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Pack your bags, rev up bikes, India's NE beckons

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, July 18 (IANS) - Time to get hold of your biking shoes and ride across broken tracks, dense jungles and snow-covered hills in India's picturesque Northeast. A biking expedition is set to take 30 explorers through terrain that is often out of reach.

Motorcycle brand Royal Enfield has started a new route for avid bikers - Tour of Northeast - a 12-day road trip, covering a distance of approximately 3,000 km from Sep 10 to 22.

The ride will capture the picturesque beauty of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where unexpected rainfall and cold weather will welcome you, while bad roads will challenge your riding skills.

So you will ride along the Brahmaputra river, originating from the Mansarovar lake in Tibet, that meanders through the wooded hills and the rolling plains of Assam or meet the rising sun in Arunachal Pradesh - Northeast India's remotest State also known as the "land of the dawn-lit mountains".

"The reason to have this road trip was that many people want to travel to these states but give up because of security reasons. So we have chalked out a safe route for our riders where they will enjoy riding in a completely different terrain," Kanwardeep Singh Dhaliwal, assistant manager of Royal Enfield, told IANS over phone from Chennai.

Unlike Royal Enfield's other biking expeditions - Himalayan Odyssey, Southern Odyssey, Tour to Rajasthan - this trip will be a bit different.

With not many luxurious accommodations around, bikers will be taking solace in the lap of nature by camping around or putting up in traditional places like a gompa - monastery or hermitage.

"Also, unlike all other places here, finding a roadside tea or coffee stall is very difficult. So one has to come prepared for all this experience," said Dhaliwal.

In all, 30 participants - men as well as women - will be selected on a first come, first served basis. They will have to apply on the Royal Enfield website. Each biker will have to pay Rs.15,000 for facilities, including breakfast, accommodation, support crew of mechanics and doctors and a backup vehicle for luggage.

Looking at the condition of the roads and terrain, this trip will not have pillion riders, as some mountainous passes and roads might be very challenging and gruesome.

Guwahati-based Diwash Ghatraj, an event manager, is eager to participate in the trip and is hoping that he will be one of the lucky 30 participants.

"This is my native land; still when I saw the route map, I thought this would be the best way to explore it and enjoy the lush green region," Ghatraj told IANS.

Delhi-based Gaurav Sinha, a student, is also eager to participate in the ride, as he wants to click some good pictures and enjoy local food.

"I have heard about the northeastern region, but, again, one can't think of going there alone; so while every time we friends make plans to visit that region, something or the other comes up and everything goes for a toss," Sinha said.

"Here I have an opportunity to meet bike lovers, ride and explore - click some good pictures and, yes, I want to taste local food as well, I have heard a lot about it," he added.

The trip will start from Guwahati in Assam and head for the Nameri wildlife sanctuary and then enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh through Tawang and then move on to the Bomdila-Sela pass, Tawang-Bumla pass, Tawang-Mandla pass, Bana-Sepa-Pasa village, Doimukh and then re-enter Assam through the Majuli islands before ending at Kaziranga close to Guwahati.

The best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh is mid-September to mid-December and mid-March to mid-June and for Assam it is October-April.

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Pack your bags, rev up bikes, India

NEW DELHI, July 18 (IANS) - Time to get hold of your biking shoes and ride across broken tracks, dense jungles and snow-covered hills in India's picturesque Northeast. A biking expedition is set to take 30 explorers through terrain that is often out of reach.

Motorcycle brand Royal Enfield has started a new route for avid bikers - Tour of Northeast - a 12-day road trip, covering a distance of approximately 3,000 km from Sep 10 to 22.

The ride will capture the picturesque beauty of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where unexpected rainfall and cold weather will welcome you, while bad roads will challenge your riding skills.

So you will ride along the Brahmaputra river, originating from the Mansarovar lake in Tibet, that meanders through the wooded hills and the rolling plains of Assam or meet the rising sun in Arunachal Pradesh - Northeast India's remotest State also known as the "land of the dawn-lit mountains".

"The reason to have this road trip was that many people want to travel to these states but give up because of security reasons. So we have chalked out a safe route for our riders where they will enjoy riding in a completely different terrain," Kanwardeep Singh Dhaliwal, assistant manager of Royal Enfield, told IANS over phone from Chennai.

Unlike Royal Enfield's other biking expeditions - Himalayan Odyssey, Southern Odyssey, Tour to Rajasthan - this trip will be a bit different.

With not many luxurious accommodations around, bikers will be taking solace in the lap of nature by camping around or putting up in traditional places like a gompa - monastery or hermitage.

"Also, unlike all other places here, finding a roadside tea or coffee stall is very difficult. So one has to come prepared for all this experience," said Dhaliwal.

In all, 30 participants - men as well as women - will be selected on a first come, first served basis. They will have to apply on the Royal Enfield website. Each biker will have to pay Rs.15,000 for facilities, including breakfast, accommodation, support crew of mechanics and doctors and a backup vehicle for luggage.

Looking at the condition of the roads and terrain, this trip will not have pillion riders, as some mountainous passes and roads might be very challenging and gruesome.

Guwahati-based Diwash Ghatraj, an event manager, is eager to participate in the trip and is hoping that he will be one of the lucky 30 participants.

"This is my native land; still when I saw the route map, I thought this would be the best way to explore it and enjoy the lush green region," Ghatraj told IANS.

Delhi-based Gaurav Sinha, a student, is also eager to participate in the ride, as he wants to click some good pictures and enjoy local food.

"I have heard about the northeastern region, but, again, one can't think of going there alone; so while every time we friends make plans to visit that region, something or the other comes up and everything goes for a toss," Sinha said.

"Here I have an opportunity to meet bike lovers, ride and explore - click some good pictures and, yes, I want to taste local food as well, I have heard a lot about it," he added.

The trip will start from Guwahati in Assam and head for the Nameri wildlife sanctuary and then enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh through Tawang and then move on to the Bomdila-Sela pass, Tawang-Bumla pass, Tawang-Mandla pass, Bana-Sepa-Pasa village, Doimukh and then re-enter Assam through the Majuli islands before ending at Kaziranga close to Guwahati.

The best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh is mid-September to mid-December and mid-March to mid-June and for Assam it is October-April.