After a week on our meditation/yoga/detox retreat, we had the challenge to get back on our bikes. We were definitely flexible but very relaxed and a bit lazy:)
Leaving Deborah and Saurab, our wonderful retreat hosts we cycled up to the town of Naggar, and then to Jana and the temple of Bilji Madev. I had read there was a good mountain trail but we could not find anything on any of our maps or on google. So we just went for it, and found an utterly beautiful two days of mountain biking through the high altitude forests.
First stop was to visit the 500 year old Castle in Naggar, once the capital of the Kullu kingdom.
We then took a slow ride up to the waterfalls of Jana.
Here we met a lovely dog, who was to join us for the next three days.
The trails through the mountains were absolutely beautiful. We were totally off the beaten track, and fairly clueless to where we were going or where we were going to stay. Eventually as the sun was setting we found a homestay. Unfortunately they were full but they let us camp in the gardens – and the view was spectacular!!
Next days riding on the mountain ridges was awesome; probably some of the most scenic riding we have done in ages.
Finally we reached the summit and temple of Bilji Madev. Bijli Mahadev is one of the sacred temples of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at an altitude of about 2,460m above the Kullu Valley.
Our four legged companion was still with us. We tried various methods to send him home. At one point we enlisted the help of a local Dharba cook, his dogs and stones to allow us to leave. We cycled downhill for three hours without the dog. And then at dinner time the dog turns up! So we gave him a very good meal and I told him he had to go home tomorrow. Next day after breakfast he left and presumably took the 30km trip home alone.
After a lovely long 1600m descent to Kullu, we headed towards another religious site – Prashar Lake. Its a lovely climb up through tiny hamlets and forest to the sacred lake situated at 2700m.
Unfortunately the weather turned just as we reached the top, and we started to experience a proper Himalayan storm. 60km winds, hail and torrential rain.
After a very quick look at the temple, we decided to retreat. I wanted to camp on top of the mountain but Janet was fairly adamant that she wanted to return to our homestay “Cafe One Love”. She won!