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Three great day tours by bicycle in the Kullu Valley

At the moment I am currently staying in Old Manali for a long time. Longer time means at least two weeks and most of it in the office in front of the computer or if I am lucky on the yoga mat in front of my students. Spending some time in Manali is good for me, but also for my work.

Nevertheless, I need a balance to all the sitting, so I swing myself every few days on my bike for a bigger one-day tour – and for that the Kullutal is excellent!

Radtour nach Jana

Cycling to Jana

In the last week I have been on the road three times and would now like to take the opportunity to present these different tours once, both for inspiration and motivation!

1.From Old Manali to Marhi and back (39 km),  from 2050 m to 3350 m

My first long tour in a long time and it hurt a lot. Although I was well acclimatized by many trekking tours, I felt the height clearly and at least I managed 1300 meters of altitude!

First I went to Kothi for 17 km, actually a child’s play, this route is my regular training route. Nevertheless, I was happy to have arrived in the last village in front of the Rothang Pass adter 1 hour 15 minutes. Here I approved my well-deserved breakfast! I have my favorite dhaba (restaurant) in Kothi and so I enjoyed my Alu Parantha with homemade chutney.

After the strengthening, things went much better! Curve after curve I meandered up the road that also leads to the famous Rothang Pass.

15 km before the Rothang Pass I reached Marhi, a beautiful viewpoint with many small food stalls. The last kilometers were  hard on the height above 3000 m, so I was happy to have reached my destination. In addition, one has to pay some more attention for the last 5 km towards Marhi. Here The road narrows and there is a steep drop on one side of the road.

I enjoyed the descent to the fullest, took a few shortcuts and reached Old Manali via a small side road. It took me about three and a half hours reaching up. The descent took just under an hour!

2. From Old Manali to Jana and back to Naggar (in the first place 55 km, 1000 metres altitude)

Here is one of my favourite routes, which I often did last autumn, especially because of the delicious food in Jana.

Admittedly, I don’t like the route from Old Manali to Naggar for the first 22 km too much. You have to be constantly aware of cars, cows, playing children and dogs.

Nevertheless, the road from naggar to Jana is magnificent: narrow, undriven and through green forest with great views of the Kullu Valley.

Auf dem Weg nach Jana

On the way to Jana

At the beginning it goes up gently, but the last 5 km are deadly and with an empty stomach Jana can not appear early enough. Nevertheless, I need a total of just under 3 hours to get there. The small village is still very traditional, consisting of small wooden houses, vegetable fields and apple orchards. A few kilometers further and I reach a small waterfall. Here it attracts some Indian tourists with the cars for a few photos and me by bike for a delicious meal!

In the small hut next to the waterfall, very typical local food is still offered, of which I can not get enough!

You get a so-called thali, a plate, with red rice, kidney beans, green forest vegetables and a yogurt dish. There is also a flatbread made of corn flour and roasted over an open fire, as well as spicy chutney, jaggery, a type of natural sugar and homemade ghee (clarified butter). My highligt is the Siddu, a kind of yeast cloister with spicy filling which I generously dive into the ghee and eat with the jaggery! Gorgeous! And my belly is already hurting! But the Thali also includes a dessert called Kheer what is actually nothing more than a better rice pudding.

Wir genießen das gute Essen

We enjoy the good food

After the meal I am so full that I am actually too lazy to ride a bike. But to Naggar it goes almost only downhill and from here I take the bus back.

3. From Old Manali to Hamta (20 km, 800 metres of altitude)

Actually, I know this route only because of the Hamta Pass Trek, because parallel to the road a path leads up into the Hamta valley to the first camp of the Hamta Pass Trek. The road is not public and was built because of a hydroelectric power station. It is 17 km long and leads to a reservoir.

You have to enter the road through some village pathes, to avoid the guards. Normally you need a permit to be on that road.

44 curves it is till the end of the road. The view is great again and I enjoy the silence as I meander up turn by bend. Very relaxing, the road is empty and after about 2 hours I arrive up in the village.