My first bike ride to Chakrata – by Dallbir

Chakrata has always been my favorite place. It’s like I can never have enough of it, whenever I get a chance, it is the first place to cross my mind for a quick getaway. Been there 5 times last year only, still can’t resist the idea of a holiday there. But the most memorable trip to Chakrata was the second trip, which I did on a bike in 2006.
My first trip to Chakrata was in August 2005, when I planned to visit Deoban as well. But couldn’t make it to Deoban as rains had made it next to impossible to cover the 18 km dirt track. It gave me all the more reasons to come back.
But next time I had already decided to go on a bike, only then you can do justice to the beauty of this place. Couldn’t afford to miss Deoban at any cost specially after hearing about its unsurpassed beauty from the locals last time. But my bike ride didn’t seem to materialize as none of the guys was ready to ride so far, couldn’t find words to explain that. But I stuck to my decision and I am glad I did. Plan was simple, six people, one car & one bike. We started early around 6’o clock in the morning, wanted to catch the 12’o clock gate from Kalsi. Only one way traffic moves at a time from Kalsi to Chakrata due to various reasons and narrow road. The gate opens for traffic after every two hours for 20 minutes. If you miss the gate even by minutes, you’ll have to wait for two hours. Pillion kept on changing throughout the way. Everything was going smooth till I crossed the Delhi border. My beloved Bullet developed some problem in the engine. At around 90kph, heard a terrible sound in the engine and it went flat soon. As I was new to Bullet, didn’t know exactly what went wrong. We stood there for a while, and thought of taking it to the nearby mechanic. As we kick started it again, there was no sound, nothing and it was smooth as always. Couldn’t figure out what went wrong, but thankfully everything was back on track.
It was next to impossible to move together with the car, so we decided to meet midway after some distance. Others were waiting for us for breakfast at Panipat; we finished up quickly as we had to make it to Kalsi gate in time. Soon it became a race against time. After crossing the maddening traffic at Yamunanagar, we were in the green country surrounded by green fields. Soon we got our first glance of hills and company of Yamuna. The road was amazing, through the hilly forest, up and down, smooth curves, with very little traffic. We reached the holy city of Poanta Sahib on time and took a 10 minute break on Yamuna Bridge. The clock was ticking and it already seemed little unrealistic to catch the gate. From there, we traveled to Kalsi in fast forward mode and made it there just on time at 12’o clock. Think we were the last ones to cross the gate at that point of time. There is another catch to this gate system. There is one catch to gate system, to ensure that one doesn’t stop any where on the way, they have one more gate midway at Sahiya.
We completed the most beautiful part of journey in next two hours and entered Chakrata through the last army gate. This town is completed controlled by army, think that is the reason, why Chakrata hasn’t lost its charm even today. We had booked our stay in Hotel Himalayan Paradise, which has a very scenic location and is approx 6 kms ahead of the town. After a long journey we were quite tired but it was all gone once we were there. We kicked off our shoes, relaxed, ate and just sat there doing nothing. But, there was something on the back of my mind, Deoban. Asked the hotel guys about the road situation, but could not get a satisfactory answer, some said road is under construction, some said, work has finished. More I asked, more I became impatient to explore the area. Decided to enquire about it from the locals in town. The plan was to hire a jeep next day from the local market and go to Deoban, as the car was incompatible for the terrain. But we needed to know whether it was worth the effort. We sat off on bike to know more about the route. We climbed slowly towards the Forest Rest House, avoided the left turn and reached the forest check post. After chatting up with the locals for while, the desperation was building up and wanted to confirm the way.
We carried on straight towards Kanasar and took a less traveled road on our right after 3-4kms and we were on our way to DeobanJ. There was no road, just a path which took us to paradise. We rode for a while just to check out the condition but after a while it was becoming impossible for us to stop. It was like a love at first sight, further we went, more we wanted to see. Haven’t seen such a beauty before in my life, the setting was all so magical and no sign of human existence so far. It was like a forgotten land we were exploring, could not see wildlife (yet) around us but there were many signs of their existence. Little ahead was army mountaineering training school and beyond that, sight was something completely indescribable in words. Never intended to go to Deoban that same day, but could not resist the beauty. Just wanted to see what was there beyond the next curve. We reached Deoban around 6’o clock, when it was about to get dark. As I mentioned we never intended to go to Deoban that day, we were wearing only t-shirts and it got chilly as soon as sun went down. We started our backward journey, we were there in that jungle for the first time, without any mobile signal, without toolkit and spares, without informing anyone, and to top it all low fuel. We were 10% scared and 90% overwhelmed about being to Deoban.
Back in Chakrata, everybody was worried about us as ‘we never intended to go to Deoban’. They started looking for us, from forest check post to Chakrata Bazaar, they looked everywhere. After long, dark, cold ride, we made it back to our hotel in Chakrata safely.
It was a stupid decision going there without any support whatsoever, but till date that was the best ride I ever had to Deoban.

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