We stitched our way through the length of Rajasthan on a Royal Enfield Classic 350. Read on to live the grandiloquent road trip…
Words Vishal Joshi
Photography Royal Enfield
Loyalty, Royalness, old-world charm, and last but not at all the least; patience. These are some beautiful and meaningful words that tie a state like Rajasthan and a marque like Royal Enfield together. I did not know this until we got a chance to weave through the beautiful roads and regions of Rajasthan for not one, two, or three, but through 10 days of riding, exploring while barely getting a chance to blink. And that too, on a motorcycle which taught me a new sense of rapidity of Rajasthan. The Royal Enfield Classic 350. How? Allow me...
Now, this wasn’t the first time I was astride a motorcycle, lacing through the dry and dusty roads of the arid deserts of Rajasthan. But, every time I’ve paid a visit to this state, it has given me everything; except, a rhythm. But, with the new Royal Enfield Classic 350, its new sound, Rajasthan’s reticent silence, and the daily stops’ emphasis constructed a rhythm. And remember, the recurrence of sound, silence, and emphasis in conjunction (technically) means rhythm. For me, this learning was the Sands Of Time 2021 (SOT 2021).
Now, let me tell-a-tale of a man and a motorcycle that intertwined through the massive land of sands, which may look lifeless, but it doesn’t have anything less than life itself. So here’s the best of the epic road trip. Upon landing in Rajasthan and arriving at the hotel, the line of Royal Enfield Classic 350s stopped my jim-jams and let me absorb, one moment at a time. This was the day all the riders with and without their motorcycles arrived to fill themselves with the brief of the ride, but only to the eligible ones. Yes, you’ve to have a set of riding gear, vaccination, and medical certificate, of course, your driving license, and a lot of patience to just finish this day of introduction and start your ride.
And there it was. The day everyone (who’d slept) woke up, got ready, briefed, and put the luggage in this cool, black-colored, Royal Enfield-themed Traveller! I think it not only looked as cool as all the motorcycles put together, but it was more like the father of the family traveling together on the road since it not only carried everyone’s baggage but was a backup vehicle too, in case of any breakdowns that occurred on the way. That’s what responsible fathers do on a road trip, isn’t it? Speaking of responsibility, this ride was not only about the aforesaid but about doing it conscientiously too. And handing over a ‘One Ride’ sipper bottles to everyone on the ride showed how responsibly this was planned as well.
In went the bottle, out came the motorcycles all tanked up and ready to roll out of the hotel in Jaipur. After the flag-off, we started for Nahargarh from Jaipur which was around 320kms from parking to parking. But you know how these parking scenes are, especially when you start from inside the city and have to snake through the gridlocks and then breathe fresh on the plain blacktops of Rajasthan. But once we were there, the group got structured according to their level of comfort when it came to speed and traffic and stopped for a Chai break next. Of course, it was the first day and this stop seemed so soon since every soul on the Royal Enfield Classic 350 was so excited to keep that throttle twisted. Soon after, we resumed on the almost empty, cold but superb, smoothly paved highway to reach Bundi in no time for lunch. And this exercise of parking, freshening up, gulping, stretching, back on the saddle, and going dug-dug was something that we did every day, and boy, was the new Classic 350 happy to do it? Hell yeah!
This brought us to the destination of the day, at Justa Lake, Nahargarh Palace; a palace that is structured at the centre of a manmade lake. Here, you park your ride on the circumference of the lake and ferry yourself to the palace. What a way to end the day, and indeed start the ride.
The next day, we were heading to Udaipur which was at a shorter distance than the earlier one. As usual, we headed out of the hotel, back on the almost-dusty highway to reach the destination by lunch time since it was just around 160kms away. And a certain Mr. Pankaj Bishnoi from Royal Enfield, who was the lead for the ride, was so accurate with his directions and distance, that almost nobody lost their way ahead.
Yes! Almost nobody; and for the ones who did, a certain Mr. Keagan D’Souza from Royal Enfield who swept the group, with whom I had the pleasure of riding along, made sure that the lost ones were back on track and did not take the term ‘wander-lost’ too seriously. Both of them made sure that the entire pack remained safe and sound who maintained different speeds and psyches, every single day. Ergo, the way Royal Enfield managed to do that with more than 20 riders on road simultaneously was commendable, right from day 1 to the conclusion.
In Udaipur, we checked in at a heritage property called Justa Rajputana Resort and Convention Centre in the afternoon. Everyone got a chance to explore the City of Lakes today. The next day? Tunnels! Yes! The stretch from Udaipur to Pali introduced us to some long, circular, brightly backlit, and airless tunnels. Here the riders did not hesitate to make some noise and stop at Om Banna temple next, better known as the ‘Bullet Baba temple’ which is believed to be a spiritual stop for all the bikers where the locals have been worshipping the motorcycle since the year 1991.
On the way to Jaisalmer, a word of caution was passed in the briefing about a chance to see blackbucks since we were to be intruding through their home, especially given the roads that were so smooth and hence tempting. Thanks to these roads we reached Sam sand dunes well within time for some camel rides, rich cultural activities at the Oasis camps, magnificent calm sunset, and of course the aromatic Laal Maas thereafter.
After a day’s rest, as we headed towards the end of the ride via Bikaner and Matsya Vilas, we had a chance to spend an evening on local ‘Khatiyas’ that also gave us time to start sharing the experiences so far, after which we called it a day and headed towards our concluding day at Jaipur, the last day of SOT 2021. Again, the smooth blacktops took us to the end of the ride at the same hotel, same parking, but with different personas, new perspectives, and a fresh new way to look at Rajasthan and the Classic 350 as well. Thank you, Royal Enfield!