Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Orchha Ride

This is Orchha, a small hidden treasure in Madhya Pradesh. It was wonderful to leave behind civilization and ride into the jungles.

Royal Enfield Bullet can surely make it's own way through the wilderness.

Orchha is a very small town studded with magnificent structures. Some of these temples and palaces are very well maintained. A definite treat to the eye. The best part about Orchha... it is non-touristy.

The legend meets history... in Orchha.

On my way to the beautiful (and hidden) hill-station called Shivpuri. Shivpuri was never part of the initial plan but after reading about it in a Madhya Pradesh tourism brochure I decided to take the detour. With views like this on the highway... I must say it was totally worth it.

That is Madhav National Park near Shivpuri. A protected water body of the National Park.

That is my motorcycle on the super-boring Yamuna Expressway.

The rider and the machine...

Orchha is just 16 KM away from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

Well things took an unexpected turn shortly after this pit-stop. The motor-cycle started showing signs of exhaustion! Shivpuri is a small hill-station and the motor-cycle began to give up on me while climbing up the hills. It was indeed scary... fortunately there was a Royal Enfield Bullet Mechanic in Shivpuri.

The intake valves were leaking...

The problem was resolved after almost four hours of work. I am so glad I found a good mechanic in this small town. That is the best thing about Royal Enfield Bullet... you can find mechanics almost everywhere in India.

On the way back to Delhi. Sadly because of the repair downtime I couldn't see much of Shivpuri. Anyways, that gives us a reason to return. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mulshi : Makes you an escapist !

Mulshi around 45 Kms from Pune is an overnight ride from Bombay. Mulshi is a beautiful man-made lake which offers a great escape to riders in Bombay and Pune. The only problem with Mulshi is .... addiction. Because there is unmatched peace and unthinkable solitude around here, you can go for long walks by the lake and spot some exquisite birds. The feeling of escape heightens all the more when you see your cellphone struggling to get some network ! There are just a few spots here where you might get reliance network ... but why even bother about it.
During sunsets you can see the lake changing its colors and hills bringing alive those images of sceneries you drew in your play school ! Every sunset here is special and there is nothing much to do post sunset here as the village goes to sleep early.

Distance : 180 Kms from Bombay (approx)

Reaching there : Take the road to Mulshi from Chandni Chowk in Pune.

Road conditions : Bombay to Pune, the roads are excellent. Pune to Mulshi, the roads are not that great. There are some real rough patches from Pune to Mulshi.

Do not miss : Walking by the lake, camping and going there on a full moon light !

Igatpuri via Jawhar : "and the road becomes my bride"

This is a overnight ride and it needs to be done that way. In the last post I have written about the ride to Jawhar. From Jawhar one can either return to Bombay or keep going and ride to Igatpuri. The ride to Igatpuri from Jawhar is like a scene from some period film where every frame of each scene is crafted with precision. This winding road will take you through lakes, streams, grasslands, small dams, hills and waterfalls. The only traffic you might encounter would be some indifferent cow on road. This road I believe would be the cleanest stretch of tarmac in Maharashtra. There are hundreds of places on the way where you can stop, relax, take pictures and get rejuvenated. This is a great ride and I highly recommend this one.

Distance : Around 250 Kms from Bombay

Reaching there : Bombay - Choroti - Jawhar - Mokhada - Igatpuri. The ride is pretty easy after Jawhar.

Road Conditions : Like a dream !

Do not miss : This ride.

Jawhar : Country Roads ...

The ride to Jawhar is a very simple one day ride from Bombay. There is nothing much you can actually do here at Jawhar ... and I guess that is the beauty of it. The road to Jawhar after Charoti will take you through jungles, fields, streams and beautiful villages. It is one of the most scenic ride in Bombay's 200 Km radius.

Distance : 175 Kms from Bombay

Reaching there : Take western expressway to get out of city and onto NH8. From Charoti crossing, take the righttowards Nasik (the left will go to Dahanu). Keep going straight and follow directions to Jawhar.

Road Conditions : Very Good.

Do not miss : The local snacks at Jawhar are really good. The local bhajiya made from paav is unique and sure is a must try.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Riding from Bombay ...

I would always agree that roads in Bombay suck. They are just terrible to say the least. I do not think there would be any other metro in this world with such appalling road conditions. This for some reason however, has worked really well for me and my Royal Enfield Bullet 350.

The real riders want to go out and ride free. They didn’t buy that Motorcycle of theirs to ride to work every day and occasionally to the near-by mall. They want to take that motor-cycle out on the open roads, where they can just unleash its power and feel the wind on their face. Since Bombay provides no such opportunity, hence riders from this city make things happen on NH8, NH4, NH3 and NH17. These highways are pretty accessible from Bombay (Thank God for that) and are in pretty top-class conditions.

After Panvel (60 Kms from city) you get access to NH4 and NH17. NH4 goes to Bangalore and NH17 goes to Cochin (as far as I know) via Goa. I have been on both these highways several times and I enjoy them equally. NH17 is extremely scenic, with crowded villages and towns every once in a while and great sea-food after Kolad. One can experience lives in small fishing towns, the roads on the coast, forts and light-houses and some exquisite beaches on this road amongst million other things. NH4 on the other hand has very different character. The old Bombay-Pune highway can well be termed as ‘Rider’s test track’, no wonder you will find riders riding everything from a 100 CC Bajaj bike to a 2500 CC Ducati. The road from Panvel to Khopoli is smooth, quiet, curvy and scenic. From Khopoli to Lonavala , it’s a beautiful steep climb offering some great views of the Ghats and Expressway. After crossing Lonavala, the road becomes even more beautiful. The ride becomes easier, the roads remain flawless, some great dhabas appear on the roadside and in no time you reach Dehu-Road. Take a right from that signal and you can keep riding this magical road till Bangalore.

NH8 is special to me because it is ‘the road home’ for me. If I ride 1230 Kms from Bombay on NH8, I will reach Jaipur (my hometown). NH8 is the road you will take if you want to ride to Rann of Kutchh, Ahmedabad or for that matter Daman. The western express highway would lead you to NH8, after Dahisar check naka. The roads however aren’t too great for around 100 Kms. Around Choroti check naka (120 Kms I believe), you start getting the real road. The sights of fields are treat to the eyes and the food around is another reward for the rider. While the Western Express Highway leads you to the busy NH8, the Eastern Express highway gets you to a quieter NH3. NH3 would start after Thane and becomes really great post Bhiwandi. The highway has just been made into a surreal four lane expressway and riding here is sheer joy. The roads around Kasara Ghat and Igatpuri would impress any rider and make sure that he comes back again.

There are many rides that can be done on these great roads if you are in Bombay. These roads have some great places to be seen, forts to be conquered, beaches to be enjoyed and food to fall in love with.

Ride 'free' brother ...

On that exquisite road,
One to the horizon,
Which is encroached by wild flowers,
Where you have empathetic sun.

When at every turn,
you are made to think,
how wasted your life would be,
if you had never seen.

The wind kisses your face,
And butterflies cross your way,
The indifferent cow makes you realize,
That this life is not a race.

You ride at your own pace,
Instead of those electronic lights,
There are these humble trees…
You stop when you want to,
And you resume when you feel like,
Here every decision is yours.

On that road you meet yourself,
and you know man is very small.
But you don’t want to compare,
There is just so much glee.
At that moment,
When you thank the heavens,
You know ‘you are free’.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amby Valley : Rich Men's Road

The ride to Amby Valley is a very comfortable one day ride for riders in Bombay. Once you hit the NH4 after Panvel, the ride to Amby Valley is a glide. I would recommend rider friends to start early (like 5 AM), so that you can have nice breakfast at Dutta Snacks in Panvel around 6-6.30 AM. After the break-fast, ride will be smooth, comfortable and relaxing. These days its very common to spot group of Ducati, BMW or Yamaha super bikes on NH4. The road to Amby Valley is pretty well marked in Lonavala, so no rider would actually miss the road. There aren't not many places to eat after the Tiger point, though there is a beer shop :)

Distance : 250-280 Kms from Bombay (return ride)

Reaching there : Old Bombay-Pune highway (NH4) from Panvel. Enter Lonavala and take the road Amby Valley road.

Road Conditions : Top Notch

Do not miss : While riding up from Khopoli, after the TATA Power Colony ... you will see a small post office and a tea-stall on the right. Stop there for smoke,tea and vada-pao. The guy is good.