances, all we could hear was the engines of our bikes and that sweet sound of the tires eating the tarmac. Or the tarmac eating the tires!
The next stop was at a place somewhere around the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh border for a quick breather both for us and our mechanical companions and back to the road again. Since dawn had already broken and we had already reached Mandi, we decided that it was time to pay homage to the national beverage. Chai. Tea. Ah the feeling of holding the warm cups in shivering hands. After that refreshing dose of tea we started from Mandi towards our destination. Kasol. In the ride between Mandi and Kasol, we had to take a few more pit stops because the weather was foggy and the slight drizzle just wanted us to stop. It was to absorb the beauty if our surroundings. It filled our ears with the soothing sound of raindrops crashing on the tarmac. It didn’t drench us (because of the stops) but our souls. And the memories of those moments are everlasting. Everything about mountains is enticing. The snow, the scenery, the peace. It’s the scenery that makes all the fatigue disappear.
We reached Kasol village at around 2 pm. It was the middle of the day yet the clouds and the fog made it feel like it was dusk already. We finally reached our base camp and the adventure that the two day trek to Kheerganga is. I was filled with excitement as we started our trek. The hiking trail to Kheerganga is approximately 12 km and is accompanied by the Parvati River which guides you through villages like Kalga and Pulga. Finally, we were here. Kheerganga. The place is majestic. And a refreshing dip in the hot springs is just what you need to understand how wonderful the place is. Nature is almighty and that becomes apparent when you encounter the hot springs in freezing cold weather. We decided to call it a day after that and decided to get some rest because the next was the repeat of the 12 km trek in the opposite direction.
We woke up early in the morning, drank in the magnificent view of the Himalayan peaks and decided to start our journey back to Kasol. Halfheartedly of course. We reached Kasol and decided that we’ll explore Kasol that day, take some photos and get ready to depart the next day. Halfheartedly of course.
We woke up around 8 in the morning. Packed our bags. Tied them to our bikes. And started the ride back home. We decided that we’ll take only a couple of breaks in order to gain some time and reach early. The first break that we took was at Bhunter at around 12:30 PM. The next break was Bilaspur for fuel and back to the road. Took another break at a place around Sonepat and we reached Gurugram by around 10:00 pm. The trip was short but enough to rejuvenate you and give you the strength to battle the metros for a few more months until you hear the words “Mountains are calling” again.