During my ride in Sikkim, I planned to visit Zuluk, known for its 32 sharp hairpin bends, via Nathula pass which is also the international trading border with China. I had a childhood memory of my dad posted in this region. I along with my co-rider Abhimanyu were riding through this beautiful valley enjoying mesmerizing views at 4000m. In high-altitude region, weather is highly unpredictable. .
We both planned to ride in Nathang valley and later look for a homestay to rest at night. Little did we know our destiny had plans for us. It was 4 pm and we were cruising at a slow pace negotiating between black ice and slippery roads. Riding a fully loaded bike with over 200 kgs weight is not easy in subzero temperatures at an altitude of about 13,000 ft.
Suddenly, we spotted an Army check post – guard on duty told us it was the shrine of Harbajan Baba. I vaguely remember childhood stories shared by my father about this holy shrine. It was nostalgic and exciting too. Upon brief introduction of ourselves and our riding plans, the army guys were happy to meet us and they offered us tea. Since we were left with little sunlight for the day, we quickly wanted to visit the shrine and move to the closest village to look for a shelter.
Meanwhile Army personnel warned us about harsh weather conditions ahead and soon it started getting dark. My friend and I were in dilemma to ride as there was no one around and we still had to cover 30 kms to reach nearest village. One of the army guys insisted if we don’t make it fast, we will be stuck & we’ll have to spend night in the bunker – which is officially not allowed but for our safety they were ready to accommodate us. .
This was the best thing that could have ever happened and the rest is history. We agreed to spend night with them in the bunker. They gave us hot water to wash our feet, gave us jackets to keep us warm, offered us food and bed for stay. Today, looking back at these moments makes me feel extremely blessed to live a life less ordinary. Please swipe to view pictures. The last picture has details about Baba harbajan Shrine. Please do read.