After traveling 30,000 km in 300 days, I finally decided to quit my job. I had been working for IBM (taken work from home option) and traveling across the country for first 300 days. I didn’t inform my managers and other team members about the same while I was on a bike ride across the country until December 2015. So first I decided to confess this to my managers and, to my surprise, after hearing the truth about bike ride and travel, they asked me to stay and keep doing the work that I used to do with my travel. I tried to tell them the many reasons about not being able to connect to the internet this time as I will be traveling frequently in remote areas but my managers were ready to give me leave for such situations. It was a complete shock to me and for a moment I started thinking about job offer which my manager offered me. But one thing which my manager said made my decision easy. She said, “It’s easy to live life when you have a cushion of money under your head”.
But I was not that old to accept this and decided to quit whatever the situation after this journey will be. I didn’t choose this life, it chose me, so I am fine with wherever it will take me. Also, when I started this trip, I had borrowed 30,000 rupees from a friend which I paid back in installments while working and traveling during first 6 months. I didn’t have any idea how will I travel without money. Reading my last post some good people donated around 20,000 rupees and many made promises to transfer in future (but promises are meant to be broken). So I came back to Dhanbad where Bhishma was waiting for me for our journey towards northeast and Bhutan.
Meanwhile, a friend of a friend contacted me and share his idea of creating a travel platform with a very old idea of sending a postcard to loved ones and we joined hands to make Tripmapic Mobile app . playstore link This not only helps to send your message to your world but also helps other travelers to get more information about nearby places to visit. Writing a blog/note/journal is every traveler’s wish, & this platform will help you create your own blog using multiple postcards. You can integrate the blog from tripmapic.com to your personal blog or website easily. I have mentioned just 1/4 of my journey in this blog, as it’s hard to write everything. One can read all using Tripmapic and can use it for his travel across northeast
A near around map northeast place traveled
The journey continues.
We started again from our college(ISM Dhanbad) towards West Bengal(visiting few more place in Jharkhand) and our first destination was Kolkata where one more friend (Mrigank) was waiting to join us for next few days.
The highway connecting Dhanbad to Kolkata is the most polluted road which I have seen in my life so far. As a drawback of not using a full helmet, we ate almost half a kilogram of dust that day & our faces were covered with thick black dust as if we were not riding a motorcycle but working in the coal mine since many days. I think if I go to hell after my death, the road to hell will look similar to this highway. But we managed to reach Kolkata and a surprise was waiting for us in Kolkata which was New year celebration 2016.
I always thought Goa is the only place to celebrate new year but this visit changed my mind. We were surprised to see the crowd and excitement of people at the Park Street, Kolkata. People were super excited out there. So much that police was hitting the crowd with a stick and arresting bikers who were doing racing and stunts in that crowded area. But people were still enjoying and I guess that’s why they call it the city of joy.
Celebrated the new year and next day we decided to explore Kolkata. But all we could do in a day was able to visit just two places due to the traffic of Kolkata and so many one ways. I nearly survived a major accident and made a promise to myself that I won’t ride a motorcycle in Kolkata and better take a bus to travel here.
Next day we decided to head towards less crowded places of Bengal & started moving towards Darjeeling.
Our next stop was Mayapur, famous pilgrimage place located near the bank of Ganga. Here I found a strange thing about belief, a man has become more powerful than God because of millions of people following him. The main temple glorifies the founder of ISKCON more than any God.
Next day we left for Murshidabad. We had heard about this place in history and as we entered the town, I and Bhishma had a strange feeling about this place. It reminded us of Kerala. The setup of small town and houses resembles so much with Kerala’s small town but the real surprise was hidden inside the market area. We walked few kilometers and turned left and our eyes were left wide open. A place so big, it is hard to imagine it was hidden inside this small town.
We spent an extra day here as next day was my birthday. My 2nd birthday on this trip so far. Although we prefer to travel on very less expenses all rules were kept aside for a this day and we drank as much as we could.
We woke up with a hangover and decided to stay one more day and visit near around places like Char Bangla as our next destination Darjeeling was very far away.
And needless to say, Bengal is home for many artists, we get to see the amazing work of one of them. The wire painting made of single wire
For some reason Bengal in of the most photogenic location across country, you can spend as many days as possible
We left for Darjeeling early morning thinking we will reach by the afternoon at Darjeeling but couldn’t because of dense fog. It was so dense that we were hardly able to see net 20 meters away. And to add onto that Mrigank also wanted to learn how to ride motorcycle(First Bhishma now Mrigank, I feel we should open a motorcycle riding school soon )
The ride reminded us more of the Famous movie DDLJ as we saw so much mustard plantation during our Bengal journey
As it turns out we kept on riding and reached Darjeeling by evening.
Darjeeling is a famous place, I assume everyone in India knows about this place because some very famous Bollywood movies were shot over here. The main problem here is parking. All hotels were expensive and they charge extra for parking of two motorcycles. We liked this place but didn’t stay much here. Explored a few places around,
Since it started getting cold, so bought a murga cap and headed towards Sandakphu
The road to Shandkahpu is one of the worst I have ever been to. Bhishma gave up after riding a few meters only and since I am lazy to walk up the incline, I continued riding it for next 7km till Tonglu but then I too gave up at that point. Also, while traveling on this route, we crossed a new country as one has to cross Nepal border several times on this route.
It was bad weather and very cold. But I guess luck was always in favor of us. Next morning when we woke up with a clear view of Sleeping Budha (Kanchenjunga peak) and a poem I wrote while staring that mountain.
On this coldest night, millions of stars in the sky
Always I wonder, which one of them is mine
Look around I find no light
Am I in a dream or it’s my real life
Cold breeze when I breathe, my body shiver my brain freezes
But my heart says stay here till sunrise
And I sleep with memories in my dream all night
I woke up for sunrise
I feel mesmerized when I see clear view of Budha still asleep
Sun tried hard to wake him up all the time
But he kept on sleeping covered with ice
Not sure which one was most memorable, the kids with whom we were played at our guest house or the view of sleeping buddha
Bhishma and Mrigank decided to trek till Sundakphu top while I decided to stay at Tonglu. I thought it will be almost same view after next 16km and I don’t prefer trekking. I was sitting alone and within few minutes these two were also coming back with the same thought. Why climb next 16km for an almost same view.
We came down to another place Mirik just to get normal weather as it was very cold on top. And next day we left for Sikkim. The roads are very steep near around Darjeeling. While coming back, me and Mrigank started having pain in our ears, similar to what we face during flight landing. We call it ‘bullet lag’ now as it happened with us during Sikkim and Bhutan ride as well.
Moving towards Sikkim, all we were dreaming about was Zuluk pass and Gurudomgar lake but unfortunately that time one of the bridge was broken and we had to wait for few more days. And when you have more people the decision become slower. So it took us 3 days without doing anything to decide that we will cover it while going back home. And we left for Bhutan
You will know the difference between Bhutan and India on the border itself. The first thing we noticed was men wearing something like a skirt and second thing you will notice is the portrait of kings at almost every building inside out. For many hours we felt like being stoned by a drug or maybe we are dreaming. On India side at Jaigaon, you will hear the noise of autorickshaws coming from all possible side, people rushing from one place to another littering everywhere. While on the Bhutan side it was very clean with no such noise and people driving patiently. Even if some car driver notices you on one side of the road trying to cross the road by walk, he will stop his car and wait for you to cross the road.
People were really nice, they helped us in getting the permit done within 1 hour and we took a hotel for the stay in Phuentsholing. As soon as the hotel owner came to know about us coming from somewhere near UP, India on a motorcycle. He joined us with drink and shared stories about Bhutan.
Next day we headed towards the capital of Bhutan. I used to think we are the slowest riders on earth but our speed matches with Bhutanese speed (40km-50km maximum on highways). We took so many breaks, sometimes for photos and sometimes just for taking a dip in freezing cold river and sometimes trying to cross a river by on foot. It doesn’t only sound stupid, I realized, crossing river is the stupidest thing when I was in the middle of the river in freezing cold water and just wanted to cross river not for adventure but for survival.
We didn’t reach Thimphu same day and took a break in midway where we tried the national dish of Bhutan “ema Dachi”. I don’t like cheese so much, but rest two enjoyed it so much that they ate it almost every day during Bhutan trip.
Next day we reached Thimphu and luckily got a cheap hotel for stay. Hotels in Bhutan are really expensive, I don’t remember if I came across any room less than 700 rupees per night and it was so cold that you cant stay anywhere.
One can find many stupas or Chorten on the most random place while traveling across Bhutan and our life in Bhutan was similar to those Chortens. Spending days not doing anything. So we started calling ourself 3 Chortens
Next day when 3 Chortens woke up early morning, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was first snowfall of my life and first snowfall in Thimphu in last 2 years.
Bhishma fell in love with this place so much that he didn’t go anywhere just preferred to stay and roam around in town while me and Mrigank travel across to nearby places.
Remaining 2 Chortens were going towards Tango and Cherry monastery where these kids hijacked our bike. One of them liked this bike so much that he started crying when we were leaving
Tango Monastery is for higher studies of Buddhism and cherry gompa for meditation (3 years in a single room, not allowed to come out). Lamas really lived a very tough but most of them were sent to the monastery when they are small kids.Sometimes I wonder why they are not given an option to choose for themselves instead of being forced to follow the same tradition which has been followed since many ages.
As I said, Chorten no 3(me) doesn’t like climbing mountains that much but Buddhist people seem to be not interested in making monastery on the plain area. Flat ground is scarce here and they make monasteries on the top of the mountain.
From Thimphu 3 Chortens went towards Punakha (via Dochula pass) where one of the most beautiful dzong(kind of palace in Bhutan)is located
And near to this location, you will find something which you might find funny or feel a bit awkward.
The chimi Lhakhang monastery or the god of fertility. I still remember the first time we were in Thimphu market and saw this big penis shape wooden pieces, we were feeling shy but luckily one of the Chorten is a Jat(Bhishma) who is never afraid of asking the weirdest question. From there, we came to know about this. This symbol has actually been worshiped across Bhutan & with its association to the temple – Chimi Lhakhang. The monk, to which this temple is dedicated to, was one of the very famous saint or Rinpoche who didn’t follow the rules of society and indulged in sexual activities and drinking while doing meditation and worshiping God as well.
After traveling for few days in Bhutan, it started becoming monotonous for us. Everywhere it’s almost the same. The type of houses, monasteries, and culture. So 3 chortens decided not to move further of Punakha and headed back to Paro to see the famous place Taktsang Monastery (to be honest, this is the only thing I knew about Bhutan, before coming here). It’s good to see snowfall from the hotel but it’s not good to ride a motorcycle in snowfall. But we did that too because we were 3 Chortens traveling in Bhutan and we managed to reach Paro.
Weather of Paro was better than other places but again a painful thing for me was to climb the mountain for Taktsang. It took me 2 hours and 30 minutes but the view was worth all the pain
And we came back to Jaigaon(India-Bhutan border) where more than people the sound of auto rickshaw made us feel like home. Same time Bhishma decided to quit again and Mrigank was heading back home for his job. So I was left alone with my bike(Thunderbird) and I headed towards the northeast.
Northeast India is said to be an unexplored place and one of the most beautiful part of the country. Since most northeast people don’t have their own manuscript, it is said that these people are a great story teller. Which turns out to be true by the time I ended my trip, they have stories for everything. So I made my mind to visit all possible places here and entered into lower Assam. My first stop was Kokrajhar, famous for its golden langur. I searched a lot, asked locals, and finally found them. I was few meter away from them and these are not notorious like other langur, these species are very shy and luckily I saw them closely and I made my mind to explore everything
From kokrajhar, I moved to bogaingaon and later to golpara. Northeast India is full of surprises I must say. Near golpara, I visited sri sujyo pahad where one can find 1 less than 1 crore shivling over a mountain (most of them covered with forest and I could see around 100-200 of them). Not sure how things happened but seems like the artist who made all these surely created a history.
moving ahead towards guwahti , I took a stop at saulkuchi known as silk capital of India. Most of the silk work is done here and silk being brought from mysore , one can find a silk weaving machine in almost every house. As they say if you pass in this village during day time you will hear the sound of machine as people are working in every house. I found a shop owner who was surprise to see me with bike having ladhak carrier as they have not seem anyone like me passing before. I told him my story and been treated like a king. the same guy gave me a tour of the village.
I finally entered into Guwahati (the gateway of north east). I came to know the engine oil in my bike(thunderbird) was less when I was in Paro, Bhutan but I thought it will be fine (I tried to fool myself just to save money on engine oil) and when I gave it for servicing in Guwahati, just 100 ml oil came out from engine. The mechanic was surprised how this bike was running since last 15 days. The engine ceased and the cost to repair was very high. I decided not to quit and traveled across Guwahati on foot only as I was thinking of traveling northeast on foot and sold my bike for whatever I get.Traveled across Guwahati and realized I can walk 30km in one day
But by next day evening, I got a call from the mechanic and he managed to make it work but not sure how much it will run. I gave almost everything I had to that mechanic(7000 Rupees) and left with 1500rs and a dream to see northeast India.
When you don’t have anything to lose you should not think too much and I started moving towards Meghalaya and reached Shillong. Although seeing sunset over Umiam lake was wonderful experience but still so many thoughts were going in my mind about how to manage north east trip without money and a broken bike.
When I Reached Shillong, the bike problem started again. Engine oil starts coming out from engine casing for which I needed another 4000 rupees to repair. Didn’t have that much money so I decided I will ride till the last coin left in my pocket. Will ride less and walk more. And I left for Mawphlang (the sacred forest) and David Scott trail.
When I came back from trail, Bhishma called me again for another surprise. He was still at India-Bhutan border(for 15 days) as he was not interested in riding his bike till home and he wanted to travel across Meghalaya on motorcycle. I told him about my bike, so he suggested me to ride his bike (RE Classic ) for the next few months while I was in north east and sell my thunderbird. But there was a condition. Either I will sell his bike (RE Classic ) too after northeast trip or bring it back home riding. I agreed and sold my bike(RE thunderbird) to one mechanic in Shillong for 25,000 rupees as I was left with only 100 rupees in my account. Also I started selling travel calendar to collect some money for my trip. As a pleasant surprise, mostly unknown people purchased those calendars.
Everything happens for a good reason and I believe in this. The mechanic to whom I sold my bike (thunderbird) introduced me to rider club of Meghalaya (RERAM) and they gave me contact of all rider club across north east. I was not into rider club thing and to be true I didn’t know the word rider club. I took the contact and started exploring Meghalaya with Bhishma
Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful places in the northeast I must say and its safest place for women as well. The society here is maternal & people are usually short, living in houses which I think I always dream of. It was so nice to walk across different places that I realized I have walked more in Meghalaya than riding the bike.
We had heard about double-decker root bridge but had seen so many root bridges in Meghalaya that by the time we reached there we had lost all our excitement in it. But if you trek for 2 more hours on the same trail you will surely find the paradise on earth, called the rainbow waterfall.
From sohra, we moved to mawlinglong (the cleanest village of asia). I didn’t have any idea how they rated this place as cleanest. To be true all villages of meghalaya are very clean. Mawlinglong was a bit different although, it looks like a setup done which is so much organized but it was not. This village is same since many decades now.
And as I said, in Meghalaya we walked more. So we went for another trail where I was surprised to see the suspension bridge made of bamboo and a waterfall which would make you submit yourself to nature.
Also at this place, the first time we met few girls who were interested in going for a ride with us but I sold my bike a day before. Seemed like our luck was teasing us.From Mawlinglong we moved towards Dawki, where water is so clean that it feels like boats are floating in the air not sailing over the water.
A few days in Dawki and Bhishma left again for his home now. I borrowed his bike so I could ride across north east. But it seemed that this bike too didn’t like me that much. Or it was plain luck, that as soon as I have it, I found few spokes were broken and since we survived a close accident in Gujarat because of broken spokes, this time I decided to take extra precaution and replace them on time. There was no mechanic in dawki so I had to ride back to Shillong and its always a pleasure to ride in Meghalaya , and I didn’t mind covering some extra kilometers again to get it fixed.
From the time I entered into north east and even in Bhutan, I was seeing people eating pan all the time. I didn’t eat until I came to know the story. After knowing the story I started eating pan(tamol) as well and I always had tamol in my mouth while riding after that.
Now the remaining part of north east India is said to be very active in militancy and people were always suggesting and scaring (with stories) me to ride carefully and not to visit some place. One such place was Halflong (only hill station of Assam). People like to make stories and they add more to those old stories to scare you more, so I decided to see myself all the place even if they are very sensitive because of militant activities. And I decided to go to Halflong via the less suggested road passing through umrangso.
I reached halflong in evening and didn’t find a hotel for stay. All hotels were very expensive and I was running short of money. Didn’t have any idea what to do, so I just parked my bike on city circle and was thinking what to do. By the time I made any decision help came. Bankim halflonger (work with NGO) saw my bike number UP14 1555 and asked me where I am coming from. I told my story and immediately he called the rider group “halflong highlanders” who helped me get hotel for which even I didn’t have to pay anything.
Bankim told me about the halfong , the stories which I have heard were true but around 10 years old. The smile has gone away from the face of people because of the life they have lived for so long. The situation was very bad that time but its fine now. And as I get into conversation about halflong culture and place with local , I realized this place is “Mini North east” where almost all different tribes of north east were living. I spend few days here and also got in contact with an army major Deepak saini who is also a bullet rider and helped me get accommodation is officer’s club of assam riffle which made me feel like a king.I never get anything when I was studying but I got a kind of medal because I was riding. I guess my parents were wromg about motorcycle riding is for bad kids
I hiked to the 2nd highest peak of assam and went into the jungle to explore many places. And finally I found a place where no one except local villagers has ever been to before me. I explored many places but I had spent 3000rs already at this place as fees for guide, food and fuel then I decided to move ahead. One definitely needs lot of time to explore this beautiful place
By this time I realized the brotherhood word of rider club and I made contact with all the riders club of which I got contact from RERAM motorcycle club in shillong. And surprisingly everyone was so happy to know about me that they kept on tracking me every day and waiting for my arrival at their place. I left halfong and moved towards agartala via unakhothi where I was surprised again to see the rock cut structures.Not only the nature & its architecture was surprising but people were so helpful here. I reached unakothi in evening and didn’t know where to stay. So I stayed in a baba’s hut who also made food for me and didn’t ask for a single rupee
Now next thing I did in Tripura was to meet the chief of rider club of Agartala (Anijit). And I didn’t have to do anything after that. The places to visit and where to stay been arranged by rider club.
I was lucky enough that I went for a charity ride with tripura rider club and where I got to know the tripura tribe better. Tripura is almost 70% bengalis and its very hard to find tribal people and know there culture. But when you have contact with rider clubs of that place, everything become easy.
Tripura was not a part of India for many years but after seeing the migration of people from Bangladesh , maharajah of tripura decide to include it as part of India. Its been too long since I had seen a fort but this is the only place in north east which reminded me of my memories of rajathan. The ujjayanta palace and the water palace were such a memorable place to visit
Another surprise come when I visited the chobimora. A boat ride of 2-3 hours in a river passing through mountains . The surprise was rock cut structures on mountains, wondering how the artist carved such beautiful things on those rocks. As per local most of the rock cut structures are now covered with forest otherwise one can see many of them but now only few are visible.
I headed for Jampui hills which is highest mountain of Tripura, famous for oranges and local drink of Tripura. Since there is only one guest house and when I told the owner about my journey he didn’t ask for money for stay.
My next place was mizoram , since roads are very bad in north east, I was planning and asking people from a long time about the route which I should take from tripura to mizoram. But next morning when I was having breakfast and I saw an old women who was really tensed because her grandson was very sick and she lives on tripura-mizoram border village. Next sumo to her place will come in afternoon. Although people suggested me not to take that route as it will be very bad route but I couldn’t see that old woman and asked her if I can drop her home on my motorcycle.It was very bad road as I say but somehow managed to drop her safely and UP-14 was in mizoram.
I was heading towards aizawl via same route which is very bad , and that day I gave lift to so many people on my way. Another old man who wanted to visit mamit to buy a phone for himself and a drunk guy who kept on talking non-stop till I reach aizawl. The drunk guy became a headache after an hour. so much so that I didn’t stop for photos because , putting him back on bike was another problem. So finally I reached aizawl and again I directly went to chief of oldest motorcycle club of India Aizawl thunders(Rcho) who gave me contacts of rider across mizoram.
AIzawl is very crowded place I must say but the good thing about this city is when you see it at night you can imagine how milky way will looks like. It feels like stars have came on earth.
Luckily, the 3rd puncture of the trip happened in aizawl when I was riding towards mizo heritage village with some of the aizawl thunders riders . And it happened 3 times in 25 km road stretch and as a result I was not able to move anywhere next day but again everything happens for good reason and I got to see the Palms sunday celebration at aizawl (the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem)
But the most memorable experience from aizawl was listening the story of Pu james who was founder of aizawl thunders riders club, mizoram. This guy once used to be the captain of one of the troops of MNF (biggest militant group of mizoram) and lived for many years wondering in forest. After his surrender, he become a rider and thats how he enjoys his life. Once he start telling his experience about ambush, life he lived and time he spent in jail after surrender . One can imagine a movie going on.But recently because of a heart stroke he cant move much and has to sit home
From aizawl I went to champhai and for first day I was staying in hotel. It was expensive but the morning view was simply mesmerizing.
Next day was Good Friday. so I was asked by a rider from champhai to spend the day with his family. I went to church with them and the prayer they did that day was like a celebration. I thoughts its just because its special day but they celebrate every sunday like that. So I must say sunday service in mizoram church is something which can’t be missed.
Went to Burma (Myanmar) to see rehdil lake (my entrance to fourth country I guess without via ). I was not informed before that burma have right hand side driving rule and I was lucky to survive an accident there.
and From champhai I decided to see some historical sites of mizo, & was surprise to see how government has not given any importance to these places. Maybe they don’t realize but a culture without history is like a kid living in orphanage .
During my trip to historical sites, I met Accountant genral HK Dharmadarshi (basically from gujarat) working in aizawl who is also a traveler. And he invited me to his office when I return to aizawl. One day he gave me a surprise and called me in corridor where more than 200 people where sitting to hear my story so far. I told them my story and one of them asked the same question “how I get money”. The answer was same , I didn’t have money when I started and at that point I was left with 2000rs . I am just running as far as my luck will take me and by afternoon they came with a package . The office people collected and donated me 13,000 rs. Now I was sure I can ride longer.
Most mizo people don’t speak Hindi and English and its very hard to communicate. Every time I try to talk to some stranger, they replied “moo” (with a face expression like they have really bad stomach). I came to know later that moo mean “what ?”. And all I could do was smile. They replied back with a smile as well. the communication gap is filled with that smile sharing. But if you manage to communicate that you need help , they open there home and heart for every help required. And that’s how I stayed for almost net 10 days while traveling across Mizoram without paying anything on hotel and food. I stop searching for hotel in remote places and just find the person who can understand me. Tell my story and I was welcomed inside home.
I Had been to almost all possible corners of mizoram like siaha , trek to blue mountain top, luwgthali, lungai etc. It never felt like away from home for 16 days which I spent in mizoram
I have met almost all the rider club of Mizoram. There is a rider club in almost every place you visit around Mizoram. From Mizoram I moved towards Silchar as the shortcut route to Manipur is very bad road and it started raining . By the time I end my Mizoram trip one rider asked me for ILP (Inner line permit ) expire date but I never had one and I was traveling without it and said goodbye to land of blue mountain
Since I have money now , I replaced the battery of bike in silchar which was almost dead (As I said this bike didn’t like me much and I had to try around 10 kicks every time to start my bike). At Silchar I met another rider group(Silchar thumpers) and their thoughts about bike ride made me think “am I a rider too or just a traveler on motorcycle?”. And before north east I rarely used to drink alcohol during the trip just to save money but as soon as I entered here, I have had so much that I don’t remember a day when I didn’t drink (from local to costly scotch) as a welcome drink by rider club.
Now my next destination was Manipur and Nagaland, the one which is most sensitive militant area as people say. Since I came far than I had thought., so I left everything on my destiny wherever it takes me. Valley area of Manipur is occupied by manipuri tribes(maitie) while hilly area is occupied by Naga tribes. These are not the only tribes living here, these are just the major one. Manipur has more than 40 tribes and non tribal people living as well. So that its called Mini India.
First I visited the Tamenglong district, the place which is the least developed with a potential of becoming the most famous location of tourism. All because of politics and insurgency problem. And by this time pre monsoon rain has already started as a result I was not able to explore much. The road condition are so bad it takes around 3 hours to ride just 40km and so places become almost inaccessible and I just get to see some of the waterfalls of manipur
From tamenglong I went to imphal . If you just ignore the road condition its one of the beautiful valley I have been to
And this time nature had a different surprise for me. I was welcomed with an earthquake, a huge one. Such that for next 30 minutes I felt like ground is still shaking. It didn’t stop on earthquake, post earthquake I was accompanied by cyclonic rain while riding. Since I was staying in Royal rider Manipur office with a Nepali family in small hut house, I was not afraid of earthquake but the cyclonic rain and wind was a problem there. After sometimes I woke up as the tin roof was removed by strong wind and all water started falling over me.
But I didn’t stop traveling , I came so far how can I miss the place where INA hosted first tricolor flag ( Moirang) and the largest floating lake in world (loktak lake).
A little more ahead was most sensitive area of manipur “Churuchandpur” . But I didn’t find any problem there as well. People where really helpful and welcoming. Sometimes it made me feel like a celebrity when local people wanted to have a photograph with me and my bike
From Churuchandpur I went to morey and again went to burma (this time for Water festival). The surprise here was when I was sitting in bar and around 20% of people around me looked like south Indian wearing lungies. I was wondering how these people find a place so far for vacation but later came to know a large population on morey-tamu(burma border town) used to be tamil and still many people are tamil . Not sure how they migrated here as people from burma only speak burmese and its more difficult to communicate here than mizoram. But its truly Mini India now, south India people are rarely found established anywhere in such large population
My next place was to see the state flower of manipur (shiroh lilly). But now I am looking at clouds more than on road . The cloud making weird shapes and some news have reported egg sized hailstones falling and destroying many house in manipur.
But I kept going with a little precaution . Whenever it start raining heavily , I took a shelter in a place nearby as I am on bike and if even single hailstone with that big size on me, it will be hard to survive the injuries. And finally I reached the shiroy lilly top but I guess I was half month early. I thought I will at least see the plants but this strange flower (in which you can see all 7 rainbow color) is never planted. It comes on its own from ground during May starting week. But the view was worth trekking for 3 hours to reach the top.
By the time I finished my manipur tour I realized the militancy problem is like a tom and Jerry show. Where tom(army) and jerry (militant) are always busy playing with each other and if you are unlucky you will be stuck in their game(the dog).But no one knows the reason behind all these like the face of women who rarely come in show (politician) and you just see her feet.So as I feel , this show will never end.
From there I headed towards Nagaland(now I am not afraid of any militants) and my first place was Kohima. When you are in Nagaland, you see the entrance like this for villages
I met one of the nagaland rider club memeber(Akhoto) and stayed with his family who took me to local plaes like the biggest catholic church of Northeast. One thing for which I will visit kohima again is to meet the rider’s mom who never let me feel I am away from home and she even started crying when I was leaving kohima
Something which makes me realize what war can do when I visited the war memorial. Its painful to see so many sacrifices of life . As they say we sacrificed our life for your better future . But I don’t feel world is going in better direction these days
And next day my plan was to visit the head hunters village(mon) in nagaland but the morning when I woke and read the newspaper . The first article says egg size hailstone destroyed 300 house in mon- mokokchung village. It was not a good idea to visit place and ask question when people were in real trouble so I took the different route and went to dimapur. I really dont enjoy the big cities very much but this one has a special historical site(kachari ruins) located in center of city and one of its kind in world I assume
Not only just historical site, another surprise was celebration of world environment day with open air rock concert (no ticket)
From Dimapur I headed towards Arunachal and upper Assam via Diphu(place for karbi anglong tribe). Again I crossed the nagaland without ILP. By this time I was more interested in meeting rider groups maybe because I have become a rider too. So I just tried to make contact with every rider group possible on my way onward and my next destination was tezpur .
There is a saying in Assam, If you cross Brahmaputra once , you have to cross in again. And it turns out to be true. You have to cross this river many times If you want to travel across Assam.
And this time I was hosted by a friend and we drank in middle of a power station. I don’t know why people come up with weird idea when they are planning for drinking . It was scary but definitely something not on my list to do but something I will remember
From tezpur I headed towards tawang , arunachal pradesh. But this time ILP was must as they have checkpost on all the places. The highway from tezpur to tawang is one of most mysterious highway I have been to with heighest pass of northeast as sella pass. Some of them are
- 25 kilometer streach on this highway is always covered with dense fog all year around
- You find a nag temple where once many snakes used to come and sit on top . One solider from Border road killed one of them and later the snake started hunting the soliders. So they made and temple at this place
- At Nyukmadung war memorial, story says the mountain in front of that memorial has a lake of blood. When chinese army was returning via that route with some captured indian soilders, they never reached home
- Jaswant baba, an Indian army solider who fought 72 hours alone with Chinese army and died during the fight. Today if any soldier sleeps on India-china border during duty, he gets a tight slap on face
And many more stories, I collected few and kept moving towards Tawang and the road reminded me of my journey to ladhak .
On reaching Tawang, sprocket of my rear wheel was broken (this bike really didn’t like me much) so I was able to visit the nearby place only like Tawang monastery and Urjeeling Gompa . and next day I went for repairing of my bike.
First the mechanic made some big blunder with bike that engine started making sound and later same day a lama and few more people were killed in a firing. Next morning IPC 144 was applied in Tawang so now even eating food became a problem as I was staying in a place near to place where the firing happened
Managed to arrange a pickup van for my bullet to carry it till Tezpur for repair.Earlier, if I traveled for just 10 km on mountains in a 4 wheeler, I used to start vomiting, but due to so much tension about bike, I never felt the same this time. We started early morning from Tawang but due to snowfall on my way back , I was not able to reach the Tezpur and had to sleep on roof of pickup van all night. Worst to that it started raining at night and I just tried to cover myself with plastic and sleep in rain. Next day I was hoping for a better day but it didn’t turn out to be that good. The mechanic from tezpur went to nepal so I had to put my bike again in pickup van till guwahati. As everyone say , a bike trip without carrying your bike in pickup van is incomplete
It felt like someone close to me is going to have a heart operation and my heartbeat was high all the time. But no option was left and the mechanic opened the engine finally, knowing my story he did everything possible to maintain the expenses to a minimum. Not only this he removed each and every part of the engine and fixed it in the same day. When all this was happening I realized I had started loving my bike and now I am not going to sell this one. Next day I left for Arunachal again, giving one last try . Now I am in loan of 15,000 from my friends (cost of transport from tawang to Guwahati + repair) and actually a lot more than that because I have to pay for this bike to Bhishma as well.
Luck seems to be running out now but a friend bhishma was there to support and riders from northeast are ready to help. Now when I entered into Arunachal , I somehow started getting royal treatment. Got to stay in itanagar at a 3 star hotel which I never thought. And the same guy booked a biri resort for me in ziro valley (home of apatani tribe)as well
The bike was working fine but everytime I enter into arunachal , something went wrong. This time I fell sick with high fever because of riding in rain and recent change in weather from tawang(very cold) to tezpur (very hot). But I kept on moving ahead and reached daporijo , a place which remind me of paintings we all used to make in our drawing book . I didn’t know this place is real. A river coming from mountain and house on both side of river
Again stayed is a 3 star hotel at daporijo and started moving towards aalo. The interconnected roads in arunchal are very narrow and bad. To add onto this I am having fever and I was riding in rain but somehow managed to reached aalo(aalong) where I stayed with riders family and his house was not less than a resort for me .
Although I don’t check meter reading but for some reason, I had a look at the meter, speedometer stopped working when I was looking at it. Maybe this was signal for me to stop the journey. But I decided to end my tour at mechuka village, One of the most beautiful places of arunchal. A place where you wish to get lost wondering around and I somehow managed.
But a surprise was still waiting for me, a gurudwara tapo sthan at mechuka village. people believe Guru nanak(sikh first guru) came to this place for meditation while his journey across world . I stayed in gurudwara and I decided to end north east tour now. They call mechuka the end of world, I booked a special space for this place in my memory wall and end 2nd leg of my India tour
People do ask me which is the most beautiful place you have been to. To be true so many months of riding , I never missed anything more than my home. To me thats the most beautiful place I have been to in my life so far and now I am going back to my home while covering the remaining places left during my return journey
You must be having some questions reagarding preparation you need to do for such a long ride.
For Q & A you can read my blog 500 days across India and Bhutan On a Borrowed Motorcycle
What are my future plan ?
Planning doesn’t work in my journey . I prefer to live in vacuum and keep moving. Will go back home try to figure out how to pay the loan amount of 15,000 rupees which I have so far now and also how to buy this bike which I have been riding across country. For travelers I guess this world is a big play ground, sufficient enough for one lifetime but you definitely needs money for travel thats why I am just giving one attempt for making my love of traveling my profession via Tripmapic
PS: If you are reading this message , I apologies for again writing a long blog. I tried to control my fingers and this is the minimum I could write. Which is less than 1/4 of my experience 🙂
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