Tuesday, September 11, 2007

29th march, 07

shahpura – Jaisalmer
Via Chomu, Sikar, Bikaner, Pokhran

Good morning, and first of all wish me happy birthday :-)

this was our RTDC resthouse at Shahpura

Today we’ve to reach Jaisalmer. Its some 700 kms away from Shahpura. I know its not easy to ride such a huge distance, but I have a good experience of long rides and I’ve done a 600 kms ride in a single day that too starting from Himalayas. I’d a good report of the highway network of Rajasthan. So the confidence was high and weather was also cool for a good start.

take right for NH-11 from NH-8 at Shahpura

We took a right from Shahpura and left NH8, the Delhi-Jaipur highway, to join NH-11 at Chomu. We kept asking the route to Chomu, but unfortunately someone misguided us, and we took a wrong route. The road was barely 5 mts wide and was in bad shape. But we still managed to reach Chomu on time. As soon as the bike touched NH-11, the highway connecting Bikaner from Jaipur, it started cruising at 100 kmph. Really the highway is very smooth.

NH-11 - towards Bikaner

the railway line runs parallel to the highway for few kilometres

As the Traffic on this road is not much, we kept on cruising at the constant speed sometimes even for more than 30 minutes. Took some short butt and photo breaks. By-passed Sikar. It was 1400 hrs and Bikaner was still away. We were already in the middle of sand dunes, but the dunes were not that great as we expected.

sand dunes near Bikaner

We were said in Delhi that the shrubs less dunes can only be found in Jaisalmer, but still as this was our first 'encounter' with sand in Rajasthan, the landscape was giving a good feel. Reached Bikaner and asked for a good dhaba. Ya, one thing I want to share here is there are very few dhabas on this highway, so stuff yourself before the take-off.

We managed to find out a ‘Saras’ milk parlour in Bikaner and Bought ‘lassi’ and milk packets. We already had some eatables with us. After having a good brunch (at noon) we took rest in the park just attached to the parlour. It was a bit hot in Bikaner. I didn't imagine the temperature can soar so high even in March. The man on the parlour advised us to equip with plenty of water on Jaisalmer’s highway, but we just had a small bottle, so he gave one to us.
Ah! That’s Rajasthan. People there are very hospitable. Thanx man.

It was 1500 hrs when we touched NH- 15. The route seemed quite boring. We still kept on ripping. Day was getting hotter. Seldom could we find any lorry on the highway. There were very few villages.

Time was around 1700 hrs and we just crossed Phalodi. Here we faced first flat tyre. I had an electronic air pump, but don’t know why it didn’t worked at that time. After struggling with the pump, finally asked some people for the 'puncture ki dukaan'. Approx 30 mins were wasted. Then Carried the bike to the puncture shop. The children coming out of the ‘madarsaaz’ (religious schools of Muslim students) were looking at us as if we were aliens. Even elder people were fascinated to see us. The puncturewala took another 15-20 minutes and took Rs. 30. I was quite worried of the day light, which we were losing very fast. Jaisalmer was still like 200 kms away. Bike again started picking up its speed, but it seemed destiny was testing us. We came just few kms away from the village, and bike again stopped. I was not able to understand the reason. Fuel gauge was showing enough petrol. After wasting another one hour there and doing whole lot of trials with the bike, finally came to know that petrol was finished. Ohhhh!!!! The faulty fuel gauge.

smart puncture wala on his mobile

Somehow the pillion managed to get petrol from the nearest pump in the bottle which the man gave us in Bikaner. Used that petrol to reach the nearest pump. Luckily, we found a Reliance petrol pump just few kilometres away. Got the fuel tank full. I think day light existed for the next few minutes and we still had to travel a lot. We didn’t want to take halt anywhere before Jaisalmer, so started ripping again. Thats why didnt shoot any picture. One thing I must mention here is the condition of highways on this trip was usually very good. Soon we byepassed Pokhran, the place famous for nuclear tests made by India. Jaisalmer is still 100 kms away.

It is already dark. Road is single, here starts the real problem. The head lights of high speed highway traffic from the opposite side is the biggest nightmare for me. Headlight of Bajaj pulsar is not good enough to tackle such conditions. It was a long journey since morning, we were tired now. Took a long butt break at a dhaba. Don’t know how far was Jaisalmer from that place, but it took another one and half hour (approx) to reach there. We were really struggling with the highway traffic and the very frequent bad patches on road few kilometres before Jaisalmer. Soon we were able to see a huge lit up city. Yes, that was our destination. The last city of India in this direction. One will not find such lights again till the border. And across the border is Pakistan.

Time was around 2100 hrs when we reached Jaisalmer. Started searching our hotel. We crossed the Jaisalmer Fort number of times while our 'hunt' for night halt. Finally we managed to get a good hotel at the outskirts of the city, 'fort Rajwada'.

This is how I celebrated my birthday….. 24th birthday ;-)

trip metre - 000 (1000) kms

distance coverd today - 706 kms