Bike trip from Delhi to Cochin

Jacob Puli

here starts my travellogue...
Campus to home....

After three long wonderful years, it was finally time to say goodbye to kem cho land.. Two years of masters at CEPT gave me lots of friends and beautiful memories to cherish for a lifetime. One year at VMS consultants and it was time to go back to Kerala. One last trip..

Diwali vacations are here again. The initial plan was to work on a project presentation at office during Diwali, leave office by mid-November and start off my bike trip. Once I leave the office, I was supposed to start from Delhi and drive back home covering most of the western states. When the company decided to back out from the project, I was left with a 10 day Diwali break in between. So I decided to split the trip into two legs giving some rest for me and the bike. The log will contain a lot of unwanted details which might be boring, but it’s just to refresh my memory.

Initial plan.. Plan everything, but don expect anything to go your way.

Leg 1: Delhi to Ahmedabad, Nov 4th. Start from Delhi

Leg 2: Ahmedabad to Cochin

Transporting the bike by train during dipawali season seemed impractical. So I decided to do the leg 1 in the reverse direction. Drive to Delhi and transport it back so that I can be back in office on time. I started talking to my friends on places to stay, eat, and visit. Gave the bike for servicing at the RE service centre near Narangpura. Changed the oil and clutch cable. Renewed my life and bike insurance.

While I was still deciding on when to leave, Rishil (my classmate) called to inform that few of our friends are planning to ride to Dungurpur. I could tag along with them till Dungurpur and move on from the next day. We met up in the hostel to decide on the plans to Dungurpur.

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Day 1

Had a good night’s sleep. Went for some shopping, had lunch and packed up. Mayor Bizwaji came for the flag off. Went to the cept hostel where I met up with the rest of the gang. Thejas and Bhanu on thejas classic 500. Kaustub and Thejas kulkarni on Kaustub's thunderbird.

Went to Mother Mary’s chapel at Loyola school. Filled up the tank at helmet petrol pump and we all started off. The odometer reading was 13558 km. The time was almost 5. 30 pm.

Next pit stop was at Himatnagar. Was cruising at a comfortable speed of 80. The bike was performing very smoothly. I accelerated beyond 90 while passing a few vehicles, the bike choked and stalled. Thejas and monky were behind me so they also stopped. Opened up the timing and fiddled around. The timing point was not moving. Repaired it and we were back on the road. 10 km before Himatnagar the same problem recurred. this time I was behind the pack and had to repair it by myself. Caught up with the others at Himatnagar junction. Took a chai break and headed off to shyamlaji. it started getting cooler, and we stopped at shyamlaji for chai. the winding roads were starting from here. monky and theja blasted off from here. I drove at my own pace.

...highway traffic lights

It was dark so we missed out the palace and went further ahead. I stopped and asked for directions to the Chundawara palace. I called up the others and told them to come back. I waited for them at the hanuman temple near the shut down reliance pump. The others soon caught up and we all went to the palace. The caretaker’s house was closed, so we went directly to the palace. The uphill drive was fun, no roads. The view from the top was nice. Even though the highway can be seen at a distance, the noise was very low. There was no one at the palace either. so we sat there for a while and proceeded for dinner at ‘khatiyawadi daba’.

an (drunk) artists impression of a lady.

Cold it was.

The place is frequented by the highway travelers and dry livered souls from the dry state. We sat on the roof top bar and restaurant. Jawan sing was taking care of our orders. The service and food was good. On high spirits we left katiyawadi, hoping to rest at some daba. Found a place and settled down, ordered some food. I found a charpai and took a nap. Even though this place was deserted, we were the only customers; the manager was of the opinion that we were hindering his business. Aaap yeha pe so nahi sakthe!!!.. The whole concept of a daba is travelers sit and eat and then sleep on the charpai!!! left the place after sharing a piece of our minds and went to the palace. as soon as we were settling down in the veranda, the caretaker and his family came to investigate what is happening. ( it was 5 in the morning, and 3 bikes going up to the palace will create a lot of curiosity, and noise!!!) we told them we just need a place to rest for the night as it was really cold. to our surprise they let us inside the palace and told us to sleep inside, or we could fall sick. Now that real Rajasthani hospitality. 5 of us who had no space to spend the night, finally get to sleep in a PALACE!!! wohooo.. What better start for the trip. It was almost time for sunrise. They proudly showed us around the palace and its history. The family has been with the palace for the last 5 generations.
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The palace is on top of a hill overlooking the whole area. While travelling from Ahmedabad to Udaipur, the structure can been seen on the left side of the highway. Uninhabited for the last 60 years, the place is slowly turning into ruins. All the furniture and artifacts have been moved to the dungurpur palace. The Lake behind the hill is an awe inspiring sight.


The stairwell and the rooms were filled with tiny bats. it adds eeriness to the already haunted palace. and the place has an overwhelming stench. the bats keep flying around and hit on ur body, some cling on to you. so better cover up ur face with a scarf.

view from terrace

John Mathai

john-the wanderer
Nice narration and pictures.
It is better to move this to the travelogues section. I'm requesting mods to do the needful.

Jacob Puli

Day 2


A few glimpses of the Palace



the glowing tree is supposed to glow during full moon nights. Anyways, this huge tree was a treat to watch.

The royal Bathroom

Slept in the veranda, while the rest of the gang slept on the terrace.

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After thanking the host for their hospitality and wishing them a happy dipawali we left the palace by 9.30. stopped again at katiyawadi and had aloo paratha. took rest there and we left by 130. On of the guest at the hotel, seeing my registration thought i am coming from Calcutta. KL8uttaa!! and kaustub must have been from KAtmandu!! theja, bhanu and kaustub went back to ahmedabad. Me and kulkarni went to wards udaipur by around 130 pm. Even thought it was in the desert, it was pleasant thanks to the winter. The roads were wide smooth and a total pleasure to drive. Was driving smooth and steady to udaipur. the bike choked again in the winding sections, 15 km before udaipur. we stopped to inspect and i found out that the timing point had broken off. this tiny piece of plastic could bring ur trip to a grinding halt. we took help of a small tempo guy who took us to the city and dropped us at a wrkrshop. it was a sunday , and diwali too. finding a mechanic and spares was gonna be a problem for sure. the owner of the mechanic got in touch with a bullet specialist of udaipur. who came to inspect the bike. then he went to the city to get a replacemnt. he came back in half an hour and we were all set to go in an hour or so. and of course, the repair work and parts put a serious dent in my finances, being a Sunday and a dipawali bonus!!

We moved to the city, looking for a place to stay. the crab setting were altered by the mechanic, and for some reason the bike was not having enough power to climb. and due to Diwali , most of the roads were blocked and we had to navigate trough really narrow lanes, steep climbs and descents, the real character of the city. beautiful, except for the smell of the burning clutch..:(. checked a few places and in between the accelerator cable got stuck. even after turning off the ignition key the engine was running on full rev. removed the idle screw and gave the throttle cable a few twist till it started moving freely. so we stopped the search for the hotel and decided to take up lal ghat guest house which kulkarni recommended. when i got in , i was totally surprised to see the place. such a pretty place for very reasonable rates. settled down, took a hot bath. The rooms, the compound and the bathrooms are all very clean. There is a sit out on the terrace overlooking the lake. breathtaking view. ordered some hot chocolate and omelette.




it was diwali night and the streets were beautifully lit. all the shops were open, family members all dressed up for the pooja. we stopped at a sweet shop. the guy had ran out of malpoa, so i had a nice round of gulaabjamuns and rasgullas. we strolled the streets and went to the city palace to see the diwali lighting. entry at night is charged 30 rs per person. with the pass u can go all the way to the lake. there is a restaurant on the lake side, with live bands playing, seemed a lil expensive for us.


Headed back to the guest house and had dinner from the roof top restaurant on the same street. one side u can see the city palace and the other side the view of the lake palace.



Udaipur is one of the most beautiful places that i have been to. the scale is such that u can explore on ur feet, it still has that charm of fort, every nook and corner still carrying the charecter of old city. the city administration must have some strict building guidelines, everything is organuised to the extent that the u don see haphazardly placed bill boards or posters.




Spent some time with the family bursting crackers. was feeling a little feverish, so settled all the accounts , had a crocin and went to sleep. they had provided us with quilts and had a cooozy good nights sleep


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Day 3

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Day 3
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Great Words............
Great Story...............
Great Places.................
Great Diwali Night.............
Great Food.........................
Great Views...........................
Great Captures..........................
Great Toll.....................................

Welcome 3 Maharajas at Palace !

Jacob Puli

Day 3

Lal Ghat Guest house.





Both of us were tired and lazy to get up and leave early in the morning. woke up by around 10. the firang whom we had met last night had already left for jodhpur. Got fresh and asked for routes, and by 11 we were out on the road again.


view of the palace- day/night.

we went looking for a bullet mechanic to check on the accelerator cable. we ended up at the same place as the mechanic who had helped us out the last day. he had a look and told me that it was all ok to go.filled up the tank and headed towards chittogarh on the Jaipur highway.

chittogarh fort can be seen from a loong distance. there is a huge city within its walls. at the foothills of the fort, somewhere we took a wrong turn and entered some of the really narrow streets of the city. these are the real fabric of the city which we as tourist generally miss out on. how the real people live. beautiful houses abutting the roads, sweet shops on both sides with yummy aromas. it was a wrong turn rightfully taken. we were running short on time, so we decided to visit a few places and move on. u pass the fort gates aw you climb uphill. Vijay sthamb is worth seeing. every element of the structure has been ornated with carvings. Figures, animals, designs and jaali works. climbing all the way up is quiet an effort, but the view from the small windows is stunning. and the stairs are really narrow making the whole experience more interesting. Don forget to see the bar tendering skills of the guys selling lime soda in front of Vijay sthamb. From picking up the glass, opening the soda bottle till putting salt into ur drink, all is done in a different style, Quite a treat. 768 saw the raj mahal palace.






roamed around the city and came downhill. Asked around for directions to reach ajmer highway. Passed a huge cement factory before reaching a railway crossing. Kulkarni went across in search of a chai stall. To our surprise it happened to be a theka. all the drunk uncles were excited to see us and gave us advice's on what to see, where to go and where to eat. Finished a can of beer waiting for the gates to open.

Stopped at a dhabba 20 km before bilwara. The dabba had just started oneprior hence we received royal treatment. The food was fresh and tasty. Got a call from Siddart who was in bilwara. We had a round of sweets from him house. his house was filled with paintings, done by him, his parents or other famous artists. Siddart gave us the number of Mr party king, Dr. Rahul from alwar. Marrlo urged us to stay back for the night, but i had to keep to my schedule. we told him that we will meet rahul and decide as to weather to stay in ajmer or go ahead to pushkar.





We pushed off before it became even colder. the bike was cruising at 90 and 80 was extremly smooth. It was getting colder and there were no chances of overheating for the air cooled engine ( so i thought ) 30 odd km before ajmer i started pushin the limits to 95- 100. i was holding it at 95 steady and we were covering distance faster. we were doing a incline section when suddenly i could feel a slight loss in power. i went easy on the throttle and before i could hold the clutch the damage was done!!! chugg chug chug chug.... it pierced in quite painfully.. the realisation that u seized the piston!! hardly 15 odd kilometers to reach ur destination. little too greedy of me. stopped on the highway side in the middle of nowhere, and it was coold. Kulkarni looked at me and asked.." is it bad?" i shook my head. we both lit a smoke and sat there for some time. i opened the spark plug hoping that the piston will cool and loosen up. i was not carrying any oil, so i waited for 15 mins and then slowly cranked the kicker and got the piston loose. the bike started but the knocking noise was terrible. with a feeling of guilt and stupidity i drove slowly to ajmer. Rahul was stuck with family, he guided us to Lo-da dharamshala next to the railway station. this place was recommended by lot of other people too. be carefull when u ask for directions, it will be really awkward if u go ask someone.. bhaiyaa.. loda kaha hai? loool.. checked out the place and went on to Khwaja opposite the station for dinner. the better restaurants are close to the Dargah. I had no idea what pushkar will look like, a place where u sell cattle!!! so i was for halting at ajmer for the night. while havin dinner, kulkarni checked lonely planet site and called up Adhiti guest house and milk man. Both had rooms, as well as beer. so i agreed to take the risk of going to puskar with the bike. Slowly we headed uphill towards pushkar, the piston was making knocking sounds when stressed, but the bike was running ok. we reached pushkar where we stopped at the axis bank atm. the watchman was a young guy who gave us a card of his guest house. we checked out milk man and to our surprise they said it was full!! i guess at places like these, everyone preffers firangs over us in our own country. we went back to the atm guy who took kulkarni to see the place. he came back happy and said that he took the room. parked the bike and walked to the room. it was bang on the lake. the room was clean and cozy, they had a common toilet with hot water, and a roof top restaurant looking into the lake. for 200/- rs a night for the room, it was a bargain. took a hot bath, went to the roof top had a couple of beer looking at the lake. sat there till around 2 then went to sleep. rest after a tiring day.


Jacob Puli

Day 4


Pushkar and the U turn experience..




Woke up at 10 after a good nights sleep and went out to check out the lake. it was already bustling with activity. daily ritual routines, people taking bath, tourist being conned by fake priest. Keep an eye out for people who offer you a few petals asking ya to drop it in the lake. This will be followed by a local who will guide ya with the rituals and a hefty fees for his services. Kulkarni was asked for 500!! and he payed 20.



The water pump in the hotel was under maintenance hence no water in the taps. so the lake was the next the meantime i checked on goggle baba for RE service centers in ajmer. the RE webite had a dealer/service center at ajmer. i called up upendar bhai, and explained my situation. he checked up and gave me an estimate of the work. as they din have over sized piston in stock, he said he could replace the block and piston in 2 hours. comparing the rates of my earlier piston change , block and piston change was almost the same price. and being a company built product, it will be precise engineering unlike local lathe boring. had a stroll around the area and went towards the bus stand looking for a mobile repair shop. Pushker is a small place and can be explored easily on feet. Rajasthani street shopping. if travelling in rajasthan, don forget to buy yourself a leather bag, hand made paper diary with leather or fabric cover.



I expected to see more bikers en route. In pushkar we saw that most of the firangs were on bullets. saw these .. quiet fancy. Shiva Rider... cool.


At the roof top we met up with Gilli from Israel. he was a musician roaming India with his ukulele. Every musician has to come to India to find nirvana. the 'treasure pot' for inspiration. Gilli started singing, and it was party time. from the restaurant we could see some ritual happening next to the lake. then the group headed by a band started walking along the banks of the lake with a unending piece of cloth. when enquired, they said its an offering done nce in a while. Pushkar bagwan ko pagadi pehnao. wear a turban around the head of Pushkar bagwan, which would be the lake itself!! the lake itself is soo big, and everyone including tourist were enthusiastically helping in the procession. after almost an hour 3/4 of the lake had been circled. I had to reach ajmer to repair the bike. After a light lunch i pushed off to Ajmer. you can see the turban along the fringe of the lake.

The RE service center is 5 km from the bus stand on the Jaipur highway. Upender bhai and his son attended my concerns and guided me to the customer lounge. The treatment was very nice and i was sure that i made the right choice by picking up this garage. In the lounge i met with two israiles who had come to service their bullets. one had finished 5 years instead of the usual 2 years. they buy bikes from delhi and do the whole India trip from manali to hampi. Spend atleast 6 months of non stop fun before going back. I got to know from a friend of mine that that apparently there was an Israel movie in which two guys after their service set out to India for a break. the movie became a rage and its a dream of most of the youth to do the same adventure. i think they are in for the treasure pot.

because of company policies upender bhai threw me out of the service area.:p so i went out in search of a chai shop and atm. and i found a beer parlor. No shops in rajasthan will sell booze at printed rates. the rates are more fluctuating than the BSE. highway theka prices are based on the car you drive. the Restaurant area had a very interesting time pass time in store for me.I realized that i was out of balance because the internet was eating out from my balance. after scoring my high score i went to the shop next by to get a recharge done. immediately the RE service center called me. i had requested to see the insides of the engine once it was open. they had been trying to call me but my phone was not available because of zero balance. i went to check the damage i had done to the bike. the piston had been scratched very obviously. but i was happy to see the new block and piston in place and that meant 1500 km more of slow run.


the bike was ready in another hours time. met a lot of interesting people who came to the shop. one was Electrical engineer Sanjay who wanted to do animation for a living. After adjusting the clutch i was ready to go. settled the bill and gave top rating in their feedback form. met and wished everyone happy dipawali. upender bhai advised me to drive slowly for some time.

Ajmer dharga was a must see for me. just like chiitogarh and udaipur, once u reach closer to the dhargah, the roads become narrower and crowded. i had entered the area trough some by lane and made the mistake of entering the main street leading to the dargah. it was CROWDED. after a while i realised that i made a mistake and have to park the bike somewhere. so i asked a shopkeeper if i could park the bike in front of i shop for a while. he warned me of the cops and advised me to park in the next bylane. i managed to park the bike in a very narrow gully and walked. i kept a landmark so that i don get lost trying to find the bike from the maze in all the chaos. and i also jumped into the mad sea of people moving to and from the dargah.

As i reached the dargah gates i saw a line of youngsters dressed in white trying to control the mad rush of people. i am not sure if they are volunteers or youngsters just hanging out. they saw me and must have figured out that i am a tourist. One of them came up to me and politely guided me inside. like all major religious places, one must pass trough security check at the entry and footwear, bags are not allowed. Many people leave the footwear outside the gate, but as Yusuf advised i left them in one of the deposits within the complex. Most of the shops within the complex also have racks for footwear. He briskly showed me around the complex pointing out as to what each area is meant for. He also showed me the place where people make offerings and left. It was a huge urn which had fire burning under it. You have to climb steps to reach the mouth of the urn. The urn was filled with what seemed like sand and rice. And people were throwing money as offering into it. i prayed for worl peace and joined in. :)


During moharm, the kawali singers do not perform. ajmer dargah is considered as the best in india for kawali music. unluckily, the time i made the visit happened to fall in this period. the temprature was dropping with time and i had to drive up to puskar with no woolen clothes. so i decided to skip the sweets and non veg. i picked up an 'oswal' blanket from a shop for 150!! after navigating trough the narrow lanes i reached the road leading to pushkar. wrapped the blanket around me and i drove slowly to pushkar. i was happy as the bike was feeling smooth and great. Took a hot bath as soon as i reached pushkar. went up top the rooftop for dinner to find the place filled with hippies. it was as weird mix of hot firnag chicks along with shady looking guides. i settled down in a corner and ordered dal fry and jeera rice. after a tyring day, it sure was a reaaly yummy meal. excellent.

Thejas and gilli came in and started off their party. Mr. Baba joined in and started speaking to gilli in fluent israile to our surprise. He runs a yoga center for the firangs. one of his students took him to israel once where he worked as a hindi teacher in some school for a year and a half. Craazy sroty, but quiet possibly true. by the time i was done with dinner the shady hippy gang left along with baba. it was peaceful after that. just me, thejas and gilli and the hotel staff. Gilli played English songs and suddenly shifted to insanely good dubstep like a mimicry artist and then to Israeli songs. by around 1 in the night another israili came knocking at the door. he heard gilli singing in Israeli and came up to the hotel with the help of his guide. we gave the guide a can of beer and he passed out. and the two paired up to play a lot of beautiful music. am adding a small clip. Excuse the bad video and sound quality. Sitting on the terrace overlooking the pushkar lake, weather so pleasant and live music and beer to go along with, i din regret extending the stay for one more night. its wonderful how small unexpected things can add up to such memorable experiences. Hit the bed by 3 am for a nice sleep.