Having a job which involves travel can be challenging as well as demanding. I guess I had taken my preparation to lightly. With very few days left for the start of the trip, I had to go outstation for business purpose and that too for a long duration. All planning suddenly went for a toss.
I had not even segregated my things which I would be taking for the trip. All were lying in a haphazard way in my wardrobe. Plus, the main thing without which I cannot start the trip was incomplete. I had just 2 days before the business trip to sort everything out. A day was spent in making the bike ready while the next day was all gone in making sure that right and essential things are packed up for the trip and nothing has been left out.
The night when I was leaving for the business trip, the same evening I went to the transport agency and shipped my bike.
I return directly on 7th Dec morning back to Mumbai. The very day when my flight was supposed to fly to Delhi at night. On top, I also had an office that day which made matters little worse as I was still left with the packing, the stuff which I was supposed to hand carry with me. During my lunch time, I rushed home, as I stay nearby, to get all the things ready in one place. It was too much to do so all the fine tuning was done after I came back from the office hours in the evening.
Ganesh was also all set with this luggage and so around 10:30pm we left for the airport. After reaching there we came to know that our flight has been delayed by another half n hour. It was a good sign as anyways we were going to reach too much early in the morning and for that, I had to cause trouble to my NOIDA friend to wake him up so early.
We land as usual and the time was around 4am. Thinking, still early for heading straight to my friend’s house, we sat and slept there at the airport itself just to pass time and also to get some sleep as we were going to ride the whole day. We were literally sleeping on the floor, thanks to poor infrastructure provided by Delhi Airport guys.
At around 5:45am we left for my friend’s house in Noida by cab. We reached there in no time as there was not much traffic in the early hours. I dropped at Botanical Garden metro station since he was supposed to get his rented bike delivered there. My friend was waiting for me when I reached his place. Inspected the bike thoroughly and found it without any concern. Prior to my reaching here, he had already sent me bike conditions photos over WhatsApp to assure safe delivery of the bike. I changed into my riding clothes and over a cup of tea talked about the trip details. Ganesh too arrived at the right time when I was almost done. We took a group photo, thanked my friend and left the place.
I had to meet our ex-director of the engineering college, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe at his residence in Delhi. He came to know about my trip plans through FB. As we chatted on messenger some days prior to the trip, he had invited me over breakfast. So the time was set around 8:30am.
We rushed to the address after picking our bikes since we had taken too long to make the bike ready. I was getting constant messenger call of our ex-director. He is now the AICTE chairmen. Being such an eminent person, I knew I had to be on time. Somehow, things didn’t turn our way and we reached around half n hour late to his residence. Karan was already waiting since I had told him to come there directly. He had given us a sharp time since he had further plans ahead. He was going to meet someone. We had a good Marathi breakfast getting little time to talk about the trip. I gave him some presents which I had brought along with me. But the best thing happened when he told us that his wife and a few other female friends, all over 50yrs in age, had recently done an all women one way trip to London from Delhi on Car. This fascinated me and I was left awestruck. I told them I was surely coming back to hear more about that. We took selfies after that and then they pushed off to meet the person they had committed.
Myself, Karan and Ganesh made ourselves ready for the last time before hitting the road for long. The destination was directly set for Mussoorie, but via Haridwar. The time was around 9:30am.
We left along the Ghaziabad route. The traffic was as usual. Loved the elevated highway over Ghaziabad as it was a long stretch of elevated highway with no kind of any traffic from crossings. Adding to that the road was kind of empty and so we were driving leisurely soaking into the surroundings. We could see numerous single houses on both the sides of the highway, the typical unplastered wall of their houses, commonly seen here, as shown in movies. Didn’t look like a planned city but what part did we had in that. We were just enjoying the company of being in a new city for the first time.
The roads were hell the moment we descended down from the elevated highway. It was full of traffic which no control, potholes everywhere, people driving on wrong sides just to get ahead of everyone. That thing slowed us down until we took the Upper Ganga Canal road towards Roorkie after just crossing Ghaziabad. Since we had put the route through google map and selected the bike mode, it took us through roads going parallel to Ganga river canal and bypassing the highway. It was a long stretch of roads running along the canal and after some time we were shit bored of the patch as it was like neverending. The good thing was that there wasn’t any traffic but the scene was the same everywhere. Since we had already skipped the highway route and went far ahead, we had no choice but to continue on this path.
The road joined the main highway just as we entered Uttarakhand and the first thing we did was take a good break. We drank some beautifully crafted sugarcane juice which was mixed with mint and lemon. That thing refreshed us a lot and gave us the energy to move ahead.
Soon afterward we hit Roorkee city and continued upwards from that. The afternoon period had set in and we decided to break for lunch at the next upcoming place which was the holy city of Haridwar. The air was different as we entered Haridwar. The kind of spiritual sir. Sages could be seen everywhere in the orange colored robes. People could be seen everywhere. If felt as if the population suddenly increased in seconds. As we pushed ahead, for the first time I came in contact with river Ganga and instantly fell in love. The color, the flow, the noise and the vast expanse of it. It made my head go crazy over it. It does have something special attached to it. You can easily feel the moment you see her. Things were revolving in my head and I was wondering how she must look in here upstream current. I was very excited.
We braked at a nearby roadside hotel for lunch. Had a generous amount of paneer and dal makhni along with tandoori roti. It was around 2:30pm as per agreed timings my other fellow members Anis bhai and Bimal ji was supposed to meet us here. They were still in Rishikesh while we were here in Haridwar. We agreed on meeting at a common point which was decided at Neapli Farm. It is from this place that we need to take left (people coming from Haridwar) and the other need to take right (people coming from Rishikesh) when one wants to go towards Mussoorie.
We reached there first and had to wait for them for quite some time as still the bike arrangements had not been done completely. The time was ticking at 4pm when the two of them arrived, Bimal ji on Royal Enfield classic 350cc and Anis bhai on Royal Enfield HIMALAYAN. So, all together, 5 of us headed straight for Mussoorie.
Mussoorie was still a long way to go after revisiting our google maps. This time also we had put the bike mode ON. Due to this, it took us through traffic congested Uttarakhand capital, Dehradun. We spent quite a long time evading the traffic which slowed us down. The evening had started to pour in, since we had started by now, gaining significant altitude. By the time, we exited Dehradun city it was dark and the time was 6:15pm. And still, we had 18kms more to go to reach our booked hotel.
Within no time, we started to encounter twistys along our ascend. The road was very narrow, barely manageable for both side traffic. At some locations, construction work was also going on. The traffic was too strong, being a weekend, everyone was rushing towards the hill. Some of them driving too rash, we had to be very careful, since we were driving on the valley side of the road.
Upon climbing the hill, we came to this point called Mall road where we had to take a right towards our hotel. Our hotel was situated on Mall road, the busiest place in Mussoorie. We paid an entry ticket of 100rs per bike since we came into the scene when the tourist rush is high and it is difficult to traverse the vehicles among the bustling crowds.
We had put the location of our hotel on the google maps but when we physically reached there, it was really a pain the find which one was ours. Though the hotel name was unique, there were so many hotels adjacent to each other, that finding the right entrance was a tough task. Finally, I called up the hotel guy and took his help.
The parking was on the road and the tough task was to take all the luggage all the way up to the second floor with a very narrow passage. We all shifted our luggage taking turns as only 1 person could go up and down at a time. Such was the trouble. But the rooms were large and he had allocated an entire dorm of 6 beds to us with an attached 2 bathrooms. Yes, the complete room was for us. The room was clean and hygienic with proper bedding to fight the cold of Mussoorie.
(For backpackers looking for cheap and budget dorms in Mussoorie, then this is the right place to be; BUNKOTEL: on Mall Road, Mussoorie. They have their own website too!)
We all took time to loosen ourselves and place our baggage. Got freshened up. We had a little drink session following which we all ventured out to have a glimpse of the nightlife of the so-called ‘Queen of Hills’ called Mussoorie. The place was full of tourists, mostly newlywed couples, as it is a favorite honeymoon destination.
We scrolled through the restaurants as we were not finalizing on the type of menu for our dinner. Finally, we decided to have a simple dinner consisting of scrambled eggs along with roti after we jointly came to a conclusion between the Veg and the Non-Veg guys.
The time was around 10:30pm and the cold was really getting on us. I thought of going to someplace and click some night shots with my DSLR. But, I was too tired. We all quickly headed back to our room and almost everyone was tired. I could see on their faces. Even, I was tired. Without anyone talking to each other, all fell asleep.
Tomorrow, we were going to explore Mussoorie. We had the list of places to be visited ready with us.