The Himalayan Guide

Hello, it’s me… your conscience. I was wondering if, after all these years, you would like to go to the Himalayas?

Okay Adele, let’s not kill the thrill of bike rides. Our parents do the needful anyways.

Mamma’s boy or not, we will help you pack more than just your medicines and homemade food. Here’s an essential guide to keep you away from a screaming end before you drop a gear and disappear. So let’s dive into it already….or should we say “ride into it”?

 

Gear up

The Himalayas are scenic in every way you could possibly imagine, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the north. In the north, winter is always coming, along with a few friends. Trust us, they are all beasts, so you need to be prepared head-to-heel.

1) Darcha 4-season touring jacket: This all-season jacket created in collaboration with Rev’it will keep you warm, dry and in one piece.

Buy now for ₹21,999 from the Royal Enfield store.

2) Puma Active Norway jacket: Staying warm isn’t your only goal, you know. You’ll want a certain level of comfort to remain zipped up in a jacket for extended periods.This one checks all the right boxes.

Buy now for ₹5,499 from the Puma store.

3) Wildcraft HypaDry Rain Pro jacket: It can go from clear blue skies to a downpour from hell real quick in some parts. This PU-coated nylon fabric jacket keeps the elements from quite literally raining on your parade.

Buy now for ₹3295 from the Wildcraft store.

4) Darcha 4-season touring trouser: Pair that rock-solid Darcha jacket with these trousers to achieve the same level of protection. Not only should you look the part, you should feel it too. Trust these to accomplish the job.

Buy now for ₹13,500 from the Royal Enfield store.

5) Royal Enfield long riding boots: These all-weather boots are high and dry. Inspired by gear issued for the British army soldiers, they’re quick to strap on, thanks to a hook-and-loop lace-fastening system.

Buy it for ₹6,499 from the Royal Enfield store.

 

6) Darcha riding gloves: Leave those extremities unprotected, and you’ll set yourself up for a major thrashing from the terrain. You’ll need something versatile, such as these, for this very kind of adventure.

Buy it now for 5499 from the Royal Enfield store.

7) Polar Buff: Custom-made by Buff headwear for RE, this little piece of microfiber and micro fleece is terrific. From providing warmth to filtering the air you inhale, it’s an effective multi-purpose tool.

Buy it now for ₹1,700 from the Royal Enfield store.

8) AGV K5 Multi-transformer: No matter what your friends say about your mug, it’s worth a lot more than you’d think. Invest in something special, like the AGV K5. It’s lightweight, comfortable and comes with a built-in sun visor.

Buy it now for ₹27,500 from the Dainese store.

9) Wildcraft Gangotri Plus Rucksack: Not only will it accommodate all your essentials and stay steady and light on the back of your bike, it’s the perfect companion for tedious treks as well.

Buy it now for ₹6,995 from the Wildcraft store.

10) Camelbak Hydrobak: Leak-proof, insulated and capable of holding 1.5L of the good stuff, it’ll provide you that critical hydration you need while riding.

Buy it now for ₹3,499 from the TrailsofIndia website.

11) Bungee cords: A few of these should help secure your rucksack to the back of your motorcycle. And carrying some extra won’t hurt.

Buy it now for ₹3,499 from the TrailsofIndia website.

12) Wildcraft D Lite camping sleeping bag (blue): If you’re looking to rough it out, we’d like to remind you that you’re no Yeti. Carry along this cushioned cocoon - it’s light and it’s warm.

Buy it now for ₹2995 from the Wildcraft store.

Tech Check

A ride to remember, right? Well, not if you don’t have the right tech-tools to help you reminisce your journey and keep in line with your fellow riders to make sure you don't get left behind.

1) Sena 10s: It’s important to stay connected with your fellow rider(s) and the 10s is a great way to go about it. Equipped with Bluetooth 4.1, It’ll keep you in touch with up to eight buddies. You can simultaneously link your GPS audio, music and FM to go with the stunning visuals around you.

Buy it now for ₹17,999 from the TrailsofIndia website.

2) GoPro Hero4 Black Edition: If you truly want to relive every moment of your journey after you return, a trip down the memory lane won’t cut it. Capture your ride in exquisite 4K detail on the Hero4 Black. Also helps give your folks back home a first-person perspective of what you’ve experienced.

Buy it now for ₹43,990 from the RelianceDigital website.

3) Sandisk Extreme microSD: If equipped with a GoPro, your ride will be a constant battle between simply enjoying the journey, and wanting to capture every stunning moment of it. Up to 128GB of storage space should help with the dilemma, we think.

Buy it now for ₹2,799 from Amazon.in.

 

Time Killers

After you are done for the day, you might want to feed your inner townie a bit or simply sit back and do something that does not involve manoeuvering a mechanical beast between your legs and taking photos. So you might want to carry one of these to make sure you don't completely ‘caveman’ yourself from the strenuous journey.

1) Amazon Kindle Oasis: For the better part of your journey, you will drop off the world’s radar, free to indulge in dreams of devouring a pizza or reading a book. If you slot into the latter category, the Oasis will serve you just fine, courtesy a cover that boosts its battery life to nine weeks.

Buy it now for ₹27,999 from Amazon.in.

2) Traffic Rider: If you’re reeling from the day’s ride but feel like you’re not quite done yet, you have a problem. Luckily for you, we have the cure. We’d recommend giving that body a rest and firing up this game if you must. Riding minus all the work can be rather addictive.

Download it for free for iOS and Android.

3) Sky Map: The city skies only afford you a handful of stars to view. Up in the Himalayas though, you’ll see more stars than you can count. Curious about what you’re looking at? Allow Sky Map to help you channel your inner Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Download it for Android for free.

4) Prisma: It’s the new kid on the block that everyone’s talking about. And now it’s on Android too. Transform your photos into works of art.

Download it for free for iOS and Android.

5) Pixelmator: Pick from a large selection of tools, and you could really go pro here. Powerful and brilliant, it could be the only photo app you need.

Download it for ₹300 for iOS.

6) Snapseed: This indie product was acquired by Google for strong reasons. Great filters, simple editing and impressive results. Solid.

Download it for free for iOS and Android.

 

What is that? You want us to tell you which phone to load all these magnificent apps while you convince your parents to let you go for a vacation. Fret not fellow Stuffer, we got your back. But we ain’t convincing your parents for you. That battle is yours alone, soldier. But here is a phone that simply rocked our journey across the Himalayas.

 

LG G5

There are several reasons the G5 is on our list of Top Ten Smartphones. Its execution of modular smartphone concept, the terrific 5.3in 1440p screen, lightning-fast Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB RAM, we could go on... The bit you should care about on your trip is the dual-lens camera. The 16MP sensor has a 75° field of view, while the 8MP sensor gives you the choice of taking wide-angle shots to fit in an impressive amount of scenery, or opting for a more detailed close-up. Just what you’ll need to capture your surroundings.Interested already? Grab this one for ₹54,000 from LG’s website.

 
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Places to visit

Now that we've got you all suited up for your next big adventure, it’s important to know where you need to go. And no, you won’t find Mount Doom in the Himalayas, you crazy little hobbit. Luckily for you, we have visited every curve on the road and we think you should definitely check these three places out.Oh, what is that? Dad agreed, but not mom? Show her pictures of these places and she’ll probably want to tag along.

1) K-top and the Rinchen Cafeteria: Contrary to what the signs might say, most authorities will disregard claims of Khardung La being the highest motorable pass in the world. Still, it’s a terrific spot to be at when the snowfall isn’t heavy and the cafeteria up top makes for a mandatory pitstop.

2) Nubra Valley: Khardung La is essentially a gateway to yet another breathtaking experience: Nubra Valley. Several kilometres of sand dunes await exploration atop an ATV, or the local bactrian (two-hump) camels. Both equally fun in their own ways.

3) Spiti Valley: Highlights at Spiti Valley include Ki and Tabo, some of the oldest monasteries in the world. It’s a good time to get in touch with your spiritual side and interact with the Buddhist monks as they casually demonstrate how Wi-Fi is not a fundamental human need.

 

Thump and Thunder

Taking on the mountains is, literally and figuratively, an uphill task. Would you take a knife to a gunfight? That’s what we thought.

Royal Enfield Himalayan

The mountains can deliver a devastating punishment to lesser motorcycles. Or motorcyclists, for that matter. If you think your skills are up to spec, bear in mind your motorcycle’s just as mission-critical. You’ll need something that’s as confident cruising down the highway as it is thrashing through non-existent roads. The Himalayan, then, delivers in abundance on both counts. And with room for jerrycans up front and panniers at the back, it’s built for mile-munching too.

This bad boy will cost you ₹1.55 lacs (ex-showroom, Maharashtra).

Bragging rights for conquering the Himalayas on your motorcycle don’t come easy. It is as much a test of you as a rider as it is of your ride. But what that ticket buys you is an experience like no other. No matter what your skill level as a motorcyclist, you’re bound to emerge improved from an experience such as this. Maybe even wiser. What you will certainly take back with you is endless memories of what our little planet is like, outside of our little cubicles.

Himalayan Odyssey

By default, you are no stranger to the Royal Enfield. And if you already own one, chances are that you are numbered under this cult of bootstrapping, noisy riding, metal-tinkering throttle-junkies.   Or your dad simply happened to give you one for your everyday commute.

But does that matter? No. Thump or no thump, if you fancy travelling to the Himalayas then The Himalayan Odyssey should be your next sign-up page.

Royal Enfield recently wrapped its 13th successful Himalayan Odyssey. So when you ride with these guys, you know you’re in good hands. A fully equipped mechanics crew, media for photos and video, certified medics and professional ride leaders are the company you’ll have the privilege of riding with. That’s enough reasons to put your mind at ease and enjoy the experience to its fullest for a mere ₹40,000.

Here is what the Head of Royal Enfield’s rides and community Sachin Chavan had to say about the Himalayan Odyssey: “The Odyssey is a ride like no other. It's not the ride of a lifetime; it's the start of a new life. This one ride will give you a new friends’ circle all around the world. It'll teach you to ride better, irrespective of how good or bad you are. You will get your chance to learn, support, inspire, seek help, overcome, forget yourself and rediscover yourself.”

 

Missed out on the Himalayan Odyssey?

Check these alternative rides that the Royal Enfield family have got planned out as well.

1) Tour of Tibet: What they call ‘the roof of the world’ is full of vistas that’ll leave you awestruck as you make your way through some of the roughest terrains in the world.

Join this for ₹1,75,000.

2) Tour of Bhutan: The Kingdom of Thunder Dragons, as they call this gorgeous place, is a global biodiversity hotspot. Winding mountain roads and lush forests await.

Hop on for ₹38,000.

3) Tour of Nepal: Ah, the land of the mighty Mount Everest. Sold already? There’s lots more to this place filled with stunning landscapes, making for a mystical ride.

Explore this for ₹32,000.

 

And this should cover the essentials you need to plan for your next vacation. A blissful experience awaits you lil' Stuffer because when you age beyond time, there is something you should do, don't sit in contemplation but conquer the highest mountain too.

Picture credits: Ishan Saxena and Farhan Kapadia