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Chandigarh to Mana

The mountains were beckoning and the travel itch had us in a vice like grip. So, me and my buddies thought to take our bullet motor bikes on this trip. First of all we had to prepare the bikes get them serviced, get spare tubes\clutch wires\chain link so that they were mountain worthy.

It was a cool 13 th September when we kicked of from Chandigarh through Nariangarh with lush green fields on both sides. Our first stop for a breather was at Ponta Sahib (it's a historical gurdwara). The hill drive starts from Black mango (kala amb). After partaking of langar(holy food ) and a darshan of the Guru Granth Shaib we zoomed off towards Dehra Dun the capital of Uttaranchal state. It is flanked by the Ganges to the west and Yamuna to the east. The town is the gateway to the Garhwal Hills. It is fringed by Shivalik Hills and lies in the pretty Doon Valley. It is home to a number of prestigious institutions such as I. M. A ( Indian Military Academy ) our countries foremost training academy for army officers as well as India , s very own Eton , the Doon School . Its bracing climate and its proximity to Mussoorie makes it a popular retirement retreat. The Doon Valley is also famous for its fragrant basmati rice, and its mango and litchi orchards. Bypassing Haridwar we go to Rishikesh. It is situated at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and the Ganges, Muni-ki-Reti (“sand of the sages”) lies upstream from the Triveni Ghat. North of Muni-ki-Reti are two suspension bridges across the Ganges , Rama or Sivananda jhula and Lakshman jhula. Kaudiyala is the place to be in if you wann live life cause this the place from where rafting starts it's a must do ( tips , rafting can be done over two or three days, with night halts at camps situated at Kaudiyala , Marine Drive , Shivpuri and Brahmapuri A shorter tour of the same stretch san also be done in one day app length is 36kms ) After spending two nights at this highly spiritual place( and getting a fair amount of dunking in the Ganges ) we were off to a early morning start.

Driving through this mountainous region the splendor of the Garhwal Hills is evident. The Ganges running parallel and small but neat towns on the way made for a pleasant ride. After a leisure drive we reached the town ship of Rudrprayag. We stayed at the mess of Garhwal Rifles and were treated to the hospitality of the Indian Army. The hosts bombarded us with round after round of some fauji rum. After guzzling down liters of rum we conked off for the night.

The stretch between here an Joshimath is very scenic. This town is at the confluence of the Dhauli Ganga and Alaknanda rivers at Vishnuprayag. It is also the junction of two ancient trans-Himalayan trading routes. The town was a gateway to the Nanda Devi Sanctuary until it was closed to the public in 1983 . Today people head mostly for the ski slopes of Auli, which can be reached via road or cable car from Joshimath.(Our trip planner, Rana sidhu is a regular at this spot most winters )This place certainly rocks.

The popular trek to the Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers National Park begins 20km north of Joshimath from Ghangaria . The trek is nice

and the company of Sikh piligrams is a support. On reaching Govind Dham (13kms) I was ready to hit the bed at G. M.V.N (Garhwal mandal vikas nigam ) I took a dormitory and was out like a light. Getting up early morning at 3oclock (wanted to cover the max today ) I was off to the holy shrine(6kms) it's a steep hike. Be sure to carry stout hiking shoes and a camera . After paying my respects I was of to the Valley of Flowers it is a carpet of anemones, roses, primulas and other alpine flora (best time to visit June to September ). It is really a garden of eden It was getting dark and I decided to move back to my base camp Govind dham and rested. Early morning I was back in the valley (u cant get enough of it), in the afternoon I started back to Govind gaht (13kms). Picking up my bike I vrromed of to Joshimath where my buddy bunny (Major Karan bajwa) was waiting. We planned out the next leg of our road trip to Mana village on the China border. It is a amazing drive all the way through eternally standing mountains. After bathing in the cold waters of the fall, we were refreshed and got back to our base camp (Joshimath) . In the morning we were off to Rishikesh cause v were low on time. Bunny had to get back to his regiment. After spending the night in this holy place we were back in Chandigarh (city beautiful).

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