Travel & Trek Reports


CyclingChadarFrozenRiverZanskar

Cycling on Frozen River Zanskar, Feb 2014

Chadar Frozen River Ice Cycling 2014, Leh – Padum – Leh and a brutal winter Khardung la bicycling

The Chadar Trek journey that I took in 2012 left me mesmerized and all the images as seen on the first page other than the cycling picture are from the Chadar Trek of 2012. However, as I took up an yearly cycling touring expeditions starting with Manali – Leh solo cycling trip, thought of what about a bicycle ride on the Chadar itself!

What followed was an experience that’s unique to say the least. Other Chadar trekkers and porters alike looked with astonishment as a cycle rider passed by on the frozen ice of River Zanskar, in the middle of cold bitter winter of Ladakh. It is a shame I have still not been able to start with a proper travelogue – however, have put up the images on TrekChadar.com website including the brutal Khardung la ride in February winter and the mind-blowing yet quite dangerous downhill ride from K. la top.

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NorthKoreaCycling

Pyongyang, North Korea, August 2016

A travel and a bicycle ride in North Korea, August 2016. A travelogue of an once-in-a-lifetime adventure coming up soon!!

A trip to the DPRK (North Korea) is the ultimate experience. Travelling with to Pyongyang, then cycling around and then again travelling to the DMZ and Mt. Pakedu – a journey that was both for travel as well to know more about this so called “pariah” state. Commecing on this very interesting travelogue soon.

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Self-DriveExpeditionofLadakhandthecolddesertofChangthangOctober2011

Frozen horizon, Winter Lake Baikal, Siberia

Four-wheel drive on the legendary Siberian Lake – The Frozen Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia

Deep blue, inky and interspersed with innumerable air bubbles whose color is sparkling blue or blindingly white: Such is the ice of Baikal!! Located deep in Siberia, Baikal is the largest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet.

A travel with 3 of my close friends and at a short notice, yet the adventure was maximum in this magic ice kingdom. Starting at Irkutsk we make an adventurous crossing in fading light on the frozen ice and travel to the opposite side of Lake Baikal to Goriachinsk. A loop journey and finally to Slyudyanka and then back to Irkutsk in middle of Siberian winter. Another brilliant travelogue that is yet to be written.

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NamibiaBotswanaZimbabwe

Deadvlei, Namibia

Self-drive Expedition of Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe, June 2016

A journey of 4 friends all aided by the brilliant planning and logistics management of the great traveller, Kaushik Shil – a self-drive starting covering the dunes of Sossusvlei, Spitzkoppe, the Caprivi strip and then crossing over to Botswana and the lush Okavango Delta. Another brilliant travelouge that is yet to be written.

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NelangValleyTunganath

Entering Nelang Valley, Uttaranchal, May 2015

Self-Drive Exotic Travel of Nelang Valley, Jakholi, Chopta and a trek to Tunganath and Chandrashila, May 2015

A most unknown journey in those days and yet in the midst of the most known lands of Gangotri. Nelang Valley near Indo-Tibet border of China. A ultra short notice call from @tilak2909 and @anupam1407 – resulted in a straight drive in 32 hours from Kolkata to Uttarkashi and then the very next day we move into Nelang Valley. June 2014

Nelang Valley and then a trip to the quaint hill station of Jhakoli to Chopta Valley. Leaving the Safari in parking, we trek to Tunganath. The amazing coincidence being the next day Tunganath temple opens for the very first time for that year [2015] among all the chants and hymns. The very early morning trek to Chandrashila to experience the sunrise of course is another experience not to be missed. Travelogue yet to be written out, among the host of others that are still pending.

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PhotoEssaySonepurMela

Punakha Dzong, Bhutan

Self-drive Exotic Expedition Travel of Bhutan, October 2015

Bhutan – The Land of the Thunder Dragon: A Safari VTT expedition journey from Kolkata that saw us travel overnight to Phuntsholing and then Thimpu, to commence a journey that covered not only the well known places like Paro, Punakha and Bumthang but true to our past journeys we had travelled explored the far less traveled places of Phobjika, Mongar, Lhuentse and Transhiyangste.

Bhutan exploratory drive was so good, we drove back again through Bhutan, rather than taking the exit from Trashigang – retracing our path all the way back to Thimpu and Haa. Finally the exploratory travel culminates in an overnight straight 24-hour drive from Haa to Kolkata .

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LakeofLadakhbicycleride

By Lake Pangong, September 2013

Solo Cycling Extreme Expedition -> Lakes of Ladakh – A bicycle ride connecting the 10 high altitude lakes of Ladakh, Sept. 2013

A solo bicycling expedition starting from Leh with an attempt to cover a route that would take me to trails where a mountain bike has gone for the first time. An exhilarating yet brutal journey with experiences and adventure of a lifetime. This travel remains one of my best till now

Solo cycling ride connecting the 10 high altitude lakes of Ladakh, September, 2013

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PhotoEssaySonepurMela

Owner Akhtar Imam with his elephants, Sonepur Mela

Photo Essay – A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela, Nov-Dec, 2012

Much less known to the more famous and now vastly commercialized Pushkar mela of Rajasthan, Sonepur still has its own rustic charm – an atmosphere that is a throwback to the days when the small towns were not affected with commercialisation. Entering the mela after crossing the old bridge of Gandak from Hajipur/Patna side, immediately I am plunged into a pulsating market that has the widest possible range of cattle and commodities. The sights and sounds of this mela is something to behold. The rustic cacophony and the organised commotion of Sonepur mela enthrals and bewilders.

A Royal Enfield Bullet ride and a most engaging photography travel is what came out in this 700 km journey motorcycle ride from Kolkata to Sonepur Mela, Bihar.

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Photo Essay Maha Kumbh Mela

A Sadhu on a Shahi Snan day, Maha Kumbh Mela

Photo Essay – Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 -> Kolkata – Allahabad – Kolkata

A documentary photography travel-thought of covering the Maha Kumbh Mela though through a different perspective. Rather than staying in a hotel or a tourist camp at Kumbh Mela grounds, my plan was to embed myself directly with an ashram and along with the general atmosphere of the Mela, as such stayed with Paramarth Sadhak Sangha, a very low-key yet quite old ashram led by a 91-year-old yet delightful and learned guruji, and thus documented and photographed many of the ashram’s activities during my stay at the ashram.

2013 is also the year I complete around 25 years of Royal Enfield Bullet riding. It all started at class 8 around on my father’s Enfield Bullet, which gave way to my Royal Enfield Bullet Electra, the last batch of those having the neutral finder and left side brake. So how does a born “Bulleteer” go to the Maha Kumbh Mela – By a Royal Enfield Bullet – celebrating my 25 years of Bullet riding.

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LadakhManalicycling

From Manali to Leh, solo cycling expedition

Extreme Solo Expedition [ Bike and Hike ] -> A bicycle ride of Manali – TsoKar – Leh – Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek – “off-season” end September to 1st half October, 2012

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air [rarefied!], sleep, dreams, sea [mountains here!], the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” — Cesare Pavese.

As I trudged along the “off-season” months of end September and first half of October 2012 along the absolute desolate high mountain tracks and later on the Stok Kangri mountain trek, I recall this line, having read somewhere among the travel quotes. And still after all this talk, can a travel be brutal yet have a fairy tale ending?

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Self-DriveExploratoryExpeditionofZanskarandAbsolutelyUnknownKashmirOct2011

Towards Kabulgali, Gurez, Bandipora

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition of Zanskar and Absolutely Unknown Kashmir, Oct 2011

A massive drive from Kolkata covering lands and mountain passes as diverse as Khajjiar in Himachal to Sach Pass and Pangi Valley to Padder Valley of Kisthwar to then the remote Margan and Inshan villages of Kashmir to a Zanskar drive to Padum and beyond in the middle of winter October 2011 and then to the absolutely less known lands of Lolab, Bangus and Doodpathri of Kashmir.

It is a big travelogue – give it some time to read – an exploratory drive and travel that has and will spawn many a travelers and travel stories in the future.

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Self-DriveExploratoryExpeditionofCentralArunachalMarch2012

Mighty River Siang, West Siang, Central Arunachal

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition of Central Arunachal , March 2012

Another fantastic exploratory travel drive to the remote lands in Central Arunachal, from Ziro to Koloriang to Nacho and Mechuka to Tuting and Gelling – a 4500 km journey from Kolkata. A travel that shows that Arunchal is not only the lands of Tawang and Bomdilla.

We were in unknown lands but like in all our travels the people in some of the most remote lands opened to us in this one memorable adventurous journey.

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Self-DriveExpeditionofLadakhandthecolddesertofChangthangOctober2011

Kiangs, Towards Koyoul and Demchok, Ladakh

Self-Drive Expedition of Ladakh and the cold desert of Changthang, October 2011

A testing expedition journey takes us as a family through not only the “familiar” route from Manali to Leh or the drive from Leh to Pangong and along the side of Pangong to Hanle but also for the first time on the internet, a reader would see a drive and pictures of the land of Koyoul and Demochok, in the India-China LAC at one of Changthang plateau where the River Indus just enters as a small flowing river from across Tibet. And then on the return we are stuck on Zoji la top at 12,000 feet for 36 hours at a stretch!

Again a massive travel story, give it some time to read. Many small, small travel episodes make up this massive travel story, give it some time to read.

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ARoyalEnfieldBulletrideaFlightandasub-zeroIceTrekZanskarChadartrekJan-Feb2012

Shingra Koma, Zanskar Chadar Trek

A Royal Enfield Bullet ride, a Flight and a sub-zero Ice Trek! [Zanskar Chadar trek], Jan-Feb 2012

A unique journey, whereby I travel along with my friend Jawed of Eastern Bulls to Delhi, courier the motorcycle back [!], and catch a flight, and then trek along the frozen river of Zanskar for the Chadar trek. Brilliant was the experience and astounding was the travel.

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Self-DriveExoticTravelofWesternArunachalincludingNameriforestofAssamEndDecember2009

Eagle Nest Sanctuary, Western Arunchal

Self-Drive Exotic Travel of Western Arunachal including Nameri forest of Assam, End December, 2009

A fantastic self-drive across West Bengal and Assam to enter Arunachal for Tawang and beyond – driving up to even till Bum la along the winter track in end December. The return journey also included the less known forest of Eagle Nest of Western Arunachal.

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Self-DriveExpeditionTravelofKinnuartoSpititoLahaulSpitiLoopandthenbackviaJaloriPassOctober2007

Towards Kunzum pass, Lahaul & Spiti, Himachal

Self-Drive Expedition Travel of Kinnuar to Spiti to Lahaul [Spiti Loop] and then back via Jalori Pass, October 2007

We along with our good friend Debankur travel from Kolkata on this 6000 km journey of Spiti Loop. Amazing journey done in the month of October, a travel that among things that gave rise to some great words like “chap rasta” and “ja ta”!

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Self-drivetravelanddiscoveryofaproverbialSecretBeachdeepinOrissa-ChhattisgarhborderForestsofDebrigarhandSunabedaendDec2008

Secret Beach, Interior Sunabeda WLS, Orissa

Self-drive travel and discovery of a “proverbial” Secret Beach, deep in Orissa-Chhattisgarh border – Forests of Debrigarh and Sunabeda, end Dec 2008

We travel to the lesser known forest of Debrigarh and the absolutely unknown forest of Sunabeda. What we discover – a proverbial “secret beach” in the middle of a dense forest with a blue turqoise water and white sands. Any other place this would have been a million dollar resort backyard, but unfortunately this will remain unknown as strife as made this place even more inaccessbile as of 2012.

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Self-DrivetraveltoInteriorChhattisgarhandOrissa-TribalsFallsForestsAugust2009

Chitrakote Falls, Chhattisgarh

Self-Drive travel to Interior Chhattisgarh and Orissa – Tribals, Falls & Forests, August 2009

Another diverse self-drive journey that takes us to the land of Bonda people, one of the most primitive tribes of India to Chhattisgarh Chitrakote and Tirathgarh Falls in full flow in the middle of monsoon months.

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Self-DrivejourneytoNorthSikkim-ChanguLakeGurudongmarChoptaValleyandYumthangApril 2009

Towards Gurudongmar, North Sikkim

Self-Drive journey to North Sikkim – Changu Lake, Gurudongmar, Chopta Valley and Yumthang, April 2009

Self-drives with own vehcile to North Sikkim area were still in their infancy, when we took this fantastic drive to the remote valleys and regions of Sikkim. Brilliant journey for the drive and high mountain lands that we see and experience.

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Self-DrivetravelalongtheSilkRouteofSikkimMay2009

Silk Route, Towards Zuluk, East Sikim

Self-Drive travel along the Silk Route of Sikkim, end May 2009

Again a journey when this route to Gangtok via Reshi, Aritar, Zuluk and Kupup was just being known to travelers. A drive with a whole lot of interactions with the local people, one of great memorable drives to the State of Sikkim.

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InsearchofThe WildBuffaloJunglyVonBhaisatheStateAnimalofChhattisgarhendDec2010

Wild Buffalo/Von Bhaisa, Udanti WLS, Chhattisgarh

In search of The Wild Buffalo, a.k.a. Jungly Von Bhaisa, the State Animal of Chhattisgarh, end Dec 2010

A self-drive journey to the trouble forest lands of Udanti and Sitanadi, in order to see the few remaining wild buffaloes of Chhattisgarh. No tourists comes to these places nowadays due to strife, we were the first travelers out in 3 years.

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OrissasUnknownForestsofKuldihaandSatkosia2008

Rissi Dam, Kuldiha

Orissa’s Unknown Forests of Kuldiha and Satkosia, 2008

Kuldiha, a pristine forest, being just some 350 km from Kolkata and even much nearer to Bhubaneshwar was still unknown in 2008. From Kuldiha, we travelled to Satkosia forest and gorge was also lesser known in 2008, and then to Bangriposi for the return journey to Kolkata.

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