In search of little Big things

Niraj Yogendra Yadav


Travelogue Map

 

 

       

 

- The Journey So Far

 

 

   

----Two weeks of sleepless nights and restless days

       

- TW 4.0 – From the Flashback

 
   

----Door was knocked again and again

   

----Submitting my entry into TW 4.0

   

----License to ride:

 
   

----Getting my bike ready

 
       

- Planning

     
   

----The route

 
   

----Challenges

 
       

- At Wrangler Store – Wandering from shelf to shelf

   

----Whats this Silver Shield?

 
       

- Day 1 - Flag Off

 
   

----Last minute fiasco

 
   

----Flag off from Phoenix mall

   

----Traffic sent me back home

       

- Day 2 (Amravati Express)

 
   

----The Melon seller of Akola

   

----Summary of Day 2

 
       

- Day 3 ( Towards Kanha – The Land of Mowgli and Sherkhan )

   

----The choice was between Forests and smooth roads.

   

----Amravati to Nagpur - Definitely the smoothest ride in the entire trip

   

----Asking direction went wrong.

   

----Ride ahead

 
   

----Story of the black pot

 
   

----Breakdown in Jungle

 
   

----Passing through Tribal Villages

   

----Shri Sanjay Upadhyay is a humble and helping government employe

       

- Day 4

     
   

----Morning questions

 
   

----I was lucky that morning

 
   

----Screeechhh!!!

 
   

----The legacy of Munna

 
     

----Why he was named Munna

   

----Spotting the fabulous

 
   

----Second half

 
     

----Tiger can never attack a human for food

   

----Leaving the Jungle Camp

 
   

----Dry afternoon air

 
   

----The Marble City

 
   

----Roles of life – At Bhedaghat

     

----The Innocent childhood 

     

----The Father 

     

----The unparalleled role

   

----Towards Narsinghpur – Halt for the day:

       

- Day 5: Parasailing and unplanned night halt in Bhopal

   

----Riding in Satpuras

 
   

----Pachmarhi – An intro

 
   

----Taste of South in Pachmarhi

   

----Up in the Air

 
   

----Landing

 
   

----Meeting with G.B. Goswami

   

----Ama ye Nawabon ka Sehar hai

       

- Day 6: (Towards Mahakal ki Nagri)

 
   

----Raja Bhoj – The Founder of Bhopal

   

----Garmi ki maar

 
   

----Towards Bharthari Caves

 
   

----Ujjainis are tough to ask directions

   

----Shipra Aarti

 
       

 -Day 7 (Journey back home)

 
   

----Temple where liquor is offered to the deity

   

----Journey back home

 
       

- Closing words

   
   

 

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April 23, 2015

 

The Journey so far..

 

 

 14th November 2011 – I still remember that day! I have vivid memories of that day when Kishore, my friend, taught me how to ride a bike for the first time on his brother’s Discover 125.

 

 I didn’t had motorcycle nor did my friends possess one! Sooner Discover was gone and I grew restless. Days arrived when shamelessly I used to pester my other friends for rides. This bike fever aggravated and it helped me to embark to a new journey that gave a pleasant and wonderful experience J

 

 

With these things on, I became an owner of a new Pulsar 150 last year. Like every other tourer, even I had the dreams of riding in the Himalayas. But riding was not in my genes, I had to wait, I had to learn.

 

Once I got accustomed to the controls, I decided to test myself with a solo trip to Matheran hill station in May 2014.  Prior to this trip, I never rode 50 Km in my life combined ;)

 

 The latent ‘biker’ volcano resting inside me started erupting in the form of trips and rides. I toured Rajasthan in September 2014 followed by Konkan in November 2014. And I must admit that Konkan is truly beautiful. 

 

Now I felt the need to build my own method to judge things and make decisions. My heart would often let me know that travelling low on budget lets me to explore more and drags me closer to the places and peoples.

 

Instead of hotels I would search for Dharamshalas and Dormitories. Being a bachelor it didn't pose too many risks. Despite knowing that I won’t receive the comfort of a spongy bed and waiter at door but who needs these comfort when luxury is not what you are looking for! 

 

I would stroll for small Dhaba instead of restaurants. It may seem less hygienic, but I am sure it would redefine the taste in anybody’s taste buds. And thus my blog The BudgetYatri was born – a repository of adventure stories and useful informations.

 

In February 2015, I experienced the fresh and the divine air of the beautiful valleys of Uttarakhand.  Undoubtedly, Himalayas have a special appeal. I feel indebted to this land which is so diverse and stunning. And just like the saffron that adds flavor to dishes, I felt the locals and their mores bring life to sterile surroundings.

 

May be I took the ‘Go Solo’ tag seriously and that’s why I loved wandering alone with motorcycle and camera as my friends. I knew the photographs and experiences would rekindle  the precious memories when I turn old. This would obviously drag me down the memory lane and invoke a smile on my face!  Isn’t it an amazing thing to do?

 

I would like to express my gratitude to Wrangler, xBhp, Myntra and Triump for providing us with an opportunity to do what we love to do!

 

And I wish all the best to other finalists for an action packed adventure starting from 5th May to 11th May 2015. Ready to explore the unexplored! 

 

Some pics from wanderings in 2014 ..

 


 Amazing Konkan

 

 

  Ranau – Last village near Indo Pak border, Rajasthan

 

 

 

                                                                                    Jhansi - My cover pic J

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  

 

April 23, 2015

 

 

Two weeks of sleepless nights and restless days:

 
 

Just a day left for the big ride. But when I look back to see how my days were from the result declaration till today, I could only wish these days to last longer..

 

I don’t know how the 7 days of my ride would be. I don’t know how hard it would be for me to creep out from the TW hangover. I don’t know if this is nothing but excitement, but the one thing of which I am sure is that the last 12 days were one of the best days of my life.

 

 

 

 TW 4.0 – From the Flashback..

 

 

 

Door was knocked again and again:

 

In spite of being regular on xBhp from last one year, I had little idea of what the True Wanderers contest is?  Sparsely I knew that the champions participate to become champions of champions. I didn’t even thought of submitting an entry; it was less than a year that I started riding.

 

It was already 25 days since the contest had started. Advertisements strolled right in front of my eyes. I could see participants requesting  to vote for them in my Facebook Feeds. But I was overlooking all these things until I received an email from xBhp.

 

May be it was a bulk email but I liked the words they used J

 

 

How could I underestimate myself so much!  I said to myself.

 

 

 

                              Email which I received from xBhp

 

 

Submitting my entry into TW 4.0

 

 

I had returned from my maiden Himalayan trip a week back. Having written the blog intensely, I  completed the travelogue soon and submitted it the very next day and started promoting.

 

Votes were crawling. I could see some contestants racing ahead with 3000 plus votes. But, the votes constituted 20% of the selection criteria which made me preserve some hope.

 

Day before the results were to be announced, I received an email from  the TW coordinators saying you are one of the probables of Finalists along with a small questionnaire.

 

Excitement was hammering my patience. But, all the spikes of emotions went calm when I saw my name in Top 10.

 

Later, a Whatsapp group was created consisting of all the Finalists and the co-ordinators Jigar and Ashish. These guys helped us in resolving our queries throughout the contest. The Group was fun and we had some nice moments chatting there.

 

 

License to ride:

 

No! I am not talking of Driving License here. Getting that is easy when compared with getting leave approvals. But this time things were different for me. Here is the conversation..

 

NY: Hi PP. Good morning!

Manager: Yes Niraj tell me.

NY: I wanted to talk to you regarding my leaves next to next week

Manager: Ab kahan jaa rahe ho?

 

I smiled and explained him the things. There comes the good news, leave approved. Wish you all the same luck for future rides..

 

 Getting my bike ready:

 

Next in the list was getting the bike #ReadyToRide - No major changes just got the regular servicing done.

It seemed that the front suspension was leaking. They changed the suspension oil and renewed Engine Oil.

 

 

I also made the seat a little comfortable by fitting extra sponge under the seat.

 

 

-- sound effect uuzzzooppp. End of Flashback and back to the Present --

 

 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Planning:

 

The route:

 

Deciding the route is my all time favorite task. It's where I get to dive deep in my dreams. I enjoy planning small things which keeps me excited for the trip.   

I wanted to keep the story revolving around history. When I started hunting for routes, I found history everywhere. Any district I would select and it had something to speak. After multiple rounds of cutting shutting a high level route was finalised. 

 

The route passed through hundreds of beautiful villages, bustling markets, green jungles, serene ghats, speedy rivers, old bridges, vast plains and holy towns.
 

Every place I would be passing had a motivation and a story behind. 

 

 

Challenges:

 

 

 

The average elevation of Jabalpur is > 1000 feet. Notice the number of times the sun is floating above 45° Celsius.  Source.

 

Biggest challenge was how to tackle the heat of Central India. 45° Celsius and nothing less than that was the average temperature in Madhya Pradesh between 6 to 11 May. Dry weather and hot air would definitely roast me down. How would I save myself as the mercury rises haughtily!

 

Well, half of the work was done by the sponsors. Apparels provided proved to be a great rescue from scorching heat. And rest was taken care by Kakdi and Sugarcane juice :)

 

A subset of the above challenge was riding through interior roads. Interior roads meant riding for more number of hours for lesser distances.

 

I rode more than 12 hours for 4 out of 6 days of riding. Total distance for the 7 days crossed 3000 Kms.

 

Yellow sun above the head, hot air rising from the tar road and pot holes made the ride teeth crunching. 

 

They say obstacles are part and parcel of life. Of course, what kind of life would it be without difficulties. It was then I remembered Late 'Airborne to Chairborne' Ace Pilot MP Anil Kumar's word -

"Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles !"

  

 

Ancient map for ancient places

 

--End of Planning section --

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

 

At Wrangler Store – Wandering from shelf to shelves :

 

Less than 3 days left for the ride and I was lacking my Shields J

 

On a fine Saturday morning, on 2nd May, I  left my home to come back with my shopping bags.

 

Regarding my shopping, they are restricted to festivals and pretty straight forward. You can say the first in hand to purchase. No aur dikhao aur dikhao J

 

But today I was a different person. Like a child I was running from one shelf to another. Very patiently, they not only showed but suggested T-shirts with amazing prints.

 

For what all I purchased no shopping without paying:

- A Wrangler Denim with Silver Shield Technology.

- 3 T-Shirts with Silver Shield technology.

- 2 T-Shirts with Sun Shield technology.

- A tough Bike Pack equipped with integrated rain cover and Helmet net.

 

Whats this Silver Shield?

 

This is what Google said. Ions of N9 Pure Silver are integrated with the fabric. These ions keeps cool inside and prevent the increase of bacteria by making their respiration difficult. Hmm.. Interesting!

 

I found the place photogenic and could not resist taking my Camera out. 

 

Presenting you some pics from Wrangler store at High Street Phoenix mall, Lower Parel, Mumbai.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-- End of Happy Shopping--

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Day 1 - Flag Off:

 

 


 

Packing:

 

Packing was light this time.
 
1. Apart from the apparels provided by Wrangler, I carried one Jeans as a backup. A track pant and a short.
2. Knee and Elbow guards. Helmet.

3. Polarised glasses to face the Sun.
4. A big torch with long battery life.

5. First aid kit (Paracetamol, Digene, Pudin hara, band aids, small antiseptic bottle, cotton roll, mesh roll used to wrap wounds above cotton, motion control tablets-Lemofen, razor blades, scissor ).
6. Some chocolates and a big packet of Glucose powder.

7. Camera (Nikon D5100), lenses (toolkit 18-55mm lens, 52mm prime lens and Sigma 70-300mm lens) and accessories (Charger, tripod). Extra memory cards.

8. Bungee cords, nylon ropes, safety pins, 1.5m x1.5m plastic sheet to cover luggage from shower, repair toolkit, electrical tape, safety knife, state map printouts. Pen and notepad.

9. Laptop and charger placed in Bike pack. Bull-Leds high focus bulb for night riding.

 

 

The wait ended and the day arrived when 10 wanderers sharing same passion would embark on an adventurous journey to leave their bike tyre prints in different corners of the country. Many of them will be setting new standards and their stories will inspire the future generations.

 

 

Last minute fiasco:

 

I was going through the checklist. Camera, lenses, cards, batteries were in shoulder bag. All the clothes packed in Backpack. Ropes, spark plugs, first aid etc packed. Checklist seemed fine and I was ready to leave at 12:30 PM.

 

I had to reach an hour before the flag off. Flag off was at 4 PM from High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. Almost at the last instant I found the bike papers were missing.

 

Then what, search operation started. I searched every possible corner and cupboard but failed to locate it. I blamed myself as this was the first thing I should have checked.

 

Time was racing fast. I was worried that without the original papers how would I cross into MP. They ask original RC card sometimes and but not always. Drenched in sweat, I gave up and decided to move with printed copies of documents which we had sent for TW 4.0.  Only the PUC card has to be newly made.

 

You must be asking whether the police bothered me in the tour.

No, not once. Police did stopped me, but out of their curiosity!!

 

Leaving all the worries behind, I took my parents blessings and left my home at 1:30 PM

 

 

Flag off from Phoenix mall:

 

 

Enroute Wrangler store the Sun was high but traffic was low. I reached there in an hour. Ankit the other contestant had already reached. Soon the PR and Managers arrived and we were asked to pose. It was new to me but posing was fun.

 

Concluding the event, we were asked to bring our bikes near the Flag off site and flagged off at 5 PM.

 

Meet the noob poser J

 

 

  

 Its me. I decorated my helmet pretty well..

 

 

 Me and Ankit #ReadyToRide

 

 

 Posers again

 

 

 

Traffic sent me back home:

 

 

From the Flag off, the plan was to ride out from the city and take a night halt somewhere near Nashik. But Mumbai's traffic had other plans. It was 8 PM when I reached the edge of the city.

 

Nashik was another 3 hours ride in the dark. I decided to compensate it tomorrow. I returned home to start off early tomorrow :)

 

 

-- End of Flag Off and Day 1 --

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Day 2 (Amravati Express):

 

 

 

Total distance covered: 742 Km as per Odo readings.

Roads: Smooth up to Dhule. Dhule to Amravati, get ready for a dusty and pot holy ride.

 

 

Day 2 - Route map

 

 

Left home at 5:30AM. Animals were still asleep.  I rode carefully so that no chase begins in the morning J

 

 

Crosssed Ghodbunder and reached Thane in half an hour and then proceeded towards Dhule on NH3. This was the only time during the entire tour where the Jacket shielded me. For the rest of the ride  the jacked served me as a cushion.

I reached Dhule around 11 AM taking two minor breaks, thanks to NH3.  

 

350 Km covered and I had all the energy left. Wow!  

 

With so much time in my hand, I started pushing my night halt ahead of Amravati. Little did I know that I was day dreaming. The patchy two lane road without divider and loads and lots of Lorries spreading dust all around seemed never ending. 

 

I rode some 40 Km and things started getting difficult. Sun was shining hot above my head. Took a Ganna juice break where I asked an elderly man, how far the condition of the road is same? 

 

Like a filmy scene I was to drop the juice glass on the floor and my mouth wide open staring at infinity, when he said ‘Amravati tak!

 

What happens when you are accelerating in hope to reach the end of the struggle only to know that the struggle will continue till Amravati J

 

The racer in me was gradually transforming into tourer!

 

 

Grape vines near Nashik

 

 

 Enroute Jalgaon

 

 

Life lines on roads

 

For the next 5 hours I rode through the cities of Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Malkapur, Khamgaon and Akola.

Heat was taking toll on me. Not sure but the temparature must be more than 46° Celsius.

 

I owe a lot to these Ganna juice, Kaakdi and Water melon sellers who made sure my body remains hydrated throughout !!

 

 

The Melon seller of Akola:

 

I didn't had breakfast and lunch till now, just juices and a bar of chocolate. Rats were rumbling inside my stomach and I somehow had to silence it. Just after city of Akola, I spotted some Water Melon sellers. and stopped at the last one on the other side of the road. A young boy saw me and came running from nearby stall.

 

On getting closer to the stall, I saw few  Honey bees dancing on the melons

 

I said ‘Are ye kya hai?'

'Madhumakkhi hai saab' he replied.

'Wahi to puch raha hoon, aise kyu rakha hai, khakar bimar girega koi

In a peculiar North Maharashtrian accent he said

'Bimar nahi girenga saab, ye madhmaasi hai, makkhi nahi'

I asked ‘kaise pata isme se koi makkhi nahi hai?'

He replied 'saab sehar me makkhi rahta hai, jungle me nahi, ye khao aapke liye acha hai. Madhumakkhi phool par baith ta hai, acha taste aayenga'

 

I had no argument left, bought half a Kg and started finishing..

Meanwhile, a mighty , almost triple the size of Honey Bees came and sat on the Melon

I said 'Ab ye kya hi?'

'Ye unka Raja hai' with a shy smile he replied 

 

JJ

 

 

 

 Bees on the Melons

 

 

Stressed from work, count the bees

 

 

Finished Melons and moved ahead.

 

 

Emotional Police officers:

 

On the way to Amravati I lost the direction and stopped the bike at the junction of three roads. Golden frame black aviator  glares  on both the person suggested me that they were police officers.

 

I asked them what’s the shortest route for Amravati? ‘Tum bahot galat direction me aa gaya’ one of them said and explained the route.

While we were talking, two more police approached. They were curious about the stickers on bike and helmet. I introduced myself and the contest.

One of them asked pointing at the knee pad ‘ye kya hai

On a lighter note I said nothing just for fun.

Bas kya sir puch raha hoon to thik se batao na’ he said. I reminded myself not to act over smart, police wale hain chup chap bata aur nikal.

 

I said it’s just for protection in case of misfortune.

 

Then the slimmer one spoke ‘are ye gudgyacha helmet aahe, barobar na?’ [are its helmet for knee, right na] he pointed me to confirm.  ‘Barobar, barobar’ it seemed humorous but logically he was correct.

 

 

Then the same police asked me to show the gloves. With curiosity he touched the gloves and showed the other police officers ‘are bagh pratyek botachya joint la protection’ [see every joint of finger has protection].  Each one of them nodded 'ho' and continued looking the gloves changing the angles.

 

I asked them how you would chase any criminal on this Hero Splendor. Gujrat traffic police got high end bikes for patrolling highway. Didn’t the government gave you all this?

 

‘Kutha’ [Where?] and they all became emotional. I realized I have touched the wrong nerves and left the place.

 

It was 7 PM and Amravati was still 50 Kilometres away.

Vehicles from opposite direction made sure I was blinded with their lights. In the dark, bike was dashing the pot holes every now and then. I was worried about the Laptop placed inside the Bike Pack on the fuel tank.

 

I reached Amravati city around 7 PM and checked in for night.  Took the laptop out to check if its fine. Good, nothing seemed wrong.

 

I soon went down on the streets for dinner after an extended shower. A tired biker knows the power of shower after such a ride J

 

  

 

Summary of Day 2:

 

1. Riding the second part of the day was tough and I had developed sores pretty early. This wasn't a good sign at all. But no problem, I had packed Petroleum jelly and Nylon shorts. This has saved me in the past as well J

 

 

2. A feeling of happiness bubbled within me, thinking of passing through so many towns and cities of which, I knew only the names. Now I can say I have been to Malegaon, Akola and Amravati J

 

3. Coming to the performance of my bike. Although Pulsar 150 is air cooled but it fared well in the scorching heat and long distance run.

 

 

-- Amravati Express reached its destination safely --

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Day 3 ( Towards Kanha – The Land of Mowgli and Sherkhan )

 

 


 

Total distance covered: 459 Km

 

Roads: Amravati to Nagpur smooth expressway. Mixture of district and village roads ahead

 

 

"The Wolves are a free people," said Father Wolf. "They take orders from the Head of the  Pack, and not from any striped cattlekiller.

 

The man's cub is ours—to kill if we choose."

 

"Ye choose and ye do not choose! What talk is this of choosing? By the bull that I killed, am I to stand nosing into your dog's den for my fair dues? It is I, Sher Khan, who speak!"

The tiger's roar filled the cave with thunder

 

                                                                                                                     -The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling.

 

                                                                                    Source

 

 

Well, who can forget the tune Jungle Jungle baati chali hai pata chala, are chaddhi pahan ke phool khila hai phool khila hai. I am sure you must have enjoyed watching Mowgli grow in the Jungles on Kanha along with Akdu, Pakdu, Champa, Baa, Bagheera and Kaa.

 

While planning, I saw other national parks very close to Kanha and infact more popular than Kanha. But the dreamy scapes here which inspired Rudyard Kipling inspired me too.

My couriousity to see the Jungles of Kanha was growing boundless.

 

 Here is how I reached this place..

 

Before my mobile alarm could blare I was awake at 5 AM. I didn’t want to waste my time lying on bed.  I was on my feet with bags packed in 30 minutes. Came down the hotel and woke the staffs lying near the door asleep :)

Checked out and left for Nagpur.

 

 

Today's plan was to reach Kanha National Park before the Sun sets.

 

The choice was between Forests and smooth roads.

 

I had three options to reach Kanha..

Route 1: Nagpur -> Mansar -> Seoni -> Nainpur -> Khatiya/Kanha [Nice roads]

Route 2: Nagpur -> Mansar -> Tumsar -> Balaghat -> Nainpur -> Khatiya [Mixed roads]

Route 3: Nagpur -> Mansar -> Tumsar -> Balaghat -> Baihar -> Mocha -> Khatiya [Passes through Jungle reserves]

 

 

I opted third one as it went through forests and may offer some nice view enroute.

 

I was right the route goes through reserves and most of the road was good except the 30Km stretch before Waraseoni.

 

It was not road actually; I was riding on pebbles, red soil and sand. It took me one and half hour to cross 30Km. Be prepared if you are planning to pass Waraseoni.

 

 

 

 Day 3 – Route Map

 

 

Amravati to Nagpur - The smoothest ride in the entire tour

 

Amravati was still sleeping. I zoomed past  the smooth city road and reached Amravati Nagpur expressway.

 

 

Asking direction went wrong.

 

Enroute expressway, I felt like I had taken a wrong road. I halted  infront of a Lady jogger crossing the road. Lifted my left hand to show front direction and said Nagpur. What I meant was whether the road ahead goes to Nagpur?

 

She increased her pace without looking at me.

 

What happened? I just asked if I am going right or not.

 

After a while, it clicked and I realised she probably took me wrong and thought of me as a loafer asking her if she would like to come Nagpur on bike  J

 

Help me God with misconfusions  and misunderstandings.

 

 

Ride ahead:

 

I fueled up my tank before entering the Amravati Nagpur expressway. Next 150Km was buttery smooth. From Nagpur ring road I took exit towards Mansar.

 

Mansar is a nice small town. When I reached there, local folks were busy setting up small put pretty colorful market.

Right turn from Mansar goes towards Ramtek and then Tumsar.

 

Tumsar is the next big town. The road from  Mansar to Tumsar was smooth.

 

 

  Amravati Nagpur Expressway

 

Notice the word Tantamukt on the top of left pillar. This village probably wouldn’t had a single dispute or criminal case in last 4-5 decades. Truly an achievement!

 

 

 I am welcomed J

 

 

Spotted a lake enroute Tumsar. Afternoon was getting hot. Saw a family run stall at the corner of the lake on the road side. Asked them if they had something cold to drink.

 

That respectable man named 4-5 drinks

 

 

I could only get the second part of the drinks name. Something like this he spoke dash Cola, dash Jeera, Dash Dew. Last one sounded the closest to me.

 

 

 

TASTE THE BLUNDER– Dash Dew. Joking J it was quite similar to Mountain Dew.

 

 

Passed dozens of towns and villages. 30Km of road upto Waraseoni was nothing less than a nightmare. But soon, I was riding in the beautiful Balaghat reserve followed by Baihar Forest Range.

 

 

 

 Village roads.

 

 

Hand operated Ganna juice machine quite popular in there.

 

 

 Looking at my Knee Pad one the kids said Uncle aap fielding karte ho J 

 

 

Story of the black pot. 

 

This is some place after Baihar. I went to the Lady shop keeper and asked for Water. She pointed at the black pot. When I turned and stared long at the pot, she said its safe, even her children drinks from the same pot and she has particularly kept it for the tourists passing by.

 

When I insisted for a bottled water, She felt I was having some kind of mistrust.

 

 

She took out a Bisleri from the refrigerator and handed that to me.

 

 

I didn't had any problem drinking the pot water, but I insisted because I had to carry water with me.

 

I liked the spirit of these villagers. She didnt cared of her business, instead, she cared for me, so that I don't spend on something which is available free J

 

Impressed!!

 

 

Sun had cooled down a bit. It was around 6 PM and I was having one hour to reach Kanha. I had to hurry a bit, since the road passes through tribal villages. No, not because of the peoples. In fact as far as I saw they were nice and quite helping.

Even men with big moustache would stop their bicycle and explain the complete route. I had to hurry because of the Jungle road ahead.

 

 

Breakdown in Jungle:

 

I was around 30Km behind Kanha gate. Suddenly, my bike engine stopped and then refused to start.

I was on one of the ghats enroute Kanha. No passing of Vehicle except buses at intervals. I was stranded.

 

Checked my mobile, fortunately BSNL SIM showed one tower. Called the mechanic who made electrical changes just before the trip.

 I said ‘Uncle mai Jungle me hoon, bike band pad gaya hai. Dashboard me light nahi aa raha. Kick se bhi start nahi ho raha.’

Acha ‘ek kaam karo, key switch ke taar kaat kar connection direct kar do, bike chalu ho jaayega’ he replied.

 

Switch, which holds the wires coming from Key had the problem. I had to remove the switch and joint the corresponding wires directly.

By mistake, I cut the wires very close to its joint. Removed the switch.

But now, I was not able to join the 3 wires. My hands could not get inside the gap between the handle. Tried all the angles. It seemed the handle needs to be removed.

 

Frankly, I know very basic of repairing and electrical connections. If I had hands on experience I would have taken care while cutting the wires.

 

I was struggling peeling the plastic to bring out copper. My body was sweating like anything.

A bus passing by stopped and asked what happened. I asked, where can I get a mechanic?

He said its 15Km ahead. But he repair punctures, not sure if he knows about wiring. Bad! 

 

Dusk was creeping in slowly. Jungle had started making noises. I had less time to think. If I leave my bike here who will take care of the luggage? If I take the backpacks with me, whats the guarantee of getting a mechanic?

 

No problem I will handle this myself, just I had to keep the panic away. Panic will only bring mental coma. I was assuring myself no one is going to come even if it gets dark.

 

Although I didnt went to IIN but got an Idea! I had Cigarette lighter and electrical tape in my bag. I can use it to burn the plastic from distance. Copper will be exposed and joining the wires will be only thing left.

 

 

Geared with Cigarette lighter and electrical tape removed the plastic cover of all the three wires just enough to join the upper and lower end.

 

With some effort managed to join the three wires and taped it. But light was still not there.

 

Replaced the fuse on the battery and Yeaahh Dashboard light was back...

 

Hit the kick hard and dhud dhud dhudd dhud sound started.  I had around half an hour of low light left. Rode with wind speed may be out of fear J

 

 

 

Rode the bike with same setting for next 4 days

 

Fuse and switch

 

Passing through Tribal Villages:

 

 

I was in the area of Gonds. Gonds trace their origin from the era of Ramayan when Shri Ram freed the Jungles from Ravan and handed the administration to them.

 

They are considered as Adivasi by our government. I don't feel so. I was lucky to have interaction with Gonds and Baiga tribe folks and felt stronly that they knew the art of living with nature.

 

 

 

Passing through a Tribal Gond village.

 

 

Kutcha road towards Kanha.

 

 

Reached Mocha village after multiple left and right turns. It would have been extremely difficult to guess the right path hadn't the villagers helped. I would have just roamed around in the dark.

 

Saw light after 2 Km of riding on the Kutcha road. It was Tuli Resort. Got my bike inside and asked for a single room. Attendant said Rs.4000 without meal and Rs.7200 with meal for one night.

 

 

I wondered what kind of food they would serve for Rs.3000. Although the resort was beautiful it was out of my budget.

  

Moved ahead towards the main gate of Kanha which is in the village Khatia. I was sure there must be some government lodges around.

Reached Khatia, the entrance of all zones. Parked my bike next to Tourist Information Centre.

 

 

Shri Sanjay Upadhyay is a humble and helping government employee:

 

How does the above statement sound?

 

Surreal and imaginary, right?

 

But its true J

 

Not only he asked me to sit on the Sofa inside the government tourism office but he guided me for the rest of the stuffs.

 

Not used of such hostility. I was about to cry J Lol..

 

He helped me getting a lodge in the government run Jungle Camp and guided me with the possibility of Safari.

 

For Safari, we are supposed book in advance. And for premium zones bookings are filled up more than a month before.

He confirmed there is no seat availability in any of the zones. I was disheartened. I had come all the way for a single safari and I have to walk away empty handed.

 

But then he said there are some seats reserved for VIPs and there are chances of getting since its a weekday. He said to come tomorrow morning at 5AM, fill the form and get inline. Some 9 safari bookings are allowed for current opening.

 

A ray of hope! Now the only thing for today was to get in the Jungle Camp. Then check out the options for dinner and go to sleep.

 

Settled in the cottage came back on the main road. Ordered Rice Dal in Kamlesh dhaba but could not finish it due to fatigue. To compensate drank half litre lassi J

 

 

Summary of Day 3:

 

Although the bumpy dusty village roads tested my bike but then riding only on smooth tar is too monotonous.

Today was the day to enjoy many small things.

 

The SpotDew near the lake, the shopkeeper insisting to drink the water from the pot instead of packaged one and the assistance from Shri Sanjay Upadhyay were heart warming. 

 

 

--End of Day 3. Sharekhan, I will meet you tomorrow, provided I get Safari tickets J--

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Day 4 :

 

 

 

 

Total distance covered: 300 Km

Roads: Combination of District and State highway. 6/10 for riding conditions.

 

 

Day 4 route map

 

Morning questions:

 

Safari ticket didn’t let me sleep. It was 4:30 AM. I was racing with my mobile alarm and he was loosing from last 3 days.

Mug after mug water was cooling my head, but the questions were warming up inside

 

What will happen, incase I do not get Safari ticket? Where would I head?

In case I get the tickets, would I be able to manage for Kisli?

 

Rushed out from bathroom, locked the cottage and ran towards ticket counter.

 

 

I was lucky that morning:

 

Since it was a weekday, I was expecting fewer tourists. But No!  5 people were already in line and their forms were hanging on the window of the booking counter one above the other. 

 

4 of the form had 6 members, the maximum allowed for one form. One had 5 members. I had a chance to get in the group. Asked the owner if I can join their group I ll pay the outstanding. He refused bluntly J

 

Window opened at 5:15 AM, filled the form and stood quietly in line waiting for my turn.

Every printout of the ticket and my hope reduced by one level.

 

Then came my turn. Booking clerk took the form and askedAap akele aaye ho?’

Haan’ I answered.

‘Aapko pata hai na yahan advance booking walo ko hi jaane dete hain?’

I kept mum.

Kahan se aaye ho?‘

Mumbai.’

‘Agar ticket nahi mila to?’

I said ‘No problem, I will move ahead with my journey. I have a long way to go’ in Hindi

Acha, agar kisli ka ticket doon to ? ‘

 

 Goose bumps!!

 

‘Kisli!’  I said. I thought he is pulling my leg and preferred to stay quiet.

Typing fast on the keyboard he repeated ‘Haan. Kisli’

I kept quite.

‘Rs.1550 dijiye aur ye lijiye aapka ticket’

 

Wooaaah!! Like a a student expected to fail in all subject passes with first class, I walked swirling the printout in my hand and making way in the crowd.

 

Next was to book a gypsy. Paid Rs.1800 for the Gypsy and Guide combined.

 

There comes my 100 number Gypsy with driver and guide. Gates opened at 5:35AM. Jumped on the gypsy and ready to go.

 

Kutcha road started after 3 km inside the gate. Roads for all the zones branches out from here.  We turned towards Kisli.

 

 

Entrance board at Khatia 

 

 

                                                                           Zone with most tigers

 

 

Pathway to Jungle

 

Jungle Safari gypsy

 

 

 

Screeechhh!!!

 


We were passing some fancy looking trees. My guide pointing to the trees spoke see this is Indian Ghost tree and this is Crocodile bark tree. Its bark is like the hide of a crocodile.

Gypsy stopped with a Screeechhh, its tyres slid for some distance in the loose soil.

 

Driver had seen something. He pointed next to the front right wheel.

 

Pugmarks !!

 

It was fresh very fresh. A big one had passed 10-15 minutes back. 

Guide said it was male and he did movement towards the Kanha zone. 

 

I asked him how he can be so sure. He said Tigress marks are small and round. Tigers mark are deep and big.

 

‘It is certainly a mating case’ the Guide spoke when he spotted two round pugmarks probably of a Tigress walking with the Tiger.

 

Waited another 10 minutes there to see if there is any possibility of sighting and then moved ahead.

 

 

Some metres away, saw a group of Spotted Deer and Bison hiding in the tall bushes.  

 

 

Then he showed me a Shikara troubling a Serpent Eagleupon the tree. Serpent Eagle have crest on their head and eat snakes.

 

 

Pugmarks  of the Tiger 

 

 

Pugmarks of the Tigress.

 

 Spotted Deer

 

 

Pairs of beautiful eyes

 

 

 

 Bison in the bushes

 

  

The Serpent Eagle

 

Two hours passed and no sign of Tiger. A gypsy appeared from the left turn of the road, guide sitting inside said they have spotted Munna. 

 

What? Munna ? I said ‘Who is Munna? ‘

 

 

The legacy of Munna:

 

 

Well in one word Munna is the Star of Kanha. He is Tiger of course. But he is special.

The heaviest, the most brave and the most attractive. His head has legendary CAT mark.

 

Generally, a Tiger marks 20-25 Km his personal terrirotry. No other tiger can come and roam around here.

 

But then who can stop Munna?

 

He roams in every zone, in every territory and no one has the guts to stop him. 

Once a Tiger stopped him. A huge Cat fight followed and Munna gave him several lethal injuries. He too had injury in one of his leg.

 

Why he was named Munna?

 

Sometimes your shortcomings can bring you popularity. A guide shared the problem which Munna had. Liked Munna his one leg was not straight.

People started calling the Tiger with the guide’s name (Munna) and both the Munna became famous.

 

 

Spotting the fabulous:

 

So, we were on our way to watch this spectacular animal. Just as we steered left and drove around 200 metres 6-7 gypsy were parked close to each other and all the people were looking in one direction.

 

There he was, resting behind the Bamboos. That huge head.  Munna was breathing heavily, yawning, sometimes changing sides. 

 

It was difficult taking our eyes away from him.

 

We were expecting he will come out but gypsy drivers made sure to block all his ways  L

 

We left finally after a wait of one hour. No problem I said, people stay for 7 days and they return without sighting. In a single chance I was lucky enough to spot Munna.

 

After a snacks break in the Tourist canteen, we were back in the Jungle to respect its beauty.

 

 

 


Excuse me for the clarity. You know how difficult it is to spot Munna J Yes the one in green

 

 


It doesn’t matter whether you saw the Tiger, the Tiger didnt missed you. Meet the Munna !

 

 

Second half :

 

Animals prefer to rest after 9 AM, hence second part of my Safari was spent talking with my Guide and feeling the smell of Jungle. This time we went more deep inside.

 

He spoke of many things, lets take it pointwise

 

1. The Guide and driver both had their villages inside the core zone some 20-30 years back. 

Later several villages were moved out from to buffer zone. The people affected were provided employment in the form of tourism as gypsy drivers and guides. He happened to be from Baiga tribe.

 

2. Kanha is vast and only 10% of the forest is kept open for tourist, rest 90% is dense Jungle and only forest officials can go.

 

 

3. Kanha has 96 Tigers in total. And they roam freely not only in core zone but also pay visit to villages in buffer zone, sometimes killing their cattles.

I had a shiver down my spine when I heard this. Yesterday I was stuck in the pretty close to them  J

 

4. But then he broke my myth..

Tiger can never attack a human for food. He was so sure!

 

5. Havent we heard stories of Tigers attacking the humans. He said, they attack primarily in 4 conditions

            a. If they feel unsecure. Like somebody pointing a bow arrow at them.

            b. If someone approaches their cubs.

            c. If they are mating.

            d. And if the Cat fight is on.

 

6. Last time a man was killed by Tiger/Tigress in Kanha was in 2006. Again, it was the humans fault.

 He was a Mahout. Unfortunately, on a misty winter morning he walked near Tigress cubs in search of his Elephant.

Tigress sitting 50 metres away saw him as danger and killed him with one stroke of her paw but she didn't ate the body.

 

7.He educated me how to understand the Jungles call. Shikara, deer and monkeys make so distinguishable call when there was any movement of Tiger. Watching it live is so interesting.

 

8. He talked of how Jungle fire are disastrous and how difficult it is to stop the fires with water. They make a circle round the fire by clearing out some patch of ground. Light the fire from the other end side the circle. Both these fires clashes and stops. Rubbing of old Bamboos due to wind is the biggest cause of Jungle fire.

 

 

On our return journey he showed me an artifical water pond. Water piplines are laid throughout the forest and water is let out by authorities to cover the shortage in Summers.

 

 

Some fun with Langurs

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     Crocodile bark tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bisons

 

Returned from Safari and went to the Jungle Camp. Packed up things. I still had some time in hand.

 

Thought of making a video. Concetualised and shot the video in an hour of free time

 

 

 

 

 

 My cottage in Jungle Camp. It costs Rs. 800 a day. Cheap isn't it J

 

 

Leaving the Jungle Camp:

 

Happy and satisfied I was about to leave the hut when two Probationary Forest Officer from the adjoining cottage came to see whose bike is this decorated with stickers.  Friendly folks indeed, bid them good bye and left the place.

 

Thanked Shri. Sanjay Upadhyay for all his help. He hinted out some new routes and wished me luck!

 

 

  Shri Sanjay Upadhyay

 

 

Towards Pachmarhi :

 

I had to get as close to Pachmarhi as I can before Sun sets.

I took the longer route ie. Kanha -> Mandla -> Jabalpur -> Pipariya -> Pachmarhi

Another shorter route which saves some 50 Km is Kanha -> Chhindwara -> Pachmarhi

 

Although it was not in the original plan. Chose the first route, as I would get a chance to pass through the city of Marbles.

Bheda ghat was some 5 Kms from the main road and it was very much doable.

 

 

Dry afternoon air:

 

I had started around 1 PM and Sun showed no mercy. On the tar road I felt like someone blowing a huge hot air blower on me.

 

 

Just for some half a minute I tried to lift my visor and an extra layer of skin came on my lips. Air was so hot and unbeareble it was next to impossible riding at 70 kmph with visor open. Later when I reached hotel spotted dry blood in my nose. Decided that moment not to open Visor while riding even for a while. 

 

I was happy atleast my thorax was saved from heat. It was the Sun Shield and Silver Shield doing the magic. 

 

 

The Marble City:

 

Reached Jabalpur around 5 PM taking small breaks. 

 

Turned left for Bhedaghat after some 5 kilometer from Jabalpur. Bhedaghat was another 5 Km from the turn.

Bhedaghat seemed a natures gift. Spotted number of resorts and ashrams on the hill. 

 

Spent wonderful time watching the mighty Dhuandhar and setting Sun.

 

Left the place after Sun set and moved ahead.

 

 

 

                      Revered Narmada gushing through the marble rocks - Bhedaghat

 

 

 Ropeway at Bhedaghat to reach the view point.

 

 

 Dhuandhar Falls – River Narmada falls into a deep gorge here

 

 

 The caption is simple J Lost in nature!

 

 

Roles of life – At Bhedaghat :

 

 

 

 

The Innocent childhood !

 

Who cares whether I have complete dress ? Who cares if somebody is glaring at me ?

 

I am busy in myself. I know no worry. I am here to play. I have friends, I am richer than many !!

 

 

 

The Father :

 

My number of friends decreased, my worry has increased. I am the head. I have to lead.

 

 

 

 

My role is unparalleled in this universe. A father may depart but I won’t. I promise, I ll give you my bread. I am the Mother!

 

 

 

Towards Narsinghpur – Halt for the day:

 

 

Rode another 80 Km in dark and decided to halt for the day near Narsinghpur. Checked in a hotel close to Railway Station.

Freshned up and went to the market for dinner. I desired a nice meal today. Stumbled upon a Bhojanalay and ordered their special Thali. It was good.

 

 

 

Went back to the hotel blogged for an hour and zzzZZZ.

 

 

 

Summary of Day 4:

 

 

Do not leave the thread until you reach its end, who knows, pearl may be right at the end of the thread.

I would have missed the beauty of the forest, if I had listened to the people and returned without giving a try for Safari tickets.

 

 

I was lucky enough to have such an informed person as my guide. Not only he made genuine efforts to make sure I get to see Munna but also educated me about the Jungle.

 

I was happy that last minute alterations in the plan, suiting the situations provided me an opportunity to witness the Narmada at Dhuandhar fall. Millions of small water vapors of Narmada made the scene enthralling.

 

 

Riding the last 100 kilometer towards Narsinghpur in the dark of the night on the unknown roads was fun.

 

 

 ---End of Day 4---

 

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Day 5: Parasailing and unplanned night halt in Bhopal

 

 

 

 

Total Distance covered: 402 Km

Roads: Nice roads upto Pipariya. Construction work on Highway between Hoshangabad and Bhopal.

 

 

 

Checked out from hotel at 6:30 AM and started riding for Pachmarhi.

 

 

Riding in Satpuras:

 

Nestled in the hill ranges of Satpura, Pachmarhi is situated at an altitude of 3000 Feet.

Pachmarhi is 160 Km from Narsinghpur. I had to reach before the Sun reaches high. Single lane smooth tar road village road was no less than surprise.

 

 

Passed scores of villages and Sugar mills. Tractors loaded with Sugar cane were lined up for their number outside the mills. A strong alcoholic smell would appear, whenever a Sugar mill neared.

 

Reached the base of the hill station around 9 AM. Next 30 Km of ascend was total pleasure. 

 

 

 Smoke rising from Sugar Mill

 

 

 Enroute Pachmarhi

 

 

 Enroute Pachmarhi

 

 

Enroute Pachmarhi 

 

 

Pachmarhi – An intro :

 

From the structure of the town it was sure that Britishers used to move here during summers.  The tiny city boasts two adjoining lakes, grass fields reserved for Army practice, British era stone buildings and green trees all around.

 

 

Apart from these, there are number of tourist spots and adventure activities taking place in Pachmarhi. A perfect weekend destination for MPites.

 

 

 Stone buildings

  

 

Taste of South in Pachmarhi:

 

Walked inside a small restaurant South Indian Coffee House next to Pachmarhi Bus Stand.

 

 

Ordered Masala Dosa and Coffee. To my surprise they were excellent. I wasn’t  expecting the least from a North Indian owner making mouth watery Masala Dosa and perfect Coffee. Absolutely recommended for snacks.

 

 

 Masala Dosa at South Indian Coffee House

 

 

Up in the Air:

 

Went to Pachmarhi Hawai patti after some local sightseeing. It’s nothing like air strip just a Helipad. I was here for Parasailing.

The activity co-ordinator Ankit arranged for Parasailing quickly. Paid Rs.600 and went near the big open ground.

They geared me up with Knee pads, gloves, elbow pads, helmet and a makeshift cloth seat. I had all of them in my backpack except cloth seat J 

 

I was taken in the open field on a gypsy and handed an iron rod with plenty of buckles attached. A trainer was strapping the buckles and at the same time went on explaining how the total thing would work.

 

Most important of all was to run before the take off and before landing. He warned again to run on landing as most people fall and get dragged there.

Parachute was fastened in the rod and I was ready for takeoff.

 

Gypsy started moving. Just few strides and I was in air. Wooaaahhh !!  It was amazing.

 

I was flying like steady kite very high in air. The parachute swirled from left to right and then right to left making us swing in the air.

 

The air seemed so strong I felt Parachute would lift the gypsy. It seemed like a toy running on the greenish yellow grass.

 

 

Landing:

 

I was in air for 3 minutes and now I had to prepare for landing. Trainer was constantly reminding me to run while landing.

Just when my legs touched the ground all the weight was transferred on legs instantly with a momentum. Felt like I would fall now but some quick strides prevented that.

 

I have the video but its too shaky to share.

 

Thanked all the guys and left the place.

 

 

 Started my return journey from Pachmarhi. It was noon already. I had to come down fast.

 

 

 

Getting instructions

 

 

Heeyy! I am here !! 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting with G.B. Goswami:

 

 

Very close to the base of the hill station is Matkuli village. I spotted an interesting signboard which read Cocoon bank Matkuli. Went inside the premises and asked a man there, if I can get some information about this place?

 

He took me directly to the office of Director. G.B. Goswami welcomed me and explained the complete activity going on here.

 

We discussed topics like Matka Silk, traditional method of taking out threads from Cocoon, position of India in the world market.

 

In the end he took me on a tour of the campus and explained the process live.

 

Thanked him for all the time he gave and moved ahead. 

 

 

 A short interview of G.B. Goswami 

 

They store Cocoon eggs in refrigerator and lend to farmers for rearing Cocoon. Hence Cocoon Bank. 

 

 

                         Silk threads are taken out from Cocoon using these machines.

 

 

This is just 50 Grams of Yellow Silk more than enough for a Saree.

 

 

 

 This is white Silk. Any guesses how much Saree can be woven from it. Even I don’t know J

 

 

 

Silk Reel

 

 

 Different quality of Silk from same Cocoon variety. Thickest will be used for Kurta Dhoti, Curtains, Bedsheets. Thinnest will be used for Saree of course.

 

 

 

It was 1 PM when I left Matkuli..

 

Took Pachmarhi -> Pipariya -> Hosangabad  -> Bhopal route -> Ujjain route.

 

Construction work enroute slowed down the speed and could manage to enter Bhopal around 6PM.

 

 

Decided to stay in Bhopal today and leave for Ujjain tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

Ama ye Nawabon ka Sehar hai:

 

 

Bhopal is a big city divided in Old and New Bhopal. While Old Bhopal is pretty crowded with narrow lanes but has many historical buildings. New Bhopal is the administrative capital and showcase malls and multiplexes.

 

 

Two guys returning from office were curious about the stickers on my bike. Explained them the contest. I had no idea where to go or where to halt.

One of the guy came with me and helped me getting in a nice budget hotel. Thank You Altmas for all the generosity while I was in Bhopal!

 

Placed my luggage in the hotel, refreshed and went out to roam the streets in night. 

 

It was 9 PM. I was enjoying riding from street to street. Bhopal didn't felt sleepy, neither me. Rode one hour in the unknown then started looking for authentic Bhojanalay.

Altmas had suggested one but for a newbie any city is not easy to go through.

 

By mistake I entered the ministers’ bungalow road when a slim middle aged man coming from that direction told me, that I came wrong and suggested me to take right for restaurants. Went there, the place was full of branded food chains glowing like anything.  I was not in search of them today.

 

Roamed around and saw a Bhojanalay went inside, I was sitting next to the same person shown me the directions.

 

We shared smile. He said jama nahi aapko, mujhe bhi nahi jamta J

He spoke with limited words. I could sense practicality in his sentences. Such persons are rare.

 

That man happened to be the personal driver of current Finance Minister of Madhya Pradesh Jayant Malaiya. I ordered a Veg Biryani which was not good, but the curd along made it go easy.

 

Finished the meal and returned to hotel and took off from the day.

 

 

Summary of Day 5:

 

 

Rushed to Pachmarhi from Narsinghpur for Parasailing. Although the Parasailing flight lasted for 4 minutes but the experience was something to remember for a long time. The invisible air was so powerful.

 

Afternoon was spent in conversation with G.B. Goswami, a man making some difference. We know how hard it is to convince a single person for something whose outcome is uncertain.

 

He not only convinced to take up Silk farming but made sure all the 3000 Silk farmers around Pachmarhi remain satisfied cultivating Silk.

 

Reached Bhopal in the evening. Experienced the friendliness of Bhopalese.

 

 

 --End of Pachmarhi episode--

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Day 6: (Towards Mahakal ki Nagri)

 

 

 

 

Total Distance Covered: 230 Kms

Roads: Nice 4 lane higway upto Dewas. Two lane road with small bad patches from Dewas to Ujjain.

 

Woke up before my mobile alarm could sound. My mobile must be saying if you can wake up by yourself, why do you keep me awake J

Called the hotel operator and ordered a cup of Tea and 2 Bread Butter at 6:30 AM

He must have cursed me J

 

Loaded the bike with luggage and moved towards Old Bhopal.

 

Only 200 Kilometer for the day, I had all the time. Moved slowly through the streets of Bhopal.

 

 

Raja Bhoj – The Founder of Bhopal:

 

Foundation of Bhopal was laid some one thousand years back by Raja Bhoj. Yes the one in kahan Raja Bhoj kahan Gangu Teli.

 

He constructed huge lakes all round the city. Bhopal came to be called the City of Lakes. Later the city went under Nawabs.

 

 

Left the city after some photo shoot.

 

 

 Streets of Bhopal in two colors

 

 

 

 A historic building near the lake

 

 

                                                                He is Raja Bhoj

 

 

 

Garmi ki maar:

 

Day was burning. My sores making it more difficult for me to ride.

Took a break near road side shop selling namkeens and cold drinks.

 

I asked for chaas or lassi ? He gave me one packet of Masala Chaas. Aaahh, nice !

One by one drank five packets, around a litre. Half litre pulp juice in the end J 

 

I was amazed when I saw two people getting down from car and asking for Tea. 

They were talking laughing and drinking tea. I said to myself amazing creatures!!

 

I went to the shopkeeper and asked whether the peoples of MP are crazy to drink hot tea in mid noon of May?

He said ‘yahan ke log chai ke deewane hai’

Hum se to ye deewangi na ho paayegi J

 

Moved ahead, road was good upto Dewas. 

 

 

  Chaas with no Milk content. He must be printing money J

 

 

 

 Bought a Kilogram of Mango for lunch

 

 

That shopkeeper suggested me to lodge near Mahakal temple. It would be good and cheaper than those near stations.

 

 

So went close to Mahakal temple. Checked in Moon Light lodge. It was around 1 PM. 

 

 

Towards Bharthari Caves:

 

 

4 PM, I was out to see Bharthari Cave. Bharthari was the brother of King Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya, the one from Vikram Betal.

Somehow Bharthari  got inclined towards vairagya and left the palace.

He is the author of Niti shatak a commendable literature on logic and Vairagya shatak.

 

Later he became follower of Guru Gorakhnath of Nath sampraday. Bharthari is still sung in the folklore of many places of India. I have heard it from my mother. 

This emotional and striking folk song motivates me to visit places associated with Bhrathari.

Bharthari cave was around 3.5Km from Ujjain city.

 

 

I have always struggled navigating the ancient cities. Blocks of square roads and narrow lanes make it difficult getting through. Reached Bharthari cave after many stops of inquiry.

 

 

Cave was small and dark as expected. Gates even smaller. No options for fresh air I started sweating soon.

 

 

Saw the dhuni of Gopichand and came out. Nath yogis are supposed to keep the dhuni (a fireplace) burning (popularly called Dhuni Ramana) where ever they go. 

 

 

 Do you remember this

 

 

 

 A carving inside the cave

 

 

 

 

 

Came out of the temple and sat next to a Sanyasi. The fat Sanyasi (Seemed the manager of the place) sitting next to the first one asked me to get away from here and seat where the benches are kept for visitors.

 

 

I said I have some questions. He said sign boards are placed just go away and read those. Considering them a bunch of useless fellows left the place.

 

 

Genuine's are not pizza stores J

 

 

Ujjainis are tough to ask directions:

 

Next in the line was Ankapata, around 3 Km from here. Picked up my bike from parking area and asked the taxi drivers standing there for Ankapata?

With feeling of disgust all of them said Ankaapataa? looking at each other.

 

Yes I said, the place where Shri Krishna received his education.

 

All started simultaneously ‘Its Ankpaat not Ankaapataa’. And one of them went on speaking or rather scolding me ‘Hum to andpadh hume nahi samjhta par aap to padhe likhe lagte ho. Ankpaat ko pata nhi kya kya bol rahe ho’

 

Interrupted them and said this is what it was written on the internet please tell me the directions.

 

Followed their directions and trespassed a private bungalow J

 

Rerouted myself went ahead and to confirm the direction I asked 3 old dadaji all in white kurta dhoti sitting on a bench next to road, if they knew the direction of Ankpaat.

 

Again all of them started shouting are ‘ye kya saamne hai. Tumko dikhta nahi hai. Itna bada board laga hai.. la la la la

I raced before they stopped!! 

 

Sandipni Ashram is the place where Sudama, Krishna and Balram spent their days of learning.

 

I left the place at 6:30 PM as I had to reach Ram ghat before the Sun sets. 

 

 

 This is the place where Krishna used to wash his Slate

 

 

 

 Temple inside the Sandipni Ashram

 

 

 

Shipra Aarti:

 

 

I was at Ram Ghat to witness Shipra aarti. There was some time for the aarti to start. Meanwhile I went to test some local flavors..

 

 

 Rabdi Kulfi

 

 

 A variation of chammach gola

 

 

 

I could hear loud sound of bells. Aarti had started. Came running.

 

For the next half an hour not only me but all were on feet.

 

It was very lively. I found it more immersing than the daily aarti at Haridwar and Varanasi.

 

 

 

That reflections..  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spent another hour sitting and watching the current on the Ghats.

 

Ended my day at the doors of Mahakal!!

 

Summary of Day 6:

 

Today I roamed around the Old Bhopal, a city thousand years old. The narrow crowded lanes, web of electric wires on the pole and pink yellow stoned buildings were eye catching.

 

Arrived in the ancient city of Ujjaini in afternoon. Ujjain seemed very interesting. I found every street have at least one temple. Ujjain has 108 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Out of them Mahakaleshwar is the most popular.

 

 

In fact, I saw some of the residential houses partially turned into temples.

 

 

Some of the interesting things I could explore there included ancient Bharthari caves, Ankpat where Lord Krishna received his education, Shipra aarti at Ram ghat and Rabdi Kulfi.

 

 

--End of a spiritual day --

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Day 7 (Journey back home):

 

 

 

Total distance covered: 695 Kms

 

Roads: NH3. Excellent J

 

 

Woke up early at 5 AM, I had a long day ahead. 

Yesterday night the hotel owner had chained my bike. I rushed out to see if my bike is there or someone else is riding. It was there resting peacefully.

 

It was the seventh day. I had to return home. But I was not worried much about riding the 670 Km back home, since all the distance was to be covered on NH3 Mumbai Agra Highway.

 

 

Temple where liquor is offered to the deity:  

 

 

I had some hours in morning. Left for Kal Bhairav temple, around 5 KM from Ujjain city.

 

I was going round and round. Had to enable GPS to make it quick. 

Morning was unexpectedly cold, may be because of its altitude and proximity to the river. But the cold was neutralized soon.

 

I was moving through the narrow lanes and suddenly Bhow Bhow Bhow Bhow. 4-5 dogs started jumping on my bike and were not in mood to leave me. Dogs ahead joined them and the number went on increasing. Riding faster was out of question in the narrow lane. I lifted my legs and kept it close to handle.

 

Further from the Jail road took left for Kaal Bhairav. I reached at 6 AM, shops were just opening up.

Stalls were decorated with Liqour bottles and flowers.

 

 

Perhaps he is the only deity who accepts liquor J

 

Went inside the temple and took darshan. A man dressed in silk dhoti with a portable havan kund arrogantly asked not to take photos inside the temple. I asked why? No prohibitory orders are posted around.

 

He asked to me go out shoot entrance. I didn’t wanted to spoil my morning.

 

Left the Kal Bhairav temple and went to Jain temple near Dani gate.

Returned hotel after breakfast of Aloo Poha and Jalebi.

 

 

Checked out and left Ujjain at 9 AM.

 

 

 My bike chained with hotel owners bike

 

 

                                                            Ujjain street view 

 

 

                                                                 Pooja flowers 

 

                                         Branded liqour bottles kept for purchaase

 

 Closeup 

 

 

 Entrance of Kaal Bhairav temple 

 

 

Rain clouds near Nashik

 

Landscape near Nashik  

 

 Sunset near Nashik

 

Summary of Day 7:

 

 

Spent my morning at Kaal Bhairav temple, the deity who accepts liquor. Then started my return journey for Mumbai. Loved the first shower of rain near Nashik.

 

 

Closing words:

 

 

I feel good that I tried to explore the places not on the list of biking destinations. And attempted to perceive the routines with a different eye.

 

I tried the best to keep the tourist away and bring out the explorer. 

 

I will always cherish the summer of Central India and wish to ride those places again. Especially the village roads, the roaring Dhuandhar and in the land of Munna.

I will be nostalgic to some strange songs running on Dhabas, bustling small markets and the great Indian stare J

 

Big thanks to all my friends who supported and helped me in various ways at every stage of the contests.

 

Respect the machine and the people.

 

P.S.  Perception of places and things may differ from people to people. I would request to ride without a preconceived mind. Who knows what surprise you may get.  

 

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