Apart from clicking photos, traveling oxygenates me. Not long ago, I used to be an amateurish travel blogger. How and why I shifted to photo blogging is not so interesting though. Solo backpacking suits me the best. First thing that clicks my mind when I hear ‘traveling’ is a motorcycle ride! The truth is: If you want to be happy for a day, buy yourself few drinks; if you want to be happy for a year, get married; but, if you want to be happy for a lifetime, ride a motorbike! The whole idea of occupying the saddle for hours, throttling steadily over open roads, taking the wind-blast over my chin while watching the odometer piling up more miles, stirs me up to the soul.
Whenever I get saturated with my immediate surrounding I go for a day-ride on weekends. But it had been a while since I made my last proper motorcycle trip (In 2012, I had rode 1026 kilometers on my 125 cc Discover in 6 days visiting all popular beaches of West Bengal in proximity to Bakkhali, Gangasagar and Digha. Do let me know if you want to read that old travelogue). It’s a shame that I had failed to execute any long ride in last 3 years. Managing leave from office during Christmas time was tough. But I guess, my riding starvation was tougher, stronger and definitely more intense. Even without a chalked out itinerary in mind I scooped out a week long leave. Finally it was time to embrace my Pulsar 220 and make those days count!
Don’t get embarrassed if it is the first time you’re reading about Daringbadi. Strangely I found out that many Odia people living in the state capital, Bhubaneswar are unaware of Daringbadi despite its recognition as the “Kashmir of Odisha” among tourists! Lying at a modest altitude of over 3000 feet Daringbadi is a tiny hill station located in Kandhamal district of Odhisa. Winter snowfall in Daringbadi is a rare occasion but certainly not a myth. No, I did not ride to Daringbadi with any expectation of witnessing snowfall. This hill station was in my travel wish list for quite some time, and very recently one of my colleagues had dragged its reference over a cup of tea. He wanted to plan a group drive. Sadly, four wheels clearly beat two wheels when it comes of catching the taste of majority of road lovers. Although I didn’t dampen his travel enthusiasm at that point, I exactly knew where to ride next.
Daringbadi is well connected through good roads with Bardhaman (my hometown). G-map showed a distance of around 710 kilometers which comprised mainly national highways. Neither I had rode to hills before, nor did I ever clock more than 300 (may be 320 at most) kilometers in a day. I avoid riding on highways after the sun sets. My rational self convinced me that munching 700+ kilometers in a winter day (when sun rises after six and sets by five) wasn’t doable. So, I had to break my journey and pen down a proper riding plan.