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Rajasthan Ride 2012 - By Arjun Uberoi

Arjun has sent me another tale of his two-wheeled adventures across India.  This time he takes in far too many forts then get's stuck in the mud of the Sambhar Lake.  I've placed the images Arjun has sent in no particular order but it doesn't matter, they are amazing.  Many thanks again to Arjun.  (Ren - The Ed)


Hi Sir,

Another one of my Adventures Bike Ride Journey:

arjun in outline holding his hand up, with the sun between his fingers in india
Arjun's so cool he can even hold the Indian Sun in place... (Ren - The Ed)

Date : 3rd March 2012.

The Route: - Gurgaon-(250)-Jaipur-(90)-Sambhar Lake-(410)-Gurgaon.

I had prepared my itenary on the 3rd of February 2012 to have an adventurous ride to the Sambhar Lake and explore all the forts of Rajasthan. And scheduled my departure for the subsequent weekend, I sent it to everybody I knew , in office, friends, college guys everywhere, hence the co-ordination began. The Trip kept getting postponed due to some group of friends not coming or coming or whatever, Eventually the trip after getting postponed week after week, I got fed up and decided to go solo this time on the weekend of 3rd March 2012. My seniors in office also told me about a Bengali song by Rabindranath Tagore - "Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Chalo Re"

English Translation:

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.
If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.
If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.

And I was quiet inspired by the song……

Getting all ready for the trip right then I got friends call and he said lets go … without blinking an eyelid I packed my bags and went to his house and explained him the itenary. We had our dinner and got ready for the ride. Finally after 1 hour of convincing and grilling my friends, we were 4 of us on 3 bikes. Prashant on his Yamaha fazer, Vaibhav on his Yamaha R15 and me on my Avenger.

3rd March 2012 , 1:30 AM , Reaching Jaipur

We departed from Gurgaon, hitting the NH-8 and swinging all along the width of NH-8 to overtake trucks , trucks and more trucks … it was feeling like the video game we use to play in video parlors. We stopped at Daruheda for some tea as it was cold during these hours. After sipping great tea Mr. Vaibhav has news for us..”guys you all carry on I’m going back home as my eye is irritating me” . seriously we were pissed off, well can’t force the big guy, pissingly we bid good bye and moved on towards Jaipur without looking back.

3 indian motorcyclists side by side riding through a dark street
3 riders of the night, playing the dangerous game of dodge the trucks. (Ren - The Ed)

The moon was like a street lamp and the NH8 was Armageddon with trucks trucks and trucks….., We were now officially shivering as it became very cold. We stopped for another tea break and another after one hour of riding. Now it was 5:30 and we were just 25 kms from Jaipur City. The Actual plan was to see the sunrise at Sambhar lake but we got late and we would have missed it. So instant change of plans we decided to explore Jaipur today and thereafter see the sunrise next day on Sunday on the Sambhar Lake.

arjun frolicking with 5 dogs on a dark street in india
It seems the locals are very friendly here (Ren - The Ed)

Clicking 6 o clock on our watches and 245 kms on our odometers we took a room for 600 rupees just near Jal Mahal and collapsed for half an hour and got refreshed for the day to explore Jaipur. Interesting one of the hotels had good spellings for the floors, see the photographs below.

3rd March 2012, 7:30 AM , Exploring Jaipur City

1. Jal mahal
After getting refreshed at the room we headed for the Jal Palace which was just in front of us.
Jal Mahal (meaning "Water Palace") is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, India. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber.

The Jal Mahal palace has got an eye-popping makeover. Traditional boat-makers from Vrindavan have crafted the Rajput style wooden boats. A gentle splashing of oars on the clear lake waters takes you to Jal Mahal. Across the lake, you can view the Aravalli hills, dotted with temples and ancient forts, and on the other side, bustling Jaipur. The most remarkable change is in the lake itself. The drains were diverted, two million tonnes of toxic silt were dredged from the bottom, increasing its depth by over a metre, a water treatment system was developed, local vegetation and fish reintroduced, the surrounding wetlands regenerated and five nesting islands created to attract migratory birds.

Source - Jal Mahal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

a pond in the base of sculptured steps and ridges in an indian palace
If you're going to have a pond, make it impressive. (Ren - The Ed)

After sitting for a while here we headed for the Nahargarh fort which comes on the same road.

2. Nahargarh Fort
The nahargarh fort i ssome 10 kms from the Jal Palace and its on the hill top hence we climb till the top of the hill and reach the fort . here the first thing of interest is the Rang de Basanti Spot, I mean the Rang de Basanti had done all its shooting here but we were not allowed in there. The fort had a ticket of 10/- to see from inside. Nahargarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the pink city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

The view of the city from the fort is breath-taking. Along with Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort, it formed a strong defence ring for the city. During the Sepoy revolt of 1857, Nahargarh served as a refuge for Europeans fleeing from the havoc created by mutineers in neighbouring states. The word Nahargarh means the abode of tigers. Legends say that it was named after Prince Nahar whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort.

Built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, it is partially in ruins. It was extended in 1868. The rooms are linked by corridors and still have some delicate frescos. There are nine apartments for the nine queens the Maharaja had and all are well planned and decorated. Nahargarh is also called the hunting residence of Maharajas.

Source -

arjun looking over a flat lake to a palace in the indian sunshine
Here in the UK we'd have a small India they have a whole lake... (Ren - The Ed)

3. Jaigarh Fort
In Jaigarh Fort they charge 50 rupees to permit a camera inside the fort and a ticket of 35/- per head to enter the fort . There are enough stalls inside for eating and drinks. The cannon is really beautiful , must see and the silence is composing.

Jaigarh Fort is situated on the premonitory called the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the Aravalli hill ranges; it overlooks the Amber Fort and the Moata Lake, near Amber in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The fort was built by Sawai Jai Singh III in 1726 to protect the Amer Fort and the palace complex within it and was named after Jai Singh II.

The fort, rugged and similar in structural design to the Amber Fort, is also known as Victory Fort. It has a length of 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) along the north-south direction and a width of 1 kilometre (0.62 mi). The fort features a cannon named “Jaivana”, which was manufactured in the fort precincts and was then the world's largest cannon on wheels.

The palace complex (Laxmi Vilas, Lalit Mandir, Vilas Mandir and Aram Mandir) located within the fort has a well-tended garden where the royal family resided, the Shubhat Niwas (an assembly hall of the warriors), an armoury and a museum. Jaigarh Fort and Amber Fort are connected by subterranean passages and considered as one complex.

Source - Jaigarh Fort - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

arjun and friend posing by the jaigarh fort sign
Just posing and looking chilled out (Ren- The Ed)

4. Amber Palace
By this time we were sick of stone the sun, pegions as this was only what we were seeing since the morning. You cannot see all the forts in a single day, we started hating forts till we reached the Amber Palace. The weather also had got too sunny, could not stand in the sun, it was burning.

The Amber Palace should be the first fort to visit once you enter Jaipur because it is here that you get the Tickets for the rest of the forts and Hawa Mahal. We did the opposite. By 3 o clock we were dead, hence we skipped the Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal and went to our room and went into sleep mode.

Amer Fort is located in Amer a town with an area of 4 square kilometres 1.5 sqm, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India. It is one of the principal tourist attractions in the Jaipur area, located high on a hill. Amer Fort was made by Meenas king Raja Alan Singh Chanda later occupied by Kachhawa rajput . Amer Fort is known for its artistic style, blending both Hindu Rajput elements. The fort with its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, overlooks the Maota Lake, at its forefront.

Source - Amer Fort - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

a motorcyclist posing by the amber palace sign
I reckon the Amber Palace is near here somewhere (Ren- The Ed)

3rd March 2012, 5:00 PM, Tasting The Rich Traditional Food of Rajasthan at Chokhi Dhani

After the power nap we got up at 4 PM had our tea and left the room for Chokhi Dhani.Reaching Chokhi Dhani could be difficult as it is 20 kms away from city, fortunately I had a GPS and it directed us straight to our destination without getting lost. There were many lefts and rights. I recommend, you should keep asking people on your way every auto walla in order to reach Chokhi Dhani as atleast 12 red lights appear and six flyovers on the way, after which the Chokhi Dhani will appear on your right hand side. We took one hour to reach.

a cool stylish indian motorcyclist having a smoke at the roadside
I imagine it's very hot, how do they look so cool? (Ren - The Ed)

The parking is free and there is a counter where you can submit your helmets. At Chokhi Dhani the theme is hard core Village and ethnic. Two sweet girls will welcome you by saying “Ram Ram Sa” and put tikka etc. then you head for the ticket counter. On your way you will hear drums being played with some guy singing some Rajasthan folk song. At the ticket counter there are two options one is normal thali and the other royal thali they cost 400/- and 700/- respectively.

arjun sat on his bajaj avenger in the sun
Arjun just taking time out, deep in contemplation (Ren - The Ed)

At welcome you get a free drink known as rabdi hot and salted , I didn’t like it. There after there is camel ride , bullockart ride , everything is payable inside. Being a weekend the crowd was overflowing and it was very noisy or we just tired and wanted our food. Food was not being served until 7 :00 pm. We roamed around more saw the beautiful water body under a bridge , some village huts and people dancing every where, there are many games to play , a puppet show , parrot readers (astrology) (tarot readers? Ren - The Ed) and snakes and ladders on a large scale.

having a spot on the forehead from 2 pretty ladies
A warm welcome from 2 "sweet" girls (Ren - The Ed)

Dot seven we were at the dinner spot and ready to attack. OH God who had seen what was in store for us they kept serving us for half an hour , the menu could not be pronounced by me, we were really hungry hence ate everything we got. one thing I remember is that their sweet was really yummy and a great great dinner indeed. By 9 o clock we left the place and hit the bed in our room. Next day we had planned to see the Sambhar Lake Sun rise hence we set an alarm for 4 0 clock and conked off.

arjun and friends at on the floor eating a very hearty meal
A desperately welcome meal for 3 hungry riders (Ren - The Ed)

4th March 2012, 8:00 AM, The Sambhar Lake Adventure

Again change of plans, we had put an alarm for 3:30 AM and nobody heard it, nobody even budged to put it on snooze, I guess we were more tired than we thought. Again missed the Sunrise on the Sambhar Lake. Moving on we saddled up and headed for the Sambhar Lake. Getting on the Ajmer road NH-8 the road is like a plane can land on it as smooth as it could get. Mirages seen all the way.

Just after40 kms you will find a board saying Sambhar towards right , getting off the NH-8 and onto the state highway we head for the Sambhar Lake. Here also the road was superb with even better view of the desert on either sides of the roads. The trees were some kind of bonzii variety there was more of wood and very few leaves on the trees. After 20 kms we cross a railway track and after 10 kms we reach the Sambhar Town. I thought nobody would be there, but mind you the Sambhar town is one populated village, it had so many shops.

a loaded motorcycle on a long narrow coutryside lane in india
It's a big country India, so there are long roads. (Ren - The Ed)

Just when you hit the first crossing within the village turn right towards the Temple. From here one can enter the Sambhar lake. It’s a complete other world the Sambhar Lake is India’s Largest Salt Water Lake. One cannot see the end of the lake. I’ve heard many movies were shot here as well , the latest being VEER. While riding on the lake for around 3 odd kms our first encounter with the lake. The Fazer Prashant was riding got stuck in a swamp kind of area . Nishant and me both had to pull him out and we kept wondering what is this gueeee (gooey Ren - The Ed) stuff…..

motorcycle stuck in the sambhar lake salt mud
Oh MY GOODNESS! You don't need a side stand here.  Just be thankful it was not a Gold Wing (Ren - The Ed)

Prashant got pissed off and said I’m going back. I said I’ll ride his bike , I wanted to see the side of the lake which had water and flamingoes. But Nishant and prashant were adamant to leave the lake. But I said I’m going ….. who knew just after five minutes when they had left the lake I got the bike stuck completely in the middle of the sinking salt swamp , from where it was impossible to get it out. I struggled for half an hour with the bike just to dirty my clothes and sink the bike further down.I could not see anybody for kms and Nishant and Prashant Had left .. all by myself I felt like the movie 127 hours.

After half an hour I started finding help I walked for 15 mins and found two labourers working to take out salt. I convinced them to help me and offered them some money also. After half an hour we managed to get the bike out. After taking out the bike the labourers said the bike will not work because the Guueee stuff was all in the brakes, chain, gears and could not be removed by hand. Having no option just started and scooted the hell out of there straight to the bike cleaning guy in the Sambhar Village , fortunately the cleaning guy was some sort of an expert. He not only cleaned the bike but also me because I was all enveloped in the black guueee stuff. Well getting the real feel of adventure we started our return journey at 2 PM from Sambhar Lake and reached Gurgaon 10 PM .

Total Kilometers – 712kms
Lodging – 600(For Three)(One night at Jaipur)
Food- 600(per head )
Awesome weekend bike trip

Arjun takes his long suffering Bajaj 220 mud-plugging this time... (Ren - The Ed)

arjun getting his bajaj 220 avenger sideways on the sambhar salt lake india
Arjun getting his Bajaj 220 sideways on the Sambhar Salt Flats.  Impressive!
(Ren - The Ed)

motorcycle clocks shining in the dark night
The Yamamha clocks at night
(Ren - The Ed)

indian palace framed through a stone fence
Very artistic
(Ren - The Ed)

a bird in stunning detail on a tree
Crystal clear wildlife photography
(Ren - The Ed)

crisp sharp tessalated hallway in an indian palace
Imagine the work that went into creating something so magnificent
(Ren - The Ed)

large old canon on wooden wheels
Once the largest canon on wheels. Notice the detail, it's crafted, not made.
(Ren - The Ed)

indian houses around a pond
Vibrant colours
(Ren - The Ed)

large trucks whizz past a parked motorcycle in the terrifying indian roads
The scary trucks whizz past. I hear Indian roads are..."interesting"
(Ren - The Ed)

motorcycle tyre in the sambhar salt lake
I dare not think what effect the salt could have on the metalwork
(Ren - The Ed)

biker posing on the salt flats
"Whose idea whas this?"
(Ren - The Ed)

2 friends posing on their motorcycles at sambhar lake
Talk about the "Man at C&A " poses!
(Ren - The Ed)

rear tyre spinning up salt on the salt lake
Arjun giving it large
(Ren - The Ed)

2 bikes and riders, irrelevant in the expanse of the salt lake
The lake is vast, the riders are but a mere dot on the landscape
(Ren - The Ed)

picture taken from a moving bike of the sambhar salt lake
Very stylish photography, clever shot
(Ren - The Ed)

motorcycle stuck in the salt mud, being pulled out
(Ren - The Ed)

man walking through the muddy sambhar salt lake
It's not like I thought it would be.
(Ren - The Ed)

boots covered in black salty mud
Can't do the leather any good
(Ren - The Ed)

arjun and friend relaxing next to a bike on the salt lake
Just chilling out again
(Ren - The Ed)

train on the horizon with sambhar lake in the foreground
I think that is a train seen in the distance of the Sambhar Salt Lake
(Ren - The Ed)

camel and diy cart on the salt lake
Motorcycles are not the only form of transport
(Ren - The Ed)

motorcycle covered in thick salt mud
THAT is gonna take some cleaning!
(Ren - The Ed)

Reader's Comments

Ren - The Ed said :-
Many thanks Arjun. I'd love to take on the Sambhar Salt Lake but I think I'll use someone else's bike! Amazing story and you and your friends take some awesome images.
1/1//2000 UTC
John Almond said :-
Another great write up..................:)

These guys are either bonkers or very brave........................or maybe both eh.!!!!! :)

1/1//2000 UTC
Sharon said :-
Another great bike adventure with more stunning pics. Love your spirit Arjun!
1/1//2000 UTC
Arjun Uberoi said :-
Thanks Ren for the appreciation.

You Gotta come and Ride in India.
Well the salt can seriously eat your bike in one go. But we immediately washed our bikes the minute we left Samhar Salt Lake.

Thanks & Regards
Arjun Uberoi
1/1//2000 UTC

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