Pune to Vaishno Devi – Himachal Chapter I

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This article is part 8 of 9 in the series "Vaishno Devi Trip 2014"

< Read previous chapter of the trip – Jammu Chapter II

Himachal Chapter I – Summary

Destinations: Pathankot > Nurpur > Dharamshala > McLeodGanj > Dharamshala > Chamunda Devi

Pune to Himachal Pradesh Motorbike Trip

Day 9: 10th March 2014

Pune to Himachal Pradesh on motorbike via Vaishno Devi, what other trip plan can be that exciting 🙂

With well deserved rest and sleep, we were well refreshed. Wet morning of Pathankot was filling us with freshest oxygen. Our bike deserved the refreshment as well before it climbs the great Himalayas. We headed to downtown of Pathankot for the service center.

Khalsa Dhaba of Pathankot

Khalsa Dhaba of Pathankot

Pathankot is an army camp place. We went through various army monuments. Monuments of ‘Victory over Pakistan’ are kind of open road exhibitions. Reminders of bravery!!

Santosh Unecha at Pathankot Camp

Santosh Unecha at Pathankot Camp

Read more about War Memorials at Pathankot

We located Royal Enfield service center on the busy main road of Pathankot town. I must acknowledge that those service center guys were too co-operative and promised us an hour delivery. Meanwhile, we ate aloo paratha while discussing our achievements so far and the upcoming thrill of Himalayas. In that rainy morning, parathas came as a tummy angels 🙂

I would recommend to all riders – if you are entering Himachal via Pathankot, it’s a last good town to get your vehicle serviced and all your needs.

Pune to Himachal Pradesh on motorbike – the keyword phrase was about to become a truth for second time in my life. We got a warm & funny welcome from a Toll Booth guys 🙂

Grand welcome at Himachal entry point

Grand welcome at Himachal entry point

We started gaining altitude after crossing Nurpur. Himalayas is much greener and colorful on it’s slopes. Decorated with various flowers, colorful roof tops of village homes and flags of Punjabi dhabas 🙂 The dhaba was perfectly located on the road side in front of a petrol bunk. We spent more than an hour on eating and playing cards with some unknown friends…oh they were funny!

Punjabi Dhaba

Punjabi Dhaba

Unknown Friends

Unknown Friends

After playing 3 patti and losing Rs.10 we moved on 🙂 Though we were enjoying the view and fresh air, weather wasn’t favourable. It was cloudy day and we were expecting rain any time sooner. Thanks to Sarabjit bhai who gave us tip of shortcut route to our first destination of Himachal. It was great escape and save. It was a byepass to Dharamshala / Dharamsala town itself.

On the Himalayan Roads

On the Himalayan Roads

That single but clean road, those iron bridges and km by km gained height.. it was all perfect for the best thrill and joy of riding..

Outskirts of Dharmshala

Outskirts of Dharmshala

Lalit feeling warm with roadside fire

Lalit feeling warm with roadside fire

Lalit was so happy and so jammed with the cold at the same time. A roadside fire put on by road workers acted as a lifesaver for a moment.

Pune to Himachal Pradesh on motorbike.. the dream was getting colder and full of fun. It was drizzling with clean sky and chilled air blows. Way to McLeod Ganj is full of tall and dense cedars forest and curvy ghat roads..well we were in Himalayas after all.

Approaching our way among old cedars, we found an historic treasure on the right side of the road. “St. John in the Wilderness“..ohh.. such an amazing Gothic church in the middle of nowhere. Feeling was amazing.. we were part of a historic hollywood movie for a moment. The place is The Classic!

St John in the Wilderness - Mcleod Ganj Dharamshala

St John in the Wilderness – Mcleod Ganj Dharamsala

Read more about St John in the Wilderness Church

Tibets Stolen Child

Tibets Stolen Child

After checking around the classic 150 year old church, we moved further. As we reached on the borders of McLeod Ganj, one board grabbed our vision. “Tibet’s Stolen Child – the 11th Panchen Lama”. There were many banners in and around the town which is an official refugee camp for Tibetans who are fighting from free Tibet and against China’s claim. From their stolen prince to their sacrificed monks.. you can see many banners telling stories of their fight. ” Tibet is not part of China”  is the main theme of the fight.

McLeod Ganj is tiny town and is good mix of indo-tibetan culture. One can see many monks moving around the roads making it a different experience. Main attraction of the town is “Dalai Lama’s temple”.. the seat of great Tibetan freedom fighter and the spiritual guru. We were unfortunate as the Lama was out of India on his tour. One must check his availability and visiting times before making it to the temple. Saying that I must admit that the temple is an amazing shrine with perfect example of buddhism. Those idols, Dalai Lama’s seat and those bells gives you an enchanting feelings.

At Dalai Lama's temple at McLeodGanj

Santosh Unecha at Dalai Lama’s temple at McLeodGanj

Read more about Dalai Lama’s Buddhist temple at McLeod Ganj

An unbelievable funny incident happened with us. Due to security reasons there are restrictions on what you can carry inside the temple and need to deposit your belongings into the clock room. We carried one small bag thinking that it was just caring some food items etc. But when the beautiful security lady started pulling out the stuff, everybody got shocked.. a knife, loads of batteries, bike tool kit carrying harmful objects and an emergency light. Wow.. Can you imagine what have happened? Ha ha ha.. after convincing them about “How fool we are”, we could deposit that stuff in clock room and could get in. Check your bags man!!

Till now we were shivering due to cold and drizzling. But inside the temple, it suddenly became shiny and warm as the clouds are flown away. Amazing weather..huh! This was surely the best part of our trip from Pune to Himachal Pradesh on motorbike. Come on friends.. we were at 1750 meters above sea level 🙂

Lalit at the top of the world!

Lalit at the top of the world!

As we started descending from McLeod Ganj towards Dharamsala, the real beauty of Himalaya’s mighty ‘Dhauladhar’ range and Dharamsala town was appearing more picturatus. Placed on the lap of mother nature in bowl shaped plateau among Himalayan range, the town of Dharamsala is just indescribable and beautiful. Best attraction for us was the Cricket Stadium of Dharamsala!

Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium of Dharamsala must be the only stadium located at such beautiful venue. Surrounded with snow-white peaks of Himalayas, the stadium stands out with it’s beauty. As it was getting dark, we enjoyed the stadium as a ‘far-away attraction’. Trust me, it was still an amazing view.

Read more about Dharamsala Cricket Stadium

Dharamsala Town

Dharamsala Town

Dharamsala is the town for tourist. We respected it with a sip of world famous Kangra tea and Golgappa chat. And we moved on..! Dharamsala, Shimla or be it any world famous picnic spot, wanderers like me and my bike can not stay for more than couple of hours at such crowded places. We are free souls who wander on lonely paths and in our own world of imaginations.

It was getting dark with troublesome weather. Rain started picking up it’s force and compelled us to halt near Chamunda temple. Thanks to the rain.. it added an amazing place in our list which we were supposed to enjoy next day.

Pune to Himachal Pradesh on motorbike.. the chapter is about to get more amazing. Keep reading the fun journey 🙂

Read next chapter of the trip – Himachal Chapter II >


Keep Reading Pune to Vaishno Devi on motorbike trip story:

  1. The Beginning
  2. Gujarat Chapter – Swaminarayan Temple Bharuch, Gandhinagar, Shamlaji Temple
  3. Rajasthan Chapter I – Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara, Charbhuja Temple Garbhor, Kumbhalgarh
  4. Rajasthan Chapter II – Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Pushkar, Merta City,Karni Mata temple Deshnok, Bikaner
  5. Punjab Chapter – Firozpur, Harike Barrage, Golden Temple of Amritsar
  6. Vaishno Devi (Jammu) Chapter – Baba Dhansar, Vaishno Devi, Amar Palace Jammu
  7. Himachal Chapter I (You are here) – Pathankot War Memorials, McLeod Ganj, St John in Wilderness, Dharamsala,
  8. Himachal Chapter II – Chamunda Temple, Baijnath, Kangra, Baglamukhi, Jwalamukhi, Chintpurni Mata
  9. Haryana Chapter – Kurukshetra, Panipat
  10. Uttar Pradesh Chapter – Vrindavan, Mathura, Agra
  11. Madhya Pradesh Chapter – Gwalior Fort, Indore
Series Navigation<< Pune to Vaishno Devi – Jammu Chapter IIPune to Vaishno Devi – Himachal Chapter II >>
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