Motorcycle adventure tour in Rajasthan – November 2019
Having met up in the hotel bar on the Saturday, it was clear that we may be having a few drinks over the coming days! A bunch of old mates from Australia generally this is the dream group for tour operators like us.
We don’t ride out of Delhi although the Sunday traffic made it look more pedestrian than normal. At Chandni Midway we meet the team Tarun and Topi, the road captain and mechanic. A quick brief of the clear and apparent dangers of the road and off we go heading to Mandawa, a place famous for its Havelis – traditional townhouse or mansion that became populare during the Mughal Empire – and a trading stop on the ancient Silk Road.
A village diversion keeps the route interesting especially for the support van squeezing through with inches to spare. A few G&Ts to stave off any malaria and rather more than a few beers later see the first day in the bag.
The bikes are running well so far and looking like desert machines compared to those that are ridden at home, the word tractors comes up. Smooth tarmac roads sweep through the countryside towards Khimsar our next stop. A large pink fort complete with antique car collection and battlements that offer a big sunset. An oasis in an otherwise nondescript town.
The next day Jaisalmer is our destination and after a morning on country roads the only option is the highway. Lunch brings a highway robbery when the bill could be from a 5 star hotel but the butter chicken is good and the curries rich.
Jaisalmer is a really impressive fort all lit up at night. The dunes the next morning aboard the ships of the desert and Brett does some pretty impressive sand riding. Unbelievably for Jaisalmer the next day brings rain. Flooded streets combined with a stench from the purging of all the drains put the X in Extreme as we crawl out of Jaisalmer towards Jodhpur. Throughout the day it is the heaviest rain in Rajasthan in 10 years a truly miserable ride.
Onto Luni and Fort Chanwa charming old heritage properties before heading to Ranakpur the incredible Jain Temple built with superior craftsmanship, it would be hard not to marvel at the detail. Pizzas ah a welcome change from Butter Chicken or Lal Mas. Onwards to the impressive Fort in Kumbulgarh perched above the road with a commanding view over the Aravali hills a stunning days riding winding through the hills.
Udaipur the Venice of the East as it is known is a feast for the senses centered around the lake adorned by palaces this is one of India’s most beautiful cities. We dine out on one of the many rooftops and soak up the view, with the occasional foray into the bazaar for shopping or shaving one of the great pleasures of the subcontinent.
Castle Bijaipur another characterful heritage property with the owner still introducing himself to the guests to bring a bit of authenticity to our stay. Off to the Tiger Sanctuary the next day in Ranthambore for Tigers and a spot of cricket. The Tigers were easy to spot the next morning not so in the afternoon so the lazy were not rewarded. We explored the fort in the afternoon home to one of the oldest and most famous Ganesh Temples in the world. Ben (Smithy) our resident Naan expert and Ganesh worshipper in his element.
Cricket, well what can I say the Australian touring side were indeed impressive but the Indian local team, far better trained and in the end the discipline showed and we were annihilated in only 4 overs. Moving on!!
Abhaneri Camps has one of the most impressive Step Wells in the country and after a visit and a night’s rest, the road to Delhi via Agra(vation) and the Taj Mahal. Peter’s bike had a late night makeover for the journey. It is not unusual that Delhi claims a couple of wrong turns which split the group and send people into a panic or rage. Today was no different but we did all eventually make it.
A great group of guys to join us on the latest jaunt around the Land of Kings, lots of laughs plenty of things going wrong to add to the adventure and very few injuries except during the cricket match. Jon throwing himself down while running between the wicket, Greg pulling a hamstring fielding and Matt trying to catch a ball with his mouth. Hope to see everyone again soon.