Himalayas: A Home away from Home


Aham Brahmasmi
I am one of those fortunate beings who could sail through the Covid waves so far physically. When our body needs a break it tells us and if we don’t listen, it breaks down for us to rebuild it.
But when emotional being takes a hit, it is not even acknowledged by us, would lead to disaster and stress. Only very few, who are fortunate enough would be able to listen to inner self and take a break.
Again, I am one such fortunate being and realised during wave 1 that I needed a break. Couple of winters ago did a ride to Ujjain and after that did only a day’s ride within state boundary between Covid waves.
Restricted within the city been longing for ride. Though I had plans, could not put them in place.

“I pick a direction and ride”, a statement often made to impress people. However, as long as we are in this mortal state, we need to have a point of return, if you know what I mean. Though I picked North as a direction (being in south and can’t swim in a pool, let alone Indian Ocean, cannot pick south as a direction), decided that my returning point would be from Munsiyari, Uttarakhand. After preparations set out on solo from Chennai on 5th Feb 2022. While we have a lot of experts to give suggestions on Itinerary, my intention is to record my ride and update about road status. Expect a long prose with minimal pictures.

Summary: 14 days + 1 hr. 6091 kms, 8 + 1(TN) state.

Ride: Yamaha FZ25

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Aham Brahmasmi
Day 1 5th Feb :
Chennai – Nellore – Ongole – Nalgonda – Bhongir – Gajwel – Chegunta – Nirmal – Adialabad – Nagpur - 1166 KMS

Chennai – Ongole – NH. Outskirts of Chennai is still a challenge at places until we cross Tada. Poorly marked. Better than couple of years ago, still work to do.
Ongole – Nalgonda – 4 lane state highway with decent surface. With rough patches at very few places.
Nalgonda – Bhongir – Gajwel – Chegunta – Two laned State highway, with pot holes at many places. Two wheelers can manage. 4 wheelers, better take Hyderabad ORR to bye-pass Hyderabad.
Chegunta – Nirmal – Adilabad – MH Border (Pimpalkuti) – Brilliant roads. Careful at night for Jay walkers. (This rule is applicable everywhere).
MH Border (Pimpalkuti) – Nagpur – Pain in the wrong place for two wheelers. Roads are good at certain places once but overall bad esp when someone rides into middle of the night.

Start: 445 hrs 5th Feb
End: 0100 hrs 6th Feb

Day 2: 6th Feb:
Nagpur – Seoni – 142 Kms.

While I had plans to reach Jhansi for the day, serious headache owing to multiple reasons, forced me to take a break at Seoni. Found a Hotel and chose to rest the remaining day to recoup myself for the rest of the ride. Did not want to ruin the entire ride, since I had two buffer days.
Start: 10:45 hrs on 6th Feb
End: 13:00 hrs on 6th Feb

Day 3: 7th Feb:
Having recovered fully, in all full Glory planned to stretch to max distance possible.
Seoni – Lakhnadon – Narsinghpur – Sagar – Jhansi – Orai – Kanpur. 731 KMS

Seoni – Jhansi – Very good roads. Surprisingly, no cows on the highway, whatsoever. At times thought are MP roads and cows over hyped? Of course, saw cows were gracing along the highways, but no blockage of sorts. Probably I was over prepared.
Jhansi – Orai – 4 laned but riddled with pot holes and patched worse than Pot holes.
Orai – Kanpur – (Guess it was Barajore Toll) – Better roads.
From Toll to Kanpur – Lesser said the better. Two wheelers need to be careful.
Roads will balance for two wheelers. A lot of scrapped surface for re-laying the road, making it difficult for 2 wheelers. Road pushes you from Right to left/left to right. If you try to Balance it, you will lose it. It was like riding with training wheels on. Hope this situation won’t last long. Post elections, this should get sorted. But careful.

But from Jhansi till Orai, A lot of mountain moving lorries. Literally, monster trucks carrying stones/rocks/Granites. One needs to be careful.

Start: 0745 hrs
End: 2100 hrs

Day 4: 8th Feb:
Kanpur – Lucknow -Sitapur – Lakhimpur – Gola Gorakhnath – Puranpur – Philibit – Tanakpur – 393 KMS
Kanpur – Lucknow – Heavy traffic.
Lucknow – Sitapur – Brilliant roads
Sitapur – Lakhimpur – Again Brilliant roads with a railway cross in between. Possibility to get stuck in that crossing. However, flyover work is under way.
Lakhimpur – Gola Golakarnath – Road construction underway for some 20 kms around Gola, poor roads. Rest all are fine.
Gola Gokarnath – Puranpur – Philibit Tiger Reserve – Khatima – Very good roads, except few kms after Gola Gokarnath. Tiger Reserve roads have decent tarmac and has a lot of speed breakers for obvious reasons. Exercise caution. Once you enter UK through Khatima, you have brilliant roads till Tanakpur

Start: 0800 hrs
End: 1800 hrs

Day 5: 9th Feb:
Tanakpur – Champawat – Lohagat – Pithoragarh – 155 KMS.

Ghat roads are awesome, but when the wide highway converts into narrow ones with a lot road construction work, and narrow ghat roads, roads were in tatters, understandably. A lot of land slides all along the way once you enter Ghats of Uttarakhand. Little did I know that this would be the scene until I exit UK ghats. It started raining few kms outside Tanakpur and had company till Pithoragarh. Was riding in rain in the hills. A different experience.

Start: 0945 hrs
End: 1600 hrs

Day 6: 10th Feb:
Pithoragarh – Thal – Kwiti – Munisiyari – 130 kms

Pithoragarh – Thal – Kwiti – Ratapani, though the tarmac was good, a lot of landslides, and narrow cliff-hanger roads.
Ratapani – Kalamuni dwar – Munisiyar – A lot black ice and first time encounter with Black ice. Was scary esp when it descents. Dropped my bike once and learnt how to deal with black ice practically.

Start: 0830 hrs
End: 1500 hrs

Day 6,7,8 – Spent time chilling in Munsiyari with Panchahuli peaks for company all through day and night.

Day 9: 13th Feb:
MUnsiyari – Kwiti – Shama –Kopkote – Bageshwar – Gwaldam – Karnaprayag. – 240 kms

Munsiyari - Kwiti Narrow roads with decent flow of traffic

Kwiti – Shama – 1.5 hrs stretch saw 2 cars in all. One stranded due to flat tire and another seems to be a local chilling on the narrow cliffs with their children. No traffic, with Ram ganga for company ranging from few feet to Many hundred feet alongside.
Shama – Kopkote – Bageshwar – Gwaldam – Scenery changes to pine forests (if I am right).
Gwaldam – Karanaprayag – Amazing highway with a lot of land slide and Trishul peak in sight for company. In this stretch – between Narain bagar and Bagoli road construction is going and leading to poor roads.

Start: 0830 hrs
End: 1830 hrs

Day 10: 14th Feb:
Karnaprayag – Rudraprayag – Ukhimat – Rudraprayag – Devprayag – Rishikesh – Haridwar – 281 kms

All through decent roads, except for road widening work at places, manageable roads and one has no choice, other than dealing with it. Devprayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar has brilliant roads. Watch out for landslide areas and shooting stones.

Start: 1015 hrs
End: 1900 hrs (Approx)

Day 11: 15th Feb:
Haridwar – Meerut (Bye pass)- Ghaziabad – YEH – Agra - Gwalior – 532 Kms

Entered the city to see Taj Mahal at a distance and roads leading to Gwalior roads are a mess. Rajasthan – MP border has a lot of patches. Since my chain started making noise chose to settle down on a highway Hotel. Decided to get it sorted at a mechanic in the morning before proceeding further and called it a night.

Start: 1100 hrs (After visiting Ganga JI Ghat and had a nice break fast)
End : 1930 hrs

Day 12: 16th Feb:
Gwalior – Guna – Maksi – Ujjain – 494 Kms

After break fast left in search of a mechanic to get my chain sorted. Got it sorted and entered Shivpuri road through Gwalior city, wasted time and entered the main highway to Guna and there on.
Roads will Ujjain are flawless with very little traffic. Visited Ujjain Temples. Kaalbhairav ji, Temple, Harsiddhi Maa Temple and Mahakaal Ji Temple. Settled for the night after a good dinner.

Start: 0830 Hrs
End: 1830 hrs

Day 13: 17th Feb:
Ujjain – Indore – Pithampore – Dhule – Chalisgaon – Kannad – Aurangabad – Beed – 601 kms

After leaving Ujjain Jain had started giving trouble once again and got it rectified at a mechanic shed at Pithampore and moved on.

Ujjain – Dhule – Nothing to crib about except very poor patch works around before Dhule.
Dhule – Chalisgaon – Kannand Ghat entry – Lesser said the better. 60 kms of horrendous roads, with no sign of any on going road work. Take it easy. You may need an hour to two hours to cross this section depending on the railway gate closure.
Kannad Ghat Entry – Kannad Ghats – Aurangabad – Dhule – Brilliant roads. Nothing to crib about. Chain started to trouble again so decided to call it off a day at Beed, while my actual target was to reach Solapur.

Start: 0930 hrs
End: 1930 hrs

Day 14: 18th Feb:
Beed – Solapur – Vijayapura – Hospet – Chitradurga – Bangalore (ORR) – Krishnagiri – Vellore – Chennai – 1196 Kms

Beed to Solapur – covered in 2 hrs flat and found a Yamaha service centre to get my Chain sprocket changed – Second change. First was around 25K kms on the bike. Replaced disc brake pads and clutch cable too. After all the circus left Solapur at 1330 hrs.
Solapur – Hospet – C’Durga – Brilliant roads, but compensated by speed breakers at every possible junction. Near Kushtagi, front right shock’s oil seal broke and had to spend time fixing it. Rode back without changing it.
C’ Durga – Bangalore - Breeze. Met couple of friends at Bangalore at 2230 and left Bangalore ORR around 2330.
Bangalore – Walaja – Good roads. Covered in less than 4 hrs including a 45 mt coffee break at CCD.
Walaja – Chennai – Avoidable if one could. Was kicking my butt for choosing to cross that stretch at 4 AM. Finally reached home at 5.45 Am.

Start: 0730 hrs (18th Feb)
End : 0545 hrs (19th Feb).

Completion of an uneventful ride.

This is just for road update. Any specific queries, feel free to ask.

An important note. From Solapur till Kushtagi you won't find a proper hotel for food. Plan your breaks accordingly. You may find roadside Dhabas, not sure for how many the food will suit. Did not try in any of those Dhabas since I was wary of oil used. Past experience.


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