Colors of Monsoon in Chikmagalur

Monsoons are beautiful, especially in the western ghats. There are no second thoughts about it. The entire region looks as refreshingly green as it can, thanks to the monsoon showers that wash – off every single strand of dust leaf small or big. So a ride somewhere in the western ghats was inevitable and ‘Where’ was not a tough question to answer. The fact that Chikmagalur is arguably the most beautiful part of Karnataka and its close proximity from Bangalore only made matters much easier and it seemed that it was just a matter of couple more days before we were off to Chikmagalur. That was last year, a plan which never materialized. This monsoon however, things were better.

Magical clouds and refreshing greenery, Chikmagalur

Magical clouds and refreshing greenery, Chikmagalur

As we rode through the switchbacks on our way to the Baba Budangiri peak, the fog seemed to grow thicker and thicker.… continue reading

Lepakshi – An Architectural Marvel

An imposing structure of Nandi – the bull of Shiva welcoming visitors, a stone-pillar that hangs above the floor of an age-old stone-temple and sculptures of Hindu Gods carved out of single stones are few of the things among many that make the small village of Lepakshi special. The place is of great religious and mythological significance I had learnt and seeing the magnificent structures all around I couldn’t have agreed more. But that was not what had taken me there on a bright Saturday morning. I had been feeling bored since the last couple of weeks and had not headed out anywhere. I just wanted to break the monotony. Also, given the fact that Lepakshi was just a short ride from Bangalore, it seemed perfect.

The Nandi at Lepakshi

The Nandi at Lepakshi

Built during the Vijayanagara Kings’ period (1336–1646), Lepakshi is home to shrines dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra and hence, has great religious significance as well.… continue reading

Through the Borail Hills

Even though I had spent the first twenty-two years of my life not far from the laps of the Borail Hills which overlook the Barak Valley, I had never had a chance to visit them up close. The reasons were many. From trivial ones like really bad roads to the serious ones like having to cross militant-infested areas. Over the years however things have gotten better. The militancy in the region is now non-existent and the road that connects the region to the rest of the country is it a much better shape than it used to be few years back. The fact that this road is part of the East-West corridor, the largest ongoing highway project in India, has definitely helped in this aspect.

The east-west corridor just out of Silchar

The east-west corridor just out of Silchar

I had decided to ride up to Haflong, a beautiful hill-station in the Dima-Haso district of Assam in March this year.… continue reading

In Pictures: Little Tibet of the South

It was only recently that I came to know that there existed a Buddhist settlement right here in the southern part of India. Call me whatever you want to but the truth is, Buddhist monasteries and cold misty hills had always been synonymous for me. I don’t really have a reason for my this assumption though. It might be because most of the Buddhist monks that I have come across were those walking up and down narrow mountain roads in their maroon robes in one of the Himalayan towns or because I have always seen the golden intricacies of the monastery roofs only throw the thin layer of mist that are exclusive to the Himalayas. So this little discovery of mine was a little surprising to me.

Monks at the lawn of Shera Jey Yiga Choeling Center Bylakuppe

Monks at the lawn of Shera Jey Yiga Choeling Center- Bylakuppe

I had always loved whatever I have come across that has a Buddhist feel to it.continue reading

Which bike is right for Ladakh?

Ever since I came back from my maiden ride to Ladakh on motorcycle a little more than three years back, I have been asked many times by friends, friends of friends and many others about a lot of different aspects about visiting Ladakh. What to see..where to go… how to go etc but if there has been one question I have been asked the maximum number of times, it was (and still is); ‘Can I ride to ladakh on my bike? or Do I need a bullet to go to ladakh? or some other version of the same question.

This is the time when the roads across high mountain passes of mighty Himalayas open up and the holy grail of biking, Ladakh, becomes accessible by road.

CBR 250 on Rohtang la

CBR 250 on Rohtang la

This window of four-five months (May / June through September / October) every year is the time when bikers from across the country and beyond come to ride in Ladakh crossing some of the toughest terrains and facing extreme biking conditions.… continue reading

Ladakh in 10 images: A Flashback

Even though the travel bug bit me a tad bit late, I have traveled my share of places in India in the past few years. Places some of which amazed me, some didn’t. Some I liked so much more while others did not impress me enough to remember much about them after a short while.

Pangong tso ladakh

Vast mountains and the magical Pangong

Out of all the trips I have done till now, my maiden trip to Ladakh sits right on top of the list as the best and most enriching trip ever. It has been close to three years since I have been there and to put it very mildly, I can only say that I am yet to come back from Ladakh!

Now is that time of the year when snow in the high mountain passes melts, making way for people heading to the magical land of Ladakh and this is the time I miss Ladakh even more, want to go and get lost in its vastness and beauty, leaving behind the monotonous life I live.… continue reading

Day 10 & Day 11: Leh to Manali via Sarchu (475 kms)

From the last 2-3 days back, I have been in constant touch with Top Singh ji to keep track of road conditions of Rohtang and the news that was coming in was not that good. There was slush and lot of it as it had been raining from the past 3 days. This made me bit sceptical about the journey ahead but after giving it some thought, we finally decided to take things as they come.
We begin our return tomorrow early morning.

We left Leh early in the morning without having our breakfast. It was wonderful riding parallel to the Indus.

Each moment of this stretch was magical. After a quick but heavy breakfast of aloo-parathas just out of Leh, we resumed our journey.

Soon we were ascending the Tanglang-la.… continue reading

Day 8 & Day 9: Leh to Pangong Tso & Back (~340kms)

Finally the day has come. Today we visit the magical pangong lake. I was EXCITED. The ride ahead was a long one today and a tougher one at that. The mighty Chang-la has to be crossed.

So, with only the ‘important’ things from the luggage we head of to face the mighty Chang-la, to be finally rewarded by the magical views of Pangong Tso. Had a quick break-fast of croissants & coffee and in no time, we were on the Leh-Manali highway. After sometime on the beautiful Leh-Manali highway, we took the diversion towards Pangong. I was really enjoying the ride, everything about it.

Beautiful, small villages sandwiched between majestic mountains came and went. One thing that was different today, compared to other days was, the inclines were steeper. I had expected some snow today but that was not to be :(, at-least not until we were climbing the mighty Chang-la.… continue reading