At 4,420 meters Sach pass is not among the highest ‘motorable’ passes in the country, but it is certainly one of the steepest and one of toughest to bicycle across. A couple of years ago, Punit and I failed to cycle across it (read about the last attempt to cycle across the Sach pass here. What are the chances that I’ll do better on a solo attempt?
It is a little after 4:00 pm and it has already been a tough day of cycling.
12 minute read | 2547 words
Perhaps more appropriate to say ‘trying to’ cycle across the Sach Pass. And failing. We did our best, under the circumstances, and failed. No shame in that!
15 odd kilometers short of the Sach pass we had to turn around . The trail (can’t call it a road, even though it was wider than a typical single track) was so steep, and so full of slush that our bikes had no grip.
2 minute read | 308 words
She knew. I could tell she knew that I was in pain. I had been making sure that the violent negotiations between my calves and knees were kept to, well, myself. But she could see through it.
I was determined to take myself and the 20 kilo pack on my back, safely to wherever the trail ended. This was the last, and particularly gruelling, day of a 6-day-trek across the Buran Pass.
4 minute read | 772 words
In June I traveled almost the entire length of the Spiti valley in the ‘European backpacker’ style. Using local buses (non-a/c with non-reclining seats), hitching rides, and hiking– from village to village and from monastery to monastery; eating in ‘dhabas’, staying in village homes, monasteries; making new friends (some of whom were perpetual travelers – they do not have a stable snail mail address)…
It is an absolutely incredible way to see the countryside.
1 minute read | 162 words
Day one is always hard. But staying the night at Raju bharti’s guest house in Gushani more than made up for it. Lovely family to stay with and an absolutely gorgeous place too.
On day two rode through rain and climbed 1,234m over 17 kms, (that’s pretty darn steep, eh!) see elevation profile. The downhill after the pass was endless – the break shoes were totally worn out, and our wrists were hurting by the time we reached down.
1 minute read | 135 words
Freezing temperatures, mutinous children and kindergarten values
Educational consultant Ajay Jaiman, 40, trekked to Chandratal over the Dussehra break last year with three other families—the Bhattacharyas, the Chopras and the Chakrabartis—ranging in age from 7 to 51. Despite a recent heart attack, which has postponed a high-altitude lake expedition this summer, he has not given up on physically demanding outdoor breaks
Click on any image to view an enlarged image gallery I like to be outdoors when on vacation.
6 minute read | 1229 words
It’s freezing cold when we leave Losar. The guest house chowkidar tells us the temperature at night is normally sub-zero. So, on that cheerful note, we leave behind Losar’s square white houses, their roofs trimmed with firewood, their windows framed in black paint or tar, and a satellite dish and a solar panel practically on every roof. Cut off from the rest of the world for six months of the year, when the passes freeze up, this dish is what links them to the outside world.
10 minute read | 2050 words
Spiti has been hovering in our travel consciousness for a while now. We’ve been hovering near Spiti too, but somehow we’ve never quite made it. Last year we reached as close as Kalpa, about 12 kilometres up from Rekong Peo in Kinnaur. Instead of heading further north, we had to turn back. A landslide in Malling, combined with my daughter’s clogged nose pretty much put an end to that trip. So, we came back to hot and dry Delhi, and to make up went on a quick-zip trip to Chopta, recommended by some friends who make an annual pilgrimage to the place.
11 minute read | 2252 words
Seven adults, five kids take a trek to Beas Kund, moving away from the trodden path and opting instead for a route that is spectacular, challenging, and at times, downright tricky. The oldest beyond 40; the youngest a little over 6. On our trekking holiday in Manali, we were joined by our friends, their friends, and two trekking titans. The result: a life-changing, mind-bending, muscle-opening experience that every one is just waiting to revisit.
27 minute read | 5718 words
We’re on our way to peace, quiet and stupendous views of the Himalayas in the distant hill station of Kausani in Uttaranchal. Barely an hour out of Delhi, and the cow belt hits you, literally. Ambling senior citizens, regurgitating a late munch on some roadside grass provide ample experience in zig-zag driving. Cow on the right, swing to the left; tractor approaching on the wrong side, swing to the right; pothole ahoy, bump thump, oops too late, speeding Indica zooming up to kiss its maker, and a truck, swerve to avoid being spread like jam between them.
6 minute read | 1150 words
M iddle-age has its symptoms. In my case, I sense an old flame flaring up. My passion for travel, especially to the mountains, is getting a fresh supply of oxygen with each passing year. Every experience leaves me craving for more: a more exotic and a more adventurous fix. Best of all, instead of threatening my marital life, mountains help us spend time together away from the constantly ringing phones, endless homework, and the relentless tube.
21 minute read | 4406 words
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