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Old 23rd January 2017, 17:21   #1
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Default Exploring the magnificent 7 States of North-East India on motorcycles


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Prelude
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Post completion of rides to Sikkim and Bhutan, a question was raised on what next? On the way back from Bhutan, the next destination was fixed. Yeah, it has to be North East states of India famously called as “Seven Sisters”. Another reason to fix "Seven sisters" was that it would be the toughest area left in India. Post that we would have only 6 more states to be covered in India and those are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Madhyapradesh, Uttarpradesh and UttarKand. Complete the toughest first and then leisurely we can do others.

Somehow, 2014 was a dull year on big rides. So 2015 was targeted. Preparations started from June 2015. Dates were fixed, trains booked, brainstorming on routes started, etc. 10 days before the trip, one of the rider companion had to back out due to unexpected work pressure. Since we always do such big trips in smaller group, we called off the entire ride.
Huge disappointment to all of us.

To compensate for it, we decided to do the Chadar trek in Jan 2016. That’s a whole new story and will try to pen that down sometime.
So the seven sister’s ride was left in limbo and took a back seat.

One fine day in last week of August, while I was out of country on work, got a whatsapp message from my good old friend Satyajit(Dada) from Kolkatta. It read as “Please call me when you are free, need to talk urgently”.
Based on the time change, called this friend. He was very unhappy, dejected, disappointed, etc.

Me : What happened dada ?
Dada : My plan to ride Trans-Himalayan circuit has been cancelled.
To give the background, he had planned to ride from Jammu till Arunachal Pradesh, all through the Himalayan ranges. I knew about it and he was supposed to start the ride in couple of days. He had done all preparations for it too.
Me : Why, what happened ?
Dada : Some issues at work and have to stay back. I am very disappointed.
Me : that’s ok dada, there is always next time.
Dada : No, I had planned lot of things for this trip. I am not happy.
Me : Hmm, so what do you want to do now ?
Dada : You had plans for Seven sisters last year right, shall we do it this year ?
Wow !! i was surprised with the question. Back of my mind i was filled with joy and simultaneously lot of questions running on my mind. I am still out of country, need to check at work front, leaves, family, etc. But a biker is a biker and never let goes such opportunity. All of these went by like a flash of light at the back my mind and answered back to Dada.

Me : Awesome, Let me pull out all the preparations we did last time. I will reach back to Bangalore in few days. Post that I will call you and we shall plan it accordingly.
Dada : Ok. Fantastic. I will also do my groundwork on it.

Dada's heads up on this helped me in getting all the groundwork done during my stay out of country. Since most of the weekdays evening, i would end up watching some movie or serials. But with this in target, i fully spent my spare time in getting all the necessary information and planning it down to minute details.

Post return to the country, the actual preparation started. Dates were finalized and team members were decided. Due to short planning time, the entire trip was planned for only 20 days. So the next was to plan the trip effectively so that we can use all 20 days.

Then came the team members, core team was 3 members,
Mahesh (KU69RD) – Royal Enfield Himalayan
Myself (RK_SANS) – Honda CBR 250R
Satyajith - Yamaha FZ S
With the core team, we got 2 more members added. But due to their personal constraints they decided to join us only for Arunachal Pradesh and Assam only.
Avinash (AVIORP) – Yamaha R3
Nischal – ThunderBird 350 (Rented from Guwahati)

Now the challenge was to effectively utilize the 20 days and still cover all 7 states. With respect to that, first step was “Fly to Guwahati”. If we fly to Guwahati, how will the bikes be transported?
So the search for the logistics started. Based on our previous experiences, we wanted the most secured way of transporting and still not pinching our pockets. Finally VRL Logistics was finalized since they had started transporting bikes in steel cages. After watching them load, unload and the steel cage quality, it gave us loads of confidence that the bikes would reach Guwahati without any damages.

Next challenge was to get the ILP. We need to get inner line permits for 3 states, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. Going there and getting it would mean, minimum half day for each state which in turn means we will lose 1.5 days out of 20 days. This would be absolute waste of time. Further research revealed that Arunachal has started giving out ILP online and this means we are still struck with 2 more states ILP.
So finally, we decided that our dada (Satyajit) who stays in Kolkatta would take care of it. Since all the 3 states also issue the ILP at Kolkatta, dada would visit each of the state’s office, apply for the permits in advance. This was definitely a good decision and saved us straight 1.5 days.

Next was the flight bookings. The plan was to start the ride on Dec 1st from Guwahati and end of 19th or 20th Dec. Leave the bikes at logistics for the return journey and take the evening flight from Guwahati on 20th Dec. So that we could ride effectively all 20 days and which in turn help us cover places in the limited time we had. To add to these restrictions, all of us are working on Nov 30th and we have to choose a late night flight from Bangalore. Reach Guwahati as early as possible and start the ride. Accordingly I went ahead and booked a late evening flight from Bangalore to Kolkatta. And then early morning flight from Kolkatta to Guwahati, which ensured that we reach Guwahati by 7.30 am. Had to break the journey into 2 legs due to time constraints. There was direct flight starting from Bangalore to Guwahati early morning but that was landing in Guwahati only by 10.30 am. Each minute or hour was precious for us as we wanted to leave Guwahati before 12 pm which would in turn give us good 5-6 hours of ride for day 1. Finally flight tickets was also booked.

With major hurdles handled or rather we had solutions in place for it, next was to get the bikes prepared with luggage before it is given to VRL for transportation.
So only 2 bikes were packed and sent to Guwahati. Satyajit would be coming from Kolkatta, riding all the way to Guwahati. Avinash decided to ride from Bangalore to and fro. So he on his R3 would accompany dada from Kolkatta. Nischal was renting the bike for his short travel. So eventually, it was Mahesh and myself who had to transport the bikes. With all the preparations to the bike done, we packed off the bikes to Guwahati on Nov 12th.

While all these action was going on, i had to concentrate on the route planning too. Since i had done lot of groundwork couple of years ago, i had almost all the information but needed some updates. Most important here was to accommodate the entire 7 states in 20 days. Lots of brainstorming and phone calls with Satyajit was done. Arrived at couple of plans like Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc. Basically if plan A does not work, Plan B would be taken up and likewise. So the plan was put in place.

Satyajit in the meantime ensured that we all got our Inner Line Permits for the 3 states before he left Kolkatta.

Bikes reached Guwahati on 26th Nov. Our initial plan was to land in Guwahati, head straight to VRL Logistics, pick the bike and start the ride.
Since dada and Avinash were riding to Guwahati, they decided to head one day earlier and take care of getting the bikes from VRL, get the rental bike of Nischal too and keeping the bikes ready for our ride. Again, a good decision, which saved us quite an amount of time. I would say, we saved one day on it which we overlooked in our initial planning.

Few pictures of the preparation and bikes packed off at VRL

Bikes packed at VRL
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Trial run of saddle bags for Mahesh and Avinash bike
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Since we would encounter lot of fog, the white lights were transformed to yellow lights
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I got a soft luggage carrier fixed for my bike pannier
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The bags which would go inside the soft luggage carrier.
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Before i start off, here is the glimpse of the circle we did throughout seven states of North East.
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Full Circle view
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30th Nov 2016
Actual destination : Guwahati, Assam

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Avinash and Satyajit reached Guwahati on 29th evening itself. So they did multiple rounds to VRL logistics and picked Mahesh’s bike and my bike. Checked for any damages due to transportation. Next was to pick Nischal’s rental bike. They visited the rental office, checked the bike, completed the formalities of renting and reached back home with all bikes. They also filled petrol to all the bikes and kept it ready. It was indeed a very busy day for both of them and busy day for us here, coordinating the bike release through phones and not to mention the last minute shopping.
By evening, Mahesh, Nischal and myself checked into the airport. The flight was delayed by almost 2 hours. Finally after 2 hours, boarding started and we reached Kolkatta around 2.30 am. By the time we took our luggage, we were ready to check in for the early morning flight to Guwahati.

Nischal's Rental bike
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Few pics from the airport at Bangalore and Guwahati
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Day 1 - 01 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh
Distance covered : Appx 338 Kms

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At 3.30 am, we saw a huge line to drop the baggage in the indigo counters. So we went ahead dropped the baggage, got ourselves security checked and waited near the gates. Flight was on time and boarded accordingly.
Reached Guwahati around 7.30 am. Avinash had sent the location of where they were staying. Boarded an uber and reached the destination. Everything going smooth as planned. All excited to see the bike all in one piece with no damage. The luggage was repacked and loaded on to the bike. In the interests of time, Avinash got the breakfast for everybody. After loading the bike we were all set to roll. Somehow this took long time and it was almost 12.30 pm.
Cannot believe how things fell in place for last one month and here we are ready to cover all 7 states of North east India.

With the help of google, we reached the outskirts of Guwahati and started enjoying the beautiful winding roads. As the start was delayed, we put in a few more kms before we stopped for a delayed lunch. Few kilometers before Nagaon, we stopped at a road side small eatery. It was literally small eatery with 4 poles and just the roof. The husband and wife cooked fantastic roti, dal and omlette.

With our stomach full, we decided to reach Tenga market for the night. As we travelled, each one of us took turns in leading. Near Kaliabor, there is a left turn to Tezpur and straight leads to Kaziranga. Mahesh and Satyajit were leading the pack. Roads were okay for two wheelers till then and from there all of sudden they saw freshly laid tar. Suppose the lure of freshly laid tarmac made them miss the turn and within a few minutes they were quickly out of sight.
Myself and Nischal stopped little further from the junction. Avinash raced behind Mahesh and Satyajit to get them back on track. Post regroup, we stopped for a quick tea. However the roads till Tezpur is broken and not very smooth.

With the fuel stop at Tezpur the clock read 6:00 PM. As it was winter, the sun sets down at 4.45 – 5 pm and by 6 pm it is pitch dark. While we were filling the petrol, one of the local on a bike introduced himself as a biker and asked where are we from and where are we heading to. I explained that we are from Karnataka and heading to Tawang. He pointed that road passes through forest area, Maoist effected area till Bhalukpong and was unsafe to clear in the dark. He advised us to stay in Tezpur and head tomorrow morning. I promptly nodded my head and thanked him for the suggestions.
Staying in Tezpur would put us back on the entire trip schedule. And we didn’t want this to happen on first day itself. We decided that all of us would be on helmet intercom together till we reach Bhalukpong. As we exited from Tezpur, the entire road was deserted. We hardly saw any people or vehicles on the road. It was kinda of spooky in nature but we ensured that all of us were together in group. Road was in a very good condition, so we munched the kilometers in almost 3 digits figure and reached Bhalukpong.

Bhalukpong is on the border of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. We had to produce our Inner Line Permit(ILP) to the Indian Army to proceed further from here. As usual the Army men are always been a pleasure to interact with. They were quite surprised to hear our travel plans and did suggest us to break for night at Bhalukpong but they did mention that it is safe to ride further too. Their opinion for us to stay back was that we wouldn't have experience travelling in hilly regions.
Another round of discussion with the team, quick tea and we preferred to keep riding.
From here the roads get narrow and it’s hilly terrain. With steady truck traffic, we stopped for dinner few kilometers before New Kapsi. It was 11 PM by the time we reached Tenga market. It was nothing short of a deserted place as there were no open shops, no people around, the entire village was asleep. We managed to find couple of hotels and tried to contact the people inside, but with no response. Then we thought we will pitch the tent but could not find an appropriate place for that too.

Since we could not find any place to pitch the tent too, we decided to move little further. A kilometer away from Tenga, there was army check post. Checked with the army guy and he told there is no place to pitch tent and it is better we go to Bomdila. Tenga is a small village and the next bigger town in that area is Bomdila. Bomdila is another 20 kms and it will take 60-90 minutes in those winding narrow roads. Wow !! what a start to the ride. We decided that we will head to Bomdila. Roads from Tenga to Bomdila was good and we reached Bomdila soon.
Found lot of hotels in Bomdila but to our despair, none of them were open. We tried calling the landline numbers, mobile numbers, absolutely no response at all. No people on the road too. Even the police station was empty. Time was ticking, cold was getting on to everybody.

Then Dada(Satyajit) saw a stadium in the middle of the town and suggested we will stay there tonight. The stadium was covered with buntings, flags etc and looked like there was some function had happened during the day time. To the center of the stadium there was the podium and a house beneath it. We went and knocked the door. A lady woke up and opened the door. We requested her that we will stay outside on the corridor for the night. She was okay with it.

We didn’t unpack the entire luggage from the bike but took just the tent and sleeping bags. Laid the tent on the floor and all of us tucked ourselves into the sleep bags, saying goodnight to each other. Time was 1.30 in the morning.

Good thing about today’s ride was we surpassed the destination we planned as per the schedule but unfortunately we were staying in a open ground with very little to protect us from cold. Who cares that's how the adventure bike rides are.

Since we started late and rode most of it in the dark, have only few pictures for Day 1

Bikes packed and ready to roll from Guwahati
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Mahesh posing with his super trustworthy stead
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Lunch stop enroute
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Posing in front of Bhalukpong entry gate
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:41.
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Old 18th July 2017, 15:32   #2
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*********************************
Day 2 - 02 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Distance covered : Appx 170 Kms

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We got up around 6-6.30. Packed the sleeping bags, bid goodbye to the lady who had allowed us to stay in the stadium. We had a quick tea at the opposite hotel which had just opened up before starting. In comparison to the extremely fast life in the metro cities, here the life is slow paced like a sloth bear. Sela pass was appx 100 kms from Bomdila, since we were leaving early, we decided to reach Sela pass for breakfast. With the experience at Bomdila with respect to accommodation, Avinash tried calling couple of hotels in Tawang for arranging accommodation. We didn't wanted to end up like what happened in Bomdila. He got through one of them and informed that we will reach by noon or evening.

As soon as we exited out of Bomdila, roads deteriorated rapidly. By the time we reached Dirang, it was around 10.30 am. We decided to have breakfast at Dirang. Post breakfast, we encountered mixed types of roads. Some stretches were butter smooth and some were worst. But majority was literally non-existent roads.

About 3 kms away from Sela pass, we found freshly laid tar. We were very happy to see that. As we started climbing those last 3 kilometres, each 100 metres, weather started changing. First, it became cloudy and then all of sudden at one turn we were hit by super dense fog. Then it started snowing. We started literally crawling like a tortoise. Luckily we encountered very little black ice or else it would have been even worst scenario.

We reached sela pass around 2.30 pm. I guess due to extreme cold and riding the terrain made us very hungry, so stopped for lunch. Just past the big arch which welcomes you to “Tawang”, on to right, there is a small hotel, where we had the famous food of travelers in mountain. Yes, you are thinking right, it’s “Maggi”.

As all of you know, getting to Sela pass is great feeling and we were no short of that. As we were having lunch, spoke to few locals and they mentioned the road work is in progress all through till Karpo area. What we also heard from the locals was post Jang, roads are very good. All these information we should take it with a pinch of salt. Good roads for locals means motor-able and it does not mean well tarred roads. We left Sela pass around 3.30 pm.

As we started the descent from sela pass, we encountered very thick fog, little drizzle and the sun was setting in too. Due to road work, the existing road, no wait, i wouldn't call it as existing road. It was a slush pond all through till JGarh. As we entered the JGarh area, i guess it was around 4.30 pm. JGarh area lies exactly in between a long valley. Situation got out of our hands here. Due to the long valley, fog had engulfed, light drizzle and sun set in, i could not see my bike handle bars too. Adding to all the misery, since i wear glasses, it was getting foggy too and slightly opening the visor actually worsened the situation as the fog from outside used to hit the glasses. I had encountered and done lot of foggy rides in Sikkim and Bhutan area but this was one of the worst i had encountered. I will tell more about it during our return from Tawang. All of us were lost in this stretch. To a certain extent Avinash and myself were together. We crossed JGhar and reached towards Karpo, roads started improving little bit. But the fog did not let us ride in peace and due to that our speeds were in single digits. By the time we reached Karpo area, the weather had taken all our energy. We had to be at our peak concentration during this stretch. Till Karpo, in between Avinash and myself, i was leading. Post Karpo, i handed over the lead to Avinash as i could not concentrate anymore. We reached Jang and there was no signs of rain receding.

It was 7 pm when we reached Jang. We stopped here to regroup and badly in need of tea atleast. Weather had took lot of toll on us. From Jang, the roads were well tarred.
From Jang, Avinash decided to head first and make hotel arrangements through the contact whom he had spoken from Bomdila. Later in the order was Dada, myself, Nischal and Mahesh. We literally didn't follow any group riding in this stretch. The goal was to just reach Tawang and crash into a hotel. Rains got little harder on us during this stretch but the saving grace was the conditions of the road.

Avinash reached early, spoke to the hotel owner, had a quick look at the parking space. Parking was one of the main priority during such trips. It was all good as we wanted. By that time, remaining 4 of us reached and it was 9pm. Rooms what we got here were pretty spacious and clean.
We ordered food first and by the time we got the food, we freshened up.

Hurray !! We have made it to Tawang in one piece. As we munched our dinner, we recollected our journey so far.

Post dinner, we had a quick chat with the owner of the hotel about the permits to Bumla and Shungestar Lake. During our discussion, we came to know that Bumla permits are provided one day before and it has to be submitted before 4 pm at the Army office. Since we reached late in the evening, we could do that only next day and it would be the second day when we can go to Bumla. That means, we need to stay in Tawang for 2 days. The option was to visit Shungestar lake and do Tawang sightseeing.

It's quite interesting to note here that even though we had planned lot of things in advance, the ground reality was different. We had to comeback to our drawing board on the itinerary. Quick if's, but's, don'ts, etc we decided to cover Shungestar Lake and continue with our original itinerary.

Our cozy room at the Bomdila Stadium
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View of the Room
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One more view
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Selfie of the room
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View of the Sela Lake
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Sela pass
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As we entered the Sela pass
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Snowy Himlayan feeling homely with the environment around
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Freshly laid Tar
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What we left behind
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View of Sela Lake
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Small hotel at Sela pass where we had our lunch
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Chotu at the hotel. He was super active taking care of all the customers need
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Cold had got into us and the only remedy was this
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:40.
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*********************************
Day 3 - 03 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Shungestar Lake, Local Sightseeing in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Distance covered : Appx 70 Kms

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Previous day ride to Tawang took lot of toll on the body for all. Still all of them got up early, freshened up as hot water was available here. Now the question was how do we go to Shungestar Lake, ride on all bikes or pick 3 bikes with pillion ? The manager of the hotel mentioned an important point during our discussion that there might be chances that Army might not allow us to go in our own bikes due to couple of reasons. One, the weather has been very bad for couple of days and they would not like to take risk of allowing us to go and second most important being that we do not have necessary permits to those areas. So he suggested to hire a local Sumo, comfortably go around and come back. This option is allowed by army since the local want to earn some income by ferrying the tourists.

Again we were back into decision mode, considering all the options we had in front plus keeping in mind the probabilities of Army letting us go in bikes, we decided to hire a Sumo. Couple of calls and a Sumo was arranged and a deal was struck to take us to Shungestar Lake and do local Tawang sightseeing. The driver would reach the hotel in next 30 minutes by then we could finish our breakfast.

Weather was indeed very harsh that day with super chilled wind blowing and pricking us like a needle. Road to Shungestar Lake and Bumla is the same route. It's only after few kilometres you get a "Y" fork where right goes to Bumla and left goes to Shungestar Lake. There are two army check post enroute, one right after you exit Tawang town and another one right at the "Y" fork. Both places, driver made entries about the details and number of passengers being ferried.

Roads till "Y" fork is very mixed. Till we exited out of the town, we do get tarred road, post that it was either dry or snow covered road. There is lot of army presence in this area as it is very near to China border. We encountered lot of platoons of army either returning to their base post morning chores. At one point, we saw an army truck was struck and the entire platoon on the road trying to get the truck out. Due to this there was huge line of traffic built up. As usual the army guys were kind enough to make way for the tourist to continue their journey. They cleared the area to make a small gap between the struck truck and the gorge on the other side, so that our vehicles can move further.
Each turn on the uphill journey would give us new view of the magnificent terrain. Soon we reached the "Y" fork and from there, it turned out to be a very dry road till Shungestar Lake. We could occasionally hear the army conducting firing practice.

Brief about Shungestar Lake is that it was formed due to the earthquake which happened long ago. But it became tourist attraction post the shooting of film Koyla where madhuri dixit danced for a song shooting here. It is very well known in the area as “Madhuri Lake” rather than "Shungestar Lake".

After reaching Shungestar, first task was to get a group photo before all of them got busy in clicking photos. Army has setup a beautiful canteen to serve the tourist. They make awesome momos, chole bature, etc. We had our share of snacks at the Army canteen. Spent quiet amount of time exploring the lake. Weather started to change, so we decided to head back to Tawang. On the way back we stopped at few places to take some customary photos. We choose the locations where they had clearly mentioned it was not a photography zone. The entire stretch army has put up boards where we cannot do photography.

From Shungestar Lake, we went directly to Tawang Monastery.

A brief about Tawang Monastery, it’s the largest monastery in india. Very well known for the vibrant festival they have in the monastery.

Since it was a non tourist season, monastery was very peaceful and calm, as the monks you see in the monastery. We spent some time going around inside the monastery. They have quite a big museum too with interesting artifacts stored.

From Tawang Monastery, we headed to Tawang war memorial.

A brief about Tawang war memorial, it was built in memory of the Indian army soldiers who laid down their lives during Indo-Sino war of 1962.

They have inscribed all the 2000+ soldiers name on the granite walls of the memorial. Most interesting is the photos, items used by soldiers and guns at display. Also a small mock of the area how it is was fought during Indo-Sino war. We paid our tribute to the brave soldiers. We also got to know that the Army commander's office is at this place, where we need to submit forms for approval to visit the Bumla area.

From here we asked the driver to take us to the market area, so that we can do some souvenir shopping. The driver mentioned that since it is Sunday, the most of the shop would be closed. It was around 5 pm and we had some more time before we returned back to our hotel. So we asked the driver to drop us near the market area, so that we can go around, have dinner and then return back to hotel.

It was good break from the riding as we had done hardcore riding for last 2 days. Boys were ready to get back on the saddle tomorrow to conquer the Sela pass once again.

First view of the Tawang Monasatery
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Beautiful lake enroute to Shungestar Lake
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Winding roads enroute to Shungestar Lake
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Fog approaching the winding roads
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Partially frozen lake
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Snow covered roads enroute to Shungestar Lake
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Entrance to Shungestar Lake (Left side is the Army Canteen)
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Another view of the entrance to Shungestar Lake
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Group photo with the custom designed Tshirts
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Group photo with the custom designed Tshirts
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Mahesh and myself with Shungestar Lake in the background
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Beautiful loghut on the banks of the Shungestar Lake
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Huge Tricolor Flag at the entrance of the Shungestar Lake
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Snow covered road
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Snow covered road
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Distant view of Shungestar Lake
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Left side it is dry and right hand side it is covered with snow
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With drizzle added the winding roads became very slippery
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Tawang Monasatery
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Tawang War Memorial
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Memorial to all the fallen heroes
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View of the Tawang town from the hotel
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Mesmershing view of the beautiful lake
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Did somebody dropped the talcum powder can ?
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One more view of the beautiful loghut at Shungestar Lake
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Yummy momos at the Army canteen, Shungestar Lake
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Marking your footprint
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:43.
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*********************************
Day 4 - 04 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh
Distance covered : Appx 170 Kms

*********************************

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It was time to say good bye to the wonderful town “Tawang”. Another task which we did the previous day was to refuel our bikes. Again, all the petrol bunks close too around 6 pm in this part of the region. We finished our breakfast and started our return journey from Tawang around 9 am.
On the way back, just before Jung village, a small deviation takes us to “Nuranang Waterfalls”. There is also a hydroelectric unit there. Even though it was not monsoon, there was quite amount of water in the falls.

After that, we didn’t waste much time anywhere and headed back. Today, weather was pretty good too, no rain, no fog, tummy's filled to the brim. You could not ask for a better condition then this to just ride and keep riding.

Soon we reached the most dreadful/nightmare stretch during our onward journey. Yes, it was the stretch around Karpo/Jaswanth Garh(JGarh) area. Since the weather was very clear, we could see how the terrain was. Remember on Day 2, I was mentioning about the fog where the visibility was less then couple of feets.
What we noticed here was that area is in between valley and that’s the reason it gets covered with dense fog very easily. The roads were under construction, some places there was landslides which had occurred. We thanked god that we safely went past that area on Day 2. It was quite scary and thanked god for taking us through it without any mishaps.

We made it to Sela pass around 12.30 pm. If we look back and compare with our onward journey and the return journey, it was pretty clear how bad weather took toll on us and reduced our speed. Inspite of couple of breaks in between, we could reach Sela pass in 3+ hours. Whereas during our onward journey, we almost took double the time.

Visited the same small shop for hot maggi and tea. The shop owner did mention to us that weather is excellent today. He also mentioned that last 2 days it was very bad. He narrated an incident which happened the previous day. Couple of bikers reached Sela pass with great difficulty, post that they could not continue further due to extreme bad weather. They returned back by transporting the bikes on a back of a truck.

We spent quite sometime here taking some photos at Sela Lake and there is also a huge entrance gate, which welcomes us to "Tawang" region.
Post that we started the descent to Bomdila. Since we now knew the road, we could pace our speeds quickly and started covering distance pretty fast. There was no interesting incidents during the return journey except that we stopped at couple of places for bio break and quick cup of tea. All we did was enjoy the beautiful serenity around us.
We reached Bomdila around 6 pm. Since we reached early today, we were able to get a decent hotel. Got freshened up and went for a walk around the town, remembering our adventurous stay on the Day 1. We thought we will finish dinner in one of the restaurant in the town but to our despair pretty much all of them were closed by 7 pm. So we decided to have dinner at our hotel itself. We returned back to our rooms, had dinner and retired for the day.

View of the Nuranang Waterfalls
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Stead in front of the Nuranang Waterfalls
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Gang in front of the Nuranang Waterfalls
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Lake just before entering Sela pass
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Welcome to Tawang arch at Sela pass
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Well tarred winding roads
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This calls for a Selfie
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Weather was so good, didn't bother to wear the jacket for the picture
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"Snowy" at Sela pass
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Show off "Snowy" in front of the arch
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Team in front of the arch at Sela pass
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Mahesh at his best in front of Nuranang Waterfalls
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:39.
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*********************************
Day 5 - 05 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Kaziranga, Assam
Distance covered : Appx 204 Kms

*********************************

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Last night we hadn’t unpacked the luggage from the bikes as it was a covered and gated parking. So this gave us little extra time to sleep and also helped us to get ready quickly. By 7 am we were on the road. The small and calm Bomdila was not awake still. We started our ride after having tea, which is the best medicine for the cold starts.

During our onward journey, we had dinner in between Bhalukpong and Bomdila, so we thought we can find similar place for breakfast too and not wait at Bomdila until the hotels wake up. Early morning rides are very good and we generally cover more road too. The journey was uneventful and we stopped for a break. It was almost 10 am and we could not find any decent hotels for breakfast. So we stopped by a road side tea shop. Dada had carried some local made cakes from Kolkatta. We had those cakes and tea as breakfast for the day. We did this stretch during evening time in our onwards journey. It was so enchanting to watch the terrain during daylight. We made good progress and reached Bhalukpong around 12.30 pm. Since we didn't had our breakfast, we stopped here for an early lunch at a restaurant. With reaching Bhalukpong, we have completed our venture into the hostile i.e unpredictable territory of Arunachal Pradesh. From here it was total plain terrain and roads between Bhalukpong and Tezpur was good. From Tezpur till the turnoff to Kaziranga, roads were at average condition.

During this return journey, Dada noticed that his bike’s front fork oil seal had broken and started leaking. And to add to that Avinash’s bike chain was making squeaking noise due to slush/dust it had collected. Since both the bikes were Yamaha and getting Dada's bike repaired was utmost important at this juncture of the trip. So we decided to head to a showroom in Tezpur and get things sorted out. We figured out the Tezpur showroom in google maps during our lunch break itself.

Remember I had mentioned about spooky stretch between Tezpur to Bhalukpong in my day 1 log. Apparently this stretch sees lot of activities by Maoists. So locals also do avoid travelling during dark in this stretch. So it was the reason, one of the local biker suggested us to stay back at Tezpur during our onward journey. But today, we were returning in broad daylight. What we saw during this return was unbelieveable. Entire stretch was like a battle field with lot of Army presence on the road. We could see soldiers’ camaflouged and hiding behind the bushes/trees, etc. We saw couple of mobile jammers and anti-mine trucks too. It was quite scary situation out there. Looked like they were ready for a full blown out war. I was leading the team in this stretch and l was calling out nonstop on intercom to all of them like, see to your left there is mining truck then next see to your right, behind the bushes, there are bunch of army guys, etc.

Finally we reached Tezpur and went straight to Yamaha service center. First, Dada’s bike was checked and the mechanic started working on it. In the meantime, Avinash got his bike cleaned and lubed the chain. He was happy since the squeaking noise had gone. Mahesh and myself also took this opportunity, cleaned the chain and lubed it. Around 4.30 pm, all the bikes were ready.
We started to Kaziranga and roads till Kaliabor are patched road. Post that, it was butter smooth road. Dada had called his contacts for arranging stay in Kaziranga. As we entered the Kaziranga area, Dada's friend was waiting for us and straight away took us to our hotel.

After discussion with Dada’s friend, it was decided that we will do one elephant safari in one sector of Kaziranga and another jeep safari in another sector of Kaziranga. According to that we had to report at a point around 6 am next day. We had a lengthy discussion on our next leg of journey part. As per the schedule, we are supposed to reach Jairampur tomorrow for the stay. Head “Lake of no return’ the next day(7th). Couple of things, which was not clear was about the safety and permits for Myanmar. We asked Dada's friend and hotel owner to make some enquire about it.

The hotel we stayed made excellent home made food for the dinner and it was a welcome change for us. Since we had to report to the Safari point at 6 am morning, we retired for the day early.

Enroute to Bhalukpong
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Road bordering the Nameri National Park and right next to Kameng River
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Far of view of the small town
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Beautiful waterfalls enroute
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Food at the Bhalukpong Hotel
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Dada's bike getting repaired
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Avinash looks on as his bike is getting washed
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Final check up by Dada
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Dada going through his hard copy maps.
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:39.
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*********************************
Day 6 - 06 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Sivasagar, Assam
Distance covered : Appx 150 Kms

*********************************

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All of us got up early and had a quick round of tea, pulled out couple of bikes and headed straight to the elephant safari starting point. It was around 8 kms away from the place where we stayed. The road was very densely fogged and reducing the visibility to couple of feet. Dada’s friend had made all arrangements. We went inside the entry point around 7 am. Hopped on to one of the elephant, only 4 persons were allowed per elephant. Hence Dada sat in a different elephant. As the elephants started moving inside the jungle, the fog started to move out also. Very soon we encountered our first rhino. What a magnificent creature it is. It was my first encounter in so close quarters with the endangered species. Soon we saw couple more and in total we could spot around 7-9 rhinos in less than 60 minutes. Later we slowly returned back to our start point. It was time to pose for some pictures in front of the elephants who took us on the ride.

We reached back to our hotel. Breakfast was ready and we were hungry too. Post breakfast, we packed our luggage and kept it ready to pack on the bikes. Before we say goodbye to Kaziranga, we had one more safari to go for and this time it was through Jeep. Dada’s friend who had taken all efforts and time in arranging all the facilities for us there also owned a safari jeep too. So he took necessary permits for us in advance for our Jeep safari and picked us in his own safari jeep from the hotel. So next 2-3 hours, he took us around in one more sector of the Kaziranga. We got to see another 6-8 rhinos, some wild buffalos, lots of deer, number of star tortoises and not to mention the different birds. Jeep safari is a different experience all together. There are couple of sighting towers built inside each sectors of Kaziranga. So we spent some time in couple of these watch towers. So dada’s friend ensured that we entered from one sector and exited out on the other end, so that we do not end up tracking back the same route. All in all, it was a good experience which cannot be forgotten.

Post reaching the hotel, Dada and myself had brief discussion with the hotel owner and dada’s friend about our next plans as we had already asked them to make some enquire regarding it. Our plan was to reach Jairampur by the end of the day. Our tentative plan for next two days was, reach Jairampur today, day 7 would be to get into Mynamar, visit “Lake of no return” and back to Jairampur. Day 8 was to reach Dimapur on the borders of Assam and Nagaland. Post discussion with the owner and others, few more calls to some locals in Jairampur, we got the feedback that they are not providing permit to Mynamar for past 15 days. This was because of the ambush on army team near Jairampur which happened few days before. Also we got to know that permits are now being given only 2 times in a month. General feedback from all of them were that it was not worth of us persuading to get into Mynamar from Jairampur side.

Now we are back on the drawing board, quickly dada and myself removed our notes and different version of plans we had made already. So we decided as follows for the next two days. Day 6, we will reach Sivasagar. Day 7, visit the famous “Ahom dynasty” monuments and heritage sites around Sivasagar and reach Dimapur on the Assam and Nagaland border. Day 8, we will reach Kohima.

All the above drama costed us some time at the hotel. Quickly, we started packing the luggage to the bikes. Mahesh spotted that my bike tire was flat. To my utter disappoint, it was a puncture. First puncture in my entire big rides I have done so far. I had packed my luggage already but puncture kit was easily available with the release of couple of bungee cords. Fixed the puncture in any next 20 minutes. Saying good bye to Dada’s friend, we rolled our bikes towards Sivasagar.

As we progressed, Avinash came beside me and mentioned that my bike’s rear tire is losing pressure. Even I felt the rear was fish tailing most of the time but thought could be because of the uneven roads. We asked all others to continue further, Avinash and myself stopped to check at a puncture shop. We could not find any puncture. We thought it could be that the side walls were not inflated properly while i fixed the puncture at the hotel as i was using small air compressor. So filled the air again from the puncture shop and started the journey.

As we progressed, I did notice again that I am losing air on the rear tire. Stopped at the bypass of Jorhat and checked it with a puncture shop. It was the same case, could not identify the puncture. Now we had to remove the wheel from the bike for a detailed inspection of the air leak. I was reluctant to do it with local mechanic as it is very critical to put the brake pads properly post that. It was 5 pm in the evening. Did some google search on the Honda service centers around Jorhat. Got the number of the Honda Service center at Jorhat. Spoke to the service manager and explained my situation. Most of these service centers close by 5 pm or max 6 pm. I was just couple of kms away from this service center. The manager was not interested in customer service and was not ready to ask his boys to wait for me.

Then the next nearest service center was in Sivasagar and it's 55 kms away. Called up the Sivasagar Honda service center, spoke to the manager, and explained my situation. He readily agreed to wait for me even though they were closing the service center at 6 pm. I was very happy to hear this. Quickly inflated the tire again and started towards Sivasagar. From here, we asked Mahesh and Nischal to head further and secure some accommodation options for ourselves. Avinash and Dada trailed along with me. The Sivasagar Honda Service center manager kept calling me on continuous interval to check the status of my journey and reassured all the times that he is waiting for me at the service center.
I had to stop couple of times to inflat the tires before i reached Sivasagar. With help of gmaps we reached the service center and the manager was waiting with the CBR mechanic ready. I immediately removed the luggage and the mechanic removed the tire. There was no puncture shop nearby, so the Manager arranged for a helper boy to carry the tire to the nearby puncture shop.

Puncture shop was about 1 or 1.5 kms away from the service station. What's interesting about this small town is that it is infested with electric carts. They charge INR 10 for any distance in the stretch they ply on. So we grabbed one of them and reached the puncture shop. At the puncture shop, we found that there was one puncture right inside one of the threads of the tire. It was fixed in next 5 mins and we returned back to the service centre. CBR mechanic fitted it back and I was ready to roll. Thanked both the service manager and mechanic for helping me out going out of his comfort zone.

Now the most interesting part, I asked the service manager, so what's my bill for all this trouble ? He says what bill, there is nothing to be charged. You are our guest and we don't charge for it. I was astonished and speech less. Then I requested at least if I can pay the mechanic some amount since he had to stay back and work overtime ? They denied it point blankly and i was very happy to see how unknown people help without any expectations. As a customary, took a picture of all them.

By this time, mahesh and nischal who had reached early to sivasagar, found a good hotel near the service center. It was about 800 metres from the service center. By the time my bike problem was fixed, they had checked in to the hotel and made necessary arrangements for parking, etc. What a day it was right from changing our initial plans to the bike problems. Food at the hotel was really good and i am not sure if it was because we were very hungry and tired or the food was really good. Finally an end to the dramatic day 6.

Famous Kaziranga World Heritage Site
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Foggy weather
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Magnificent Rhino
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Dada posing for the pic
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Mahesh at his best
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Sunbathing Tortoise
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View of the water body from one of the watch tower
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:38.
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*********************************
Day 7 - 07 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Dimapur, Nagaland
Distance covered : Appx 240 Kms

*********************************

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Today, we had planned to visit few historical places around Sivasagar. First was the famously called as "Assam pyramids" or locally called as "Charaideo Maidam". This is about 30 Kms away from Sivasagar. These are actually not in pyramid shape but the concept is similar. These are human built small hillocks or dome shaped. These are sacred burial grounds of kings and queens of Ahom dynasty. Each prominent person of Ahom dynasty post their death are buried and a dome shape mountain is built. Each dome would be of different height and width according to the hierarchy of the Ahom dynasty.

Post that we went to one more monument called as "Kareng Ghar (Capital of Ahom Kingdom)". This lies on the same road almost in between Sivasagar and "Charaideo Maidam". This is the royal palace of Ahom dynasty. A very beautiful palace depicting the Ahom architecture. Now taken care by ASI. There are few more right inside Sivasagar city but settled for the ones which lay outside and very interesting. One other place not to be missed is the Sivadol temple right in the middle of Sivasagar city.
We returned to our hotels, packed our luggage on to the bikes. Morning since we left early, none of the hotels were open and we thought we will breakfast either at "Charaideo Maidam" or somewhere on that road. But unfortunately we didn't find any good hotel and we returned back to City without breakfast. We decided to leave the bikes at the hotel since we had covered and secured parking. Take an electric auto, head to Shivadol and then a good brunch to end our trip to Sivasagar.

The famous Shiva temple is right in the middle of the city. It is called "Shivadol". The temple also shares space with one more famous temple called "Vishnu dol". Both temples are very old and the architecture belongs to Ahom dynasty.

From here, Avinash and Nischal would be heading back towards Kaziranga. Their plan is to head to Meghalaya and spend couple of days and then head back home. Myself, Mahesh and Dada would be continuing to other states in North East. We have just started the trip and lots of adventures awaiting us.

We bid goodbye to Avinash and Nischal on the turning towards to Golaghat post Jorhat. Wish they had time to continue with us and enjoy all the magnificent 7 states of North east.

Our plan was to reach Dimapur on border of Assam and Nagaland, halt for the night. Roads till Golghat was single lane but newly tarred. We reached outskirts of GolaGhat around 7 pm. Had a tea in one of the road side shop.
We had heard about not so safe road from GolaGhat to Dimapur and it's best avoided during evening or night times. When checked with few local guys, we got mixed response. One of them told not to go further but stay at GolaGhat. Whereas others mentioned, do not stop anywhere in between, even if somebody stops and other trick they mentioned was to try follow a bigger and little speedy vehicle.
We decided to stick to our plan and progressed towards Dimapur. It is around appx 95 kms from Dimapur. We decided that we stick together, maintain little higher speed limit and also be on the intercom till we reach Dimapur. The entire stretch was actually deserted, spooky and few kms passes through the forest too. We rode as if it was our last ride on the bike . Reached Dimapur around 9.30 pm. Got a hotel very near to the junction which leads us towards Kohima - Manipur. To our luck we got the hotel which had covered and secured parking, which helped us not to remove the luggage from the bikes. This saves at least 15-30 mins in the morning. Quite interestingly we got very good dinner that day even though it was late in the night.
Now we had entered third state of North East. We could clearly see a huge difference in the culture, tradition and behaviour changes on this state. Dynamics in these states keep changing very minute. All of us have to be super alert going forward.

One of the Domes of the Ahom Dynasty
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Mahesh posing with a local machete
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One more view of the Dome
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Entrance to the Domes
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Kareng Ghar
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View from the top of the Kareng Ghar
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In front of Kareng Ghar
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Shiv Dol
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Information about Shiv Dol
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Interesting Menu
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*********************************
Day 8 - 08 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Kisama Heritage Village, Kohima, Nagaland
Distance covered : Appx 75 Kms

*********************************

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Today's main target was to reach Kohima early and visit hornbill festival. We started around 7 am from Dimapur. From here easy availability of petrol would be a challenge. It may be that we do not get petrol till we exit out of Manipur too. So, we filled the bikes to the brim and filled the spare fuel cells we were carrying along. Fuel cans which Mahesh and myself were carrying could take about 11.3 Litres, so we filled about 11 litres in each of them. Dada had borrowed the extra fuel can which Avinash had and it took about 5 litres. With the mileage Dada was getting from his bike, 5 litre was sufficient. In total we had 27 litres of extra fuel. Technically, we were getting prepared for a distance of xxx kms from Dimapur till the enter point of Mizoram. The bikes are now totally loaded to the max. Roads till Kohima was relatively good shape and occasionally encountering bad patches. As we exited about of Dimapur, few kilometers we encountered the Nagaland check post. Nagaland also comes under ILP requirement. Although nobody was bother to ask for it at the check post, we stopped produced a copy of it and proceeded further.

We stopped at a roadside hotel for breakfast. But the menu wasn’t great here especially veggie like me. All they had was rice with some local non veg curry. Somehow managed to get omlet and some tea. Interestingly, Mahesh eats everything that crawls and moves but he found Nagaland food very difficult to eat. With half filled stomach, we made our move towards Kohima.

Reaching Kohima we headed straight to war cemetery. There is huge historical events associated with Kohima. These are as new as those happened during world war II. We went around the cemetery by taking turns as we had to keep an eye on our luggage too.

Post the visit to war cemetery, we planned to go to Hornbill festival. Dada had spoken to few contacts and they had arranged for accommodation near Hornbill festival. As you all know, this festival happens once a year and it is during the first week of December. This event happens at the heritage village which is about 20 kms from Kohima.
As mentioned, we had our accommodation arranged but we were unsure of the venue. So we had a quick look at the Hornbill festival.

By this time Dada, called up and got the location of our accommodation. This was around 4 kms away from the Heritage village. Location of this tented accommodation was very good but the approach to it horrible. It was about 500-700 metres downhill from the main road. We unloaded the luggage, freshened up and returned back to the Heritage village for the festival.

One of the best thing about the festival is that we get to see and experience all the Naga tribe at one place. First we went around visiting various cultural and traditional display of various Naga tribes. Each of these display showcased their tradition, culture and some also sold traditional food. Some stalls had their local folk songs and dance at display. All in all it was quite an experience watching the different Naga tribes. This festival goes on for almost to a week to 10 days I guess. Each day they would have various programs or events at the main area inside the Heritage Village. So, it is worth staying for all the days of the festival here. What we got was just a glimpse of the festival and that was sufficient for us to imagine the entire experience of that festival.

Last but the most interesting facts about some tribes of Naga, is that they are known for headhunting. Yes, you read it right, human head hunting. Again a lot of history behind that and I am sure little bit of googling will give you all the details. So couple of tribes had advertised about this fact in their respective stalls too.

Till now, we were just living on small snacks and didn’t have lunch at all. We thought we might find something at the Heritage Village but could not find any. By 5 pm all the events end at the Heritage Village. We spent time till 5.30 and then headed to Kohima city. After some googling and enquiring with local, we found a good restaurant on the main bazaar street. With the experience we had with the morning breakfast, everybody wanted to have a good veggie food and not try on non-veg. As we sat down and started having our food, we heard traffic police making announcements to remove all parked vehicles on the main street. By this time, the locals had cleared their vehicles and it was only our bikes standing in the parking lot. They started reading out the number plates. Upon enquiring with the hotel owners, we got to know that during this time, the entire main street would be converted into carnival/food street post 7 pm till late night. We asked the hotel owner to hold on to our tables and the hotel owner sent one of his boys to help us locate parking area and park our bikes. Since we had come only 2 bikes, we found a parking place about 500 metres away from the main street. We parked and came back to the hotel to have our food peacefully.

Post dinner we strolled around the main Street which was buzzing with activities now. We could see people selling clothes, toys, some doing entertainment activities and not to mention the variety of local food sold. Half of the street was filled with shops or stalls selling local cuisine. I need to mention some of them here like “Dog curry with rice”, “snail chutney with sticky rice”, etc. All in all, it was quite an experience was us to get along with the locals and enjoy this wonderful carnival.

Around 10 pm we returned to the camping site and slept off. It was a very short visit to the famous Hornbill festival, which draws tourist from all over the world but this short, small visit gave us a good glimpse or experience of it. Tomorrow, we have a long day ride as we plan to reach Moreh going past Imphal city.

Entrance to the Land of Tribes - Nagaland

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Breakfast place at Nagaland
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Pics from Hornbill Festival

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Kohima War Cemetry
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View of Kohima City

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View from our tent
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Pics from the Street festival at Kohima
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Interesting Menu
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:38.
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*********************************
Day 9 - 09 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Moreh, Manipur
Distance covered : Appx 235 Kms

*********************************

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We had informed camp site incharge the previous day that we had to leave early and requested for early breakfast. Woke up at 6 am, got ready and packed our bikes too. By that time, breakfast was ready, we had good continental breakfast and started from the camp site towards Imphal. The roads towards Imphal are not so great. But due to economic blockade in Manipur, roads were deserted. This gave us little room on the road to sway around avoiding the potholes.
Post riding for couple of hours we reached Senapati town in Manipur. The town looked like there was curfew imposed and hardly could see vehicles but in turn it was because of the economic blockade. We stopped for tea at small shop. The lady at the tea stall was also preparing hot samosas, so we waited for it. By then the locals around started a conversation with us and explained about the difficulties they were facing of economic blockade and none of them supported this blockade. After knowing our ride details and the additional petrol we were carrying, one of them suggested that there is petrol selling guy about 100 metres from the tea stall. We could fill our tanks full at the normal price itself unlike the other places where is was selling at double or at some places almost at 3 times more. That was a nice gesture of the local people to provide us the details and help in getting the petrol at normal rate. We thanked them and headed to the petrol selling guy.
We topped our bike tanks to full and this was one of the wise decision we took. It actually helped us a wade through the difficult days we encountered further down in Manipur and Mizoram.

The journey to Imphal was very uneventful. Soon we reached Imphal. We had decided to head straight to Moreh, the indo-burma border town. So we didn't stop at Imphal. But as we moved through Imphal, we could see kms of long queue at petrol bunks. The queue was so much that it ran few kms in length. We saw people selling petrol on roads in bisleri bottles for INR 300 per litre. In fact, few people had left chairs, small benches in the queue.
We managed to wade through the traffic of Imphal with the help of Google maps. Soon we were on the outskirts of the city and started moving towards Moreh, the border town on Indian border adjacent to Burma (Mynamar).

During this tedious ride, we forgot to have our lunch. Just after Imphal we stopped at small town to grab a quick snacks before moving further. Could not find any decent hotel but found a road side shop selling hot samosas. Each of us had few samosas and tea. There was drastic change in the weather here in comparison with what we had few days earlier. It was very hot over here as we get lot of plains near Imphal.

From there till Pallel Mamang, the roads were flat and straight. Even though roads were in good shape, there was lot of unwanted traffic on the road which slowed down our speeds. Couple of kilometers after Pallel Mamang, we get forest area and start climbing and descending mountains. The traffic also went down to zero as we started the climb.

Few kilometers, we get an army check post. There is a special process here for each and every person entering from here and exiting out of here. And this is because of the international border. Lot of smuggling of goods, infiltration, etc happens. Here we need to produce our documents, collect a token for each of us. This token must be handed over to the next army check post which is few kilometers before Moreh. Here if they suspect on anybody, they literally open every piece of the vehicle.

There is entry and exit time also through this stretch. I guess post 5 pm they do not allow the movement of vehicles. As we reached the exit check post towards Moreh, it was almost 4.45 pm and they were allowing the last batch of vehicles on to the other side.
After the token hand over formalities, we were now only few kilometers away from Moreh. I started getting weird squeaking sound from the bike. Pulled over to look into it and could not find anything. Started riding again and few metres the sound started again. It was not a continuous sound but intermittent sound. Stopped again, tried pushing front and back to recreate the issue, but couldn’t. We were now about 3 kilometers away from Moreh. Rode for another 500 meters and then the noise increased. Now i could clearly hear the sound was coming from the rear wheel. Mahesh and myself took turns to ride and test it. We suspected that the rear bearing could have given up. We cannot confirm that until we remove the wheel and which is not possible at that location and time. So, we decided to reach Moreh and consider the issue in a relaxed mode. I started riding slowly, avoiding bumps and dips so that I do not strain the bearing.

Dada and Mahesh went ahead, so that they can find some accommodation for ourselves. By the time they reached Moreh it was 6.30 pm and literally the town was dead asleep. Dada and Mahesh enquired couple of hotels and found that either they were full or didn’t have good parking space or the rooms were not good. One local guy suggested us to check the government guest house which was at the starting of this small sleepy town. Dada went ahead and enquired, had a look at the rooms, parking space and confirmed it to the caretaker.
Mahesh was waiting for me on the main road. I limped slowly and reached the sleepy town. The guest house was really a good place, sufficient and closed parking, huge rooms with proper hot water, etc.

Next important work was to hunt for food. We quickly got freshened up and went in search of food. Since the entire town was asleep, we had to search a lot for food. After enquiring almost, a dozen places, somebody suggested that there is Bihari who does chappati and curry at his house cum shop somewhere inside the bylanes of the town. We went in search of him and found him. He was wrapping up for the day and luckly he had only sufficient chappati and curry for us. Right opposite to him, there was a tamil guy who had quite few varities of food like omlet, noodles, etc.
We were quite surprised to see a tamil guy over there and upon starting a conversation with him, we came to know there is a long history behind it. In fact, the town has large number of tamil family. As we finished the dinner, the tamil guy invited us for breakfast in the morning and mentioned that he will prepare dosa, idly and vada for breakfast. Mahesh and myself were grining to the max hearing that we would get dosa, idly and vada at this remotest town bordering Myanmar.
We informed him that we will come in the morning for breakfast and returned to our room. I guess today was the earliest day in the entire ride so far where we hit the sack so early after finishing our dinner.

Campsite near Kohima
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On the way to Moreh
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In between Imphal and Moreh
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Interesting message as we entered Moreh
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:38.
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*********************************
Day 10 - 10 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Moreh, Manipur
Distance covered : Appx 20 Kms

*********************************

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Today’s most important program was to enter Mymanar and visit the neighbouring country’s first town Tamu. There are few formalities to be done before we go to Tamu town. So we head straight to the police station of Moreh. One of the officer instructed us that they will not allow 2 wheelers inside Tamu but we can hire a local auto and visit the place. We were given the necessary permit within 30 minutes after checking our ID proof, etc. They even helped in getting us an auto to visit Tamu.
It was 9.30 am and now that we have the necessary permits, we decided to have breakfast and then head to Tamu. Least we knew, we have few more hurdles to go past the international border. We visited the Tamil guy along with the auto driver, had stomach filling Dosa, Idly and vadas. We were feeling heavenly to get such yummy south indian food at this remote village on a international border.
By 10.30 am, we reached the Myanmar border check post. Post showing the permits, the officers with their broken English told us they cannot let the Indian auto to go inside. We were in for a shock. How the hell it is possible to be so in-communicative for two offices staying less than a kilometer away. They bluntly denied us the entry and they were not ready to inform what’s the process was too. I personally felt they were very arrogant and un-supportive officers.
There are few gates to entry Myanmar. Each gate is designated for different purposes. One for tourists, one for Import and exports, etc.
We returned to different gate on the guidance of auto driver and meet another officer. Even he was very un-supportive and didn’t know a common language to communicate. Soon we understood that, if we hire a local Myanmar auto, we would be allowed to go inside and for this we have to submit a personal ID proof at this gate with the Myanmar officer. This permit is till 5 pm and we have to get back by this time on to India side.
How strange it was that, all the Myanmar vehicles could freely come in and go out of India border town Moreh whereas the Indian vehicles were not allowed into Myanmar.
Soon we found a Myanmar auto guy, negotiated the price for the full day sightseeing. He could not talk any other language except Burmese. So it was indeed a challenge for us to communicate and get things done from him.
Soon we were inside Myanmar and heading towards Tamu town. It’s right hand side driving in Myanmar. Tamu is a very small town bordering India and Myanmar border and acts as a hub for all export and imports. We asked the auto driver to take us to the main market area. We spent few hours going around the market. It was literally “The Place” where all the people of the town would visit. You get right away fruits, vegetables, groceries to clothes, steel items, etc. All products under one roof. We did quite amount of shopping like few souvenirs, local made items as souvenirs, etc.

Then we asked the auto guy to show us few important monuments/temple type places. He took us around to couple of temple like structures. All of them were in ruined states and due to language barrier we could not understand anything about the history about it.
Dada had heard that there are lot of custom motorcycle parts which are available there. So now we went in search of it. We found a shop and Dada was so excited to see the shop that he was like a child with a candy in front of him. He picked few things from that shop. We exchanged few Burmese currency to Indian currency as Souvenir.
Then an idea struck to my mind that I can use the google translator to communicate with the driver. So using google translator asked him to take us again to well know historical place of Tamu. It was quite easy to make him understand our requirement now with the google translator.
Soon he took us to one of the oldest temples in Tamu which was in depleted condition and under renovation. There was also a watch tower which could give us the glimpse of the entire Tamu town.

It was 3.00 pm and the heavy breakfast ensured that we were not hungry and didn't have our lunch yet. We decided to return to Moreh but not before having a wonderful Burmese tea. The driver took us to a good hotel in that area for tea.
Post that the auto driver dropped us back to Moreh. We collected the ID proof and headed to the police station where we had left our bikes.

Now, the most important work was to get my bike checked and get it repaired. Soon we got a mechanic who after a quick spin confirmed it is bearing issue. The mechanic was so confident that he did mention the size of the bearing is 1042 and we might get it in a local shop in Moreh market area.

Then comes a super surprise, he asked me come along to check in his garage. I walk along with him and takes me to his backyard of the garage. Shows me a bike and tells sir, your’s CBR250 right ? and then shows me a skeleton bike which was indeed a CBR250 lying there. Wow !! what a surprise.
He says, "Do not worry sir, if we do not get the bearing in Moreh market, I will remove from this and fit it on my bike". I was dumbstruck seeing a CBR250 at this remote village. I could not understand if I had to thank my luck or thank god for this.
Apparently, the electronic unit of that bike was fried due to fiddling of electric wires to add additional lights. And he had difficulty in getting it.

Soon he sent one of his boy to get a new bearing from the Moreh Market. By the time, the boy came back, he removed the wheel and found that the bearing was no more a bearing. Again, to my luck, the boy got a new bearing too. Soon he replaced the broken bearing with the new bearing and he charged me very nominal labor charges for doing this entire work. It was a good relief for me and the team that the bike was back to normal condition.

We returned to our rooms, freshened up and headed to the tamil and the Bihari guy for good and last dinner at Moreh.

Pics from Tamu, Myanmar

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View of Tamu Town
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Permit to Myanmar
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Dosa at Moreh
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Mahesh and Dada busy with the mouthwatering south india dishes

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Burmese Scooter
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Entrance to Tamu Town
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Right hand driving in Myanmar
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Selfie with the Burmese Auto Driver
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Tamu Market
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Dada wanted a pic with the old lady giving the souvenir
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Burmese Scooter
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Second permit given by Myanmar Officials
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Tea shop at Tamu
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Mahesh busy in taking a selfie with the oldie
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State of the rear bearing from my bike

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Mostly found in this area
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Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge
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Selfie at Tamu Market
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:37.
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*********************************
Day 11 - 11 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Suangdoh, Manipur
Distance covered : Appx 210 Kms

*********************************

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Today's first destination was Loktak lake. India's only floating national park. And also today post Loktak lake, we had no clue about the road conditions. Dada and myself prepared some tea and also carried in the flask for the day's ride. We bid adieu to Moreh.
As mentioned earlier we had to cross 2 army posts. After one check post, we stopped again for quick tea which we carried. So we had our share of tea with an amazing view.
Post deviation from the main road towards Loktak lake, the roads become very horrible. We slowly made progress towards Loktak. We were stopped in two places by army for checking. Post explaining them about our trip, as usual they were surprised and wished us best of luck for the trip.
In between, we stopped to top the fuel tank from the spare fuel cans we carried, so that this way, we could loose some weight behind.

We good not find any good place for our breakfast enroute. We reached Loktak around 11.30 am. Spent some time going around and clicking pictures around Loktak. Loktak lake also houses Asia’s only floating National Park. We didn’t had the liberty of time to explore the national park at the fullest.
Post Loktak we had our brunch at local hotel at Moirang. We started around 1.30 pm from there. Roads were okay till we reached Churachandpur. Our original plan was to go through NH102B, head south and enter Mizoram towards Aizwal. But at Churachandpur all vehicles take NH2 which heads north of Mizoram before taking turn to South to reach Aizwal.

Few enquires with the locals, we could not get any information about the road conditions. Finally we decided, “let the hell come through, we will go by the original plan". At this moment, we never anticipated what is in store with us.

Couple of kilometers into NH102B, the roads disappeared. We were reduced to 8-10 Kms per hour. Areas around Imphal are pretty flat areas and very less hilly region. So the temperature was little high. So it was a big change for us from experiencing zero or negative to high temperatures here. So every couple of kilometers we stopped for water and to relax from the torturing road.

By 4 pm we reached an army check point. 2 army guys manning the post was surprised to see 3 bikers from south in the remote jungles of Manipur. One of them asked us to take a seat and instructed other to prepare some tea for us. This was a check point on NH102B and there was a huge army presence at this check point. About a 700-800 metres away from the check point on an uphill was the entire army camp with almost 200+ army personnel.

After initial round of story of our adventures, one of the army guy called up his senior. The discussion between them was really funny and made us think if we made the mistake of taking this route.
So the discussion was like this.
Army Personnel : Sir, I have 3 people at the check point going towards Mizoram. they claim to be tourists visiting all the seven states of North east and they are travelling on 3 bikes. What shall I do ?
Senior Personnel : <Pauses for few seconds>
I guess he was checking with the Adjundant of the camp.
Senior Personnel : Send them to the camp.<Phone is hunged up>

We could hear this conversation because the entire area was so silent. We looked at each other with disappointment. The army guy asked us to quickly have the tea and head to the camp. He was so surprised that we are in this dense jungle and without any clue of what is in store for us.
While having our tea, we discussed between ourselves that we might have got into trouble here and looks like we are grounded. We thought that we will have to encounter a senior and old army officer now. Who will take us for task for venturing out in this remote area and also thought might ask us to return back.

We finished our tea at the check point and headed to the camp. As we reached the entrance, we saw 2 army personnel asking us to park the bikes at a corner and we were greeted by an army officer who was in mid 40’s.
He launched missiles of questions on us. Who are you ? Where are you from ? What are you doing ? etc.
After all the explaination, he mentioned the Adjundant wants to meet them and took us to his office.

He asked us to wait in the Adjundant office as he was out on some rounds around the camp area. We were looking like a road worker with dust all over us. The black riding gears had turned into brown. We waited anxiously at the Adjundant office.

Adjundant arrived at his office in 5 mins and we were surprised to see the person. He was in his early 30’s and dressed neatly in the uniform.
He asked us to sit down and told us to give 5 mins to finish up couple of calls. We were awed by the charisma of this young officer. I guess, this is because we as civilians down in south india hardly get to meet army people and we are always seen or showcased that top most positions in army are always held by senior people.

He finished his calls and started speaking to us. As usual, the same volley of questions. We answered all of them and he heard to it in patient. He again asked his subordinates to get some tea and biscuits. We mentioned that we already had it but he insisted on having it.

Then there was a moment of silence in the room for a minute. All three of us were sitting up straight with lot of things going in our mind about the reaction of the officer. Then the Adjundant spoke,

Adjundant : It’s 4.30 pm now. Darkness is setting in already. You guys have 2 options. <he paused here>

We started looking at each other.

Adjundant : you can either stay here tonight. You will get all the facilities for sleeping, food, etc. Or you can continue ahead. We have one more camp at 20 kms from here. But you will have to stay there tonight before continuing further. You can decide and let me know.

Wow !! we were really surprised by the options provided. Quickly we chatted and decided we will go further so that we can cover another 20 kms further ahead. The other reason to decide this was, as per our plan, we were suppose to reach Mizoram border on that day. Due to the road conditions we were no where near the border.

Then we communicated the same to the Adjundant and he immediately called up the other camp. And this is how he instructed on the phone.

Adjundant : I have 3 guests who will be staying at your camp tonight. They are heading towards to Mizoram. Please arrange for all the necessary things for their comfortable stay at the camp. They will start from here at 17:00 and reach the camp at 19:00.

Then we continued our discussion and he was really happy to see us there. Appreciated our efforts, courage of venturing in those remote areas. We exchanged telephone numbers. He asked us to report back once we reach Aizwal and also asked us to call him if we had any problems in North east during our trip.

We bid goodbye to everybody at the camp and moved towards the next camp where we were going to stay tonight. It was quite tense moment for last one hour and ended in good signs.

We started exactly at 17:00. Roads were horrible, rather I should not say “road” at all. By the time we reached the next camp site check point it was 19:15. The army personnel at the check point asked us, Why are you late sir? Did you face any problems?

We were perplexed by his questions. Late by 15 mins by their standards is huge. We mentioned that we stopped for a bio break and hence was delayed. So the army camp at this place was again away from the check point. What I noticed was all camps would be at a high level on top of mountain and the check points/roads are down. I guess this is strategically chosen for better view of surrounding.

We reached the top of the hill and as we entered the gates, we were welcomed by couple of army guys and one senior person. They guided us to park the bikes at a shed. Before we got down from the bikes, we were offered glasses of water to drink. Then volley of questions on enquiring about our journey from the previous camp till now was good.

Again we were in for couple more surprises here.

We meet the commander in charge of the entire camp. He was in his early 30’s. In fact as we spoke to him throughout that night, we got to know that he got married 3 months ago. We were really surprised of the younger generation getting into such positions so early.

To add to all these surprises, we got to know the commander in charge was from Bangalore and his family stays couple of kms away from my house in Bangalore. This was pure coincidence.

We were guided to our rooms and a round of tea was served. Again the perfection/thought process, etc these army guys have is amazing. We saw that they had arranged all the necessary basic amenities for all 3 of us in the room like new set of toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair oil. We were floored by this guest services.

Imagine, we are inside one of the remote jungles with no access to electricity, phone signals and even basic amenities like cooking gas. In fact, while our discussion, the commander in charge mentioned that they have run out of gas for 2 days and it is yet to arrive. They were cooking on woods and serving all the 60+ army personnel every day. Nearest city/town was Churachandpur and it is almost 80-100 kms. It takes generally one day to reach Churachandpur with the road conditions. This is how remote this place was. And here we were treated with all the amenities required for our stay.

We freshened up and sat down for dinner. Dinner was extended to post midnight with our chit chats. Commander in charge was also happy to see folks from his city here. We heard stories about his experience in the dense jungles on Manipur, about locals culture, behaviour, food habits, etc. it was almost 2 am and we decided to call the day off.

One of the most memorable day it was.


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Beautiful mountains as we exited out of Moreh
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Stopped here to have tea which we carried. Tea with a mountain view
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This is how goods come inside to India from Burma
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Real Sumo
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Loktak Lake
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Loktak Lake
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Loktak Lake
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Parking lot of Loktak Lake
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Things the Army team had kept ready at our rooms
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Mouth watering food at the Army camp
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Mouth watering food at the Army camp
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:37.
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*********************************
Day 12 - 12 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Khawdungesi, Mizoram
Distance covered : Appx 115 Kms

*********************************

Exploring the magnificent 7 States of North-East India on motorcycles-day-12.png

We woke up around 7 am and Tea was served at our room. Post tea we got ready to start the day journey. We finished breakfast with a view to die for. Sorry we didn’t click photos since it was an army camp and wanted to adhere to the decorum of the area.
Again, we were stunned by the importance to the minute details. As we finished our breakfast, we were given a big packet of food with water bottles as lunch for the day’s journey. That was the thoughtfulness and care they took about us.
We got down the hill to the check point. We saw the army guys were doing fire practice. Commander in charge explained few intricate details about the fire arms, how it will be used, how each bullet is accounted for, etc.
Finally we bid adieu to all the army personnel and started our journey towards Mizoram. This was one of the highlight of our journey and just made us forget all the nightmare roads we encountered. One of the most memorable day in our lives.And there is absolutely dearth of words to describe the facilities or caring these army guys took care of us in this remote area to unknown people.
We were back to reality where there was no mention of roads. We limped towards Mizoram border. I just cannot measure the eronomous amount of dust we have inhaled all along the way. Soon we past couple of villages. And soon we encountered the much awaited situation of our journey.

Oh ! we didn’t discuss about this earlier.

Rolling back to our last 2 days experience in the 1st Army check point and stay at the 2nd camp, we were informed that further down south as we move towards Mizoram border we have to cross one of the local army check point.

Yes !! you heard it right, it’s local army.

These are civilians who have formed group and control the southern part of Manipur. They are not just a group and they are called as army because they trot around with AK47, bullets around the waist and with other advanced weapons. So this local army is called as “ZOMI Revoluntary Army”. If they find any people suspicious they do not hesitate to kill and dump them off in the dense jungles. As mentioned earlier these areas are so remote, inaccessible, etc, there is remote chances that anybody will come to know that something like this happened. And these guys are so young as 15-16 years.

We stopped at the check point, the atmosphere around was silent and tensed moment. They were surprised to see 3 bikers in this area. We walked past to the sentry building and the person inside asked couple of questions like from where you are coming, what are doing, etc. Asked us for an identity proof. He made entries in his book with details about us and the registrations of our bikes. All this discussion happened in half broken English he knew. Finally he made signs for us to continue. We silently walked down, got on to our bikes and started our journey. It was quite tensed moment.

From here the Mizoram border was around 20 kms. I guess it was around 12.30 pm when we left this check point. And all the way we heard that roads in mirozam is good. we were anxious to get a glance of tar road. So technically we should get into Mizoram by 2.30 pm and accordingly we were thinking we can make it to Aizwal also if we push little bit. With this we could cover ground for the lost days due to bad roads.

As we moved on, the roads become even more narrow and to literally non-existence. Our speeds came down to 2-5 km/hr. We encountered more slush too here. The sand over here is so fine that it was like talcum powder. Because of it being so fine, it was very slippery and to add, it was sticky too. You leave your boots down, you get struck. With all this woes, I had the most horrible tires for this situation. I was running on soft compound Michelin’s. I was literally sliding around all the way. I stopped using the throttle as soon as entered the slush areas. The bike used to just slide without any force.
Finally we reached Mizoram border and we expected good roads but unfortunately destiny had different things in store for us. They were actually laying fresh road and they had widened it to make double lane road. And due to this the road was filled with cricket ball sized stones which were pretty sharp too. Our pace came down to tortoise speed as we didn't wanted to be stranded in this area with cut tires due to sharp stones. Also we were past the comfortable ride time of 5 pm too.

We had to revise our plan to reach Aizwal to the next village called “Khawdungesi”. By the time we reached there it was 9 pm. Upon enquiring with couple of people, we came to know that there is no place to stay in that village. Finally we could find a small hotel which was still open.

A lady was running this place and we enquired for staying. She denied of having any sort of hotel to stay there. But after discussing with her husband and others, she agreed to show a place where all 3 of us can sleep. We thanked her for accommodating us. Now we didn’t want and didn’t had the strength to remove the luggage from the bike and repack it in the morning. The lady’s husband showed a place and asked us to park the bikes there. He mentioned not to worry about the luggage and nobody will touch your bikes. We didn’t see any other option and went with that option.
The room was totally made of tin sheets and it had exactly 3 beds with very little space to keep our small luggage too. During this time, we checked with the lady for some Veg food and she almost laughed at us for asking Veg food at that time of the night. So, then we remembered having the food packet provided by the Army personnel and decided to leave with that as dinner for the night.

This is one of the best example of how diverse our country is and how they take care of guests. It was unbelievable how the small village which is hardly in touch with the outer world, never seen bikers in that region, welcomed whole heartily and accommodate us. Only one thing which bothered me about this wonderful village and people was that all gender age were either addicted to smoking or tobacco chewing.

Team which took care of us
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Team at their practice ground
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Butt break
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Those amazing roads
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:37.
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*********************************
Day 13 - 13 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Aizwal, Mizoram
Distance covered : Appx 200 Kms

*********************************

Exploring the magnificent 7 States of North-East India on motorcycles-day-13.png

We got up around 6 am today and plan was to reach Aizwal soon. Another major issue we had for today was petrol. All of us were running low on fuel because last we filled petrol from a bunk was at Dimapur, Nagaland. Post that it was the petrol we carried along. Even that was emptied in Manipur.And we were told that we will get petrol as soon as we enter Mizoram and it's available without any issues.
As soon as i got out of my bed, first I checked the state of the bikes. We had left all of our luggage’s on the bike. As mentioned by the local person, nobody had come near the bike.
Since I was the first to get up, got ready, removed the bike and kept it ready. Then went in search of coffee/tea. By than all others got ready. I found a place few steps away from the room. We had quick tea and rolled from the very quite and interesting village.

The roads continued to be bad. It became more difficult because of the stones laid on. Finally we reached Ngopa. This is the place where everybody mentioned that you will get sufficient petrol. We enquired few about the petrol bunk and they directed us towards it. We reached the petrol bunk and asked the attendant to fill full tank. He denied to do the same and mentioned he can fill only for INR 100. On further probing he mentioned there is fuel shortage and Christmas is around, local needs more fuel during this time. So they have started rationing the fuel. Each two wheeler would get INR 100 worth of fuel and INR 300 worth of fuel for four wheeler .
What a big bummer !!
Then we spoke to the manager and explained him our situation. Then he agreed to fill INR 400 into each of our bikes, so that we can reach Aizwal or nearer to Aizwal where there are lots of bunk. In fact, he was so surprised and impressed by our adventure, he insisted on having breakfast and tea with him. We didn’t had the liberty of time to sit and have breakfast. So we settled in for tea. He also give the contact person of the next petrol bunk and mention his name, so that we can fill full tanks for all of our bikes.

This is the best part of the biking, you get to meet unknown people and the care they take is so much that it just amazes me.

We left from Ngopa post tea, racing towards Aizwal. Few Kms away from Ngopa, we started getting the feel of tar roads. It was very narrow roads but atleast tarred. In fact few kilometres of riding on tar road felt little odd as we were so used to riding in the slush and non-existent road. We didn’t had to keep changing gears continuously, didn't had to search on the road for non-slush area, etc and felt like we were missing something.

After few kilometres, we stopped by the road side to take a break. We still had few puri’s from the packaged food provided by the army’s. We opened it up and dada removed pickles bottle from his food store. We had our breakfast on the road side with bikes as breakfast table. Pretty much, we had sorted out our petrol issue and roads looked better from here. So we started towards Aizwal.

One of the best part about Mizoram is the roadside shops. In Mizoram, they grow lot of these big sized lemons. They make juice concentrate or juice itself and sell it on the road side. They also do step farming and cultivate good vegetables. Even these are sold along the road side.

So what special about these road side shops ?

They are not manned or taken care by anybody. The owners just leave all the things in the shop, name the prices for each of them. They place a box to drop the money. All you have to do is pick up whatever you want, drop the money into the box.
Yes, you read it right, you pick things and drop the money in the box all by yourself. It is just amazing that the people are so trustworthy and honest. I have added a video which we made to give you a glimpse of it.

As we progressed roads became more better and we started crunching kilometres more faster. We reached Kawlkulh around 3 pm. We stopped to have lunch here. It’s very difficult to find veggie food in Mizoram or anywhere in North east specially if you are not in the tourist circle. And I was the only one who is veggie in the group. Somehow got some vegetable fried rice for myself.

Surprises are part of the biking trips and if there are none then there is no fun or challenge. As we finished our lunch, Dada found that his bike’s rear tire had lost air. He attributed it to the worst terrain we went through and filled air from the portable pump. Then we continued our journey towards Aizwal.

We reached Aizwal around 6 pm. Aizwal looks so beautiful during the night time with all the lights on. We started searching for a hotel and found one right in the middle of the town. Aizwal wore festive look due to the oncoming Christmas. I personally felt that I was outside India. Roads are neat, even though it is narrow roads traffic is moving so smoothly, very organised movement of vehicles, etc. We settled in the hotel and first priority was to get a good bath. Last bath we had was in Moreh, Manipur and it’s been 3 days now. Post that the next priority was to get good food and retire for the day. We found a very good restaurant right next to the hotel, finished dinner and strolled around the area for sometime. Then we retired for the day.

Exiting out of Khawdungesi
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Petrol Bunk Manager at Ngopa
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Unmanned road side shops
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Dada in front of the unmanned road side shop
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Mountains of Mizoram
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Breakfast table
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Breakfast Venue
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First taste of tarred roads after Khawdungesi
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Night view of Aizwal City
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Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:37.
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*********************************
Day 14 - 14 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Rajivnagar, Mizoram
Distance covered : Appx 151 Kms

*********************************

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I got up early and went for a walk. Saw that dada’s bike had lost air again. After returning from the walk informed dada the same. We started packing the bags and dada repaired the puncture. We had breakfast at the hotel and were ready to roll by 10 am. Since we lost couple of days in Manipur jungle, we couldn’t stay long in Aizwal to experience the hilly town.

Today’s destination was Jampuii Hills inside Tripura bordering to Mizoram. As usual people had no clue about the road conditions. Few kilometres from Aizwal, we started to notice that tar roads going off our horizon. Major problem for me was the super fine and wet sand. This was holding on to my speeds a lot and again it reached to such a level that I started falling behind the group.

During this, we also found that dada was losing air of his bike’s rear wheel again. Dada had used the portable pump to fill the air in the morning after fixing the puncture. So he felt that the beading might not have sat properly. As we reached a small village he went in search of a proper air pump to getting it filled. In the meantime, Mahesh and myself found a small restaurant and settled in. It was 12.30 pm and we thought we will have lunch here itself. With past few days experience, we never know if we will get further or not.

We finished lunch and started towards Tripura. Tar roads became non-existent and there was lot of dust. At one junction, we were confronted with “V” fork. Hard copies of Google baba mentioned to take right whereas a local guy asked us to continue left. The left road would also join the same road mentioned by Google baba after few kilometres but it was lengthier by 30 kilometres. Even one kilometre lengthier makes huge difference in these road conditions. We decided to stick to the local guy’s suggestion and took the left road. We moved in tortoise speed. Some where in the middle of jungle, we found the dada’s bike is losing air again. We stopped to fill the air and that helped us to take bio break and butt break too.

As we progressed road became very narrow. Hardly a car or sumo can move in that road. There were elephant grass all along the road measuring upto 7-9 feet long. We felt totally spooky in this area.

Soon we reached Dampa Tiger Reserve. About a kilometre road was tarred here. We took customary photos in front of the signage and proceeded further.

Every now and then I was checking on my offline google maps to identify the road which connects if we had taken the right at the “V” fork earlier. It was few kilometres ahead. Was curious to see the junction of this road join. I decided to connect the maps on to my Bluetooth since it was couple of kilometres ahead. Soon it was in few meters away and finally I stood at the junction. I cannot believe what I saw. It was a jungle pathway joining into this road.
Wow !! we thanked the local guy for rightly guiding us.

The roads here were so horrible that every couple of feets there was huge craters where each bike used to go inside and come out. Soon darkness started to cover us. Each time we went inside the craters and come out, the bike headlight used to focus to sky and such was the angle of these craters.

We reached Rajivnagar village bordering Bangladesh and Tripura around 10 pm. We were still short of 40 kms to Jampuii hills. We decided to stop at Rajivnagar as we were exhausted to the core. We decided to camp tonight. We found a school building and there was place in front of it. Dada and Mahesh started to clean and setup the tent. I went for a bio break and found a light at a nearby house.

The houses in these areas has 2 separate structures generally. One structure or house is for them to stay and other structure which built apart from the other one is used for kitchen. I tried knocking on that house and after few minutes of knocking an elderly person came out. I tried explaining him our situation and asked him if he can find some place for us. He could not understand Hindi. Then he woke up his son, who could understand Hindi. Then I asked him, if he can allow us to sleep in the kitchen area atleast. They readily agreed. Then I informed Dada and Mahesh about this and then we settled inside the kitchen.

We did not bother to remove bags from the bike. Nobody had the strengthen and energy to do anything. We took out puffed rice, onions and some mixtures from the food store which Dada carried for our dinner. By that time Dada and Mahesh parked all the bikes in order and safely. I chopped some onions, mixed it with puffed rice and mixtures. So here we were at the border of Bangladesh and Tripura, sleeping in some unknown person’s kitchen and having puffed rice, onions and mixture as our dinner.

We retired for the night getting into our cozy sleeping bags as it was the only thing which saved us from the chill night.

As we left Aizwal City
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Decorated Aizwal City
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Looks puny without luggage
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Lunch time at a remote village in Mizoram
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Team at the entrance of Dampa Tiger Reserve
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Selfie at the entrance of Dampa Tiger Reserve
Exploring the magnificent 7 States of North-East India on motorcycles-img_20161214_163121.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:36.
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*********************************
Day 15 - 15 Dec 2016
Actual destination : Churaibari, Tripura
Distance covered : Appx 182 Kms

*********************************

Exploring the magnificent 7 States of North-East India on motorcycles-day-15.png

We got up early and started our journey. We thanked the owner for providing us the accommodation. We tried paying them for it and he denied it. We stopped at the center of the Rajivnagar village to have tea before heading. We had another 40 kms to reach Jampuii hills. As we were having tea, one BSF (Border Security Force) jeep came by. They stopped and enquired about us. As usual we gave all the details. While we were discussing this, the driver of the jeep kept on telling us why did we stay at this village. You could come about 3 kms ahead and you had our camp to stay. I got little curious and asked him why he kept on asking about this. He then mentioned to us that it was a refugee village since it was bordering Bangladesh and they would never know who stays and what they do. So it becomes little tricky and risky situation for people like us plus the BSF people too. Thanking our gods for nothing untoward happened during our stay, we proceeded further. Again this 40 kms took lot of toll on us. We covered 40 kms in about 4 hours.

There was one check point at the Mizoram and Tripura border. BSF guys over there could not believe that we came in that route. They were mocking us telling our trucks find it difficult to go in this road, you guys might be mad coming in this road. As we entered Tripura, lots of road work was in progress, slowing down our speeds. Few kilometres inside Tripura, we came across at the Assam Rifles check post. It was almost 10.30 am. The incharge of the post came out to meet us personally. Most of the places we were treated as aliens because nobody had seen such bikers in these areas. The commander arranged some tea and biscuits for us.

As we sat and chit chatting, we became the sensation at the barracks of the camp. So apparently one of the solider who saw and heard about us, went inside and told others that, there are 3 bikers who have come from south india and they have crossed over to Jampuii from Rajivnagar side. As mentioned by the BSF guys at Mizoram/Tripura border, it was literally a miracle to see us there. So we became like a celebrity at the camp.
Commander arranged for few wild oranges for us to take for the further journey. We thanked for the hospitality and proceeded further.

As we proceeded, noticed that Dada’s bike losing air again. We stopped and filled the air. Remember, we didn’t have our breakfast still, so we had the wild oranges given by the commander. Roads started to get better from here. By the time we exited out Jampuii hills, we got well-tarred roads. We started crunching miles more rapidly. After riding through those horrible roads, tarred roads were like cake walk.

As per our initial plan we were suppose to stay in Jampuii hills and experience the highest peak in Tripura. And the next day we would cover Unakoti and exit out of Tripura. But as usual we plan something and destiny would have other plans for us. So we didn't stay at Jampuii hills but stayed for few minutes to take customary pictures.

We reached Kanchanpur and stopped for lunch rather brunch. During our lunch we decided we will head to Unakoti, have a quick visit, then move out Tripura trying to cover up the lost days.

Now we were racing against the time, since it gets dark at 5 pm and reaching after that at Unakoti will be waste. We needed one refill before we move further. Luckily found one on the way, refuelled and speeded towards Unakoti.

In this mela where we were racing against the time, Dada’s right hand side pannier gave off and he stopped to make temporary arrangements to carry it. Dada had visited Unakoti earlier once with his family, so he insisted we both continue further to Unakoti and wait for him after visiting the place at Unakoti. So Mahesh and myself proceeded further towards Unakoti.

Mahesh and myself reached Unakoti at 4.55 pm. We got ourselves few minutes to visit this famous, incredible stone architecture. Dada limped to Unakoti at 5.30 pm. We relaxed on the benches of Unakoti to decide further. We decided to reach Dharmanagar and get the panniers fixed.

We reached Dharmanagar, found a place to fix the panniers. We searched particularly for gas wielding as we didn’t want to remove battery for this. In an hour’s time, pannier was wielded.

As per our plan, today we had to reach Silchar for the night halt. Since we were behind, we decided to continue further and not halt at Dharmanagar. At 7 pm we started from Dharmanagar headed towards Assam border. We reached Churaibari, the border of Tripura and Assam around 8.30 pm. We stopped here for dinner at a small hotel at the border check post.

Here we got to meet a lorry driver from Bangalore and he suggested to stay here tonight as the roads further are bad. He was a regular in that area and we decided to stay. The hotel guy was known person to that lorry driver. And based on his suggestion, the hotel guy arranged a place at his home to stay for us.
Again, one more twist in the story throughout our trip. Here again we are staying at some unknown person's place who became friend in couple of minutes discussion. We just removed our sleeping bags from the bike and left all our bags in the bike. We retired for the day, remembering the day of events.

Kitchen where we slept at Rajivnagar
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Roads around Rajivnagar
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First Glimpse of Jampuii Hills
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Mahesh in front of the Kitchen we stayed
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The bridge we took just after Rajivnagar
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With the Commander of Assam Rifles at Jampuii Hills
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Magnificent views of Unakoti
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Magnificent views of Unakoti
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At the entrance of Unakoti
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Magnificent views of Unakoti
Exploring the magnificent 7 States of North-East India on motorcycles-dsc_0614.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 19th September 2017 at 17:36.
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