In India, travelling is now becoming very popular among all age groups. But travelling and doing something adventurous that can make you feel stand out from the crowd, like taking 100cc bike to Spite valley that to solo will sell like a hot cake in social media. Now this is something daring. Social media has now been used as a great weapon to be used in getting on the famous section column. We all now know how to use it, and when to use it. Some might use it as a platform to know the views or opinion of others, some use it as their voice which they can broadcast by writing or by posting videos and some just to know what is happening in the world and who is creating a difference or breaking the stereotypes. We all get inspired by all the above three categories, but the thing attracts more is the one who break the stereotypes.
Now a days, from every place no matter big or small town, lot of enthusiast bikers are emerging with wanderlust. Actually not only the bike lovers, but car lovers too and there is one more set of people who actually don’t need bike or car, they just need the conveyance to travel to their desired place and exploring those places from their lenses. Living your passion and earning from it, that is the dream job of maximum population. Have seen many people who desire to become traveller but their pocket don’t support their desire. Have faced that phase too and actually still on that page. But in India there is a word called “Jugad”. This word is a saviour in all the field where you feel the need of anything. So, “Jugad” synonym can be “sponsors” who are like the angel investors and in return they want benefit and vice versa.
Now getting the sponsors can be a strenuous job for many and a piece of cake for some. There are few who are actually ready to invest in your dreams. But what I suggest is make your bank balance and then invest your certain proportion in your dream. That can help you more rather than seeking out for sponsors. No doubt sponsorers are also great help but my focus is on those who can’t get the sponsors easily. Now in this competitive, predatory and matterialistic world you can either be shark of the ocean or fish of the ocean.
If you have a clear vision and mission like why you want to explore the world, what you want to show to your audience, and something like that, then it won’t be a difficult job to start earning from it. Like I love to travel and explore the small places as I want to show people the real India, the real beauty of India. Different parts of India has diversified culture and language. Different culture has it’s own history and every history is worth knowing. Though I haven’t reached that level of exploring the culture yet. But my vision is this and sooner I’ll reach to that level.
There are few riders who are making records in travelling, and some are riding for good cause or spreading awareness. Biking is a religion for me. As in this we don’t discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or colour. For me it is the best means to connect with others. We make friends on highways, and those last for long. If I talk about me, I made many good friends and definitely didn’t made any records as I tried ones but realised it is not a childs play. Then I decided it’s better to explore rather breaking records…LOL…!! Hats Off to those who made themselves on the hall of fame. But one day I’ll make records for sure but this is not my time now.
Around 5:30 am I started my ride from Ranchi. Did all my ground works, got my bike serviced and with a road map I started my ride. I set up my target that this much Kilometer I will be riding and will reach my destination by this time and all those unrealistic calculations started up in my head. But my real deal started when I started getting lost during my journey. Like the road signs are very confusing and I wasn’t using GPS as to save my battery, but at the end have to take help of my GPS. Almost after getting lost somewhere around Bokaro, I managed to get back on track. Now another challenge which almost made me change my mind to postpond this trip, was the bad weather condition as got hit by a mini cyclone when I reached Banka, the wind was so powerful that I saw a guy was not able to handle his cycle. I was all alone in that weather, managing to ride my bike in that windy situation which almost made my riding difficult. Haven’t said about the road conditions, right!!! I was almost riding on the stones which was all scattered all over the road, as there were road construction going on. Though it was very very tiering to ride on such a road and the weather was also not at all supporting.
However, I managed to reach Bhagalpur by 3:30 pm. I decided to stay in that city for a day so that I can have enough rest, as next day I have to ride till Gangtok and I was already exhausted. I found a decent hotel named Hotel Karan, and halted there for a day.
Next day around 5:00 am I started my journey. I checked my navigation and headed towards that direction. There is a bridge which is almost 13 km stretched out. And in early morning there was a massive traffic jam on the bridge. Thank god I was on a bike as I managed to drive through that jam . It took almost 45min to cover 13km bridge. I reached Naugachia and from there I have to head on towards Purnea. After Naughachia I was finally riding on NH. Though it was a 6 lane road but after riding on such a terrible road it was like a reward for me and my bike. I reached silliguri by 11am which I didn’t expected to reach so early. From Silliguri, Gangtok is almost 150km. I halted for a tea and started again.
Way to Gangtok was so beautiful I was actually enjoying it. I was waiting for the Teesta river which I was going to cross. Now I was on a valley which was very narrow, that when a car has to overtake then another car has to move almost at one corner to give a pass. And that too there are some road construction going on that valley which almost occupied half of the space. I am acrophobic and I was riding on the valley which was almost 200ft above the Teesta river which was flowing across the valley. I started riding on the corners of the valley but the main challenge was waiting for me which the other side will gonna fall on my left, i’e I’ll be on the edge of the valley. Totally scared and actually praying. Slowly slowly I was ascending and the river view was getting narrower, along with the height my fear was also increasing. Cars driving furiously on that valley from the opposite direction as they are the trained drivers, making me nervous. For a while I tried to deviate my fear and started viewing the nature beauty and most beautiful part of that valley was seeing the small shops along side of the road. There are many small food joints over there for the tourists. I was almost 90 km away from Gangtok and kept on riding. I was hungry though but though I’ll have it in Gangtok.
I saw lot of bikers over there with full geared up. Many returning back from their trip. But all were in group, and I was riding solo. After driving few Km on that valley, a biker overtook me and signed me to stop on a side. He was riding Cherry Red Harley Davidson street 750. He was fully geared up with Shark Helmet which was actully killer. He was having a pillion rider too. We stopped and we introduced each other. Most amazing thing about them was they were father and son. Mr Manish Gurung and his son Yash Gurung. Me and his son share the same name and I was very happy and feeling relaxed to meet someone on that strange valley. He told me that he noticed me few Kms back and signed me thumbs up but I didn’t noticed that. I told him that I was very scared and was not looking left or ride as I was totally concentrating on the road. He laughed and he asked me, if I have booked any hotel up for my stay and why I am visiting Gangtok. Told him I haven’t booked any hotel yet but will look for one when I’ll reach over there. He told me I know a place where I can stay and you’ll gonna love it. I was like Ok I don’t have any issue. He made a call and booked a room in his own guest house which his wife owns it. I thanked him and he said in Gangtok avg decent hotel rent is 1500 plus, which was ok for me. Now we started our ride and he told me where we have to stop next for food and some pictures. I followed him on that valley like a shadow cause he was localite and roads over there are well known to him. Yeah one more thing I want to tell about that person. By profession he is a Law man, I mean he works in Silliguri Court. So no one stopped us during our ride till Gangtok. We stopped at coronation bridge on top of Teesta River at Sevoke. View was so amazing that I couldn’t take my sight off from the view. Down the bridge River Teesta flowing and along side the river small houses with different ruff colour complemented the view. Along the side of the bridge prayer flags were tied on. We clicked few selfies over there and started riding again. Few Km away we stopped at on place on the valley itself, for food. We entered one small restaurant where he was already famous and regular too. People know him and they actually showed respect to Mr Manish. Actually he is a member of a famous Biker Group which popularly known as ABS (Alpine Biking Squads). I found ABS sticker at that restaurant and no-wonder they know him because of that. We ate chicken, rice and some accompaniments which was delicious. After having lunch we started our ride again this time we wont be stopping at anywhere. But suddenly weather changed and it started getting cloudy. I saw it was raining on the upper part of the valley, actually this is the beauty of the valleys that we can see what’s happening on the upper part. Finally it started raining and we have to stop at one small tea stall. That place was small but at least we can have pasta, puri and subji and one more unique feature about that place was you can make your own meal by cooking your own food. At least it will gonna make you feel satisfied that you are having your own cooked food in the hills. So me, Manish bhaiya and his son Yash had tea and waited for the rain to stop. But it was actually a bad idea to wait for the rain to get stop, so we decided to continue with our ride. My spartan riding gear, I though it will gonna protect me from rain, but I was wrong. At that time I remembered the shopkeepers word, ” Sir, it is water proof, it will not make you wet” idiot liar shopkeeper. Manish bhaiya told to get a plastic and cover my bag as I was having my cloths in it. I got one plastic from a small shop and covered it, and continued our ride. More 8km to ride till our guest house. After 30min we reached guest house. Place was beautiful as it was situated on top of the hill along side of the valley. Clouds covering the other side of the valley was like another city on top of our place was covered with white blanket. Manish bhaiya and I parked our bike on his parking and he started washing his bike instantly. And he asked me to wash my bike too. I was totally tiered and my cloths were drenched in water due to rain. Though I denied washing up my bike. But I just splashed some water through pipe and parked my bike on the back side of his house. I took my luggage and my belongings to my room which his wife already got it ready for me. His guest house name was Cherry guest house, and that place was according to me the most beautiful place to stay.
After an hour I have to rush to meet one person who will brief me about my journey to silk route, for which I was there. Manish bhaiya showed me that place where Mr Bhushan will meet me. It was his office of tours and travels. I went to his place and he showed me one form which I need to fill it up along with that form I have to attach 4 documents like Bike registration paper, insurance paper, driving licence and identity proof along with passport photo. I have already done some homework back at my home before starting my trip. I did same what ever he asked me to do and he said to visit Manan Bhawan next day by 11 am and submitt this form along with all the documents. I asked for the silk route permit but for 3 days. As he said I’ll have to stay when I’ll reach half way as it will be risky if I’ll ride in dark in that valley.
Next day I woke up and went to Manan Bhawan for the permit. Weather was cloudy as it was same, rain rain and only rain. That too in intervals of 15-20mins. And took umbrella from aunty and went to that place. It was 10min walking from my guest house. I produced my documents to the officials and they asked me to come after 3:30pm. I did the same. I thought of visiting some local markets over there in Gangtok. Markets were happeningl, though they were simple and small but MG road where the main market is situated. I went there and did some window shopping, just to pass my time. I had lunch in one the Chinese restaurant over there. I planned to have hookah in the evening with some booze and started hunting for that place. Asked few local shops and they suggested a place called “Live and Loud” is the place where I’ll get hookah and it is a good but over rated lounge. Around 12pm I got a call from the secretariat that I got the permit but only for 1 day. And I have to return back on the same day. So basically it was something like a challenge for me to cover silk route in a single day though it was my first time ride to the mountains. I asked if they can increase my permit but they denied and said it can be covered in a single day. I said yes, but in back of my mind there was someone making me scared that what will you do in dark on that valley full of snow and black ice on road. Roads will be more narrower and slippery but I didn’t listened to my negative thoughts and decided to do it in one go. I prepared my self got with few necessary things, which I’ll be needing during my journey. There wont be any petrol pumps when I’ll leave the city. So I took 4 ltrs of petrol in a bottle and some rain covers for my bags. Now I am having the permits but they made me wait to get that permit for more than 2hrs in that office. There were 3 more people over there from Kolkata who were waiting with me for the same. At last I took it and rushed towards my hotel. Was happy to get the permits. I got 4 copies of envelops.
I was too excited that night. I was browsing about the silk route valleys and places near by that place. I slept early as I have to leave by 4 o’clock in the morning. I woke up at 4:15 am approx. I already did my packing with all the necessary items that I’ll be needing during my ride. I checked out from my room and went garage. I tied up my luggage on bike and went to police station as for the permit from the local police officials over there. I was already informed about the long queue at the police station. Many cab drivers and few bikers were waiting for the permit. Standing for about 20min over there I got the permit to go ahead from the police officials.
I headed towards the silk route with a big smile on my face and a bit of nervousness too. I was very careful while driving that time from the starting itself. Roads were getting trickier and narrower but still I was not thinking of anything else only I was enjoying the beauti of it. I couldn’t take pictures at that time but I took picture when I reached Tsango Lake. Half of the lake was frozen and the temperature was also low. Now I was almost 12300 ft above the sea label. There were yaks and people can get themselves clicked in the traditional dresses. I stayed there for 15mim almost, as I have to save time for more riding as I was having a day permit. So I said bye bye to tsango lake and went to old silk route r0ad. I didn’t wanted to go the Nathula pass as it will again gonna take time to cover in single day. Thanks to BRO as they maintained the road well and made it safe enough to ride on it. Though precautions need to be taken while riding but it was good. In few places I didn’t found any road as it was all dry and sand all over the place. And in few places there were no boundary walls on the side of the valley and fog were also there covering the valley. I was confused at that time like whether I should go ahead or go back. As I haven’t taken going back as an option, I continued on a speed of 20kmph. And crossed every small hurdles. I said it was my first time in those kind of roads. But enjoyed a lot. Slowely temperature started falling as I was reaching more heights then. Though I was wearing doctor’s glove inside my biker glove it didn’t protected me from the cold but it protected my fingers from getting wet. Roads were unduly high but my Duke 390 made it easy to climb up and down, hats off to KTM. On my way there is one Mandir dedicated to all the Indian soldiers, folk heros and Saint Baba Harbhajan Singh. I didn’t stoped there but saw it from outside. I stoped ahead for some tea as I was feeling tired now. I had biscuits and a cup of tea which revitalised me. I took a break for 10min max then again back on track. Now I have to reached Zuluk which was almost 38km which will gonna take an hour or more tor reach there. It was 2 PM at that time. I drove and drove and finally by 4:30PM I reached Zuluk. Now from Zuluk siliguri was almost 140km away. Now I have to reach Siliguri by 8 o’clock.
Now my journey was about to end, while driving I was thinking I actually covered the old Silk route in a day which was not a big deal for many but it was for me as being a acrophobic I fough my fear and covered it in a single day. I was bit excited at that time and happy too. I reached Icche Gaon by 6:20Pm which comes under West Bengal. Now I was not riding on valleys. Finally I hit the National Highway. I made already booked on small hotel in Siliguri and finally reached there and crashed on bed. Early morning I’ll be living for Ranchi.
So this was my experience which I wanted to share. I will again visit this place but this time I’ll cover North Sikkim. Hope you all like it.
The Cellular Jail, which is also known as The Kala Pani. Kal means time or death and pani means water. It served as a colonial prison made by the Britishers, where they keep all the exiled political prisioners. There were many Indian revolutionarists, who were imprissioned in this hell and one can’t even think in their wild imagination that how they were treated and what they were asked to do in the name of work.
The architechural design of this jail is some what like a 7 Spokes and in the centre there is a tower from where the guards used to keep an eye on the prisoners. There were total 693 cells and the cells were made in such a way that the inmates cant look or communicate to each other as all the cells faced the back of the cells in another spoke. In this way it was impossible for the prisoners to communicate.
The prision is totally issolated from the mainland, which made it almost impossible for the prisoners to escape, as it is situated on an island. The cellular jail served the most atrocious punishments imposed on the inmates. The prisoners were chainned and punished and made them work in the construction of the prison. This island became apt place for the Britishers to punish the freedom fighters.
Life inside the prison
Many notable Freedom Fighters were imprissoned in that jail like Batukeshwer Dutt, The Savarkar brothers, Devansigh Kalepani, etc. Being a solitary confinements The Savarkar Brothers were unaware of each other’s presence for 2 years. The punishments that were imposed on the Freedom Fighters were so inhuman and unimaginable that bring chills down the spine. The jail drew attention when the freedom fighters went on hunger strike in 1930s. Mahavir Singh went on a hunger strike in protest of the cruel treatment of the Britishers but died, as the authorities tried to feed him milk forcefully which went directly to his lungs. To hide this incident from the other inmates, the authority decided to throw his body in the sea. With the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi and Ravindranath Tagore, the Government decided to repatriate the freedom fighters. There were many deaths that happened in the cell some due to different deadly diseases which caused serious health issues, some by suicides and many due to the torturous punishment imposed on the inmates by the authorities. The food which they were given to eat and water to drink was beyond imagination. Actually the inmates cant even think of wholesome food in that situation. The promised food which contains certain quantity for each prisoners didn’t even reach to them, which caused starvation and death.
Visiting The Cellular Jail.
As the year passes out of 7 wings only 3 wings left as the other 4 were damaged and now the 3 wings along with the tower is open for public view. Apart from the scenic beauty of the Island, people all around the globe visit The Cellular Jail. There is National Museaum inside the jail campus which contains the paintings depicting the life inside the jail along with the stories, the belongings of the inmates ( the bowl in which they were given food, the chain in which they were tied to), their uniforms, etc.
During evening hours, one can see the light shows in which they narrate the life inside the jail along with the lighting effects. It is actually a must see show. They run the show 3 times a day only during evening hours. Tickets are very cheap, and during the show you can’t record or use the cellphone, as we were asked to do the same.
We boarded our flight for Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Kolkata. Andaman and Nicobar a place which is a crime free territory with over all population of not more than 3 lakh. Languages spoken over there was Hindi and English. Tamil, Telugu and Bengali are also the major languages spoken over there. People are very soft and polite and very helpful too. We stayed at the ALHW guest house which we got accomodation from reference. It was a good and decent place to stay in. With a harbour view along side of the guest house.
Ross Island is 15min away from Port Blair. The only way to reach this island is via ferry which is very nominal. This island conserves many historical constructions of British times. Britishers kept this island as their Administrative Headquarters. When we entered this island we saw Deers all around roaming everywhere. They are the main attractions for the children as you can feed them until and unless they won’t chase you with their long horns. Peacocks can also be seen over there, at least you can hear them screaming in the vicinity. This island is surrounded by lush green forest and long trees in a proper row. One can spend almost an hour to explore this island. At the back side of the island their is Ferar Beach, which is a must see for tourists.
North Bay Island–
It took about 10min from Ross Island to reach North Bay. The same ferry commute for that island as they will leave us on each island for about an hour and afterwords it will come and again take us to another one. So we don’t have to be bothered about commuting. North Bay Island is the place where one can do scuba diving, snorkelling, sea walk and different water sports activity. If one wish to take small ride around the island for dolphins sighting or coral views then, there are different ferries on that island which can help us. It might gonna effect pocket if one wants to go for submarines, as it cost Rs. 3750 per person. Beaches are fabulous with clear water. Completely safe place to dive in and enjoy with family. Walking around the beach is bit painful cause of sharp stones all around, so wearing slippers are advisided.
Good place to sit around with your loved ones, though there are many such places in Andaman but this can also be taken into consideration. Beach is surrounded by small shops and some food joints. If the weather turns bit cloudy then the view is awesome and you can romanticise with the nature.
We were lucky to witness that weather. All together it is a beautiful place to spend some quality time.
I’ll rate this beach 3 out of 5. As this is a Ok beach and closer to Port Blair. Popular with the locals for swimming and if one wish to do Jet skiing. Not so clear water but can be visited and sit there on the Beach benches provided if they are vacant. There I found lot of small shops, shops as in which sells only things made of shell and neckles, all together good for ladies actually, gents can chill out either by swimming or by sipping tea along the beach side. Small restaurant is also there. Had a meal over there and it was quit satisfactory.
The interesting island at corbyn’s cove beach is the Snake Island. Which is about 5min away from that beach. Boats are available there which will take us to that island. Now the story behind Snake island is, it got its name Snake island as for one obvious reason that in that island it is the land of snakes, and second, aerial view of that island is S shape. During Tsunami, that island was washed and destroyed. Only because of 2 trees on that island it is counted among the islands. That island is restricted one, only we can view it by sitting inside the boat. The helmsman take the boat near to that island so that we can have a close view and can take few snaps. The whole island is barren land, only rocks are there, where we cant even stand. I can say it is the creepiest island I have ever seen.
As name says Havelock, The paradise of Andaman and Nicobar. Natural beauty “Have-locked” me with it’s magnificent blue beaches with white sand. One can reach Havelock island by Government operated ferries and private cruises. I’ll suggest taking a private cruise will be a good deal. We can get ticked online too for those cruises. All cruises gather at horbour (jetty-in local language) at Port Blair where it cruises to Havelock Island. We have to take out at least 2 days and 1 night for that island as there are many beautiful places to be visited. We found mainly Bengali settlers over there. This island is quit expensive as compared to other places in Andaman. A perfect place for the foreigners, as we found very rare foreigners in Port Blair. Maximum tourists were the newly married couples, spending some quality time.
Accomodation over there comes in different price ranges. You can find from 2000 bucks to 10000 bucks plus accomodation for a night. We stayed in a resort Holiday Inn, which was quit impressive. USP of that resort was the beach on the back side as it was so calm and clean. The view of sun rise and sun set was mesmarising. For the newly wed couples it will be a paradise. The beach is full of corals and small forest along side of the beach. People living in the resort over there can be found swimming on the beach. Beach is very calm, The beautiful part is the sunrise and sunset.
When we reached our resort, we changed and we went to Radhanagar Beach, which is ranked 1st in Asia and 8th in the world among the best beaches by TripAdvisor.
When we reached Radhanagar which was approx 20min away from our resort, we found many small local shops over there. If anyone wants swimming costumes or snorkelling equipments then one can purchase over there. There are small eating joints which serves the full meal but the price is bit high as compared to the usual prices. You can’t even guess that those joints will be selling a non veg thali of 270 bucks. Just to give a rough idea, meal for 3 can cost more than 800 bucks. Ignoring all these things the taste is worth spending.
Now the beach, spellbound view. You just stand over there and see the sea for about a minute and you’ll be lost in the magical view. Wide spread clear blue ocean in front of you, will make you speechless. You just want to dive-in during that moment, without wasting time. Beach is completely safe and sound. Along the side of beach, there is a small cluster of sitting places all made of wood or tree logs. Changing room is bit interiors of the bushy area. Along the side of beach there is a thick forest too. But that actually compliment the natural beauty of the beach. Lush green forest on white sand and blue ocean, a beautiful colour combo.
There are also place like kalapathar beach, and Elephant beach which every tour guide will tell us to visit. We managed to visit Kalapathar Beach, somehow and if we wouldn’t have visited then it will be a matter of regret. Magnificent view of nature. That place you’ll find less crowed as the local say that the best time to visit this place is during sunrise or sunset. But doesn’t matter we visited this during the day time and it was equally beautiful.
So, it was my small experience of the city of island, Andaman and Nicobar.