Pimp My Bike – Denis Part 4


Denis’s bike being pimp’d is a done deal!, The black and white stripes make this bike altogether striking.The team has completely restored the engine, added a 5-disc clutch system for more pick up, and the breaking system and electric cabling was also newly installed. Denis took his 500cc for a test trip around the mountains of Dharamsala and is happy and satisfied with the job done. He mentioned that he has never felt the bike so powerful before!



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Pimp My Bike – Denis Part 3

Mmmm…nothing like the smell of fresh paint! Denis’s bike has gone through the painting process, the engine’s been cleaned and polished and our mechanics Happy and Bunty are working hard on the repairs. Special care is being taken and the modifications to the gear box will turn this 500CC into a very powerful machine!
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Andretta Pottery, with a side of chai

Ride to Andretta

Going to Andretta is like going to your grandparents’ home. It is dated but it had once been young and vibrant, Bohemian even. The ride itself is fun. It is 54 Kms from Dharamshala and the roads are good. Our host, Denis Harrap, has a beautiful natural house and set of cottages that he runs as a hotel.

Walking through the village you can hear leftover echoes of laughter, music, parties and conversations. It used to be an artists’ village where a few famous painters and writers retreated to make art and live their lives in peace. The houses have been taken over by new management and, in some cases, descendants of those famous names. All that survives of its former glory are a couple of houses of famous personalities turned into museums and the famous Andretta Pottery.

The joy of riding in the Himalayas has no bounds. If you can see past the Kamikaze bus drivers, cell phone-using car drivers, jeeps stopped in the middle of the road, pot holes the size of your 19 inch tyres, cows, dogs, pedestrians, priests, sadhus… did I say it was a fun ride?

Pimp My Bike – Denis Part 1

It’s a new week and the Team is ready to work on a new project, it’s Denis’ turn to get Pimp’d! Here we have a 1992 Royal Enfield, 500CC Standard. Denis is from New Zealand and has been settled in India for quite a few years. A keen rider and lover of the Indian Enfields, Denis brought his bike to the Himalayan Explorers Team to get a custom paint job with a black and white colour scheme and a complete engine rebuild. Check out his ‘before’ pictures today and don’t miss the progress on Denis’ Bike here in our Garaja!
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Your Basic Backpacking Checklist

Your Basic Backpacking Checklist

Contrary to what the local stoner/hiker-dude/hippie/“I have been in India 12 years”- person says, a pair of flip flops, 2 samosas and lots of love for the world may not be the best kit to survive in the mountains. Lord Shiva is not going to save your ass when you are freezing/starving/ravaged by wild animals in the beautiful Himalayas. The best you can do is take a few photos of your sun burnt, freezing and hungry ass during the last moments on earth so that others can learn from your experience (read as fuck up).

You will be asking yourself – ‘how do I avoid being remembered for the idiot that got killed 5 Kms from habitations?’ Well, to start with follow a checklist. Yes, there is a basic checklist of things that can and will assist you in enjoying your outdoors experience.


  1. Navigation
  1. Sun protection
  1. Insulation
  • Jacket, fleece, pants/trousers, gloves, hat
  1. Illumination
  1. First-aid supplies
  1. Fire
  1. Repair kit and tools
  1. Nutrition
  1. Hydration
  1. Emergency shelter


So now you got your basics covered, in the next installment of Rust and Dust we will discuss what to carry in your First Aid Kit. Seriously, it is always good to follow checklists. I did not make them up, they have been around since man started going further from their caves to forage and hunt to keep the tribe alive. So don’t open yourself to ridicule after your long and painful death at the hands of Mother Nature, pack a good kit and enjoy the mountains!!

Backpacking the HimalayasBackpacking the Himalayas


Pimp My Bike – Omar Part 4

The bike is back! and the team couldn’t be happier with the result!. A black and white-cream was set as the new color scheme for the bike, it has been completely restored with a 60s revolutionary touch represented by the white star, making the bike a classic one. The HE mechanical team worked hard on the engine to get its potential to the fullest, the gear box was enhanced for a smooth ride and outer parts were replaced for vintage ones. Now it’s time for its owner to get it back on the road!. Don’t miss the next Pimp my Bike by the HE Team!

IMG_2920_1IMG_2919_1IMG_2892_1 IMG_2891_1Happy Singh, our mechanic with the restored bike just after assembling.


Chai with a side of moral dilemma

Chimrat is a small village in the Miyar Valley, an offshoot of the legendary Pangi Valley. This valley is a sharp valley formed by the Miyar river, a tributary to the Chandrabhaga River that makes up the East-West running Pangi Valley.

In this little village we met an old man called Devi Singh, who turned out to be a legendary guide and climber. Devi assisted International and Indian mountaineering teams to climb the peaks we see around us. He agreed to walk us to Urgus and back. Urgus is the last village at the head of this narrow valley. From Urgus, you can climb the glacier-covered passes into Ladakh or East towards Chamba.   The Peaks around us were Gardhar, Karpat and Urgus. Devi Singh has climbed and set some records on Karpat.

11 Old lady ChimratAs we left this village, we realised there were 3 more landslides and had to wait for the workers to clear the roads. Right across from the river, there is a little chai shop and a few lean-to shelters. One of these shelters had this old woman. She was local here, but her family had died/left long back and finally she found herself alone. Too old to till her land, she finally lost everything and moved to this side of the road under a yellow tarp. She lives on whatever she can forage and sometimes, relatives send her money for sustenance. The loneliness and the self sufficiency leave you with conflicted feelings. You keep arguing with yourself over what should be and what should not. Our societal programming objects to leaving old ladies to fend for themselves, but the euphoric, hippie side of you thinks it is almost romantic to live within your means. Both are wrong, as we don’t know the story behind her loneliness. On posing the question, her eyes fill up but she doesn’t say anything. We cannot say anything without sounding like assholes. So we politely leave her to her memories and silently apologise for bringing it up for her again.