India Tour - Pune-Mumbai-Jaisalmer-Amritsar-Manali-Patna-Vizag-Vellore-Banglore-Pune
It all started around 5 years back when I first heard about the GQ. Always dreamt of riding on them but always got discouraged due to a various reasons with the most common being funds.I do not like riding solo, so in search of partner I was which I did not get after searching high and low. So on 16th May I decided to do a big ride. Once a plan made, there isn't any reason to stop. So without informing anyone I started preparing. I got off from office at 1:00AM 17th May 2013. Quitely switched off my phone and disposed it at my locker. Reached home collected my stuff which compromised of my wallet, my riding watch, 2 sets of T-shirt and a pair of jeans. I was avoiding too much luggage so ignored too much stuffs and dropped off the idea of carrying my SLR for which I am still repenting. Managed to carry my makeshift tent as I wasn't exactly planning to stay in hotels and spend. For communications, I carried my basic Motorola phone.With all things nicely accommodated in a backpack, I still had space to accommodate chain spray, some emergency medicines, first-aid kit and a visor cleaner. Everyone was deep asleep and as they were not informed I left them a note saying 'I will be back in around 10days. Will be off the grid.' Switched off the office phone and kept it at home. Tiptoed off the house, locked it and pushed my bike little far, lest the engine's noise would wake up everyone.
DAY 1 Ride:
The petrol indicator was showing 4 bars and my wallet was having only 300ish. With all money in my card, had to stop at a ATM first then at the pump. So the first stop was at hardly 3 kms far from house at the Union bank atm and sadly that was out of service. A hundred yards far was the hdfc atm, which thankfully was working. Next stop was for fuel and in Pune there are only handful of pumps which are 24/7 open. Reached the Pune RTO and filled up full tank. People were eyeing me as if I was an alien carrying all those aluminum rods and that big bag. Even 2-3 people came and asked me what I was upto. After a tankful took off to Chandni Chowk, Pune. Thats the place where I generally tend to start a ride every time.Took on to the NH4. I was cruising happily at triple digits. I was atlast free after a long time. Free from all burdens and tensions of life. It was all dark as it was the dead of night. Reached Dehu Road. I had hopes of having Tea here which were dampened. Few times Pankaj, TenHut, and few others used to come here for tea at night. The stall was closed. So continued on. Finally at Lonavala, near Rama Krishna hotel I found a stall open. After a quick tea, 2 cig and a packet of chips I was on my bike continuing my journey.Road is my destination, it has been always. I was continuing straight into the NH4. The air was filled with insects. Reached Mumbai finally after a trecherous journey via Khopoli where I nearly lost my way off the Express way. Managed my way to reach the Gujrat highway, thanks to the last Daman ride. The sun was rising. I finally had to stop somewhere for a quick nap. I wanted to get off Gujrat by nighfall. The view of the rising sun and the warmer air was so comfortable that I was getting sleepy. Finally after munching some more kilometers I finally stopped at rodside resturant in Gujrat. Was so sleepy that I went in and had power nap on the table itself!Woke up at round 9:30. After having a breakfast of jalebis and samosa, I continued on my ride. The roads in Gujrat were just great! Straight arrow shot roads with very less traffic and less trucks than I am used to. It was little boring to ride like that. Reached Valsad somewhere near afternoon. I was quite weary by now. Had my lunch, gujrathi thali. It was tasty but was filled to the brim. I had hoped to stay light. Eating too much meant sleep problems while riding. Tried to get hold of some energy drinks and was lucky to get few packs T-Zingya.Again started on the straight roads. The tolls on these roads are huge! Literally! I reached Padra at dusk. I wanted to reach Vadodara for the night fall but I was too tired. Without taking more risk on the foreign land I checked in into a tiny hotel in the town. Got a cozy room and a good parking place for my bike. I was in no mood to take down all the mammoth load down from the bike so let it be there, only asked them to keep an eye on the bike. The entire hotel was locked and I came to know then that the hotel stays open till 10:30 and closes later on. I had only 2 cigs left with me and I had not seen any shop while coming to the hotel. I left the idea and crashed into the coziness of my room and soon fell sleep.
DAY 2 Ride:
Got up at around 10 to a knock on the door. A staff told me that my checkout time was 11. Got ready with a hot shower in which I nearly got burnt! Checked out at 11:30 after paying with my card 500rs. My bike was safe and nothing ws tampered with. I rode off into the locality and spotted a tiny shack. Had breakfast of a plate of dhokla and coupled with chai and couple of kachoris. It was incredibly cheap. I had plans to visit the Pariej Lake near Vadodara. I continued my journey onto the highway. Upon reaching the turn towards the lake, I had started thinking of skipping the lake. So continued straight to Gandhinagar. It was around 3PM and I was starting to feel my empty stomach. Not willing to have the effects of a full stomach of yesterday's ended up having a pack of biscuits. Finally got a pawn shop and got my cigarette stock refilled. I wanted to get out of Gujrat and get to Rajasthan, for one reason - Daaru!I made my way to Mehsana, Phatan and then via Radhanpur. Had to get on Radhanpur-Jaisalmer highway. As expected previously this was even deserter road than the previous ones. They were completely empty and I was the only one traversing those beautiful roads! I took up my cruising speeds to the excess of 140s. There were hardly any towns, tolls, people or animals. I could feel the climate change. The air was going cooler and cooler. The eerie of watching the sunset on those roads has a very different feel. I was in no mood to continue travel at night in the dead of those roads. I was looking to camp somewhere near the road nd finally got place.It was little bushy with a slight deep ground. It provided some sort of a premisise. Setup the tent. Got some twigs to light a fire. Was carrying dried foods and water and a tiny bottle of kerosene. Had no tension of wild animals venturing into my tent and nor of food. all I wanted was to rest. The wind changed direction. Was lucky that I had my tent that side. Sprayed kerosene around the camp. kerosene odor keeps out wild animals, scorpions and snakes. Lit a fire and after some cigs and entertainment on my phone I went to sleep. Woke up twice at night, once as a fox or a dog probably came too close to my tent and once some truck was revving madly close to where I had camped.
Day 3 Ride:
My slumber was broken with the first rays of the sun and my phone's alarm. It was around 7 and after few moments of lazing around the tent I started packing up. It was fun tenting in nowhere. Soon I was on the saddle and speeding towards my destination Jaisalmer sand dunes. Crossed Barner, had tea and met a few Gujju college students. My attire had attracted them. After having a chat with them and the girls clicking pictures with my alongside I started off after bidding adieu to them. It was 12 and the heat was beating me down! Was sweating profusely. Reached Jaisalmer around 4PM. The heat had slowed me down a lot.I proceeded to get a hotel to keep my belongings as I wanted to head into the dunes. Got myself cozy place in some rajwada turned hotel but it was costly! I had finished my stock of water and I had dreaded for the moment. It was 50Rs a bottle of water!! I was too afraid to ask the price of an ice cream. The climate was again getting cooler. I decided to get around the city after I get around this Haveli. It was much decorated with good works. I could not understand their lingo most of the times. Visited Tazia fort and then a rain water lake. Both the places were full with international travelers. Met a group of Europeans who were enjoying their time here for the past month. When they heard about my travels they were quite interested to hear from me. Got myself invited to dinner with them. It was quality time spent after a bike ride in the city post dinner. I asked them if they would be interested to go to the desert and camp for 2 days to which they immediately agreed. Next 2 days we spent on camel backs idling around in the hot desert and touring admidst of a sea of sand. One of the girls, Tanisha nearly had a heat stoke on the 2nd day. After we retuned we had a great party as next day I was to leave.
Day 4 Ride:
It was 10AM. Yesterday's daaru was little too much. The handover was bad, but the disprin did solve the problem. It was already too hot. The haveli where I was staying had its own speciality. In the morning a boy comes on camel's back and sells tea directly through your room's window. It does tastes a little different. I took off at around 12 after paying a hefty 5k for my stay. Before leaving the city I again stumbled into those foreigners while having breakfast. They were quite taken aback seeing my avatar.Reached Bikaner at around 2PM. The traffic on the highway was increasing as I surged forward. By the time I was around Suratgarh, the scene had changed. There were lots of trucks on the dusty road and Punjabi dhabas on the roadsides. It was 9PM in the evening and I had reached SriGanganagar, Punjab. I din't want to spend much money on accomodation. I continued my journey and finally at around 2AM I reached the outskirts of Amritsar. I made my way to a nearby dhaba and asked for accomodation. I was guided to a nearby hotel. On my way I met a police who got alerted to the mountain tied on the bike's rear seat, to my attire and my bike's registration number but later helped me to get accomodation. Even got a good discount. Bless that good sardarji uncle whose slumber I broke. Flowing white beard till hip and a staunch personality was a strange sight for me. I was welcomed and given a room.In the morning I went to visit the golden temple and the surroundings. Had langar and it was tastylicios! It was great to be there. The feeling was different. It felt as if the air and the gurubani being recited gave it a spiritual feel. Was there till the evening. Ventured out in the evening into the cool surrounding. The feel is unexplainable! The next day I spent roaming around Amritsar and till evening I found myself at Chandigarh. I was carrying all my luggage. I went to Patiala for a drink and by god I did drink daaru like never before. Patiala di peg and Patiala di lassi di koi jawab nahi soniyo! Dinner consisted of the famous punjabi dish, makke di rotti mhaska maar ke, Butter chicken and more lassi as desert. After dinner I was not able to move. The dhaba owner fixed me a place for the night.
Day 5 Ride:
Got up at around 6AM to the tune of something being prepared in desi ghee. After a good pet-puja I got ready to leave. Thanked the owner who was a young sardarji and had taken my tale of my travels to his liking. He have me his phone number and told me that if I required any help in North India, just give him a call. I ws quite thankful to this guy!.Started at 9AM for Shimla which was only 200kms. Reached my destination at around 2PM. The scenic beauty did quench my hunger and thirst. It was 200kms from there to Manali. I had the day and I decided to continue. The roads were little bad here and with the temperture falling gradually as I proceed. Before long I was face to face with snowy roads and yes it was fun. I was running around on the snow like a crazy person and fell on the snow a few times. Few cars crossed me. I got myself a tiny but cozy room on the outskirts with a amazing view of the mountains. The nightfall here was earlier.Lit fire at the fireplace and then started daru again. By this time I ws cursing myself first time on the journey for not bringing the camera. The moonlight on the snowcapped mountains made them shine like pearls. I was still adjusting to the surroundings and to the temperature and was feeling unwell. Next morning I did wake up with fever. With no choice I had to stay as I could not ride with a high fever.Two days later I recovered and rather than going up I chose to return to the plains.
Day 6,7 & 8 Ride:
It was early morning in the mountains when I started for my return to Shimla. Stayed at shimla for the night that day. In the morning started for Ambala which was quite a short trip. Had food and started towards Meerut. It was proper North India crowd and I did feel good. Reached Meerut at round 3PM. Had some snacks and decided to continue more. I was not at all feeling tired. The energy drinks were still with me. It was 8PM and I had battled through the massive traffic and had reached Mathura. Got a hotel for my stay, thanks to Cleartrip.com for the massive database and the comparisons.Before leaving the holy city I wanted to visit the temple of Lord Krishna and take his blessings. The temple was a huge one and as it was a weekday the crowd was very less. I was done within an hour. I thought of visiting Vrindavan also as it was 10kms. Security was too heavy in these parts. After I was done with all the visits I took off to Agra. It was barely 60kms and I stumbled onto Agra. Visited The Taj and surroundings and was done by 4PM.Today I was in total mood of doing a night ride through UP. I booked a hotel at Allahbad and told them I would be reaching late night at around 4AM. Again thanks to ClearTrip.com for helping me out here. It was fun riding through the state and did not feel any type of emminent threat as people had told me previously. It was rubbish. All in All It was complete fun till Kanpur. After here I had much problems with the stupid insects those were attacking my visor. Reached the city of Allahbad and there was very few poeple visible till I reached my hotel.
Day 9 Ride:
The next day I started at around 11AM in hopes held high to reach Patna. Crossed the ancient city of Vanarsi and to Patna. The Ganges was very wide in these parts and yes it did look fearsome. I could make out the current was still going strong. This was the land of holy babas and sadhus. It was around 5:30PM and the setting sun looked fabulous from the banks of the Ganges. I followed the route via the banks of the Ganges to end up at Bhagalpur. It was night fall and I started feeling too tired. Hd one of the energy drinks and started searching for a place to crash in. Finally settelled for 600bucks.
Day 10 Ride:
I started from Bhagalpur and still followed the bnks of the Ganges to Farakka, West Bengal and via Siuri reached Durgpur, my birthplace. Always wanted to visit the place again on bike. Stayed here for 2 days and met friends before continuing the journey. Most of my childhood friends are at Kolkata or outstation and some married and well settled with their hubbies! This was new to me as I had simply dissapeared after a small incident in a love affair. However I visited our ancient house with much reluctance. Its now home to my great family of uncles and god-knows-who! However I escaped in and under an hour after meeting my cousin.
Day 11 Ride:
It was already morning 11AM and lest any of my great family came to know of me and staying at hotel it will be very bad impression. So I took off and the destination in mind was a beach in Bay of Bengal. Being a bengali, Puri is a beach which is fantsized by all the bengali speaking public. However I had to cut short at Cuttack, Orissa as riding in Orissa isn't everyones piece of cake. I however am not at all comfortable riding in Orissa due to various reasons ranging from language to roads and people. The highways were great. The trucks were greater. Both sides of the highways were farm lands and huge crops were standing. Could remember the highways of Punjab. Reached Cuttack at 8ish PM and checked into a moderate hotel. The people around were amazed to see the mountain of bags tied to the bike's rear. Food here was good Orrisean se food.
Day 12 Ride:
Next morning I straight went for Puri, a sea beach at Bay of Bengal. Booked a shack for myself and was enjoying the blue sea. I felt as if I was back in Goa except there was no daaru freely available and they did cost much. I stayed there for 3 days. In course of time I befriended a beautiful group of people.
Day 13 Ride:
Started riding from Puri at around 6AM. It ws around 2PM when I reached Vishakhapatnam or Visag as one can call it. I wanted to see the lights of the port. Its naustalgic. I camped on the outskirts of Dwarka Nagar, Vizag for the night. The night was cold and windy. I didn't feel well here. However I took the precautions of spreading what was left of the kerosene around the camp and went to sleep.
Day 14 Ride:
The next morning, as anticipated, I had caught a bad cold. However I got going. Target for today was Chennai. By the time I crossed kakinada, I was health detoriated. Reached Guntur at 5PM. Tried to get a room but was said 'NO' as it was all full. My health was too bad and I was not in condition to ride. However I tried the nearby towns in search of accomodation but it was finally after 300kms where I got decent hotel to spend the night. The town was Nellore.Next morning I visited a doctor. He gave me medications which did not work out. My health did still detoriate further. Called my family doctor. Told him the entire story of what happened. He told me to take 2 tabs. My health got a little better and after being stuck for 4 days at Nellore I finally bid adieu.
Day 15 Ride:
My health was okay. took the medication and got to ride. I had decided I could not do Rameshwara-Kanyakumari this time. Today's target was Banglore via Tirupati. I crossed Tirupati into Vellore and finally Bangalore. I had crossed the hill at Vellore from where I fell and got saved from a certain death. It was a weekday and I really had to struggle with the traffic. Asked a friend if I could come to his place to which he readily agreed. After he saw me he was completely confused about me. His question, 'Why exactly did you go around India on a two wheeler?' How could I explain him the passion.
Day 16 Ride:
Today was the last leg of this trip. My health was still bad and had no hopes of recovering any soon. My chest was paining and cough was too bad. The day before I had reached Banglore. I started after having a good rest of more than 36 hours. It was 5AM in the morning. Had to reach Pune today. I had done this route numerous times before but today was a different question. It took me more than 15 hours to complete this journey. My body had given away. Energy drinks were nothing close to working. Ciggarettes had worsend the condition. I was getting tired very easily. It was the most tiresome part of my entire journey.
I had wanted to do entire south India but thanks to my health, I failed. The memories of north India will be forever cherished in my memory. Till this day I curse myself for not carrying the camera. I had a very bad case of common cold and some type of dust allergy. I was roaming the lands for over a month without informing anyone from my home. After I reached home, I got a good dosage of lectures.
Whoever reading this, please never attempt such an act. People do get very upset if you disappear in such conditions which can lead to very unfavorable conditions. Speaking truly from my experience.