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Cycling through the pristine mountains of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand: Heaven on Earth!
Uttarakhand: Heaven on Earth!

Covering roughly 800 km and climbing more than 12000 metres! Uttarakhand

This northern Himalayan state of the country is known as the abode of the Gods. The people also truly believe in ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’, Sanskrit for, our guests are the equivalent of God.

Cycling through these pristine mountains, does make you feel like one when showered with the love of the people. At the same time, these rugged mountains can be incredibly challenging even for the most diehard cyclist.

We were fortunate to ride through these blessed lands on our bicycles for a fortnight. Truly experiencing heaven on earth.

The ride started and ended in Dehradun, perfect, since it has great connectivity for people travelling from around the country. Chaitra, my riding partner on this trip, in fact flew from Bangalore to experience the bliss of these hills.

Our route took us through snow, views of holy snow-covered peaks, forests roads of the famous Jim Corbett park, pine forests, dirt roads and everything else in between. We rode from Dehradun to Mussoorie to Tehri Lake to Karnaprayag to Kausani to Ranikhet to Corbett to Lansdowne and finally back to Dehradun via Rishikesh, covering roughly 800 km and climbing more than 12000 metres!

Here’s our travel captured in a handful of snaps, which we hope will inspire and entice you to go experience these mountains on your own…

First sunset
First sunset

At this altitude you are always closer to the sun! Here’s our first sunset in the Himalayas from the touristy town of Mussoorie.

Mist!
Mist!

You can see a range of hills in the distance with mist rolling magically over them. The gathering clouds point to a promise of worsening weather and sleet.

Trishul Range of peaks
Trishul Range of peaks

The bikes getting up, close and personal with the Trishul Range of peaks. This was on the way to Kausani, a hill station, known for providing gorgeous views of the Himalayan Mountain range.

Green hills
Green hills

The view from Kausani. Trishul and Nanda Devi are the famous peaks visible in this picture, amongst others. You can also see the spare villages in the green hills.

Pine trees
Pine trees

Higher up in the Himalayas, you can spot perennial snow-covered peaks in the distance. The high hills are evident by the cluster of pine trees.

Away from the main highways
Away from the main highways

A bicyclist is nothing but a spec in the grand scheme of things in the Himalayas. Here we are riding through pine forests. Roads are perfect even in the middle of nowhere, away from the main highways.

Warmth of the sun
Warmth of the sun

Though the climbs in the hills are tough, they are magical. What with the sun forever playing hide and seek with you! The weather is perfect for climbing with the shade of the trees and warmth of the sun maintaining natural ‘climate control’, which you otherwise pay for in your automobiles…

pine forests
pine forests

Narrow roads, devoid of traffic was the nature of this entire route. Most of our riding was done through pine forests. The hills are brown with pine needles, with a canopy of lush green trees.

Jim Corbett forest reserve
Jim Corbett forest reserve

A challenging off road section near the Jim Corbett forest reserve. Steep inclines on loose mud can make a cyclist’s life difficult. We were also informed by locals, that a tiger had been spotted in the area and it was best not to be on the road during sunset!

Riding on black ice
Riding on black ice

The day after getting caught in a blizzard. The hills were covered with snow and we had to wait for the ice to melt from the black asphalt before we could risk riding on our bicycles. Riding on black ice is arguably the riskiest form of two wheeled riding. Be it bicycle or motorcycle.

The ancient Baijnath Temple
The ancient Baijnath Temple

The ancient Baijnath temple in Uttarakhand. A temple where the white snow peaks are juxtaposed against the grey brown stone walls of the holy place.

Text: Avinash Noronha | Photos: Chaitra Bhagavan & Avinash Noronha

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