Bullets, Buddhism and Beer - A Solo Circumnavigation of the Subcontinent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Chat Lunatique, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Are the bullets up next?
  2. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

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    The government suddenly declaring certain notes no longer legal tender must have been a nightmare for everyone. I am surprised there wasn't a mass uprising by the people. Am I correct in assuming that many Indian people keep gold as a hedge against inflation and against unscrupulous governments messing with the fiat currency?
    Loving the RR Bill.
    Balanda likes this.
  3. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Ummmm.....you do know the bike is a Royal Enfield Bullet, right?
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  4. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Thanks!

    No, gold is not a hedge here. I could not understand why the people did not riot in the streets. For the most part, PM Modi's act was supported by the masses thinking it was meant to catch black money. The big fish got away like they always do. Indian governments mess with everything here so much I think people just accept the government screws them, it's their karma.
  5. Indirider

    Indirider In search of Butter Chicken

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    Wonderful RR,I hope you had much fun on the RE.If you decide to move towards Pune around Mumbai,you have a place to crash :)

    Cheers
    Biru
  6. GregDavidL

    GregDavidL Been here awhile

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    This is an awesome RR.
  7. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Hey Rohit! Thanks for the offer. This report was from last year. I'm touring Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam right now. I won't be back to Canada until next April but am planning to ride to Ushuaia maybe next year. Maybe we'll cross paths as you return
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  8. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Enough of the good life, it's time to get back on the road. I now head due east up over the Western Ghats towards Hampi. I attempted to do this ride from Goa 25 yrs ago with my wife on the back of an Enfield. Never made it, so this time I will. I mean, how bad could it be? Ha ha! Well there is a strange ritual in India every morning. I call it the Burning of the trash. You see, Indians, as a rule, are lazy pigs IMHO, by my admittedly western standards. Admittedly we have problems too, but this is a report on India. They will stand right next to a trash can but throw their garbage on the ground. I mean everybody here does this. I watched this in Shimla in a pristine area. The can was empty, but all around the area was trash on the ground. Maybe a make work project? Anyway, most of the trash is plastic, 90%. It gets blown everywhere, building up during the day. In the morning this trash is swept up into a pile along with any leaves that have fallen and any paper trash from the house/business. Nice little piles are swept to the roadside and lit. If there is no breeze a dense, sickening grey/black cloud of toxic smoke is produced from dozens of piles in a small area. I saw this in every town and city I visited. As a fireman I attended a fire in a plastics factory and a mere whiff of that shit makes me ill now. Such a beautiful country whose people just don't give a damn about the environment. Coal burning everywhere for power. We suckers in the west are paying to have coal taken off the grid and buying LED bulbs to save the earth. These guys are laughing at us and doubling their assault on Mother Earth. We are stupid making concessions to India and China in the Climate change negotiations, they just don't care!

    Even in the countryside the morning smoke is sickening. I take a deep breath and hope to punch thru before I need to breathe again. Such a contrast with the beauty here.


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    Hampi is a site of some strange geology and some ancient ruins dating back to the time of the Ramayana. The boulders here are all shattered. They say it is natural but it look like an extremely high explosive shock wave hit long ago and shattered everything in a huge radius.

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    The ruins are in poor shape being destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 15th century. The only sites that survived was because they were buried by blowing sand.

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    Some nice sculpting here. One of my hobbies is stone sculpture and I travel the world visiting sites to see how it was done in the past. Later on I will show you stuff that will blow your socks off.

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    Now this is a wet vagina, it's pouring water?. Very open about sex in India before the British Raj

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    keepshoveling, s1n4n, BillUA and 3 others like this.
  9. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Now for a happy story. One of my great pleasures in India is the food, specifically one snack. Papad or papadam. Made from lentil flour with cracked black pepper sprinkled thru it. Something like a potato chip back in the West. It can be fried in oil or dry, the oil ones are nasty. Dry ones are just set right on the burner grill of a gas stove and in a couple of seconds puff up and blacken and are done. Absolutely the finest accompaniment to ice cold beer in the world. I would eat a plate of 5 and then order another. If you leave them too long the humidity makes them soft, they should snap like a glass rod. I literally lost count of how many of these suckers I ate in India.

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  10. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    The riding has been pretty bad, back to shitty roads. Rear wheel just can't handle this. No problem in the north, but the speeds were slower when I hit bad bumps. Here I'm blazing along at 80km/hr and hitting a speed bump the size of a tree is no joke.

    I head due north now to Maharashtra to visit the caves at Ellora, a UNESCO world heritage site. IMHO these should be classed as one of the man made wonders of the world. I will be in Cambodia in Angkor Wat and hope it's as good as these are. The caves here were carved in the solid meaning only rock was removed to create the caves and sculptures, nothing added. As a sculptor, this is like dying and going to heaven. One complex took 3 generations to complete. The caves were well protected when the Muslim invaders arrived. They had been abandoned for many years and were hidden by soil blowing over the entrances and sealing them off. I shudder to think what would have happened to these treasures had they been open.

    I rented this cottage just outside the complex entrance for peanuts. Even got to park the pig beside it. I did bike maintenance drinking beer and staring out at the caves, cool!

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    One can see the caves in the distance from my patio

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    The caves were into the side of the mountain with the oldest on the right, progressing to the most recent on the left. The Buddhists started this complex at the right end. The Hindus then took over and are found in the middle. The Jains are are the newest at the far left. It is a full day of exploring if you start when the site opens, so let's get at it.

    A very early Buddha statue ( you didn't think I was done with this did you?). One need a good flashlight and to watch out for bat guano.

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    Remember, any cement work is recent preservation attempts

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    Remember, this is all carved with hand tools bit by bit. Only Petra in Jordan comes close to the majesty of this place

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    Solid Basalt, makes me cry thinking how much work this was

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    They figure that this cave with its' vaulted ceiling was finished in 650CE. Maybe Europeans visited here and brought this concept back to Europe to create the great vaulted cathedrals there?

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    So you think that we invented the modern high rise apartment?

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    Very old Buddha

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    The fantastic Hindu temple, Kailasa. Massive

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    Typical damage from the Mughal invasion. Faces are always smashed off because it is an affront to Allah for man to depict his creations. The breasts smashed and the vulva cemented over probably from a later puritanical period of stupidity

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    And this one........it tells volumes about modern India. Tens of thousands of horny, pimple faced Indian boys copping a feel with their oily sweaty palms. C'mon...feeling up a statue? man that's friggin sad :(

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    Hey, I don't care if she has no face....let's feel her titties

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    All breasts nicely polished with oil. Don't you guys ever quit?

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    Unfinished Jain cave. One can see the construction technique here. A point chisel makes lines. Then a flat chisel removes the stone between the lines. That's it, the roughing in technique. Do this millions of times over and over to make the cave. Oh, and someone has to shovel out the chips of stone.

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    Proof our hero was there :jkam

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  11. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Of all the historic sites I've been to around the world, and they are numerous, this is in the top 5! Macchu Picchu, Petra, Parthenon, Roman Coliseum and Ellora. Angkor Wat is on my bucket list and I'll be there in a few weeks.

    I now am heading northeast towards Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, a three day ride. After that it's east back to Delhi. Enroute I had the misfortune to stop in the state of Gujarat at Vadodara. Tired, hungry and thirsty I got a room and tried to get a beer. It seems Gujarat is a dry state...somewhat. You see booze is available at restricted locations if you have a permit. Travellers are required to get a letter from their hotel and take it with their passport to said location. Ok, I want a beer. I'll play your little game. So off goes our hero, letter and passport in hand to the shop. "I'm sorry sir but we cannot serve you. Why not, is there a problem with my paperwork? No sir, you have been in India more than 1 month." Huh???? WTF is this? It seems in Gujarat travellers will not be served if they are in country over a month. Now this is the stupidest law I have ever been subject to. I made my feelings known and the crowd there turned on me." This is our country sir, we make out own laws. No problem, I respect that. Now please explain to me the logic of this law. Insert the sound of crickets chirping........Sir, we have the right blah blah blah."

    Ok, I also have rights too. The right to expose you to the world as a bunch of hypocritical fucking idiots with idiotic laws. You stand in front of me with a bottle in your hand telling me I can't have one too because my stay exceeded 1 month? , note the The PM of India ran this state and made this law before becoming PM and making the stupid currency laws too. Back at the hotel they offered to go get me some bootleg beer but I declined, I was pissed. Telling Indians about this experience they all laughed and said" We have a saying in India, nothing good comes out of Gujarat." So true my friends, so true.

    All I can say to anyone contemplating travel to India is....Avoid Sikkim and Gujarat. They do not want you there. Spend your coins elsewhere in India, other states want your business and make you welcome, but not these two.

    After a gruelling three day ride from Ellora, I'm in the enchanted city of Jaisalmer, in the Thar desert bordering Pakistan. Day after day of riding in the desert in the hot sun, when suddenly you come across a huge fort on top of a hill, shimmering yellow like the sandstone it was made from. Yeah, I know, not the safest place to be given the war sabers Pakistan and India are rattling. Funny thing, when I was here twenty years ago India was moving tanks here in preparation for war. Only difference is both sides have nukes now. Well, I survived the Cuban missile crisis so this is just an annoyance in comparison.

    To me, as a stone carver, Jaisalmer is the crown jewel of India's heritage sites and perhaps is home to the finest surviving ancient sculptures in the world. The Mughals did not deface the art here as in all other places they conquered. Apparently they laid siege to the fort but there was no food or water in the desert surrounding the fort and the siege was abandoned. And so the magical sculptures survived intact...wow, talk about luck for humanity! The extreme detail in the sculpting makes me cry knowing how hard it is to produce work like this. Not as majestic as the Taj Mahal architecturally, but far superior as works of art. First are the havelis, old abodes covered in sculpture. I am staying in one outside the fort. Then come the carvings in the ancient Jain temples inside the fort, words cannot describe these hidden treasures. They took my breath away twenty years ago and still make me hypoxic today. Zoom in on some of my photos to see the details. Of all places in India, perhaps in the world, these Jain temples represent the finest art man can create, yet they are almost unknown to the rest of the world. This is what adventure travel is all about my friends....to creep and crawl into the hidden, hard to reach corners of the world in order to discover places the world has forgotten.

    The fort in Jaisalmer from my haveli

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    Multi floor breezeways in the haveli. Always cool inside even when scorching hot in the sun

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    Beautiful stonework outside my room

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    The fort

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    Fort entrance. Very small for defensive purposes

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    How many bums over how many years to polish this bench like that?

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    Sunset from the ramparts

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    The Jain are a religion for whom I have the utmost respect. They have a strict code of non violence called ahimsa, which extends to their diet as well. Killing or injury to any living thing, including plants, is to be avoided. If it cannot (eating for example) it must be minimised to ensure the survival of the entity consumed. For example, one does not eat a potato or garlic because the plant is killed but to eat an apple is OK because the plant will live.


    Inside a Jain temple. Fantastic sculpting!

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    Stolen artworks. Sitting in someone's private collection somewhere I guess. Vey bad karma.

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    Thankfully out of reach from the grubby little paws

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    These weren't

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    I consider this to be one of the finest pieces of stone sculpting on earth. The detail is breathtaking and the fragility means one wrong stroke with the mallet would have ruined a masterpiece. I believe the flat plates joining the columns were added recently to stabilize them to prevent movement that would crack the thin sections

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  12. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    I move on to Jodhpur and visit Mehrangarth fort. Another fabulous fort and history

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    The city is painted blue, beautiful

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    Iron spikes at elephant head height. These were to protect the doors from being rammed by war elephants

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    When a Maharaja died, tradition was for his wife to throw herself (be thrown??) onto his funeral pyre. These handprints were from the departing ladies as they passed out the gates for the last time

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    Sharp looking artillery piece

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    Alabaster inlay artwork

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    Yeah, one could say that art is different here


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    The room where guests were received

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    Just another brick in the wall

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    Always seize the high ground for your base of ops

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    The harem

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  13. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Now heading to Jaipur. It was terribly cold on the road at dawn out in the dessert. Speeds were higher than the north so the cold really snuck in.

    Did I mention I love seeing dawn??

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    Only in India. OK smartass....just how would you carry 6 goats to market if a scooter was all you owned for transport?

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    Finally decent roads

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    Palace of the winds in Jaipur. Sometimes called the Pink City

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    Out my window at dusk, nice place to visit

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  14. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    I am now back in Delhi in the same hotel I started from so many months ago.

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    I have entered this RR from my notes in my daily journal, my photos, my emails and what's left of my pickled memory here in Thailand. It brought back many fond memories and some not so nice ones. India travel by motorcycle is a challenge to the body and senses for those of you who are contemplating one, this was but a taste. The insane drivers, the terrible roads, the insane beauty, the wonderful foods, the sights, smells and sounds of India all will take you to incredible highs and lows.

    All RRs have a beginning and an end. This is my end.

    “We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.”
    Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
  15. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    thanks. great rr.
  16. PhiSig1071

    PhiSig1071 What's ******width?

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    Awesome RR, thanks for sharing.
  17. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I consider the time it took you to post this and the time it took me to read it.......TIME WELL WASTED..............thank you sir for some great incite to the sub continent. Looking forward to seeing your Thailand adventures report.
  18. FangitAshmo

    FangitAshmo Adventurer

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    An amazing journey. thanks for sharing. What did you do with the Bullet?
  19. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking

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    Cool RR... thanks for sharing.

    Enjoy Thailand.... I almost would have been there now.. but sometimes the book gets thrown around a tad ...
  20. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for taking us along.....very informative RR, the good and bad.......you have a great writing style, (no sugar coating with you)..... Looking forward to your next adventure!!