Rajasthan (Day 2) - TrustVishwas
Day 2 : 6.4.2012 : Friday : Ratlam to Pushkar – 410 km
We both got up fairly early at 5 am and were lucky to get tea/coffee in the morning. Funny thing is tea & coffee were served in the small steel buckets normally used to serve Dal. There was no chance of getting any breakfast so early.
Photos of us preparing to leave from our hotel
We both were fresh and eager to resume our ride. If possible, we wanted to stop over at Chittorgarh, see the fort and then continue towards Pushkar. The NH79 road was amazing, no traffic at all and we both were easily cruising around 120-130 kmph for an hour or so. Suddenly I saw Amit flashing his lights and honking. I stopped on side of the road. Amit came and told me that my saddlebag was burning and some part of hit his helmet. I had absolutely no clue that the bag was on fire.
Was aghast to see a large hole in the saddlebag. All the items inside were either burned, boiled or melted. Mobile chargers for both phones – melted. Oil lube can – fizzing. Foot pump – cardboard cover on fire & air hose melted. Spirits bottle carried for medicinal purpose – boiling. Clothes – extremely hot. It was a catastrophe. It was extremely difficult to visualize riding ahead with the torn bag.
While we waited for things to cool down a bit, shot some photos of a railway passing by. Photo of burnt saddle bag-
Found a discarded corrugated box at a nearby dhaba. Used it to stuff inside the bag so at least things won’t fall out. Refilled contents of the burnt bag. Readjusted it to ensure that it does not touch silencer again.
We pushed off after a break of around 20 minutes and had to stop in next couple of km because the saddlebag was touching silencer again. Readjusted it and pushed off.
Had to stop again in couple of km because the bag was again touching silencer. However I loaded the saddlebag, it was still touching silencer.
Had at least 4-5 of these kind of stops in next half hour. Told Amit to ride behind me just to keep an eye on things if they start falling out. May be this was a signal for ominous things to come.
We crossed Madhya Pradesh border and were greeted by Rajasthan by presenting one of the worst pieces of road seen anywhere. So much for the saying ‘पधारो म्हारो देस’. This lousy excuse for a road continued for next 20-25 km. By this time it was nearly 9 am and started getting hot.
Ninja owners would understand when I say that riding fully kitted out at slow speeds on broken roads is very demanding; especially in heat.
We had no breakfast, had suffered from too many stops and there were no hotels / dhabas in sight. We did not dare to enter to what all eating places that were available because of their apparent fantastic hygiene standards.
Filled up fuel from a pump before Chittorgarh. Rode further 10-15 km and found out a decent hotel on a petrol pump. We had taken nearly 3.5 hours to cover this distance of 200 km. The hotel was deserted and the owner / waiter was thrilled to see us. He hovered around us not believing his luck in getting at least one customer that day. Had a decent breakfast of Phaphada, Khari, Poha, Coffee etc.
We both tweaked our plans of sightseeing at Chittorgarh because there was no place where we could store our riding gear, helmets, saddle and tank bags. Decided to head directly towards Pushkar.
A bit after Chittorgarh, we again were on a 4 lane highway and started riding faster. The road was amazing and we were covering distance easily. However, in just 50 km, I found that Amit was lagging behind. Stopped below a fly over (to get protection from sun) and asked him to drink up available water. After a 5 min break, we were fresh again and we decided to stop every 70-100 km for water break.
If you are riding fast in sun, you don’t sweat much but are constantly losing water without knowing it. Only way to counter this is to keep drinking water without waiting to be thirsty.
By 1 pm, we were near Bandanwara. Took a longish break of 15 odd minutes. I drank two bottles of Masala Soda while Amit consumed whole bottle of mineral water. Shopkeeper and other curious guys (who always gathered when we parked our Ninja anywhere) guided us on correct road to Pushkar. Thanking them we pushed off.
Bandhanwara to Ajmer was just 40 odd km and they passed in blink of the eye. Everyone we asked, directed us to ride through Ajmer town to reach Pushkar. Everyone said that taking the bypass would add 20+km to our journey.
Traffic inside Ajmer was typical and we two guys on Ninjas loaded to the gills were attraction for everyone. On top of that, we were not sure about the road so had to stop at every corner to ask about directions. I sorely missed my mobile headphones. Nokia has amazing voice guidance system but I had decided not to use headphones throughout the ride so had wisely kept them at home. This serious shortcoming bothered us in each big town we visited.
After 15 odd minutes inside Ajmer, we reached the road to Pushkar. There is a small ghat section on that road. One local swift owner wanted to race with us. Initially we let him go ahead. However, being on bikes and on small roads, we used to catch up with him in max couple of minutes. Finally, I got bored and zoomed ahead.
Finally reached Pushkar, our day’s destination. Hotel Sarovat. A Heritage building originally named as Man Mahal built by Maharaja Man Singh-1, between 1590 to 1614 AD. Owned by RTDC. It is amazingly good condition.
Certification that this property is indeed owned by RTDC came immediately on entering. The reception had our booking but wanted us to go out and get Xerox copies of our photo id. We both not so politely refused to go out.
Passage to our room
The rooms were fantastic, big, spacious, comfortable and well worth the money.
What was not worth the money was food part. We rushed to the dining room fearing that lunch time would get over. Saw 8-10 guys already waiting for their food without any sign of any kind of waiters or servers. Went inside the kitchen to ask. Got the prompt reply that “आप पधारीये. किसीको भेज देंगे”. I had couple of business calls to attend to so asked Amit to go ahead and order whatever he liked. Came back after 15 minutes to see that he had ordered two thali just because that would be the fastest dish available. It reaffirmed our belief that we should not bother eating again at the hotel.
Went back to the room, took much needed bath, had small rest and then we both went out for local sightseeing. Whole town of Pushkar is located around the Pushkar lake.
Pushkar is a market oriented towards foreign tourists and nothing much attracts us Indians. It is another thing that the first part of our sightseeing consisted of finding a bag repair shop. Unable to find any shop, we enquired about cobbler. Also please note that Pushkar is a VEG & DRY town.
Finally found the one and only cobbler in Pushkar. Eventhough we were unable to find the Municipal Corporation Building where he sits. Negotiated with him and got the bag repaired for Rs.150/-. You can see the size of hole in the bag.
While he was repairing bag, we went and had darshan at the World’s only Bramha Temple.
I had thought that being world’s only Bramha temple, it would be heavy rush there. However, finished our darshan in 5 min flat.
While returning, had darshan at Narsimha Temple as well.
Still the bag was not repaired so searched around for tea shop. Had tea / coffee sitting on top of a gutter which incidentally was better than sitting inside the shop. I had the pleasure of drinking from the world’s smallest disposable cup.
Here is me supervising bag repair –
Finally got the bag repaired. Now on agenda was various ghaats of Pushkar lake.
Saw some modified bullets meant for renting out to foreign tourists.
Dropped the repaired bag at hotel. Amit had some monkey business err….. wanted to take photos of monkeys.
Amit suddenly had an urge of visiting Ajmer Dargah. I was not very fond of going back to Ajmer. However, on his insistence, we went to Ajmer. Some photos of the route :
View of Ajmer town from Ghat section
Me taking these photos
Reached Ajmer to find out that helmets are compulsory in Ajmer. We had kept our helmets in Pushkar and did not want to go back 20 km to fetch them. Just trusted our luck and rode towards the Dargah. Asked local autorickshaw wallas. They asked for 60 bucks for 2 km ride. No one stopped us. May be people were afraid of stopping black Ninja. Black being colour of bike and colour of both of us :)
Shopkeepers near Dargah have found new business. They have emptied their shops and converted them into pay-n-park shops.
Amit went inside the Dargah for darshan. I was not interested in visiting the Dargah so found a barbershop nearby and had a refreshing Head & Back massage for 100 bucks. By the time I finished having massage, Amit was back. It seems there was massive rush inside so he elected to return.
After this, we both had long discussions with a chai tapari owner about probable locations for having non veg food. Finally, the search settled down on Chamunda hotel. However, this hotel was so elusive, it took us nearly half an hour to search for it. However, the hotel was decent (we were able to sit inside, lift our spirits ;-) and have food).
After our dinner, we returned to our hotel in moonlight around 10 pm.
Flavour of the day
MP kid to father : “ Papa, I can tell you even with closed eyes when the border of Madhya Pradesh ends and border of Rajasthan starts?’
Father : “ Beta, how?”
MP kid to father : “ Its very easy and you can find that even with closed eyes. Just when your bike starts going through potholes and you feel as if you would break all the parts of your bike, you have entered Rajasthan.“
- Author: by PTR