As the winters set in, all one wants to do is slumber indoors tucked inside a cozy blanket. Many bikers put riding on hold as it seems like a nightmare to ride out in the chilly winters with all those extra layers to stay warm.
But there are some who consider themselves the snow leopards of the riding kingdom and can be spotted on their bikes in the chilly months. If you are one of them, here are team HNP’s top picks of winter riding routes from Delhi -
1. Delhi to Manali - One of the most revered routes amongst the rider circle, this one is moderate in difficulty and is the gateway to the mighty Himalayas. In the summers the route is open to all riders and is a haven for tourists. In the winters however most roadways beyond Manali are blocked by landslide and snowfall. Although there are multiple routes to from Delhi to Manali, but the one via Chandigarh is the best maintained and a fairly simple one. The ride until Chandigarh can be rather basic, with some highlights – the quintessential roadside dhaba’s that serve finger-licking food, and the underrated milkshakes from Chandigarh are must-have experiences. Beyond Chandigarh is when the adventure starts, as you hit the beautiful foothills of Himalayas and pass through one of India’s most serene regions. The smell of pinecones fills the cold winter air and refreshes the soul. Manali is mostly covered with snow throughout winters and there are many places within 50 km of Manali where one can go to enjoy the winter snow. Places like Kooth and Sethan are the place to be if you’re looking to experience the true Himachali winters.
2. Delhi to Jaipur - The pink city of Jaipur is a perfect getaway destination from Delhi at a distance of just 280 km. The city is home to a number of famous forts that attract thousands of tourists every year. Summers in Jaipur are extremely hot, making the winter months of October - March a perfect time to ride alongside the camels of Rajasthan. Depending on the route one chooses there are a number of places that the rider can stop by. The Neemrana route, which is the shortest amongst all, has various interesting places such as the Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary, zip-lining at the Neemrana Fort, Heritage transport museum etc. The Alwar route treats riders with mesmerizing views of the Siliserh lake and Alwar fort. For those seeking a spooky thrill the Bhangarh fort is considered to be a haunted fort. This route is far more leisurely than the Neemrana route. The roadside dhabas offer a wide range of scrumptious Rajasthani food that one must definitely try.
3. Delhi to Rishikesh and Mussoorie - Known as the ‘Gateway of the Garhwal Himalayas’, Rishikesh is located at a distance of 230 km from Delhi and a peaceful 5 and a half hour ride through the plains up until Haridwar. Upon reaching Haridwar one can ride within the town to various religious places. The sacred ghat of Har ki Pauri, Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Neel Dhara Bird Sanctuary are a few notable places to visit while at Haridwar. The half hour ride from Haridwar to Rishikesh is an unforgettable journey. The air is filled with a sense of positivity and spirituality and the blue waters of river Ganga are a sight for sore eyes. One must definitely take their motorcycle on Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula when there aren’t too many pedestrians. Riding a motorcycle on a suspension bridge is definitely an experience worth having. Rajaji National Park is another attractive destination for those willing to wander in the wild. And for those who want to connect with musical legends, the Beatles Ashram is always flowing with art and creativity.
4. Delhi to Joshimath - Auli, located at an altitude of 2,505 meters above sea level is a true winter abode. The route to Auli requires an investment of two days, with Dehradun being the first stop that offers a lot to see. For the spiritually inclined, there are must-sees like the Buddha temple and Ponta Sahib Gurudwara located at an hour’s distance from the town. Dehradun to Joshimath is a long ride and should be commenced early morning so as to reach Joshimath by nightfall. The challenges along the route are all worth it as Auli offers adventures like no other location close by. Famous for its ski resorts, Auli has numerous cafes and restaurants to cater to your taste buds. Enjoy a ride on the cable car or ski on the snow-clad mountains. Just be prepared for the cold!
5. Delhi to Nainital - The state of Uttarakhand is heaven to those who love mountains, forests and lakes alike. The state is home to one of the most beautiful lakes in India. Nainital is one such lake. Around 320 km from Delhi, Nainital is located at an altitude of 2084 meters above sea level. In winters this region gets foggy and while riding on the narrow routes in the mist can be challenging the sights that await you at Nainital are surely rewarding. Close by are Bhimtal and Naukuchiatal, the latter certainly being one of the most beautiful lakes in India. Vast and untouched, one can go kayaking on these clear waters to enjoy a break from the leather seats.