I woke up around 6am and first thing I did was check my DSLR camera. The camera was mounted on a tripod as I was doing a night timelapse the night before and in order to get a better view, one of the three legs of the tripod was outside the window resting on the rail of floor below. I was worried about the tripod falling in the night due to some vague reasons but that did not happen. Adding to that, I had to battle with the cold night since, I had to keep the window open. The camera was covered in a big cloth to save it from the early morning condensation.
Normally, taking a night timelapse or in fact, taking any other timelapse requires considerate amount of time since you are capturing the whole event. In this case, I had put the camera ON and increased the number of frames which were greater than my battery power would last. My timelapse had lasted for around 3 hrs and in between that I had slept.
By 6:30 am, I was ready. Firstly, I filled up petrol in my tank. The bunk was nearby and luckily the person was available. I was waiting for my tea and when it came, I also filled up my Thermask flask so that I could stop and sip on tea later on the road. It was really cold and I could feel it when my fingers struggled to tighten the luggage to the bike.
From Thal, I was heading towards Dharchula which lies on the border between India and Nepal. This location was pre-planned before the trip. The plan was to reach Dharchula and explore a little bit on Nepal side and rest for the day. It was a easy ride today as the distance was not that much.
The darkness from the night cleared after I rode for some kms and immediately was presented with a mind boggling view on all my sides. It was like that quite mornings, somewhere deep inside a village, untouched by human civilization. The feeling was awesome. I stopped for some time to let a part of me dissolve into the morning atmosphere.
At around 8am, I again stopped for tea break. This time drinking the tea from my thermask cup. It was the first time having carrying the bottle for this trip. I had stopped at a place from where the view of the continuous chains of mountains could be seen. The place had a house on one corner whose roof leveled with the surface of the road. It made a perfect place for me to capture some stunning photos.
All along the road, I was also collecting plastic bags which had drifted towards both the sides of the road. I put them all in one big bag which I was carrying. The sight of having such huge no of plastic bags at this beautiful location did not do justice and something looked abnormal. I was not able to focus on my driving and at one point, distracting me, I had stopped and decided to pick up as much as I could and do my duty.
After the break, the roads gradually started to slope downwards towards Askote village and on my right side a river of clouds floated leisurely. At first, I thought it was a river but as I closed in on it, they were the clouds. I was slowly slowly approaching towards the Indian border.
Soon, I was level with the floating river of clouds. Almost, nothing could be seen what was on the other side. But, on other side, lay Nepal. It was like, the clouds marked the boundary between both of them, just like a white line.
The clouds had engulfed the area and it were so dense that at one point it looked like I had come to one end of the world and there was nothing on the other side, no solid mass, just the Space.
The place really charmed me. The clouds were drifting at their own pace and the the rock flowing Kali river was emanating melodious tunes. I stayed there for quite some time. I was about to reach Jauljibi. Initially, I had planned to stay in Askote village but the people from that place had directed me towards Jauljibi citing that I could easily get cheap accommodation.
The people were right. I got an easy accommodation at Jauljibi. The place was not big and mostly I could find only restaurants along the both sides. After inquiring with few people there, I got a room for 300rs a night. However, the entry road towards it was very steep and it really tested my handling skills.
Below is the place where I was staying. Otherwise, if you need any help in Jauljibi, you can contact this guy:
Mr. Mahesh Jung Jung (75990 11630). You can give my reference to him.
The next plan was to drop all the luggage there and move towards Dharchula to see the place. Dharchula was just 27 kms from Jauljibi.
The roads were quite scenic on my way towards Dharchula. The roads was rising and dropping often with the river running to my right side.
I had thought that I would be able to take the bike to the other side via the bridge but it was not the case. The bridge connecting the 2 countries was only meant for walking. It has doors on both the ends and in evening, the doors were closed only to open again next morning.
I parked by bike on the main road and went downwards towards the suspension bridge. Before moving on to the bridge, the SSB (Indian Security Force) made me to write all the details about me before they let me go. They also asked me reason for going to the other side for which, I happily replied that I was a traveler and just wanted to explore.
Mostly, there were shopping complexes when I went to the other side. First, I went to the money exchange counter as I wanted some NEPAL currency just to keep it for myself. After that, most of the shops sold variety of goods ranging from daily necessities to winter clothes and gear. I had heard that the winter clothes were cheap here. But, I did not find anything that appealed me and so I did not buy it. Soon, my eyes fell on ‘Khukri’ the famous Nepali knife used by our Indian Gurkha regiment. I immediately bought one and another one too for my friend after I had send him the photo. Apart from that, I did not buy anything and returned to India after having my Nepali lunch of Chowmein!
There was nothing much to explore and so I decided to return back to my hotel and rest for the day. It was almost 3pm. The scenery appealed to me a lot!
While returning, the sun had gone below the tall mountains and it cast a shadow on the entire route. The roads were mix of good and bad as construction to lay the new asphalt section was going on. But, there was hardly any traffic. Somewhere, along the way, my mobile holder mount on the handlebar gave up and I stopped at a local welding shop to get it patched up.
On the way to my hotel, I stumbled upon a local guy. We met when we both were waiting for the roads to clear up. They had been momentarily blocked on both sides to clear the road construction debris. He recognized that I was an outsider. While we both were chatting, he offered me a chance to visit the Darma Valley, the road to the base camp and zero point of the ‘Panchchuli Peaks’. A visit to Darma valley was even suggested by my friend Ravindra Rawal yesterday when I had met him at Gangolihat. That time, I had told him that it was not in the plan. But, I was eager to pay a visit now.
Earlier, I had a plan to see the peaks from Munsiyari but now, I was going to view them from even a closer distance. That amazed me. I had planned initially to head towards Munsiyari tomorrow and my sole intention to visit the place was to view the peaks and one famous trek which I had planned to execute.
I could not say ‘No’ to him and accepted his proposal. He was going to come along on his own bike and then we would head along. We decided to start early the next morning around 6am as the roads were not good. There had been a twist in my original travel plan and for a moment I thought to let my fate take it own path.
In evening, I rested for a while in my room and then went for dinner. Things here normally closed a bit early than what I had thought of. It was not like normal city. Everywhere, there was pin drop silence after 8 pm. I had missed to take in this and had to face difficulty in getting dinner. Luckily, one shop which was about to close down accepted my request and I had a good full dinner of Roti, Subji, Daal and Rice. I thanked them afterwards.
After the dinner was done, I walked the deserted path and towards my hotel room. It was quite cold and my jacket was helping me. Back in the room, the arrangements for sleeping were good and I had got a good thick blankets to fight with the cold which was slowly slowly increasing as the night progressed.
I put an alarm for 5:30 am and slept.