So, the day began with a lot of excitement as I planned to head out towards Jaisalmer, a city by the desert which was approximately 550 kms from my bed in Udaipur, I had to get going soon so I packed up by 9.30 AM, had breakfast at JMB and immediately sodded off. Now, Kumbalgarh fort was on the way and since I was in Rajasthan, I thought I should visit at least one fort, even though I had to choose a longer route for it. The first thing to arrive as soon as one exits Udaipur towards Kumbalgarh fort is a badly maintained ghat section. I enjoyed very little of it till I got onto a 4 lane smooth blacktop but my misery didn’t end there, the road had many diversions because it was being maintained, that meant going over zillions of speed breakers which literally screwed the hell out of my momentum. After a while though, when I was doing 70-ish, a tiny bird hit my headlight after it dodged an oncoming truck. I immediately stopped by the side and went back to check on it, I was hoping it hadn’t died but, in vain. I saw the poor creature lay on the road with no movement, I searched for flat stones to pick the bird up and let it rest by the side of the road but then a lorry driver ran over its corpse. Feeling helpless, I moved on slowly. Sometimes, things just happen on their own without any realization but us humans always want to be in control, no matter how bad we’re at it.
Rajasthan is a state to have the least amount of signboards. You wouldn’t know what district you’re in or if you’ve already crossed the road to your destination until you ask a local person. After all that done, I found myself on the state highway that led to the fort. The tarmac was smooth and twisty with occasional bumps here and there. But one needs to be careful about sand spots at the apex of a corner, if you brake or chop the throttle over it, you may find yourself sliding with your motorcycle and making friends with sheep and goats in the farm! Even though the fort is a popular one around Udaipur, the area hasn’t been infested with an epidemic called modern commercialization, you don’t find eateries with clown statues outside them or cafe’s that rant about their expensive coffees, its just the villagers doing business in their beautiful traditional outfits. I wish it remains this way forever!
Once I reached the fort, I noticed 2 things about it, it was Strong and Huge! Going inside wasn’t of any interest to me because I don’t like Indian history. I mean its the same thing that we use everyday- sofas, rooms, clothes, weapons, utensils bla bla bla but the only difference is they were all ruthlessly expensive and blown out of proportion back then, one could tell that just by looking at the fort. What a waste of resources! Also, I didn’t want to leave my motorcycle alone with all the luggage on it because it caught too much attention wherever it went. So, taking pictures outside was an ideal deal after which, I rode back a small distance on the same road to a chai shop. What appealed to me the most in that area was not the big stony fort, but it was the lush green leopard habitat that surrounded the structure. There was a Safari as well, one could hire and jeep and go into the jungle in the morning or evening. I wish I could spend a night there for the safari, there was accomodation too but I didn’t have too many days in hand and I was most excited about spending more time in Jaisalmer so I had a chai topped with freshness of the forest and decided to enter the jungle the next time I rode to Rajasthan again. I then met a person on a KTM RC 390 at the chai stall who hailed from Mumbai, we had a traveler’s chat for a while and went our ways.
I scooted towards Jaisalmer but kept getting lost and I had 460 kms to cover. Finally at about 3:00 PM, I found a good restaurant to eat in. It was extremely hot outside, close to 38 degrees C and I had a light headache. The owner of the restaurant was a lawyer, we exchanged information on action cameras and I asked him stuff like if it was legal for me to stab somebody if I was threatened anytime. The heavy lunch and tea made sure my head didn’t annoy me and on checking the route, I noticed that the city of Jodhpur was on my way but still had 180 odd kms to reach it. My watch showed 4:00 PM. I instantly changed plan and decided to spend the night in Jodhpur rather than Jaisalmer as it was 3 hours away whereas Jaisalmer was about 6 hours away. With the number of animals roaming on the road in broad daylight, you always need to be extremely aware of what’s in front and it would get more dangerous once the sun checked out for the day. Hence, I try reaching my destination by 8 PM.
Once again after getting onto the road, I lost my way as my GPS went bonkers. A local helped me get onto the correct road and said he’d find me on Facebook. Then I found myself on a golden (5 PM sun) state highway that was narrow enough to fit just one car and had houses on either sides with pretty ladies dressed in traditional attire talking among themselves. There was absence of tension and anxiety in the air that you find in a city and I had a good time receiving positive vibes. The sun began to go lower and the roads kept getting better and better. Jodhpur city arrived at 7 PM and I wished to find a hotel on the outskirts but that didn’t work so I had to enter the city and then I immediately headed towards the railway station because one could definitely find a good hotel somewhere around there. I randomly marked some hotel on the GPS and rode towards it but on the way, I found a guest house that seemed nice. I asked for the price for a night and bargained it down to 1000 Rupees, the manager agreed in a jiffy! I then thought I should’ve bargained it down to 800 since he was easily convinced! 🙂
The guest house belonged to a Colonel from the Indian Air Force. Its fun to talk to people from the forces because they would’ve traveled so much in service!
I checked in ASAP and took a cold shower because the heat was maddening! The colonel arrived at 8.3o ish with his grandson, we had a good half an hour chat. I was surprised to hear from him that it was very dangerous of me to head out all alone across the country on a motorcycle. C’mon, he was in the Air force after all, I thought he would say I should do go around the world on a faster motorcycle! His teenage grandson was excited though!
Dal chawal for dinner were light but extermely tasty. I would’ve loved to spend another night there but as you know, human wants are unlimited but time is limited, I had to get going next morning. The floor on the terrace at 11 PM was burning hot, I went there to make a call and the temperature was well above 30 degrees C! The bed saw me crash on it at 11.30. The desert was to arrive the next day and I knew little that I would spend a night in it!!