Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Vapi to Kapurthala in My 2wheeler Odyssey


View Larger Map of Mumbai to Kapurthala

The rains which had blessed our departure from Mumbai continued to keep us wet and blessed right through for a few more days with breaks that were few and far between. It was like a long wet dream (pun not intended). Vapi to Kalol was no different except for the thankfully great roads in Gujarat which made a wet ride pleasant. We reached Kalol in the night and missed a turn to get to ‘Hotel Planet’ booked by HV Kumar and his team. But we were alerted by HV Kumar about our wrong turn and we rerouted to reach the Hotel like wet crows looking for shelter. Had a quick dinner and turned in to ensure a bright start next morning.



Departure from Kalol

Fortunately it was not raining when we left Kalol. Our destination for the day was Barmer in Rajasthan. A very distinctive memory of this ride was passing through ‘Unjha’ which is called ‘Spice Town’. It truly lived up to its name as we could inhale the strong aromas of different spices as we rode through the town despite our full face helmets.



We took a chai poha break in one of the ‘Milestone’ restaurants which also have clean restrooms.


Our lunch was a typical Rajasthani thali in a dhaba near Sanchore. It was delicious. Loads of ghee was poured on tawa fresh rotis. The aroma of the ghee on rotis and the vegetable curries was heavenly and made us want to sleep for a while which we could on the ‘khatias’ provided.
Then it was an uneventful ride to Barmer where we checked into ‘Hotel Kalinga Palace’. We put up 



all our wet clothes up to dry across the room, ordered room service for dinner and slept the night away.
Next morning we set out for Bikaner. We deviated slightly from the oft taken route and rode on a 



road literally less travelled. There was barely any traffic and it was, well, deserted. For miles together, there was nobody, no tea shop, no dhaba. Finally in the distance we spied a structure resembling a chai shop and promptly rode in for a cuppa to refresh ourselves. And yes even in this ‘desert’ the rains did manage to keep us wet by dropping by occasionally. As we parked our bikes we saw a young lad who was sitting out on one of the charpoys, get up and run inside. Thinking it would be to announce with joy the arrival of two customers, we walked towards the shack and waited for someone to appear so that we could place our order. Since nobody appeared, Aditya went inside to check and apparently he again saw the young lad run behind the shack. Aditya followed him to see what he was upto.


Meanwhile a jeep appeared and the driver got off and almost ran towards the shack, stopped on seeing me standing there and asked what I wanted. I told him that we were here looking for the refreshing cuppa chai and he laughed a hearty laugh. By the time he finished laughing, Aditya too had come up front. Slowly the man revealed to us what had happened. The boy, on seeing us all dressed in black, mistook us for dacoits/terrorists and ran behind to alert his uncle about us. And as soon as he received our call he had sped in to rescue his nephew from two harmless riders! Promptly the tea was prepared and served to us and they refused to take any money for us. The ‘rescuer’ said it was his contribution to our ride which he hoped to do someday in his jeep.
By the time we reached Bikaner it was dark, raining, and the streets of Bikaner were flooded. Alongside the road we saw what looked like a hotel and as we were in no mood to go further, we 



rode in and found out that it was indeed a Haveli turned into a Hotel! The room was huge and the owner promised us the famous Rajasthani ‘Lal maas’, home cooked for dinner! We had no option but to oblige and it was one of the most delicious meals since we had left home.
After a restful stay, we headed for Sri Muktsar Sahib Gurdwara in Punjab.
It was almost evening by the time we entered Punjab and the aroma of hot Samosas wafted in the air. We stopped and followed our nose to the delicious Punjabi samosas. As we were gorging, a couple 



of locals got into conversation with us and were impressed with what we were doing and declared that the samosas and the tea that followed were a treat to us from them! A wonderful entry into Punjab indeed!
We got a room in the Gurudwara premises, had dinner at the langar (blessed food) after paying our respects to the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ – the holy scriptures of the Sikhs and prayed that rains would stop following us. 





Our prayer seemed to have had some effect as the intensity of the rains had decreased next morning when we set out for Amritsar. It drizzled all the way to Amritsar and after we checked in into the guest room in the holiest of holy Gurudwara premises, it stopped raining. Relieved, we stepped out to



take in the beauty of the Golden Temple. It was really awe inspiring. Next morning too, we circumambulated the Temple, prayed and left for Kapurthala to visit and spend some time with Aditya’s cousin, Dolly Dhindsa and her family.