A Motorcycle Road Trip through Majestic Rajasthan

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Motorcycling through the royal state of Rajasthan on a Royal Enfield motorcycle – can’t get any more regal than that! Rajasthan is an incredible destination if you are fond of history, heritage architecture & craftsmanship, since these are things that you will find in abundance in this state. The brilliantly smooth roads with the enticing desert on either side & the heart-warming hospitality of the Rajasthani people will leave you wanting to come back sometime or another.

Entering the state

Entering the state

A bustling market at the base of a monument

A bustling market at the base of a monument

Located in Western India, flanked by the Aravali range & rolling deserts, a motorcycle ride through Rajasthan is not only picturesque, but takes you back to an era of when intricate architecture, impenetrable forts & fairyland palaces held legends of battles, bravery & exuberance. The colourful attire & warm disposition of the people of Rajasthan will; leave you wanting to ride into the narrow lanes of the old cities searching for the next historical monument round the corner.

Happy on wheels

Happy on wheels

On the roads of Rajasthan

On the roads of Rajasthan

We started our ride from Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra & would end up covering 3300kms riding through the most interesting cities of Rajasthan. The route was planned in such a way that we would reach each destination before sundown & enjoy evenings in the flavour of each city taking in the plethora of cultural grandeur it had to offer. Mumbai-Bharuch-Udaipur-Chittorgarh -Jaisalmer-Sam Sandunes-Jodhpur-Pushkar-Ranthambore-Kota was the route we took.

When you travel with your bags tied to the back of your motorcycle & a light pocket to stay at backpacker pads, you meet the most interesting travellers from around the world. You then realise that travelling & getting into the soul of every destination is not about staying in fancy places & having the hotel staff cater to your holiday fusses, but more about meeting fellow travellers, sharing stories of awe & adventure & letting your hair down to let the beat of the city create a magic that stays with you long after you leave the place.

Catching the sunrise

Catching the sunrise

Though the roads throughout Rajasthan are smooth & straight, you just cannot let yourself go into a trance & too happy with the throttle. A lot of the livelihood of rural Rajasthan thrives on cattle rearing & before you know it, there would be a batch of rather skippy goats, unbelievably zoned out sheep & tall wild camels crossing the road, jumping out of the thorny desert bush. Making sure your brakes are well serviced & senses at their alertest best would do you quite a lot of good on this route. Roadkills are extremely common & most accidents on the route are caused not because of rash driving, but because of cattle on the highways. The added fun is when you leave the main highways & bypass towns and ride through villages where mud houses are the palaces of rural Rajasthan & the kids still play with rolling tires & ride buffalos instead of sitting with tablets & gaming consoles. The intrigue & excitement of the village folk as you ride through, puts a smile on your face & the sandy & broken inroads a puncture or two in your tires. Staying hydrated throughout the ride & making sure the tank is filled up is more or less the only other things you need to worry about when touring Rajasthan on a motorcycle.

At our first stop in the Rajasthan, the city of Udaipur turned out to be bustling with Rajput royalty & passion. The 300 year old guest house on the edge of the shimmering Lake Pichola & a bathtub in the middle of the room started off the tour of magical Rajasthan on a stimulating note.  Udaipur being the capital of the kingdom of Mewar, is a city that you have a lot to see  —  from palaces, havelis, temples, handicrafts to lively marketplaces. With a lot of foreign tourists visiting Udaipur, you are bound to be pulled into a lakeside shack with some foreigners playing interesting musical instruments & just chilling.

The ride to Chittorgarh fort is a straightforward 2 hours from Udaipur & is doable as a day trip, which is what we did.  When you visit the forts & palaces of Rajasthan, its advisable to have a guide explain the historical facts behind the architecture & the design , for each monument is crafted keeping strategy, safety & royal exuberance all juxtaposed into one structure.

The Blue City

The Blue City

Rajasthan’s vibrant colors don’t just end with the attire of its people – cities are given a name according to the color the houses are painted in- Jodhpur, The Blue City (this city gets its name from the indigo paint that many Brahmans use in order to cover their houses); Jaisalmer, The Yellow City (Also referred to as ‘the golden city’, because of the color of the shimmering yellow sand stone the forts and houses are made from). It’s amazing to see how people still live in ancient homes throughout Rajasthan & the most delicate carvings can be seen on the most miserly looking homes which you feel might just fall apart if you so much as revved your engine a little too much on the streets, yet they have been standing strong for over 200 years or more.

The traditional musicians of Rajasthan

The traditional musicians of Rajasthan

As you enter Jaisalmer & ride through it to reach the Sam Sandunes, you start seeing more & more military vehicles & hidden surveillance posts, since the Pakistan border lies a few kilometres ahead of Sam Sandunes. Lazily rolling windmills & the camel rides & camp sites for civilians in the middle of the desert will make you feel like you are on a desert sojourn far away from civilisation. Every part of  Rajasthan you stop in will make you feel different emotionally & evoke a different feeling. The city of Pushkar, which is one of the one of the oldest existing cities of India & scattered with temples, will take you into a state of trance & soul searching , the city of Udaipur leaves you drenched in folklore, Jaisalmer will leave you in awe that people still actually stay in a fort made in 1156 AD standing amidst the sandy expanse of the Thar desert, Jodhpur leaves you feeling like you are looking at a painting when you look at the blue topped houses from the top of the gigantic Mehrangarh Fort.

The camels at Sam sandunes

The camels at Sam sandunes

With the camels at Sam Sandunes

A tour of Rajasthan would be incomplete without visiting the famous Ranthambore tiger sanctuary- housing over 60 tigers & spread over 390 sq.kms. As luck would have it, 5 minutes into the early morning safari & we had two majestic tigers amble around the jeeps showing themselves off & making it very evident why they are animals to be admired & feared with their massive builds & beautiful markings. Rathambore offers an overabundance of wildlife from deer, wild boar, crocs, monkeys, black bears to eagles.

Tiger at Ranthambore

Tiger at Ranthambore

Apart from the casual punctures , some battery issues & some hard breaking to avoid cattle road kills, riding through Rajasthan is a dream & quite an exuberating experience. With just me & my hubby on our respective motorcycles, there was not a point when we did not feel safe on the road & help was always at hand a few kms. ahead in villages when we did have breakdowns. The passionate hues of the men’s turbans and women’s traditional dresses, which are a contrast to the yellow desert landscapes, the mystical palaces, the grand fortresses & rugged mountain ranges that line the roads & highways and handicrafts that are guaranteed to leave you wanting more; will enrich every kilometre of your motorcycle journey

What makes it even better is that on two wheels you can explore the cities at your own pace & ride into crannies that would otherwise be inaccessible.

 

 

 

 
 

This post was published by Samiksha Bali

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