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Himalayan Diaries – This Time HARSIL-GANGOTRI

Danish Umar

About Trail

Vehicle: Royal Enfield

Start Point: Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Start Date: 30-April-2017

End Point: Harsil, Uttarakhand 249135, India

End Date: 01-May-2017

Route: Dehradoon-Suwakholi-Chinyalisaur-Uttarkashi-Bhatwari-Harsil-Gangotri

Ride Time: 20 Hours (To and fro)

On Sunday, 30th April, along with a few close friends, I took my first biking trip ever. It was a 20 hour ride both ways. There wasn’t exactly a plan; we had only 60 hours to complete the trip (delhi-gangotri-delhi), we have planned to take the rented bikes from Dehradun, and we didnt even made the booking for bikes. We decided to get the bikes on the spot, as number of riders was not even final at the time of leaving the delhi. The only thing planned was that we have to return Delhi by 2nd of May (morning). We rode out on a couple of Royal Enfield Himalayans.

The journey was smooth in patches. Dehradoon - mussoorie (JP Gate) was smooth sailing, and with the weather being cooler and cleaner than Delhi, I got a whiff of the ‘fresh air’ that everyone keeps talking about. The Almos – Chinyalisour was good for the most part; the Uttarakashi – Harsil stretch was good, but not as great as the Harsil – Gangotri stretch. There was a newly constructed road, and there was still some work going on in the last few kilometers. There were also some bad patches, about 200metres to 1km along the route of Chinyalisour to uttarkashi

The weather was a major factor in our trip. On the first day, heavy rain and hail caused long breaks in our journey. But since we we were on a tight schedule and were running out of time, we were forced to move when the pouring reduced to a drizzle after Gangnani. We  were  cold and drenched and tired. We didn’t even reach Harsil, and were forced to stay the night at Sukhi top (6-7 km before harsil). However on the second day, clear and pleasant weather motivated us to go to Gangotri and then return to dehradun on the same day. While the bad weather forced us to stop 7kms before our destination, the good weather allowed us to travel 280kms on the same day! I guess that is why weather conditions are important in the mountains and hill stations.

Riding in the mountains for the first time is a pretty unique experience. Our bikes were pretty supportive all through the trip. They were in good condition but during the last leg of trip there were some issues in the braking system due to heating up. For anyone taking this route for the first time, I’d say carry rain gear as the weather is unpredictable on that trail, especially after uttarkashi. It can rain anytime. Also, keep an eye on the fuel meter. Petrol pumps along the route are hard to find and if you get stranded you’ll end up walking with your bike for a really long stretch. It’s advisable to check the fuel at Uttarkashi, since there are no petrol pumps in last 90 km of the route.
Lastly,always move with your group. It is easy to get lost. Ride safe.

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