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Old 17th November 2014, 19:31   #31
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

@Mods: Due to some technical error, the pics were not uploaded in my previous post. Please delete the previous post.

Some pics from Longewala.

One of the vehicles that was destroyed during the war
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My beloved steed
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One of the tanks that was abandoned after the war
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Battle of Longewala
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Sunny paaji da Longewala
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Old 18th November 2014, 19:35   #32
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

From Longewala, I rode towards Ramgarh as I realized I would require fuel. While riding, suddenly the road disappeared. It was a bone-jarring ride for a few kilometres before the road appeared again. I saw a few army trucks in this route.

Maan Singh, a shepherd, who was grazing his sheeps at a distance saw me struggling with my camera to get a selfie with my motorcycle and the desert in one frame. He came to the rescue and clicked a wonderful pic of me, my Enfield and the desert. Thank You Maan Singh !

I reached Ramgarh, it was getting really hot in the day. Stopped for some thanda paani and fuel. There were a few “kitna deti hai” questions, and one guy even suggested me to get a Jeep. Well Jeep’s are pretty common in this part of the world. The Bolero Pick-Up’s and Scorpio Getaway’s will outnumber an average hatchback sold here. Somehow the entire Barmer loves the Bolero Pick-Up. The Xenon is also picking up sales here, but slowly.

I left Ramgarh by 2 pm to reach Sam early in order to avoid the crowd. I took the Ramgarh-Mokal-Chatrael-Damodara-Sam route. I reached Sam by 3 pm. It was quite early as generally the tourists arrive here by 4.30-5 pm, see the sunset and stay in one of the cottages.

The road from Longewala to Ramgarh was being widened
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Photograph Credits: Maan Singh
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Maan Singh, the shepherd who came to my rescue after observing that I was struggling to click a selfie
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Suddenly the road disappeared
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Soon the road took a liking for the golden desert theme
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And then I could see freshly laid tarmac ahead
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It was as smooth as a runway in the middle of the desert
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BRO and their lovely quotes
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Somewhere just after Ramgarh
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A small village on my way to Sam
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Camels waiting to ferry the tourists at the Sam sand dunes
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Old 19th November 2014, 23:28   #33
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

It was so early that I had the whole sand dunes to myself. I could actually click a lot of photographs without anybody in the frame. Ali, who was my guide and the owner of the camel which I was riding had good skills to fool a tourist. For a 45 minute camel safari, he quoted 4000 bucks. I heavily negotiated and told him I will pay no more than 500 bucks. Finally we agreed on 1000 bucks, even though I knew I was paying atleast four times than what should be the actual charge.

By the time my camel safari was over, I could see the folk dancers had arrived. Lots of tourists were also there. Plenty of camels were being used for safaris. People were clicking pictures everywhere. I quietly escaped the mad rush. I stopped to click a few pictures of the dunes with my bike and then left for Jaisalmer.

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Ali with his camel, Hrithik
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Old 20th November 2014, 19:13   #34
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

On the way back to Jaisalmer, I realized it was still an hour before sunset so I decided to visit Kuldhara as well.

Kuldhara was a place of the Paliwal Brahmin community, a pretty large one at that. However, the entire village is abandoned. It is said to have been cursed by its residents centuries back. Some people also believe it is haunted. However, it is a tourist place now.

Kuldhara is also known as the “Village of Death”. Legend has it that the minister of Jaisalmer state, Salim Singh, fell in love with a girl from Kuldhara and threatened the locals that nobody should stop him from marrying that girl. The girl’s father was the chief of the village and since it would have brought bad name to the entire community, the entire village vanished overnight. Nobody saw or heard about them post that. It is believed that they have left behind a curse bringing death to anyone who tried to inhabit the place.

When I reached Kuldhara, I saw no one. I rode inside the main gate. The entire place is in ruins, there was absolutely no one around. It had that eerie silence and creepy feeling to itself. But I found the place calm and beautiful. I rode my bike through the ruins, stopped near an old temple. There were broken stairs that led to the terrace of a house. I climbed those stairs to get aerial shots of the place.

I was so mesmerized by the ruins that I forgot I had spent too much time sitting there. I quickly lighted up a smoke and sat down to watch the beautiful sunset. Suddenly I felt someone is just behind me. Somebody who is standing right behind me.

At that point of time, I felt a different kind of cold in my spine. I was a little frightened. I gathered courage to look back. I saw an old lady staring at me. I jumped up and stood still.

She muttered “Bees rupaiya do”. Almost immediately I reached for my wallet, took out a 10 rupee note and a 10 rupee coin and gave it to her. She looked at her palm and said “Ye nai chalega”. I realized she has never seen a 10 rupee coin, I searched my wallet for another 10 rupee note, but there were only 100 rupee notes. I explained her how I don’t really have another 10 rupee note and she can keep the coin as it works in the market. She returned me the 10 rupee note that I gave her initially and told me “Ye nai chalega. Whoa I was taken aback. Was she couple of centuries old? How has she never seen a 10 rupee note? Was she a ghost?
Suddenly I gained back my senses, searched my wallet again. Got another 10 rupee coin and handed over to her. She took it and went down the stairs. I saw her going away from that building, and then somewhere into the ruins. I could not see exactly where she turned so I rushed down the house, started my bike and left that place immediately.

Probably it was not scary at all. Something that can happen naturally. But at that moment, at that place it felt unusual and creepy. I dismissed all my weird thoughts and just continued to ride back to Jaisalmer. Ajay Singh had a good laugh when I narrated this story to him while having dinner that night.

I thanked him for his hospitality and retired to bed thinking what was that old lady doing there alone? Was she a resident? Was she a nearby villager? But why alone? Why there? Was she earning easy money by asking tourists for 20 rupees? In a few minutes I dozed off.

Route Taken: Jaisalmer – Ramgarh – Tanot – Longewala – Ramgarh – Mokal – Damodara – Sam – Damodara – Kuldhara – Jaisalmer

Total distance: 385 kms
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Old 21st November 2014, 14:35   #35
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

Quote:
Originally Posted by //M View Post
I was so mesmerized by the ruins that I forgot I had spent too much time sitting there. I quickly lighted up a smoke and sat down to watch the beautiful sunset. Suddenly I felt someone is just behind me. Somebody who is standing right behind me.

At that point of time, I felt a different kind of cold in my spine. I was a little frightened. I gathered courage to look back. I saw an old lady staring at me. I jumped up and stood still.
Awesome pictures! but this must be some scary stuff. I looked up on the net after reading this and apparently locals believe there's a lady ghost moving around at midnight.
Have been to bhangarh and I know the eerie feeling one gets at times.
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Old 21st November 2014, 15:37   #36
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

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Originally Posted by Ajitsingh208 View Post
Awesome pictures! but this must be some scary stuff. I looked up on the net after reading this and apparently locals believe there's a lady ghost moving around at midnight.
Have been to bhangarh and I know the eerie feeling one gets at times.
I don't know how far this belief is true but at that moment I was really very scared. And yes, it will be an experience to remember.

I have planned to visit Jaipur sometime next year. Will try and visit Bhangarh too.

EDIT: Entry fee in Kuldhara is Rs 50. However, when I reached the abandoned village, I could not see any one near the main gate to collect any money or for tickets. The main gate was open and I just rode in without any second thoughts.

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Old 23rd November 2014, 23:51   #37
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

23rd October, Day 6


I left Jaisalmer at 6 am. The road back to Barmer was again a delight, arrow straight and scenic. I stopped in Barmer for breakfast. Stuffed paranthas and chai.

I reached Sanchore by 10 am and felt like I should take some other route back as I had a couple of days time so I can take a small detour to visit some other place. But where? There was a huge signboard near Sanchore which read Radhanpur, Dasada and Jamnagar. I re-read it once again. I got reminded of something. Dasada?

I was reminded of fellow BHPian robimahanta’s lovely detailed photologue of the Little Rann of Kutch and Zainabad. I quickly proceed towards Zainabad and Dasada. From Sanchore, I continued to Tharad and then to Radhanpur. At Radhanpur, I stopped for lunch. It was way too hot and humid, more than any other day since I started from Pune.

With ample stops, I reached Dasada and proceeded towards Zainabad expecting it to be a big town/city. However, when I reached there I realized that it is nothing but a village. From Zainabad, I continued towards Patdi. At Patdi, I was totally unsure where I was going. The entire place was green, whereas I thought I am going to visit the Little Rann of Kutch.

I stopped at an ATM and saw a cop there. So casually I asked him for the directions to the Rann, but the cop told me prior permission has to be taken if I were to drive my personal vehicle there. He called up Lenchia, a forest official guy and asked him to come near the ATM. Lenchia arrived in 5 minutes, and told me not to worry. He provided me his contact number and helped me with directions to some other entry into the Rann and told me if at all anybody questions it, I shall just call him.

I happily thanked him and the cop for all the help. I followed his directions and within 10-15 minutes I was in the Rann. Lenchia advised me not to go too far off in the Rann as I might get lost. At that time, I shrugged off. Later I learnt that it was indeed a piece of advice.

I entered into the Rann, followed a dirt track and went almost 10-12 kilometers inside enjoying riding over the flat land. The vast expanse of the Rann, the arid landscapes felt absolutely different than anything I had ever seen in my life.

I stopped to click a lot of pictures. After a point of time, I decided to get back to Patdi and leave for Ahmedabad. I turned my bike around in style and started following the dirt track back. I was sure that as long as I follow this track, I can never be lost. I was wrong.

Suddenly on the way I see a huge pothole, crater like. Whoa where did this come from? I was completely sure I did not see it while riding towards the Rann, then how come this appeared while going back.

I was lost.

There was a small hut and a flag that I tried to locate. I saw it on my way inside the Rann. But now all I could see was mirages in all directions. There was nobody in the vicinity who could help me with directions. Google Maps shows that I am somewhere in a green patch of land.

Anyway, I continued left from there and after around 3-4 kilometres wondered if I was going in the correct direction or not. But still I continued on a dirt track again and after some 5 kilometers I could see that flag on my right a couple of kilometers away atleast. I continued in that direction. Yes, it was the same flag. I was glad.

Soon, I reached Patdi and proceeded towards Viramgam and Ahmedabad. This part of the country has way too many temples, it can give some serious competition to the temple towns in Odisha and Tamil Nadu. I stopped for a while in Viramgam for chai and then proceeded towards Ahmedabad.

Again, I took the Sardar Patel Ring Road to bypass Ahmedabad and within 20 minutes I was in the pathetic stretch of road between Ahmedabad and Vadodara. It was 6.30 pm and was getting dark and negotiating diversions and truck traffic in this stretch was a pain.

I had to ride till Anand, where I was supposed to stay with a friend. So, I had to take this route even if it got dark. It was Diwali night and I had to join my friend for the Diwali Celebrations. Soon I was in Anand and even though the streets here are generally less populated, due to the Diwali celebrations it was jam packed with people and crackers and vehicles and blasting music.

Somehow I managed to crawl upto my friend’s residence. After a quick shower, I joined my friend and his colleagues for the celebrations. It was a long night, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

Route Taken: Jaisalmer – Barmer – Sanchore – Tharad – Radhanpur – Dasada – Zainabad – Patdi – Little Rann of Kutch – Patdi – Viramgam – Ahmedabad – Anand

Total distance: 779 kms

Peacocks and Penhens are a common sight in Western Rajasthan
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On the way to Barmer
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Rajasthan-Gujarat state border, just after Sanchore
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Colorful rickshaws in Gujarat
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On the way to Dasada and Zainabad
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Tropic of Cancer sign board
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Somewhere in Zainabad
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Little Rann of Kutch, the vast arid flat land in Gujarat
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Salt Dunes between Patdi and Little Rann of Kutch
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Somewhere in Sanand
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Sardar Patel Ring Road, Ahmedabad
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Old 25th November 2014, 00:38   #38
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October 24th, Day 7


Next morning, as expected, we got up late by 11 am. It was planned that we will go to Vadodara to meet our friends there and then all of us will be watching the hindi flick, Happy New Year.

The SRK starrer was entertaining and a typical Farah Khan flair. The story was very predictable but was quite humorous in some sequences.

It was the Gujarati New Year Day and it was a holiday. People were in festive mood all around Vadodara and Anand. I got back to Anand by late evening and packed my bags to leave for Pune the next day.
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Old 26th November 2014, 17:13   #39
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October 25th, Day 8

I got up at 4 am and left Anand by 4.30 am. I knew I will encounter traffic in Bharuch bridge, Thane, Panvel and Lonavala. So I rode in good speeds and I crossed Vadodara before sunrise. I crossed Bharuch way earlier than expected and there was no traffic at the Bharuch bridge.

After Bharuch, I again covered miles in good speeds and reached Surat before I even realized it. I reached Vapi by 9 am and stopped for breakfast at Kamat’s.

In order to avoid the afternoon heat, I again started riding without taking much stops. Surprisingly I was crossing Vasai East at 10.30 am. I took the Thane-Mumbra exit to Panvel. There was no serious traffic in Thane as well. The weather was perfect with not even a trace of sunlight, just a cool breeze that made the day perfect for motorcycling. Just before Panvel, I entered into JNPT. An excellent road that bypassed the Panvel town. Damn, I said to myself, why did I miss this stretch of road to bypass Panvel while going towards Mumbai a week back !

From Panvel, it took me exactly one hour to reach Khandala. As expected, Lonavala had a massive traffic jam. And it had started drizzling by then. I negotiated the massive traffic snarl and by the time I reached Talegaon-Dabhade, I was drenched in rain. However, I chose not to stop as I was completely enjoying the drizzle. I crossed Dehu Road and reached Pimpri-Chinchwad. I stopped for fuel at the Shell petrol bunk near Nashik Phata at 2.15 pm. From here, another 3-4 kilometers and I will be home. I was really overwhelmed at the performance of my Desert Storm. No niggles anywhere, not even a puncture.

I got back home drenched, made some coffee immediately and went down to clean my bike. It was a great trip, and I was tired. I needed some rest, and my Enfield needed some rest too.

I left it to dry, got back to my flat and dozed off. When I got up, it was still drizzling. But I was feeling refreshed. I got a call from Ajay Singh that evening. He asked me if I reached safely, I thanked him for the call and thanked him for his hospitality once again.

Route Taken: Anand – Vadodara – Bharuch – Surat – Thane – Panvel – Khopoli – Lonavala – Pune

Total distance: 637 kms

Total distance covered in the entire trip = 3151 kms

Early morning starts = Zero traffic
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Somewhere near Vasai
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Amazing JNPT bypass road near Panvel
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Some amazing winding mountain roads near Khandala and Lonavala
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Last edited by //M : 26th November 2014 at 17:15.
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Old 26th November 2014, 17:37   #40
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

Fantastic trip Arunabh! Was reading all through and felt like travelling with you. Your experience of Kutch and that of the old lady will be something that you will not forget for quite some time!

Wish you many many happy travels ahead in life.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 26th November 2014, 19:39   #41
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

Fantastic travelogue. It was as if I was riding with you. Kept me glued throughout. And I am reading this in office!

Very good narration and pics, describing the necessary details. Episode with the old lady is straight out of movies!
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Old 26th November 2014, 21:00   #42
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Fantastic trip Arunabh! Was reading all through and felt like travelling with you. Your experience of Kutch and that of the old lady will be something that you will not forget for quite some time!

Wish you many many happy travels ahead in life.

Regards,
Saket
Quote:
Originally Posted by prashkul View Post
Fantastic travelogue. It was as if I was riding with you. Kept me glued throughout. And I am reading this in office!

Very good narration and pics, describing the necessary details. Episode with the old lady is straight out of movies!
Thanks a lot Saket Bhaiya and Prashkul Sir.

The Kuldhara experience felt a little spooky and yes I will remember it for a long time to come. Regarding the Little Rann of Kutch, its good to get lost sometimes. My signature would aptly describe the experience.
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Old 2nd December 2014, 16:55   #43
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

Amazing travalogue, you are truely fearless, great write up.
Best of luck for your future travel.
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Old 2nd December 2014, 18:16   #44
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

Great trip. Felt happy reading it Thanks for sharing. Also good to know about the 20rs coin toll in Kuldhara!
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Old 4th December 2014, 14:49   #45
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Default Re: Desert Storm'd into the Thar Desert and the Little Rann of Kutch

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Originally Posted by pawarsw View Post
Amazing travalogue, you are truely fearless, great write up.
Best of luck for your future travel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
Great trip. Felt happy reading it Thanks for sharing. Also good to know about the 20rs coin toll in Kuldhara!
Thank You gentlemen.

Yes the 20rs coin toll in Kuldhara.
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