Updated: May 6, 2019
“Travelling – It leaves you speechless and turns you into a storyteller.”
I experienced the same when I went for my first trip to Dehradun. The roads turned me speechless and then I am the storyteller, The Terrestrial Astronaut.
So here’s the story on how it went..
It was much like an unplanned trip and we just went on the trip and planned things on the way.
11th October 2018
We 3 friends Kartik, Kanishk and me, we were planning for a trip together for a long time, so, finally we were ready to take a trip together. Initially, we planned on going by train and then as no train was available at that time, we decided for a bus. But then it changed to bikes. Kartik already had his Pulsar 200NS and we needed one more bike. So, I packed my bag and went to my office to work for the night.
12th October 2018
At morning 7:00 our shift was over and we were ready to go. We headed to Kartik’s room for the breakfast and for the starting point of our journey. From there Kanishk and me went to Karol Bagh to rent a Royal Enfield classic 350. The shopkeeper really pissed me off with his attitude towards us and still then we decided to go with it. we tried a few bikes and decided to go with a particular 350 classic model at ₹ 1000 per day. The repair guys at the shop were really good and they worked for about an hour to get the bike set up for us and with a minor servicing. Although it meant taking spares from other bikes and putting it onto this one, but we were okay with it as long as it worked.
After that came taking the helmets for the ride. The only helmets provided for the ride along with the bike for the ride was really crappy and broken and dirty, so I decided to purchase my own.
We started our ride at about 2:00 pm and took another friend Nilanjan with us.
We took a halt at Kanishk’s place to get his helmet and bags for the ride.
After that we went to the highway at a cruising speed and just after a bit of time, we were about to reach Muradnagar and the traffic was really bad.
We took a halt there for some food and the paratha was really nice.
Although I am not quite a fan of paratha, but i liked it.
We faced a little issue with the Enfield’s starter motor at this point but it was resolved later.
From there we were heading towards Muzaffarnagar on the upper-ganga canal road.
At this point, I was away from all the anger from the bike and was enjoying the ride.
At the Upper Ganga Canal Road
We took some small halts along the road and I dozed off a few times sitting as a pillion. I have to thank Kartik and Kanishk for taking the bikes for a high speed sprint as we were too late.
Anyways, we reached at a small dhaba at Muzaffarnagar and took a halt for 20 min over there,
Then we decided to not take the route through roorkie and went for a different route and faced an angry riot over there, we had to turn back and head on the other road and after a bit of going through unknown road with Nilanjan guiding us using GPS we were back on track and everything was going smooth.
After that, we took a halt at a chai shop as the ride was really becoming painful at this point. We took a halt for quite some time at this point, We took pictures with our bikes and had a nice tea with biscuits at this place as were dead hungry.
The shopkeeper was really rice to us and informed that there will be really bad roads all of a sudden and to not speedup on these roads as potholes and bad roads popup all of a sudden.
And indeed, the roads from now on were under construction and was really bad and tiring. It felt as if we were riding on a off-road trail which was really not maintained at all.
This part of the road was to test the drivers and I have to say that I was fortunate to have Kanishk and Kartik with me and they drove on these roads like hot knife on butter.
At one point the roads became better and we were sailing smoothly.
Then after like an eternity, we reached the mountain roads and although it was dark, I was happy and excited like a child who has received a gift.
After riding a while on the dark zigzag roads of the mountains, we saw a board which read: “Welcome to Dehradun”.
It was about 10:45 pm and from there it was mostly a ride through the city.
This city reminded me of my own city Durgapur, clean and well maintained.
We reached Dehradun Railway station and were searching for a dharamshala to stay for the night.
We were really tired and was unable to find a dharamshala to stay for the night as the offices for the registration closes at 7:30 pm, a heads-up to all the visitors looking to stay here.
Then started the hunt for a cheap hotel room to spend the night.
We were really tired at this point and barely remember anything that happened after this, All I remembered is that Kanishk and Nilanjan went to search for a room and found one to stay for 4 people for the night at ₹ 700 for the night and the room was decent too.
We had some food which I don’t remember as we were awake and tired for almost 24 hours at a stretch and we really needed some sleep.
Then we reached the room and we died while attempting to plan for the next day lying in our warm blankets. We literally died.
13th October 2018
We woke up fresh and feeling awesome just thinking that I am on the first day of my trip which I have dreamt forever, I set up my cellphone on the outside to capture the time-lapse of the sun rising, but the sun was smart and woke up before us so I got nothing on my footage.
We freshened up ourselves and got into our riding gears planning to go to Mussoorie and posed for some pictures in the golden sunshine.
We checked out of our hotel room at approximately 8:30 am and headed towards Mussoorie.
The roads at Dehradun except for a few rumble strips, were really smooth and nicely maintained.
On the way we passed the “Bell Tower” locally known as “Ghanta Ghar” and other structured belonging to old Dehradun.
Then we say a really scenic point on the road where we were able to see the mountains and we were standing on the edge of the cliff and clicking pictures unaware of the 1000X more scenic points along the way.
We started climbing the mountains and it felt really awesome as Kartik was leaning his pulsar and I was on the pillion seat clicking pictures.
We took a number of stops along the way just to click pictures and a major one to take a sip on tea on a particular viewpoint.
Pictures on the way to Mussorie
Then we passed main Mussoorie market and LBSNAA to reach Kempti falls.
It is a waterfall with a small reservoir in which people take a bath in the cold waters of the fall.
We parked our bikes on the top and kept our bags and belongings safely with a restaurant.
Then we descended down a fleet of stairs to the base of the waterfall and changed our clothes from riding to bathing.
At this point, we were feeling a bit of cold and we went to the reservoir to take a bath.
At the first attempt we backed off as the cold mist from the waterfall touched us and after about 10 minutes, we gathered enough courage to step into the waters and it was insanely cold.
The outside temperature was about 6-7 degrees Celsius and the water was easily 2-4 degrees,
As soon as we stepped in the water, our lower body was numb due to the cold, we spent a good 15 minutes in that chilling water.
Then we dried ourselves and went for some photography around the falls.
Then hungry and tired, we climbed up the stairs and went to the restaurant to have some food.
After resting for a good amount of time, we decided to ride down the mountain to mall road of Mussoorie and head to Gunhill point.
We reached mall road and found that there was an entry fee of ₹ 100 per Motorbike.
One of our friends decided to stay back to call his parents so three of us went inside to mall road on foot. We planned to buy souvenirs there but they were extremely overpriced so we decided to not buy from there and get the same stuff from the local markets at Dehradun. We decided to rent MTBs and go to Gunhill point, but the locals said that you need to take a cable car to Gunhill point and you can’t take your MTB’s in the car.
So we had to quit the idea of cycling and alternatively planned to take a diverted route to Gunhill point, but rejected that plan too as we needed to reach Dehradun City by 7:00pm.
So we decided to ride down the mountain to Dehradun.
We reached fairly fast all thanks to gravity and the drivers making fair use of it.
As we reached the base of the hills, we stopped for a short break and refuel stop.
There we planned to have some momos but luck wasn’t with us and we didn’t found any such momo shop. The only one we found served veg momos so we had to satisfy ourselves with veg momos and chowmeins.
Oh, one thing, by this time we had a lot of pain in our ears due to the pressure difference in the altitudes.
Eventually, we reached and booked a room at dharamshala near the railway station and freshened up ourselves. The rooms were okay and really cheap. But the washrooms weren’t so great.
After a quick freshen up and a powernap, we went out to have some food as we were really hungry and sleepy by now, We had some food which I really don’t remember and then went for a casual stroll to the railway station area and had some “Bun-makkhan” there with some warm tea.
After that, all exhausted, we came back to our rooms, plugged in our cellphones for charging and went off to sleep in our warm blankets. Although some party and music was going on just on the floor above, but it really didn’t bothered us.
14th October 2018
Today we woke up early and checked out of the dharamshala at about 8:30 am. We had some tea and bun as usual and proceeded towards our last destination, The robber’s cave. Locally known as “Gucchu Pani”.
It is essentially a stream flowing through a cave and as usual a tourist spot.
Although you don’t need to be an adventure junkie to come here but you need to have a bit of courage as sometimes you need to climb slippery rocks covered with moss and a simple slip and fall may end up dangerous.
On the way we passed by several structures belonging to old Dehradun, finally we reached the area of the Robber’s cave. The entry to the cave was at the base of the hill and we were much higher on the road, so we had to take a steep descent to the base of the hill and the place was rather empty as we were early. Although this allowed us to look at the area uncontaminated.
We kept our belongings at a rented locker at an adjoining shop and rented slippers from that same shop.
At this moment, we saw that we could fit 3 of our bags in the lockers or just keep one and my own bag. So, I carried my bag with me which wasn’t a great idea.
We clicked some pictures near the entrance of the cave and hen it was my idea to shoot a video while entering the cave. To do that, I planned to setup the camera at the stairs to the creek and 4 of us walked past it. Then I had to turn back while the rest three of us remained there and I had to pass them and setup the camera at a different angle. The foolish me thought climbing a slippery rock while holding a tripod on one hand and wearing really worn out rented slippers was a good idea. Well, God pointed out my mistake and gave me a life lesson as I slipped and fell. Although I landed in the shallow water on my feet, my just new and expensive cellphone which I was using to click awesome pictures and videos wasn’t so lucky. It landed in the water and almost instantly I picked it up. One of my slipper was floating away in the creek which Kartik managed to catch with the end of the tripod saving us ₹ 100 for losing that weary slipper.
Although my right elbow was in pain from the fall, I wasn’t ready to give up. I was still filming. Slowly, the water fogged up my lens from the inside and at that moment, I knew I fucked up.
I kept my phone in my pocket and proceeded to enter the cave, it was a real another world experience.
The coldness and the damp atmosphere in the cave was really awesome. After a certain time wading through gushing water and climbing rocks, I could proceed no further, as I had to either go through a waterfall or cross above it which was both impossible as I had the bag with me and I wasn’t carrying any waterproof cover for it.
So I sat down of the highest point that I could reach inside the cave with an opening to the jungle above me. I was looking down the creek and helping others climb to me and past me while the rest three of us went to the end of the cave and took pictures and videos for me. I just promised myself to carry waterproof gears from my next trip without failing.
After about 20 minutes they returned and we went out of the cave to dry up and have some warm food. There we saw that the place completely changed and was now sprawling with chattering tourists which saddened me a bit.
The food as really expensive there so we decided to feast on chips. We had a bit of time on our hands so we decided to sit and dry off ourselves before heading home. After about half an hour we got up and got into our gears for the long ride to home.
We took the route via Haridwar as it would be much more scenic although long.
Along the way we took very few halts and passed through Rajaji Tiger reserve on our bikes and it was another thrilling experience. Finally, we crossed Haridwar and Roorkie. After this there was virtually no stopping for breaks. We got the highway and redlined our bikes all the way upto 120-130 km/hr on stretches of roads. We were passing by cars and other bikes and finally came back to the upper ganga canal road and reached Mouradnagar from where we had to face the traffic and finally after battling the traffic we reached Delhi and returned the Royal Enfield.
Although this was a small trip, It was the first of my life, I lost the fingerprint scanner of my brand new phone in this trip but also gained much more. On the way we were constantly discussing one particular thing.
“Bhai, Pura paisa usool ho gya is trip se”
In English, it translates to, “Brother, every penny spent in this trip is worth it.”
We experienced many other things and moments but I didn’t mention them as they were beyond words, you need to go outside of your comfort zone to experience them.
This trip turned me from a person who was willing to sacrifice his life to 9-5 job to and explorer. I know I am saying and expecting much more from myself than I can be, But I am sure of one thing,
“I will make it possible”.