Different places have different flavors to them. There are places which are more subtle with creations of nature and humans both, these are mostly long highways through level land, best ridden through swiftly. Then there are places where nature lent a platform over which man created mesmerizing structures like forts, palaces, temples, caves and dams.
And then there are places where nature is the mammoth alive and present in varying levels of glory, with man managing to weave hamlets into its furry skin. These places are mostly in the mountains, the most wildly fluctuating of terrains out there. Roads through mountains of Uttarakhand and other states up north take us through the expanse of such mammoths, leaving us in awe, in peace, in silence on one hand and in corners, through straights and over roughs on the other.
The ride to Munsiyari was a 4 and a half day affair, to utilize the holidays which followed Holi. Uttarakhand is more of a home ground for me as I have been travelling there for 20 years. My relation to these mountains is not about what I see, but about what I feel. I go there and go again, in search of something which I never find, but yet the travels continue.
We left Gwalior on the evening of 24th, reaching Bulandshahar by the night. Stayed at a place called Alka Motel which was conveniently located on the road towards Hapur. Next morning we left for Binsar, via Moradabad and Ramnagar. Binsar is a silent forest. Not much to do or see here and thats the point.
However, as the weekend was on, hotels were very crowded. Even the one in which we stayed had lots of crowd, singing, dancing and killing the peace for which we had head to Binsar. Maybe its time to cross Binsar off the list of peaceful spots.
Next day we started off from Binsar for Munsiyari, via Bageshwar, Chaukori, Thal. The road, as with many other roads of Uttarakhand is typically amazing. The traffic is so sparse that you can comfortably push harder through the spotless narrow tarmac. I have like mountain roads, but not the ones which are built for traffic. Narrow, wavy, canopied in green, accompanied by rivers, shadowed by mountains is more to my liking.
Overall, it was a pleasure riding all the way from Binsar to Munsiyari, with every part of the journey bringing a different pleasure with it. The last 70 km were the best of the range. In this part the road continuously meandered upwards through countless hairpins. The increase in elevation in ratio of the distance covered in the last few kilometers was impressive and fun.
Munsiyari is not exactly located at the top. It located significantly lower than the highest point of the road which leads to it. The view towards north is amazing, mostly painted with snow capped mountains, crowned with clouds. The town is a small one, no big shops, simple life, few hotels. The main market has wide open circle on the edges of which are small eateries with wooden benches outside. Some tea, wafers, maggi are a great way to spend the evening and welcome mornings here.
When in Munsiyari were more excited about getting back, than staying here. The amazing roads which brought us here were calling us back. So, at 7am in the morning we head backwards. The ride went on through the day, via the same route finally ending at Ramgarh early in the night, maybe at 8pm.
At Ramgarh, we stayed at a hotel which serves more as a entry point to the Corbett Wildlife Sanctuary. I have never appreciated Corbett mostly because of its name. If there was a place named Hitler Peace Park, I would have had the similar feelings for that. Although there is nothing wrong with the place, its a good sanctuary with a handful of tigers in it.
Next morning we started for Gwalior at 8am, reaching here by the evening. The roads which lead us home on the final day were of the type which I defined in the first paragraph, but thats a good thing as were wanted to reach home in time.