Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Wet and Wild MMS



Yes, you read it correct, we did a ‘Wet and Wild MMS’. For us oblivious mortals, MMS stands for ‘Monsoon Mewar Sojourn’, a ride for which we all have been excited for long.





During our last ride to Abu earlier this year it was decided that we will explore more of ‘Mewar’ in the monsoons. Oh Boy! Were we right or what!! What a splendid ride… yet another stereotype shattered. Rajasthan has always been associated with Sun, Sand and Camels. To start off with…we never saw a single camel on our four days of riding, although there were sheep which we dutifully herded…


Sand had given away to lush green cover which was so overpowering that it even conquered the rocks…


Sun was merciful and kept playing hide and seek, not even once it boasted of its true Rajasthani temper…


Moustaches although were plentiful in all shapes and sizes…


The riding was wet and wild and we loved it!! You can make that out by the grins above ;-)

It was wee hours of August 15th when 10 of us embarked on an Adventure of sorts.


Seven of us started from Jaipur:
                                    Anukraman Singh                      KTM Duke
                                              Bhuwan Singh                   RE TBTS 500
                                      Yashwant Bhateshwar                      Pulsar 220
                                                         Virendra Singh                  Avenger 220
                                       Abhishek                         CBR 250
                                       Sunny Agarwal                 RE Classic 350
                                       Your's Truly Digvijay Singh                 RE Classic 500

Our Delhi gang was to join us somewhere on the road in Shalini’s Scorpio
Shalini
Sagar
Sujan

Day-1

All the last minute preparations, a very early morning start and the sheer excitement of the ride resulted in most of us being sleep deprived.  So we had a rather lazy start but no one was complaining, we were not in a hurry.  The idea was to experience the present and not to rush through to reach a certain place.  We had made day wise maps and the distances to be covered but we had decided to keep them flexible. Keeping our explorers spirit alive, we wanted to traverse on the maiden roads which do not appear prominently on the map. As they say, we were to enjoy the ride…not the destination.

Our first day’s stay was decided at Falna, around 350 kms from Jaipur.  It was still pitch dark by the time we started riding. We were all getting jittery without our first cuppa of the day, so we decided to stop somewhere after the day breaks for a cup of tea and breakfast. The morning breeze was cool and refreshing. Soon we were cruising on the empty Jaipur-Ajmer expressway. Abhishek was riding in front of me, suddenly I saw him stop at the side of the road. I and Bhuwansa who was tailing, stopped to investigate. The CBR’s engine had stalled, even after repeated attempts it won’t start. We were just few Kms. on the ride and the CBR had already failed, was it going to be another story of CBR’s failing its owner on the middle of the road? Abhishek was worried and his face paled, he could not believe his CBR was not coming to life. I tried too cranking the engine, without any success.  Suspecting it to be a clogging in the fuel injection system, I shook the bike frantically hoping that whatever is causing the clogging would clear by this.  Voila!! The engine came to life.  Abhishek was relieved, but he was apprehensive and was taking it slow. The pack ahead of us had stopped at a dhaba after Dudu, the three of us also joined in later.  Not a good start for us foodies, the tea was tasteless and the stuffed paranthas were stale. Thankfully, this was the only bad meal we had in the entire trip. We checked on the Delhi gang, they had started at 3 AM from Delhi and were now close to Shahpura.

We kept riding on the six- lane highway till Beawer, from where starts a beautiful and scenic undivided stretch of tarmac.  We stopped just after Beawer, for the Delhi gang to catch up. They arrived around 20 mins later, pleasantries exchanged and after a couple of round of tea we resumed the ride.

The beautiful weather and empty roads were the perfect setting…




After minutes of us leaving the Dhaba we were greeted by first rains of the trip. I instantly had a huge grin on my face… I loved it!! It kept on pouring and we kept on riding the beautiful twisty roads.


Everyone was hungry and we decided to stop for lunch at Bhim. We asked the locals and were guided to a famous stopover for tourists, supposedly famous for its food. We sat, got comfortable, ordered the food and soon were busy in pulling one another’s leg ;-). After a long wait of an hour the food finally arrived. The food was hot and fresh but the wait just killed it. 

At the Dhaba near Bhim




We were to continue on the NH8 till Gomti choraha, from where we took a right towards Desuri. As soon as we left NH8 we were greeted with more beautiful and empty country roads. I have been on these roads earlier, but at this time of the year they had an incognito charm to them.




We kept on riding at a comfortable pace, enjoying and clicking the vistas. We crossed Charbhuja, Desuri, Ghanerao, Sadri to reach our destination for the day Falna. Falna, the town where I have spent most of my childhood. One of my long cherished dreams had come true. I was riding through my native land. Our initial plan was to cover Jawai Dam the same day, but since we all had a very long day we decided to do it the next day early morning. We checked in at the Khalsa Palace Hotel, freshened up and ordered some light snacks and tea. With the next day’s plans and itinerary sorted out, it was time for the ‘Bakar Session’. All sorts of liquids kept pouring in and the snacks kept disappearing, the PJ’s kept coming in and the laughter kept growing. Finally around midnight it was time to hit the sack, we had an early morning start the next day too.

Day-2

We started early morning for Jawai Dam, which was around 30kms. from Falna. Jawai Dam is one of the biggest dams of western Rajasthan and was built by Maharaja Ummaid Singh Ji o f Jodhpur.



We rode through non-existent village roads cutting through open fields. We were on virgin lands, where no biker or even ‘tourist’ had ventured. The villagers were in shock to see us aliens, trying to figure out whether we were really humans…otherwise who would ride a motorcycle covered from head to toe in the sweltering heat of Rajasthan, well We do!! We reached Jawai Dam in an hour. Being the true explorers that we were, we skipped the normal entry to the dam and approached the dam from the sides from where we could get close to the waters. We followed an old trail through the beautiful rock formations, which lead us to the fishermen’s cave. We reached a point where the bushes were so thick that we had to leave our vehicles there and continue on foot. We had to climb through a small rock formation to reach the cave. We had to work all our muscles in our body to reach the top and one muscle in particular came in very handy…the tongue. To find out why…join us for the next ride. The view from the top was breathtaking….wilderness on one end and water on another. On the top was a natural cave, overlooking the dam where the fishermen had taken shelter. 

We climbed down on the other side to reach the waters. As we were approaching the waters the fishermen advised us to be careful, as recently one man was killed by the crocodiles at the same spot. We kept praying to GOD, let one of the crocs be so hungry that he comes and takes ASR along with him... but the water was calm and serene, just by being there and watching the water brought stillness in my thoughts. I could sit for hours there, but it was time to head back.


The amused locals... At the entry point of Jawai...





The rock we climbed to get on to the other side



View from the top




The fishermen’s cave




The first glimpse of the majestic dam


Sujan inspecting the place where a man was killed by crocs recently


We came back to the hotel, had a quick lunch, packed and bid adieu to Falna. We were heading to Nathdwara, a very famous temple of Krishna, but our reason of visiting was gastronomical in nature. On the way to Nathdwara the Delhi gang decided to stop and visit the Ranakpur Jain temples, famous for its architecture. We riders continued on the twisties of the beautiful ghat section. Although the sun was shining bright, I could still feel the cool, fresh mountain breeze filling up my helmet. Oh I wished….life should continue like this and the road never ends. We were taking it easy and taking breaks frequently. Today the number of kms. to be done were not on the higher side, it was a day to soak in the essence of Mewar. In this one day alone, we had ridden to almost all types of roads imaginable, there were potholed country roads, twisties along the thick forest, four laned butter smooth highway, roads stretched along the water bodies, roads cutting through fields and villages…a recipe of an awesome ride.

By the end of the day we reached ‘Haldighati’ battlefield where the famous war between Maharan Pratap and Akbar was fought. It is believed that so much of blood was lost in the battle that it turned the colour of the soil to the present haldi colour, thus the name ‘Haldighati’. Also lost his life in the battlefield was ‘Chetak’ the warhorse of Maharana Pratap. Maharana Pratap mounted on Chetak had reached Raja Man Singh of Jaipur, who was fighting from the Mughals’ side and was sitting on an elephant. Once there, Chetak reared high in the air and planted his hooves on the forehead of Raja Man Singh’s elephant. Maharana Pratap threw his lance on Raja Man Singh, but missed. Chetak received a fatal wound in the aftermath but continued to carry on his master to safety before he collapsed and died.

Recently, a life sized statue of Maharan Pratap astride Chetak has been erected on top of a hillock at Haldighati. We went up to the hillock, from where one could see the Haldighati pass. After a customary photo session and history lesson from ASR and Bhuwan Sa we proceeded towards Nathdwara.



ASR and Abhishek


Yashwant and Virendra


Your’s truly


The Delhi Gang


Some nautanki on the road



Water water everywhere…


The life sized statue of Maharana Pratap astride Chetak




View of Haldighati, which was all green now J, from the top




It was dark by the time we entered the Natdwara town. We had arranged our stay at one of the guesthouses of the temple authority which was bang in the middle of the crowded lane of the city. We enquired about the directions to the guesthouse from the locals. At one point, they guided us to a narrow lane which was climbing up steeply. The lane was so narrow that barely a car could go through it. We all zoomed up to the top, seeing us Shalini, who was driving the Scorpio also followed. As we all reached the top the locals shouted that the Sorpio would not make it any further as the lane just opens up in a busy and even narrow market street. Now Shalini was stuck at the top, at a 40 degree incline with nowhere to go. The only option she had was to climb down in reverse. A scary situation to be in, but hats off to the driving skills of Shalini, the Scorpio made it down safely. We navigated our way through the extremely crowed streets of the city and finally reached the guesthouse. The city was bustling with people from every age group, hoping to get glimpse of Shrinath Ji. Everyone was looking at us suspiciously of what these strangely clad men on motorcycles doing in this town..or was it just me?? Well it was true also, I was not there to visit ‘Shrinath Ji’, not that I was Atheist’s, but I am hostile to the idea of the customs to be followed during a visit to the temple. By the way, God too follows a schedule and has specific sleeping time, eating time, bathing time, time for makeup…what nonsense! I am sure these were made to facilitate the Pujaris rather than God. I believe my relation to God is very personal and I don’t have to follow any customs to showcase my faith.


While waiting for Bhuwan Sa, who was busy in our check in, we gulped down two glasses of cool Shikanji… we were on the business right away!! The rooms were newly constructed, huge and comfortable. After a hot and relaxing shower we ventured out in search of food. We ended up at a small eatery which served lip smacking Rajasthani and Gujarti Thali. The Thali was all you could eat for 90 Rs. and we all attacked the food like hungry warriors. I lost the count of the bowls of ‘Kadhi’ I gulped down along with numerous rotis, half a dozen glasses of ‘Chach’, couple of bowl each of various ‘Sabzis’ and lot of other accompaniments. To our surprise the owner was still inviting us for the lunch the other day…brave man I would say J. After all this havoc, we still had appetite for a cup of ice cream. Unfortunately at that time of the hour all the shops were closed and we had to settle for a sweet paan instead. The only thing that I care for after a full stomach is the bed.

Day-3

Next day morning we got up lazily as we had a late start. Got down from the hotel and gulped down 2 cups of wonderful chai to wake up the senses. And then, ASR and I proceeded to have first round of breakfast. We are kind- hearted people; we wanted to check the quality and the taste so that we could guide the rest as to what to eat and where to eat. We dug in diligently at all the available items, Kachori, Khaman Dhokla, Samosa, Jalebi, to name a few. By the time we finished, Bhuwansa also joined in and to accompany him we had a few more helpings of Khaman and Kachoris. This was followed by a couple of rounds of tea.

By the time we finished it was already 8:30, so we rushed back up and got ready to leave. Once we were ready it was time for another round f breakfast..yes one more round. This time it was grand and we had our stomachs full. After a heavy breakfast, it was time to leave Nathdwara and head to Lake Jaisamand, largest manmade lake in Asia. We were to continue on NH 8, bypass Udaipur on the way and ride for 40 Kms further to reach Lake Jaisamand. All the heavy breakfast was taking its toll and we were going slowly. To ride in and out of any city takes a lot of energy, this proved true in the case of Udaipur also. The Udaipur bypass was infested with slow moving trucks, broken roads and numerous diversions. We somehow managed to get past all this and to our surprise; a beautiful piece f twisted tarmac was waiting to greet us. The road was smooth, empty and cut through a thick green forest. It reminded me so much of Kerala. I had been on this road too earlier, but riding through it was a different experience altogether. The weather was hot and humid, making it very difficult to ride. We had to take frequent breaks to get hydrated. The day being a holiday, the lake was filled with local people. We spent about an hour at the lake and headed back to Udaipur.

En route Jaisamand






Relaxing at Jaisamand







We checked in at a hotel and freshened up. It was time to gulp down some non - veg food. As per recommendations we inquired for ‘Berry’s’, unfortunately Berry’s had closed down a few years back. We ordered food from a restaurant recommended by the hotel guys. We ordered for some snacks from the hotel and popped some bottles. It was our last Bakar session of the trip, so it was going to be a long one. The food that we ordered arrived, it was good but not up to the mark, I would say. All the Udaipurites reading this please recommend a decent place for good non-veg. food. By the time we finished our bakar session it was almost 2 at night. The Delhi gang was leaving early the next morning, so we called it a day.

Day-4

Today we were heading back to Jaipur with a stop at Chittorgarh. We left at aound noon from Udaipur to reach Chittorgarh few hours later. The sun was shining bright and it was the hottest day of the ride for us. We headed straight to Chittorgarh fort. The fort is massive…spread across acres of land and numerous monuments to see. We parked our Motorcycles and took an auto and a guide to take us around the fort.

We finished our customary tour around the fort and rushed back. We realized we needed a full day, if we had to see the fort in totality, so we decided we would come back later to explore it.

Our main reason for visiting the fort was to visit the Cenotaph of Jaimal Ji of Merta, a brave Rajput warrior who had led one of the ‘Saaka’ from Chittor. It had a special significance to ASR as he is the descendant of Jaimal Ji. While on our way back to the city we stopped at Jaimal Ji’s Cenotaph to pay our respects. It was heartening to see that after all these years also the Cenotaph was in a great condition and was worshipped by the locals daily.

Vijaystambh


Meera Temple


Jaimal Fatta Mahal


Keerti Stambh


Surya Pol


Kumbhkaran Mountain amidst Chittor battlefield


ASR at the Jaimal Ji’s Cenotaph


Relaxing at a Dhaba




It was almost 5 in the evening by the time we left Chittor. Soon it was dark and we had a good 250 Kms to go. The road was heavily infested with traffic and it was difficult to ride with on coming lights. Around 8:30 at night we stopped at one of the typical truck Dhabas. The idea was to just have tea and move on, but I was hungry and couldn’t resist myself from ordering a plate of Daal Baati. Oh Boy! What delicious Daal Baati it was, just what a doctor would order after a long day’s ride. We were tired by the four days’ ride and took a very long break of around two hours at the Dhaba. By the time I reached home it was 2:30 AM, yet another adventurous and fun ride completed.


Your Truly


Digvijay Singh Bhati, working for a renowned Education company in India. A Nomad, an adventure enthusiast, foodie and a Rider at soul, I dream to traverse the world on my motorcycle. I want to travel across all the small hamlets, the big cities, the barren deserts, the deep forests and the highest mountains…