Colors of Himachal : Kalpa, Chitkul in Monsoon

I started loving mountains right from my childhood. Thanks to my Dad who took me many places in Himachal during my summer holidays. But my love grew even stronger when I came across blogs in BCMTouring.

For the people who are living in hustle bustle of city life, a journey to the nature be it a beach or mountains is always exciting. It takes you to a different world in lap of nature. I felt the same when me and my wife along with some friends went on a road trip to Chitkul and Kalpa. The journey becomes even more adventurous when one is going on bike in monsoons. And yes we were part of an adventurous lot :).

Since last couple of years I have been a silent member here. Although this tale is coming late but I wanted to thank this forum for providing all the details I needed. Hopefully you will enjoy reading it :)

Just before Chitkul
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On the way to Chitkul
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Day 0 - Planning Days
Reading through travelogues on BCMTouring religiously was pushing me to plan a trip to hills. It is still a dream to explore Ladakh and Spiti on bike. Being married has ensured that I will have pillion rider :heart:with me for sure :p. Before planning for this trip, me and my wife went to Narkanda for a weekend ride. And it turned out to be a good trip and this gave us confidence to explore more and try some 5-6 days kind of trip.
But this time the terrain was going to be tough and we wanted to have company as it will make things easier. So I convinced couple of my friends and finally a trip was on papers with me and my wife, my brother-Dipen and friends – Raj, Ankush and Baadal.
We went in August, when monsoons are at full peak and roads are in their worst conditions in Himachal. But the best part is the places look even greener, and with summer holidays already over you get to see less of crowd even at tourist places.
Planning was left on me as no one else had even heard of place called Kalpa and Chitkul ;). For them we were going someplace beyond Narkanda and they trusted me that we are going to some good place:mad: . I read various logs here and finalized the itinerary and same was informed to my friends over couple of dinner parties :partyman::before the trip and asked them to get their bikes serviced in advance and to not forget raincoats. As the day of travel was coming near, our excitement level was going higher. Initial plan was that my friend Badal and his wife will join in car and all bags would be in his car. But one morning before the trip, the idea of car was dropped and his wife was not able to join us :shock:. The pain of carrying backpack all throughout the day flew across. So I had to rush to buy saddle bag from Wildcraft opposite to my office in Chandigarh. We all had to re-pack our stuff to fit in one small bag per person since we all had pillion. So all that eating stuff, extra dashing glares and dresses were out in a minute ](*,). Like always, last day before the trip was really hectic at office and by the time we were done with packing it was already 1 AM. This was my 1st long trip on bike and that too in hills with 800Km of travel for 5 days, and this feeling was giving me goose bumps.

Our group
L to R - Me and my wife on Pulsar, Ankush on Karizma with Badal, Raj on his RE with my bro Dipen aka Sumit.
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Photographers - Baadal with his Nikon - D3100, me and my wife with Sony Digi Cam.

Our Chariots :cool:
My 2003-Model Classic Pulsar 150

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Ankush with his Karizma ZMR 2010 Model

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Raj's Royal Enfield - 2009 Model
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Day 1 – Chandigarh to Rampur ( 260 Kms) - 10-Aug
The plan was to leave early at 5 AM though we managed to leave at 7 AM only :p. Thanks to us we got our bikes re-filled on that morning only. The roads were empty as it was Saturday morning. In no time we reached the newly built Himalayan Expressway which is the gateway to Himachal.
Weather that morning was awesome -

Ankush and Baadal at Sec-9 Petrol Pump -
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On way to reach Himalayan Expressway

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First Photo break at Himalayan Expressway :p
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It was about to rain, still we were in no hurry as we were going at leisure speed :twisted:

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As soon as we crossed Timber trail resort, our raincoats were out as we were greeted by rains

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We moved slowly, wiping our helmet covers from time to time. Driving a bike on slippery roads in rains is a tough thing when you know that your destination is far away. Thankfully the rains didn’t last more than couple of hours but it made sure that we had to move slowly and cautiously. At Solan we had our breakfast break. Hot tea and paranthas were really yummy in that weather.

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After our break-fast we were back on roads

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We didn’t want to go by Shimla so by-passed Shimla to avoid any office traffic and went via Chail-Kufri route. Shimla once used to beautiful place but now it is nothing more than a concrete jungle. The city in name of expansion has gulped a huge chunk of forests now. I was aware of the distances which we have to cover during the day. Every now and then we were having too many photo-breaks and I had to literally pull others out of those breaks as none of them were aware how much more time it will take to reach our destination of the day ;)

Near Saadhupul-Chail Route

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The group at Sadhupul

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Somewhere after Chail, weather cleared up a bit and the views were awesome -

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We had our lunch break at Fagu Valley - HPTDC Hotel. And at that time, it again started raining. After our lunch we moved and by 4.30 PM we reached Narkanda, a small hill station at an altitude of 2700 mts. There was too much of fog at that time and it was really cold. Even our jackets were not saving us. We were stuck whether to move ahead to Rampur or call it a day. Since we were aware that road to Rampur would be on downside as it is at an altitude of 1300 mts only and chances of getting fog on route would be less, so we moved ahead.
Road from Narkanda to Rampur is a biker’s delight. So smooth and buttery that for 35 Kms, one can turn off the engine and go ahead due to downside slope. There were many apple farms on the way in full blossom inviting us to turn from civilized people to thieves.

First view of Satluj
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As we moved closure to Rampur, Satluj river came parallel to us.

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Rampur is famous for its big Lord Hanuman Statue which greets you at entrance and Bushahar Palace.
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We ended our day at HPTDC Hotel –Bushahar Regency. It was Raj's bday that night so we had some fun at mid-night. Though we were tired we still had energy to give him b-day bumps :twisted:. Let me search for those pics.

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