We have just arrived home from the most incredible tour of Rajasthan, India. We want to start with a huge thank you to everyone that made the tour possible, including our incredible passengers. What a trip!
Team Extreme – a small group of ten riders – arrived in Delhi to news that made the tour a little more interesting. Firstly, a smog was lingering over Delhi which wasn’t ideal for travelling, but we kept our fingers crossed it would pass. In addition, the government recently decided to remove the 500 & 1,000 rupee notes from circulation in the entire country in one go. The result being there was limited cash available to exchange and bank queues stretching for miles. In a country where cash is king, we were now also keeping our toes crossed that we could use bank cards on our travels. Welcome to India!
We left Delhi for Mandawa to visit an ancient traders haveli (or traditional townhouse) once part of the Silk Road trade route. Here, we tested the bikes, got used to the odd patch of sand and prepared to hit the road. We were lucky enough to dine under the beautiful supermoon – an amazing first night.
En route to Jaisalmer, we stopped at Khimsar Fort for the night. The view over endless Rajasthani desert – The Land of Kings – was absolutely breathtaking and something that will stay with us forever. We watched the sun go down in awe, sipping a cold beer or two.
We hit the road early the next morning to Jaisalmer – a sand castle guarding over the western Thar desert – which is surrounded by golden sand dunes as far as they eye can see. We take the opportunity to swap our Royal Enfields for camels.
Another day, another fort! The magnificent fort of Mehrangarh in Jodhpur completely dominates the surroundings and is steeped in so much history. Electric blue houses scatter the town in contrast to the sandy yellow. Amongst many theories for the beautiful colour of these buildings, some say it denotes a house of a Brahmin, India’s princely caste. We later cruise into Luni to yet another beautiful fort from yesteryear, Chanwa Fort.
After a morning of flat riding at a good pace, we hit the Aravalli Hills. We have a tasty lunch at the Jain temple of Ranakpur in true Indian style ‘MEALS’ before a winding ride through hills and villages to Kumbulgarh. Motorbike heaven.
The next day was relatively short. We started by heading to the impressive Kumbulgarh Fort a few kilometres down the road, from where we got to see a view of the Aravalli Hills we had covered the day before, which was pretty cool to see. After so much desert riding, when we then came across lakes on the horizon it was a welcome change in the landscape. Before the sun went down we arrived in Udaipur – one of the most stunning cities in all of India – while negotiating our way through the chaos on our Enfields!
Udaipur to Bijaipur Castle is an easy short ride with a view of ancient ruins on distant hillsides and ending up at Bijaipur Castle. It’s a real throwback to the past, especially when we met with a resident 13th generation maharajah.
Our next stop, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, was 300km away, but we managed the whole thing in one day. The terrain and landscape were so varied and interesting – not to mention colourful – that it didn’t feel nearly as far.
After a couple of safari trips we were suddenly rewarded for our patience. We all watched in awe for over an hour as a tigress emerged from the wilderness and roamed the land, completely ignoring our presence. It was a truly magnificent sight.
The final day takes us on good roads as we say farewell to our bikes which are trucked to Delhi. It’s always good to see how people adapt to Indian riding and by the time they have come this far they’re ready for anything!
We head to Agra, or Aggravation as it is sometimes known – you get the general idea! We couldn’t leave India without seeing the Taj Mahal. A majestic building towering above. The sheer size and craftsmanship is unfathomable and something to behold. We carry on towards Delhi for the final dinner.
A huge thank you to all those who made it possible behind the scenes. Gufram our trusty mechanic, Chandon riding pillion and the fixer and Anil our support driver.
We can’t wait for the next tour already – bring on Sri Lanka!