INDIA in July, 2019 (3)

INDIA in July, 2019 (3)

2019-07-11T13:49:15+00:00July 7th, 2019|Lee & Paul Update|

We are in Delhi and the rest of our tour group has arrived. Our guide, Kamahl, escorts us to a Southern Indian restaurant so we can try Dosa – a flat thin-layered rice pancake made from a fermented batter, very similar to a crepe in appearance. I choose a butter paneer one and it comes on a banana leaf with four side-dishes of pickles and sauces – just delicious.

We have a very early start to head north to our destination of Shimla in the Himalayan foothills.

View from our little bus with visibility about one kilometre
Sights abound on the road north to Shimla

The road is busy and the air is extremely polluted as we leave Delhi and it continues relentlessly for hours as we pass through areas full of factories – all belching out black smoke into the already overloaded atmosphere.

The traffic can be quite hectic at times
But the sights are always varied and interesting

Eventually we see more organised farming by the road – rice paddies and some fruits.

Our guide, Kamahl, organising fresh juice

We stop by the road for fresh pineapple or orange juice and the guy takes forever to make it for everyone using an old hack-saw blade with no teeth left on it to cut the pineapple into slices and then put them through a hand juicer.

The hills get steeper and the houses get higher

We start climbing and the scenery begins to change. We stop at a cute train station so we can catch the famous narrow-gauge train for a segment of the railway that climbs from the valley to Shimla.

The spectacular Kalka to Shimla train line

It’s an incredible piece of engineering all completed by the British in 1903 and we thoroughly enjoy the next few hours of steady climbing.

Fresh fried vegetable snacks and hot chai tea

The ride up the mountain goes on and on with incredible drop-offs and roadworks all the way. The traffic is hairy and tight and the forest changes as we climb higher and the buildings cling to the sides of the cliffs. They start off as a single storey or two at ground level and can be up to eight levels or more going down the side of the mountain.

Houses crammed on the hillside at Shimla

Once the summer capital of British India, Shimla spreads for twelve kilometres along a ridge and we are staying at the Woodville Palace Hotel, where the royal family for the region are living on the premises. It is old but regal and full of wonderful old photos of Indian royals and the British with the tigers they’ve shot!

Woodville Palace Hotel

Shimla sits at 2200m so our stay here is two nights so we can acclimatise to altitude.

Sanjur tying the red string to protect me and my bike

We have a Hindu ceremony to bless us and the motorbikes and are allocated our Royal Enfield Bullet 500’s – mine is No. 7 and we are going on a small ride for lunch to get used to them, the roads and the conditions. The weather holds off and there are no incidents. 

Our group is nine bikes with two pillions, our guide Kamahl also on a bike, Sanjur driving the support vehicle with Imran, the mechanic on board – let the fun begin…


  1. CT July 10, 2019 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Dammit Lee, how come I’m not with you guys? That looks like my mind of ride.

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Well exactly CT…this is shaping up to be the best “tour” we’ve ever done!! India is fascinating and the people very special.

  2. Peter kinane July 9, 2019 at 5:26 am - Reply

    Wow exciting!
    You will miss the KTMs on the twisties I’m sure 😉

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Actually Pete, you think you might have a clear run for a bit and then it all turns to shit with no warning…so twisties aren’t an issue as yet!!

  3. Beverley July 8, 2019 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    This looks like the perfect adventure! Jealous:)

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      India is fascinating Bev…you would both love it xxx

  4. Gillian July 8, 2019 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Let the riding begin!Enjoy and take care,

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      We’re just loving it Gill…great people we’re travelling with makes it a huge bonus xxx

  5. Marcia Peacock July 8, 2019 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Looks amazing.

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Sure is Marcia xxx

  6. Penelope Penner July 7, 2019 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for continuing to share your incredible “rides”! This armchair Canadian really enjoys reading about them and seeing the pictures. Guess you’ve experienced incredibly busy roads like that before.

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Great to hear from you guys Penny, yes we have but I think it’s unique again here. Glad you’re enjoying the ride…

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Penny, nice to hear from you. We sure have but I think it’s different again in India. Hope you enjoy the “ride” xxx

  7. Helen. July 7, 2019 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Travel safe Lee and enjoy!

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Helen, we need to catch up in August xxxxx

  8. Sue Hird July 7, 2019 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    That train trip must be amazing – as are the sights, sounds and tastes you’re experiencing.
    Ivan would be pleased that your bike has been blessed Lee! Let the riding commence!

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      I reckon he would be impressed but also terrified!! The riding is not for the faint-hearted but we’re all just loving it – great group of Kiwis. And the food is just to die for xxxx

  9. Alison Morgan July 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Love your stories and photo’s once again Lee enjoy the

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ally, we have trips to compare in a few weeks time…talk soon xxxx

    • Lee July 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ally, we have trips to share in August…talk soon xxxx

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