Ride to Blue City, Jodhpur..


There are only few places in Rajasthan that are left to explore which includes Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. Rest of them have been covered in the past by me. These 2 places were constantly revolving inside my head wanting me to explore them and I was just waiting for the perfect opportunity. Both these places required more than 2 days of holidays as these are quite far away from Ahmedabad. Jodhpur is 450kms while Jaisalmer touches almost 570kms. Recently in September month, I went to Jambughoda trip with my showroom people where I met a couple of good riders and we joined a good bond between us. We used to be in constant touch with each other over phones and they had demanded earlier that they wanted to join for a ride with me whenever I planned one. October gave a good opportunity for me to make a solid plan. In the second week, there was company off for me on 10th and 11th on account of Dussera which fell on monday and Tuesday resp. So now,  I had 4 days of holidays with me that is from 8th(Saturday) to 11th(Tuesday). Without spending a minute I made a plan for Jodhpur.

I pinged my fellow riders on watsapp and made a group on watsapp specifically for this reason. I involved all the people who wanted to ride and were eager to join along with me. Initially there were about 10-11 people in the group but, as it is said about the fallout, finally we were left with only 7 confirmed riders which included my room-mate Ganesh also. In the group we had a ‘Niyunjay’ who hails from Jodhpur and we thought we could make good use of him while exploring the city and nearby places. All the people were super excited about the journey and most of them were travelling for the first time on such a long distance journey.

Earlier we planned the ride from 8th to 11th Oct but, but we dropped 8th as I told everyone to look after their bikes and make it ready. I too had to change my engine oil and do minor check up before embarking on the long journey. I told everyone to spend the day (8th) with their bikes and do final inspection before we leave on 9th. The discussions went well in the watsapp group and we had finalised our stay and to do activities over the next 3 days. The ride was supposed to start around 5 am from ‘Sarabhai Motors, Nehrunagar, Ahmedabad’.

The route decided was Ahmedabad-Kalol-Mehsana-Palanpur-Sirohi-Sumerpur-Pali-Jodhpur. We started around 17 minutes late from our scheduled departure time as 1 rider had yet to join(Nilesh). We started around 5:20am on 9th Oct. Nilesh was leading the herd and I decided to stay at the last just in case if there are any untoward incidents. We were going to pick up our last rider ‘Nityunjay’ along the way near Kalol. The ride was perfectly planned, I had told everyone to carry essential spares which are high risk during long drives. I was carrying tubes, air pump, fuses and spark plugs along with me. We were driving in single file so that other vehicles don’t get affected by us taking charge of entire road. There is a different charm in riding in formations for eg Single file, Double file. Doubles files sometimes is not feasible because of the road width, hence single file is recommended. It is a test of patience and how organised you are. These characteristics are enough to distinguish good riders from the rest. When you ride in formations, other people look at you as an inspiration and it is not only about riding you vehicle, there is more attached to it. You have to look for your mates, you have to look for and others safety. You need to take care that other people riding are not affected by you riding style. This is what separates a rider from a regular guy.

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Through the eyes of ‘Bimal ji’. Riding through the morning fog.

The early morning drive was splendid. Riding through the fog was just an awesome experience, though it affected our visibility. We covered the morning stretch pretty fast and took our halt at Palanpur(143 kms covered) around 8am in the morning for our breakfast. No one was looking tired and everyone was eager to start again. We had only tea and were back on wheels. We decided to halt now in Sirohi. The day was clear and sunny. Even though it was starting of winter phase we could still feel some heat along the way. God only know what hell will come loose when we would drive during summers. I have already experienced the wrath of it when I did Jaipur trip back in May 2015. Hence, a lot of people come to Rajasthan during this  period. everything was going smooth as per the plan and we took a planned halt at Sirohi.

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Pitstop @ Sirohi

The next decided stop was Pali where we were going to have lunch in the Rajasthan Tourism Hotel. As we started riding again further, crisis happened. One of our fellow rider ‘Nilesh’ broke his leg guard from one side. It just cracked during riding, and now was making noise due to vibrations. We decided to look for a fabrication shop along the way who could lend us some help in fixing it. Just few km away few we found one, but as it is said life is not easy, the shop owner had closed the shutter and was going some place else. We almost pleaded to him to come and help us. I went along with Nilesh and others took shelter at a tea post just ahead. Finally the fabricator agreed to repair and we were saved.

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The Welder fixing ‘Nilesh’s’ broken leg guard.

We decided to have tea after the repair where others rider were halted. After some gup-shup over a cup of tea we were back again riding. We reached Pali around 12:30pm where we took lunch at the Rajasthan Tourism Development Hotel. We had a normal food consisting of Paneer and Roti along with Daal.

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The RTDC hotel.

We left around 1:30 and headed straight for the ‘Bullet Baba’ temple which was on the way and one of the most sought after places by Enfield Riders. There is unique story behind it and I too also know very faintly about it. All of us got their ‘Darshan’ with the ‘Om Bana’ and it was really an off the beat experience for us. People even offer Alcohol to this deity.

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Seeking the blessings from the lord.                                                                    L-R: Myself, Ganesh, Nityunjay, Nilesh, Anis. Bimal and Sagar are missing.

From there onwards we headed straight for the Jodhpur city towards our Hotel. Finding the hotel was little tricky and we had to crawl over narrow streets. The GPS was helping but as you know it takes the shortest route possible and hence made us the meander through narrow streets. The hotel was not marked on the map, but I’d marked a nearby place on my iPhone GPS and it followed exactly towards the hotel doorstep. We had booked the hotel over a phone and they’d guaranteed us parking space for our bikes. We were in for a surprise when we saw the hotel entrance. Just look at the entrance below.

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This is how we’d parked our bikes. Sadly 2 of them had to be kept on the road itself while ‘Nityunja’s’ bike was at his uncle’s place.

The hotel is good but 1 advise to the travellers not to bring in big vehicles as the roads are not built for that. If you get stuck, you may very well call for a traffic jam. The whole setup took 4pm to complete and then we were relaxing in our rooms. Our initial plan to visit the Mehrangarh fort after reaching the hotel but by the time we arrived the fort was almost on the verge of closing. There was no new plan made and everyone just decided to relax and spend the rest evening chatting about riding stuff. Night fell and we went upstairs to the terrace to view the magnificent view of the fort. The hotel was really giving us surprises and was apart for parking issues this one truly deserved one of the best hotel rankings. The terrace was just awesome with chairs and tables arranged nicely to enjoy the fort’s view. There was also cool breeze blowing which made the moment even more pleasurable to enjoy. We spend the time talking till our dinner was served.

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The view of the lighted fort from our hotel terrace..

The dinner was really a special one as we tried one of  the local jodhpur dish called ‘ Ker Sangri’.  It was truly delicious.The vegetable is a speciality of Jodhpur and you will not find it anywhere else. Then came the best part and with the help of ‘Nityunjay’s’ local area experience we went to have the best Marwari Kulfi in India. Actually it was the only marwari kulfi made available in india and served here in Jodhpur.

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Riders Enjoying the Kulfi. BTW the one with the Batman logo on his vest is Sagar and one with Black and Grey stripe t-shirt is our Bimal Ji.

 

After the kulfi we ended our day around 11:30pm. Nityunjay was staying at his uncle’s house. The rest of us head back to the hotel and slept. The plan was already made for the next day which was to visit the iconic fort and do the famous ‘flying-fox’.

Next day we checked out the hotel as the plan for that evening was to stay at ‘Nityunjay’s’ place which was 80kms towards ‘Shergarh’ from Jodhpur. We reached the fort around 10am and it gave me the same feeling as the ‘Amer Fort’ of Jaipur. It was massive in size and glowing golden as the sun rays fell upon it. The plan was to do the famous flying fox which is famous here. It was followed by first a small training session about the do’s and don’ts and after that we were ready to take on the challenge. There were a total of 6 routes which covered almost all the area of the fort from the top. The last one being the biggest in length and some had to literally manually push themselves for few mtrs in order to reach the end. It was really thrilling experience for us and personally for me this was the first time I had done this thing. One the first run, I was little scared of falling down from the hasp but I soon gained confidence as the run progresses. Last 2-3 runs, I even let go off my hand and was revolving 360deg till I reached the other end. Almost all of the people were screaming as they started the run and particularly it was fun to watch as to how ‘Bimal ji’ were screaming. It was totally like a ‘Tarzan’ skipping the jungles and venturing into the deserts!

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All ready for the flying fox adventure!

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Taking rest between the runs..

 

The sun was really beating down on us. It was giving a feel of summer season. We were almost dehydrating but the crew kept us hydrated. They had brought the bottles with them. It was mandated as well as their responsibility since we were not allowed to carry anything with us. Everyone enjoyed the event a lot and it was really time for us to have our lunch. But, we hadn’t seen the fort till now. The first thing upon entering the fort we did was this activity. We decided to take light refreshment and hold our stomachs till we done seeing the fort and are back down on the city streets. It took another hour and half to roam around the fort. It was good seeing and feeling the history of the maharajahs of Jodhpur and their antique items. It items ranged from daily usage items, swords, cannons, dresses, rifles, coins etc.

We had done covering the fort at it was almost 3:30pm when we were back on the city streets. The lunch timing has skipped and instead we decided to eat some light just to soothe our hunger. We had the famous ‘Jodhpuri Mirch Wada’ as well as Kachori. That was enough to make our stomachs fill. We then quickly went to our hotel to pack our bags and by 5pm we were riding towards ‘Shergarh’. Halfway down the road the sun went down and now we were riding in the night. The roads were broken and desert sand made us cautious about braking. The tires weren’t holding up on the loose sand so we had to break smoothly. Just 8km left for the resort, we decided to halt for dinner on a road side restaurant. It was again a wonderful food served by the hotel. We had paneer, chicken along with jodhpuri special ‘Ker Sangri’. We then left for the resort, which was located in some village. As it was dark, we could not see where we were heading. Nityunjay was leading and about around half hour driving we were inside the resort. The resort was not functional and was taken care by his relatives. The house was a typical type which you will find in all villages. There were no beds no luxury. We took the mattresses used in the resort beds and laid it on the ground. It was time for sleeping and around 12am we slept. There was no roof on top of us, we were sleeping on an open ground made up of cement. It gave an awesome view of the sky and the shining stars. It was really a feeling of sleeping in a billion star hotel. It was cold and little breeze was blowing with occasional sounds of crickets!

Next day, we woke up very early around 5am. There was one item in our to do list pending and that was Paragliding. Last night we had set up with them and taken the morning slot. Also we had to return to Ahmedabad the same day hence we decided to do it early in the morning. We left the village around 6am towards ‘Korna’. The place was situated on our return journey route and around 7am we halted for morning breakfast. After that we were on our way to ‘Korna’.

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                                     Paragliding location. The event being conducted by Sky Ventures!                              Sky Ventures FB Page

On the way we stopped for some few photographs as the scenery made us to do so and finally we saw the Sky Ventures team waiting for us up ahead. Time was very precious as we had to start return journey immediately,so within no time we hooked onto the adventure. ‘Ganesh’ went first as he was the lightest and also the Sky Venture team demanded. Looks like they wanted to test their flight and also have a look up on the wind conditions. Everyone was super excited at the same time little nervous as it was the first time for all of us. The instructor briefed us about the protocols and ‘Ganesh’ was ready for his first paragliding adventure. After that as per increasing order of weight everyone enjoyed it. Except Ganesh, rest all of us started from a different location as I told you before ‘Ganesh’ was used to test the flight conditions and wind. Soon after ‘Ganesh’, Nityunjay, Bimal, Nilesh, Myself, Anis and lastly Sagar went. It was really a thrilling experience to enjoy the view from 1500 ft. Though there was no greenery to be seen below apart from one lake, the view was really awesome. Though we all had trainer at the back with us, I felt how difficult it would be to do this all alone. It was frightening and the same time exciting. Just before landing the trainer did some acrobatic maneuvers which really had our stomachs into our mouths. Felt like all the blood was flowing reverse to our brain. By the time all of us completed the activity it was 10:30am. His uncle had come to see him at the paragliding location. Nityunjay bid us good-bye from there itself as he was going to his farm-house for some ceremony. We thanked him for being our host throughout the journey and opening us to this wonderful adventure located in Jodhpur. We were now 6 people riding back again to Ahmedabad.

There was one more thing which was left for the trip to get complete, it was desert sandunes. The sandunes were present in ‘Shergarh’ and since we were not able to go visit that place due to time constraints, we desperately were looking for one along the return route. We did some little off-roading along the way before joining to the highway. It was in true sense ‘riding’, on the sand contaminated road. Everyone was loosing their grip on the road during that period but, gladly no one fell. I even tried to conquer a small mountain along the way. We were going to take a different return route as per our plan. This was mainly done to avoid travelling on the same route again.

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Some off riading on the Paragliding locating. Through the eyes of ‘Bimal ji’

Before touching the highway we were unlucky to find a sandune. My only purpose of visiting it was to capture the pic of my bike. The place from where she got here name! Also another intention was to do a burnout throwing all the sand on the air so that I could capture a good photo. The inspiration for this activity came from the ‘RE tour of Rajasthan’ which had happened in 2014 and they did post a photo of a rider doing this.

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This is what I wanted to do on Sandunes…

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I ended up doing this…

It was time for lunch as the breakfast done in the morning was very light and we couldn’t hold up. We were not finding a good place to halt and instead choose to satisfy our hunger with bananas and cucumber. A much required energy after the activity in the sun. We started our return journey somewhere around noon and we knew that it was going to get dark before we reach home. Along the way we stopped after covering a good 100km stretch as everyone started to feel sleepy. Personally, I wanted the break ASAP and as I was riding the last in the herd, I decided to stop at any damn hotel which will come on the way just for a 10 min break so that I can shake off this sleepiness. At that moment, I thought it would be fine if the other riders go ahead but, I really required that break. There was significant gap generated between me and rest of them. I think I was driving slow. But, I saw them waiting at the next immediate hotel. We did spent some good time having rest for about 45 mins. We did not have lunch there but managed the things initially with lime juice and then after that with tea and biscuits. It was almost 3pm and still lot of distance to cover. Ahmedabad was still showing 400+ kms.

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Our Return journey route..

We hoped onto our bikes and decided to take rest after every 100kms. On the way we did find some loose sand desert patch covering a good section of the road. Also the sun was setting down, so we thought this would be our last chance to have a photograph on the desert sand following the sunset. We took a group photo along with some sand throwing in the air with the help of burnout. All of them did it. It was really a feeling of doing it on sandunes. The same for which I have attached the photo above. The sun went down, and now we had to ride in the dark. We covered the stretch in a good manner without any issues and difficulties wrt to the bikes. However, upon entering Gujarat, the front  left LED projector lamp on ‘Bimal ji’s’ bike broke. Somehow it broke and no reason could be found out. Gladly, I was riding last and noticed ‘Bimal ji’ waiting on the side of the road. We removed the lamp and continued. Others were waiting for us at the petrol pump ahead. We decided to refuel on last time and headed towards Palanpur. We had dinner in Palanpur around 10pm and now headed straight for home.

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Group photo along with sun….

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Bad luck with ‘Bimal Ji’

It was after reaching ‘Gandhinagar’ that we decided to part away to our respective homes. We reached home around 12am. All except myself and Ganesh were having office the next day. We slept immediately hoping to get up in time. It was an end to perfect ride. All came back safe and sound with no major setback during the journey. Now, everyone was booming with confidence and waited eagerly for the next ride to come. The next ride plan was already done when we were in jodhpur. We will be going to Kutch or maybe Jaisalmer in Dec’16 or Jan’17. Till then good-bye and thank you!

Happy and Safe Riding to all my fellow Riders.

Sumit,

Once a rider, Always a rider!

 

Categories: Rajasthan, Travel

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