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Old 31st March 2017, 11:25   #16
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Thankyou . I was also looking for the performance review of the gear in the varied conditions. I actually own a Duke and met with an accident and had to undergo ACL reconstruction. While i always used Helmet and gloves , this accident showed me the importance of full gear, no matter where we ride. Thus i'm trying to get maximum info regarding this. Also would be wonderful if you can chip in with some bytes on how the motorcycles performed, their comfort, luggage review etc.
Regards.
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Old 31st March 2017, 16:31   #17
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Too good Nandita and Atul. Awesome to see the way you have covered the Western part of our country in bikes. Rann and Khadir Bet pics are awesome. Read most of your TLs and it is so nice to see couple like you and Atul, friend like Arun covering many places of our country together in bikes. Will wait eagerly for your Rajasthan portion of TL.
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Old 2nd April 2017, 12:53   #18
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Great thread! Amazing experience.....

Hope you didn't face this issue anywhere else.
Thank you so much. Nope, apart from Mumbai we didn't face any problem anywhere, just had to show our IDs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthian View Post
That is a great TR and very good photographs. You have the eye (for composition) . I particularly like the one with the bike and the biker gazing at the shimmering horizon. Great composition. I like the camel portrait too. Only wish that the reins (angling out) were not there. The camel cart with the kids is also good.


Seriously? Why? What business of his who stays in his rooms, as long as valid IDs are given?

Thank you for sharing and now that the niceties are out of the way, for some beration:


I take umbrage at this statement. There are 3 types of 'red' signals here in Ahmedabad:
  • A red signal which is in some non arterial road or in some pedestrian crossing, where you are not supposed to stop. If you do, and some one (is sure) bangs you from behind, guess who is in the wrong?
  • This 'red' means a 'yellow' actually. Be cautious while at a crossing of two non arterial roads, since the fellow using the other road may (is sure to) be coming like a bat from hell.
  • This 'red' means RED. Stop.
  • There are some yellows and greens sprinkled around. One need not pay much attention to those.

Just kidding. Enjoyed reading your TR. Though i know you guys were quite careful, a break after 8 hours of hard riding would be advisable. Non stop ( without a night's rest) from B'lore to Mumbai- yes doable and many have done it (including me in a car) BUT enjoying the scenery, the local populace, may also be enjoyable. Didn't mean to preach, just sharing views.
Thank you so much. Really liked how you described the traffic signals Nonetheless Ahmedabad is a great city and would like to visit again in near future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vibhavraghav View Post
Thankyou . I was also looking for the performance review of the gear in the varied conditions. I actually own a Duke and met with an accident and had to undergo ACL reconstruction. While i always used Helmet and gloves , this accident showed me the importance of full gear, no matter where we ride. Thus i'm trying to get maximum info regarding this. Also would be wonderful if you can chip in with some bytes on how the motorcycles performed, their comfort, luggage review etc.
Regards.
Sorry to hear about your accident, hope you are fully recovered now. Coming to gears, we are always fully geared when we go for long rides. Even in city, helmets, gloves and proper jacket is a must. But then who can get rid of fate and an unlucky day.

For more inputs I'll ask Atul to comment on gear performance, bike performance, luggage and comfort. Me as a pillion never had any issue with the Duke's pillion seat. And moreover Atul did some modification to the pillion seat with extra cushion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dghosh80 View Post
Too good Nandita and Atul. Awesome to see the way you have covered the Western part of our country in bikes....Will wait eagerly for your Rajasthan portion of TL.
Thank you so much. Will post the remaining part of the t log soon.
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Old 2nd April 2017, 13:24   #19
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Day 7 – 30/12/2016 To Jaisalmer (379kms via Barmer > Bhadkha > Sangarh > Devikot and includes Sam Sand Dunes and Jaisalmer city ride too)

We didn’t have to cover a lot of kilometers today so it was psychologically relaxing. We got up around 8am and got ready with loading bikes with luggage by around 9am. Decided to have a heavy breakfast and head straight non-stop towards Jaisalmer. There was a restaurant adjacent to our hotel and we stepped in for breakfast, pohas, poori sabji and tea. The guys however, took hell lot of time to prepare the food and it was only by 10:30am that we could actually start our ride. NH68 is amazingly awesome and we didn’t have to take any detour today, a straight highway ride till Jaisalmer. There was a quick stop for petrol.

I guess the maximum goats, sheep and huge dinosaur sized buffaloes in this entire world are found only in Rajasthan. We had multiple encounters with packs of goats, sheep crossing the road, army of huge buffalos and cows standing in the middle of the highway and at times some wild camels. We observed a peculiar behavior of sheep on this ride, they group together in the middle of the road, keep their head down and keep staring something in the ground. Not sure they are sleeping or meditating or hibernating but you just can’t get them off the road even if you honk the shit out of your horns. Nonetheless the ride was amazingly beautiful as we crossed many sand dunes along both sides of the highway. The landscape was so different yet so refreshing, sky rising sand dunes, bushes of wild cactus and the country side view.

Just when we were about to reach Barmer, some 20kms away, we reached a small town and the highway was covered with thick silky sand on both edges. The sand was till the middle of the road and crossing through those loose sand was extremely difficult. Just when Atul was trying to overtake a vehicle, the vehicle suddenly moved towards its left pushing Atul more towards the left and to thick layer of sand. With so much load, Atul couldn’t stabilize the bike and we fell towards our right. My right leg was squeezed inside the pile of sand, tangled with Atul’s leg, the weight of the bike along with the luggage all on my right leg. Somehow people around came to lift the bike up, even Arun and Amruthesh came to our rescue. Luckily nothing happened to my leg, Atul, the bike and the luggage. Immediately, the entire town came, surrounded us and started asking again those usual questions. We didn’t stop for a long time as the crowd was growing in size.

I was a bit zapped due to the accident and by now we reached Barmer around 1:15pm. Decided to do a quick pit-stop for tea and some snacks, as none of us were hungry for lunch. 30 mins break, bio break and we started once again. We were informed by some of the locals that the road condition would degrade as we approach Jaisalmer due to massive road construction work. Most part of the highway was in decent condition but there were some places where we had to take diversions and that too for long stretches. I really liked the ride though, we came across many wild camels grazing through the grasslands, high sky rising windmills right next to the highway, winter sunlight and cool desert breeze. A pit stop for petrol and butt break around 3:30pm and we were some 70kms away from our hotel. We had to hurry up as well so as not to miss the sunset in the Sam Sand Dunes.

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Just some 20kms before reaching Jaisalmer, the road started becoming horrible, patchy, dusty, too many diversions and full of sand and gravels. It took us almost 45mins to cross this stretch and reach Jaisalmer city around 4:45pm, could see the Jaisalmer Fort from far. Our hotel, Classic Inn is a beautiful place to stay in with the splendid Rajasthani style room designs. Per room cost was Rs 1276 for an AC Deluxe room which we felt was a real steal deal considering the fascinating rooms we got in to stay. We unpacked, got ready and decided to not waste much time and head towards Sam Sand Dunes (Googled and got to know that sunset was about to happen around 5:50pm). We have to cover 37kms to reach the desert and also catch up on the sunset. Just when we were about to start, we noticed that Arun’s bike horn (he got his normal Duke horn replaced with a louder one) got unwired and was dangling down, had to tape it securely so that it doesn’t fall off anywhere on the way.

Took the Jaisalmer Sam Dhanana state road to reach the Sam Sand Dunes, roads were in superb condition. But looks like we were not going to make it before the sunset as we could already see the sun setting through the dunes of Thar Desert. I was quite disappointed as I missed out clicking some amazing sunset pictures. Just before entering the crowded Sam Sand Dunes, some 3 kms before that, there is a resort which has its very own private sand dunes. We need to take a right from the main road and after around a kilometer of off-roading we reached Desert Springs Resort around 5:45pm and booked ourselves with two camel safaris each for Rs 600 (we were lucky enough to make it on time as the camel ride for the day was just about to be closed). Riding a camel for the first time was a pretty exciting experience for all of us, we started conversing with the camel owner, Rana, while we headed towards the sand dunes. I clicked some ‘left-over’ sunset pictures on the way. The slow ride on camel was amazing, though Atul was a bit scared but I enjoyed it immensely. We reached the sand dunes and got off the camels. While Rana and the camels waited for us till we return back, we enjoyed the vastness of Thar Desert.

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The view of the desert was so soothing, calm and quiet, the wind bustling through the dry sand and our feet sinking into the rolling mounds of fine sand, everything was so marvelous and a different experience. Local villagers singing and dancing to folk tunes, little children selling soft drinks to quench thirst, the colorful and decorated camels, it was the frame of a mini carnival. Thar has a truly magnificent stretch of sweeping dunes, with sparse to no vegetation. All four of us enjoyed this rare moment by clicking pictures, selfies, viewing the picturesque scenery in front of us and the wide open desert.

It started getting dark and we hopped onto our camels to head back around 6:30pm. The ride back was mostly talking with Rana, and getting to know the names of our camels – Bulldozer and Rambo. Some casual conversation and we reached the resort in some 10 mins. Bid goodbye to Rana, Bulldozer and Rambo (paid a tip of Rs 200 to Rana), we were on our way back towards Jaisalmer fort. Around 7:30pm we reach Jaisalmer city and headed towards the fort.

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Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fully preserved fortified fort in the world. The fort's massive sandstone walls are a yellow color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort. The fort is transformed into a town by itself with local people staying at respective houses within the fort, have shops, eateries, temples, etc. At night the fort looks tremendously splendid with a beautiful aerial view of the entire Jaisalmer city, can be seen from the paddock where a beautifully laid cannon guards the fort. Locals told us that the sunrise view from this spot is mesmerizing and not to be missed. We strolled around the fort city and finally decided to stop by for dinner.

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We got inside a restaurant just near the ‘chota cannon’ area (there are two cannons inside the fort, big one and the smaller one). The view of the glittering city was amazing and we ordered our food, manchow and hot and sour soup, egg fried rice, chicken masala, kaju masala and tandoori rotis. Food got a hell lot of time to be prepared and we were all dying of hunger. After waiting for some 45 mins and finally we got our food, hog it though the food wasn’t that great. Around 10:30pm we left for our hotel.

Riding through narrow roads of Jaisalmer, chased by furious street dogs and the biting cold, we reached hotel by 10:45pm. 11pm and it was goodnight time.

Day 8 – 31/12/2016 To Udaipur (500 kms via Bhadkha > Barmer > Sindhari > Rewatra > Bagra > Mandoli > Sirohi > Pindwara)

To experience the sunrise from Jaisalmer fort, we woke up quite early today, 6am and decided to head towards the fort. Well, Sun God was in no mood to come out early as the entire town was engulfed with a thick layer of fog. We waited for some 30 mins and finally, decided to anyway head towards the fort, with the belief that the fog would eventually move by the time we reach there. Even the entire fort wasn’t visible due to the thick fog all over the atmosphere. The bikes climbed up the narrow streets inside the fort, parked in the designated area and we walked towards the big cannon area. Nah! Doesn’t look like that this white fog would move away any soon. We clicked some pictures, waited to see a mild glimpse of the Sun, at least. However, the winter morning cold wind brushing across our face, the misty environment was all so good. GoPro guys took time lapse of the foggy clouds flying across. Being disappointed that sunrise must have already happen by now, we started to walk down and stopped by at a tea shop. We had tea and some hot fresh peanut masala. Cool weather and piping hot tea, isn’t it a best feeling ever.

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Shops started opening up and we inquired with the locals, will the Sun ever come out today, no one had any clue. Nonetheless, we started our ride back towards the hotel around 9am. We also did see the only legal bhang shop in the entire India. Quickly did our packing, freshened up, loaded the bikes with luggage and then started our ride towards Udaipur at around 10am. Even now when we were exiting the Jaisalmer town the thick fog still engulfed the area. This was the best morning ride we had in this trip so far, foggy highway, cool breeze and the beautiful Mother Nature. The boys did the first pit stop for petrol before exiting the town. Jaisalmer was definitely beautiful and we agreed on come back here once again very soon, next time may be a car trip.

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For a very long distance, we experienced the fog, our helmet visor were covered in mist, visibility was very low, and not to forgot the sudden crossing of sheep, goats, camels, cows and buffaloes. We stopped by at places to click pictures of wild group of camels, to let the fog pass away. By the time we were about to reach Barmer the fog disappeared and the Sun started peeping out. 12:45pm and we reached Barmer and decided to stop for lunch. Got inside this beautiful looking restaurant cum hotel called Shree Krishna, sat outside in the lawn and ordered our food, rotis, aloo parathas, chilli paneer, aloo gobi, dal fry, mixed vegetables sabji, lassi, finally coffee. An hour break and we start the ride again by 1:45pm.

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From Barmer we had to let go off NH 68 and take diversion for Sindhari. From here on the road condition started deteriorating with overly patchy roads, full of potholes, state highways. Most section of the road was bumpy and broken on the middle and edges. We had to cross many smaller towns, villages and riding through such areas were quite challenging so as not to attracted unnecessary attention. At one place Amruthesh was overtaking a vehicle from right but this driver suddenly took a right turn and almost hit him. He had a narrow escape with no damage to him or the bike, but yet he had to get off his bike as the bike fell on the right side. Apparently, the strap of his tank bag just came off and we had to fix it. By now, the whole village came and surrounded us to see what we are doing, staring at us continuously. The boys fixed the strap quickly and we were out of that place. By now our body were giving up due to such horrible road conditions, off road riding is way better than riding on these broken tar roads.

Somehow we reached Sirohi around 6:45pm. It took us 5 hours to cover just 200kms. Next transit was Pindwara from where we had to connect to NH27 and head towards Udaipur. Before that we took a pit stop at a road-side dhaba to have tea and some snacks, this was one hell of a real relaxing break. Started again at 7:45pm, NH 27 was a gem compared to what roads we rode earlier in the day. It was full of curves, mountains cut through to make the highway, lesser traffic and well laid four lane highway. Boys just turned their throttles and in no time we were in the outskirts of Udaipur city.

Reached our hotel, Saheli Palace around 9:45pm. A beautiful hotel with nice garden lawn, open space and big spacious AC rooms all for Rs 1165 per room. Unloaded the bags, everyone relaxed for a bit and then we headed out towards Lake Pichola to welcome the New Year around 10:30pm. We did struggle a bit to find a good place around the lake to sit and enjoy the lights/fire crackers arranged for the new years’ eve. Finally, we settled down at a place from where we could see the beautiful Udaipur City Palace and the Taj Mahal Lake Palace. Both the monuments looked amazingly breathtaking and the sight was a thing to die for. At this point, we all felt so accomplished to have crossed more than 3700 kms, sitting right in front of this beautiful city called Udaipur and welcoming the New Year. We clicked pictures, talked, enjoyed the moment and bang on! It was 2017 and the fireworks started all across the lake to greet the New Year. This was one of the best way I welcomed the New Year, with loved ones and friends. The starry sky was all lit up with beautiful air lanterns and fireworks.

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Around 12:20am we left the place and started hunting for some place to eat. Not many were open due to celebration, finally we found this restaurant with half shutter down and asked if they are still serving food. The owner did oblige and asked us to get in. Ordered some rotis, paneer butter masala and chicken curry (yes, at last a place serving non-veg). Though the shutter was down the folks here were preparing food for take away and hence getting our food was taking a while. Next door bakery was open so got some pastries as well. Got the food, ate, paid bills and headed straight towards hotel, too many drunk people on the streets.

Around 2am we reached hotel, wished each other once again and retired for the day. Happy New Year in Udaipur!!
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Old 4th April 2017, 14:24   #20
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Nandita,
Reading through your words, I could feel what you people went through. It is that exhilarating. Great Ride and great job.

Atul,
Just wanted your view how is KTM 390 as a tourer. Mainly from the ride quality, comfort, ergonomics and heat dissipation point of view. Power- I dare not ask.
Sorry in advance if I am digressing from the topic here, but you went through a long long ride , so thought you will be one of the better judges.
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Old 9th April 2017, 23:29   #21
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Quote:
Originally Posted by vibhavraghav View Post
Thankyou . I was also looking for the performance review of the gear in the varied conditions. I actually own a Duke and met with an accident and had to undergo ACL reconstruction. While i always used Helmet and gloves , this accident showed me the importance of full gear, no matter where we ride. Thus i'm trying to get maximum info regarding this. Also would be wonderful if you can chip in with some bytes on how the motorcycles performed, their comfort, luggage review etc.
Regards.
As per the riding jackets, the Spartan Helios (for the price) is an excellent jacket. You can go for this or the Rynox Tornado Pro which are bang for the buck in the price range it is offered. But if budget isn't a constraint, then you can check Alpinestars range of jackets. Mind you, the premium brands like Dianese and Alpinestars don't come with back protectors and are required to be bought separately.

I wear atleast my riding jacket, helmet and gloves even while commuting to office, so my suggestion is start riding with proper gear. Remember, roads are filled with idiots and the least we can do is to keep ourselves safe by wearing safety gears and riding sanely.

Regarding the luggage and the bike, our KTM Duke 390 has clocked 80,000+ kms now and is still going strong without the engine being opened even once. The bike has been performing the touring duties quite well. Apart from the small tank range, I don't find any major problems with touring on this bike.

We were using the Dirtsack Frogman saddle bags which are 100% waterproof and Rynox Optimus tankbag. Just one word for these two, brilliant!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadilicious View Post
Nandita,
Reading through your words, I could feel what you people went through. It is that exhilarating. Great Ride and great job.

Atul,
Just wanted your view how is KTM 390 as a tourer. Mainly from the ride quality, comfort, ergonomics and heat dissipation point of view. Power- I dare not ask.
Sorry in advance if I am digressing from the topic here, but you went through a long long ride , so thought you will be one of the better judges.
As i said above, apart from the small tank range, Nandita and me don't find any difficulties on touring on this bike. Obvisouly there are better bikes which provide a lot more comfort than this, but for the price, this bike delivers more than what it should.
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Old 13th April 2017, 22:01   #22
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Wonderful trip log and brilliant photos.On those roads on a bike sleep is a major factor and I guess red bull is a constant companion especially with the multiple rides you guys covered well in to the wee hours.

We had made a similar trip albeit in a car (the brilliant Yeti).The most beautiful memory was of the safari in the little Rann of Kutch which is dotted by millions of pink flamingos during december which looks stunning in the backdrop of the blue water and the dried caked mud around you.

Hats off to your superb spirit of adventure and hope to read more of your bike trips.Gujarat and Rajasthan have arguably the best roads in India.
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Old 15th April 2017, 12:02   #23
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Day 9 – Udaipur city visit (approx. 20kms)

A brand new day and a brand new year. It was the 1st day of 2017 and a beautiful bright sunny day. We all got up at around 10am, with a call from the hotel folks to order breakfast before the restaurant closes for the day. Till the time we got ready, we requested for tea and milk. Each one of us took bath and went below for breakfast. Instead of sitting inside the restaurant, we decided to sit in the lawn and enjoy the nature while having food. Aloo parathas, bread toast, omelets and tea, it was more of a relaxed breakfast as we had the whole day with us today to enjoy the magnificent city of Udaipur.

Around 12 noon, we headed towards the City Palace and Lake Pichola, some 5kms away. As we reached City Palace, it was already overcrowded and the ticket counter to enter into the palace was never ending. Tickets were Rs 400 per person and Rs 250 extra for each camera. We felt that spending so much and entering the palace was not worth. Decided to park the bikes, take a detour and roam around the lake and look for a spot where we can get a good view of the city palace, relax, sit, click as many pictures possible and enjoy the day. Atul did some Google search for paths that would lead us towards Lake Pichola entry. Walked through narrow city lanes, colorful and vibrant shops selling artifacts, clothes, souvenirs, etc. Also, came through a place from where the city view along the coast of the lake was just mesmerizing. Few kilometers of walk and we entered the Lake Pichola.

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Trust me, this was by far the best view of Udaipur city. The entire lake was visible with sparkling clean water reflecting the sun rays, with the City Palace and Udaipur city skyline on one side, the beautiful Taj Lake Palace in between, few more splendid looking hotels on another side, mountain ranges at far distance. And, not to forget the view of the enchanting Monsoon Palace in the far west mountain ranges. There were lots of boats circling around the lake giving tourists a tour and a huge abandoned pirate looking ship was stationed just near the Taj hotel. Boat ride was a whooping Rs 600 per person so it was better to avoid. Went around the whole lake’s periphery and I clicked as many pictures possible. Time just flew off and it was already 4pm. By now we started getting hungry and decided to hunt for a decent place to hog. Needed to be back in another 90 mins or so to capture the sunset as well.

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Right outside the lake there are many eateries/restaurants, we stepped into one such place. Almost empty, the restaurant was a mess from the New Year celebrations that happened last night. Instead of going out and looking for more place, we decided to have food here itself. Went to the roof top and man, the view was breathtaking. Temples, city skyline, entire lake, Taj hotel, City Palace, mountain ranges and the Monsoon Palace, everything was visible from here. The scenery was just fitting perfectly into the frame. Took a table from where we could get a great view and ordered our lunch, rotis, bhindi fry, veg biriyani and lassi. Though the guys took quite some time to prepare the food, we didn’t complain at all when the view outside was so stunning. We were also lazing around, relaxed, clicked some more pictures and ate the food.

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It was already 5:30pm, we paid our bills and hurried back to the lake to capture sunset. Though the sun was setting yet it was still glowing like a fireball blanketing the entire atmosphere with golden color. The lake just lit up by the golden spread of the sun rays and in no time sun kissed goodbye and hid behind the mountains. Remaining time we spent here by enjoying the moments, clicking some more pictures of the lit up City Palace, Taj and the nearby hotels. The lake was glowing with reflection of multiple bright colors from the city buildings. Around 7:15pm we started our walk towards the parking lot and head to the hotel.

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There was another lake in the vicinity of our hotel (1 km walk), Fateh Sagar Lake that we wanted to visit. So took rest for some time and around 8pm walked towards the lake with the help of Google maps. On the way clicked many pictures, ate ice creams (the guys basically, I hate anything sweet), chatted and enjoyed the walk.

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This is when we realized that it requires special skills to walk/drive/ride on the streets of Udaipur. If you ever see a vehicle with number plate starting with RJ 27, just move aside as much as you can, even if it means getting off the road and falling into the gutter. People ride/drive crazily here, honk unnecessarily and over speed like hell. Even light won’t travel so fast I guess. Even Quick Silver from X Men series will be ashamed at the speed with which people ride/drive. They will just go past you as if they are going to take a chunk of you along with them. Man, it was terrifying! My verdict, Udaipur was by far the worst city we experienced in terms of traffic sense.

Nonetheless, after braving such a humongous task of facing the people with the worst traffic sense on earth, we reached Fateh Sagar Lake. It is an artificial lake named after Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur and Mewar, constructed north-west of Udaipur, to the north of Lake Pichola. Pretty huge and filled with reserved water, the lake looked beautiful. Well-lit street lights, hustle bustle crowd, street hawkers selling chats, balloons, different kind of toys, matka kulfis and pani puris. The place was so lively and the crescent moon up in the sky added more demure to the sight. There was a flower exhibition going on as well towards the other end of the lake.

We walked and sat near the lake, ate chats, kulfis and ice golas. After an hour we decided to head back to the hotel. OH MAN!! Once again the herculean task of walking through the insane traffic and the people on the road. By 10:30pm we reached our hotel (thankfully in one piece). No dinner tonight as we all were full from the food we ate near the lake.

Udaipur city was definitely a bliss and beautiful city to enjoy the beginning of a new year. It was a day well spent and all four of us had immense fun. 11pm and we were done for the day.
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Old 15th April 2017, 12:33   #24
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Some more pictures from Udaipur.

Walking through the beautiful Udaipur city.
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Colors
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To cool down the heat
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Indian Monalisa
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Some street snaps
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By the Lake Pichola
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The Foot Bridge
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Hotel Saheli Palace, Udaipur
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At Fateh Sagar Lake
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Fridge magnets
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Old 22nd April 2017, 16:42   #25
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadilicious View Post
Nandita,
Reading through your words, I could feel what you people went through. It is that exhilarating. Great Ride and great job.
Thank you so much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vijayols View Post
Wonderful trip log and brilliant photos

Gujarat and Rajasthan have arguably the best roads in India.
Thanks a lot Vijay!
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Old 22nd April 2017, 17:09   #26
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Day 10 – To Ajmer via Kumbhalgarh Fort and Jodhpur (488 kms via Kumbhalgarh > Nadol > Pali > Jodhpur > Bar > Beawar)

It was 6:45am and we all got up, the destination for the day was Ajmer via Jodhpur. Took bath, packed bags and quickly ordered for some tea and milk. The boys were almost done with loading the bikes with all the luggage and we were good to hit the road once again. At 8:15am we were on our way to Jodhpur. The ride was quite comfortable and exiting the city wasn’t a big issue at that time of the morning, despite the maddening traffic we faced in Udaipur.

Must have covered some 90kms of our way, Atul’s bike started showing low fuel. Reached a small village called Gudliya and finding a petrol pump in that remote area was bleak. In search of fuel station the bike must have almost covered 25+kms, that’s when the guys decided to tank up the bike with the 1litre fuel we were carrying (each one of them carried a liter of petrol for emergency situations). Atul did a quick Google search on how long until we hit a petrol station, that’s when he came across the Kumbhalgarh Fort on the map, it was just 30kms from the place we were. Instantly, we all decided to take a detour and head towards the fort. On the way, luckily got a petrol station.

It was an amazing ride amidst beautiful mountains, lakes, greenery and small villages. Roads were pretty much in good shape and in no time we could see the outer walls of the fort. Kumbhalgarh fort was built in the 15th century by the Mewars in the Aravalli mountain ranges. The walls of the fort extends over 38 kms and is apparently claimed to be the second longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China. The fort was massive and spread across a huge area with strong sky rising walls. A proper tour of the fort would require no less than three hours with a valid entry ticket, hence we decided to skip entering inside the fort and click some snaps from outside.

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Around 10:45am we started the ride back and hunt for a restaurant to eat in the nearby locality. Kumbhalgarh has recently developed into a full-fledged tourist place with lots of resorts and jungle hotels come up in the vicinity. There were many local eateries for tourists to rest, eat and relax. We got inside one such restaurant and decided to have our breakfast before we hit the roads for Jodhpur. Ordered some lip smacking Maggi, poha, bread toast and tea. Done with food we started our journey again by 12 noon.

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Took NH62 all the way to reach the hustling bustling city of Jodhpur at around 3pm. Even though it was a wintery afternoon, the sun was harsh and we were sweating inside our jackets. Nonetheless, we hit the road leading us to the beautiful Mehrangarh fort. As we climbed up, the view of beautiful Jodhpur was a pure bliss. Reached the foot of the fort and damn, it looked magnificent. We parked the bikes and decided to enter the fort in batches as we had our luggage. Atul and I were first to enter this mammoth fort at around 3:45pm.

The magnificent craftsmanship of the Jodhpuri craftsmen is exhibited in the fascinating sandstone palaces within the Mehrangarh Fort. The grandeur of this fort is just unimaginable and can’t be described in words. Constructed during 1460 by Rao Jodha, the fort is enclosed with imposing thick huge walls. The fort stands a hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur city, burnished red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons.

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Entry fee per person was Rs 70 and additional Rs 40 if using the elevator to go straight up (we did take the elevator in order to save time). After some 10 minutes queuing up for the elevator, finally we were at the top most terrace of the fort. The view from here was just breath-taking and marvelous. The fort watch-overs the beautiful city of Jodhpur, the bluecity, mostly because of the face that most of the houses are painted blue. The reason is, in summers, blue paint keeps the house cool from inside against the scorching heat. The fort is an architectural master piece with temples, canons, huge crafted walls and doors. Certain areas of the fort have entry restricted, however, this doesn’t fail to impress tourists with its masculine charm. Covering most of the sections, we decided to come down for the other two guys to come in.

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Unfortunately it was almost 5:30pm and the fort was closed for the day. Though disappointed, @arunprasadr did take some pictures from his GoPro. We rested for a while and decided to wait until sunset, clicking some pics. Another 200 kms to reach Ajmer, we geared up and started the ride again by 6:15pm. With the peak hour traffic, exiting the city and hitting the highway was bit of a struggle, also, the roads were not in good shape with sudden appearance of potholes and bumps. By 6:45pm we somehow crossed Jodhpur city limits and entered the highway. It was a two lane highway, less road lights, fast moving vehicles and not to mention, potholes, bumps and gravels. After breakfast, we didn’t stop anywhere else for food and by now all four of us started famishing due to hunger. Stopped at a highway dhaba for some quick dinner. Ordered paneer matar, dal fry, aloo gobi sabji and tandoori rotis. It was getting colder as well and what more to ask for than a piping hot cup of tea. Done with food, we started again around 8pm.

Most part of the ride was boring and painful because of the bad road condition, low visibility, wintery chill and narrow two lane state highways. Took a small petrol and bio break in between as well. Bad road situation prevailed until we reached Beawar at 11pm, some 55 kms from Ajmer. From here on roads were much better and we got onto our speed. Around 12 we reached Ajmer town and with absolutely no traffic on the roads, we reached our hotel in some 5 mins. Hotel Mahatma Inn is very close to the Ajmer Dargah Sharif (about a km), decent budget hotel, well suited for travelers like us with an AC room costing around Rs 1144 per night.

Quickly finished the hotel formalities, unloaded the bags and went to our respective rooms. Fast freshening up, we all hit the sack. Goodnight for the day!

Day 11 – To Jaipur (170 kms via Pushkar > Ajmer-Jaipur Expressway)

Our day today started at around 8am. After an hour, we all decided to head out for road-side breakfast and then visit the Ajmer Dargah Sharif on our way back, as mentioned earlier Dargah was just a km away from our hotel. Early morning and having oily food is just not me, but then when the food looks so yum who can resist? We ate ‘oil-dripping’ aloo patty burger, dal bati, aloo tikki masala chat, rusk and hot tea.

From here we started our walk towards the Dargah. Small narrow roads with beautiful shops of clothes, perfumes, flowers makes it the liveliest shopping area of Ajmer city. Thronged by thousands of worshippers every day, this is definitely one of the busiest Dargah in entire India. We reached the main entrance door, Nizam Gate around 10am and decided to buy some flowers as offerings. As expected the holy place was jam packed with believers and tourists, crowd from all religious practices were present too. There was a queue to get inside the main shrine. The Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti, known as Ajmer Sharif Dargah, is an international waqf, an Islamic mortmain situated at the foot of the Taragarh hill, and consists of several white marble buildings and big courtyards.

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Somehow I felt that the place was highly commercialized, as the priests/mullahs were demanding money from us as offerings into the main shrine (asking us to pay Rs 100, Rs 500, etc.). They even used to catch hold of our hands and not let go until they tie up some thread to it and then demand exorbitant offerings. At a point the crowd got so uncontrollable that I got drifted away from the boys (ladies, gents all are in the same queue). Somehow managed to get back together, we didn’t spend more time here, did our prayers and headed for hotel to continue with the ride. Not that I’m skewed towards any particular religion but I was a bit disappointed after visiting the Dargah. I thought it would have been more peaceful and calmer.

We walked back and reached our hotel around 11pm. Got bags packed, loaded onto the bike and started for our ride to Jaipur with a small and quick visit to Pushkar. It was just 15kms away from the city and the ride uphill when exiting Ajmer was just blissful, the entire Ajmer city view from the hill top, sparkling Ana Sagar Lake, curvy highway, and green lush mountains. We came across a huge statue of Maharana Pratap Singh Ji on our way as well. At some parts the road was being constructed so the ride did became bumpy at times.

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Around 12 noon we were in Pushkar. It revolves around the Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu site with 52 ghats where devotees take bath. It is one of the five sacred dhams (pilgrimage site) in India and is branded as one among the oldest city in India. It is also home to some of the very few Brahma temples in the world. This tranquil city is a favored destination for thousands of foreign tourists and devotees flocking to Rajasthan. Along with an interesting mythological history, a legacy of timeless architectural heritage makes Pushkar a fascinating city. We spent some time here by the lake, clicking some snaps, relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere for a while. Far off we would hear hums of prayers recited in the temples, it was a mystical experience.

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After about an hour at 1pm, we decided to move ahead towards Jaipur. Though the distance was just 145kms and well-laid highway, we wanted to reach Jaipur before sunset. Ride from here was amazing, beautiful yellow mustard fields on both sides of the highway, butter smooth tarmac, breezy environment and bikes zooming in the almost empty roads. We took couple of butt breaks, photo breaks and a petrol break in between. By 4:30pm we entered the beautiful Jaipur city and headed towards our hotel, Treebo Corporate Inn. This was a beautiful, utterly well maintained corporate hotel mostly targeted for the working professionals at affordable rates. An AC deluxe room costed us Rs 1200.

As usual after the hotel check-in formalities, we unloaded the bikes, settled up in the respective rooms, took quick shower and decided to head towards the Hawa Mahal. It was just 5 kms away from our hotel and wanted to see the monument in day light. However, it was already 6pm and was just about to get darker. And that time being the peak city traffic hours, our dream to see it in day light diminished even further. Reached the main gate of Hawa Mahal around 6:30pm and the premise was shut for the day. Well, the mahal looked splendid even in night time too with well decorated colorful lights. This extraordinarily beautiful pink-painted delicately honeycombed hive building looked just out of the world. The streets adjacent to the mahal is full of shops selling beautiful artifacts, clothes, Jaipuri sandals, shawls, souvenirs, and chandelier. It was so lively and beautiful, we walked around the places, took pictures, and did some shopping as well.

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By 9pm we returned to the hotel, parked the bikes and went out for dinner. There are many restaurants nearby and we went inside a fancy looking place called “Momo Jojo”, wanted to eat something different. Ordered chicken tikka fried momo, chilli chicken fried momo, veg garlic butter fried rice and chicken garlic fried rice, and food was super yum. After this walked more down the lane, the boys wanted to have sweets. At 11pm, there was luckily this shop open, guys had rasgulla, rasmalai and I drank kesar malai milk. Finally sweet pan was the dinner full stop for the night.

Walked back to the hotel, reached around 11:45pm and retired for the day.
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Day 12 – To Delhi (260 kms via Delhi – Jaipur highway. Kotputli > Neemrana > Gurugram)

Today was the happiest day for me in this entire trip, going to Delhi and meeting my family over there (my elder brother stays in Delhi and now, even my mom is there). Delhi is always special and really love that city to the core, despite all bad things people talk about it. Nonetheless, we woke up around 7am this day and this was the first hotel in this entire trip which was inclusive of breakfast. Freshened up, came down to the reception area and breakfast was served. Bread butter omelet, puri sabji, cornflakes, porridge and tea/milk. After breakfast, we headed to our rooms to get ready and start for Delhi. After loading the bikes with luggage and finishing hotel formalities, we left hotel around 9am.

While exiting Jaipur we decided to quickly pay a visit to Hawa Mahal and click some pictures from inside. Arun, Amruthesh and I went inside, while Atul stayed behind to guard the bikes and bags. Entry fee into the palace was Rs 25 per person and nothing for camera. Well, how beautiful the palace looked from outside failed to impress me from inside. Apparently, the Mahal was essentially a high screen wall built so that women of the royal household could observe street festivals and city while unseen from outside. This palace resembling a honeycomb of a beehive gives one a feel of the rich heritage of the Rajputs. The terrace provides a picturesque view of the entire Jaipur city and distance mountain ranges. Narrow passages and corridors leads people from one level to another, all across the ramp to reach the top, one can find small windows or jharokhas to look over the city. As mentioned earlier, the interior of the Mahal consists of plain and simple chambers as compared to the ornamented exterior. We spent an hour here, clicked some snaps and decided to head out. Around 10:30am, we started our journey towards Delhi.

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The Jaipur – Delhi highway was one of the busiest in this trip. Six lane highway with ample plights of trucks, heavy goods vehicles and fast moving passenger cars, with small towns coming across at regular intervals. Moreover, most part of the highway tarmac has melted due to excessive usage and intense heat. Apparently, government is trying to re-construct this important highway real soon. The only treat to eyes were the yellow mustard fields on both sides of the highway and the happy feeling of going home. In between we did stop for a petrol and bio break.

Around 3pm we were some 110kms away from Delhi, decided to stop for lunch. This highway as ample amount of restaurant to have food and relax, most prominent one being the “Hotel Highway King”, so many outlets in an interval of 70-80kms. But we didn’t stop there as it was too crowded, at all its outlets. Stopped by at a rather quiet restaurant, looked really funky and total Punjabi style. This is supposed to be meeting point adda for all the Harley owners in that area, mostly Delhi and Gurgaon. We took a khatiya (rope bed) and sat on it to have lunch, ordered dal fry, bhindi fry, tandoori roti, paneer butter masala, dum aloo and lassi. At around 4pm, we started again to head home.

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By 5:30pm we entered the Delhi – Gurgaon expressway. Man, this was a humongous toll area with ‘god knows how many lanes’ for entry and exit, looked like a place somewhere abroad. It took us almost 20 mins to clear the toll and head towards Delhi city. Entering city during peak traffic hour is definitely a pain, that too a mammoth city like Delhi is definitely double pain. Atul fed in brother’s home address into the G Maps and yes, home was just another 25kms away.

Fighting through the city traffic and after an hour we reached home by 7:15pm. Mom was already waiting for us in the balcony, brother still on his way home from work. We unpacked, got the stuff upstairs and I gave a big hug to mom, best feeling ever, isn’t it? I was finally home (ok, my third home after Guwahati and Bangalore). Settled down all the luggage, bags, etc. and sat down to relax. Brother was home by now, we sat, had chai, and narrated all our stories so far. Our initial plan was to go to Agra the very next day but then Delhi was the destination where the bikes were supposed to be serviced, the ODO clocked a little over 4700kms till now.

While we deliberated whether to go for Agra or give the bikes for servicing, dinner was ready. Home food finally! Mom prepared soya bean curry for the veg guy (Amruthesh), chicken curry, dal fry and rice. By 10:30pm we were done with dinner and brother asked if we can go out for a walk and have ice cream. Everyone agreed. I don’t like ice cream but can definitely go for a wintery Delhi walk. Mom told it wasn’t as cold till now as oppose to how Delhi gets extremely cold at this point of the year. We walked through the galis (narrow lanes), found an ice cream wala. After much persuasion, I did get a mango dolly stick ice cream for myself.

Started walking back home, deciding we would book a cab early morning for Agra and try to give the bike for servicing the next day. Reach home by 11:15pm and everyone settled for the day. At last not a hotel room bed but a cozy home bed to lie down and get a peaceful sleep!

Day 13 – Delhi

Alarm was set for 5:45am in the morning, in order to book cab for Agra. Atul opened the Ola app and booked a cab for 6:30am. We all got up and was just about get ready when the app showed the driver cancelling the booking. Not sure why, Atul gave call to the customer care but no one had any answer as to why the booking was cancelled. By now it was already 7am and still no cab. That’s when we decided to ditch Agra, boys will give bikes for servicing and would relax for the day, might as well go see some place if time permits. Brother went for his work.

I went back to sleep for some more time and the guys got ready, searched for a KTM service center in Dwarka, found one, called and booked slot for servicing three bikes. With nothing much to do I slept on till 11am until the boys returned from the service center (would get the bike next day). They had breakfast somewhere outside and mom prepared egg maggi for me. Not to waste the full day, we agreed upon going to see Qutab Minar and CP (Connaught Place). I have been to Delhi previously and have already visited these places, with no bikes I suggest we take the metro to reach our destinations. At 1pm, we left home along with mom to the nearest metro station towards Qutab Minar. I simple love Delhi metro, so damn easy to commute between places. Got down at the Qutab Minar station and took an auto (Rs 10 per person) to reach Qutab Minar. Entry fee per person was Rs 30.

People who don’t know Qutab Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage site. With a soaring 73mts in height this monument is considered to be the tower of victory. Built with sandstone and marble, this is not only one of the finest structure in India but also in the world. The carvings and Arabic inscriptions all along the tower is just marvelous and so precise. I have always loved this magnificent symbolic structure.

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Around 4:30pm we returned to the metro station and took a metro going towards Connaught Palace. Whichever day of the week you go, CP as it is popularly known is always crowded with people. This sprawling circular market place is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centers in Delhi. The most striking landmark in CP is the fluttering Indian flag, Tiranga in the Central Park. This flag is supposed to be the second largest flag of India in India, not sure how much true it is.

For a while we walked around CP looking for some food joints to eat something, all were hungry. But amidst so much crowd and hustle bustle, the best was to return home and eat something at a close by place. We took metro to reach Uttam Nagar. While walking back home, we had some chats, samosas and tea. Reached home around 7:30pm. Till the time brother reached home, we all sat and relaxed. We planned to have dinner outside tonight once he was back from work.

Brother came and we all went out for dinner, to this authentic Punjabi restaurant called Delhi Tadka. We ordered tandoori rotis, butter chicken, paneer butter masala, chicken fried rice, masala papad and lassi. The food was too sumptuous, ate to our hearts content. Around 11pm, we headed towards home.

A bit of chit chat and we all went to sleep by 11:45pm. Boys would be getting their bikes tomorrow morning.

Day 14 – Delhi (Service Center > Red Fort > Lotus Temple > India Gate approx. 80kms)

Brother always leave for office at around 7:45am every day, this helps us in getting up as well. Service center folks called the previous day and informed that the bikes are ready and can be picked up after 10am once the center opens. All four of us got ready and headed out from home, will be doing breakfast on the way.

People in Delhi must definitely know about Aggarwal Sweets and the variety of sweets they offer. Atul, Amruthesh and Arun wanted to visit the outlet right from the time we landed in Delhi. On our way to Dwarka to pick up the bikes, we came across an outlet of Aggarwal Sweets. Apparently, the boys had their breakfast here yesterday while going to drop the bikes. The shop just opened and the entire place was engulfed with the aroma of freshly prepared sweets and savories. We ordered fresh hot paneer stuffed chole bhature (coupled with aloo fry, pickle, onion and lemon) and the guys had too many sweets of their choice which I didn’t even bother to look into. To flush everything down, we had yummy masala chai as well. Around 11am we took an electric auto to reach the service center.

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The bikes were almost ready with few touch ups here and there. They looked shiny, sparkling and fresh once again, ready to complete the remaining part of the journey. Those service center guys were really amazed to see us traveling from Bangalore on bikes and exploring India. After listening to our tales of 13 days and the payment formalities, we departed from there and headed towards home. By now it was 1pm and mom was almost ready with lunch. All of us freshened up and were deliberating on what to do for the remaining part of the day. Decided to explore few places in Delhi today by bikes, Atul and I had to meet a close friend as well, who stays in Delhi. Around 2:30pm we were done with homemade simple yet heart-full lunch, dal chawal, aloo fry, pickle and papad. Took rest for an hour and headed out with the bikes to explore the historic city of Delhi. Places decided to visit were Red Fort, Lotus Temple and India Gate.

Delhi roads are amazingly wide, beautiful and well-laid. Considering it is the national capital, no doubt that this city will have the most amazing road quality, the greenery still prevails and the city has a unique charm. We crossed so many international consulate homes, Indian state houses and other diplomatic buildings. Boys were spell-bound and happy to ride through the roads, Amruthesh and Arun visiting Delhi for the first time. Somehow the traffic was decent that day with no major jam.

Around 5pm we reached the Red Fort/Lal Quila, and I was happy to see this historic monument once again. It was already decided that we won’t go inside the fort and would be walking through the outside periphery. The grandeur of Red Fort is truly spectacular and gives a sense of pride, with its political and historical significance. Red Fort has been a strategically important monument through the ages, due to Delhi being the capital city for a good part of the Mughal rule in India. This massive walled citadel truly marks the culmination of the Mughal style architecture. We stayed here for an hour, clicking pictures, taking selfies and enjoying the panoramic view of the fort. By 6:15pm we headed towards Lotus Temple. In between did a quick pit stop for fuel.

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While trying to reach Lotus Temple we did face a lot a traffic on the way, being the peak traffic hour. Somehow managed to reach the place by 7pm but the gates for the temple was already closed. Apparently, during winter the temple is closed around 5:30pm. Disappointed, the boys saw the Lotus Temple from outside (I have already visited this place during my last year visit to Delhi). The temple was lit with bright lights and it looked splendid from far. We clicked some quick snaps and without wasting much time headed towards India Gate. Atul’s friend, Prabhat was supposed to meet us there.

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Followed the Google Maps to reach the iconic destination of Delhi, the India Gate around 8pm. The monument looked outstanding with beautiful lights lighting up the entire structure. This war memorial truly sends a chill down the spine when you see the names of 82000 soldiers of Indian army who died during the First World War. The eternal flame, known as Amar Jawan Jyoti honors these soldiers who laid their lives. Thousands of people throng this place on a daily basis and today was no exception. Hawkers selling pani-puris, momos, balloons, toys, bhutta (roasted corn) and what not, such a lively place to spend an evening. While we clicked pictures and ate some pani-puris, momos and ice cream, we did wait for Prabhat as well. He already reached and was trying to find us amidst the crowd. After some 10 mins, we met, spoke, clicked a selfie and told stories of our journey so far.

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Time just flew and it was already 8:45pm, police announcing to depart from the place as it is getting closed. Never knew India Gate had timings to visit. Nonetheless, we walked towards the bike parking area while speaking to each other, bid goodbye to Prabhat and promised to meet again soon, we left for home. Today being the last day in Delhi, brother arranged for dinner at home. I love eating pork fry, hence it was prepared.

We reached home at about 9:45pm. Dinner was as usual ready, we changed, quickly got fresh and sat for food, pork fry, roti, dal, rice, aloo gobi masala, chicken curry for the non-pork eater and papad. Nothing can come any closer to home food, isn’t it? We all ate to our hearts content because after this it would be again outside/dhaba food for the remaining days. After dinner, we once again went out for a walk, guys mostly to have ice creams. Returned back at around 11pm.

Once we were back home, we did some quick packing of bags in order to reduce hassle in the morning. Next day we were leaving Delhi and heading towards Ranthambore. 11:45pm and it was time to sleep. I was a bit sad, leaving home tomorrow morning.
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Old 25th April 2017, 22:36   #28
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Day 15 – To Ranthambore (363 kms via Gurugram > Bhiwadi > Alwar > Dausa > Sawai Madhopur)

The grief of leaving home is always the hardest and difficult to deal with. The most amazing part of this trip for me was just about to get over. We are leaving Delhi and traveling to Ranthambore today. All got up around 7:30am to a rather very cold and foggy winter morning. It was just today that we felt the chilly cold for which Delhi is famous for. Brother wished us all good luck for the remaining part of the journey and left for office. We got ready, packed the bags, loaded the bikes and had some light breakfast, tea and biscuits. By 9am we left home, with a heavy heart I hugged mom and bid her goodbye.

While we were exiting the city, it started to drizzle in and the thick blanket of fog engulfed the entire roads. Being a Saturday and people heading towards the nearby travel destination, the highway was quite jam-packed with vehicles and not to say, the huge trucks. Till the time we reached Neemrana, the fog was pretty dense and we had to slow down our speed due to less visibility. It was tremendously cold and shivery as well. After a while the fog started clearing out and the Sun God started peeping in through the clouds. By 12 noon we stopped by at dhaba to have our brunch – aloo parathas, chole bhature, bread butter toast and tea. An hour’s rest and we started our journey ahead and by now fog was fully cleared out. Took a quick petrol break in between.

As I said earlier this highway is utter bliss with beautiful landscape all along the way. We stopped by at places to click pictures and rest after an interval of every 60-80kms. This was the same highway while going from Jaipur to Delhi, until we reached Dausa (a little ahead of Jaipur) and somewhere in Dausa we had to take diversion, go off the highway. This is when the plight started, utterly bad state highway roads with potholes, bumps and patches. Riding on such roads after smooth tarmac is almost close to hell. By now it was around 5pm, time for a petrol break and a quick refreshment time. We luckily got a petrol pump and tea stall together in the same place. After tanking up the bikes, we relaxed in the tea stall, had hot freshly prepared onion bhajjis and masala chai. By 6pm it started getting darker, the highway didn’t look much safe and we had another 120kms to reach Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore). Geared up and continued with the ride.

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Bad roads continued till we reached Sawai Madhopur around 8:30pm. Our stay was in Hotel Ranthambore Haveli, a well architected building which resembled exactly like a mini Haveli (palace). One deluxe AC room was around Rs 1200 per night. The owner of this hotel also looked like an avid traveler with full modified bullet parked outside the hotel premise, he was amazed to see all of us traveling the length and breadth of our country on bikes. While we completed the hotel formalities, he spoke to us and heard our stories till date. Got inside the rooms, unpacked the bags from the bikes, got settled and headed for dinner. Dinner was served in the hotel, not complimentary though. We ate dal fry, rotis, plain rice, paneer methi masala, papad and curd. Food was too sumptuous.

After the dinner, the guys went out to withdraw cash from the nearest ATM (apparently, Sawai Madhopur never ran out of 100s in that demonetization fiasco, as told by the hotel owner. So if you withdraw 2000 chances are that you might get all 100s) and also to inquiry about the safari early morning. A safari was booked for morning 6:30am next day, I was pretty excited to hopefully see a tiger out in the wild for the first time in my life.

11:30pm and all of us went to sleep.

Day 16 – To Ujjain after visiting Ranthambore National Park (400 kms via Sheopur > Baran > Jhalawar > Ghatiya)

All of us woke up at 6am and got ready as the safari jeep was expected to come near the hotel premise around 6:30am. For some reason the guy was late and he showed up only at 7am. It was not a very chilly early morning and the surroundings was beautiful with cool breeze passing by. We took our seats in the gypsy, Amruthesh next to the driver, Atul, Arun and I in the immediate back seat. The last row would be occupied by some other party whom we need to pick up on the way. After some 10 mins drive, we reached the hotel from where the remaining three visitors were picked up. Some 5kms of drive and we reached the main forest entrance gate, the driver went inside the forest office to get the permit, zone 7 was what we got to enter the park. The cost per person was Rs 400. I was keeping my fingers crossed to spot a tiger.

Ranthambore National Park (RNP) is one of the largest national parks in northern India, formerly being the royal hunting ground with home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles. Along the park are the ruins of 10th century Ranthambore fort on the hilltop, many watch towers running through the hill’s outposts. With a diverse range of flora and fauna, this park has a completely different landscape. Monsoon not being around the corner, most grounds here were brown, sandy and full of gravels with ponds having just miniscule level of water in them.

Tigers are easily spotted in RNP even during daytime, but to my utter disappointment we just couldn’t see even a single tiger. Previous day a male tiger sat near the rocky ridges, next to the pathway, for almost 3 hours and today not a single faint sight. As we maneuvered through the small gravely narrow roads, all four of us kept our eyes wide open just in case we were lucky, scanned through trees, rock cliffs, bushes, etc. The drive was almost close to 25-30kms across the park through ‘almost no roads’. It was like the ultimate level of off-roading and the gypsy did a fantastic job climbing up, down and crossing huge piles of rocks. Even though the landscape wasn’t that green yet it had its own charm, rock/stones pathway curved into roads through the hill, dried trees, rising sun, cool morning breeze and the desire to spot a tiger. We drove the uphill first, then after a while came down and reached the plain areas full of tall high rising range of trees making a canopy over the path.

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No tiger today! Not a single one and I was almost in tears. I came here with lot of expectation to spot a tiger live in the woods, yet this only wish wasn’t fulfilled. We did see couple of black bucks, Nilgai, peacocks, langoors and few fresh tiger pugmarks on our way back though. The driver wasn’t happy either as tourist spotting tigers in RNP is very common. Nonetheless, we exited from the forest and headed towards the hotel.

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By 10:45am we reached hotel and breakfast was ready. Yummy poha, bread toast with butter and tea. Post this we got ready, packed bags, loaded the bikes and finished all other hotel formalities. Our destination for today was Jhansi but the hotel owner asked us not to take Jhansi route as it was not advisable due to safety reasons to cross the highway post evening. Atul did some Google search and tried finding out the nearest town/city to spend the night. Finally, Ujjain was decided to be the destination for the day. Around 12 noon we were out of Sawai Madhopur and headed towards Ujjain city with a quick petrol break.

The state highway while exiting Sawai Madhopur was extremely bad, actually there wasn’t any road left just some tarmac here and there. On our way we came across the famous bridge on top of river Chambal. The view from here was just marvelous with the river flowing through green fields, the river being the near border between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The bridge however always vibrates and swings when a heavy truck or vehicles passes through it. We stopped clicked some pictures and moved ahead. The ride was damn boring and all four of us almost fell asleep. To get rid of sleep, we kept talking nonsense, singing, gossiping and pulling each other’s leg. Around 1pm we crossed Sheopur and the road started getting better eventually. Most part of the highway from here was just straight stretch of roads amidst villages and smaller towns, we increased our speeds to reach the next town, Jhalawar. Most of the locals we met on the way advised us to cross Jhalawar town before evening. At 3:30pm we reached Jhalawar, time for petrol and tea break. After taking petrol, we requested the tea stall guy to prepare some hot tea, gulped down some three four tea glasses per person and finished nearly half of the snacks packets he had in his shop. 45 mins later we geared up and started again, Ujjain was 180kms away and it was already 4:15pm.

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Tried to finish as many kilometers possible before we lose day light and visibility of the highway diminish. On the way we had to stop as well to cancel hotel booking at Jhansi and book fresh one in Ujjain. Atul managed that and we were set for the stay as well. We kept going for the rest of the journey with just couple of butt breaks and around 8:45pm we reached the beautiful temple city of Ujjain. Our hotel was Hotel Shiv Sagar, decent and well maintained place right in the middle of the city. One AC deluxe room was priced at Rs 1100 per night. Once again people were shocked to see us ride all the way from Bangalore and even more shocked to see so many luggage carried on bikes. People gathered around the parking lot, asked hell many questions while we unloaded our bikes. Done with hotel formalities, we entered our room and got settled. Checked with the hotel folks if they provided food, they told us they do. Ordered aloo paratha, tandoori rotis, bhindi masala, dal fry, aloo gobi masala and gajar ka halwa.

Dinner was too good, we ate, and spoke about the remaining three days left, all the fun we had from the past 16 days. Ride was almost coming to an end. Done with dinner, we all decided to retire for the day. Slept around 11pm.
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Default Re: Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 stat

Day 17 – To Nagpur (522 kms via Dewas > Ashta > Harda > Betul)

The last three days of our ride would be mostly highway run, covering almost 1500kms to home, with very less scope of exploring the cities.

For some reason all four of us couldn’t wake up early today and we slept until 8am. Initial plan was to wake up early, visit the famous Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple before leaving towards Nagpur. But now since we are already late, we had to unwillingly drop the plan and prepare for our ride. Got ready, packed, loaded the bike with the bags and decided to have quick tea before leaving hotel. At the end, finished the hotel formalities and started our ride to Nagpur at around 10:15am.

Once we exited Ujjain, the roads were amazingly great, well laid tarmac and beautiful scenery all along. Being a Monday morning, the highways were almost empty and we could clock in some 110-120kmph at a constant rate. In no time we crossed Dewas, took the state highway that connects with Ashta. Around 12noon, we stopped by at a local dhaba for brunch, all of us were hungry by now. The place was almost empty and we took a khatiya to sit, chill and relax. We ordered tandoori roti, dal fry, paneer matar, paneer butter masala and some local chips. The food was delicious and we ate till we could eat no more, a final full stop was hot piping tea.

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Around 1pm, we started our journey ahead with a quick petrol break, the first one for the day. Remaining part of the ride was as usual highway run and couple of butt breaks in between. Occasionally falling asleep, trying to wake each other up, singing and gossiping on Sena, clicking pictures while crossing ghat sections, time and distance just passed by and around 4:30pm we reached Harda town. There was too much confusion in Harda as in which road to take ahead for Nagpur, Google Maps did fool us too, not once but twice, we lost almost 45 mins in this confusion and rode some 25kms extra. Finally we decided to hold on, stop by, and ask the way properly to someone local. Thankfully, he gave us the correct way to join the highway and reach Betul. It was already 5:15pm and we needed to hurry up, cover more kilometers until we have sunset for the day. Locals did tell us that the part between Harda and Betul will cover forest area and ghat sections with absolutely no lights on the way. Traffic frequency is less as well.

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Did a quick stop for some 10-15mins to relax before we start non-stop ride to Betul. Sun was just about to set and the surrounding landscape was too beautiful, green fields, setting sun, peeping moon and straight road ahead. Clicked some quick snaps and started the ride. As told by the locals, the highway was really through dense forest, with absolutely no lights at all, just the headlights lighting the road ahead of us and occasional vehicles at time. Decided to not stop anywhere and ride faster, obviously being cautious and alert. Did cross some accident sites as well, but being bikes, we would squeeze in through the gaps. The entire stretch was for some 50-60kms and once we started losing out on day light, the speed lowered.

Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8782.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8785.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8787_17.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8790.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8791.jpg

Nonetheless, around 7:30pm we reached Betul town, to our much relief. This is where we connected the national highway and from here till Nagpur, it would be a four lane good tarmac roads. Atul’s bike was just about to run out of fuel and so the hunt for a petrol bunk began. Rode some 20kms more and saw a dhaba adjacent to a petrol station as well. Great, one bullet two targets, we filled in petrol and then went into the dhaba for our dinner at 8:30pm. We ordered butter roti, tandoori roti, dal fry, some paneer items and mixed veg. As usual we ended the dinner with hot tea. It started getting colder and hence we pulled out our warm clothes, wore them and geared up, time to resume the ride, another 140kms to destination.

We wringed the throttle as much as we could on the empty highway, plan was to reach hotel by around 11pm but rain god had different plans. Just when we were some 50kms away from Nagpur, it started drizzling, adding more to the cool weather. Sometimes drizzle and sometimes pouring, we had to slow down and ride cautiously. Reached Nagpur city around 11pm but then Google ditched us again with a wrong direction towards the hotel. This again killed time and wasted some 10-15mins in order to come back to track. Finally, around 11:30pm we reached our stay, Hotel Chanakya – again a decent budget hotel, with AC deluxe rooms at a rate of Rs 1000 per night.

Unloaded the bags, the boys finished the hotel formalities and we settled inside our respective rooms. With clothes and bags getting wet, needed to clean them up as well. Luckily thanks to the Frogman saddle bags, everything was dry inside. By 12:30am we slept.

Day 18 – To Hyderabad (500 kms via NH44)

Another long ride day, we got up at around 7am in the morning. Plan was to leave Nagpur as early as possible and beat the peak city traffic to reach the highway. Got ready, packed bags, ordered for some quick tea and then loaded the bikes. Around 8:30am we finished all check out formalities and started our journey to Hyderabad. Traffic started to pile up yet it was not very heavy so we could exit Nagpur easily and hit the highway.

The road condition was utterly bad in many sections of the road, due to construction works, too many diversions, patches and rough tarmac. We did hear that the highway between Nagpur and Hyderabad used to be in excellent conditions, but today it was not the case because of the major road constructions. This, as usual reduced our speed to a large extent as we rode slow, didn’t want the wheels to get inside a huge highway crater. The heat, dust, bad roads did take a toll on us early morning and our first pit stop for the day happened around 11am. The petrol pump guys told that this will continue till we reach the Maharashtra – Andhra border as roads are much better as soon as we leave Maharashtra and enter Andhra. After a 20mins break we resumed our pathetic ride once again with a hope to reach the border soon, another 50-60kms away.

Tired riding in such bad conditions, we all decided to stop by at a roadside dhaba, have food, relax for a bit and then start again. The restaurant was just opened for the day and it was absolutely empty. We order masala omelet, masala papad, tandoori rotis, dal fry, aloo gobi, matar paneer and lassi. Guess with just one person to cook, it took a hell lot of time for the food to get served. This was by far the worst dhaba food we had in this journey, watery curry, spicy omelet, paneer curry with no paneer in it and burnt rotis. Somehow we finished the food, had some tea and decided to leave around 12:30pm, Sun was getting bit harsh.

Another ride for 30kms through bad patchy roads and we thereby entered Andhra. Like magic all roads became butter smooth, well laid four lane highway. The boys started opening up a bit and tried to make up with the time lost during the bad roads, tried to cover as much distance as possible. Around 3:30pm we did a quick pit stop for petrol, tea and snacks, to overcome the disgust of having horrible lunch. Ordered some hot onion pakodas, gobi manchurian, french fries and tea. Relaxed for some 45mins and Hyderabad was some 120kms away.

We rode nonstop through the highway to reach Hyderabad outskirts at around 6:00pm. This was the peak hours and traffic was just getting piled up. It took us 1 and an half hour to reach our hotel, which was some 10kms away. Hotel Fortune Residency is a decent budget hotel, well-furnished and well-maintained place for travelers. Deluxe AC room was just Rs 900 per night and it was a real steal deal. Unloaded the bags, finished check-in formalities and got inside our respective rooms. We all decided to quickly freshen up and head out to see the famous Charminar and eat what Hyderabad is famous for, BIRIYANI and where else to have biriyani when you are in Hyderabad, than in Paradise.

30mins and we were out in the streets of Hyderabad. Amruthesh went pillion with Arun and Atul and I on our bike. 9pm and the city was still hustling bustling with the city dwellers like any other usual metro city. We had challenge locating the Paradise outlet as the nearest outlet shown by Google was the take away counter. Some more Googling and finally we were in the Begumpet outlet. By now all four of us were famished and the aroma of freshly prepared biriyani was filling the mouth with water. Luckily we got a table for four and immediately placed our orders, chicken biriyani, mutton biriyani, veg biriyani, khubani ka meetha and some coke. The wait finally ended when we were served with hot yummy authentic Hyderabadi biriyani. People say that the Paradise in Hyderabad serves way better biriyani than in Bangalore, we somehow felt the taste to be same. Yet no joy can surpass the love of having biriyani. Atul did take a time lapse video of us devouring the food as well.

Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-644.jpg

With such a sumptuous dinner, we and our tummy, all happy. Paid the bills, took the bikes and headed towards the Charminar. The city is just so lively even at that time of night. A 10 mins ride and we were witnessing one of the most beautiful monument of India. There was some festival going on today and it was like a mela within the vicinity of Charminar. Flowers, fruits, decorations, every time of shops were open, flock of crowds, people singing some prayers in chorus and what not. Charminar being the heart of Hyderabad is one of the most recognized structures in India. The beauty of this Islamic architecture is just splendid and breath-taking. Some parts of the monument was under-going construction yet it looked so mesmerizing. We stopped by at a place less crowded and took some pictures, enjoying the grand and majestic art of human kind. Around 11:30pm we left Charminar and headed for a quick round-about in Hussain Sagar Lake before heading to hotel.

Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_5545.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_5549.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8817.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8822.jpg


Hussain Sagar Lake is a heart shaped lake built somewhere in 16th century and is one of the largest man-made lake situated at the confluence of Hyderabad, Begumpet and Secunderabad. There is a huge monolith Buddha statue right in the middle of the lake and apparently it is the world’s largest monolith of Gautama Buddha. We spent some time here and decided to head back towards the hotel.

By 12:15am we reached hotel, all retired for the day. Ride was coming to an end and tomorrow, we are heading home, the last leg of our journey.

Day 19 – to Bangalore (578kms via Kurnool > Anantapur > Chikkaballapura NH44)

Finally the day is here, the day we finish our ride and head home. I think these are those special moments in everyone’s life when we feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because we are about to reach home and sad, because every good thing has to come to an end one day and likewise, this 19 days RANN ride of ours was coming to an end today.

Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-dsc_8807.jpg

All of us got up around 8am, quickly freshened up, packed bags for the last time, loaded on the bike, completed the check-out formalities and by 10am, we were out from the hotel. As usual, faced the peak traffic hours as it was a weekday and touching the highway took us sometime. Did a quick petrol break before we hit the highway and start twisting the throttle. People say that the Hyderabad Bangalore highway is one of the most boring one and one just needs to keep going on and on. Today, we decided to take lesser breaks and plan was to reach home early, at least before midnight but somehow the heat was getting onto us and we were getting exhausted. Moreover, Arun’s bike had some suspension issues so we had to go a bit slower as well.

Around 12:30pm we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Ordered rotis, chilli chicken, paneer butter masala and some cold drinks. An hour’s rest and we started our ride again. Afternoon rides after lunch, on such a boring highway is always exhausting and non-exciting. Somehow we pushed ourselves despite all four of us feeling drowsy in order to cover distance. Around 3pm we crossed Kurnool and yet another 360kms left to reach Bangalore. In order to do away with drowsiness we decided to do a pit stop for some tea after a toll gate. Relaxed, clicked our final group picture, had tea and by 4:30pm started the ride.

Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-646.jpg
Ride to the Jewels of Western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) : A voyage of 7500 kms across 9 states-647.jpg

With the Sun getting a bit cooler and tea helping us kick back in action, from now on the boys made all possible efforts to cover kilometers faster. We crossed Anantapur and then after a while entered Karnataka. Took a small petrol break and we were now some 120kms away. Rode continuously and 9:30pm, we reached the Nandi Hills cross. As a last dinner together (well, obviously for this ride) we stopped at Indian Paratha Company, aka IPC. Ordered some piping hot parathas, lassi and tea. While we had our food we relished all the good and memorable moments of this journey, laughed, smiled, cracked jokes, pulled each other’s leg. By 10:30pm we geared up and headed for the last part of this ride. Arun bid us goodbye from Hebbal, he took the outer ring road and Amruthesh, Atul and I took the city road. Lesser traffic helped us reach home by 11:45pm. Amruthesh spent some 10 mins and headed out to his home. Atul and I unloaded the bike, looked at each other and yes, 19 days just passed by and the ride is over!

This was the tale of our 19days RANN Ride, innumerable memories for lifetime, a journey which is the beginning of many such rides to come. Hope you all liked it. Thank you for taking time out and read the travelogue.

The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page – until the next ride!!
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Old 26th April 2017, 08:39   #30
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Thanks a lot for that detailed trip report Nandita. Good pics and lots of details. Driving around 19 days in a car is taxing and I cant imagine doing it on a bike from one corner of the country to another. Hats off to you guys for not just planning the drive but also going through with it and seeing it to the end!
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