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This was the first time the all-new Royal Enfield Himalayan met the Nepali Himalayas. I have been fortunate enough to ride on snow quite a few times in the past in our Indian Himalayan terrain. However, this was the first time I actually got to ride and shoot while it snowed. The feeling of snowflakes falling on riding gear, accumulating on the motorcycle while it stands there posing for pictures — what a feeling! What didn’t help matter too much was that no amount of layering helped the cold from making the body tremble.

Day 4 of our Himalayan Adventure Ride to Manang 2024 was a rest day (a ‘chill’ day, like Gen Z would say). On this day, our photographers on the ride, Ashik Thomas and Ankit Sharma, asked me if I’d like to ride the Himalayan in the terrain of Manang so that they could shoot some pictures of someone monkeying around on the bike. I instantly agreed to this for the only reason that I didn’t want to rest or chill — I am simply and eternally incapable of such a thing.

We headed out to a dam about 10 minutes away from the Hotel Yeti in Manang. While Ashik proceeded to shoot still pictures of the Himalayan in that beautiful terrain, I sat on the age-old rocks, thinking about how different life back in my home city of Mumbai is. Hustle versus here. I was soaking in nature when all of a sudden it started to drizzle. Said drizzle soon turned to snowflakes and that’s when I got to experience a proper snowfall. Remember when the golawala grated ice and collected the flakes in his hand in front of your childhood eyes? I felt the exact same way. The only difference was, the flakes weren’t being collected in my hand, but on the Himalayan’s seat.

By the time the shoot was done, my riding gear was drenched, and so was I on the inside. Imagine my surprise, then, when informed that the actual shoot had just begun. Ashik asked me if I could give him some action shots — how could I say no?! We looked for patches where we could get drifts, slides, jumps, wheelies and all the ‘Insta hero’ shots I could imagine. The resulting evidence is right there in the pictures!

Day 5 was another interesting day for us. We stayed at this terrific hotel in Darechok called Riverside Spring Resort. I’m sure if you Google the name you’ll get to see how widespread this property is and the amount of amenities it has to offer. And I absolutely loved it; the nine-and-half-foot deep swimming pool, the table tennis arena, the food, and so on. However, the most important attraction of this place was that it’s a mere 500 metres from the largest beer brewery in Nepal where the popular Barahsinghe beer is brewed and distributed all throughout Nepal and a few other countries.

Barasinghe had some great food and literally a platter of beer to offer. The beer sampler had their top five flavours that one could taste and then order their favourite in either 330 ml, 500 ml or 1000 ml mugs, and chug away. We ordered a lot of food and drank a tonne of beer (the Belgian Whit being the best). This place actually closes at 08:30 pm, so we were lucky to get in at 05:00 pm. And by around 07:00 pm, the place was flooded with people and everyone looked like they were having a great time. One of the music enthusiasts at our table started singing, and a few beers later, the singers within each one of us surfaced, and we turned into our own versions of Kishore Kumar, Sonu Nigam, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, and so on.

Surprisingly, people at the nearby tables also started singing some Nepali songs. Moments later, we were all singing together, even though none of us understood the Nepali songs. However, the locals seemed to know most Indian songs and sang them with the correct lyrics, too. I happened to like a Nepali song that got stuck in my head for days to come, Jindagi Sarara Motor Gadi Ma by Sushant Ghimire. If two days of a six-day ride could do this, imagine what the entire ride must’ve been! This opportunity of riding the new Himalayan in the Himalayas not only gave me a great time off-road — which is what I absolutely love the most — but it also gave me memories to last a lifetime.

Day 1: Kathmandu to Besisahar: 178 km
Halt: Hotel Gateway Himalayan Resort
Day 2: Besisahar to Manang: 90 km
Halt: Hotel Yeti
Day 3: ‘Rest’ day. AKA ‘hammer
the Himalayan’ day.
Day 4: Manang to Taal: 60 km
Halt: Hotel Peaceland and Hotel Sunrise
Day 5: Taal to Darechok: 115 km
Halt: Riverside Spring Resort
Day 6: Darechok to Kathmandu: 105 km
Halt: Hotel Manaslu