Nepal was a riding destination that was on our minds for a long time.
Me and Kunal are planning to ride internationally so we decided this would be a good warm up and what a warm up it was!
After a lot of people dropping out the final list stood at three bikes Kunals Bullet 500 , My Twinspark Tbird and Monish’s Bullet Machismo 350 ,four riders and one pillion. This was going to be one hardcore trip! I had done the ride to Ladakh the previous year and was ready to take on the unknown!
At the of age 50 after a long riding break of 25 years this was my first international ride and my toughest ride to date, one which would test my grit and determination in the weeks to come.
Kunal owns and runs a authorized RE workshop in Pune and is an ace mechanic. In the past 13 years of riding he has toured all over India and has done the Ladkah sector twice covering almost 50000kms in this period.
Monish Atwani of the famous Pune Karachi Sweets, was the youngest rider at age 20 but showed remarkable maturity on a trip which was to make a man out of him
With the bikes thoroughly serviced and checked we were ready to go! As an additional safeguard Ram Bahadur would accompany us as our Nepali language Guide and spare rider.
And Huda! Kunals better half and veteran Pillion having accompanied Kunal on every motorcycle tour he has done. Kunal claims to be most comfortable with her on the back of his motorcycle no matter what the terrain.
The journey started with us boarding the Pune- Gorakpur express on the 3rd of February. We decided this would be the easiest and cheapest way to transport ourselves and our bikes the 1750km to the border.
After getting our bikes safely off the train with no damage we refueled and swung our saddle bags over the seat. After 33 long hours of waiting we were ready to ride!
Gorakpur to Sunauli border it took us 2 hours of riding, at the border it is easy for Indians to cross across, with a payment of 1600 IC. Photo copies of the registration and driving license. Things suddenly changed here. We could smoke anywhere and beer was available at every shop and even a small tea stall, unlike in India. We were back on our steeds after an hour spend at the border and were riding towards Chitwan national park, via the Naravanghat, the journey was long and we reach Chitwan by 10pm.
It was a total blackout, no lights anywhere and the look was deserted, after quiet some time I located a resort and parked my bike and opened the gates to it , I shouted twice “HELLO” but I was taken back in an instance and actually my blood pressure went low when all of a sudden an elephant blew a trumpet , I could not see a thing due to darkness and did not know where this beast was, but I was relieved immediately when I saw the security walking towards me and when I asked him for availability of accommodation he was glad to put on the genset and to my surprise I could now see three big female elephants chained up in the adjoining compound as close as 15 feet from where I was.
We checked in and dinner was served within no time and we all were in deep slumber, the mornings were biting cold with the temperature as low as 1 degree, mist so thick that we could barely see anything beyond 15 feet. We spend two days at Chitwan exploring the streets and the country side with a wild life safari on elephant back, we did see a lot of fawn and flora except the tiger. Rooms were really cheap, 300 to 500 NC… and the meals cost us anywhere from 150-200 NC….every 100 IC you get a 160 NC.
Two days Later we decided to ride to Pokhra and were there by 4pm and after looking around we reach Hidden Paradise a small resort on top of a hill overlooking the lake. But the climb was up hill with bikes parked at the foot hills, saddle bags on our shoulders we had to climb about 200 steps but we were in heaven once we were up. Good homemade meals were served with a warm set of boys around looking after us. We decided to stay here for 2 days, one evening I cooked lamb meat and rice for all of us with Huda helping me.
Then was Pokhra to Milan chowk and Rams village Kholakhet in the mountains, again parking our bikes at the end of the road and a climb for about 45 mins, it was like the climb never ended, but we reach rams house exhausted , no hot water so we just had to be happy with the cold water flowing down the mountains, freshened up and here again meal was cooked by me and huda for us as well as Rams family… three big hind legs of a local sheep each waying about 1.5 kilo, home grown turmeric, onions, garlic and chillies and a pinch of salt, this was all that was available for the cooking of the lamb meat and I just put all this and the lamb intpo the pot our the fire … and it turned out mouth watering, but the quantity being good a little was left over for tomorrow , we all spend the evening with Rams family chatting away till 2am, with a few occational shots of local booze for me, though I was not liking the taste of it but the family was relishing it. We spend the night here.
The next morning egg burgi cooked by me for all us with the eggs from the hens living in the house, great taste of the natural laid eggs we start walking down and back on our steeds we start riding towards Kholakhet to Marpha via Beni, Ghasa and Tatopani, the hot springs of Tatopani were very welcome, chilled beer was being served and Monish and me had a bottle each, one hour in the hot water was really welcome since we had no shower since we left Pokhra. Lunch and we continued riding, no roads from Beni onwards with the terrain strewn with mud, boulders slush, sand and steep inclines and similar declines, in the evening after it was dark we crossed the kali Gandaki river, as wise as a kilometer with bebbles of all sizes and dried in some places and water gushing in some places which were lower, it wasn’t easy crossing it, it was now getting colder and the 4 layers of clothes not helping us but we manage to ride upto Marpha at 9pm in the night it took us a whole day to do 60km.
It was an amazing experience no roads no lights and no one travelling on these roads after 5pm, we were the only ones and sometime it was scary . at Marpha we checked into the fir st inn we saw, rooms 300 NC but meals and tea was expensive here, 50% more than Pokhra as the transportation was expensive and not too many people travel here except some foreigners trekking up to mustang. Once checked in a hot shower was welcome and immediately into 3 layers of clothes we parked ourselves in the dining area, some local apple brandy and local nepali cuisine, we spend some time among us talking over todays experience and we were just coparing our ride to leh last year, though we still had to ride to muktinath the ride was already treacherous. We were really tired today and decided to sleep immediately
The next morning was to ride to Muktinath via Jomsom, so we were out early by 7am and could not go out of the inn, as the temperature was -3 degrees, so back to 5 layers of clothes hot cup of tea a few smokes and we were back on our bikes, riding thru the worst patch or our ride, one fall and every thing over, we could go down a 1000 feet and nobody could have found us. Temperature decreasing as we rode higher and higher, no signs of AMS for any of us, but we could feel the density of oxygen getting lowere and lower as we ascended higher and higher, cold breeze flowing so fast that it was pushing us away from the road, at some bends it was difficult to manage the bike me and the breeze but I kept calm and with full focus I was riding up and up in the 1st gear doing 10 kms per hour constantly, snow everywhere, with some black ice on the road, but I was not riding on this patch and selected to ride on the parts were black ice was not there, 25 kms from Marpha was Mukninath but it took us about 5 hours to reach there, and I was glad to reach Muktinath………
…………… MISSION ACCOMPLISHED………..
Muktinath known for the temple of lord “VISHNU”, and the “SHALIGRAM” and the “JWALA’S”…..live fire in the midst of a stream was the main attraction burning for centuries,
We meet a NAGA BABA here who has spend 26 years in Muktinath doing penance, and staying in the cremation grounds. I spend some quality time with him, he possessed some powers and I was curious to know a few things from him, he offered me to smoke his chillim… but I denied as I have never smoked up all my life, and preferred to smoke my cigarette , After we spend some time with this naga baba we started riding back towards Jomsum, it was lunch time and we stopped over at the foot hills of the temple and some hot Maggie was served at an awful price, 120 bucks for a small bowl of it, but anyway we could understand the people had to make a living here which was not easy, we did meet only two Indians here for the first time since we left Chitwan, only foreigners everywhere.
Riding back the same treacherous road which was not as difficult as going up we reach Jomsun in about 4 hours and were happy to meet Mohan kumari at her inn, a very rare host you can find, she served us hot meals and tea, but no hot water for a shower.
The next day we ride back and halt at Tatopani and spend 2 hours in the hot springs again as we had to spend a day here this evening, the guy where we stayed was one moron and was not interested in serving us onions with our meals says….. onions a very expensive here a plate would cost you 150 bucks, then we ordered butter chicken as per the menu and were waiting for it to be served, we ordered rotis with it, but we were amazed to see butter chicken being served as a sizzler and not like our Indian buter chicken, so the rotis had to be eaten with dal and not the chicken, and we all were giggling away all the time on the butter chicken were again this moron was not liking it, and he decided to serve us awful tea and hot chocolate in the evening, as lunch was late we avoided dinner and left Tatopani early morning not to have breakfast at his place and ride on to have breakfast in Rams aunts joint by the roadside, Huda cooked some good egg burji for us at this place and we ride on to Pokhra and we were there by 4 in the evening, we decided to stay here till the 18th, so now 4 days of leisure, we checked in to a hotel close to the market and the lake, rode back to Pokhra the next day, we spend a few days at Pokhra, the rains gods went crazy and the nights got colder and snow all around on the peaks. We loved being in Pokhra and spend some leisure time here. Huda doing a round of cooking some awesome lamb curry with rice one evening. On 18th we ride back to Gorakpur about 290 kms riding thru the mountains.
19th we loaded our bikes on to the train again and back to Pune.
My over all experience in Nepal was exciting and riding on the broken roads, I am now prepared to ride any territory in the world as the worst is over. It was a check of both man and machine in this kind of territory.
My suggestion to all riders
The bike has to be in the best of condition
Carry your tool kit, spares like clutch and brake levers, chain lube, tire inflaters, spare tires, spare sparkplug, spare bulb and cables.
2 pairs of thermals, two denims, 6 t shirts, one woolen sweeter, one jacket, woolen caps, woolen socks 3 pairs, woolen gloves 2 pairs, under clothes, towel, 2 napkins and tissue rolls.
Full riding gear is compulsory, saddle bags, spare petrol in a can, torch, knife 6” blade, camera and spare batteries for the above.
Before doing Nepal please do the Leh Ladakh circuit as the terrain is very difficult, accommodation and meals easily available throughout Nepal.