7th Nov 2015
Photo of A RIDE TO REMEMBER!! by kunal ganguli

When riding and exploring the world on two wheels is a bug that you’ve caught then getting it out of one’s system is next to impossible & if you have a partner in crime that has the similar bug then the journeys that one plans becomes all the more exciting and pleasurable. So, this is the story of my ride from Udaipur to Mumbai and back & my partner in crime - my lovely and sporting wife.

This all started in the middle of August when my wife and I were planning on what to do on our upcoming Anniversary. The plan was simple at first, go to Ahmedabad, catch a flight to Goa and spend our Anniversary there and on the way back spend a few days in Mumbai with our friends & finally come back home. This fitted our schedule perfectly well as our Anniversary was falling during the Diwali holidays, one of the perks one gets while working in a school, as we had nine days Diwali break.

As the days came closer the air fare to Goa went up and the flights were completely booked. I did not know what to do and more importantly didn’t know how to tell my wife, as she had been looking forward to this trip. Days went by and I was looking for an alternate plan. Then one fine day, while talking to a friend of mine in Mumbai, He suggested me to come to Mumbai and celebrate our Anniversary with them. Which in the beginning did not seem as such a bad idea, but still there was something missing and the excitement wasn’t there when we had planned Goa. So I asked him to give me some time to think about it and mull over the idea, which he was kind enough to do so.

Days went by and I would search on the internet for something or think about some idea or talk to my friends about some ideas. So one fine day while I was searching the internet I came across a couple who had ridden down on their bike, Yamaha Fazer, from Mumbai to Udaipur and back. And had posted some pictures of the trip of theirs with route details and their stoppages and all that they encountered on their journey. Suddenly, as if this was God sent, the light bulb in my mind lit up. I went up to my wife and told her about this plan and to my surprise she was brimming from one end to another, and said to me, “let’s do it”!! So one thing was for sure that we were riding down to Mumbai but the question of where were we spending our Anniversary was still left to be answered. Hence the saga continued...

I sat on the internet once again and started to look for options and came upon this place called Daman. A place one had definitely heard about but didn’t know much about it. At first there were very mixed views about the place, some said it’s a place where alcohol is cheap and people flock there for one purpose in life, which they were not entirely incorrect about once we reached there. Some had other nicer views about it. But whatever it was I knew it wasn’t a big place and two days would be more than enough time to spend there. Hence we planned to spend our Anniversary in Daman and see a new place too.

Once everything was finalised a herculean task still lay ahead of us and that was to tell our family and our parents about this trip and that we were doing it on out Royal Enfield Bullet 500. So we did. And faced the obvious, NO! But our hearts and mind was set on this trip and we knew our Lord was with us. So without any further delay I started to prepare for the trip. The first thing I did was take my bike to my mechanic and prepped it fully for the trip, by getting the oil checked, electrical, water level in the batteries & the general service. Once I was satisfied, I went ahead and got my saddle bags out and had them checked out for any tears and repairs, as they were fairly new one didn’t face any problems there.

The day finally arrived and we were set to leave at 6 am. With a short prayer and our mothers still asking us to reconsider our travel transportation, I kick started the bike, she sounded most beautiful and started in one kick, turned my headlights on, waved goodbye and left the secure premises of our house. Soon we had hit the NH8 highway and were cruising along steadily for Vadodara, our first destination where we would take a halt. I had gone over the route of the couple who had travelled to Udaipur from Mumbai and in there was another route that was mentioned, via Godhra.

Photo of Modasa, Gujarat, India by kunal ganguli

I was keen on taking a new route and seeing new places. I had the print out of the route on top of my tank bag and we were quickly moving towards Modasa, a small town that comes 100 kms before Godhra. We decided to take our first stop just after Modasa, it was a beautiful morning, the sun had just risen and the slight winter chill still loomed the air. Anyhow, we picked up a spot to stop at a decent dhabba that served us tea, which we were wondering was tea or just sugar in hot water. So we decided to skip that and go with something more conventional & safe (taste wise), Mirinda!!

Upon asking for something for breakfast, we were not left with much of a choice than to order Dosa, as most of the things that were offered to us one would rather keep them for consumption at Lunch or Dinner. So Dosa and Mirinda was the choice of the moment and one didn’t seem to be bothered as we were excited about our trip and all that lay ahead of us. So with our bellies full and also my bike’s we planned on moving ahead and I remembered I was carrying my GoPro camera, so I quickly put it on, took a few pictures, saddled up, started my bike and we were off again.

Day 1
Photo of Vadodara, Gujarat, India by kunal ganguli

By now the bike had warmed up and was rapidly moving forward, the roads were wide and the traffic was sparse. We reached Godhra, had a quick refuel and headed forward towards Vadodara. We were making good time so I saw a nice place that had a lovely shade and decided to stop and take a break & my wife decided to take out her new “selfie stick” and have a little photo session.

Photo of Vadodara, Gujarat, India by kunal ganguli

It was wonderful, the breeze was cool, we hydrated ourselves with water and some Red Bull, took a few pictures and were off again. At noon we had reached Vadodara & straight went to our hotel & checked-in.

We decided to rest and venture out to see the city in the evening. Vadodara as a city is in Gujarat, it has a very famous Art College where people from all walks of life come to study there. It is a fairly big town and has all the latest shopping available. We had dinner at this lovely restaurant called Tomatoes and returned to our hotel after having some ice cream at a local brand of Vadodara called Dairy Den.

Photo of A RIDE TO REMEMBER!! by kunal ganguli

Next morning after our check out and refueling our bike we were off again, destination, Daman! Since the distance that we needed to cover the next day was around 250 odd kilometers we decided to leave by eight. This time the ride was completely different, as were back on the NH8 highway it became busy and we experienced a lot of truck traffic. Also one noticed that there were very few stretches that felt we were on a highway, as many small towns were connected and it felt we were still trying to get out of Vadodara & the weather to had warmed up. But one still enjoyed the ride as we got to see a different State & how people were different, how places were different. Even though the highway was busy but one never felt unsafe as everyone stuck to their lanes, people overtook each other by giving proper turn signals, flashing their high beam lights, all in all had good road manners & were very helpful if one asked for any help such as directions, addresses, etc.

While taking a stop on the way to have some breakfast I received a call from my Uncle in Dehradun. On knowing that we had undertaken this trip and were stopping in Daman, he advised us to make a small stop at a town known as Udvada, close to Daman. History goes that when the Zoroastrians were persecuted and they fled from their native Country they first landed here at this place. It has the only and the oldest Fire Temple. On hearing this we decided we have to go and visit this place as it was on the way.

Day 2
Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by kunal ganguli

After having our breakfast we headed out towards Daman. Closer to Daman one could feel the typical sea breeze in the air and see water bodies. The topography changed as so did the climate, one would see a steady view of coconut trees, the air was cool but humidity had increased, we reached our hotel by one and checked-inn. We had a room with a view as from our windows we could see the sea. The first day we just relaxed and took in the fact that we were in Daman, all these months of planning and we were finally there for our anniversary, it felt great. Since Daman is next to the coast and is famous for its sea food we ordered some prawns and fish and decided to binge on them & what better beverage than beer to down all of that in.

Day 3
Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by kunal ganguli

The next day we woke up and went down from our room for some breakfast. We then decided to do some touristy things like take pictures of the place and go see some Churches, go to the beach, enjoy the local food and do some site seeing. Daman also has a fort which is quite famous and is a base for the Coast Guards, we saw both the places and after an interval of every 10 to 15 minutes would see a Coast Guards aircraft doing its sortie.

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by kunal ganguli

Then we rode upto the beach called Jampore Beach where we enjoyed some lovely coconut water and ofcouse some chilled beer to escape the heat. There were people doing some water sports and children playing in the sea with the waves, some local fishermen casting their nets and one could see in the haze, at a distance, some fishing boats. Soon the sun started to beat down on us and the day started to become warmer. We decided to head back to the hotel, as we had managed to see quite a bit of the place, and have lunch there.

Photo of Daman, Daman and Diu, India by kunal ganguli

On reaching the hotel we ordered some lunch where again we were served some great sea food & then with our bellies full and our eyes laden with sleep we decided it was best to hit the room and retire away for the afternoon siesta. By evening the tide had started to come in again and the sun looked so beautiful setting in the horizon. We spent the evening lazing and preparing for our ride next morning. Daman had been wonderful.

Day 4
Photo of Udvada, Gujarat, India by kunal ganguli

The next morning we woke up and got packed, and headed towards the reception to check-out, we thanked everyone, loaded our bike and headed towards Mumbai. Since today’s ride was a mere 170 kms and we had time on our hands we decided to visit the town of Udvada, which my uncle from Dehradun had spoken about, since it was just eight kilometers from Daman. As we reached the town it was as if we’ve reached another era in time. It was surely inhabited only by Parsis but the town had the very same old architecture and the streets were pristine clean. On reaching the Fire Temple, though we were not allowed inside, we managed to take some picture outside it. This was a small and short detour we made and we were glad that we did, I called my uncle and told him that we had visited this town and thanked him for telling us to go there. We saddled up and were off again, this time to our final destination...Mumbai!! We soon hit the NH8 and were quickly moving towards Mumbai, the roads were once again four lane and absolutely smooth, especially on entering Maharashtra and hitting the Western Ghats. I was really having fun and enjoying the twisties and the bends the road had to offer riding across the hills. Before we knew, we were welcomed by the Mumbai traffic, humidity, bad roads and big gates that said “Mumbai Mahanagar Palika Welcomes You”.

Once entering Mumbai it was pretty much a straight route to my friend’s place where we had decided to stay. We had finally done it!! We had reached Mumbai from Udaipur and the feeling still had taken sometime to sink in. After having a nice long shower and changing into my shorts and a tee and sitting on the window ledge at my friend’s apartment, while waiting for him to arrive, as my wife rested to wear off her travelling fatigue, its then when it started to sink in. In the quiet of the house, hearing a dog barking at the distance, seeing some children playing football on the streets, I suddenly realised one leg the journey that we had undertaken was complete.

Day 5
Photo of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by kunal ganguli

But it wasn’t over yet, we had to cover the same distance back and this time there wouldn’t be so many stoppages, the distance would be more and the ride would be longer. But we did it, we reached back home without any break downs or major trouble & my bike behaved & ran beautifully, having to tell the stories of our adventure. I have been on many biking trips in the past but to ride this far with a pillion that happened to be my wife was the first.

She was very sporting, encouraging, patient & supporting that helped make this trip even more fun and adventurous, she was truly a great pillion to have & what can one ask for more than to have your life partner travel with you on such journeys. We prayed and thanked our Maker for taking and bringing us back home safely and for looking after us on our journey. It was simply one of the best trips that my wife and I went on and our planning still continues for more such trips & adventure in the future.