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Old 3rd September 2018, 22:51   #16
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Default re: Amazingly magnificent & enchantingly awesome North East India - A 10,000 km Ride!

Day 12 (Majuli to SibsagarĖ 85kms)

Our day started by waking up to the prayers and the shankh blowing by the priests of the Kamalabari Satra at around 7:45am in the morning. Listening to the prayers was so soothing and peaceful, apparently, it radiates positive vibes and wards off negative energy in the environment. We didnít have much time to spare as we decided to take the first ferry out of the ghat and reach Sibsagar at the earliest. Packed our bags, took shower, loaded Hulk with the luggage, bowed down in front of the ancestral Gods of the Satras for the last time, to bless us with positivity, happiness and good luck for the rest of the journey and also, for all our lives. We proceeded towards the Kamalabari Satra ghat at around 8:50am.

The time we reached the ghat, there was already a ferry which was getting loaded with bikes and cars and there wasnít any space left for Hulk. A local informed that the next one to go would be the large vessel ferry and it would be apt for a big bike like Hulk to go on that. We waited out till the time ferry came in, and meanwhile both of us had a cup of tea from the nearby shops. After 30mins the vessel came and since we were already ahead in the queue, loading Hulk on the ferryís bike parking space was easier and luckily got safe and ample space too. It took around 45 mins for the entire ferry to be loaded with bikes, cars and fill in people inside the dock. By 10:45am the ferry horn hooted with a loud noise and there it was, time to say goodbye to the beautiful island of Majuli.

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While returning since we were riding against the wind and water current, this would mean that it would take longer time to reach the Nimati ghat on the other side of the river, than the time required to reach Majuli. We enjoyed the ferry ride thoroughly, looking around the nature and experiencing the time flying by while we crossed the river, random people came to us checking on what our travel plans were, where we are going, etc. and in between the collector took our fare for the ride (same as last time, Rs 60 in total for one bike and two people). The weather was very gloomy with rain clouds hovering all over the sky. It didnít rain for the last two days and weather forecasts predicts a heavy shower for today. All was going good, until it started drizzling and we completed about 3/4th of the journey. The drizzle started becoming heavier and it was a full-fledged rain by now. Quickly we both wore our rain gears and decided to wait out the rain until we reach the river banks (there wasnít any space for us to cross those array of bikes and reach the shade of the dock). Post the rain being heavier, it didnít take us much time to reach the ghat and by now the rain stopped as well (it took 2 hours and 30 mins to reach the shore, while it was 1 hour to reach Majuli). Slowly the bikes and cars took off the dock, we waited for everyone to leave and then take our time to carefully get Hulk off. By now the wooden plank and the surrounding ground became quite slippery, muddy and slushy, thankfully a guy was filling in the mud with fresh dry sand which made climbing up the river bank easier. We exited via Nimati Ghat Road and took diversion for Lahdoigarh Road to reach the highway, AT Road, time was already 1:45pm.

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The weather was extremely cloudy and it might rain at any point of time. With no breakfast in the morning, we both were too hungry by now and decided to stop by at a roadside dhaba to have our lunch. Ordered two chicken thali and the variety of items that came into the thali made us wonder which thing to have first. It was such an elaborate spread of thali that let alone Atul, even I couldnít figure out most of the food items. After food, we badly needed tea. So ordered two cups of tea, relaxed for a while, booked our hotel in Sibsagar using Goibibo app, took off our rain gears and proceed further with our ride for Sibsagar by 2:30pm. We had another 40 kms to reach our hotel.

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Roads were in pretty good shape with occasional potholes popping in here and there. All I could do was to pray so that it doesnít rain anymore. It didnít take much time to cross Teok town, Gaurisagar and Rudrasagar town to finally reach Sibsagar. Some 5kms before reaching the city, roads were extremely bad with too many bumps, potholes and construction materials lying on both sides. By 3:30pm we reached our stay, Hotel Shiva Palace.

Our deluxe AC room costed us Rs 2688 for two nights. Though the hotel was well-maintained, had ample parking space and right in the heart of the city, we felt that the hotel management was too rude and spoke illogically. As soon as we started with the check in formalities, the reception guy told us that we need to stay in two separate rooms. On inquiring why two separate rooms, he with total nonsense logic mentioned that a boy and a girl are not allowed to stay together in that hotel. I was ridiculously furious at his nonsense thought and wanted to give him a piece of my mind, however, I didnít want to create a ruckus and explained him. I asked him what if we are husband and wife, what if we show you our marriage certificate and what if I show him our marriage pictures with parents? Will he still let us stay in different rooms? He answered no. I told him that this is not how he treats his customer and assume random nonsense before even inquiring, in that way his hotel will never flourish and would end up having unhappy customers who would bad mouth about their services. Not all guys or girls who walk in will have wrong intentions in their mind, sometimes there may be genuine travelers as well Ė I mentioned that we both like to travel on our bike and car, have seen many places, share our experiences through blogs, pictures and videos, and this is the first time someone is uttering such horrid nonsense. To be alert is ok, but then assuming things without prior knowledge is stupidity. I wanted to book a hotel somewhere else after this drama, however, when the guy apologized I decided to let go off the matter. We threw our marriage certificates and IDs on him and I assured him that this incident would definitely go into my travel blogs for the whole world to read know how his hotel treats their customer.

Finished the check-in formalities after this melodrama, got our room keys, Atul parked the bike in the parking area, took our luggage and headed towards our room. The room was quite spacious. We settled down, rested for a while, changed into something comfortable and decided to head out and explore Sibsagar city on Hulk. It was 4:30pm in the evening and we still had some 2-3 hours to explore the places around until sunset.

Sibsagar is a historical town with lot of stories to speak about, it is surrounded by Dehing rainforest where the mighty Dihing and Lohit Rivers meets. It is well known for its Ahom palaces and monuments, tea and oil industries. Sibsagar was the capital of Ahom kingdom until they fell to the Burmese and the ruling class was all but wiped out. Townís main attraction is the water body, Sibsagar Lake, from where it takes its name.

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First place that we visited was the Rang Ghar, some 3kms from our hotel. It is a two storied building which once served as the royal sports pavilion from where kings and nobles used to enjoy games like buffalo fights, etc. The monument is considered to be one of the oldest surviving amphitheater in Asia, constructed with bamboo and wood, later the archeological department initiated restoration processes. This building is shaped like an inverted royal long boat, with series of arched entrances on the base. Beautifully adorned with floral and geometrical designs, the exteriors of the Rang Ghar is worth exploring. Made exclusively of red baked bricks, the building is a fine example of Ahom architecture and treasured entertainment house in Assam. Wide ground known as the Rupohi Pothar surrounds the building with statues of bull fights, Bihu dancers and well maintained flower gardens. The main entry gate has two beautifully stone carved crocodiles on either sides. After clicking some pictures and exploring the Rang Ghar we went towards the famous Talatal Ghar, just 1km away.

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The Talatal Ghar was a place built as an army base with two secret tunnels used as exit routes during wars. A seven storied building with four floors above and three below the ground, was built like a maze so that enemy got lost in those alleys in case they managed to sneak in. This monument is the largest of all Tai Ahom structures and has a grandest look. The main entrance displays three large canons used during Ahom wars by the army. Visitors can now view only the upper floors with the foundation below the ground has been sealed off. A widely spread grassland surrounds the building, with fresh green grass and beautifully bloomed flowers, the entire place looks marvelous. We explored around, clicked pictures and headed towards the Borpukhuri, the heart of Sibsagar town, around 5 kms away.

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As mentioned earlier, Sibsagar Lake or Tank is the main attraction of Sibsagar town. The pretty lake is surrounded by parks, gardens, masjid, Buddhist monasteries, church and three very important temples or Dols as they call in Assamese Ė the most prominent being the Sivadol, standing tall at 104 mts and drawing large crowd during Shiv Ratri. The other two being the Vishnudol and Devidol. This tank is also known as Borpukhuri which remains stable throughout the year without any fluctuations even during the monsoon months. There is a bird watch tower constructed on the banks of the lake as well to watch wintering birds visiting the area. A walk along the lake was heart soothing for both of us and we, for a moment forgot all our worries and indulged in enjoying the scenic landscape surrounding us. We had some bread omelet, chicken momos and tea from the food stalls while exploring the lake.

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It was already 7pm and started getting dark, this is when we decided to return back to our hotel. The ride was just for 2kms but then traffic within the city was too much. On our way we got some snacks, to refill our daily quota. On reaching our room, we spent some time planning on our next day as we had some relatives staying over at Dibrugarh town and they insisted us on visiting them. After sorting out the ride plan, around 9:30pm we stepped out to have our dinner. Wanted to keep it simple so went to a restaurant very close and ordered two veg thali along with omelet.

Done with dinner, we strolled back to our room, made arrangements for our next day and hit the sack by around 10:30pm.
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Old 6th September 2018, 23:10   #17
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Day 13 (Sibsagar to Dhola Sadiya Bridge and Golden Pagoda at Namsai and then back to SibsagarĖ 435kms)

Our day started at around 7:30am and we had to do some long hours riding today. The plan was to ride all the way up to Dhola and go through the longest bridge of India, Dhola Sadiya Bridge and then visit the beautiful Golden Pagoda at Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh, after which we finally would return to Sibsagar via Dibrugarh to meet one of our relative. Looked like an exhaustive day but then it was equally exciting to tick off some more places from our bucket list. While we got ready and made arrangement for the day, Atul ordered two cups of tea, which we thought to have with some snacks we have with us. Today no saddle bags, just a back-pack with things needed for the day (would be tying it up with bungees on the tail rack). After tea and snacks, we headed out from our hotel room by 8:30am.

As soon as we exited Sibsagar city and took the AT Road (NH2), the roads were in terribly bad conditions, it was in some different level altogether. So many potholes and crater like pits all along the highway which made it difficult for two wheelers to keep riding, balancing and maneuvering at the same time. By the time you dodge one pothole, the next moment you go inside another one. Even though construction is going on for four lane highway, but guess it is happening at a tortoiseís pace. For cars and heavy vehicles, the impact wouldnít be much but we felt a lot of discomfort in crossing this section and it continued until Moran, some 45 kms away from Sibsagar. It was also time for Hulk to be refilled with fuel and we stopped by at a HP petrol station to tank up. With no other choice but to cross this horrific road, we kept on moving forward hoping the condition would get better as we move ahead. Around 9:45am we reached Moranhat and from there on the road conditions became a bit better, though not fully great. The only perk we got was to have an amazing view on both sides of the highway, lush green tea estates, silent villages and towns, mild sunlight and clear blue sky (luckily there was no rain as of now).

By 10:45am we reached outskirts of Dibrugarh town, and Google Maps advised us to take the bypass in order to avoid the city rush. However, the bypass was still under construction, had too much of gravel and loose stones. We decided to skip the bypass and take interior roads to reach the highway once again. Navigating through small residential roads, we reconnected with the highway at a place called Lahowal. From here on it was a rare delightful sight, lush green tea estates spread on one side of the highway and railway track and villages on the other side. There were occasional potholes in the highway but overall the road was ok and we didnít have much pressure riding on it. It was 12 noon and we reached Tinsukia town. Thankfully the Tinsukia bypass, also known as Makum Bypass Road was in amazingly great condition and in no time we bypassed the town.

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We must have already covered some 140kms from hotel by now. Both of our stomachs started growling in hunger and we needed to have food badly. Came across this nice dhaba on the highway, known as Dhaba 37 NH, looked well-maintained, ample space for parking, good sitting area and clean washrooms. No second thoughts, parked Hulk and sat on the semi-open area. Ordered tandoori roti, dal fry, chicken curry, plain rice, omelet and end with tea. It was getting pretty hot during the afternoon and we thought of taking some rest before we head out ahead. Around 1:30pm we resumed our ride and the bridge was just 37 kms away. Did a quick inquiry about the road conditions with the locals and they informed that they are in excellent condition.

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Didnít take us much time to cover the distance and around 2pm we were just about to enter the legendary bridge of Dhola Sadiya. Dhola Sadiya Bridge, also referred to as the Bhupen Hazarika Setu is a beam bridge connecting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This six lane bridge, 9.15 kms in length has been built over river Lohit, a tributary of Brahmaputra and links Dhola in Assam to Sadiya in Arunachal Pradesh. Before the construction of this bridge, the only means to cross the river was via ferry in the daytime (no ferry services during monsoon or floods). The bridge will now reduce the distance by 165kms and cut down on travel time from six hours to one hour, resulting in saving petrol and diesel worth Rs 10Lakh per day. Given the fact that North East is highly prone to seismic activity, all the piers are provided with seismic buffers. The bridge will also benefit the army with the convoys requiring lesser time to journey from Assam to the posts along the India-China border. This will in turn enhance Indiaís defense capabilities in this region.

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The tarmac of this bridge is so butter smooth that it took us hardly 7mins to cross from one end to another. The landscape surrounding the bridge is also mind blowing with Lohit River snaking through the bridge, green paddy fields and spread of small villages, giving a complete countryside feel. Though stopping at any point within the length of bridge is prohibited, there are some wide areas where people can stop their vehicles for very short intervals, even the traffic scene is very sparse, with not many vehicles plying on the bridge. We parked Hulk, enjoyed the view and clicked some pictures. I guess even Hulk was super happy to run on this beautifully laid road.

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After riding till the other end, we decided to head towards Namsai around 2:30pm, which was 55kms away. We returned via the same route for 15kms until we reached a place called Bar Dhadum Gaon, from where we had to take diversion, take a state road known as Borpather Road which on continuing for 10kms, connects with the NH15. From here Golden Pagoda is another 25kms. The roads here are mostly constructed by BRO, recently laid tarmac, hence the ride quality was extremely brilliant. Less populated villages and towns, green crops growing all over the highway, endless highway, green vegetation and forests and different shades of colors in the sky Ė it was a mesmerizing view. We even spotted a wild elephant in the bushes beside the highway.

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It was 3:45pm when we reached the premises of Golden Pagoda, located some 2-3kms off the NH15. This is a Burmese style and design temple that was opened in 2010 on a plateau overlooking the plains at the foothills of the last fringes of Eastern Himalayas of Patkai range in Arunachal Pradesh. The whole body of the pagoda is covered in gold paint shimmering like gold and hence the name. Currently, there are more than 100 monks from across countries who reside here for worshipping. As soon as we wanted to enter the main entrance of the temple along with our DSLRs, we were stopped by the security guards saying that videography or photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple premise due to security reasons and we canít carry the cameras along with us. He asked us to leave the camera and all other belongings in the bike itself while we go explore the temple from inside. I didnít like the idea of leaving our belongings with no security assurance in such a remote place, not that I was questioning the integrity of the guards but was just trying to be a bit cautious when we are in a trip like this. The last thing we needed would be stolen, broken or damaged DSLRs. The guards mentioned us that we can go across the periphery of the temple and look around the surroundings, have better view of the temple from the backyards.

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We walked around the Golden Pagoda, it is one picturesque structure I have seen in the recent time. Shining like a bright gold monument, clear blue sky above, flowing river stream and a road that leads to somewhere beautiful, it was so peaceful and soothing. After clicking some pictures from outside and relishing the nature before us, around 4:30pm we decided to head back. The setting sun, blast of orange and red colors in the sky, beautiful road and the ride, this was insanely surreal.

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We returned back via NH15 and kept riding until we reached Tinsukia town by 5:30pm and wanted to do a refill of hulk. From the petrol station I called up our relatives in Dibrugarh to check if they were still expecting us to visit their place. Apparently, they were waiting for our call eagerly and wanted to meet us. Though we were in second thought of whether to go or not, since the weather started to get gloomy and looked like it would rain anytime soon, but seeing their enthusiasm we couldnít say no. Post the petrol break we agreed on riding non-stop until we reach Dibrugarh town around 7:30pm. Our relative (they are my cousinís in laws, and share great bond with our family) had already shared their house location with us via WhatsApp so locating the address wasnít an issue. On our way we got some snacks and sweets as I was visiting them for the first time.

On seeing us, Uncle and Aunty were tremendously happy and fascinated by the fact that we are travelling all across North East, all the way from Bangalore, on bike. We had some nice conversations, stories to share of all our travel tales, they motivating us to explore more of India as it is such a beautiful country with so much diversity in itself and some family talks. Since the elderly couple was staying all alone at the house, they are always happy to see people visiting them and spending time. We got served some tea and varieties of snacks, both of us were anyway too hungry and ate all that we could. It was already 8:30pm and we had some 80kms to reach our hotel, not to forget the last 20-30kms of pathetic roads. We bid them goodbye, took blessings and started our ride.

To be on the safer side, both of us already got our rain gears on so that even if it rains we can keep on moving ahead. We kept riding continuously, until we were almost 35kms away from Sibsagar. It also started with mild drizzles and then some heavy downpours. As soon as we reached the section where the bad roads started, our strategy was to stay behind a large vehicle which has good lights and we could see the road ahead of us properly while safely following his course of traverse from a considerable distance. Luckily, there was some Ram Utsav happening in a nearby temple, a big procession of people and Ram idols were carried out in vehicles, so basically the highway was not secluded at all. There was sufficient amount of street lights, locals walking around and good number of vehicles, which made us feel kind of safe. Somehow crossing those bad roads and braving the rains, we reached our hotel premise by around 11pm. Fortunately the gates were still open.

Parked the bike, took our stuff, went to our room, freshened up and before we hit the bed did some packing as we were leaving for Kohima early tomorrow morning. Time was 11:45pm and both of us tired, exhausted, went to sleep.
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Old 7th September 2018, 22:41   #18
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Day 14 (Sibsagar to Kohima Ė 255kms)

Despite the plan of starting really early today, both of us just couldnít force ourselves to get up early. May be it was because of fatigue and exhaustion. Nonetheless, we got up somehow at around 7am and quickly got ready, geared up and packed our bags. Atul went and completed all the hotel check-out formalities, after which he loaded the bike with all the luggage. Our chain was completely dry because of no lubing done for quite some time so it about time that even if it would get late we would lube the chains. Atul tilted the bike and I did the cleaning and lubing. Post this around 7:50am we left the hotel and started our ride towards Kohima.

The day was already gloomy and cloudy, with no sign of Sun coming out soon. There were slight drizzles too and the roads was filled with water from the previous night rain. By 8:50am we reached Jorhat town and all of a sudden it started pouring heavily. We took shelter under a local shop which wasnít open as yet and just next to it was a small shop serving yummy hot breakfast. We decided to utilize the time while we waited out for the rains to stop or at least become less, and had our breakfast. Ordered some hot parathas with ghoogni Ė as they popularly call in Assamese (white peas curry) and coffee. Also, refilled our snacks bag with some stuff from the shop nearby. By the time we finished all this and decided to start for our ride once again, it was already 10am, it was still drizzling a bit. From Jorhat till the time we reached Golaghat we kept on riding on KB road and then Golaghat Titabar Bypass, the roads were in excellent conditions despite being some interior state roads. Similar roads continued when we took diversion and entered the Golaghat Jamuguri Barpathar road which connected us to the highway for Dimapur. We already covered 130kms by now. The scenic beauty of these roads were mesmerizing and had so much natural delights to offer.

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Condition of the road deteriorated as soon as we entered the highway, most sections of the road was completely missing tarmac, crater shaped potholes, dust and lose gravels. Luckily it wasnít raining from a long time and both of us wanted it that way. Around 12:45pm we reached Bokajan town and it was time to get Hulk refilled. Got inside an Indian Oil Petrol Station, it was big enough, clean washrooms and had ample space to relax for a while after filling in petrol. A 15 mins break we once again resumed our ride. Within another 20kms we almost reached the border of Assam and Nagaland and we were in the outskirts of Dimapur town. Dimapur is considered to be the largest city in Nagaland and major commercial hub with lot of business deals happening between Guwahati and Dimapur. It is the only city of Nagaland situated on the plain area having good rail, road and air links.

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Only for a stretch of 20-25kms between Assam and Nagaland the roads were in excellent conditions, after that our nightmare for the day started. Pathetic road situations and the heavy traffic flow within the city was highly frustrating and time consuming. One respite was the traffic discipline followed by the people despite such long queues, no wrong overtaking, no breaking lane, no unnecessary honking and all patiently waiting for the jam to clear. Around 2pm we exited Dimapur and started with the climb up towards Kohima through the ghat roads. There is major road construction undertaken by road authority of Indian Government to completely have a four lane highway between Dimapur and Kohima and then get extended to Imphal. As a result of which the entire stretch of road between Dimapur and Kohima is in a terrible condition. Road getting extended by cutting through hills, gives out a lot of soil/sand debris which when comes to the road and it rains converting into mud and slush. To cross this stretch of just 55kms we took some 4 hours. Imagine the conditions!

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Exhausted by the terrible roads, we decided to take a quick lunch break by 3pm, refresh ourselves and then resume the ride. We stopped at a local restaurant to have our food, ordered fish thali, veg thali, omelet and some tea. The view from this place was too captive with the green mountain ranges covered with rain clouds, the highway seen at a far distance and the mild cool breeze. Here we also booked our hotel for the day using the Goibibo app. Done with our food and relaxing for a while, we started the ride. A local who was traveling from Kohima warned us that the road condition might worsen going further as the surface is completely covered with mud and slush. Two wheelers were always at a risk as compared to a car, and Hulk was already loaded with our stuff as well. There was rain prediction as well, hence before leaving we put on our rain gears as well.

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As predicted, it started raining and all the dry mud and sand on the road surface converted into sticky mud, slush which provided hardly any grip to the tyres. Somehow carefully we kept moving ahead, me getting down wherever Atul wasnít confident enough to cross the road and maneuvering the tyres through the lesser worse sections. All the cars passing by us had mud splashes right up till their windshields and not to mention anything about white color cars. Presence of two wheelers on that road was very sparse. Water filled potholes, slippery road surface, rocks and stones at some sections and splashes of mud every time a car crossed us, we were praying to God to end this plight of ours really soon. Despite all these, with determination and some push we both kept on riding until we entered Kohima city limits around 6pm. The view of the city spreading across the mountain ranges was so enthralling, colorful houses, thin blanket of mist covering the mountains and the colors of the sky just before the sunset time. This view took away all the discomfort we had while riding till here.

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Around 6:15pm we reached our stay, Hotel Pine. This hotel is right in the middle of central city and had some great reviews on the app. A non AC Deluxe Room costed us Rs 2000 for two nights. Though the parking space was too cramped out, the owner of the hotel was too polite and helped us park Hulk in his own premiseís parking. This is a very budgeted hotel with all basic necessities available, not very jazzy but quite comfortable and cozy for travelers like us. Best part was that the management staff was very friendly, polite and quite helpful. After finishing all the check-in formalities, we unloaded stuff from the bike, took it to our room, settled down and removed our mud filled rain gears (we were luckily to have worn the rain gears which helped us keep the riding gear clean). I did some quick cleaning of mud from our saddle bags which became completely white due to slush, washed the rain gears and other things which got dirty.

From the exhaustive ride through those pathetic roads, both were extremely tired and famished. Around 7:30pm we stepped outside the hotel to have some snacks. It was quite cold outside and the stroll till the marketplace was a bliss amidst the fog. There were many food stalls serving amazing chats, momos and tea. I had some juicy hot pork momos and Atul grabbed on spicy aloo tikki chat, the food was heavenly and we ended up having one more round. By 8pm we walked back to our hotel as the reception guy informed us to return back as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary trouble at night. He mentioned that Kohima isnít safe after 8-8:30pm in the evening because of some miscreants who try to create trouble once they get to know about tourists. Though nothing of those sorts happened to us, but we thought it is better to be safe than sorry in an unknown place and invite problems.

Our plan for next day was to visit the gorgeous valley of Dzukou. One of our friend was visiting Kohima to meet his wife and he put us through some of the local folks who could arrange for a guide to take us up till Dzukou valley. A guide for going to the valley is not mandatory but having one is always the best choice as they would know the exact route to go up and come down, saving a lot of time. Atul did some phone calls and finally he agreed on a guy who would be our guide for the next day and could charge us Rs 1500. While we had gone out for food, Atul also spoke with a local cab guy who promised that he would arrange for a cab tomorrow morning for us to reach the base of Dzukou. We were pretty much sorted for the next day.

Both of us were completely full with the food we had outside so decided to skip our dinner. With nothing much to do, and wanting to kill the fatigue we had while riding till Kohima, we agreed to sleep early today. It was 9:30pm and both of us were fast asleep.
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Old 10th September 2018, 22:00   #19
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Day 15 (To explore Dzukou Valley Ė not much of riding today apart from some 3-4kms within city)

A bit of oversleeping and we ended up getting up around 8am, thanks to a call received by Atul on his cellphone. It was our guide for Dzukou valley and he wanted to confirm on when we would reach Zakhama village to pick them up for Dzukou. Atul immediately called the cab guy to check on when would be the latest he can come pick us up, he told around 9am. We freshened up, got ready with our trekking attire and shoes, ordered some quick breakfast and took all things needed for the trek (water bottles, some snacks, DSLRs, extra clothes just in case needed, rain gears and the first aid kit). Within 10 mins our food came, bread omelet, puri sabji and two cups of tea. Just when we were done with eating, the cab guy called us to inform that he reached the hotel premise and can pick us up. We left hotel room at around 9am. Before entering the cab, Atul did some cash withdrawal from the nearest ATM (not to run into similar situation like Tawang where we could find any ATM dispensing money).

Atul fixed an amount of Rs 1800 with the cab driver for taking us till the trek base camp, wait till we come back and return us till hotel. The drive till Dzukou trek base camp is almost 20kms from our hotel, city roads were in terrible conditions and so was the highway that leads to Zakhama village. On our way we could see the location where every year during the 1st week of December, the famous Nagaland Hornbill festival is held. The enthralling view of the landscape was simply brilliant and small towns located under the bosom of mountain ranges was a beautiful sight to see. Within 30mins we reached the location where our guides wanted us to come (St. Joseph College Bus Stop) and pick them up. There were two guides, Metevizo and Zhokito, both sweet young guys and very friendly, who were waiting for us, they got inside the cab and directed us towards the trek base camp.

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There are usual two ways to reach the top of Dzukou valley from Kohima, Zakhama and Viswema. Locals say that the way via Zakhama is steeper, demanding but takes lesser time however, the Viswema approach is more gradual but generally takes longer time. We decided to take the Viswema route to go up till the valley top. Many trekkers take the Viswema to enter the valley and then exit via Zakhama. Though our deal with the cab driver was that he would drop us till the trek base camp, but now he volunteered to take the car till the road was motorable. Even we thought he was concerned and wanted us to walk less on foot. This route has roughly 8kms of motorable road and there was construction work happening on most sections. The cab guy took us almost 5-6kms ahead and then there came a point where he couldnít drive the car any further up on the slope and his tyres were getting stuck in the slush. Atul and the guides even helped him push the car from behind, bring the vehicle up on a flat surface. This is when the guy opened his stupid mouth and demanded extra money for driving us up till here despite the road being horrible, apparently, he did us a favor by not letting us walk unnecessarily on those pathetic roads. Atul and I lost our cool as it was his duty to inform us that if he is driving us so far he would charge us extra and not take decision by assuming we would pay extra. We had some heated arguments with him, trying to negotiate the exorbitant price he was quoting (Rs 4000 instead of Rs1800), even the guards couldnít believe he was demanding such senseless amount. Finally, after wasting our 20mins, the guy agreed on settling for Rs2500. This time we warned him to not even ask for a single penny extra (we promised to return after 4-4:30hrs).

Our trek up to the valley started around 10:30am in the morning. The walk or the trek is not a mammoth task if someone loves trailing the jungles, love being kissed by the cold wind and enjoy the hillside. The walk through the trails gave us a taste of the rainforests at its best with perks of cascading tiny waterfalls and crystal clear streams in between. Metevizo and Zhokito were really great guys who knew the place almost in and out and helped us trek through the right trails, making us alert all the time about poisonous herbs, leaves and pointing out the trees with medicinal values. They were college students who takes up guide tasks at times to earn some extra cash. Both could talk fluently in English and seems to be highly knowledgeable. Within no time they made us comfortable and it seems like we were friends and knew each other from a long time. I was quite active in climbing the trails while Atul did feel tired at times. Zhokito even offered to carry our bag as he could see Atul struggling to climb up with the bag on his back. They made a support stick for Atul as well to climb better. The trek was totally blissful amidst thick rainforest, mild drizzles of rain, cold breeze hustling the leaves of the lush green trees, moist ground with a baby green color of grass blanket. It took us almost two and half hours to reach the top of the trails and get a splendid view of the valley. The landscape was totally to die for.

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Dzukou valley is a place unadulterated by the modern technology and is definitely going to take you back in time where nature left us awe inspired in every step. The place in itself screams out whimsical satisfaction and the idyllic view is something one canít get over. This enchanting valley will leave you mesmerized with its unconditional and prolific natural bliss. This valley sits high amongst the clouds, straddling the border of Nagaland and Manipur. In summer, vivid green hillocks pave the way for blue mountain tops and bright flowers wave in the winds amongst the tall grasses. However, during winter, the temperature drops and sometimes it is said to be covered with snow. The valley is famous for its multicolored carpets of flowers that bloom in summer, Dzukou Lily, which is found only in this valley. These flowers blooms with the monsoon season and generally July is the peak flower month. However, even if one canít make it during the flower season, this place will be gorgeous all throughout the year with many more other things to offer.

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As soon as we reached the top, which was around 1pm, it started to pour in very heavily and the wind intensity also increased to a great extent. We quickly wore our rain gears, explored the scenic view around, clicked some pictures and ate some snacks. There was another group, consisting of four gentlemen and two guides, their plan was to trek via Viswema, camp on the valleyís guest house for the night and then head down via Zakhama the next day. Accommodations is not a problem at Dzukou valley with a provision of stay for 30-40 people in the dormitories, one can even do camping provided the weather is favorable. There are VIP rooms available as well but most of the time they will be booked or occupied. The guest house management provides foam mattress, blanket and utensils for rent and also serves dinner however, if someone wants they can prepare their food by purchasing firewood but raw materials needs to be carried. For complete adventure and nature experience, one can climb down the valley from the guest house and stay inside natural caves in the vicinity, this requires carrying sleeping bags and extra warm clothes, but locals here advise to avoid such things as the situation at night can get really worse due to wild animals, too much cold and incessant wind.

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Since we were in Kohima for just another day, and immediately next day we had to ride to Imphal, we never planned on staying at the guest house. After exploring the valley, clicking pictures, spending some time, we agreed on descending via the same route. We should ideally reach the trek base camp where the cab driver was waiting before 3:30pm. Enjoying the view for one last time, the clouds and the fog dancing and flirting with the valley every second, sometimes hiding it and sometimes leaving it alone, the essence of black burnt wood around the place, the trails made between towering grasses and ice cold stream flowing amidst the valley with clear water is a charm to be tricked with. Around 2:15pm we started our trek downwards. Step by step we covered distance and in another 1 hr. 45 mins we reached the foot of the hills, the base camp. The downward journey though it was a bit shorter than the climb, was more tiring and exerted too much pressure on the knees. Nonetheless, the experience of Dzukou Valley was mind-blowing and would always be cherished for the rest of our life.

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Got inside the cab by 3:45pm and we headed towards Kohima, with a quick pit stop to drop Metevizo and Zhokito at the same location where we picked them up. We thanked both of them for all the support and help they provided us in exploring the valley, and making it so delightful and easy for us. Agreed to stay in touch via WhatsApp and FB, Atul gave them Rs1500 as per agreement and we bid them goodbye, with a hope to see them again in life (they are our FB friends now). Around 5pm we reached the hotel premise and as decided we gave the cab guy Rs 2500 (I would not like to see that guy again).

Before getting inside the room, both of us did some quick shopping of buying some snacks and a slipper for Atul, as his old one snapped and had to be replaced. There was a lady serving piping hot tea in that cold weather and this made both of us stop by and have some. The plan for the evening was to quickly go meet a fellow biker friend (the same one who helped us find the Dzukou Valley guides) before we head for Imphal early next day. We took rest for a while, changed our clothes, wore something comfortable and warm, took Hulk and headed out towards KFC by 6pm, where we would meet our friend and his wife. They had already reached and ordered their food, we just ordered some coffee as both of us were in no mood to eat anything from KFC. Had some conversations, narrated stories of our journey so far, drank the coffee and after 30mins all decided to head home/hotel (no one seems to stay out late in Kohima, not even the locals). With the Google Maps on, we reached our hotel in no time, distance was just some 1.5kms away. On our way we once again stopped by to have the hot piping aloo tikki chat and then I had some pork momos with yummy soup. By the time we reached our room, it was 7:30pm.

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Today we decided to order our dinner to our room, Atul called up the reception and ordered food, roti, dal fry, aloo gobi masala and omelet Ė this would be served to us around 9:30pm. Meanwhile, Atul and I did packing of our stuff, looked through the route we would be taking tomorrow for Imphal, road conditions, weather updates, etc. Time just flew away and a knock on the door got us our dinner. We finished our food, took some time to arrange our bags, and by 11pm both of us went off to sleep. A new unexplored placed has been ticked off from our go-to list and it felt really great!
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Old 16th September 2018, 13:40   #20
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Day 16 (Kohima to Imphal (also, Loktak Lake Ė 250kms)

The best part about the North East region of India is that the sun rises too early and we get ample amount of time to start our rides as soon as possible and cover distance. Our destination for today was Imphal and this city is about 135kms away. Our friend whom we met yesterday informed us that the road conditions between Kohima and Imphal is really bad and since there are major four lane constructions happening, our ride might get delayed due to road work. However, considering it was a Sunday, there might be less construction work, less truck traffic on the highway but the worst part is Nagaland and Manipur being Christian dominant states (this is not at all a political statement please), all shops and restaurants would be closed for the day so we might not have any place to have our food. Nothing much to worry as we had our share of snacks for the journey, just in case we are hungry. Both of us got up around 6:30am, did our final packing, freshened up, geared up, loaded Hulk with the luggage and finished all check-out formalities. Time to say good bye to Kohima and head for Imphal, it was 7:45am.

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As informed by our friend, there were hardly any people on the road, no shops open and it was a very calm atmosphere. We exited Kohima and took the BRO roads, this was the same road till Viswema which we took yesterday for our drive till Dzukou. The surrounding was so beautiful and the scenic landscape just mesmerized our souls. Wide range of mountains, green crops cutting through the hillsides, flowing of thin fog amidst the trees and the abundance of flora on both sides of the highway and sweet melodious chirping of birds, this was just like a fantasy land. But most sections of the road were terribly broken, like huge chunks of tarmac being scrapped off. The timings of trucks to ply on this road stopped and would resume again around 2pm in the afternoon, so we wanted to cover as much distance as possible before these trucks rule the road again and throw dust, mud and slush on us. Around 8:15am we entered Manipur via Mao town through the famous Mao Gate.

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By the way, all throughout our stay in Nagaland no one asked us to show our ILP. Same was the condition in Arunachal Pradesh as well, however, we would suggest to always enter these states with pre-approved authorized ILPs. Itís better to have them and not checked by anyone than not have at all. Manipur Border Police at times checks for Nagaland ILP of tourists entering from Nagaland, however, the guards let us through at the Mao Gate with no questions asked, no one even stopped us for checking. We kept on moving ahead with very less breaks, couple of photo stops and a stop to eat some snacks to sustain our hunger till we reach Imphal. On our way we crossed many army base camps, the prominent one being the Assam Rifles.

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It was around 10:30am when we reached the Senapati district and wanted to do a refueling of Hulk and take a small break. Here it was quite warm and humid since Senapati is located under humid subtropical climate despite being spread over a hilly region. After filling in petrol, luckily the petrol station had a small shop which was selling tea and had chips, biscuits, etc. We had tea, took bio breaks, relaxed for a while and then started our ride once again. Another 60kms more to go and after crossing Senapati district the roads started becoming a bit ok compared to what was there behind and the mild blow of breeze helped us stay relaxed and cool during the ride. Few more kilometers and we were descending down from the twisty ghat roads to plain areas. A bit more push to ride continuously, and around 12:30pm we were entering the outskirts of Imphal city. We didnít book our hotel today and thought we would do it once we reach the city. We stopped next to a tall spread out tree to take shelter from the scorching Sun and look for hotels. Options were many and the ones which were popping up on Goibibo were extremely expensive, we also wanted to look for some place having secured parking space. After few calls, speaking and negotiating, we zeroed down on Hotel Lanchenba Inn which looked decent, a bit expensive but had good space for parking and was bang on the main road (Indo-Myanmar highway). We called up the hotel for confirmation after doing the online payment via the app.

It was 1pm by the time we got our room, completed the check-in formalities, unloaded Hulk, took bags and entered the room. We took a Deluxe AC room and it costed us Rs4400 for two nights including breakfast. Unfortunately, the hotel wasnít providing lunch so we had no other option but to go out and have our lunch. We rested for a while, changed our clothes and decided to head out for food and then go towards Loktak Lake, 55kms away. Got inside a restaurant which was open and serving food, ordered pork chowmein, chicken momos and mixed fried rice along with some cold coffee and Pepsi. It didnít take us much time to finish our food as both of us were famished. Around 2:30pm after lunch, we took the NH2 and rode for Loktak Lake. The highway is an arrow straight road with beautiful vistas on both sides and luckily, we missed a very heavy shower just by some 30mins.

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Around 3:45pm we reached the sacred town of Moirang, which holds a very special place in the heart of every Manipuri person because of an ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity, Lord Thangjing. Also, it was here in Moirang that the flag of the Indian National Army was first hoisted on April, 1944. Rich in folk culture and traditional customs, Moirang is definitely one of Manipurís important must visit places. Most of the markets here are run by women of the family while the men go for cultivating farms and fight wars (not wars now though). FACT Ė Ima Keithal which means Motherís Market, in Imphal is considered to be the largest all women market in Asia, and possibly the world. This town is a nondescript place on the border of the Loktak Lake. By 4pm we entered the vicinity of Loktak Lake, the immensely and widely spread lake looked simply out of this world. We rode a few kilometers ahead towards the end of the lake to get a better view, less crowd and click some pictures.

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Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the North East India and is known for its circular floating swamps, also known as phumdis in the local language. Phumdis are nothing but collection of heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matters at various stage of decomposition. Spread across an area of 300sqmts, the lake is a lifeline for the people in this region, being a source of hydropower generation, irrigation, and drinking water supply, other than being the source of income for the fishermen, largely dependent on this lake. It is home to 233 species of aquatic plants, more than 100 species of birds and 425 species of animals including Indian python and sambhar. What makes the lake also more important is that the Keibul Lamjao National Park located towards the southwestern part of the lake, is the worldís only floating national park and is home to the endangered Manipuri brow-antlered deer, Sangai. This beautiful lake is now endangered with innumerable threats like pollution, decline in diversity of avifauna and thinning of phumdis. All this in turn, threatens the Sangai deer community. Authorities are doing all possible means to restore the lake and bring it back to shape.

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There are some fun activities that tourists can do while exploring the lake like boating, explore the museum, buy fish freshly caught from the lake, etc. There was no entry fee for entering the lake premise but had to pay some Rs 20 for parking Hulk. After exploring, enjoying the landscape, clicking some pictures we decided to head back to our hotel. It was already 4:45pm and soon it would get darker, not to forget, it might rain anytime, though we carried our rain gears. On our way back, we encountered a bit of traffic jam created by a cultural procession carried out by locals, however, the traffic cops managed the flow of vehicles really well and we didnít have to get stuck for long. We returned via the same road and finally reached our room by 7pm.

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The first thing we did after reaching room was to order some tea, at the same time we also ordered our food for dinner Ė dal, plain rice and chicken fry. Followed by tea, dinner was served at around 9pm. Food was really great and tasted like home-made. Done with dinner, I re-arranged the bags by pushing in clothes not to be used anymore below and bringing in fresh clothes above, we have almost covered more than 60% of our ride. Atul was busy planning the next day ride, exploring the route maps and arranging the tail bag with all required stuff for the ride. It was almost 10:30pm and both of us hit the sack.
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Day 17 (Imphal to Indo Myanmar Friendship Gate and back to Imphal Ė 230kms)

Today was yet another special day of our North East India ride, we were about to go international Ė visit Moreh-Tamu, the famous Indo Myanmar Friendship Gate towards the far end of Manipur. Despite our agreed plan of starting early we ended up waking up at around 8am in the morning. As usual, trying to finish off things as early as possible, we got ready, geared up, took minimal stuff for the day inside our back pack, tied it up with bungees on the tail rack, had some snacks and left room at about 9:15am. Before hitting the actual highway, we decided to do a full tank for the day and withdraw some cash, as not sure if cards would work in those remote areas.

We continued on NH 102 for a while, which after sometime merged into the Indo-Myanmar border road. It was a very decent road, well spread landscape of small villages and towns all along. Few places one can find occasional potholes and bumps. The India Myanmar Thailand (IMT) trilateral highway is one of the flagship road for connecting South East Asia, facilitating easy movement of goods, trades and people among these three countries, creating jobs, promoting tourism as well as raising livelihoods of the people in this region. This is likely to become operational sometime in December 2019 as there are some issues which needs to be addressed by these three countries, related to signing of agreement and coming to certain common regulations.

With mountain ranges spread across the road, lush green forests and twisting highway, the ride was blissfully satisfying and the excitement to see an international border was immensely high. It was a bright sunny day and warm enough but who cares when the roads ahead were so beautiful. We stopped at places to click pictures and enjoy the view. By 11:15am we reached Tengnoupal and did our first entry in the army gate for the day. Being very close to international border, army keeps a tab of all incoming and outgoing vehicles (both two and four wheelers) crossing through the gate. They also ask people to write names of every person in the vehicle. Tengnoupal is a beautiful hill town, famously known for the ASEAN road crossing through it. Apparently, climate is always cold throughout the year with fog during rainy season. Today was a different story may be as the weather was too hot and no breeze at all. Few sections of the highway were under construction to make it ready for the upcoming IMT highway.

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Around 11:30am we reached the swanky Gabyís cafť, known to be a travelerís paradise for a quick pit-stop for food and refreshment. We stopped here for some breakfast, parked our bike, and took a table with an amazing view point. Located on the hilltop in Tengnoupal, this cafť is loved for its natural yet comfortable experience, where one can relax and indulge in the luxurious treat of its Japanese theme garden. The mesmerizing view of pristine Kabaw valley from its garden railing is a must for all visitors. Sip in your tea and enjoy the picture perfect scene Ė nothing can beat this, isnít it? We ordered bread omelet, chicken sandwich and some coffee. Food was good, but came in very less quantity and was overtly priced. A bit disappointed with the quality of food, we thought the price wasnít justified at all. Not much that we could do about it, we finished our food, took bio break, enjoyed the view and clicked some pictures, time to move ahead towards our destination.

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It was almost 12:30pm and we made our second entry at the army gate just before reaching Moreh. Since this was the last vehicle entry check post, there were too many vehicles parked in however, being on bike at times helps, as we could by pass some of the cars and went up straight towards the beginning of the queue. The army officials asked us some questions like where are we from, where we are going, are we going ahead, do we have permit to go ahead, are we returning the same day, etc. They gave us some paper chit which had our vehicle details and asked us to produce it on our return journey. Despite being busy, army personnel were quite friendly and helped us finish with the entry as soon as possible. Around 12:45pm, we entered the town of Moreh. Moreh is the last town on the Indian Territory side and plays a very important role in the connection of Indo Myanmar relationship. Despite the international border between Moreh and Tamu (beginning of Myanmar), the bazaar towns of these two places have historically been connected by the umbilical cord of trade and commerce, both legally and illegally. Moreh is already a huge commercial hub and people say that it would be a bustling city in the next couple of decades once the IMT highway comes into existence.

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We already started seeing Burmese scooters from some 10-15kms inside the Indian side. These are scooters not to be seen in India. The Moreh bazaar also had some vendors from Myanmar who crossed the border daily and sell their goods, food items and other essentials. Before proceeding further, we decided to have some cold drinks as the heat was getting strong. A Burmese lady was selling some yummy looking sweet item, both of us were equally tempted to try and taste it Ė it was some cold milk based sweet, with lots of cherries, rice noodles, coconut pulps, sweetened bread pieces, colorful jellies and condensed milk. Something new, it wasnít bad, all for Rs 20. Apparently, Indian currency can be used in Myanmar so there no issue of getting some other currency notes. People around were too excited to see us and started to have conversations. First they thought we were some foreign tourists exploring the whole world on bikes, later we clarified that we are Indians and from Bangalore (no one quite knew where Bangalore is), out to explore the North Eastern part of India. Done with cold drinks and food, we started to ride again so as not to miss out on getting permit and going to Tamu.

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Just when we were about to cross the first line of defense, we were stopped by the Indian army and they were denying us to cross the gate. It was quite obvious, a negligence from our end, we were about to cross international border without any due permit or authorization. Our assumption was that we would get the permit from this point, however, the army officers mentioned us that this is primary gate, Gate 1 and entry is strictly via pre-approved permits. They advised us to go towards Gate 2, the one near the Moreh-Tamu bazaar, visit the permit office and get the papers. Atul reversed Hulk and in some 5 mins we reached the office. Officers here mentioned that it would take us some time to prepare the permits for our two wheelers and the daily pass to enter Tamu, Myanmar can be obtained from the Myanmar side of Gate 2 at a cost of Rs 20 per person. After a quick discussion, Atul and I agreed that we would not take the hassle of taking two wheeler permit for Hulk, would leave it on the India side parking lot, walk up to Gate 2, take the daily pass and enter Tamu via some local transport. This will save us time as the last time to enter India would be at 5pm IST.

Though we were little skeptical about parking Hulk in that marketplace, we didnít have any other option left. Looked for a safe spot, parked Hulk and took the bag along with us. Walked through the crowded marketplace where people buy items in large quantities, probably the prices would be dirt cheap. A few hundred meters and we reached the India side check post, army person checked our bag, frisked Atul and made us walk through a metal detector door. Phew! No beeps. Now we were in a thin strip of no manís land, walked past it and entered Myanmar. Hurray! Our first international step in this trip. Burmese army officials once again checked our bag, saw our passports as ID proofs, gave us a daily pass for Rs 20 per person and reminded us to return before 5pm IST/6pm Myanmar time (Myanmar is 1 hour ahead of us). It was 1:30pm and we had roughly some 3.5 hrs to explore the place. They told us in order to reach Tamu we can take a local auto from the vicinity, any one will drop us till the Tamu market. One big thing to remember, keep the daily pass/receipt safely since it was our ticket back to India.

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There were couple of tempo and auto rickshaw drivers waiting for passengers to be taken to Tamu. We approached one of them, major problem was language as none of them knew Hindi or English. Somehow using sign languages and broken words we convinced him and he agreed to take us to the market at a fare of Rs 50. Soon we were on a Burmese tempo, crossing the iconic Indo Myanmar friendship bridge (suspension Iron Bridge constructed in joint collaboration with BRO), entered Myanmar and in a country with right hand drive. The feeling was worth enjoying every moments and celebrating the fact that we have come so far, riding. It was somehow a proud moment. Using the friendship bridge, citizens from both the nations are allowed to cross and travel up to 15-20kms of each otherís territory. Indians, who want to travel beyond that need special land permits from Myanmar government authorities.

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2pm and we were in a foreign land, walking around the shops in the Tamu marketplace. It is a small bazaar town with all happy faces, everyone is smiling and looking to make conversations, more welcoming to the Myanmar soil. The local markets have nearly everything from China and Thailand being sold at very affordable prices. It is a bustling area with locals selling everything from fresh vegetables and fishes to shoes, clothes, electronics, etc. Food options are also plenty with numerous stalls and small wooden make shift restaurants serving both Burmese and western cuisine. Atul and I were flabbergasted to see such a lively marketplace, we got some fake football jerseys, some wooden show-pieces as souvenirs, drank some Burmese cold drinks to beat the sultry heat. Best part was everything was quite cheap as 1 unit of Indian currency is roughly 22 in Myanmar currency. While exploring the nearby areas, walking around the market, within a jiffy time just flew away and it was around 3:45pm. Didnít want to take a chance by being late and Hulk being parked all alone in an unknown place, need to cross two Indian army check gates, we agreed on catching an auto and return. Though I badly wanted to explore the village monastery which is just a short ride away, we dropped the plan as so to not be late.

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We quickly got hold of an auto guy, who agreed to drop us back to the gate. This guy took a different route and we got a chance to drive through Tamu village. Shops and houses in Tamu are mostly made of wooden plans and raised above the ground, to avoid getting submerged in water during heavy rains. Each home is surrounded by a small garden full of colorful flowers and green trees. After some 20 mins, we reached the premises of Gate 2, paid the auto driver Rs40 (thatís the actual rate, 20 rupees per person), the army person checked our bags, IDs, daily pass slip and approved our return back to India. It was sharp 4:15pm and we took our step inside Indian Territory. Same routine of checking bags, IDs and Indian army granted us permission to enter India. As we walk ahead towards the parking place, I could see a huge green bike parked amidst other smaller Burmese scooters and what not but covered with dust. Hulk is fine, such a relief. Atul loaded the bag on hulk with bungees and thus we started our ride back to Imphal, bidding goodbye to Moreh-Tamu, with a belief that one day we will cross the border and ride far away for our worldwide ride.

The first army check post after Moreh town was once again heavily jammed due to people returning towards India after their purchases from the market. Atul parked the bike and queued up for making the entry while I took a quick bio break. Done with all the formalities by 4:45pm we kept moving ahead towards Tengnoupal, completed the second army check post. This completed our records of in and out from Moreh town. By now both of us were super hungry and decided to stop by a local restaurant to have some food. These people didnít have anything else apart from rice, dal, chicken fry and pork fry. When pork is available I donít need anything else, we ordered rice, dal, some sabji, pork fry and chicken fry. A tea to end this heavy meal was really necessary.

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Around 6pm we resumed our ride and kept riding non-stop so as to reach hotel as soon as possible. At a particular place the view of the highway straight ahead, the setting Sun and the village spread out was just picture perfect, quick stop and I clicked some pictures. At 8pm we reached our hotel, tired and exhausted but feeling accomplished, in a day, India to Myanmar to back in India. Both of us decided to skip dinner after the heavy late lunch. However, we ordered some coffee to our room and had it along with some snacks available with us.

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Before sleeping both of us packed most of our bags and arranged for the ride next day. It would definitely be going to be a torturous ride, having to cover bad roads right from Imphal to Kohima to Dimapur till Kaziranga. It was 10:30pm and time to retire for the day.
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Old 22nd September 2018, 23:02   #22
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Day 18 (Imphal to Bokakhat Ė 325 kms)

The thinking of crossing all the bad roads from Imphal, Kohima and Dimapur was giving both of us jittery feeling and we were so not in mood to do this ride. But having said that, did we have any other option? Arguably no. To move ahead with this journey, we have to take up todayís ride. Both of us woke up around 7am in the morning. As usual, got ready, geared up, packed the remaining stuff, got the bags ready completely, finished all the check-out formalities and went below to load Hulk. It was 8am and we left our hotel and Imphal. City roads were pretty empty at this point of time and exiting Imphal wasnít hassle at all. We made up our mind today that the roads are going to be horribly bad yet we have to keep our head cool and move ahead carefully.

The timings for trucks and heavy vehicles to ply on the highway was getting over only by 10am which means we would be encountering a lot of these vehicles on our way. With no rains from the past 2 days, the mud and slush on the road converted into dusty surface so whenever there was a truck crossing by, it blew away all the thick blanket of dust from the road. There were small villages and towns around and I wonder how these people survive in such bad and extreme road conditions, muddy and slippery during rains and diffusion of tons of dusts during sunny days. On top of it with four lane highway constructions, all the materials are dumped on the edge of the road, making it equally gravelly, jerky and uncomfortable. It seemed like if Hulk would have been able to speak, he would have royally given us a piece of his mind for bringing him on such roads. But isnít this what adventure bikes are made for? That is how we comforted ourselves and kept riding. The only thing constant during this painful ride was the beautiful landscape emerging from each side, green mountain ranges and clear blue sky.

By 10am we reached Senapati district and after such a torturous ride we decided to take a quick break, also have some snacks to satiate our hunger. The view from this spot was just marvelous and I couldnít resist but bring out my camera and clicked some pictures. Drank some water and had some biscuits.

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While we were chilling and enjoying our moment, suddenly we saw two fellow bikers coming from the opposite direction. One of them was riding Versys 650 and Atul knew about him, actually he also knew about this ride of theirs. King Richard, the other guy, was on his Tiger 800 XCX and on his ride from Bangalore to London. Vijay, Versys owner was accompanying him till Moreh and would return from there to Bangalore. We spoke for a while, clicked pictures with them, exchanged stories of our individual rides till now and decided to head ahead further. We wished them all the best for their journey ahead, same was conveyed to us as well. 10:30am and we once again hit the road. The weather was playing hide and seek with us, sometime sunny and super-hot, sometime cloudy and the feel as if itís going to rain. Around 11:20am we entered Nagaland state and once again we were not stopped by the police at the check post for the ILP.

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We kept on riding and finally we reached Kohima city as well, faced a bit of traffic here considering it was a weekday and peak afternoon time. All trucks and heavy vehicles have parked themselves on the entry point of Kohima so there was a huge pile up of vehicles trying to exit the city. Google Maps diverted our route and took us via some interior streets and connected the highway. This saved a lot of our time. A few kilometers away from Kohima we reached this nice place called Chapru Cafť at around 1:15pm. We saw this in many travel blogs and videos and decided to halt here for some quick refreshments. It was pretty empty, we ordered some coffee to remove the fatigue from the ride. Chapru is a food and craft gallery on the Dimapur-Kohima highway, nice little place that gives a glimpse of Kohima, selling few traditional items and other stuffs like bamboo charcoal, crafts, books, etc. They also sell organic vegetables sourced from the nearby villages. It is definitely worth visiting for quick pit stop, eat and shop.

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One of our main motive to stop at Chapru was also to let go off a huge army convoy as there were some 15-20 army trucks and they were blowing off tons and tons of dust from the highway. After killing some time and convinced that the convoy must have gone too far ahead, we resumed our ride around 1:45pm. Our riding gear turned white from black because of all the dust and we looked like workers from the highway. Somehow the dust went inside our helmet also and the feeling was quite irritating, luckily both of us non allergic to dust and sand. It was almost 2pm and we decided to have our lunch, my stomach was growling non-stop from the past 1 hour. We stopped at a local food place and ordered our food, I got a pork thali for myself and Atul took a chicken thali, food was lip smackingly delicious as it had authentic Naga spices and flavors. We ordered two cups of tea towards the end. Done with food and quick bio break, we dusted off some of the dirt from our gears (even my knee guards turned white). A 30 mins break and resumed our ride towards Dimapur.

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Time was 3pm when we reached Dimapur town. It was a time for a petrol break as Hulkís tank was almost empty. Stopped at a HP petrol bunk to tank up Hulk, meanwhile, we cleaned our helmet visors, dusted some more of the dirt from our gears, though this wasnít helping at all. Being such a busy commercial hub, Dimapur is always flooded with too many vehicles on the road, so crossing the city and exiting it is not an easy task. Also, when people follow lane discipline so strictly, many a times we will be hesitant to whether move ahead or not. And all thanks to the saddle bags, the bike becomes even wider, making it difficult to squeeze through the traffic. Patiently waiting, letting the traffic clear and coming out of city limits took us time and around 3:30pm we finally bid our final goodbye to the state of Nagaland (having crossed the iconic Naga gate). Though we had few more kilometers to cross Nagaland and enter Assam once again.

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Entering Assam by 4:15pm, we agreed on having a quick tea break at a tea stall. This was a good relaxing break, after the bone shattering ride until now. We had another 110kms to reach our destination today, Bokakhat. It was time that we book our stay for the night using the Goibibo app. Atul did a search and finally we booked our hotel at Kaziranga Continental, it was a decent budget hotel very close to the highway. Having reserved our stay, we started riding again. We crossed Bokajan, then Barpathar town and crossed Naambor Habi (Naambor forest). Traffic being minimal on this road and a reserve forest on both sides of the highway, it wasnít safe for us to stop at any point, hence, we kept riding alongside other vehicles. It was getting darker and the highway had too many deep potholes that would pop up from nowhere.

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Roads were not that great until we reached Numaligarh. It was almost dark and Atul thought of giving a call to the hotel folks to reconfirm about the rooms and let them know that we will arrive in sometime. The hotel reception confirmed that the booking has been made on Atulís name and we can check in anytime. Another 20kms ride and finally by 7:30pm we reached the hotel premise. Hotel Kaziranga Continental is a well maintained budget hotel, with well-mannered hotel management, good space for parking and really cozy rooms. It is some 45kms away from Kaziranga National Park. A deluxe AC room costed us Rs 1751 for one night. Atul completed all the check in formalities, unloaded the bags from the bike, a guy from the hotel helped get the luggage into our room.

After settling down with everything, both of us decided to take shower to help us relax from the day long tiring and exhaustive ride. Instead of stepping outside for dinner we decided to relax inside our room and get food ordered to our room. Ordered rice, dal fry, egg masala and some tea. While the food came in, Atul helped me clean and dust all our gears and bags. Iím sure if these were getting washed, there would have been tons and tons of dust pouring out. By 9:30pm our dinner got served, had the food and relaxed for a while before we called it a day around 10:30pm.

Today was a day when we encountered highest kilometers of extremely bad roads but then we felt no regret at the end of the day, it was all part of our journey and we will cherish these good and bad moments all throughout our life. Tomorrow we touch yet another state of this magnificent North East India Ė the nature kissed, Meghalaya.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 22:33   #23
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Day 19 (Bokakhat to Shillong Ė 300kms)

After a tiring ride the previous day, I guess both of us wanted some extra hours of sleep for the body to relax and get ready for the next lap. Our eyes opened at around 8:30am in the morning, once again a bit late as thought of starting the ride early. Nonetheless, we got some much needed sound sleep and we were quite fresh when we got up. With the idea of having early lunch, we decided to skip breakfast, get ready, geared up, pack all the bags, load Hulk and embark on our next important destination, Shillong. Total distance was 300kms and sharp 9:30am Atul kick started the bike. Hotel check out formalities (dinner bill payment etc.) were done previous night itself as we thought we would leave early.

The ride was blissful with mild sunlight, bright blue sky, lush green tea plantations on both sides of the highway and the canopy formed by the trees over the road. We stopped by a tea estate to click some pictures and enjoy the view. In no time we exited the forest limits of Kaziranga, crossed towns like Kohora, Bagori, and Kaliabor to reach Nagaon. On having reached Nagaon by around 11:30am we decided to have a quick early lunch at a local dhaba by the highway. Wanted to keep it simple so ordered two veg thalis and omelet. Needless to say, we completed our food with a cup of tea.

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Roads today werenít really that bad, till Nagaon the highway had some potholes here and there, it was manageable. After Nagaon we had to take the bypass which is a well laid concrete four lane highway, and connected straight to Jorabat at the Assam Meghalaya border. After a long time both of us were really happy to ride on better roads with mesmerizing view, tall trees full of orange leaves, colorful flowers over the median of the highway and hazy mountains at a distance. Traffic was sparse and we could cover distance in no time. Around 2pm we reached Jorabat which is almost the border town between Assam and Meghalaya. We saw a big HP petrol bunk and Atul decided to tank up Hulk before we move further ahead. From this point my home in Guwahati was just 19kms away.

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India is always known for its shabby roads and highways, but at the same time there are many fantastic driving roads spread through the length and breadth of the country engulfed with equally splendid view. One such road is the incredible stretch between Guwahati and Shillong via NH6. The 100kms-odd section is too involving and entertaining at the same time, with sets of tight and technical corners being a delight for drivers and riders. The highway is smooth, fast and flowing with good sight lines with proper signage, keeping the drivers/riders informed at all given point of time. Along the way, the sight is spectacular with lush green mountains of Meghalaya forming the perfect backdrop. The traffic sense is also absolutely good with no one overtaking at blind corners or in risky manner, just have to watch out for the slow moving trucks at times as they donít get enough momentum to climb up.

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We completely enjoyed our ride until we reach Umsning, where the new bypass is getting constructed and is an integral part of the Guwahati-Shillong expressway. Construction work will be completed real soon and till then a stretch of 7-8kms would be bad with gravels, potholes and dust. With a good pace we reached Umiam Lake from where one needs to take diversion towards Shillong as the highway moves ahead towards Silchar and other part of Assam.

The view from Umiam Lake is too marvelous and this reservoir will wake you up to the beauty of Shillong and Meghalaya. It is also known as Barapani, purpose of the lake being to store water for hydroelectric power generation but now serves as a major tourist attraction for water sports and adventures. It is mostly surrounded by sylvan hills and wrapped in the beauty of an assortment of green Khasi-pine trees and azure blue skies. We clicked some pictures of the lake and then proceed further towards Shillong as it we could see dark rain clouds hovering all over the sky. It was almost 4pm when we reached the hilly city of Shillong. Once we entered the city limits, we had to be very careful of not breaking any traffic rules as supposedly the traffic cops here are very strict. They actually do a great job in maintaining the traffic flow on those congested hilly curve roads.

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While we were in Bokakhat the previous day, we had booked our stay here. Google Maps took us near Police Bazaar area which is considered to be one of the busiest place in Shillong and not very favorable for stay purpose, and unluckily our hotel was somewhere here. When we approached closer to the hotel (Hotel Barbareek Inn), we could figure out that no way this was a place to halt for two days. The hotel premise must have been good from inside but from outside it was a heavily crowded market place with narrow roads and no parking place at all. Hulk has to be parked on that narrow road with no safety. Immediately, we turned our bike, moved a little ahead and stopped at a calmer, quiet and less crowded place in order to look for some other stay option. We would lose out on cash if we cancelled booking at Barbareek but we were ok to let go off that amount, definitely not at the cost of ours and the bikeís safety. Atul opened up Goibibo app and we couldnít find any good options here, all were extremely pricey and far off from the main city. I had OYO app downloaded on my mobile, so we decided to see if we get some good deals here. Luckily, there was a room available at OYO Pumpkin Rooms, some 5kms away from where we were. We immediately booked the place and headed straight towards the hotel.

With all the melodrama of hotel booking, finally we reached our hotel around 5:30pm. It was an OYO property in a good residential area, narrow roads though, but individual gated parking space. The hotel manager was very happy to see us and encouraged our efforts of riding all the way from Bangalore to explore the beautiful North Eastern region. He made our check-in formalities quick and easy, and in no time we got our room. It was a deluxe AC room and the cost was Rs 3569 for two nights. The whole hotel was completely jammed packed with tourists and we were quite lucky to get a room for ourselves. We unloaded bags from the bike, dumped the stuff, changed into something comfortable and headed out straight towards marketplace to have some food.

A stroll through the roads took us to a place where an elderly couple was selling fast food, snacks and young people queued up to have food from there. This was a very small cramped up place with three tables and garden chairs all along them. While we gave our order, we waited for some 15mins to grab two chairs and have our food. We ate chicken and pork momos along with chicken chowmein, and trust me these simple food was so stomach filling and heavenly that we went for another round of all the items. Done with food, I thanked the lady for such amazing and delicious food, both the lady and the gentleman asked us to visit again to try out other stuff. We kept walking for a while until we both got tired and decided to head towards our room.

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Though I wasnít very keen on having my dinner as stomach was already full, Atul still wanted to have some more food and decided to place our dinner order in the hotel itself. He ordered dal fry, rotis, aloo gobi and some tea. He requested to serve the food at around 10pm. To kill time, Atul and I chalked out the plan for the next day, about places that we will be visiting, the routes and weather conditions. I made the tail bag ready with stuff needed to be carried along with us for the next day. By 10:30pm our food got served in our room. There was a delay in serving food because of so many guests present in the hotel but not that we were complaining, as we anyway wanted to have it late. I ate very little and both of us finished our food. Around 11pm both of us retired for the day and went to sleep.
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Old 26th September 2018, 22:26   #24
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Day 20 (Shillong > Mawlynnong > Dawki > Tamabila > Krang Shuri waterfalls > Jowai > Shillong Ė 240kms)

We had our plate full today in terms of places to visit around Meghalaya and like fools, once again, we overslept and got up only around 8am whereas the plan was to start as early as 7am. Not that we could do much about it now, we got up in a hurry, got ready, freshened up, put on our gears and made things ready inside the tail bag. While we did all these, Atul also gave a quick order for breakfast (it was complimentary), and in some 15 mins food was served Ė aloo bhaji, puri, aloo paratha and tea. We finished the food as soon as possible and by 9:15am we were out from our room. While still within city limits we tanked up Hulk for the day.

Our first place to visit for the day was Mawlynnong which was like 77kms away from the hotel. Since it was already late enough in the morning and being a weekday, so we did face some traffic on our exit. The route to Mawlynnong was pretty straight forward via NH206 and road conditions were pretty much ok, not many bumps and potholes but a bit narrow twisty ways. Endowed with incredible untouched and unexplored natural beauty, undoubtedly Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in the Northeast India. Most commonly known as the Ďabode of cloudsí, this state is indeed a paradise with amazing and breathtaking views. The valleys, the mountain ranges, free flowing fog, and the extraordinarily pleasant climate makes it a place worth visiting once in a lifetime. We completely enjoyed our ride all the way along the country side roads, small yet clean villages, and green vegetation. By 11am we reached Mawlynnong and the entry to this village for two wheelers was Rs 50. We paid the amount and parked our bike in the parking lot, while paid some Rs 20 as parking fee.

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Mawlynnong is located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and is mostly referred to as ĎGodís own gardení. Way back in 2003, this village was awarded the title of cleanest village in Asia by Discover India. Alongside cleanliness, the village also holds 100% literacy rate and woman empowerment scenario. My first impression of the village was not only that it was clean it was pretty as well. But one major setback was that over the period of time, this place has rapidly converted into a commercial hub rather than a nature rich unexplored destination. A restaurant which was serving normal food with exorbitant price, washrooms charging Rs 20 for usage, all souvenirs nothing less than Rs 200, and many more. May be tourism was the only source of income of the inhabitants of this village, but I felt that everything was extremely pricey. We explored some places in and around the village, didnít opt to go see the living root bridge as it involved some amount of trekking and we didnít have much time with us. By 11:45am we decided to head out from the village and go towards Dawki.

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The roads exiting Mawlynnong are so splendid with small flowing water streams, long green forest grasses, tiny huts of the locals and logs of woods kept on the side of the road. These were all so pristine and so much of natural beauty to offer. It was till Riwai that we continued and from there we took diversion, entered NH206 and headed towards Dawki. Dawki is known for its beautiful lush green surroundings, just 2kms away from the Bangladesh border and most commonly known as the Ďgateways to Bangladeshí. It serves as a corridor of trade and commerce between the two countries, and is known for its coal mines and limestone. It only here that India is connected to Bangladesh via road route. Hence army presence in this area is heavy and most sections are immensely guarded. The ravishing Umngot River is another main attraction of this area. This river is one of the cleanest in India and provides water for fishing, agriculture and mining. Water in this river is so clean that at times it looks like it is completely transparent. Locals here take people on boats to explore the river water and enjoy the beauty. A suspension bridge, guarded by Indian army, is built over the river for the ease of transportation for locals, tourists and trucks (the army advised us not to click pictures and record any GoPro video while on the bridge as photography and videography is strictly prohibited in that region). Roads at some parts were not good at all, completely broken, bumpy and filled with potholes. After riding some kilometers, we stopped at a nice and calm place to click some pictures of the mountain ranges, Umngot River and the boats sailing.

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From Dawki we moved towards Tamabila which was just 8-10kms away and reached around 1:45pm. This place is very well-known for the fact that it is here that a friendship gate, Maitri Dwar, has been constructed between India and Bangladesh for better trade ties. Gate is guarded by BSF in the Indian side and has a small custom office for people, trucks and goods exchanged between both the countries. There were zillions of trucks lined up on the highway for carrying goods and trade materials between the borders and at times it was very difficult to cross this jam-packed area. Somehow we managed to squeeze through gaps and reached the friendship gate area.

This was a proud moment for both of us, to have come here and experience the scene. The Indian flag flying high in the sky, a gate celebrating the friendship ties between the two countries, few steps away from a foreign country and the pride we hold of our brave Indian soldiers guarding our borders all throughout their life. We exchanged conversations between Indian and Bangladeshi army, clicked some pictures with them as well. The surroundings were so unlike any international border scene, no tension, no war like situation, just plain moments of pride, gratitude and friendship. This was truly one of the best moment for Atul and I in this NE ride. By 2:30pm, the traffic due to trucks crossing border increased and we decided to head out and move towards Krang Shuri waterfall. It was a 30kms ride.

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The highway was quite narrow and there were hundreds and thousands of trucks lined up all along the road, which eventually left with just one way for both incoming and outgoing vehicles, luckily the traffic was really sparse. Our ride amidst green meadows spread across the valley and the distance mountain ranges was so surreal, we enjoy every kilometer covered. To our good luck it wasnít raining at all today though the weather was gloomy and cloudy. By 3:45pm we reached the premise of Krang Shuri waterfall, there were couple of make-shift restaurants which provided space for parking vehicles at a minimal cost of Rs 20. They were serving food as well, so we decided to explore the waterfall first and then come back for lunch.

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Out of the innumerable unexplored destinations in Meghalaya, the Krang Shuri waterfalls is one of the most under-rated. This wonderful place, through the path leading to the waterfalls has to cross a forest amidst proper footsteps that ends to the giant cascade. Through the path, a top view of the giant waterfall (though water was a bit less now), could also be seen from a nearby viewpoint on the way and can see the silky cascades of crystal clear water flow all through the forest and further culminating into smaller waterfalls. This waterfall should be best visited during summer when the color of the plunge pool is quite startling, most gorgeous shade of deep, copper sulphate blue. The overall ambience of this place can be related to a surreal wonderland just out of movies. Entry fee to this place is Rs 40 per person. We walked down the stairs to reach the bottom of the waterfalls. This was simply breathtaking and heavenly. We spent time here clicking pictures, videos, enjoying the Mother Nature and its natural beauty. Being unexplored and known to only few people, it wasnít crowded at all. Around 4:45pm we decided to walk up and reach the restaurant for lunch, both of us were famished by now. We ordered as usual, pork and chicken thali followed by tea. Time was 6pm and we decided to head back towards our hotel, had some 90kms to cover.

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It was almost getting dark when we reached Jowai, a scenic place located on a plateau surrounded on three sides by a river bordering Bangladesh and chains of mountain ranges. Roads were in good conditions though there were few occasional potholes here and there at times. There was a thin blanket of fog all along the highway and mild drizzle at few places (nothing to worry, as we had our rain gears on). We kept on riding for the next couple of hours and by 8pm we reached our hotel parking. The day was tiring but quite fruitful as we saw so many unexplored places today.

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As soon as we reached our room, we requested for two cups of tea and placed our order for dinner, rotis, day fry and egg masala. Done with tea, which gave us the much needed refreshment and relaxation, we decided to pack our bags as our ride was almost coming to an end and we needed clothes and stuff only for the next 5-6days. Dinner came in around 10pm, we ate and after spending some time planning about the next day, we went to bed by 10:45pm.
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Old 26th September 2018, 22:50   #25
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Some more pictures from Day 20

The beautiful landscapes and roads of Meghalaya
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Enroute Mawlynnong Village
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At Mawlynnong Village
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At Tamabila Zero Point - India Bangladesh Friendship Gate
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At Umngot River, Dawki
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At Krang Shuri Waterfalls
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Day 21 (Shillong to Double Decker Root Bridge at Cherrapunjee to Shillong to Guwahati Ė 230kms)

Today is the last day when we are about to go out and explore places which we havenít seen at all in this North East India ride (I might have seen some places during my childhood but have absolutely no recollection now). Both of us woke up around 8am in the morning, ordered our breakfast from the hotel and while the food came in we got ready, geared up and took minimal stuff required for the day. Todayís breakfast was aloo paratha and tea. We didnít take much time to finish off with the food and embark on our ride, time was about 9am.

Our main destination for today was to go and see the Double Decker Root Bridge at Cherrapunjee, some 65kms away from our stay. The entire ride is filled with scenic landscapes amidst serpent hilly roads and gorges of the Khasi Hills, the beautiful scenery is simply mind blowing especially all the cascading falls, the view of Bangladesh from a distance is quite dramatic. Cherrapunjee, most commonly known as Sohra is a place which has too much to offer to explorers. It was once known for being the wettest place on earth, still it holds record for most amount of rainfall in a year. We stopped by at places to enjoy the viewpoint, relaxed for a while and admired the beauty of this breathtaking landscape. People who are willing to escape from their mundane daily life should definitely visit here once in their lifetime.

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Around 10:45am we reached Sohra town and from the root bridge location was just some 15kms away. On reaching the location from where the downhill footsteps towards the bridge starts, the Tyrna village, we parked our bike, took the bag and just when we were about to start the trek down, a guide approached us. As we were running late with time, we decided to go with a guide who could help us navigate through shortcuts and make us see the place in lesser time. Atul negotiated with a guy and he agreed to take us below at a cost of Rs 500. There would be many such guides sitting and approaching tourists, negotiation is the key to get the best deal out to of them. Around 11am we started our walk through the downstairs steps. Entry fee into the double decker bridge is Rs 10 per person and towards the single root bridge is Rs 10 per person.

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There are some journeys in life which are hard to forget and one such journey for me is this trek to this much talked about Double Decker Root Bridge. Deep in the dense tropical forest and shrouded in cloud and rains, for much of the year, these astonishing man-made natural wonders are marvelous. Known as living root bridges, inventive members of the Khasi tribe have trained them to grow from the roots of ancient rubber trees, native to the northeast region. Apparently, these root bridges are a stable alternative to wooden bridges which decay and get destroyed during the lengthy monsoon seasons. While there are a number of single root bridges in the area, this place is known to be the only one with two levels.

The path to the double decker root bridge is 3kms long and has almost close to 3,500 stairs and descends around 2,400ft. The complete trek was divided into roughly two sections Ė the steepest and the most challenging part is the first part, downhill to Nongthymmai village, which involves going over small sized, narrow and tiny steps. A person with longer feet would find it really difficult to walk on these, Atul was a live example, he wears shoe size 10 and with the riding boots on, it was getting extremely difficult for him to climb down, he had to be utterly careful while taking those steps. The other part of the trek involves crossing two narrow steel suspension bridges over raging rivers filled with blue lagoon water and big stones. These bridges are less taxing and much flatter but one of the suspension bridge is too narrow with just space for one feet at a time and only one person can cross the bridge at a given point of time. Anyone who has height issues, the steep descent might make them uncomfortable and can be a major health issue. Also, it is advisable to wear breathable clothes along with shoes with good grip and a back pack as light as possible. There are few guesthouses and homestays with basic accommodation for people who find it worth staying a night or two as the surrounding scenery is spectacular.

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After a climb down for a little more than an hour, we finally reached the view we were dying to look at. The two levels of root bridges, the relaxing water body surrounding the bridge, free fish pedicure, soft curvy stones, the mild sound of birds chirping all over the place and the flowing tiny waterfalls Ė these were all quite picturesque and created a surreal feeling. There wasnít any crowd at all just a couple enjoying the view and the whole place was left for us to explore to the fullest. We removed our shoes, stepped into the cold refreshing water and relaxed for a while. I went around clicked some pictures and took videos, experienced this splendid view to remember for the lifetime. The guide waited for us till we were done and then after spending some 1 hour here we decided to quickly go see the single root bridge on the way and then head towards the hilltop. Time was around 1pm in the afternoon, it was getting a little warmer compared to what the weather was in the morning yet it was still pleasant.

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The climbing up seems a little difficult for me but was manageable. Atul was completely exhausted, moreover he was carrying the heavy back pack on his back, the guide wasnít helpful at all. At some point I really got angry as he wasnít bothered to help us in any way, Atul even requested if he could carry the backpack for a while and he completely denied. All he did was climb down and up the stairs along with us, and a Rs. 500 for nothing. Nonetheless, we felt there was no point arguing with him as he neither understood English properly nor he could speak Hindi. After some 30mins climbing up, we reached a spot which lead to the single root bridge some 500mts away. Atul decided to stay back, relax for some time while I went along with the guide and see the single root bridge. As mentioned earlier, the entry to single root bridge was Rs 10 per person. Few steps down and I could see the single level bridge, wasnít impressive enough after one sees the double level bridge. I just clicked some pictures and agreed to head back.

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Step by step, climbing resting, I somehow managed to reach the top around 2:30pm. In another 10mins Atul reached as well along with the guide. Though he didnít deserve that amount at all, we paid the guide his Rs 500. From the nearby shops, we took some cold water, few snacks and relaxed for a while. Atul fixed the bag along with bungee behind the bike and by 3pm we left the place to head towards Shillong. On our way, we stopped at a local food place to have our lunch. So much trekking left us with hungry and growling stomach, as usual, I ordered a pork thali and Atul got a chicken thali for himself. Food was ended with a cup of tea. Just when we were about to make the payment for the food, we realized that both of us just got a Rs. 2000 note with us and the hotel folks didnít have change for such a huge amount. With no other option, Atul decided to head back towards the nearest town to look for an ATM and withdraw some cash. I waited till he returned and the time passed really well because the view from the hotel was too mesmerizing, chain of mountains spreading across the landscape and the beautiful evening sky. In some 20mins Atul returned with cash, we paid and straight away started the ride back to our hotel. We have to reach Guwahati by any means today, one good thing is Ė the roads were good enough to be riding during late evening. With no breaks at all, within some 1 hour we reached our stay.

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By 5:30pm we reached our room, since bags were already packed it didnít take much time for both of us to load the bags onto the bike and be all ready for the ride back home to Guwahati. Atul completed all the check-out formalities and it was 5:45pm we started our travel. Though I was totally happy to go home once again and be with the family, this was a sad moment for both of us as this ride back home means our North East India ride is almost coming towards an end.

We did face some challenges while exiting Shillong due to peak hour traffic, but once we were done with the city limits the ride was completely smooth. Agreeing on not taking any breaks until we reach Guwahati, helped us cover distance as soon as possible. The traffic on the Shillong Guwahati expressway was quite sparse with trucks and taxis plying by most of the time. Being evening time, we couldnít enjoy much of the surroundings on both sides of the road, reaching home at the earliest was our prime concern now. In a matter of 2 hours, we almost reached the outskirts of Guwahati city around 7:45pm. Post that we faced heavy city traffic and covering just 10kms took us almost 45 minutes. Entered home sharp at 8:30pm. Mom was already waiting for us at the porch and came running to greet us after so many days. Parked our bike, unloaded the bags, went inside the house, and settled down for a while. Mom told us that for dinner we might have to go to our Auntís place (momís younger sister). Knowing we would come today my Aunt fixed up this dinner meet, to meet us, talk to us after so many months. Though both Atul and I were completely unwilling to go, all we wanted was to relax at home and enjoy the home time, we didnít have any other option left. Our entire family and relatives are so closely knitted that at times it becomes difficult to say no. Unwillingly we both got ready, freshened up and agreed to go out for dinner.

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Brother took his car, as Atul was in no mood to ride any more after such long rides. We both wanted to sit back and relax. Reached Auntís place around 9:30pm. All were eagerly waiting for us to narrate our stories of these 15 odd days, while we had our food, we told them our experiences, ups and downs during the ride, challenges, memories, etc. For food we had the usual Assamese thali of rice, dal fry, mashed potatoes, sabji, fish fry, chicken curry, eggplant fry and some other items like pastas, fruit custards, etc. Done with food, we spent some more time and left for home around 10:30pm.

As soon as Atul and I reached our house, the only thing both of us did was change, freshened up and hit the sack. Home, comfortable bed and a good night sleep filled with so many awesome memories of the journey. It was 11pm and instantly, both of us slept like wooden logs.
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Old 4th October 2018, 22:22   #27
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Day 22 (In and around Guwahati Ė hardly some 10kms)

It is at times the best feeling to relax, sit back and do nothing. Today was such a day, when we both were inside the comfort of home, no riding at all and enjoying the hospitality from everyone. After a long peaceful sleep, Atul and I woke up around 9:30am in the morning. It was a bright sunny day in Guwahati and everything felt so fresh. Both of us freshened up, had some breakfast which my Mom already prepared like puri, aloo sabji, omelet and few homemade sweets. We wanted to keep our day very simple, first and foremost give Hulk a nice elaborate bath to get rid of all the dust and mud, clean our riding and rain gears, wipe off all the dirt from the all the bags, relax and see the day passing by.

After food, Atul and I spent some time playing with my niece, her school was closed due to Bihu holidays. It felt good to become like a child and play carefree, you never know when time flies away. Once we were done, my niece went to study a bit, Atul and I took off all our bags to give them a nice clean sponge wipe, cleaned our riding gears to the max we could, washed our rain gears (as they would dry off real fast). Doing all these we didnít realize that it was already 1:30pm and almost lunch time at home. Mom prepared special fish curry for Atul, chicken curry for me as Iím not a fish person. We also had dal fry, rice, aloo gobi sabji and some salad. The food was so sumptuous and filling, a great meal after a really long time.

Post lunch, we relaxed for a while and as it was already 3pm lazing around, finally we decided to take out Hulk and get it cleaned. We took it to the same place where we washed it earlier, Express Car Wash at Ganeshguri but unfortunately the place was completed queued up with four wheelers so the guy had to turn down our request for washing Hulk. We took him back to a place near my home, where my brother gets his car washed regularly. Once again after a really long time, Hulk was getting a cold fresh shower. As the mud, slush and dirt got flushed out, Atul and I recollected all our memories associated with this ride. Almost coming to an end, this was definitely a journey worth remembering for a whole lifetime. After a while, Hulk was as clean as a new bike, we paid Rs 100 for the wash and returned home by 4pm.

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As Hulk got his bath, it was time for both Atul and I to take shower. After taking bath, freshened up, Mom prepared some tea and snacks. The plan for the evening was to go out for shopping with everyone, spend some time and have the last dinner at home. By the time brother was back from his work, we got ready and hopped inside the car to the nearest Central mall. Each of us did some shopping, gifted stuff to one another, had some momos, aloo tikkis and kulfis. While Sister in Law and Mom did some grocery shopping, Atul and I went to the nearest ATM and took cash for the ride ahead, brother was taking care of niece. Around 9:30pm we drove back home.

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Since most of the food was already prepared during lunch, Mom and Sister in Law didnít have to put in much effort for dinner. Mom prepared some of my favorite sabji and by 10pm we were on the dining table having our food, chicken curry, fish curry, fern head fry, aloo eggplant curry, dal fry, papad, mashed potatoes and pickle. This was more of a relaxed meal we all had while having our family conversations, listening to what my niece kept speaking, and small talks here and there. After food I helped Mom and Sister in Law with the dishes and arranging the tables.

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Before going to sleep, Atul and I did some final packing of our stuff. With just 4 days remaining, we kept minimal clothes on the top while dumping all the unnecessary items towards the bottom of the bags. Kept all the things ready so that we neednít spend much time in the morning and can start the ride as soon as possible. I was extremely sad by the fact of leaving home so soon as I wanted to spend some more time here. Keeping all bags ready, charged all electronic devices, Atul and I decided to go to sleep by 11:30pm. One last goodnightís sleep before we go on a marathon ride all the way back to Bangalore in the next four days.
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Old 5th October 2018, 23:50   #28
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Day 23 (Guwahati to Siliguri Ė 475kms)

And so here the return journey towards Bangalore began from today. Both of us got up around 6am in the morning, quickly took bath, geared up, loaded all the bags on Hulk and almost ready for our ride towards home. With an action-packed ride for almost 22 days, it was time to pack all our memories and relish them for the rest of our life. Mom didnít want us to leave empty stomach so she prepared some tea for both of us. We had tea and some biscuits before we embarked on the journey. Niece was sleeping so didnít want to wake her up as she doesnít like when people she loves leave home. With a heavy heart it was time to say goodbye to loved ones and around 7:45am we left home. Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister in Law waved us bye.

A bit early in the morning, we could easily exit Guwahati city without much traffic. From now on, since we had to cover lot of distances in a day, we agreed upon taking lesser breaks, be it rest time, photo breaks or even food breaks. Till the time we could keep moving we kept riding. The weather was pleasant, not too sunny not to cloudy, a nice breezy April morning. Around 10:15am we reached Rangia town and this is where we decided to stop for our breakfast. Quickly got inside a restaurant just next to the highway, ordered plain paratha, aloo sabji and two cups of tea. Finishing our food didnít take much time and after some 20 mins we wanted to started our ride but just when we were about to leave a passerby informed us that the rear tyre might have a puncture as it is completely flat. On inspection Atul could feel that the tyre got a puncture somewhere, must be fixed immediately as air pressure was continuously hissing out from the tyre, and luckily there was a puncture repair shop right next to the restaurant. Even though we had our puncture kit, we thought why to open up the bags when there is shop so close by. Atul pulled the bike up to him, he cleaned the entire rear tyre and could easily spot the hole made by a nail. Took some 5-7mins to fix the puncture and just to be on the safer side, he helped us check the complete rear tyre once again. He also did a quick check on the front tyre as well, which was very well intact till now. Around 11am we resumed our ride.

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Amazingly magnificent & enchantingly awesome North East India - A 10,000 km Ride!-345.jpg

We kept on riding for the next couple of hours, crossing towns, villages, lush green fields and snaking river streams. Most sections of the highway by now, have also been repaired, fresh tarmac being laid down, and so the road conditions were much better than what it was some 15 days ago. With no rains happening from last few days helped the water puddles and slush to dry up as well. By almost 1pm we crossed Assam state and entered West Bengal through Alipurduar. The ride through the green tea estates at Dooars, Malbazar, the forest spreading all along the highway and the bright blue clear sky, this helped us keep moving forward without breaks until we reached Chalsa to take our first petrol break for the day.

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Amazingly magnificent & enchantingly awesome North East India - A 10,000 km Ride!-340.jpg
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Around 3:45pm both of us started feeling hungry and agreed to stop for our lunch. We had another 50kms left to reach our stay today. Atul booked our hotel in Siliguri yesterday while we were at home. A local restaurant was still serving lunch so we stopped for some food, ordered two chicken thali with omelet and as usual, two cups of tea. After food, we relaxed for a while and then by 4:30pm Atul started the bike once again. Being a Sunday the traffic entering and exiting Sevok and Siliguri was too much, with vehicles queued up in long stretches, thankfully a bike can squeeze through most of the gaps.

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Amazingly magnificent & enchantingly awesome North East India - A 10,000 km Ride!-337.jpg

We reached our stay, Hotel Golden Inn around 5:30pm after braving the jam-packed highway traffic. This is a nice cozy, well-maintained budget hotel here in Siliguri right on the Sevok Road. For a Deluxe AC room, we paid Rs 1007 for a night. Atul finished all the check in formalities, unloaded the bags from Hulk and we got inside our room. The hotel staff helped us getting some of our luggage to our room. While we settled down, got freshened up, Atul gave order for two cups of tea and some french fries. In some 20mins, the guy got our tea and snacks.

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In the next couple of hours, Atul and I just relaxed inside the hotel room, gave order for our dinner, roti, dal fry and chicken curry, worked on our pictures and videos for a while, chatted for some time. The hotel folks served our dinner around 9:30pm. We finished our food and agreed to sleep early. With more long tiring rides coming up in the next three days, all we could do was sleep as much as possible whenever we get time. 10:30pm and both of us went to sleep.
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Old 7th October 2018, 13:13   #29
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Day 24 (Siliguri to Kolkata Ė 575kms)

Today was another day when we had to wake up early and start our ride as soon as possible. Both of us got up around 5:45am and a quick glimpse into the world outside, it was too gloomy and cloudy. Nonetheless, we got ready, geared up, packed all our bags and exited from our room. There wasnít any check out formalities so we just handed over the key at the reception. Just when we were about to load our bags onto Hulk, the rear tyre was once again completely flat. This disappointed both of us as we wanted to start the ride as soon as possible. We took an empty bottle, filled water and got down to clean the tyre up and look for the puncture. Though we checked the full circumference of the tyre we couldnít locate the exact spot. After trying some more time, we decided to give up and fill air into the tyre using the inflator and keep looking out for puncture shop while we keep riding on the highway. Losing almost close to half an hour on this, we started our ride towards Kolkata at around 6:45am.

Early morning and less traffic, made it easy to cross Siliguri and reach the highway. But the sky above us looked extremely scary with dark black rain clouds hovering all over the area (one of Atulís biker friend who stays in Purnia already warned him of heavy rain prediction between Siliguri and Purnia). It would certainly rain and looks like it will pour down very heavily. True to our notion, as soon as we reached Bagdogra it started to drizzle and from a distance we could see that the intensity of rain would go up higher. We stopped at a road side shelter to wear our rain gears and it was a wise decision as it started pouring down too heavily that riding on such conditions was highly impossible. While we wore our rain gears and waited out till the rain subsided a bit, here also we wasted close to 30mins. This would eventually mean reaching Kolkata really late as Google Maps was already indicating that we would reach only around 10pm in the night. Around 8am the heavy rain converted into mild drizzles and thatís when we agreed to resume our ride.

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With too much of water on the highway, dirty muddy water being splashed on us continuously by heavy trucks, we almost got covered in enough dirt already. The highway became too slippery and Atul had to be extremely careful on riding in these conditions. Slowly as we moved ahead, the sky started to clear up and we could see glimpse of blue sky. In no time we crossed Kishanganj town and finally reached Purnia and then to Naugachia Zero Mile point from where we had to take diversion inside Bhagalpur town and head towards Dumka. Before going any further Atul and I decided to quickly stop by at a local line hotel and have our breakfast, both were quite hungry by now. We got inside a place which was serving just rice and chicken, we didnít want to waste more time and think any further, we ordered two plates of Murga Bhaat (Chicken Rice) as they popularly call in Bihar. We ordered two cups of piping hot tea as well. After food and tea, we took some time to clean our rain gears which got too dirty due to the rains, and around 11am we started our ride. On our way we took a quick petrol break and Atul did a quick check on the tyre pressure, it was fine till now.

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By 12 noon we entered Bhagalpur town, apparently it rained the whole of previous night and most section of the town roads were covered with puddles of water as a result many roads were blocked and traffic diverted to some other internal roads. One such road which was connecting us to the town bypass was fully covered with water and it was difficult for us to gaze the depth, I got down off the bike and let Atul do the maneuvering. Unluckily, Atul couldnít see a stone beneath his tyres and just when we were about to cross that, he lost balance and the bike fell towards his right. Thankfully the super awesome quality of Dirtsackís Frogman saddle bag didnít let a single drop of water penetrate through the bags, despite being half submerged under water. Even the tank bag got drenched a bit, but no damage to any of our stuff or even to Hulk. Atul was perfectly fine as well. The only problem we faced was to lift up the bike, some of the locals came forward and help us lift the bike. Atul took the bike towards the side of the road and checked if all things were fine and intact. With nothing much to worry, we took some time to relax and in next 10 mins we started our ride, the fall unnecessarily attracted unwanted locals attention and people started to gather around us and give us looks. To avoid any more attention, we left immediately.

The roads leading towards Dumka via Hansdiha is now in a much better shape compared to what it was some 15 days ago with most of the road construction work almost done. This made our ride smooth and cover distance in lesser time with all the repaired highway. I guess only in some three to four places in this stretch of road, construction work is still happening and would take another few days to completely finish off. The only worry were cattle, cows, and even humans coming from all directions, all the time we had to be utterly cautious to not hit someone or something unknowingly. From Dumka a little more ahead and we entered the Jharkhand state around 3:45pm. Even here most part of the roads were repaired and almost finished with the construction work.

It was around 4:15pm in the evening that we entered the West Bengal state and reached Asansol, from here we took diversion towards the highway, a full-fledged four lane highway from here on after a really long time. Both of us were delighted to have reached the highway as we can now cover more distance in lesser time. Kept riding for some time until we realized Hulk needed a petrol refill, even both of our stomach needed a refill too. We stopped at a petrol bunk to tank up Hulk first and then a little ahead we stopped at a local restaurant by the highway to have some tea and snacks. We had jhal muri (Bengali version of Bhel Puri), Lengcha (some kind of famous Bardhaman sweet), samosa and tea (the tea was so good, served on the kulhads, both of us ended up finishing 8 cups of tea in total). This is where Atul booked our stay for today as well, at OYO Guru Kripa. We called up hotel folks to mention that we might be a little late in checking in. They mentioned not to worry as reception will be open till 11pm. We also placed our order for dinner for two people, whatever was available for the day.

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As soon as we reached the city limits of Kolkata, the traffic started piling up due to large vehicles and heavy trucks queued up along the highway. To our surprise we reached Kolkata much ahead of the time predicted by G Maps, may be mostly due to the good section of roads we got in Bihar and Jharkhand. Braving the city traffic we reached the New Town area of Kolkata where our OYO room was located. This is where the Biswa Bangla Gate or Kolkata Gate is located, a project initiated as part of beautification of the Bengal state. Locating the hotel wasnít difficult and around 9:45pm we were in the premise of the hotel. This was an OYO hotel or rather an apartment in between a residential area, converted into a hotel. As soon as we reached the place two caretakers came to open the gate for us so that we can park Hulk inside. Most annoying of all thing was they started asking us our ID proofs just as we reached the place, kept on asking all sorts of questions like who we are, where are we from, why travel by bike, what ID proofs we have, are we married, etc. This was quite frustrating, not that we didnít want to answer them but they should have minimum decency to let us in and settle down before bombarding with so many queries. Atul finally lost it and gave them a piece of his mind. Thatís when they mellowed down and apologized for their behavior.

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The stay was quite well maintained, clean and had nice rooms. Since we wanted something which is in the ground floor, luckily we got the biggest room available on that floor, it was too spacious. So for a deluxe AC room with so much extra space, we paid Rs 985 which was a great deal I believe. We unloaded the bags, completed all the check in formalities, got our room and settled inside. While we got freshened up and relaxed, the folks got our food as well, rice, dal, aloo fry, chicken curry, papad and some curd. The food tasted well and felt like homemade.

After dinner, Atul and I spent some time cleaning our bags, gears and other stuff which must have gone dirty on the way. Few moments of relaxation and around 11pm both of us decided to go to sleep. We have yet another long ride to do the next day.
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Old 8th October 2018, 21:23   #30
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Day 25 (Kolkata to Visakhapatnam Ė 880kms)

The more we were getting closer to home, the distance to cover each day went on increasing and today our ride was between Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, which comprised of almost close to 900kms. Both of us woke up around 6am in the morning. Quickly took bath, got ready, geared up and before we loaded all the bags on to Hulk, Atul decided to do a quick chain lube. I helped him with cleaning and lubing the chain while he held the bike for me. Once this was done, I helped him fasten all the bags onto the bike and somewhere around 6:45am in the morning, we started our long day ride. Today being a national holiday due to May Day (1st May), traffic on city roads was relatively less and it didnít take much time for us to go through the city and reach the expressway/highway.

After crossing the city limit, we were just about to enter the expressway to connect the highway. There were no signage mentioning that the expressway is only for four wheelers and two wheelers need to refrain from using it. With no clue, we kept going ahead, only after 1.5kms to realize that the expressway restricts entry of two and three wheelers, there was a tiny board mentioning the same. We had to take U-turn and come back to the junction from where we could connect the usual highway. Around 7:15am we were riding on the highway and until we stop for breakfast we decided to keep on riding and cover as much distance possible. Right from the time we started the ride, Atul was feeling a bit of wobbling effect from the tyres but then the air pressure looked perfectly fine and the tyres werenít flat at all.

By 9am we crossed Kharagpur town and hunger started to kick in. We agreed to stop at the next restaurant which comes up and have our food. Stopped at a dhaba having the most typical name ĎA1 Dhabaí along the highway, ordered our food, puri sabji, bread butter toast, aloo paratha and tea. Food was really delicious, something good that we ate after leaving home in Guwahati. A break of 45mins, we were just about to resume our ride, but then suddenly the guard of the restaurant mentioned us that the rear tyre is flat out. Another puncture was the last thing we were expecting at this time, but as mentioned earlier Atul had that hunch that we might have a flat tyre soon. The guard mentioned that there is a puncture repair shop around 1km away and he would be able to fix it for us. Somehow we rode for 1km and found the shop. The guy asked us to remove some of the bags from the bike so that he can have a better look and locate the puncture. Atul and I cleared some of the bags from Hulk, and the guy started to examine the rear tyre inch by inch. He was quite efficient and found out two punctures along the tyre. Quickly he fixed both the holes and filled in air into both the front and rear tyres. It took us sometime to load all the bags and fasten them securely. After fixing the tyres, Atul and I felt a bit relief and in next 10mins we both resumed our ride (by now there were lot of people who gathered around the place and kept looking at us, we always want to avoid such unwanted attention). We did a quick pit-stop for petrol before moving ahead.

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The weather today was a bit sultry with sun being too harsh, after many days we were experiencing such a hot and humid day. On top of it, it was the boring endless highway which was going on and on. By 11:30am we crossed West Bengal border and entered Odisha via Jaleswar. From now on we had to be utterly careful because of vehicles coming onto the same right lane from opposite side, moving cattle and cows here and there. With lesser breaks we kept on riding and crossed Balasore, Bhadrak, and Cuttack and to reach Bhubaneshwar outskirts around 2pm. While on our way towards Kolkata, we saw the line-up of famous Pahala rasgullas shops but couldnít wait due to lack of time. This time Atul really wanted to stop here and taste those sweets which are so world famous. So we took a break from our long lasting ride and stopped at one such sweet shop.

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Amazingly magnificent & enchantingly awesome North East India - A 10,000 km Ride!-357.jpg

Between Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar, there is a small place called Pahala, where almost fifty to sixty sweet shops on each side of the highway for nearly hundred meters Ė this place is the rasgulla hub of Odisha. These rasgullas are sweeter, the syrup thicker and they last longer due to high sugar content in it. They melt in the mouth, very light and costs between Rs10 to Rs20. Atul easily did some binge eating and finished some 10-12 in one go. Sweets are not my thing but just to taste I could hardly gulp in one, this was the sweetest thing I ever had in recent time. It immediately gave me a high sugar rush. Done with tasting the rasgullas we decided to move further ahead on our journey.

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Riding for little further ahead we reached the beautiful Chilika Lake around 3pm. To view this marvelous landscape once again was quite refreshing after such a tiring ride. This time we were on the other side of the highway and just in a flow of time we recollected that 23 days back we were on the opposite side. Time does change the course of our journey all the time. Coincidentally Hulk completed 25k kms on the ODO here. We spent some time here enjoying the view, relaxing for a bit and then starting our ride towards entering Andhra, which we did by 5pm at Ichchapuram. We kept moving ahead till the point where we both got really hungry and decided to stop for some food. Though it was around 6:30pm, and not a time for either lunch or dinner, so we had to settle for snacks and tea. We halted at a road side dhaba and ordered some panner pakodas and tea. we had our food and a couple of college kids started interacting with us, asking about our ride till now, experiences, bike details, etc. It was a good relaxing time we badly needed after riding so long. This is here as well, when Atul checked into the OYO app and searched for our hotel to stay in Visakhapatnam. We got a good deal at an OYO stay but was somewhere towards the outskirts of the city, not that we mind as it was only for the night and we would start real early in the morning.

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Amazingly magnificent & enchantingly awesome North East India - A 10,000 km Ride!-360.jpg
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Done with food and booking the stay, we bid goodbye to those kids and started with our remaining part of the ride, we had another 180kms to reach our hotel. It was also time to tank up Hulk, luckily there was a petrol bunk right next to the dhaba. From here on we rode continuously until we were just about to reach the city of Vizag. One of my colleague who was already here informed earlier that there was heavy rain predicted in the city for the next few days but luckily we didnít get any rain on our way and the sky was perfectly clear. Google Maps took us to our stay located at the newly established and developed Rushikonda locality of Visakhapatnam. The area was filled with new apartments, colleges, schools, IT tech parks and hospitals. Some interior roads led us to the place OYO SRK Grand, once again an apartment turned into a hotel. This complex was newly constructed as the looks of it suggested, had ample space for parking, well maintained and clean rooms. Atul finished all the check in formalities, we got our room, unloaded the bike with all the bags and got settled. It was almost 9:30pm in the evening. We paid Rs 862 for a deluxe AC room for one night.

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Both of us were totally exhausted to go out and have our dinner, so we requested if the hotel folks could arrange some food for us. They happily obliged and asked us for the order, we took chicken biriyani, rotis and egg curry. While it took some 30mins for them to go get our food, both of us took shower, freshened up and made arrangements for our longest ride till date, to reach home. We took out bare minimum clothes and stuff for the night so that we hardly have to pack anything for next day. Food came in around 10pm, we ate and immediately went to bed by 10:30pm. With almost close to 1200kms to be covered in a day tomorrow, it was important to get some good sleep.
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