There and Back Again : A Rider's Tale By Saurabh Jyoti

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There and Back Again : A Rider's Tale By Saurabh Jyoti

A lifelong rider and connoisseur of premium motorbikes, Saurabh Jyoti, director of Jyoti Group of Companies shares details of his exhilarating journey to Mustang.

Nepal is home to some breathtaking vistas. Every year a sizeable number of foreign tourists travel to Nepal to soak in our resplendent landscape and diverse culture. However, the locals are fascinated by foreign lands; a change in that culture will benefit Nepal.

The growth of local tourism will help advance the economy of the country. It will also boost the livelihoods of the locals that depend on tourism. 

Unforgettable Bike Journey
The beautiful weather and panoramic views offered by Nepal make it an ideal destination for riders. Mustang, in particular, was a place we always wanted to visit and it proved to be my most memorable trip. We rode to Jomsom and Muktinath on our long journey. We travelled to Pokhara from Kathmandu, Kalupani from Pokhara, Jomsom from Kalupani, and finally, we reached our destination, Muktinath. 

The Off-road Route and Scenic Views
Riding through rough terrain was an exhilarating experience, it was something we were keen on doing. For riders, the journey is the destination itself. That being said, one has to exercise caution while riding on rough terrain. After Pokhara, you need to ride through gravel roads made up of thick rocks and navigate waterfalls, stiff slopes and rocky hills. 

The Company of Friends
My friends accompanied my wife and I on the journey. Riding with family and friends adds a beautiful dimension to the journey, it is an opportunity to strengthen your bond by partaking in a wonderful shared experience. 

The Vehicle
The route to Muktinath is bristling with off-road terrain. Therefore, all of us boarded off-road bikes. We had three Honda XR 150s, and I took a Honda CRF 250. The bikes were suitable for our journey and ensured we had a comfortable ride. On our way, it was quite interesting for us to see 100 CC bikes and Honda Dio scooters going up to Jomsom. I recognise that not everyone can afford premium off-road bikes. Standard bikes are quite capable of scaling Jomsom, albeit with a lesser degree of comfort.

The Obstruction
Riding bikes on gravel roads is a challenge in itself. Coming across a waterfall compounded our difficulty. The bikes had to be taken through the waterfall, which meant wading through a two feet deep water mass. We had to change our clothes and put on swimming costumes to cross it.

Heartwarming Hospitality
Nepal is renowned for its hospitality; we are a friendly country. The locals were warm and hospitable. Everywhere we went, we were welcomed with love and it was a humbling experience. The route was challenging but the warmth we received ensured the destination was worth the effort.

Time to Travel 
I recommend travelling to Jomsom and Muktinath after the monsoon. I suggest people travel there post-dashain and during the pre-winter season. During then the climate is beautiful, clear skies and moderate temperatures will greet you.    

Prerequisites and Safety Tips
Pre-planning is essential, riding fatigue is to be taken seriously. Riding fatigue depends on altitude: higher the altitude, greater the fatigue. Therefore, scheduling pre-planned breaks is crucial. Secondly, carrying a first aid kit is critical. You should also ensure your bike is in ideal condition, a minor issue on such terrain can lead to a major disaster. Water bottles, protein bars, and some light snacks should accompany you on your journey; riding can get tiring. 

While our journey to Mustang was delightful, there are areas that need improvement. From an infrastructural and tourism perspective, the roads need to be pitched to increase safety. This will lead to a tenfold increase in the number of tourists. Better and safer roads will also enhance the delivery of goods and services. The improved road facilities will further develop the infrastructure of hotels and healthcare services as well. I hope these changes take place soon. Mustang is an uncut diamond, with ideal development; it holds the potential of being Nepali tourism's crown jewel. 

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