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Motorcycle Mishaps

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

After a late lunch I find my mechanical mount and start back towards civilization. I leave the limits of the camel fair and into a brewing sandstorm. Long distance visibility is down a bit, and the stinging sand against my skin isn’t pleasant, but I can still make out the road safely. It is on this road from Naguar to Jodhpur I run into my first of motorcycle problems, where only a few minutes into the desert I run out of gasoline!    [read on]

Naguar Camel Fair

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

It only took two days in Jodphur before I found my self on a motorcycle again. The opportunity to simulate one of my youth-grown dreams gunning a bike down a desert straightaway was too hard too pass up. Conveniently, the nearby village of Naguar is hosting a camel fair. [read on]

Welcome to India Part VI: Celebration

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

I’ve been in Hampi for five days already. Alas, only one day was allowed for exploring on motorcycle. The rest have been consumed with work on the article in an internet café. While it is earning me a few weeks of travel money, it is also eating away at my chance to explore Hampi. So on this fifth day, it’s time to crawl away from the glow of a computer screen and let natural light grace my eyes again. I mount the motorcycle and speed out of town.

see all of my photos from the Krishna Temple

I make a quick stop at the Krishna Temple, which I missed on my previous expedition, but quickly leave when I find nothing unique or impressive compared to yesterday’s wonders. Another beautiful ride along the same road from a few days ago brings me past the Vitthala temple. I arrive at the Tungabhadra River and find that the bridge has been left half-constructed and there is at least a ten-meter gap over the water below, so I ride down a rough path and ferry across in a shaky circular coracle boat. On the other side I am greeted with a more lush landscape than that around the Bazaar and ruins of the Royal Center. Here the omnipresent massive boulders are surrounded with a healthy compliment of bright green rice paddies and looming palm trees.

After a mere five minutes on the other side of the river I hear the sound of approaching drums. Rounding a corner I spot the source: a lively festival parade accompanied by the cacophony of five different drum-lines banging away different rhythms at different tempos. An assortment of characters colorfully dressed as the divine legends of Hindu lore escort gypsy women, sadhus and Lakshmi the elephant through the rice fields aroundthe Durga Temple. I pause my journey for a short while to revel in the merriments of the slow progression, but after a while my eardrums begin to bleed from the excessive noise and I continue down the road.

see all of my photos from the Mucharen Festival

Eventually, I pull into the parking lot of my destination and through the scorching midday heat, climb the five hundred of steps up Anjanadri Hill to the Hanuman Temple. The famous monkeys, probably trying to escape the blistering sunlight, make them self sparse and the building is nothing worth mention, but the vista found up top is spectacular! This landscape I’ve grown accustomed to riding trough takes on an even more extraordinary form from this height. Aside from the joy of beauty, the climb lends some inspiration to explore a few uncharted paths only visible from this bird’s eye view. I waste no time and descend to the motorcycle and back into gear.

see all of misc photos from the other side of the river

A short trip along the paved road brings me to a small village where I turn onto its dirt roads and forge deeper off the beaten track. Eventually the trail thins out to nothing and I pave my own path across an unkempt field. This brief excursion off-road brings me to an unexpected oasis in the countryside of Karnataka; tucked behind the fields of rice and palm tree walls is an ideal cottage hidden from the world. The minimalist structure reeks of chic elegance. The multi-hued flowers spilling onto its broad wood porch frame a perfect view of the Hampi landscape. Across the well-tended lawn and a cerulean-tinted river are gracefully stacked boulders and the ruins of the Vitthala Temple. A stylish stone path leads off through groves of varied flowers and across a trickling stream. Butterflies and bumblebees are the only populace of this secluded and currently abandoned haven of tranquility. The doors and windows are all locked tightly, but that doesn’t stop me from lingering a while on the porch and appreciating this hidden grove of serenity.

see all of my photos from the Secluded Cottage

But alas, the bike is due back today and the peace must be broken. I climb back on the motorcycle and set off to further explore this side of the river. The traffic here is sparse, the pavement is intact and the scenery spares no beauty from its repertoire. The experience is fantastic, and I forgo any other tourist spots to simply ride for the next couple hours. I eventually run short on time and make one last stop in the village of Anegundi before unenthusiastically returning to the other shore.

see all of my photos from Anegundi

I think I’ve run out of praise for motorcycling. To avoid being redundant, I will merely let the multitude of unique experiences speak for themselves. Meanwhile the desire to purchase my own bike and avoid limitations of constant rentals is tugging stronger with each trip.

See all of my photos from the Tungabhadra River


Exploring the Ruins Part II: Risk vs. Reward

Friday, January 18th, 2008

After returning from my excursion into the wilderness and back to the Royal Center Ruins, I make my way into the Hazararama Temple reserved exclusively for the former nobility.  The structure is beautifully preserved.  Intricate carvings detail all of the columns and facades.  The former glory of this dead civilization further impresses itself on me every minute, but this section is overrun by tourists and schoolchildren.   The overabundance of people is wearing away the passive clarity that I achieved in the solitude on top of the boulder hill, so I climb back on the motorcycle and head for a more remote temple to explore.    [read on]

Exploring the Ruins Part I: Bouldering

Friday, January 18th, 2008


After a week of excessive train trips I have finally arrived at a destination to linger in: The small market-town of Hampi Bazaar lies within a landscape strewn with massive boulders and sub-tropical flora.  Scattered throughout this already impressive scenery are the ruins of the eight-hundred year-old city of Vijayanagara.  Remnants of old crumbling walls and columns of ancient structures are frequently found lingering the countryside.  Sporadically spread amongst them are temple complexes adorned with elaborate rock carvings and grand halls of massive stone-work that paint a vivid picture of this former civilizations glory.    [read on]

Enter the Big Boss

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

A long day of transport via motorcycle from Murud to Alibaug, a short hike to the bus station, bus to the jetty, catamaran to the Gateway of India, taxi to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, local train to Chembur and finally an auto-rickshaw to Ratnadeep’s home is only continued a few hours later with a car–ride to Madh Island and the beach cottage where we would celebrate the changing of the year. The day is mostly uneventful, yet unfortunately uncomfortable due to the return of my old arch-rival, the stomach bug which has plagued me since Nepal. It is on this fateful day that I come face to face with the Big Boss, king of all toilets! [read on]

Maharashtran Royal Legacy

Friday, December 28th, 2007

With my work complete, I look for a fulfilling way to spend the rest of the day. While a pristine palm-line beach is under my feet, beckoning with the calls of a lazy afternoon sipping rum drinks by the shore, I don’t waste my time relaxing but rather take the motorcycle to the nearby ruins of Janjira Fortress; an impregnable castle sitting in the Arabian Sea. Its steep, twelve-meter walls literally rise out of the ocean and have been effective enough to keep it safe from invaders over the last thousand years. Since the fortress is no longer necessary it has fallen into a state of ruins, but the only way to reach it is still via sailboat from the nearby shore. [read on]

Further down the Konkan Coast

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Day two of my excursion down the coast between Mumbai and Goa; this day I hired a motorcycle to speed up the journey in hopes of accomplishing my mission before the deadline.    [read on]

Day 4: Return to Pokhara

Friday, December 14th, 2007


The final day on TATA Bullet…  I’ve begun to feel at one with this bike.  All of the difficult little idiosyncrasies have become familiar and I can operate this temperamental machine just as well as any other motorcycle I’ve ridden.  However, there is a power and comfort of riding the Bullet that eludes all others!    [read on]

Day 3: Saruha to Tansen

Thursday, December 13th, 2007


Rolling out of Saruha early again, Kiev and I start towards Tansen, our final destination before returning to Pokhara.  A long day of riding ensues and we are both stunned by the beautiful, perfect roads.  Atypical of Nepal, there are long stretches of wide, smooth pavement that curve gently through unbroken woodland.  A few twisty hills are all we encounter for most of the day, but packs of monkeys and the remains of former landslides make the occasional appearance.    [read on]