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RoadShaman

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Green Rush – Monsoon Ride to Madhe Ghats (Video)

The road is eternal and the wind is constant… let’s ride!

Weekend ride to Madhe Ghats with Rotrods.

Riding Solo to The Himalayas

Wow, so you’re finally going Ladakh, that’s amazing! You must be thrilled!

Of course I am!

So, you’re all set?

Yup, leaves applied, bags packed, motorcycle en route Delhi, all set!

Oh awesome, so how many of your group members are riding?

Uhh, it’s just me 🙂

What?! Are you crazy?! Why are you going alone?

I had this conversation with almost all my friends before heading to the Himalayas. Even I didn’t have an answer to it at that moment, but now I do.

I just got back from a 20 day trip to the Himalayas. Me and a few other friends were planning to go to Leh Ladakh for almost 2 years, but it never happened. In June 2015, I packed my bags and decided to do this trip on my own.

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All set! En route Shimla (Delhi – Chandigarh Highway)

There was nothing really planned, I just knew I had to ride North.

I have done quite a few motorcycle trips across India, but this was my first time in the Himalayas. It’s a whole new experience altogether & riding solo was a bit scary because I was not used to these terrains. The slopes are much steeper than usual, the curves on the mountains are slippery and there is actually no road, just mud, slush, gravel and broken tar.

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Extremely bad roads in Koksar, but the scenic beauty makes up for it
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Tar, cement, water, ice, mud. Calling anything & everything under the wheels, road

Traveling solo is exhilarating and humbling at the same time.

When you find yourself in the middle of Lahaul Valley, with no civilization for miles at end, no human contact, no network, you are alone with your thoughts. And it’s not a bad thing. The long deep silence, involuntarily gets filled by the voices only for you to hear loud and clear.

But yeah, sometimes you do feel like sharing the beautiful view with someone and sometimes you really need someone to pinch your arm in assurance that you are not dreaming. It takes a moment, for eyes to take in something so majestic and grand. It takes a while for the brain to process what the you are seeing. Clouds so close, sky so blue, silence you can hear, breeze you can see, and air so pure it feels like you are drinking water!

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Sat here for a while, it’s not often that we stand amidst sight that our eyes cannot contain.
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In this world there is a lot of beauty and there is a lot of pain, and both are worth crying over
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Ji Ba tara Pahad (Long live these mountains)

Right after Koksar checkpost, the amount of tourists start reducing and everything around looks straight out of a painting. I had to tell myself over and over again not to keep stopping, as I had to cover distance. But I just couldn’t resist myself, and ended up clicking a lot of pictures. To be honest, I was also really scared that my engine would die any moment because of the low oxygen levels and the cold weather, so whenever I would stop, I always kept the motorcycle running & never shut my ignition.

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White overdose at Baralacha La
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Too cold to smile

So, getting back to the question that I started with. I still don’t know why I did a trip on my own, but I do realize now that sometimes, we need some time off from everything and everyone we know to truly value them. We are so used to sitting in our air-conditioned cages and cribbing about everything that life throws at us. We often take a lot of things (and people) for granted. Now, I’m grateful for the roof I have over my head, the food I have to eat and the fact that I’m alive, healthy and living my dream.

There’s nothing quite like travel to show you what you had before you left
– Dan Vineberg

Here’s the video of the trip that I shot on my GoPro. Hope you guys like it 🙂

“The first time you ride an Enfield, you are fucked for life!”

Unlike many other Royal Enfield enthusiasts, the first time I rode an Enfield was when I was in 11th grade. The memory is still fresh in my mind; I was anxious and didn’t want to show my friend as he trusted me with the beast. It took 5 whole minutes and around 10 kicks to bring the engine to life. I shifted to first gear and there was no looking back…

Often referred to as an ‘Organic’ motorcycle by loyalists, Royal Enfield is well known for its legacy and history. The Bullet, a 1948 model of the Royal Enfield, has the longest production run of any motorcycle in the world. The Indian Army has been using this motorcycle for over 50 years in the harshest terrains, what more credibility can one asks for?

In a country like India where every corner seems to manifest an astonishing new aspect of the unpredictable kaleidoscopic wonders, no other motorcycle allows for a greater interaction with the surroundings. Be it an unannounced procession in full color or a thunderous waterfall; or just a traffic gridlock on the highway, the motorcycle becomes a part of you. Besides, how else can a sore butt, bloodshot eyes and shaky arms be borne with a sense of accomplishment? What else would make people stare with jealousy or admiration as you pass?

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The beauty, simplicity and class that exist in older things somehow seem to lack in the things of today. “Terribly outdated design” was a tag given to my motorcycle by many when I bought it. But there are many others like me, who are in awe of the protruding engine, the loud thump and the classic vintage curves. These are the very same people who will forever remain loyal with the brand and would be ever ready to argue it out when it comes to who really ‘rules the road’.

To conclude, there are not many people who would love these motorcycles, but who really do have formed a cult of their own. Robust design and high capacity engines complimented with classic vintage looks makes this motorcycle a clear favorite among the motorcycling travelers of the country. 

Taking detours is always a good idea.

Yes, you might end up in the middle of nowhere with a punctured tyre. Rocks, water, pebbles, muck, you might end up calling anything under your tyres, road. However, what is almost always certain is that you will find yourself amidst beautiful, unfamiliar lands with breath-taking scenery.

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Sticking to main roads and highways will definitely get you to your destination safe and sound. But it won’t give you something to take back from the trip.

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Bottom line, if you see a mysterious and interesting looking route, take the risk and go for it! You never know what is out there and trust me it will be totally worth it.

 

Discovering freedom… everyday

There are only a few moments in my long boring day that I am truly free and it’s when I’m on my motorcycle. The machine speaks to me as I sit on it. It rids me of my worries, sorrows and pain. I’ve been conflicted and trapped within my mind. It beats and my heart reciprocates.

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Whether it be the cold of the night or the slur of the monsoon or the summer heat, it moves me.

I feel free with it and it frees me of all the unnecessary contemplation, shaking off those nagging, depressing and disturbing thoughts. What will become of my life? Am i doing the right thing? Are they worth it? All these fucking thoughts take a backseat when i ride my baby.

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I enjoy every moment of it, its just me and the road. Ode to thee my machine, upon you I find peace and with you I am free.

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