Writing is not that easy and simple. Your mind needs to be very creative and spontaneous. It is not that your mind is 24/7/365 ready to hit the keyboard keys and present to the world your thought process. The thoughts in your mind are like a jigsaw puzzle, have to be joined and with a calm mind they have to flow. Now let’s get back to travel!
“Travel with less plans and more freedom”
Yes! There was no plan as such to do this motorcycle trip and it was new place for me. As you have already read the title of the blog, Jalori pass is located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh at 10800 feet above sea level. My cousin had told me about this place and I was keen to explore it. With time and money in hand, I packed my bags, got my bike ready and pushed off for the new journey.
Day 1: Delhi to Shoja (550 kms)
I started my ride at around 5.30 am from Delhi. The weather was not hot but it was humid. I was out of Delhi in no time and National Highway welcomed me with very less traffic. 100 kms into the ride, it was time for breakfast and I stopped at 70 milestone for a quick parantha and curd. This joint was better than the mass production factories in Murthal i.e. Sukhdev and Gulshan Dhaba, absolutely tasteless food. I finished my breakfast and started riding again. I crossed Panipat, Karnal, Ambala with ease and encountered rain near Karnal.
Just after Ambala, there was a diversion to the left for Chandigarh and the straight road goes to Amritsar. I took the Amritsar route, just after the flyover from the Chandigarh diversion, from the next flyover, I took a right towards Kharar. Basically, this was Haryana and Punjab border. Talking about the weather, traffic and road conditions, everything was as per my liking. The paddy fields on the both sides of the road and the green fields made the scenery look beautiful.
Hunger struck me suddenly at around 12 pm and I decided to take a break at a Subway in Kurali. There I saw another motorcycle parked. It was a Honda CRF 250 (not on sale in India), more importantly, it was Turkey registered and was ridden by a Turkish woman solo. We did not interact much, I had my sub and started my ride quickly again since I had a long way to go.
I took the diversion to Manali going right because if you go straight, you will head to Kiratpur Sahib and Una. Immediately, the hill climb started with very less traffic, the humidity mellowed down a bit but the sun was still beating me. This time Sundernagar surprised me with awesome roads because I remember when I was coming back from Manali, the roads in Sundernagar were under construction.
Then came a very beautiful stretch between Mandi and Sundernagar. It looked very similar to Kashmir Valley, with green mountains all around. I stopped and clicked a few photos. Also, I saw a rider on the opposite side of the road and waived at him just to greet him. That guy nodded in acknowledgement! On approaching Mandi, I found a lot of commercial traffic and dust flying around, which actually drained a lot of energy out of me.
It was 5 pm in the evening I reached Mandi, made a quick to my parents of my whereabouts before they call the FBI about a missing person and then I called up the homestay owner about my location. I had to cover around 80 kms to reach the homestay. The route from Mandi onwards turned beautiful, with deep gorges, Beas river flowing through them and lofty green mountains. I clicked a few photos and witnessed the sun setting down.
Then came a shoddy patch of road 15 kms before Aut village, I was already tired with full day of riding, this patch added to the misery but when I reached the Manali tunnel, the bad patch ended. From this point, Shoja was around 35 kms will on the ascend to Jalori pass, the road become narrow enough for one vehicle to squeeze in but it was not broken. So, basically after skipping Aut tunnel on the left, you enter into Tirthan Valley. Suddenly, the temperature also fell drastically and gave me a little chill.
The climb to Jalori pass was very steep as I was not able to go beyond the second gear and I never felt that the bike was losing steam. I slowly crawled to my destination for the trip and the last 5 odd kms I did in pitch darkness. Experiencing such a hill climb, I was just thinking that the next few kms I will be saying a ‘Hi’ to Chandrayaan 2. I crossed Banjar, Jibhi and then reached Shoja. The owner came helped me with the luggage and since it was pitch dark, I could not see anything. I decided have dinner and sleep. Day 1 ends here.
“Life is the best when you start counting the stars instead of the coins”
Day 2: Relaxing in Shoja and absorbing the essence of the place
I woke up to a lovely morning with clouds hovering on the mountain peaks but there was no snow. The view from the homestay was soothing and attractive. I could hear the sound of the birds and local villagers taking their livestock for grazing. The pure air opened my body and relaxed my senses.
After getting ready, hot aloo paranthas were served along with a cup of tea. I ate my breakfast with a view. I spoke to the owner of the place about nearby places to explore. He suggested me a 4 kms trek to some lake but I was not in the mood to do that. Yeah! Being a biker, it is not easy to ride 550 kms a day a before and then trek for 8 kms. The owner understood my point and then he said, “Wait for sometime, I will take you to a secret place.” The suspense got me excited. So, we went downhill for about 4 kms towards Jibhi and then he told me take an unpaved path into the forest.
The path was full of mud, stones and slush which was leading us to a small village, we even came across a waterfall. For me it looked like I was riding in a dream, such was the charm of the place.
I also came across one water crossing in which I almost lost balance while crossing on my bike but did not fall. Unfortunately, I could not save my feet from getting wet and the water was freezing cold. There was also a patch where there was a lot of slush and I took time to come out of it. We could not reach the village since the road was blocked due to a landslide. The homestay owner got me some apples to eat and we chilled out there for sometime and then started our way back to the guest room. Overall, it was an amazing experience and surprising, as a motorcyclist such off-road trails are exciting. After lunch, I spent rest of the day at the guest room relaxing and listening music. For Day 3, my intention was not to reach Delhi the very next day, so decided to stop in Narkanda which was 97 kms from Shoja.
“Stop staying alive and start living”
Day 3: Shoja to Narkanda (97 kms)
“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage”
The day started with me getting up late at 8 am and then slowly dragging myself to get ready. Since there was very less distance to cover in the complete day, I took it easy, munched every single piece of my breakfast and drank water as if I was drinking wine. It was time for me to leave Shoja, loaded my luggage on the bike, warmed up my bike and continued the uphill climb to Jalori. It was cloudy and the roads were wet due to a late evening shower a day before. I reached Jalori in no time but I could not see anything since it was very misty.
Even this road was very scenic, I was riding along a river when I reached a village called Anni. I stopped there for sometime to listen to the sound of the flowing river, then pushed further to Narkanda. Later somewhere near Sainj, the converging river Sutlej got really mad with the muddy water gushing through. Finally, I reached NH5 and from here I turned right towards Narkanda, if you go straight, the road will lead you to Spiti valley. The road broadened and I picked up pace to reach my destination.
I reached Narkanda at around 2 pm and directly went to Negi dhaba to have lunch. This was my 4th time at this dhaba and the food tastes good. After my lunch, I found one hotel to stay, dumped my luggage and then rode to Hatu Peak, one of the famous tourist spot in this place. The road to Hatu was very narrow and at some places it was broken. I reached at the top and yet again nothing was visible since it was cloudy and misty.
I returned to my room and then went out for a stroll in the market area for 30 minutes. Finally, I retired to my room and planned for the last day of my trip. I fixed up a meeting with my long term traveler friend in Chail. We were in touch with each other through Facebook and Instagram but had never met face to face. I had my dinner and slept early to start early the next day.
Day 4: Narkanda to Delhi via Chail & Kufri (450 kms)
This was the last day of the ride. I decided to bypass overcrowded Shimla and it’s traffic via Kufri – Chail road which directly leads to Kandaghat. Chail was 80 kms away from Narkanda. Initially I thought the road would not be in good condition but it was in good conditions with scanty traffic. This is the best road to bypass Shimla.
I reached Chail by 12 pm and met my biker friend Siddharth. We spoke at length about our trips. Since it was already 12.30 pm, I had my lunch here itself. The weather did not look good and it started raining a bit.
After saying goodbye to my friend here, just less than a kilometer out of Chail, it started pouring heavily and till the time I found shelter, my lower body was completely drenched in rain water. I waited for 10 mins for the rain to calm down and started riding again. 10 kms before Kandaghat, I stopped to dry my feet and throw the excess water stuck in my shoes. Post this break, I rode almost non stop and when I hit the Himalayan Expressway, the rain almost stopped. After this it was all plain straight road. Somewhere after Ambala, I took a tea break. I told the dhaba guy to make strong tea for me and that cup of tea helped me ride for 100 kms continuously and cover up maximum distance. My personal experience about tea served on the highway is that most of them serve milk with sugar and you have jump into the cup to find tea.
I reached Delhi safely at 10.30 pm and was dead tired. Overall, the trip was very refreshing in terms of visiting a new place and warm up for something big coming up in the coming month. I will post a few more photos which I took on the final day.
Hotel: Satyam Homestay
Review: The room was excellent with wood work all around, the food was delicious and had home made taste, the views from the place were excellent but parking is only issue
Stay Duration: 2 nights
Rental: INR 1500 per night excluding food*
Hotel: Sara Hotel
Review: The room was great, food was decent and parking lot was secured
Stay Duration: 1 night
Rental: INR 1000 per night*
*Please note that the rentals keep changing based on the seasons and number of pax. On the spot booking also fetch me good deals, so sometimes I prefer that as well.
Hope you liked this small write up. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free connect with me.
Stay tuned for more adventures!