written by - Anshul Akhoury
It is 30 minutes since we are driving, my thighs are hurting from sitting behind the Royal Enfield. Four wheelers pass by and vanish behind a turn or another. We are on our way to Rohtang Pass, riding on a Royal Enfield hired from a local bike rental shop in Old Manali. I am chronicling my road trip adventure to Rohtang for CEAT Tyres in association with BlogAdda.
We were in Manali when my sister and I decided to take a bike and ride all the way through Rohtang Pass. My sister Rashi, being an avid biker knew the treacherous roads of Manali – Rohtang highway, for me it was the first experience that initially sounded like a piggyback ride.
I was exhausted in the first 45 minutes of the journey. We hadn’t even crossed the Solang Nalla yet and my sister was already fed up of my constant nagging and complaining.
We watched a Bajaj Scooty pass by. The guy and his girlfriend were lost in their own world. They drove past us and vanished at the point where the road disappeared.
Selecting a bike for rental is a tough process. One simply cannot trust the rental guy and take the bike for a ride, it is important to go through every detail. These details, small and big save you from additional expenses during your journey. I have heard stories of bikers getting stranded in between on nowhere because of a faulty gearbox or a flat tyre.
It took us an hour and a half to cross Solang Nalla, the Majestic Himalayas took the centre stage and we could now see huge waterfalls at the far ends of the road. Being an experienced driver is not enough to drive in the Himalayas. It is important to drive safely and responsibly. The Manali Rohtang road is not straight, instead it cuts in a number of turns, each more difficult than the other. Himachali drivers honk loudly everytime they are near a turn. It you are not confident about the road then there is no problem to stop near the turn and let the other vehicle pass.
The road towards Rohtang and beyond keeps getting difficult, the number of loops become higher and at times you cannot see anything because of the fog. This is the reason why vehicles do not prefer traveling at towards Ladakh during early morning and late evenings. While being safe is your responsibility, it is your duty to drive responsibly, spare some time and see if another driver is in need of an extra hand.
Soon we are at a point where the road bids us good bye. We are now driving on a stretch filled with mud. A few more miles and I realize that I am not able to see my butt. It has gone numb. We stop at a local chai shop to get a cup of tea and some Maggi. Instead, we get the bad news.
There has been a landslide just a few kilometer after Gulaba. The vehicles are not being allowed to go past and they are being asked to return. It was more than 5 hours since we started riding only to miss our destination. Halfheartedly, we returned to Manali telling ourselves that there will be a next time.