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Thread: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by Rituraj_singh View Post
    Milky way pictures ... summerise all the essence of trip...
    Quote Originally Posted by krishna77 View Post
    Nicely put!
    Thank you.
    Out there in the hills away from all the light pollution, view of the milky way is amazing.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Day 3 - Dantu to Munsyari



    As usual I woke up before 0500 and snuggled in the quilt for a while. Around 0530, I dressed, packed and stepped out hoping for a clear sunrise. Things looked promising, though there were a few clouds.



    Ride Map for the day



    Glowing cloud formation over the Panchachuli Peaks



    First rays of light on the peaks


    As I stood there waiting, the first direct rays of sunlight fell on the tallest peak. This was something I had been wanting to see for long.


    One by one each peaks got its share of the light. A few lingering clouds added to the effect. I was busy clicking away.



    First rays on all peaks





    Beauty under the moon



    The sheep who were my company on the previous day


    As the sun rose higher, few of the clouds returned. Returning back to my room, I brought my luggage down and sat for tea with my hostess.


    We talked about my journey back and their plans to walk to Jauljibi after a few days. They would take their belongings and all of the herd down to lower altitude for winter. It would be a 10-12 days journey. And then late spring they would come back to Dantu.



    Last view of the Panchachuli as I rode down to the river


    Carrying my luggage down to the bike, I wondered how cold would the water be. And whether there was a chance of crossing the river without getting my feet wet.


    I would soon find that out.



    Place to change socks


    As expected, water level was low. It was colder than I had hoped but warmer than I was prepared for. In seconds I was out, though not before getting one feet wet and water in my boot.


    Initially, I looked for a sunny spot with a place to sit for taking of my shoes and drying for a while. The road was mostly in shadows. After a while I gave up, resigned to enjoying the wet feeling inside the shoe.


    After about 90min of riding, I stopped for a break. Took that opportunity to take off my shoes and change socks. Rested for a while before moving on.



    A peak though the foliage



    A village women carrying heavy load of fodder in preparation for winter



    The fork to Narayan Ashram



    Tawaghat


    About three and a half hour after leaving Dantu, I was at Tawaghat. The return journey from Darma Valley was much easier compared to while two days back.


    I was getting hungry but decided to wait till Jauljibi for a snack break. Plan was to follow the Kali river down till Jauljibi and then drive up along with the Gowriganga river towards Munsyari.



    A Nepalese village on other side of Kali



    Road block due to hill cutting


    By the time I reached Jauljibi, I was ravishing hungry. I made the mistake of not stopping in the main market. Instead I stopped at the bridge where the road turned towards Madkot.


    There was no dhaba. So had tea and a packet of chips. I was expecting the road till Madkot to be though a picturesque valley snaking along the Gowriganga river. Didn’t want to have hunger pangs to prevent me from enjoying the ride.



    Imagine lying down under the warn sun on the parapet above and gentle flowing sound of Gowriganga river luring you into a nap. This is as blissful as it can get.



    Hanging bridge over Gowriganga


    The ride till Madkot was better than I expected. Beautiful valley with the river gurgling though flanked by close hills covered with trees, shrubs and wild flowers. To add to that, the road was great with little traffic.



    Waterfall over the road before Madkot. I had been wanting this picture for years – my first trip to Munsyari.


    Beyond Madkot the road was a mess. Massive construction was going on and the hillside was being demolished to widen the road.


    By the time I reached Munsyari, I was covered in dust. The town had become crowded and dirty since my last visit. Looking around for a decent room, I realized all hotels had bumped up their prices for the autumn season. Scouting around I took a room at Bilju Inn.


    The sky was overcast and there was no chance of a Panchachuli sunset. Had tea and then took a bath. Later I went to the market to check things out.


    Munsyari is becoming more and more touristy. Without much initiative by the local administration I can see the place suffer over the next 5-6years.


    Returning back to my room, had dinner in the room itself. The dining hall had been taken over by a group of students from Allahabad.




    Coming up



    Waterfall beyond Munsyari



    Rameshwar Temple near Timta

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Day 4 - Munsyari to Lohaghat



    The morning in Munsyari was disappointing. There were clouds all over. Several times I peeped out of my window, hoping to see clear skies but to no avail.



    Munsyari to Lohaghat


    Eventually I stepped out into the terrace and waiting for luck to change. However that was not to be. I drank two cups of tea on the terrace and then prepared to leave.



    Clouds over Panchachuli

    View from the bed


    Packing my bags, I went down to check out. There were chaos at the reception. The large group of students were also leaving at the same time. After 15-20 min I was on my way out.


    Stopped at Thamri Kund trail head to take some pictures. Because of the cloud cover it was quite cold. I dug out another T-Shirt from my bag to add another layer for warmth.



    Panchachuli from the Thamri Kund trail head



    A seasonal waterfall on the way


    The road from Munsyari is in a pretty bad condition. Patches of tar followed by long stretches of broken road with some very large potholes. Given the popularity of Munsyari in the tourism circuit, I would expect the road to be good. I guess the Uttarakhand government does not care.


    Navigating around the broken road took quite long to reach Birthi falls. Long ago there used to be only a KMVN guest house. Now there are multiple shops and a large parking like structure is also coming up. It wasn’t too tempting to stop and hike up to the falls.



    Birthi falls


    The view of the falls was quite nice from across the valley a little down the road. I stopped there for a little break and stretched my legs.


    I was also starting to feel hungry, having eaten nothing since morning. Long ago there used to be a shack under a tree, near the junction of Tejam/Munsyari/Kapkot roads. There they served excellent fish, freshly caught from the Ramganga below. As I drove towards Tejam, I wondered whether that shack was still there.



    Evolution of a shack



    Fish and roti lunch


    At that junction the shack had evolved into a nice restaurant with a public toilet and a shop. Fortunately the place still served fish. Roti with fish curry was to be the first meal of the day.


    After a hearty meal I was inclined to take a nap. But I had long way to go along uncharted territory – eastern Uttarakhand.



    Ramganga river near Nachani


    Soon I was at Ghat. The roads improved after that. Driving to Berinag was a breeze, especially with the jungle being that of pine.


    At Berinag, I made the mistake of not taking the bypass and went though the city to get caught in traffic.


    Weaning my self out, I went towards Gangolihat. I could have taken a shorter route towards Almora. However, I wanted to go via Gangolihat, Lohaghat etc. The road till Gangolihat is on a ridge, having excellent view of the Himalayas. On this day the clouds played spoil sport and all I could see were clouds and nearby hills.



    Toward Gangolihat


    The road is also a mess. Long stretches of broken road are adequate to bruise the bum. Boy, I was glad to reach Gangolihat. The town is larger that I had thought. The road improved significantly once I crossed the city.



    Town of Gangolihat


    As I descended to lower altitude, views became better. The hills were gently sloping and terraced field started showing up. This was the highlight of the day.



    Terrace Farming

    Autumn


    The road was excellent till the Panar bridge and then all hell broke loose. A wide highway is being build to Pithoragarh via Tanakpur/Champawat/Lohaghat and immense amount of hill cutting is going on. This means dust, debris and blockages every where.



    Panar Bridge at Timta

    Rameshwar Temple near Timta


    Breathing immense amount of dust, I turned towards Mount Abbot – a few Km before Lohaghat. The map showed a KMVN which was not operational.


    A local offered to put me up at a bungalow where he was the caretaker. That did look like a good option till I saw the bungalow. It was a nice old colonial bungalow, much like the ones in Nainital. However, the place had an eerie feeling about it, which increased further when I was shown the room. Making an excuse on high price, I hightailed it out of there.



    Nature in Action


    Lohaghat was the next stop. Got a room at Hotel Cedar Plaza. Other than the manager there was no one there. Everyone had gone to watch a local football match. Between stepping out for tea and taking a nap, I decided to do the latter.


    I was woken up an hour later when the cook brought me tea. After tea, I went to the market to buy a drink and some snacks. Later I sat in the room watching T.V. before dinner.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Day 5 - Lohaghat to Nainital and end of ride



    Last day of the ride. I planned to leave early and reach home by lunch time.



    Lohaghat to Nainital



    Lohaghat market


    Lohaghat market was starting to get alive when I left. Turning towards Devidhura, I quickly left Lohaghat behind. There was low lying fog between the mountains and sun was just rising behind me.



    Foggy Morning

    Most satisfying sight in the hills. See here: Future


    Pretty soon the pine jungles started. The roads were excellent and I has a lot of fun riding the curves. There was a bit of fog which required a bit of careful riding.



    Ahh! the jungles of Pine trees


    This was also the day when the panchayat election votes were to be counted and results to be declared. At several places police had blocked the road and were inquiring before letting vehicles through.



    Fog followed me all morning



    Village house


    S
    nack time at Devidhura


    At Devidhura, stopped at a tea shop for a break and something to eat. The town was much smaller than I had imagined. I am guessing that the only thing famous about this place is the stone pelting mela.



    At Devidhura



    Village School


    The road goes through several villages. It felt as if driving though the backroads with village huts and villagers going about their daily life alongside the road.


    Given the season, Marigolds were in full bloom adding a dash or orange to the winter sky.



    Cleaning the grains



    Village life



    Himalayas from near Dhanachuli


    Dhanachuli was a surprise find. The Himalayan ridge was faintly visible. I can imagine that on a clear day the views would be wonderful. Back of my mind I filed a route option for a future trip.



    Ladfora Bridge



    Houses in the hills


    Pretty soon I was in Bhimtal and on my way to Nainital. It was surprising and concerning to find many hotels in Bhimtal to advertising themselves as being in Nainital. Way to fool the tourists.



    Wildflower


    It was an hour past noon when I reached Nainital. Just in time for lunch after a wonderful ride.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Beautiful pictures & excellent writeup

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by vicky19990 View Post
    Beautiful pictures & excellent writeup
    Thank buddy.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Awesome clicks! Never disappoint!

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Kumaon Wanderings - Darma Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by krishna77 View Post
    Awesome clicks! Never disappoint!
    Thanks. Always encouragement from you.

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