Golden Quadrilateral road trip
“Travelling is never a matter of money but of courage.”- Paulo Coelho
Man & Bike: Samaresh Biswal & Bajaj CT 100
Total distance: 6216 km only . Expense : petrol rs 5620, food rs 1431 ,bike service – rs 1540
No of days: 10
Place Visited: khwaja gharib nawaz ajmer, Varanasi,Mahabodhi Temple bodh gaya
Album link: https://plus.google.com/photos/117454660176366446537/albums/6076570869096098817
Camera: Nokia E63
Route: bangalore – mumbai – delhi- kolkata- chennai – bangalore
There comes a point in a man’s life when a vision, a distant dream, a long unachieved goal seems to take precedence over each and every aspect of his life. Where everything else seems so trivial, so unworthy! When he responds to the voice of his heart and ascends above all hurdles and obstacles torise to the zenith of his passion to attain, eternal bliss!
A Rider’s Dream Well, to begin with, it’s never late to have a gaze to your past and feel how many good memories you had. Some brought you smiles, some brought you tears, some brought you pain, some brought you a few gains, but nonetheless, they always filled your little brain with memoirs to cherish for the lifetime. I had my fair share of them with the smoking tyres, burning fumes of petrol, blazing roads and the bumpy rides, the morning hues amidst the mist, the glaring sunset between the hills, and many more such memoirs, that all of us crave for. However, if I go for to rate my journey so far on a scale of 10, and how much it will take to reach at least reach to a satisfactory 7 or 8, I guess, fulfilment of the quest of your heart desires of being a free bird is the only way I can achieve to that level. When I look at holy books; Moses went to Mount Sinai to get Ten Commandments, Prophet Muhammad went to Mt. Hira to get revelation of the holy Quran. Even Buddha went to wilderness to get his enlightenment. Thus, one soul needs to be revealed to the wilderness to get to that atonement. And for a rider of the scorched roads like me, atonement through road was the only way. So there it was, a brief chat with my roomie Sunil and great desire for a golden quadrilateral road trip, made me reach closer to that feeling of atonement. Surely, it’s not going to make me free of the all he sins of the world, but surely, it will make a little less guilty of the rat race. As Sunil said, “you can always make money not memories “. So with tank full petrol and heart filled with the desire to breach the unknown path, I started my journey but still hesitant about the trip. The ever encouraging roomie said, go have fun. What better way to start your journey than amongst the morning chill and mist of the Bengaluroo weather. I started as early as morning 3.30 am. As I left for the long solo trip, my roommate was awake to wish me ride safe. With a silent prayer to lord for a safe trip & a text to her to be with me in this journey, I started my solo trip across the GQ. Early morning with empty road, one would want to push the throttle, but as mother always said, ride responsibly as a family is waiting for you back home. Thus I decided to wait for the day to break so that I can gain more speed. As I was slowly moving in the elevated expressway in Tumkur a LCV came honking and zoomed passed me with high speed. By the time I reached Chitradurga, I saw the same LCV has met with an accident and the driver is dead. On the first day of the trip I saw death. Then I began to question myself should I continue with the trip or not. A lady biker came in RE, stopped by, and prayed for the departed soul and went by. Yes, the meaning of life is to move on. The windmills of Chitradurga look familiar as before I use to visit this highway regularly. Next stop was Dharwad for my breakfast. During a sutta break, I met a biker who was going to Gulbarga wished him a safe ride. After a long continuous riding, I stopped by Satara to have my dinner and surely the heaven provided me a clean bench to sleep next to highway. Well, you never know how the almighty plays with you in its own mysterious ways. Coincidences can be pretty surprising and amazing and surely it can be sweet. When I woke up I found the place feel familiar. Yes it was the same place I had slept during my last bike trip to Shirdi.
I started my ride with the gleaming hues amidst the morning mists and felt, life is so simple of the ecstasies we crave. Just a little blush of that cold wind between your ears, the barren roads scraping the landscape and a lone rider in search of atonement, it could not have been any simpler than this. I reached Pune then gave a call to Chaitanya for the way forward towards Vapi to enter Gujarat. I noted down the instructions and promised him next time when I will be in town, will surely meet up. As I passed by the landscape of the Western Ghats, and the bends and curls of the mountains, the ups and downs of the hills, it could not have been more familiar to the life itself which goes through such a ride in its life time. The ride inside katraj tunnel was that of amazement, woww and pride. I stopped by Lonavla to have the famous chikki thinking of the “Lonavle me Chikki Khayenge, waterfall pe Jayenge” of famous Amir Khan’s Aati ka Khandala Song. Then I went for sightseeing of Khandala Ghats and its adjoining areas. When I was on my way on the Old Poona-Mumbai highway, I was lost near Khopoli. Once again, to my surprise, a gentleman asked me whether I speak Kannada looking at my KA registered bike. I started talking with him in Kannada, that brother I am searching for the way to Mumbai. When he told me that he is from Udupi, I started speaking with him in tulu about which he was delighted. He told me to follow him till Panvel and then onwards he will guide me the places I have to cross in order to reach Vapi. My father always encouraged me to learn different languages, but never knew that in distant place when I was in need of help, I would find a fellow Kannadiga brother to help me out. When we reached Panvel he invited me to his restaurant for lunch. Being a foodie I could not refuse and ordered my comfort food curd rice. After lunch I noted all the landmark places I have to cross in order to reach Vapi. Crossing Mumbai was easy. Just follow any GJ truck. The view at the Vasai creek was beautiful with the saline air and the muddy water filling the greenery of marshy greenery. As soon as I reached Vapi, the Gujarat border town, I searched for the place where can I get the yellow sticker. While continuing my journey I saw a board to Daman about which I was thinking of visiting for a long time & learn about the Portuguese colony. As I proceeded I stopped midway when the thought came that I should visit this place later with my other half of the heart. Roads in Gujarat are awesome but people riding bike without helmet & speaking on phone is a disaster on wheels waiting to happen. While passing by Surat, I saw a death of such a careless riding. I had my early diner in Baroda and then rode for few miles & found a clean place next to the highway to sleep under the blanket of the celestial bodies.
Early morning, before the sun could say morning to the mist filled land, I started my ride towards Ahmadabad and saw a board to Anand. Yes, the place where Amul and its dream started, the place where a determined group of women taught new ways to do business in a different collective business environment. I just turned my bike towards Anand & went to an outlet to buy my morning Amul milk packet. I stopped at a place to have tea & was surprised to see the owner smoking chillam. I went ahead and asked, if I can have a puff of the pleasure prasad. What a better way to start than with bhole baba prasad. As I reached Ahmadabad, I gave a call to my old school mate that if can I come to her house to refresh but with silence on the other side, it was clearly a no. Then I gave a call to LJ that how I can bypass my way through the city and continue my journey. But he insisted me to wait there and told that he will be coming to pick me and not to have breakfast outside, as his mom has prepared food for me too. Truly when I am in need I always have my biker friend for rescue. He came in a few mins & then I followed him towards his home. As I reached, an array of Guajarati snacks was spread before me. As we discussed about his recent trip to Leh & about the roads of central India, I shared my plan of doing the GQ. I refreshed myself and was delighted looking at the spread of dishes his mom had prepared for me. LJ and Kiara came to drop me till SG highway and instructed me about the towns that I will be passing by. As I continued my GQ trip, LJ had assured me that any time I needed his expertise and help, he is just a ring away. While on the way I was riding slowly as I didn’t wanted to miss the place called Himmatnagar, where tropic of cancer line passes. The place is situated 10 km before the town. I have seen this place picture many a times before of the riders who on the way to Leh stopped here to click the picture. As I entered Rajasthan, the first sign I saw a board was that of desi alcohol being sold there. Yes, truly a welcome back to civilization. As I reached Udaipur the city was magnificent, the palaces & fort were beautiful, some day when I would have the moolah will take my princess for a stay in these heritage hotels. On my way to Ajmer, late evening I decided to take rest on a small hill top amidst the stars in the sky and the clouds playing its hide and seek with the moon. Sometimes, it feels just like a few moments of life which keeps on playing its hide and seek with the search for the goals of life. When I woke up next morning to the sweet chirping sound of the birds I was delighted to see so many peacocks nearby as if the angels of heaven were protecting me during my sleep. The sight of the peacocks beside my hazy sleepy eyes could not have been more breath taking. I readied myself for another day to the unknown an adventure and moved steadily for the famous Ajmer Dargah. Late afternoon I reached the Ajmer dargah. A visit to this place has long been pending in my list of To-do things. And finally I got a call from the famous saint. I went to the cloak room to keep my bag but it was full. So I asked him how much extra do I needed to pay for keeping my bag. He told a price and my search for Howard Roark man of integrity continues. As I went inside the dargah, I felt very fortunate that, during namaz time, I was inside the inner sanctum of the dargah and offering my prayer. I hoped to get a call to visit here again soon. Then I called up Sukesh, my IHM college junior that I will be in Jaipur in evening and if we can meet up. He was eager to meet. So when I reached Jaipur, I gave him a call. As we met after a long time we went to a bar to have some chilled beer & discuss about our good old times. Before I departed, we went to the famous Rawat hotel to have kachori & he gave me a big box of sweets. Feeling very tired after the day I went to spend my night in Jaipur railway station. Well, station can be a comfort at times when you most need it. I started the day after a long and peaceful sleep.
In the early morning, when the city was yet to be decorated with the gleam of the sunlight, I started my ride. But soon, I was lost in the walled city. As I was admiring the beauty of the illuminated fort entrance, a cop came and enquired about my presence here at this odd hour I told him that I am on way to Agra but have lost my way. He told me to follow his jeep till the highway. The roads connecting Jaipur and Agra are as smooth as a hot knife in butter. I reached Agra and I had just one thing in my mind to check out, the famous Taj, one of the seven modern wonders of the world. But as I parked my bike, my heart started weeping with a feeling of a lone rider, not only in this journey, but in the journey of life as well. I felt the need of a companion who could have been there with me for my journey of the life. May be this wishes can be fulfilled later. I thought, I should visit this place with my dumbo & together we will admire the beauty of this place. Mumtaz must have been really beautiful or Shah Jahan must have really loved her, whatever must be the case, he gave the world a sure monument of love to be desired by all the hearts that beat for someone. I continued my journey and near fatehpur sikri I did my engine oil change and like all my distracters and friends, the mechanic was surprised that I am doing a GQ in Bajaj CT-100 bike. On the way to Kanpur, the highway traffic was as heavy as the forests of the Amazon Basin. I was surprised when I saw 4 adults were on a single bike on the highway. Saw a chunu munu ke papa riding at 70 kmph with biwi and may be shali without helmet and speaking on the phone. Kuch to hamari safety ka bhi khayal karo. Fatigue had started taking its effect and I was unable to ride further. I found a place next to the highway and slept, with the thoughts of the few tears rolling down at the Taj Mahal, the well-being of my basanti and few other hazy starry thoughts crossing my minds under the starry night. The next morning was just another beautiful morning with the misty air, gleaming red sunshine and heart filled with adventures and hope. Crossing Allahabad was easy as the bypass is one of the best stretches of highway I have ridden. I reached Varanasi early afternoon. I Called up Doulos Jose to check if he had visited this place and what can be done to spend the evening he told about ghats and ganga arti in evening is not to be missed. I went straight to the harish chandra ghat without knowing its history. When I saw so many bodies burning on the funeral pyre, I broke down a little. Life must be coming to a full circle at this place. Well, the view only made me feel to achieve as much as possible before the circle ends. On enquiring about the Ganga Arti Ghat, I went to the Dasaswamedh Ghat. As ganga arti started, the chants of shlokas and hymns, along with the big diyas in the hands of the pundits captivated me. What I had seen in NatGeo was now being experienced in real. I met a Spanish couple, and after a brief chat about our adventures, we went together for a foodie trip. First stop was Pehelwan ki Kachodi where we had kachoris with subji and jalebi then next stop was Baba’s Thandai. Everything was soooooo yummy!! As I chewed on the famous paan of banaras and roamed in the streets, I remembered the famous song of Amitabh Bachchan movie DON, “O khai ke paan banras wala”. Late in the night, I bid good bye to my evening fiend and went to Varanasi railway station to sleep. Early morning as I started my ride after crossing sasaram I stopped by to have tea with hot Bhojpuri song playing in the shop I drank my tea with a bidi smoke. Soon I reached bodh gaya and went straight to the Maha Bodhi temple to do meditation under the tree where Buddha had attained enlightenment. I felt fortunate as I meditated with the chants of monk filling the serene and peaceful sanctity of the temple. Early evening I reached Dhanbad, and with nothing to see except for the stories of Gangs of Wasseypur in the distant corner of my mind, I went straight to the railway station to sleep. As I craved in for some proper rest for next day ride, I thought about my travel through the worst road of west Bengal. I called up an old friend, Samba Sengupta about the route & noted down the instructions. The day began as usual, but it definitely seemed the arduous journey was taking its toll a little. But with the same fervour and Zeist as it was on the initial day, I started. But soon, the mood dampened seeing the road condition which was no different from the fabled road like Om Puri’s face (with no disgrace to his acting skills off course).The highway were narrow in West Bengal. As I reached Kharagpur in the afternoon I stopped by to check my tire and was surprised to find 3 nails. Well, some gifts from every state, and I had these three nails from the famous highways of Bengal. I went to a puncture shop & got it removed. He also had the same bike so I asked him about any nearby place where I can have my oil change. He told he will get it done and I thanked him for the service. As I entered Odisha, I went straight to a dhaba to have rice and fish curry. After all there was a big difference of being in India and being in Odisha. Somewhat, you feel that being in home kind of feeling no matter where and what you have been doing. After riding the treacherous roads of West Bengal I felt so exhausted that I was unable to ride and I went to Balasore railway station to sleep.
Early morning, the earthy smell of the soil, the fresh mist surrounding the brazen paddy fields, the view of the red shine from the eastern horizon, the resplendent roads, and morning chills, well home always felt home. As I was to cross Cuttack, I gave a call to Lutan who was my roommate in Bholanath mess. I asked him if I can come over to his home to refresh. He readily agreed and I reached and we discussed a little about the journey and the adventure. I got served with hot parathas and fry but he insisted not to miss out on the famous “Dahi Bara- Aludum”. After getting refreshed we went near to Barabati stadium to have yummy dahi vada aloo dum . As I regained some sanctity from the desi food, I started my journey. Lutan had told me about chilika dhaba where one gets yummy crab curry before I cross over the border. As I reached chilika I went straight to chilika dhaba to have rice and crab curry. Before crossing the border I filled my tank as price would be increasing significantly. After heavy lunch and endless adventures, my mind was somewhat taking the toll of the journey. I was feeling very sleepy while I rode. So I rode slowly and as the dusk approached I had few close encounters. So I parked my bike in a temple near Srikakulam and slept in the portico. In the night, the priest of the temple came to wake me and provided some food and comfort. Sometimes, you really feel the simplicity of India is its true achievement in this modern world. As the dawn begun to appear from the eastern horizon, I started to leave thanking the priest and seek his blessings for a safe trip back home. Andhra Pradesh road are one of the best roads in the country. I maintained my constant speed. As it was hot, I frequently stopped to have my tender coconut water. With the moon brightening the sky, I reached Ongle, went to the railway station and slept. A new dawn and a new journey was ready for the day. I started my ride till I reached Vijaywada and stopped for lunch of Rs 60 and you get an unlimited south indian meal with few pieces of yummy chicken pieces. After that, I continued riding and reached Chennai, but as usual I was lost in the lanes of anna nagar. Then with the help of an auto driver, I got the way to reach Bangalore. With nothing but the feeling to end this journey at the earliest I rode until I reached Bangalore. As I approached the Hosur border with the sight of welcome to Karnataka border gate, tears filled the eyes and the overwhelming feeling of achieving a 7-8 on the rating of my life. Yes, the joyous moment of having the feeling that I have completed my GQ in my nimble Bajaj CT 100. May be this could be one of such moment of realizations. When I reached my home my roommate congratulated me on my successful completion. The trip was filled with lots of learning. The nights with the cloudy skies and moon, the morning mist with the peacock, the wind of the dawn, the fumes of the tires and burning road, the people and the varying culture of the lands, the tastes of the diversity, the help and wishes of the people I met, the road and, in short, the life itself. Life is as you see it is full of simplest desires. Live it simple, and you will always have a fulfilling and satisfied life. As my journey had begun with the sole intention of achieving and creating some memories, I returned as someone with memories, memoirs, tears filled in heart, hope, respect and last but not the least, learning’s of the life. In short, “Life can be short, so spend it wisely.
This ride wouldn’t be possible without your help.
Sunil Pradhan,Love Joshi,Chaitanya Vedak, Samba Sengupta & power motors yeshwanthpur.