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Old 13th February 2019, 20:50   #1
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Default The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!

Prologue

“The impulse to travel is one of the most hopeful symptoms of life”

I guess for Atul and me, the love for travelling and exploring places is so intense that all the time we think about is which place to go next. We constantly find ourselves seeking the next adventure trip, indulge on prospects of going somewhere different, seeing unfamiliar things and that feeling is just so exhilarating, both to our hearts and souls. It always keeps us sane and motivated from the mundane 9 to 5 work life. It's extremely important to look at new places not as what you can bring to them, but as what they can bring to us. It is a challenge for all travelers like us to be open-minded as we travel and let each destination change and inspire us.

Right after our North East India ride, we kept some cool-off periods from long trips, in order to save up some money and accumulate leaves for the next ride/drive. We, however, kept on doing some small rides/drives here and there over the weekends, without taking much leaves. While we kept a low profile, Atul was already planning our next long ride. This time we were considering going to Bhutan. December is generally considered as the lean month where office work gets a little lesser and it’s the time when we can actually take a breather (I truly believe it is a myth as for me the concept of lean month doesn’t exist at all in my line of work). Atul’s office generally gives the last week of December until the 1st of Jan as paid forced holidays, known as Golden Week. So it was easier for him to plan trips during those days, I however, have to inform 2-3 months in advance if I’m about to take a long vacation.

Atul started planning for Bhutan ride from the month of September. Reading up all Bhutan travelogues, gathering as much information possible in regards to best routes, road conditions, entry permits, places to visit, where to do night pit-stops, day-wise destinations, etc. I must say he is really good at planning all our trips and they are almost near perfect plans, few hiccups here and there maybe, as humans can’t predict future unforeseen situations. One rule for entering Bhutan which was bothering us too much, that there are some regulations where-in Bhutan government doesn’t allow entry of solo travelers or like in our case, a single bike into their country. Not sure how true or effective that rule is, but somehow Atul could figure out that authorities do allow single bike entry only if you have valid stay/hotel details and how best you can convince them. But somehow both of us were dicey. We didn’t want to take the risk of traveling all the way and the last thing we would need is to get stranded on the border having nowhere to go. Moreover it will be December so our second option, Sikkim would have been covered in snow, especially northern Sikkim. Atul tried getting information from fellow riders who rode to Bhutan few months back, but they were all half-baked information.

With this uncertainty, both of us kept pondering if we really wanted to do Bhutan this time. Having already done the same route till Siliguri and still reminiscing the memories of North East India ride, a terrain more or less similar, finally, towards the end of October, we decided to drop the idea of doing Bhutan. We kept it parked for a later stage. Now, we needed a fresh new plan and destination as letting go off New Year without riding/driving was just not going down well. Atul had few places in mind but those were some mostly the ones where we had already been and I wanted to do some new locations. Discussion, debate, and deliberation, our bottom line was to touch some place brand new. One of Atul’s friend who is also a Versys owner (Jayanth) was in Amritsar for vacation with family, and his pictures of Golden Temple, Wagah Border, etc. were quite tempting. In an instant, Atul and I could sense our next ride can be towards Amritsar. It was the month of December and winter in North started pretty early this time, which means we would encounter cold conditions while our ride. But after riding across snow covered Arunachal Pradesh we were somewhat determined to brave the winter in the North. The cold weather, vast spread of yellow mustard fields, morning breeze and above all the lip smacking mouthwatering food of Punjab, all these were too precious to be ignored and not go on exploring the northern part of India. And hence, our ride plan was almost finalized and we were going all the way up till Amritsar, oh wait! Wagah Border to be precise.

Amritsar is indisputably one of India’s most alluring food destinations and if there is one street food that is ubiquitous and symbolic to this city, it has to be its famous Chole Kulche. It is this comforting and delicious flavor that has made its way in to the hearts of millions of Indians and foreign tourists as well. It truly qualifies to be a delicious meal all by itself and we decided to rightfully call it the “Chole Kulche Ride”.

The next thing Atul did was to chuck the Bhutan plan, park it for a while and get started with the planning of Amritsar ride. He did a lot of readings, Google search on the best routes, places to visit, hotel and other safety and parking related stuff, day-wise destinations and other required information. A route done by many bikers, finding all details wasn’t difficult at all. And thus, our day-wise plan for this ride was almost about to be firmed up, that we got an invitation from Amruthesh, our friend. His marriage was round the corner and he came home to invite us for the wedding which was supposed to be held in Udupi. He is one of our close friends and missing his big day wouldn’t be a great idea. This would mean tweaking our trip a bit to adjust Udupi as one of our first stop-over, attend his marriage and then continue our journey. For a fellow biker friend, I think we could definitely do this much. We informed him that we would be present for his D Day.

Unlike our North East India ride, where we decided to book hotels on the go, this time we didn’t want to take any chance considering the Christmas and New Year time, Atul preferred to book our stay well in advance. So, almost a month before the actual ride day, we sat together and reserved all our hotels. Most of the hotels were OYO properties, we felt they were good, hygienic, and have adequate space for parking, professional and overall good management staff. Here is a list of all the hotels we stayed (along with fare for each night):

• Udupi – Sai Residency (no need to pay as booked by Amruthesh for 2 nights)
• Mumbai – OYO 13308 Nest Inn (Rs 2852 for 2 nights in a Deluxe AC room)
• Vadodara – Hotel Skylight (Rs 1281 for 1 night in a Deluxe AC room)
• Udaipur – Hotel Saheli Palace (Rs 1912 for 1 night in a Deluxe AC room)
• Delhi – no stay required, as my brother stays here
• Amritsar – Hotel 49 (Rs 2387 for 2 nights in a Deluxe AC room)
• Delhi – no stay required, as my brother stays here
• Jhansi – OYO 26627 K3 Club Residency (Rs 1881 for 1 night in a Deluxe AC room)
• Nagpur – OYO 10943 Hotel Plus Corporate (Rs 1056 for 1 night in a Deluxe AC room)

Apart from Sai Residency, all other hotels were good, friendly, had parking space for a big bike and quite accommodating. No major hiccups at all this time in our ride with regards to stay. Will mention more details about the hotels during day-wise travelogue.

Post hotel booking, another important thing to do was to get some tweaking done to Hulk and make it ready for the ride. Though the distance to be covered was less, it is always very important to keep Hulk fit and fine for unknown roads. Hulk needed less pampering and Atul just had to get new tyre (front) – Pirelli MT60RS worth Rs 10,000. Along with this minor upgrade, Hulk got a general checkup done here in Bangalore which included checking all the fluid levels, brakes, cables and nut bolts, costing approx. Rs 3,500. This would be enough for Hulk for this ride.

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Coming to the amount we spent during the ride, the total expense was Rs 46,991 (excluding bike service and tyre change). A quick break-up is mentioned below:
Petrol for 13 days – Rs 17,976
Food for 2 people – Rs 14,485
Hotel (6 hotels) – Rs 12569
Miscellaneous (tickets, parking, shopping, etc.) – Rs 1,708
Toll – Rs 253
Total – Rs 46,991

As the days came closer for the ride to begin, the other important thing to do was the packing and prepare the check list of stuff to be carried along with us for this trip. With busy schedule during weekdays, all we had were the weekends with us to do all arrangements. The North East India ride checklist came quite handy and we could easily do our packing of clothes, stuff to carry and other necessary items. The idea was to travel as light as possible but given the fact that it was winter, we had to carry some of our warm clothes to beat the cold. Luckily, this time I had my riding pants and boots which means carrying lesser number of jeans and footwear.

This time we also made customized tee shirts for Atul and myself very specific to the ride. We collected some images for Statue of Unity, Wagah Border and Amritsar Golden Temple to be used as collage and used on the first side of the tee whereas the backside had #cholekulcheride and our respective names. We got it made through Vistaprint.in website and the charges were Rs 450 per shirt. Atul worked on the design, submitted the order and the product was delivered within 1 week. Cloth material was really good (for guys they have dry-fit polyester material however, for girls they have the normal tee shirt cotton fabric). We decided to get all our custom tee shirts prepared from this website going forward.

The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-whatsapp-image-20190314-3.19.13-pm-1.jpg
The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-whatsapp-image-20190314-3.19.13-pm.jpg

The list included items like bare minimum clothes to survive 13 days (mostly warm clothes, dry fits, extra jeans, extra towels, etc.), extra pair of shoes, socks, sleeping bags, slippers, marriage certificate Xerox (we always carry this paper with us), passports, tool kit, puncture kit and electric inflator, chain lube and cleaners, rain gear, medicines (fever, cough, cold, stomach ache, headache, stool, bandages, crape bandages, motion sickness pills), gloves to wear during extreme cold weather, all electronic items and their chargers, toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizers, hand wash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, comb, sunscreen, body lotion, lip balm, lens solution, etc.), torch or flash light, Bluetooth speakers (this was to listen to music when we are bored), some snacks (some biscuits, quick bites, etc. This we refilled along our journey), tissues (both wet and dry), sunglasses and anti-glare glasses, cloth cleaning soap (just in case we need to do some quick laundry), scissors, Swiss knife, a spoon and a glass, thermometer, notepad and a pen.

Our luggage setup for the ride was the usual what we carry for all our rides, Dirtsack Frogman saddle bags, Rynox Optimus Tank Bag and one extra empty back-pack (would strap this with bungees in case we have more stuff while returning). One major addition Atul did this time was by buying the Hepco Becker Xplorer Aluminum Top Case for Hulk. This made our life so much easier, not having to fasten the Viaterra Raptor tail bag all the time with bungees while loading and unloading it from the bike. It is a complete water proof case, having a solid metal rack to securely tighten towards the grab rails and holding weight upto 5kgs (apart from the weight of the box). We used it for storing all our electronic gadgets, charging cables, sleeping bags, puncture kit and some clothes.

Some quick bytes from our ride:

Riders: Atul and I (pillion)
Bike: Kawasaki Versys 650
Dates: 26th December 2018 to 7th January 2019 (13 days)
Route taken: BTM > Hassan > Shiradi Ghats > Udupi > Kumta > Yellapur > Belgaum > Mumbai > Vadodara > Ahmedabad > Udaipur > Jaipur > Delhi > Amritsar > Delhi > Agra > Jhansi > Nagpur > Hyderabad > BTM
Distance covered: 6500 kms approx.
Total expenditure (for two people) – Rs 46,991


The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-4.jpg

Last edited by nandita_bayan21 : 14th March 2019 at 15:22.
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Old 13th February 2019, 21:45   #2
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Default re: The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!

Day 1 – 26/12/2018 - BTM to Udupi - 425kms (BTM > Hassan > Shakleshpur > Shiradi > Mangalore > Udupi)

The day before our ride was Christmas but I had to go to work on that day considering I took my share of leave on Diwali (yeah, that’s how it was, choose between Diwali and Christmas). Anyhow, the pressure of packing was less because we did our packing well in advance and all we had to do was arrange our luggage accordingly. Hulk was serviced, washed, tanked up, air pressure was checked and he was all set for the ride. And, so were we. Since our destination today wasn’t very far, we thought of having some good sleep the previous night and start the ride somewhere around 6am in the morning.

By 5am both of us were up, got ready, geared up and went to the parking lot to load Hulk. A final check inside the house to securely lock all doors, windows and switch off all switches, plugs, sharp at 6am Atul revved up Hulk and we finally started our Chole Kulche Ride. Though we expected it to be quite cold considering a December winter morning, the weather was very pleasant and not very chilly. In no time, we crossed Bannerghatta Road, took Nice Road (paid toll of Rs 48) until Tumkur Road exit and rode towards Nelamangala. We did encounter some fog floating around the open lands on both sides of Nice Road and this morning view was really fascinating. The traffic was also sparse, mostly trucks trying to hurry up and exit city limits in the wee hours of morning.

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The best part of riding solo is that we can ride at our own speed limits, take breaks only when needed and cover as much distance as possible. Both of us kept riding continuously with hardly one or two breaks in between and around 8:30am stop at the A2B just before reaching Hassan. This is where we decided to have our breakfast stop and relax for a while. It was very crowded, but we could easily get our table for two. We ordered ghee masala dosa, idly vada, chow chow bath and two cups of tea. Done with food, at 9am we started to ride once again and within next few minutes we were by-passing Hassan town and going towards Shakleshpur. The weather was getting a little hotter by now but being a winter morning it wasn’t very unpleasant. With dark green coffee plantation all along the sides of the highway, the view was splendid but I’m personally more of a tea estate person than a coffee. The joy of starting a long ride, hitting the highway once again was immense and we thoroughly loved every bit of the ride till now. Around 10:30am we entered Shiradi ghat roads. After being closed for almost six to seven months for re-pair work due to heavy rains and landslides, the roads are now are in pretty good condition, a mix of well laid tarmac and concrete sections. The last time we took this road, it was in terrible state with numerous potholes and completely broken tarmac for the entire stretch.

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The mountain ranges in the far distance, tall forest trees, nicely spread green vegetation, a stream of running river water, blue sky, sun kissed atmosphere and the free flowing wind, and all these were making the ride pleasant. Luckily being a weekday, there was less traffic on the highway as well. Both Atul and I prefer Charmadi ghat over Shiradi but then today was a different story, we were enjoying the good roads, the great nature and the awesome vibes. We stopped at a nice location, to get some clicks and enjoy the surroundings. It was almost close to 12:30pm in the noon, and time for a quick pit-stop of tanking up Hulk. We were some 25-30kms away from Mangalore and stopped by at a BP petrol bunk. Along with re-fueling the bike, we also took a small break for 10mins to relax our muscles, get refreshed and start the journey ahead.

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At 1:30pm we entered the outskirts of Mangalore city and by now the hot humid weather started to sip in. The weather was no longer pleasant due to hot wind and harsh sunlight. There was also some traffic we faced while trying to exit the town and get back on to the highway towards Udupi. The only delight we had on the way were the backwaters on both sides of the road, tall grown coconut trees, and the blue water rippling through the surface. We had to make few stops to drink water and keep ourselves hydrated as the weather was too sultry and exhausting. An hour more and we entered Udupi town around 3pm. Our stay for today was booked by one of Amruthesh’s friend at Hotel Sai Residency, right behind the government bus depot. GMaps gave us a bit of a hard time in locating the exact place of the hotel. We enquired with some locals, who finally told us the correct location.

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Hotel Sai Residency is a budget hotel, well connected with the bus stand. Not very well maintained and very difficult for people who come by cars, as parking space is very less, behind an alley consisting of many local shops. There is nothing special about this hotel, just a place to rest for the night. Not sure how much the room cost was but the room we got (non AC room) had all the basic stuff and above all, the bathrooms were clean. It took a while for us to find a safe place in order to park Hulk and avoid unwanted attention. Post this, we went upstairs towards the reception, Atul completed all the check-in formalities and got the room keys. We unloaded the bags, took it up and settled down inside the room. This is when we had a reality check – it was boiling hot in this city. The temperature was indicating a max of 33°C with a soaring humidity level. Both of us were sweating like pigs and became restless, fan was on with full speed but guess that was not at all enough. We gave a quick call to Amruthesh to let him know about our arrival and that we checked into the hotel. He welcomed us to a hot and humid Udupi.

It was almost 4:15pm by now and we didn’t have our lunch yet. With nothing much to do in the evening, we decided to head towards Malpe Beach, have some food and spend the rest of the day there. The beach was just 6kms away from our stay. Once we reached the location, we felt like it was a wrong decision to come here. The place was jam-packed with tourists and the beach was overcrowded as hell. As mentioned earlier, I’m not very comfortable amidst such big crowd. Reluctantly, Atul parked Hulk alongside other two wheelers and the shiny green color already started to attract crowd. Nothing much that we could do, we left Hulk and took a stroll alongside the beach shops to grab some food. There wasn’t much to eat, mostly fish fry and some other fast food joints. I’m not a fish person so we had to settle for some place serving chicken or egg. We stopped at a restaurant and ordered some chicken manchurian, chicken fried rice and two cups of tea. The food was super spicy, too oily and looked like someone just removed half cooked food from the fireplace and served it to us. Somehow we gulped down the horrible food, paid bills and started walking towards the beach.

The sun was just about to set into the horizon and the golden sky was looking mesmerizingly breathtaking. But the scene on the beach was quite different, full of tourists, chaos everywhere, running and screaming of crowd, people enjoying all the water activities like zorbing, parasailing, ATV rides/drives, windsurfing, kite playing, horse riding, etc. Amidst these chaotic patterns, Atul and I took some photos of the sea, of things around and enjoyed the view ahead of us.

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The sunset wasn’t a perfect one today due to clouds hovering around the horizon. Post sunset we waited a bit more to enjoy the golden hour, click some pics and then decided to return back to our hotel. It was already a tiring day. Somehow I was still feeling hungry, given the fact that I hardly ate anything. Atul got the bike near a shop (thankfully, Hulk was in one piece, everything intact), which was selling Frankie rolls and ice creams. We ordered two chicken egg rolls and two matka kulfis. This was good and quite filling.

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Around 6:45pm we left Malpe and headed towards hotel. For a distance of 6kms, GMaps was showing a congestion of 45mins. Apparently, there was a devotional procession happening at the nearby temple and thousands of people have gathered around to see it. All roads leading to and away from the temple were blocked and we had to wait out till it was over. The procession showed some Ram-Leela associated with Ramayana. By the time all of it was done, it was already 7:45pm and there was too much traffic everywhere. Somehow we managed to reach our stay in the next 20mins. Despite the sunset, there was no drop in temperature and it continued to remain superbly hot and humid. It was as if we were pushed inside a burning furnace and suffer till all the juice inside us squeezed out. I could still survive this heat but Atul was totally freaking out (he is more of a cold winter person). Not that we wanted to have our dinner but we thought to order at least something so as to not starve ourselves during night.

Atul called up the hotel reception and requested for the food menu to order. The guy came in the next couple of minutes, we ordered kori rotis, tandoori rotis, dal fry and some buttermilk for dinner. He mentioned that preparation would take a while and we can expect our food somewhere around 9:30-10pm. It was all the great, later the better. Meanwhile, we tried to relax under the full speed fan, which looks like it is about to fall on us any moment. A bit of chit-chat, doing here and there, killing sometime, till was already 10pm and the dinner arrived inside our room.

I ate a little, Atul finished the remaining food, and paid the dinner bills. Before hitting the bed, both us decided to take shower to beat the heat. It was around 11pm and we went to sleep. Tomorrow was a big day for Amruthesh, and we wanted to be a part of that!
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Old 14th March 2019, 15:55   #3
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Day 2 – 27/12/2018 – At Udupi – 32kms

Muhuratam for Amruthesh’s marriage was somewhere around 11am in the morning which means we had some time extra today to get good sleep and relax. However, the burning heat was making our life so miserable that it was getting difficult to sleep peacefully in that close compact room. I guess we still overslept and woke up around 9:30am. We quickly got ready and ordered for some breakfast (hotel restaurant was already closed for so we had to get it ordered from outside). A boy got us two plates of idlis, a plate of puri sabji and two cups of tea. Despite the quantity was less for two people, we somehow managed with the food knowing that we will anyway have good food at the marriage reception. The weather outside was making us too lousy to do anything and the feeling of laziness got inside us. We wasted some more time, lying down on the bed doing nothing until it was almost 11 am and it was high time for us to get up, get ready and head out towards the marriage hall.

I quickly got our clothes pressed, took shower, got ready and around 12noon headed out for the venue. As expected the Sun was at its full glow making it hot like hell and get us all sweaty. Atul decided to take an auto to the venue rather than riding Hulk. The Kalyan Mantap was around 5kms away from the hotel and it took us some 10mins to reach there. By the time we reached, the ceremony was just towards its last leg and almost about to end. We were greeted by Amruthesh’s family member and they made us feel at home. We waited for the ceremony to get over, we could go and meet the newlywed couple. Another 30mins and finally the pundit concluded the marriage. Amruthesh, our friend, another one bites the dust, as the saying goes.

Next, we went on the podium, congratulated Amruthesh and his wife, clicked some pictures and by the time all this got over, we were invited to have lunch. In this heat, the last thing I wanted to do was eat but then the stomach had nothing to do how I felt because of the heat, all it wanted was food. One by one, the plantain leaf was getting filled with various kind of food items ranging from pickles, salt, sabji, rice, dal, sambar, veg pulao, panner curry, fruit custard, bhajjis, papad, rasam, sweet dishes and curd. I’m pretty sure I am still missing out on naming some more items. By the time we were done, my belly was almost on the verge of blasting out and I felt like a stuffed hippo. The lunch ended with folks handing us a packet consisting of a box full of local sweets. With so much food inside, all we wanted to do was sit under a fan, relax and let the digestive system do its job faster. Amruthesh and his wife went for lunch this time, we waited for a while for them to be done so that we can congratulate once again and head out towards our hotel.

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After an hour, the couple came out and by now both of us were in some condition to get ourselves out of the chair, walk towards them. We blessed the couple with warm regards, bid everyone goodbye and thanked Amruthesh for his hospitality. It was close to 3:15pm, we took an auto and headed for hotel. It was burning hot outside and all we wanted to do was get inside and lie down under the fan. With nothing much to do in the evening, Atul checked with me if I would be willing to go to Kapu beach and see the famous lighthouse. The last time we were in Udupi in 2015 we missed out on go to this beach and viewing the magnificent looking lighthouse. I agreed but only when it would be a little cooler (which never going to be the case) and after we have some rest for a while. Both of us decided to have a quick power nap and set the alarm for around 5pm.

Though I was reluctant at first to go out anywhere but then I didn’t want to miss out on seeing the lighthouse as well. So around 5:15pm both of us quickly got ready and headed out for Kapu Beach, some 16kms away from our stay. Before starting to ride, we got the chain of Hulk cleaned and lubed. Within some 20 mins we were at the beach parking lot, paid Rs 10 as parking fee and started walking on the alley which leads towards the sand beach.

Kaup or Kapu, whichever way you want to pronounce it, is very well known for its serene and pristine beauty, housing an old lighthouse that was apparently built sometime around 1901. From the top of the lighthouse, one can have a delightful view of the entire beach, seashore and the endless horizon, which is surely going to take your breath away. The crowd here was a bit lesser than Malpe and it seems to be quiet and peaceful. We waited for the sunset scene and once again, it wasn’t a complete view of sunset as there was a stack of cloud hovering on the horizon. Atul and I clicked some pictures, did some time lapse videos and enjoyed the view ahead of us. We decided to skip climbing up the lighthouse as the queue was already long and it was almost dark, we could have hardly seen anything. The beach also has some small shacks and eateries where one can sample bit of the local cuisine. We got inside one of those restaurants and ordered some gobi manchurian, sev puri, chat and fruit juice. Spent some time and around 6:30pm we left the place for our hotel.

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It took us 30mins to reach hotel due to city traffic. Once we reached, we relaxed for a while and agreed to do packing of all our stuff. Tomorrow morning, we have our ride to Mumbai and our plan was to start the ride as early as possible. Atul gave a very simple order for dinner – just a chicken fried rice and two glass of buttermilk. By 9pm the dinner was served inside our room, quickly I had some spoons, leaving rest for Atul and gulped down the buttermilk. All set with packing, having dinner, clearing out all bills and doing a quick check-out formality at the reception (not sure if anyone would be available when we check out in the morning), we were done for the day. It was 10pm, both of us got freshened up and hit the sack.
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Old 20th August 2019, 10:50   #4
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Day 3 – 28/12/2018 – From Udupi to Mumbai – 855kms (Udupi > Kumta > Yellapur > Haliyal > Kittur > Belgaum > Satara > Pune > Bhiwandi)

A long ride day ahead today so getting up early and starting the ride as soon as possible was the best option for us, in order to avoid late night entry into Mumbai city. Both of us woke up around 5am in the morning, quickly got freshened up, geared up, completed all the remaining packing and headed towards the basement to load the bike with luggage. Since there wasn’t anyone to provide the key, we left it in the front desk. By 6am we were done and our ride to Mumbai began. It was a pleasant morning ride, not much traffic as predicted and the atmosphere converted from a hot humid weather to a soothing cooler feeling as we rode ahead onto the highway.

Roads were in pretty good shape with few constructions happening here and there, occasional potholes and bumps. At 7:30am we reached the Maravanthe Beach road in Kundapura. The scenery from the highway was absolutely breathtaking, a place which can be best described as nature’s basket full of mesmerizing picturesque views of the wide oceanic horizon. We stopped here, enjoyed the view, clicked some pictures and decided to head ahead.

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We kept riding while making use of this less traffic morning time to cover as much distance possible. By 8:45am we reached Honnavar town and our plan was to have breakfast somewhere near Kumta. In the next 30mins we arrived at Kumta and agreed to halt for breakfast. Stopped at the same hotel (Hotel Panduranga International Kumta) where we stayed almost a year back during our New Year Ride to Kumta/Gokarna. Quickly ordered our food as both of us were famished. Being a little crowded, the food came in a bit late, we had Masala Dosa, Idly-Vada, Puri Sabji, Mangalore Buns and tea).

By 10am, done with our food, we resumed our ride and kept moving ahead on the Panvel – Kochi highway until we had to take a diversion and head towards Yellapur. Before the diversion we spotted a petrol bunk and Atul decided to tank up Hulk. From here the single lane road wasn’t in very good condition, it was broken on many parts, too many bumps and dusty, luckily the traffic was too sparse. We kept crossing towns like Yellapur, Haliyal until we reached Kittur around 1:30pm and touched the national highway towards Pune. We had another mammoth 530kms left out to reach our stay.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-667.jpg
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Nonetheless, we kept on riding on this never ending boring highway. Wintery afternoon helped dim the sunlight so the ride was thankfully pleasant. It was 3:15pm when we crossed the Karnataka state and entered Maharashtra. Our plan to stop for lunch right after exiting Kolhapur town. Within next 30mins we crossed the traffic mayhem of Kolhapur and kept looking for a place to eat. Found a local dhaba ‘Smile Stone’ with decent space to park the bike and have food. We ordered Mutton Rogan Gosh, Tandoori Rotis, Omelet and some tea). The food was really great and this was a much needed refreshing break to kill the monotony of riding on the un-enchanting highway. At 4:30pm we started riding again till we reached Satara and did a quick petrol as well as bio break.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-665.jpg
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Riding on Satara Pune highway is a bit difficult and stressful post sunset as cars move with real high speed with full high beams on. Atul kept maintaining a safe speed and not exert ourselves much despite knowing the fact that we would waste some time here and might reach our stay late. It was 8:30pm when we entered the Pune city and damn, the Friday evening traffic was just getting into our nerves. Almost an hour it took us to brave the city traffic and head towards the old Mumbai Pune highway. Though Hulk had sufficient petrol to take us till Mumbai, we felt it would be wise to fill up some petrol and be tension free on the way. Luckily, there was a small tea shop next to the petrol station, Atul and I decided to have two cups of tea before embarking on the remaining 150kms.

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The temperature was moderately cool and the ride amidst the highway was refreshing. Though both of us were a bit tired from the whole day riding, yet the main motive now was to keep moving ahead and reach our destination. We informed the hotel folks in advance about us coming in late, they were quite ok and told us not to worry about food when we reach, they could get food from the nearby dhabas which would be open till late night. I’m pretty sure this highway would be a visual treat during the day time, with options to take breaks and enjoy the nature, scenery but at this hour of night, stopping by was the last thing we wanted to do. So minute by minute and hour by hour we kept on riding till around 11:45 when we reached Navi Mumbai, followed by Thane and then Bhiwandi. The stretch of last 50kms as we entered Navi Mumbai were very torturous as the roads were in very bad conditions - dusty, full of potholes and completed occupied by heavy vehicles, trucks and night cabs traveling away from Mumbai. We were already exhausted by riding the whole day and this was the last thing we wanted on our menu. Anyway, kept our cool, tried to maneuver through the heavy traffic and made our way out in most of the cases.

Finally, it was 12:40am that we reached our stay, OYO Nest Inn in the Mumbai Nasik highway. Right beside the highway, Atul booked this hotel via OYO app, costing us Rs 2852 for 2 nights in a Deluxe AC Room. The stay is an ideal choice for budget hotel for travelers like us, offering fine services and well-maintained by trained, friendly and skillful OYO staff. Parking space is ample and we would park our bike right outside our room.

While Atul completed all the check-in formalities, I requested the staff to see if we can get some simple food to eat since we skipped our dinner just to reach here as soon as possible. The hotel folks told us not to worry about food as the dhaba next door was still open and we could get it delivered from there. Got our room, nice spacious, well-maintained, neat and clean, unloaded bags from the bike and settled in. Meanwhile we ordered some ghee rice, dal fry, plain rice and egg bhurji to be delivered to the room. As we waited for the food to come in, we arranged our stuff, got freshened up and started to relax. Within some 20mins dinner came, both of us pounced onto the food being so hungry and in no time all items were done, in our stomach. Nonetheless, the food was sumptuous too but was priced a bit high, that’s what we felt. But then no complains as getting to eat some food at this hour is more than enough.

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By 1:15am both of us retired for the day as a long riding day comes to an end. Tomorrow we would be staying in Mumbai itself and explore some places in and around. Time to say goodnight!
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Old 20th August 2019, 11:07   #5
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Day 4 - 29/12/2018 – Within Mumbai City – approx. 120kms

Our day started by 10am with a knock on the door by the hotel folks, when Atul suddenly remembered them saying previous night that the breakfast will be served only till 10am in the morning. The care taker informed us that we can get some food if we hurry up and come in the next 10mins. Atul woke me up, we quickly got freshened up and headed towards the dinning place to have our food. The cost for breakfast was Rs 100 per person and had a spread of bread butter, idly-chutney-sambar, kesari bhath and tea/coffee, not a bad deal for that amount.

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Post the breakfast, Atul and I spent some time checking Hulk, if everything is alright, cleaned it a bit, did some data transfer of pictures and videos onto the laptop, I arranged some our bags properly, couldn’t do it during the night when we reached. By now it was already 1pm in the noon and we decided to head out and see some places around Mumbai. Both of us took shower, got ready and around 2pm we started to ride from our stay and headed towards Bandra Worli Sea Link, a whopping 45kms from where we are staying. Most of our time got wasted in crossing the traffic between Bhiwandi and Thane, due to bumper to bumper jam. Tossing turning and moving ahead somehow we managed to clear the jam and started a smooth ride towards Bandra. We reached Western Expressway Highway in a while, which doesn’t allow two wheelers beyond the toll gates (as the expressway takes you to the Bandra Worli Sea Link where two wheelers is not allowed). So we had to take a U-turn there and take some other road to reach Bandra. The view of the sea and the sea link bridge from the road side was magnificently beautiful. To add on the beauty, it was a clear sky with hazy touch of orange clouds. We stopped at a safe location and clicked some pictures to remember the view later.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-675.jpg

By now both of us were royally hungry and badly wanted to have some food. Being a Saturday, each and every place was crowded and getting a table was getting almost impossible. After roaming around aimlessly for almost 20mins, finally we got a place called Café Sea Side, partially less crowded, didn’t have to wait long to get a table for two. This restaurant is located near Bandstand with a beautiful sea view which makes it a perfect place to relax, enjoy the view and have food. But it looked like the place was very poorly maintained, lazy staff (as it took 15mins for a half-hearted person to come and take our order) and lacked a bit in cleanliness. We didn’t have much choice as we wanted to get done with eating some food as soon as possible, it was already 4pm in the evening. Ordered some chicken cheese pizza, chicken noodles, pav bhaji and coffee. The food came in decent time but the taste wasn’t really great for the price one pays (not that they are exorbitantly high priced though). Nonetheless, we finished our food amidst chaos, noise, constant chattering of loud people talking amongst themselves but the only thing sane was the view of the vast sea and the cool breeze coming in. Surprisingly, being in such a prime location, the restaurant was not accepting cards, so had to pay them cash (luckily we had sufficient money to pay). Done with bill payment, we decided to take a walk and go towards the famous Bandra Fort from where we can view the sea, the sea link and a splendid setting sun. Parked Hulk in the parking lot of the café itself and we took the foot to reach the spot.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-691.jpg

A busy hustling bustling Saturday evening, hundreds of people walking the alley, hawkers selling food, drinks, other fancy items and the place looked all lively and colorful. A 5mins walk and we entered the Bandra Fort rocky beach or the Band Stand. This place looks like a paradise for people of all ages to enjoy the pleasant view, far away from the city life. It is a magnificent landmark, a must visit for all tourists from across the country to get a beautiful view of the sea, the sea link view from here is wonderful. Evening is the best time to come here with family and friends and enjoy the view, the sky, the sea and the picturesque view of the Sunset. It was already crowded being weekend, we walked around exploring the place, clicking pictures, taking some time lapse videos, etc. and seeing the time passing by. There were hundreds of photographers taking delight in clicking pictures of the Mumbai skyline, Sea Link Bridge, vast sea and their loved ones. We walked by the rocky surface and got hold of one fine place from where we could click sunset photos and take some videos.

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After spending and hour or so, it was almost 6pm and time for the sun to retire for the day and go below the horizon. The view that you get from this place of the Sun is actually to die for (provided it is a clear sky day). The setting Sun overcasts a blanket of golden veil on the surface of sea water and the multiple ripples of tides embraces it until getting hit by the rocks on the shore. The splash of tidal waves sometimes falls on your face, providing a sense of peace and tranquility, washing away all your tiredness and fatigue. This was one of the most memorable sight for me in the recent times and I would cherish it for ages to come. While the Sun was going down with a promise to come back tomorrow morning again, I clicked few pictures, Atul made some videos, time lapse and both of us indulged into this breathtaking view. Time was almost 6:20pm, Sun went home and the guards emerged from nowhere demanding everyone to leave the place as they would close the gates for the day. We obliged and started walking towards Hulk, an evening well-spent until now.

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Next on our cards was to visit the famous Café Irani Chaii at Mahim which was 5kms away. Not much traffic on the way, we reached this place in some 20mins. A tiny yet cozy restaurant, apparently, pumping life back into the Irani café and chai culture in Mumbai. Marble tables with ornate wooden designs and bentwood chairs, this place is famous for all keema pavs, egg items, bun maskas, cakes, macaroons and chai. Greeted by a smiling person, he asked us what we would like to eat. Having known we are riders travelling all the way from Bangalore and on our way up to Gujarat, he was quite thrilled and asked us to have the famous egg mutton keema omelet with bun, bread pudding and the obvious Irani Chai. The food came in pretty quick, delicious and filling, coming here to try this place proved fruitful. We spent some time enjoying the food, taking sip by sip chuskis of the perfect chai and letting the time pass lazily. Around 7:45pm we decided to head towards our stay in order to avoid late night traffic. Paid the bills, bid the person goodbye and fired up Hulk, stay was 40kms away in a traffic time suggested by GMaps as 1 hr, 30mins.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-683.jpg
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Taking the same route while going, this time surprisingly a bit less traffic, we reached our stay sharp at 9:15pm. Though I wasn’t very hungry to have my dinner, already full with the food and super exhausted with the traffic and ride back, to be on the safer side, Atul ordered some simple plain rice, dal fry and some butter milk. By the time food came in, we utilized the time in packing for the next day ride towards Vadodara. Our plan was to start the ride as early as possible and reach Vadodara hotel by noon.

Food came, I had few morsels and letting Atul finish the remaining, we settled all our pending bills with the stay, finalizing all check out formalities before we sleep so that we could leave early in the morning. It was 11:45pm and time to hit the sack.
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Day 5 – 30/12/2018 – From Bhiwandi to Vadodara – 410kms (Bhiwandi > Vapi > Bharuch > Vadodara)

Alarm went off at 4:30am and both of us got up, thankfully we were determined to stick to the plan of waking up early, come what may, and start the ride. We got up, freshened up, geared up and started to load Hulk with the bags. I helped Atul with chain lubing and tightening up all the bags securely. A guy got up to open the main gate for us and there we go, around 5:15am we headed towards the highway in Thane to get connected with the NH48. A chilly winter morning, not much traffic and heavy vehicles on the highway, both of us agreed to cover as much distance as possible before we make a pitstop somewhere for either petrol or having our breakfast, whichever comes earlier.

As soon as we crossed the city limits and the highway opened up, we encountered bone chilling cold weather and it was too difficult to ride fast. The surrounding was full of thick blanket of fog and visibility was very poor and in this condition, riding at a constant speed of 110-120kmph was getting impossible. We didn’t quite anticipate this and both of us were literally shivering, decided to halt for few minutes, wore our winter hand gloves to avoid cool air piercing through the fingers and making them numb, I quickly wore another layer of pullover. Finally felt a bit better, after a 10mins break, we kept on moving ahead hoping for the sunrise to happen as soon as possible and see some ray of light and hope. Braving through this cold weather we kept covering distance and Sun was nowhere to be seen, it was almost 7:15am. May be Sun would have already woken up somewhere and we couldn’t see it because of clouds and fog. Hulk was almost low on petrol and it was time to get him tanked up. We stopped at a nearby Indian Oil petrol station, took bio break and relaxed for a while. From a distant sky, we could see the Sun peeping vaguely through some clouds but it wasn’t strong enough. The cold bites were still prevailing in the atmosphere but it was slightly ok compared to what we experienced early in the morning. In between we also crossed Maharashtra border and entered Gujarat. A break of 20mins and we started again.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-693.jpg

Slowly the sunrays started falling onto the Earth and the chillness started to get weaker though not fully gone. Highway as extremely brilliant to ride on, very less traffic at that point of time and full-fledged wide four lane roads. By now we completed almost 180kms from Bhiwandi and reached a place called Valsad around 8:15am. Atul and I started to feel hungry by now and agreed to do a pit-stop for breakfast. Came across a local dhaba with ample parking space, not much crowd, so decided to stop here. Atul parked the bike, while I got freshened up and looked for a place to sit. As usual, locals started getting anxious about us, all geared up, with luggage loaded on the bike and started to strike conversations with Atul. We gave our order – fafda with chutney, dhokla, poha, jalebi (not sure who can have so much sweet so early in the morning, surely Atul) and two cups of piping hot tea. We finished our food within the next 30mins and once again hit the highway, hotel was another 225kms away and we planned to reach there before noon.

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For the next three hours we kept on riding continuously with very minimal 1-2 breaks in between. The highway was excellent and cruising through the lanes at a constant speed of 110-120kmph wasn’t very difficult, we did face some traffic while crossing Bharuch but overall it was a smooth no-hassle ride until we reached Vadodara around 11:30am in the morning. Using GMaps it took us another 15 mins to reach our stay for the day, Hotel Skylight at Alkapuri, Vadodara. The hotel is well-maintained, three storey building right in the heart of city. We paid around Rs 1281 for a Deluxe AC room for a night and the management staff was quite friendly, well-behaved and accommodating. There is ample space for car and bike parking within the premise of the hotel. Atul completed all the check-in formalities and later we unloaded all the bags, got inside our room – a neat, tidy and quite cozy room to halt for a night. We both settled inside the room, quickly freshened up, decided to rest for a while, change into some comfortable clothes and then head out towards the Statue of Unity, some 90kms away from our stay.

Around 12:45pm we headed out and rode towards the Statue of Unity location, taking a quick petrol break in between to fuel up Hulk. We anticipated huge crowd at the location as it was a Sunday and people would flock in large groups here to see the statue. We blindly followed GMaps in order to reach the location, roads were newly laid – some part two lane highway and some being four lane highway (mostly sections closer to the statue). The scenery along the road was beautiful with country side houses, crops, fields, weather was blissful too – not too cold not to warm. The sense of seeing a new place always excites me and if the surrounding landscape is equally beautiful, it adds on more to the excitement. There are decent amount of petrol stations on the way, however, food junctions are available in limited numbers, and most eateries are still under construction and by now must have been operational. Some 12kms before reaching the destination, there is a diversion that one should take in order to approach the statue (there is a big hoarding welcoming tourists to the Statue of Unity, which is very difficult to miss). From a distance, faintly, we could see the Statue of Unity, standing high and tall with utmost dignity. As one keeps approaching the statue the gigantic nature of its presence becomes quite evident. As we could see already, there were thousands of people gathered around in public vehicles, cars, autos, bikes to experience this mammoth statue.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-709.jpg

By 2:30pm we came near the bike parking area, parked our bike and from here the Statue of Unity was very prominently visible. The sight was something really breathtaking and definitely gives you a sense of pride and honor. We clicked some pictures from here and started walking towards the statue location. On the way, you can see many hawkers, fruits and small food item sellers, water bottle and ice cream vendors and the alley leads you to the main scanning gate, where all your bags and belongings are supervised and you get entry. There are separate queues for ladies and gents. To our dismay, tickets were already sold out for the day (the Rs 1000 ones and the Rs 350 ones). The only entry tickets left out were the Rs 120 ones and that too the queue for the same had a waiting period of 3hours. We felt that waiting for such a long time and then able to see just the exterior of the statue is not worth at all. Atul and I decided to explore the location from outside and enjoy the view with whatever options available with us. From the point where we stood the statue looked too enormous and truly lived up to its name of being the tallest statue in the world. However, the dam on the Narmada river surrounding the statue was completely dried up with no sight of water at all (maybe this is not the right time to visit this place and monsoon or post monsoon would be ideal to come here). Beautiful green and brown shade forests surrounds the locality giving a surreal feeling and urge to stay a little longer. Though I really wanted to climb up till the chest of the statue, but maybe will have to wait for the next time to come here.

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A basic entry ticket to the Statue of Unity costs Rs 120 for adults and Rs 60 for children. It gives you entry to the valley of flower, memorial, museum and audio visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and the Sardar Sarovar Dam. To be able to get a bird’s eye view of the surroundings of the site from a height of about 400 feet, you need to buy a viewing gallery ticket, which also gives you access to the observation deck. This ticket costs Rs 350 for adults and Rs 200 for kids and takes you to a platform along the chest of the statue in high-speed elevators. And if you want to do all that and beat the queue on weekends and holidays, you can buy an express ticket for Rs 1,000 per person. On all days between Tuesday and Sunday, the statue is open between 8am to 6pm. By the way, the Statue of Unity is closed on every Monday due to maintenance work and so maybe you can plan your trip to this place accordingly.

As you would all know The Statue of Unity is a testimonial to the life of Sardar Patel, a role model of unity and statesmanship. The tallest statue in the world enjoys a splendidly scenic location facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam, standing on the isle of Sadhu-Bet in River Narmada, at Kevadia, District Rajpipla in Gujarat, with the majestic Vindhyachal and Satpuda mountain ranges in the backdrop. Aimed to inspire generations, the Statue showcases Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s vision on unity, patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance. This monument of India’s doyen of integrity and honesty is well designed to be a catalyst for development of the tribal population in the area around the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

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After exploring the place from wherever accessible, clicked some pictures, took GoPro videos and enjoying the majestic view, around 4pm both of us decided to head back towards our hotel with a lunch pitstop in between, I was dying of hunger by now. Paid a bike parking fee of Rs 20, we both had one last glance of the Statue of Unity and rode away. The return journey was through the same road and we kept on riding until we reached a local dhaba still serving lunch. It was already crowded but we somehow managed to get a table for two. Ordered one Gujarati thali and one Punjabi thali consisting of dal fry, plain rice, some sabji, papad and pickle, we flushed down the food with refreshing butter milk and lassi. After having this awesome food, relaxed for a while, around 5:30pm we started again towards Vadodara. Reached the stay at 6:45pm.

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As soon as we reached hotel, both of us got this great urge to have some hot tea to wipe out the exhaustion for the day. Through room service, Atul ordered some French Fries and two cups of hot tea. By the time tea came, Atul also placed the order for dinner to be served around 9:30pm, kept it simple plain rotis and malai kofta. For the time being both of us enjoyed sipping the hot tea, munching on the fries and enjoying the winter cold evening. Since this was just a stay for one night, we tried to pull out as less clothes and stuff from the bags as possible so that it wouldn’t take us much time to pack tomorrow morning before the ride.

The dinner came in sharp at 9:30pm, both of us enjoyed the meal. It was 10:30pm already and without much delay, we once again retired for the day. Tomorrow is the ride on the last day of 2018!
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Old 22nd August 2019, 14:33   #7
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Day 6 – 31/12/2018 – From Vadodara to Udaipur – 345kms (Vadodara > Ahmedabad > Himatnagar > Ratanpur > Kherwara > Udaipur)

Once again we were woken up by a knock on the door around 8am in the morning by the hotel folks. Apparently, our booking did include a complimentary breakfast, which we were not aware of, and the kind people from the hotel thought of reminding us of the same. In the next 15mins both of us woke up, freshened up and headed towards the hotel’s restaurant. This was a buffet spread of breakfast consisting of aloo paratha, poha, bread butter, puri sabji, cornflakes with milk and tea/coffee. We relished the food as it was very well prepared and too tasty. Done with breakfast, Atul went to clear all the other bills and process the check-out formalities. Once he returned we did our little bit of packing, took shower, geared up and came downstairs to the parking lot to load the bikes. Handed over the room keys to the care taker, around 10am we both left Vadodara and rode towards Udaipur, our destination for the day.

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Before exiting Vadodara city and reaching the highway, we agreed on tanking up Hulk for the day and then keep pushing ahead. Though the distance wasn’t much to cover, compared to other long ride days, apparently most sections of the highway after crossing Gujarat is under construction and would require a lot of deviations. Nonetheless, we kept moving ahead with good highway roads till Ahmedabad and time was sharp 12 in the noon. Unfortunately, because of some confusion with the GMaps direction we took couple of wrong turns and had to cross the most part of Ahmedabad city traffic and signals, there were other ways to by-pass the city and connect the highway straight. We lost some time here and finally managed to connect the highway once again. Due to heavy rains which happened the night before, some parts of the road was covered with water puddles and slush. Within next few minutes we reached Gandhinagar, continuing on NH48 and moved ahead towards Himatnagar. Until now we experienced good two lane highway and some of the road-side dhaba looked quite tempting to have our lunch. We stopped at one such place called 'Radhe Hotel' and ordered our food, one Punjabi thali and one Gujarati thali, with some butter milk (the specialty of this place is to provide as many number of fresh hot phulkas/rotis to people requesting for the same). Seeing us all geared up, on a bike loaded with saddles, the owner of the restaurant started striking conversations with us and spoke to us about our plans (the usual questions like where we are from, where are we riding too, etc.). He himself is a great fitness enthusiast and has walked many miles within the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Our passion and energy to explore India on two wheels delighted him a lot and he blessed us to keep exploring and following the path of our passion. We had a great time talking to him and he motivated us a lot to never give up on dreams come what may. After finishing the delicious and sumptuous food, we paid the bill, took blessings from the restaurant owner (apology but I completely forgot his name now and not able to recall at all), bid him goodbye and resumed our journey ahead. Time was 1:30pm and we had another 180kms to reach our stay.

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By 3pm we crossed the border between Gujarat and Rajasthan, to reach a place called Ratanpur. And this was the point from where our nightmare for the day started. Due to construction of an expressway between Udaipur and Ahmedabad, the entire stretch was getting repaired, road widening, patch works here and there, diversions after every 4-5kms, dusty and full of speed breakers. There were dumps of construction materials and heavy road constructing vehicles all along, making maneuvering a lot more difficult for cars and bikes. Just when we were in one section, we saw fleets of JCBs being transported from one point to another in large long vehicles, which blew away lot of dust from the road. We decided to take a quick break and let the convoy pass, utilized the time to have some tea, gain some energy boosters back and then after some 15mins, we started riding again.

In this awfully painful road, we kept on riding and tried to complete distance as sanely as possible. We arrived at a place called Pindwara, some 100kms away from Udaipur and time was around 4:45pm. Once again we decided to take a halt and have some tea. We did a pitstop by a local dhaba preparing fresh hot tea, ordered two cups of tea and some onion pakodas (the onion pakodas he was frying looked too tempting to resist). We relaxed and enjoyed our tea and evening snacks while the restaurant person informed us that the roads from here would be better till Udaipur, it was such a great relief. Paid the bill and once again we started our last leg of ride for the day.

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Correctly mentioned by the restaurant person, roads till Udaipur were in better shape than what it was earlier yet the number of vehicles and two wheelers entering Udaipur city on account of New Year’s Eve were too many. A bit of throttle rush from Atul’s end and we reached our stay, Saheli Palace sharp at 6:30pm in the evening. This is the same place we stayed exactly two years back while we were doing our Rann Ride (Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states). Saheli Palace is an elegant hotel in Udaipur providing gracious hospitality services, located in the heart of the city, attached to the main commercial centers and walking distance from Fatehsagar Lake. Our stay for 1 night in a Deluxe AC room costed us about Rs 1912. The person in the reception counter immediately recognized Atul and was delighted to see us again, gave us a warm welcoming smile. He joked saying “last time orange bike main the Sir, is bar green hogaya” (Last time you came on an orange (KTM) color bike, Sir, this time the bike became green (Kawasaki)). While Atul completed the check-in formalities, I helped him with unloading the bags and settled inside the room allocated to us.

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We settled inside the room, kept things properly and changed into some comfortable clothes. The weather was pleasant, cold yet manageable not like the bone shattering ones. I requested for two cups of coffee to get rid of the riding fatigue and warm us up. The person got us our coffee and also requested us to give early order for dinner as cooks and other helpers would leave early on account of New Year. For a moment we thought to have our dinner outside but then last time when we were here around New Year, it was getting very difficult to get restaurant open post-midnight and we were lucky to have found one after searching for a long time. So we thought it was better to order the food here in the hotel itself and be tension free. Ordered some rotis, dal fry and malai kofta, dinner to be served post 9pm. The time was to transfer some data into out laptops, work on the pictures and relax for a while.

Around 9:30pm the dinner came in, though we weren’t so hungry but we thought better to have it when it is hot rather than having cold food later. After dinner by 10:30pm, we wore some warm clothes and decided to head towards Lake Pichola and celebrate the New Year by watching the extraordinarily beautiful fireworks by the lakeside. It was just a 5kms ride and we looked for a place to safely park Hulk, walked inside the open space and sit on the steps of the lake’s bank. The lights, the colors and the atmosphere was so lively and marvelously beautiful. We fixed our cameras to take some pictures and waited for the stroke of midnight to bring in the New Year of 2019. The cool weather by the lakeside and having the loved ones by your side, are some of the memories to cherish for lifetime.

And it was the countdown to New Year….3 2 1…a brand new year on its way. 2019! The entire sky got lit up with firecrackers, wish balloons and it was all positive vibes in the whole atmosphere. We wished each other and embraced the New Year with open arms – for many more rides, drives, trips, adventures, good luck and happiness. Enjoying the moments for some 30mins, we decided to head towards our stay before the streets are filled with miscreants and drunk mulligans (last time police had to control a lot of areas from drunkards and mischievous people). It was 1am and we entered our hotel room.

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So another year gone by and a new year just knocked and came inside in each and everyone’s life. 1:15am and we slept for the day. Tomorrow on a new day of a new year, we were riding to our second home in Delhi, to my brother’s place. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
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Old 23rd August 2019, 10:47   #8
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Day 7 – 01/01/2019 – From Udaipur to Delhi – 650kms (Udaipur > Ajmer > Jaipur > Delhi-Dwarka)

New day of a brand New Year – both of us woke up around 8am in the morning. We were totally excited to go home and meet my brother. Completed all our remaining packing, freshened up, geared up and loaded the bike. Because of New Year the hotel restaurant and its crew had taken an off so we decided to have our breakfast somewhere on the highway. Atul completed the checkout procedures, bid goodbye to the reception person with an assurance of coming back again, we resumed our ride around 9:30am in the morning.

It was nice new beginning of a year and the weather was just perfect, cool winter morning breeze, dim rays of Sun falling on Mother Nature, country side highway, smooth roads and clear blue sky. Just when we crossed Udaipur city, there was a dhaba which was open and serving breakfast (most of the dhabas on the way were closed, must have been partying late and not in the mood to open the shutter as yet) and we agreed to stop and have our food, I was totally famished. Ordered puri sabji, aloo paratha and two cups of hot tea. Food took some time to be prepared as there was just one cook to make the items. When the food came, we quickly finished it, paid our bills and started the ride. By now Hulk was already showing low fuel indication, so the next thing we had to do was stop at the immediate next petrol station and tank up the bike. Few kilometers more and we came across a BP petrol bunk, tanked up Hulk and started again. The highway today was a mix of four lane and two lane highway, partly better roads compared to the one we faced yesterday, which was a relief. Most sections were newly laid and we could keep riding constantly at a set pace. The plan was to take lesser breaks, cross Jaipur-Delhi highway during daylight and enter Delhi city before dark. Around 1:15pm we reached the city of Ajmer and by-passed the same to be continuing on the Ajmer-Delhi expressway until we arrived at Jaipur by 3:30pm, by-passing the same as well through the highway. The highway did have some traffic but it was not a big deal for us, as Atul could easily pace at a speed of 110-130kmph, helping us cover as much distance as possible.

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By 4pm both of us started to feel hungry and wanted to do a pitstop for lunch. We reached at a place called Manoharpur, some 200kms away from Delhi and saw a restaurant called ‘Brindavan’ with sufficient place for parking and open space for having food, while enjoying the view of lush yellow mustard fields in the vicinity. Immediately we ordered rotis, aloo jeera fry, dal fry, ghee rice and not to mention two cups of chai. While the food came in we freshened up, took bio breaks and enjoyed the nature around us. Sun was light and cool winter afternoon wind passing through, giving a surreal fresh feeling. Once the food came we started hogging, it tasted good and was very well prepared. After enjoying the delicious food, we relaxed and enjoyed our sips of tea. At 4:45pm we decided to move ahead, paid the bills and ignited Hulk. After us it was time for Hulk to be fed, within next couple of kilometers we got an Indian Oil petrol bunk and tanked up Hulk. From here on it was just the endless boring highway and the hope to reach Delhi as soon as possible. The weather and surroundings on both sides of the highway kept us entertained though.

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In no time we crossed Neemrana and then Bhiwadi, to head towards Gurgaon, time was close to 7pm in the evening. We did face some traffic while crossing the toll plaza entering Gurgaon and Delhi and also near the DLF Cyber City. We continued on the Gurgaon-Delhi expressway until a turn came and we had to take turn towards Dwarka. So by 8pm both of us reached my brother’s place in Dwarka. I was delighted to see him and gave him a big tight hug. Atul parked the bike in the basement and unloaded all the bags while brother helped him. Delhi winter cold just started to sip inside us and we could instantly feel the cold bite in the weather, we got inside the house immediately. Well, at least one day, Atul doesn’t have to do the check-in formalities.

Brother gave us some hot coffee to drink and feel warm, like an awesome person he was already done preparing dinner for us with my all-time favorite pork fry, dal fry and veg pulao, he prepared some fish curry for Atul (I don’t eat fish and Atul doesn’t eat pork so brother had to prepare two separate curries for both of us). Both of us freshened up, relaxed and around 9:30pm we started to have our dinner. We told brother all the stories and interactions we had during the journey and what are our plans for the next days, while we devoured the sumptuous homemade food after so many days.

By the time we three kept on speaking it was already 11pm and time for us to rest and sleep for the day. Brother gave us all warm blankets to beat the cold at night. The joy of sleeping in your own home, in a comfortable home bed, tucked with the warmth of a blanket is endless and priceless, you obviously get a good night’s sleep – time was 11:30pm and all of us went to sleep.
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Old 23rd August 2019, 11:14   #9
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Day 8 – 02/01/2019 – From Delhi to Amritsar – 475kms (Delhi-Dwarka > Panipat > Karnal > Ambala > Jalandhar > Amritsar)

As usual under the comfort of home we woke up quite late today. Brother tried waking us up around 8am but we were in deep sleep so he let us be. Finally both of us got up around 9:45am in the morning and our destination for today was Amritsar. Like a good brother again, he was already ready with our breakfast, aloo cheese sandwich and coffee. Sensing that we would reach Amritsar quite late in the night, brother asked us to hurry up and start riding as soon as possible. We had our breakfast, took shower, geared up, loaded the bike with saddle bags and other stuff (the bags were a bit light now because we dumped all the unwanted clothes and materials at brother’s place). Around 11am we bid goodbye to him and headed towards GT Karnal road which would take us to the Srinagar-Kanyakumari Grand Trunk highway, an awesome four lane highway. We however, did face some major traffic while crossing the Delhi city limits and entering the highway.

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Once we touched the highway, we kept on riding with the target of reaching Amritsar maximum by 7-8pm in the evening. Butter smooth road and beautiful landscapes on both sides of the highway was just mesmerizing, and to top it up, the winter freshness. By 1:30pm we crossed Karnal and reached a place called ‘Chann Haveli’ which we decided to do a pit stop and have our lunch. I was already craving for Chole Kulche, Aloo Parathas and Rajma Chawal. The ambiance of this place was like any other Punjabi dhaba, had dolls/mannequins of Punjabi folk dancers, cut out of trucks, cots to sit and have food, and above all good space to park vehicles right beside the highway. We freshened up and ordered our food – Rajma Chawal, Tandoori Aloo Paratha with Desi Butter and glasses of hot tea. We agreed not to have lassi in this weather to avoid getting cold and fall sick unnecessarily. We couldn’t wait for the food to come in and once it came, we both punched on it like mad hungry dogs – it was lip-smackingly delicious and urge to have more was just pilling up. We ordered another round of tandoori parathas and chai. While we had our food, various people came up to us and spoke about our ride, places we have been to and where and all we would be going, some gave tips as well on what must-go places to visit for food in Amritsar.

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Done with stomach and heart satisfying food, payed the bills and around 2:30pm we started our ride. But before anything else we had to fuel up Hulk as well and so stopped at a nearby petrol station for fuel. Now on, we once again kept on riding through this amazing highway, talking to one another, enjoying the moment and nature. There were orange sellers all along the highway and at times we were wondering this is Haryana or Nagpur (it is well known that Nagpur is famous for oranges). Kilometers by kilometers we kept on moving ahead crossing towns, cities of Kurukshetra, Ambala by 4pm which is the border city between Haryana and Punjab. Some more gunning the throttle and we reached Ludhiana around 6pm in the evening. Being one of the major commercial hubs of Punjab and construction of new by-pass, we wasted some time here trying to cross the traffic jam caused due to vehicles coming from all sides.

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We have been riding continuously for quite some time now and both of us wanted a break. Reaching a place called Phillaur, we stopped at a local dhaba and ordered for some tea and chips to munch on. As the daylight was passing by and it was about to get darker, the chillness in the atmosphere was rapidly increasing, so we put on another layer of clothes below the riding jacket to beat the cold, even the winter gloves came out for the rescue. The piping hot tea came as a real relief and it felt like a life-saver. Done with tea, we started the ride once again – Hulk had sufficient petrol to make us reach Amritsar, another 130kms. Within the next 30mins we reached the city of Jalandhar and it was from here that we started experiencing bone freezing cold weather along with fog coming into the highway making visibility almost nil. Batches of thick blanket of fog and mist slowly flew into the roads and at times we had visibility around zero. I advised Atul to ride as carefully as possible as we never knew what vehicle would come from what directions, even there might be some cows, cattle or humans walking on the highway which we would miss noticing due to fog. With dense fog even the temperature began to drop drastically, it was almost 4° at one point. Nonetheless, both of us kept moving ahead slowly and carefully, better to be late than being sorry for lifetime. This was the first time in my life I was experiencing such thick fog with almost zero visibility.

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By God’s Grace, both of us reached safe and sound in the city of Amritsar around 8:30pm and we headed straight to our hotel, Hotel 49. Hotel 49 is a beautiful, well maintained property right in the heart of Amritsar city and in close vicinity to the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. For two nights in a Deluxe AC room we paid Rs 2387, which we felt was a great deal. Sufficient parking space and completely secured by security guards and CCTV, Atul was now least worried about Hulk. The hotel management was quite friendly and gave us a warm welcome. Atul hardly took any time for the check-in formalities and we got our room in just some 5 mins. Took our bags inside, settled down for a while and check with the reception if it would be ideal to visit Golden Temple now. He mentioned night is the best time to see the amazing and beautiful grandeur of the Golden Temple, all gates are open 24x7, so it wouldn’t be a difficult task. The only thing worrying both of us was the chill weather, a quick check and the temperature was almost close to 2°.

After we freshened up, wore some 2-3 layers of clothes, covering ourselves properly, Atul and I took Hulk and headed towards The Golden Temple around 9:15pm, it was some 2-3kms away from our stay. Through the street roads we finally ended up in the parking lot, paid an amount of Rs 20 as parking fee and walked towards the shrine. The main entry gate only looked so majestic, I was wondering how the temple would look from inside. Removing the shoes, washing our feet with water and wearing the head band/bandana, we stepped towards the temple area, the floor was as cold as ice and I felt complete numbness, as if I am walking just in the air.

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I couldn’t help but admire the glorious and bright golden marvel in front of me, the Golden temple at night. Golden temple at night is certainly a treat for one’s eyes and soul. The peaceful temple, which represents Amritsar, is highly revered by the Sikh community. At night the temple transmutes into a marvel beyond the golden lights and shades of it reflects on the holy lake, giving a breathtaking sight. The chanting of holy words took me on a spiritual odyssey and I realized an envelope of serenity encapsulating my conscience and filling my heart from within. Though the weather was biting cold yet the presence inside the temple somehow warmed us up. This is one of the rarest sight I have experienced in my entire life and will remember for ages to come. This was a heart-stoppingly exquisite view. After spending some 1hr here we decided to go out and have dinner, with the promise in heart to come back tomorrow morning and see the Akal Takht, the imposing seat of Sikh authority, and pray for everyone’s well-being.

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From here, feeling mesmerized, we took Hulk and went towards the town hall area around 10pm, to devour some authentic chole Kulche, another prime reason to come to Amritsar apart from the Golden Temple. Finally we were living up to the name of our ride, the Chole Kulche Ride. Most places were already crowded and we caught hold of a place called Bhai Kulwant Singh Kulchian Wale, decently packed with crowd but somehow we managed to get a table for two. As soon as the guy came for order, we just didn’t wait at all – asked him to get one chole Kulche stuffed with aloo and paneer and the famous pista phirni. It didn’t take much time for the food to come and once it came, we just started hogging. The filling was just superb and the Kulche tasted so perfect, the chole had the prefect blend of spices and flavors, the phirni had just enough sweetness and I just loved it. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the food and wanted to keep going on and on with the order, but had to give a stop as even though mind was not full, our stomach were completely full with absolutely no space left for anything else. We also had to hurry up as seeing the green bike people started gathering around Hulk and it created unnecessary attention. Also, it was getting colder by each passing hour. Once we finished our food, the restaurant owner wanted to take Hulk for a spin. Atul generally doesn’t mind if people just want to click pictures with the bike, however riding the bike, that too a complete stranger was something that he wasn’t comfortable with. We tried to somehow talk him out of it, but he kept on insisting and requesting, so finally Atul said ok but told that he will also come pillion with him. Once they came back, the look on Atul’s face said it all, he told me later that the guy rode Hulk in a very rash manner. Nevertheless, finally getting the bike back, we quickly went way before some more ride requests came.

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In the next 10mins we reached our stay, got inside the bed and called it a day, time was 11:45pm. Soul was refined by seeing the grand beauty of Golden Temple and stomach was amazed by the sumptuous food we just had. It will be a good night’s sleep today as well.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:01   #10
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Day 9 – 03/01/2019 – In and around Amritsar – 80kms (Hotel > Golden Temple > Jallianwala Bagh > Wagah Border > Town Hall Area > Hotel)

Who would like to wake up early on a winter morning, happily tucked under a warm sleeping bag which can hold upto a temperature of 5°? Nobody! But then we didn’t have the luxury to laze around and waste time sleeping. It was close to 8am in the morning and both of us woke up, we had a long day ahead of us today to explore some more unseen places. Got up, freshened up and agreed to order breakfast from the hotel’s restaurant itself in order to avoid keep looking for places to eat. Ordered some bread toast, omelet, aloo parathas and two tea. While food came in both of us took quick shower and made arrangements for the day. We took a small backpack to take things only which are needed like phones, wallet, water bottles, etc., also wore some kurtas to get inside and pray in the temple. Once the food came, we quickly finished it and headed out to go for darshan of Golden Temple to begin with, it was close to 9:30am in the morning.

We followed the same road which we took the previous night to reach the parking lot and get Hulk parked safely, again paid Rs 20 as parking fee (we took a chance, removed our Sena Bluetooth device from the helmets and locked up both the helmets in the bike itself, instead of carrying it all the way along). We left the backpack inside the top-box and carried just the phones and wallets. Started walking towards the main entry gate of Golden Temple, washed our feet, wore the bandana and proceeded towards the queue to get inside the Akal Takht. The place was already crowded with hundreds and thousands of people thronging inside the campus and waiting in queue to get blessings. The line however, was moving in fast pace and it wasn’t taking much time to keep proceeding ahead. The chants of holy words brought in a divine and peaceful atmosphere across and the feeling was highly spiritual. Sun coming out in full force yet getting fizzled out by strong winter mist, made the temperature to maintain a cool environment.

One must visit the temple twice - once during the day to see its beauty in broad sunlight and once during the night to see its mesmerizing beauty at night under the neon lights. The center of attraction around morning time is the water which is replete with various shades, reflecting the beauty of the Golden Temple and the various types of fish who are so abundant and almost friendly that they come up and open mouths for a feed. All religious faiths are welcomed here, to pray and seek blessings from the almighty. There are large rooms for out-station people to come and stay over for few days. There are volunteers cleaning the premise all day and night, making it as clean as ever and one can find clean carpets laid on the periphery for elderly people and families with children to rest for a while, while the crowd keeps growing every moment. One can also see the food preparation areas and halls where on average 100 thousand pilgrims (of any faith) are fed totally by volunteers. Observing all these around us, after close to 90mins we were finally approaching the main entry gate to the Akal Takht. The crowd from different queues get submerged here and from here the pace of moving ahead becomes a bit slow. Also, after this point there is strictly no photography and videography allowed, phones and DSLRs are to be kept completely inside.

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Finally it was our turn to go inside and offer our prayers to the main Takht/Ardas. A sense of divinity and serenity just sipped in as soon as we touched the structure and folded hands to pray. Due to heavy rush, our stay inside the main temple was just for 5mins and then we moved out to drink some water from the holy pond and have the Kada Prasad. Apparently, the Golden Temple is dedicated to Sri Harmandir Sahib also known as Sri Darbar Sahib. In the early 19th century, 100 kgs of gold was plated on to the inverted lotus-shaped dome and decorative marble was added. The most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex is the Hari Mandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of the large pond. The gold-plated building features copper cupolas and white marble walls encrusted with precious stones arranged in decorative Islamic-style floral patterns and the structure is decorated inside and out with verses from the Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book). The Golden Temple provides the rarest of artwork to the visitors and art lovers visiting this shrine.

After spending some more time around 12:45pm we headed out from the temple exit gate and decided to move towards Jallianwala Bagh. Not much of a walking distance, we took a rickshaw to reach there and arrived in some 10-15mins through some narrow street roads. The fare for the rickshaw was somewhere around Rs 60. The Bagh was located right in the center of the Town Hall surrounded by commercial shops and eateries. There is no entry fee inside the garden and sometimes some guard would do a random check of the bags, no one checked us though.

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As soon as I entered the garden, I felt really depressed and somehow was not comfortable to explore it at all. Not that I’m an insensitive to what has happened here but the very feel of the pain hundreds of people must have gone through during the infamous massacre of 1919 made me sick to the core. As we all know, Jallianwala Bagh marks one of the major heinous political crimes committed by the Britishers during the twentieth century.

On 13 April 1919, thousands of people were gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab. This day marks the beginning of New Year for the Sikhs and is also celebrated as Baisakhi festival all over Punjab. People travel days to reach Punjab on this auspicious day to celebrate Baisakhi with their family and loved ones. Sensing the large gathering inside the garden, covered on all sides by walls reaching up to 10 feet and equipped with narrow entrances, most of which were locked, and this might lead to protest and unrest – the British troops arrived with armed forces, ruthlessly firing done on the uninformed crowd. There were about 25,000 people present there at the time of firing. Some tried to escape while some choose to jump in the solitude well built in the premises of Jallianwala Bagh, heinous act of violence resulted in extreme mass killing. The number of deaths caused due to the firing had been a disputed issue till now, while the official enquiry by the British informed about 379 deaths, the death toll was quoted to be around 1,000 by Congress. There were about 120 dead bodies recovered from the well also.

Seeing the well also known as Martyr’s Well, where innocent people might have jumped to avoid bullets, the bullet marks on the walls, the museum dedicated to some of the prominent martyrs, my mind and heart just didn’t allow me to spend more time here. I literally had tears in my eyes and asked Atul if we could leave immediately. I was just wondering how people could take selfies, enjoy posing and taking pictures in a sorrowful place where such hideous crime was committed in the history of mankind. Or maybe I’m an overtly sensitive and emotional person to take this up rather lightly. Nonetheless, Atul sensed my discomfort (he was equally disturbed too) took me out of the garden and the air outside felt peaceful and I thanked God above me, I’m alive today in a free India!

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Atul tried diverting my mind, taking me to some shops selling Punjabi juttis, which I wanted to buy because if there is anything that you can’t leave Amritsar without, it’s a pair of Punjabi juttis. We monitored through few shops and finally got inside one selling colorful and designer juttis – I got two pairs for myself (paid Rs 300 each after expert bargaining skills by Atul). While Atul did some small shopping here and there, once again it was time for us to take a rickshaw and reach the parking lot to take out Hulk. Caught hold of a guy who took us to the parking lot behind the temple and this time charge was Rs 100. Took Hulk out and headed straight towards the hotel to change into some other clothes and ride for Wagah Border which was some 35kms from our stay and it was already 1:15pm.

It took us some 15mins to once again hop on Hulk, take required things in the backpack for the ride to Wagah and head out. Exiting the city of Amritsar was terribly difficult as the traffic was too much and there was bumper to bumper jam. However, there is one single Grand Trunk Road running between Amritsar and Wagah, to proceed towards Lahore in Pakistan, with excellent road quality and awesome landscape view on both sides of the highway. Somehow we managed to squeeze through the traffic and make our way towards Wagah, reached around 3:15pm. There were many vehicles – private and commercial – transporting people to witness the grandeur ceremony at Wagah Border, making the place crowded with hundreds and thousands of individuals. There is ample parking space for two wheelers and four wheelers (have a multiple level parking lot as well) within the premise and this made us feel good, at least Hulk will be under safe conditions and not being allowed to be kept anywhere.

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With more and more people coming in, the queue started piling up for entering the main stage area, it is ideal to get inside some 1 hour before the start of the ceremony. The ceremony lasts for 45 minutes and is carried out before sunset, 4:15 pm is the time during winter and 4:45 during summer and the border gate is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is open for all spectators on all days of the week including weekends and public holidays. We managed to get inside the display arena and got two places, the entire arena was already jammed packed with absolutely no place for people to sit. BSF personnel are stationed at all important points helping and guiding people on which way to go, where to sit, despite being so crowded everything was happening smoothly. By the way, before entering the main stands, everyone needs to deposit their bags, belongings into a counter/cloak room except for cameras, DSLRs, GoPro and wallets and after the deposit the crowd proceeds in two separate lines – one for women and another for men. There are stores and shops to pick up some eateries and munchies on the way – Atul got some chips and popcorns to eat while enjoying the parade (we haven’t had our lunch yet).

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For us, it was sharp 4:15pm and the ceremony started. People from all over the country visit this place to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony that is held every day before sunset. This ceremony includes the closing of the international gates and lowering the flags of both countries, is a spectacle to be witnessed and is an occasion where the heart of every Indian is filled with pride and enthusiasm. The flag ceremony has been conducted by the Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers since 1959. Every evening, just before the sunset, the soldiers from the Indian and Pakistan military meet at this border post to engage in a 45-minute display of military camaraderie and showmanship. Officially, the purpose of the ceremony is to formally close the border for the night and lower the national flag. However, it is an entertainment ceremony and a display of national pride for the thousands of Indian people who come here every day. During the build-up to the ceremony, the crowd engages in chanting the Indian national anthem, rounds of applause and Bollywood-style dancing on Hindi songs, mostly by the women. There are display of bravery acts of Indian soldiers and the highest honor that they hold in the entire world, is displayed over large TV screens. The sense of patriotism is extremely high and the feeling that our always rival country Pakistan is just few meters away, creates more excitement. Completely my own personal observations – there would be easily 50 times more people in the Indian side as compared to the one in Pakistan, which hardly had only few individuals. The action packed and energetic parade surely instigates a complete sense of pride, honor and happiness inside each and every Indian’s heart. We took pictures, videos and enjoyed this moment thoroughly. Sharp 5pm and the event ended with special thanks from all the BSP jawans to all the people who came in today to witness country’s pride in unison.

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Atul and I hurried back into the cloak room, took our belongings and headed straight towards the parking lot, to avoid the piling up of people and then the massive traffic it will build up post that. In no time, we took Hulk, were out from the premise and hit the highway. Surprisingly, the weather was pleasant today and it wasn’t too cold, but as the day started to pass by and Sunset happened, the temperature began to drop. Our ride towards Amritsar started.

Our next destination for the day was to visit the famous restaurant in Amritsar called ‘Mama Meat’ to have some awesome non-veg food (we came to know about this place via a YouTube video where a foreigner came here while he was on his expedition to enjoy Indian food in India – Amritsar was one of his destinations and he listed down some 5 must visit eateries here, Mama Meat being one of them). Time was 6:30 pm when we reached here, ordered the famous Mutton Tikka Masala with Bread Kulcha and Mutton Chaap again with Bread Kulcha. Upon seeing our KA registration bike the owner of the place started a conversation with us and was very delighted to hear that we travelled all the way from Bangalore to Amritsar on bike, and to top it up saw a YouTube video and came to taste the food of his restaurant. He heard all our travel stories and encouraged us to keep travelling and exploring the unseen parts of this beautiful country called India. Food came in and trust me it was like heaven, after having eaten after almost 9-10hours. The mutton was so tender, amazingly cooked using ghee, the aroma and flavor was to die for and we couldn’t help but order one more round of both the items. Done with food, when Atul wanted to pay the bill, the owner refused to take money from us and asked us to consider it as a goodwill gesture from his end, for our dedication and love to come all the way to his place and have food – he was happy to provide us food from his restaurant. However, insisted and made him agree to at least consider taking some Rs 300 for the cooks who helped prepare such lip-smackingly awesome food (actually bill was around Rs 800). He obliged, we paid and started Hulk to come towards the market place of Amritsar. We promised him to come once again when we are next in Amritsar.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-788.jpg

Done with this soulful food, both of us badly wanted to have some tea and some of our friends advised us to go to this place called Giani Tea Stall to have tea here. 5kms away, in no time we reached the tea stall and ordered two glasses of tea. Found the tea to be good but it fell short of expectations, have tasted better quality local tea at many places all over India so not sure what the hype is all about. Anyway, after we were done with tea we reached our hotel around 7:45pm and decided to relax for a while before heading out for some dinner. We freshened up, Atul was transferring data to his laptop, and I did some packing so that we have a light morning the next day before the ride, did some chit chat and waited for the time to pass. Weather outside was quite chilly and we had to wear layers of clothes to prevent ourselves from the dipping temperature. Fully covered up with very minimum scope for cold air to pierce through, around 9:45pm we stepped out from the room to have our dinner. Once again some of our friends recommended the place called ‘Kesar da Dhaba’ which serves authentic palak paneer, dal and kadhi pakora and parathas so we thought of trying this place for dinner tonight, just being 3kms away.

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Kesar Da Dhaba is one of the must pit-stop for food lovers coming to Amritsar for some authentic Punjabi food. Originally founded in Pakistan's Punjab province, this 100-year-old eatery relocated to Amritsar after Partition have been serving up delicious paratha thalis and silver-leaf-topped phirni in small clay bowls, as well as arguably the best lassi in town, from this hard-to-find old-city location. One just have to keep asking the way through narrow old street roads, everyone knows it. The moment we reached here I was taken aback, a waiting time of almost close to 2hrs and hundreds of people already queuing up to get their tables. Both of us were heavily disappointed but then waiting for 2hrs didn’t make any sense with us having to leave the city as early as possible in the morning. Not much we could do about it, Atul turned Hulk and we went to the Town Hall area to find some less crowded place and have some food, by now it was already 10:15pm.

We ended up in a place called Brother’s Dhaba, not much crowded and easily got a table for both of us, and ordered our dinner – aloo and paneer parathas, chole kulche and phirni. Food came in quite fast, since it was already late we ate it real fast, paid the bills and took Hulk to head towards hotel.

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Almost 11:30pm, both of us were lying tired on the bed. It was a fruitful day with so many places we saw and explored. Time for goodnight and head back to Delhi tomorrow morning!
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:36   #11
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Some more pictures from Day 9

At the Golden Temple
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Before entering the Jallianwala Bagh Gate
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Inside Jallianwala Bagh
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Some more snaps from the Wagah Border ceremony
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Near the IND-PAK Border
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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-dsc_5132.jpg
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Day 10 – 04/01/2019 – From Amritsar to Delhi – 475kms (Amritsar > Jalandhar > Ambala > Karnal > Panipat > Delhi-Dwarka)

Another day with nothing else to see, just to take the highway and keep riding till we reach our destination, Delhi, to my brother’s place once again. It was 8am in the morning and both of us woke up, there was slight drizzle outside. The plan of wanting to start early just didn’t happen and we had to make use of the time in the best possible way. Very soon the rain subsided and we were in the position to start the ride. Got ready, geared up, loaded Hulk with the bags and Atul did all the final formalities to check-out. Our plan was to have breakfast somewhere on the highway itself. Around 9:45am we started the ride to reach Delhi. We really had a great time in Amritsar and hoped to come back here soon. Morning was pleasant after the mild shower of rain, slow passing cold breeze and the dim Sunlight made the ride heavenly.

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Our first pitstop happened just after crossing the city limits of Amritsar in an Indian Oil petrol station when it was almost time to tank up Hulk. And for the next one hour we covered as much distance possible until it was 10:45am and both our stomach started to make noise due to hunger. We stopped at a local road-side dhaba and ordered our breakfast – tandoori aloo paratha, panner stuffed bread pakodas and chai. It was a sumptuous breakfast and we couldn’t resist having one more round of chai. A relaxed breakfast for around 45mins, it was time to gear up again and hit the highway. All we had to do was keep riding, enjoy the beautiful country side of Punjab and feel the journey. First we crossed Jalandhar around 12:15pm and then came the city of Ludhiana by 1:15pm. Being an afternoon I guess the traffic scene was better today and we by-passed the town easily.

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Having continuously riding for the last few hours we started feeling a bit restless and fatigued, agreed to do a small halt by the McDonald’s for some fresh coffee. Parked Hulk and got inside the store, ordered the coffee and some fries to just munch on. It took us some 20mins to get refreshed and kick start the ride again. In no time we crossed Ambala by 3:30pm and then entered the state of Haryana. By now the traffic started to pile up for vehicles to go towards Delhi.

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Just when we were about to enter the Panipat town by-pass, by mistake Atul couldn’t figure out the route displayed by Google and we took a wrong turn, which eventually landed us into the never ending city traffic road, instead of a flyover, he took a cut through service road. Here we took a hell lot of time to once again reconnect the highway from the service road, a solid waste of 30-45mins. Not that we could do much about it, we patiently cruised through the jam-packed service road and waited for the highway to get connected, which was just to our right. Nevertheless, one point came and we connected back with the highway. Atul tried to make up the distance and time we lost back there and by 7pm we were in the outskirts of Delhi. Long queue of traffic for almost close to 5-6kms with back to back vehicles lined up. Somehow we maneuvered through the traffic and made our way.

Braving all the city traffic, we reached home at 8:30pm. Both of us were delighted to see brother again who already got me some treat – my favorite pork momos (well, obviously some chicken momos for Atul as well). Both of us freshened up and changed into comfortable home clothes and relaxed the remaining part of the evening with family. We opened bags to the bare minimum and had to do packing for all the clothes and stuff which we left behind while going to Amritsar (brother washed and cleaned some of the clothes as well). Pork momos and coffee was devoured over conversations and stories from the Amritsar trip.

Time just passed by and it was already 10:30pm. Brother kept the dinner simple – rice, roti, dal fry and some aloo jeera. Even a simple meal at home can be so refreshing and heavenly. Post dinner, I helped him with the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen while we had some brother-sister talks, Atul did some data transfer and made arrangements for the next day ride back towards Bangalore.

It wasn’t that freezing cold tonight yet my sleeping bag came to the rescue of giving me comfort inside it (yes, I sleep inside sleeping bag even at brother’s home). 11:15pm and all of us wished goodnight to one another and went to sleep.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:48   #13
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Default re: The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!

Day 11 – 05/01/2019 – From Delhi to Jhansi – 465kms (Delhi-Dwarka > Noida > Agra > Datia > Jhansi)

Brother woke both of us around 8am in the morning. Tough we wanted to start our ride early today but one of our friend staying in Delhi as well as brother, from some sources, got to know that the Yamuna Expressway was a bit foggy in the morning and knowing the pile up accidents that happen in that expressway due to low visibility and fog, we didn’t want to take any chance and agreed to start a bit late when there is sufficient Sunlight and the misty fog might have subsided a bit. Did our final set of packing, freshened up and geared up, finally loading Hulk totally with all the luggage. In the meanwhile brother prepared some simple breakfast – coffee, bread butter and some biscuits as he was getting late for work as well. Done with food and since he had to leave for work, Atul and I started our return home journey from Delhi by 9:30am in the morning (Sun was fully out and it should help clear out some of the fog on the expressway. Bid goodbye to brother and Atul fired up Hulk for the ride to begin.

It was a Saturday morning yet the roads of Delhi were busy and full of vehicles. Long signals, large number of two and four wheelers and our bike fully loaded taking almost as space as a Nano – it was a bit frustrating for us to ride through the city roads and head towards the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway to get an exit for Yamuna Expressway. After an hour or so the traffic jams started getting lesser and we found ourselves navigating towards the expressway. Roads were wide, municipal authority doing great job in keeping the greenery alive and the ride through these roads was a total bliss. By 10:45am we were taking the clover leaf flyover to take the lane for Yamuna Expressway. Absolutely no sign of fog covering the road and hampering the visibility, it was as clear as any other normal day and we regretted the fact that we could have started a bit earlier – anyway, it was better to be cautious then to regret later. Just before entering the expressway, we did a quick halt and clicked some pictures as this was the first time ever we would be experiencing riding through this road and apparently, it is one amongst the best expressway in India along with equally awesome natural beauty on both sides of the highway.

The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-813.jpg
The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-807.jpg

Riding a little while on this expressway, we got the toll booth where we had to pay the fee, Rs 205 to get exit at Agra. Seems to be a bit on the higher side, must be the reason why we didn’t see many locals or commuter section of two wheeler users on this road. But I guess this the amount we had to pay for getting to travel almost more than 150kms hassle-free. This road is stretching 165 kms and connects international tourist destinations of Delhi and Agra, a 6-lane (extendable to 8 lane) access controlled Expressway has facilities of 4 toll plazas, 2-3 highway amenities centers having food, refreshment, rest-rooms, etc. for travelers and 6 interchanges along the entire length. The expressway is also notoriously famous for being called ‘highway to hell’ for commuters due its high accident rates as these accidents mainly happen due to rash driving, failed engineering issues related to missing crash barriers and other infrastructure measures that can prevent a crash becoming fatal. Atul was utmost cautious while riding on this expressway, to be under limits and just because the roads are wide open and is a welcoming invitation to open up the throttle and ride at high speed, he always kept his cool. We also stopped at a safe point to click some quick pictures and enjoy the natural landscape on both sides of the highway. Green crops, yellow spread out mustard fields, tall trees, small countryside ponds and the clear blue sky ahead, it was a picture perfect scene.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-811.jpg
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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-g0051823.jpg

Around 12:30pm we agreed to stop by at one of the food plaza place and have our lunch quickly so that we can keep riding continuously for the remaining part of the afternoon, both were terribly hungry too. This place had ample space for parking, Atul parked Hulk in such a way that it didn’t attract much attention and we are free from some crowd lurking around the bike all the time. We ordered chole bhature, rajma chawal, kesar doodh, gajar halwa and tea. Being weekend, the no. of people travelling from Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon to Agra was too high so this place was fully crowded. So getting our food took almost 30mins. We quickly gulped down the food, relaxed for a while and once again decided to hit the road.

Both of us kept riding for the next couple of hours until around 2:30pm we reached a place called Rambagh and from here we needed to exit Agra town. Hulk was almost getting dried out with petrol and the first thing we need to do after exiting the expressway was to get hold of a petrol station and fuel up. Once again being a weekend and people coming to see Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal created a lot of traffic chaos within Agra city. Somehow we managed to squeeze through the jams and made our way to exit from the city and ride forward. The towns surrounding the highway didn’t look quite safe with too many locals getting triggered seeing our bike and started racing with us, Atul kept on riding without paying much heed. We decided to push Hulk a bit more with petrol and stop at some safe station out of reach from locals. Within some few kilometers we exited Uttar Pradesh and then entered a tiny section of Rajasthan at a place called Morena. The place being the border town between UP and Rajasthan, there were numerous trucks and heavy vehicles waiting all along the highway to clear up the RTO formalities. On top of this, the highway was getting constructed into a four-lane one for which they were digging on edge of the roads, construction materials, potholes, water filled puddles, slush, mud and too much dust in the air. This took away some more time from us and by now it was already 4:30pm in the evening.

After crossing Morena town, quite literally somehow, we saw a decent Indian Oil petrol station and by now Hulk’s petrol blinker was going on from too long. Having no other way out, we stopped at the station, tanked up the bike, drank some water and resume the ride again for Sagar (at this point of time, Sagar was our destination for the day), some 350kms away. Once we crossed Morena, the highway condition started becoming better, but not for long. Till Gwalior the roads were in extremely good condition, we by-passed Gwalior town by 5pm. After this point our nightmares of encountering very bad roads started. With construction going on for developing and building four lane highway (for which the work is in-fact going on from past 2-3 years but not yet completed), roads had too much gravel, un-even surface, dusty sandy atmosphere with dirt being blown over by heavy trucks. Despite this we kept on riding patiently until it started getting dark post sunset and visibility of the roads ahead dropped. Many a times we entered roads which were half way constructed and stopped in between, again had to take diversions and come to the actual road, many places didn’t have diversion signage as well.

At one point we reached a place where the road was completed filled with mud water because of some pumping work nearby. Atul wasn’t able to judge the depth of the mud water so I decided to get down and walk out this section while we somehow try to maneuver through the water and reach the other end. It was totally dark, time was around 6:30pm and somewhat isolated place with only few vehicles here and there. For cars it was easy but for two wheelers a different game altogether to cross the section. First it was Atul to go with the bike, he somehow managed to balance through the road and get to the other end. While he tried showing me some lights from the bikes’ headlight, the view wasn’t perfect and on top of it cars were just not bothered to stop for a while and let me cross, they kept on honking continuously. Out of frustration I decided to walk through the mud water, but unfortunately a wrong step and my right foot just went completed inside a mud pile till the calf section. Luckily the Dianese boots was totally water-proof and didn’t let a single drop of dirt water to enter inside my foot. However, my boots were completely covered with mud and with no other option left, I walked through the dirt and reached the other side.

By now I was totally furious and didn’t want to do any talking. Atul helped me with some tissues to clean the mud from the boots, how much ever was possible. This is when we decided that riding all the way till Sagar would be a stupid idea as we still had close to 290kms left to ride to reach there, roads condition ahead was still not good and definitely not a safe idea to cross this section so late at night, time was almost 7pm. While I cleaned myself to some extent, Atul told us that we could consider staying the night over at Jhansi, the nearest big city and then get up early and head straight towards Nagpur as per plan. I agreed and we resumed our ride to somewhere which had light, open space and we could do booking of our stay in Jhansi. Came across a small tea café, stopped the bike had some tea while Atul looked for a hotel through the OYO app. He got a hotel with good deal and so instantly booked the room. We had some 40kms to reach our place of stay.

By 8pm we reached the hotel, OYO 26627 K3 Club Residency, a well-maintained decent budget OYO property and for a single night Deluxe AC room we paid Rs 1881. I felt it was a bit on the higher side but we didn’t have much option left with us, also the place was right in the heart of Jhansi city. Staff was quite friendly and helped us finish the check-in formalities soon, so that we get the room key. Atul unloaded the luggage from the bike and we moved towards our room. It was a nice spacious neat and clean room and after that horrible incident, this was something worthwhile to rest for the day, ended the day’s ride and decided to start fresh the next day. We wanted to be done with dinner at the earliest so Atul placed the dinner order soon – phulkas, dal fry, egg bhurji and aloo jeera. While it took time for food to come, both of us cleaned the bags, our gears and my boots from the dusty muddy ride and make it ready for the next day.

Dinner food came by 9:15pm, both of us hogged our food and relaxed for a while, had some conversations and then sharp 10:30pm it was bed time. More kilometers got added to our ride tomorrow, but if we start early the distance between Jhansi and Nagpur is quite doable. Hoping to get up early, we both fell asleep.
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:53   #14
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Default re: The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!

Day 12 – 06/01/2019 – Jhansi to Nagpur – 600kms (Jhansi > Sagar > Narsinghpur > Lakhnadon > Seoni > Nagpur)

7am in the morning is when our alarm went off, should have tried to wake up a bit earlier but no worries, we would try to cover as much distance possible with lesser breaks to reach Nagpur today. Completing the usual ride morning chores, both of us freshened up, wore our gears, finished all the packing and once and for all headed out towards the parking lot to load Hulk and then start our journey for the day. We deposited the key on the front desk all bills and other formalities for check-out happened the previous night as we would leave early today. 8:15am and we were on the roads of Jhansi to head out from the city and ride towards Sagar. An early Sunday morning and the city streets were almost empty apart from few people doing their normal morning walks and jogs. The weather was pleasant and the Sun just got out from the clear blue sky to shower Mother Earth with its light. Winter cool breeze passing by and the feeling was surreal, a positive vibe from the negativity that happened the previous evening. In no time, we exited the city and hit the four lane highway, very less traffic just few passing by trucks and heavy vehicles. Surprisingly, we thought that the bad roads from yesterday would continue to haunt us today as well but the scene was opposite today – better roads, good view of the landscape and a nice morning ride.

The ride just kept happening through the beautiful highway, Atul opened up the accelerator and covered as much distance possible and by 10:30am finally we reached Sagar. Stomach already rumbling due to hunger and our plan was to stop in this town, have our breakfast and then proceed further. Being a Sunday most places were shut but after riding a few more kilometers came across a restaurant just next to the highway, called the Pathway Resort. Atul did a quick check if breakfast was available and the person there told us breakfast can be served but they have only limited items for food. We parked Hulk, got a table outside in the lawn to enjoy the Sun and get some Vitamin D. Looks like inside there was some arrangements going on for a birthday party in the afternoon. Order was placed for bread pakodas, aloo paratha, bread toast and tea. Food tasted good and while we finished having our food, we enjoyed the nice ambiance of the resort’s park as well. By 11:45am, we geared up, paid the bills and resumed our ride. With just the highway ahead of us, our aim today was to keep riding and reach Nagpur before the end of daylight, another 380kms to go.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-834.jpg

We kept of moving ahead and crossed Narsinghpur town followed by Seoni around 3:15pm where we had to do a tanking up of Hulk. A bio break, a short picture break, petrol break and then hitting the highway again. The road was highly boring yet the landscape was pretty beautiful all along. We took couple of water and photo breaks to kill the monotony. After a while we entered the forest area of the Pench National Park, most commonly known for the tiger reserves. Here as well there are construction going on for expanding the highway, making it a four lane one and trying to keep it elevated so as not to disturb the free movement rights of animals, the forest being running through below the highway. Some sections were in very bad shape, but apart from this the road was manageably ok.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-836.jpg
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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-840.jpg

Next 90mins ride and we reached our stay in Nagpur at OYO 10943 Hotel Plus Corporate located the Butibori industrial area. The OYO property was decent, well maintained and had sufficient gated area for parking Hulk. Atul completed the check-in formalities, we got our room, took the bags inside and settled inside the room. The AC Deluxe room costed us Rs 1056 for a night. The urge to have some tea, we ordered two cups of tea, some chicken starters and french fries. Both of us took shower before the order came in, post which we made arrangements for the last day of our ride tomorrow morning. We took out only those things needed for the night so that we don’t have to waste time in packing the next day. Had tea and snacks, while we gave order for dinner as well. Even here in this hotel there seems to be a party in the evening and the care taker informed us that he would serve our dinner a bit early as he would be later busy with arrangements for the party. This was in a way good for us, as we planned to have food early and hit the sack as soon as possible.

The food we ordered came around 8:15pm, fried rice and some chicken gravy. The party downstairs already started but the noise wasn’t too loud in order to not disturb the other occupants inside the hotel rooms. Keeping everything set for the next day’s ride, we both had an early goodnight today, time was 9pm. Long way to reach home!
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Old 27th August 2019, 11:59   #15
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Default re: The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!

Day 13 – 07/01/2019 – Nagpur to BTM – 1100kms (Nagpur > Adilabad > Hyderabad > Kurnool > Anantapur > BTM)

Determined to get up early today at any cost, both of us woke up around 5am in the morning. Bags were already packed, we finished clearing and packing the remaining stuff, took shower, geared up and came down to load Hulk. It was still dark and the sign of dawn was faint. A last final check of the room, handing over the keys to the care taker, we started our ride back home at 6am. Few kilometers and we were on the highway and by now we could feel the biting cold weather. An almost empty highway, still dark and with mild fog, this compelled us to stop for a bit, get a pullover on beneath the riding gear to save ourselves from the cold wind. Nonetheless, we resumed the ride and tried to cover as much distance as possible. In between around 6:30am sun began to rise and it started to feel a bit better.

The ride continued till we reached almost close to Adilabad and agreed to do a quick pit-stop for tea and some quick bites. Roads were in ok condition, much better to what the story was two years ago when we used the highway to return from our Rann Ride via Nagpur. A piping hot tea was definitely needed to warm us up from the chill weather and we stopped by a roadside tiny place. The shop was ran by a mid-age couple, serving tea, some idlis and puri sabji all in good hygienic conditions. The puri and sabji looked fresh and too tempting hence, we ended up having two plates of that, some biscuits and four cups of tea. Next to the shop was a BP petrol station as well, we could tank up Hulk as well now, without having the need to stop somewhere again and fill up. By 9:30am it was time to ride again.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-845.jpg

Talking to one another on various topics, remembering memories from this trip and planning for other places to go, we kept moving ahead and with very less breaks in between, we arrived in the city of Hyderabad around 12noon. Monday, beginning of the week, all shops, schools, colleges, offices would be open and the peak afternoon time, it was damn obvious that we would encounter traffic jams on our way out from the city. Being on bike would also mean we can’t take expressway and by pass the whole city roads. This was frustrating but not that we could avoid any of it. Slowly and steadily we covered the traffic and connected NH44.

Time was almost 1:45pm and we were extremely hungry by now. Just before exiting Hyderabad city, we stopped at a place called Hyderabad Biriyani House and decided to have our lunch here quickly. Ordered a mutton and chicken biriyani along with some coke. Food came in pretty fast but the taste wasn’t really great. Dry rice with very less masala, hardly any meat pieces and terrible service quality. Both of us just gulped down the food, finished everything quickly and agreed to not waste much time here and beginning the ride for Bangalore around 2:30pm. A quick petrol break followed after food and then we hit the road.

The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-844.jpg

Afternoon ride post a rice meal, we knew the ride would be challenging and we would definitely get the sleep mode on. Yet, we tried to keep engaging with one another, talking, making fun of each other, and this is how the time passed by and so the distance to reach home. By 4:30pm we by-passed Kurnool town and from there we headed towards Anantapur. In between we stopped around sunset time to click some pictures and kill the boredom of riding continuously for so long. It was invariably the time to take a short break and have some food and tea, by 8pm. We stopped at a restaurant called Dolphins just after the Anantapur town and ordered something to eat along with tea. This time I decided to stick to coffee and Atul as usual tea, apart from egg chilli fry and some potato chips. Weekday so the place wasn’t crowded at all, food came in early, we finished eating and drinking the beverages. After some 30mins, we prepared ourselves for the last leg of ride for the journey until we reached home, around 200kms more to go.

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The Chole Kulche Ride – 11 states, 6500 km and a wintery North India Trip on Hulk!-20190107_195855.jpg

First we entered Karnataka state, then came across the Nandi Hills diversion and then crossed the toll booths for airport, finally it was Hebbal and then city roads to reach apartment parking area at around 11:45pm, just in time before midnight. Our plan anyhow was to enter our home premise before 12am and it was accomplished. The ODO read 6498kms and we completed yet another long journey, new destinations, new unexplored places and new memories for lifetime.

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I helped Atul in unloading the bags from Hulk and took them inside home (cleaning, arranging and unpacking would happen over the next couple of days). For now it was time to rest as next day once again, we should start with the grueling and boring office life! But we will sleep peacefully tonight remembering all the good that happened in this ride, keeping aside the bad times but learning the lessons.

Our journey never ends, life has a way of changing things in incredible ways. Today I’m here, tomorrow I’m somewhere else….
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