By Team EarPeace
Due to the persistent snowfall and bitter cold, the northern Himalayas are isolated from the rest of the nation during the winter. A few of these high-altitude locations can be reached with a 4x4, but due to the harsh winters in the Himalayas, it is nearly impossible to ride a motorcycle down to the north. After a dry spell of riding, I was eager to get back on my bike in December and made the decision to ride south-west toward the Thar Desert in order to see the Great Rann of Kutch, also known as the White Desert. This area of India is one of the hottest, so taking a motorcycle there in December looked like the ideal choice.
The Sanskrit term "Irina," which also means desert, is the source of the Hindi word "Rann," which means "desert." The salt marshland known as The Great Rann of Kutch can be found in Gujarat, India's Kutch District, amid the Thar Desert. It is one of the largest salt deserts in the world and is thought to be roughly 7500 sq km (2900 sq miles) in size. It is particularly well known among bikers for its fantastic off-roading trails and display of magnificent desert sunsets.
My journey to the Rann of Kutch and back was plotted on a map, and it revealed that I would need to travel approximately 3,000 kilometres in 6 days. I've experienced riding on bad roads before, but not for such a long distance. Despite how difficult it seemed, I chose to go out on my journey on a Friday night, with Jaipur as my first destination. I travelled the 245 kilometres in around 3 and a half hours, arriving in Jaipur at around 10 p.m. That night was very chilly, and I wasn't really prepared for the piercing cold. Nevertheless, I overcame the chills and arrived at my destination without incident.
The following morning, I had to get up early to go 680 kilometres to Ahmedabad, the capital and largest city of Gujarat, where I would meet up with another rider. The journey was quite taxing in the winter sun because of the endless plains, which made the roads wonderful but also very boring. Some of India's highways are quite well constructed, but one must constantly be on guard against strange objects like stray dogs, cows, or even humans (most often cows) that could appear out of nowhere. I was able to swerve around an approaching cow while travelling at 130 kph, avoiding her rear end by only centimetres, which could have put us both in a very perilous situation. I was able to maintain my peak pace after the tense encounter with the stray cow, and I arrived in the city just before sunset. After seeing the other rider, I made the decision to depart for Bhuj the following day.
The town of Bhuj is the one nearest to the Rann of Kutch. Since Bhuj was only 330 kilometres from Ahmedabad, we opted to leave later in the day after a full day of relaxation. The roads weren't too awful, so overall it was a pleasant trip. We left after lunch and had to travel the majority of the journey that day in the dark. The sunset we saw en route was the best part about arriving in Bhuj after dark. When the Gulf of Kutch was on our left, there was nothing in sight as far as the eye could see, and we eventually witnessed a magnificent golden sun set with windmills.
We awoke the next day with great anticipation, as we were finally on our way to the Great Rann of Kutch after riding nonstop for two days. We arrived at the viewpoint around sunrise and were taken aback by how far the white salt fields stretched in all directions. It appeared surreal and unlike anything we had ever seen. There was an elevated platform built for tourists, and the view from there was breathtaking. We were surrounded on all sides by salt marshlands, with the sun casting long shadows across the fields. We walked around the salt fields for a while, taking in the scenery, before getting back on our motorcycles to explore the surrounding area. We rode around on very isolated roads for a while before deciding to ride out into the marshlands with no one in sight. After about 15 minutes of riding in the desert, my friend began waving frantically at me not to get any closer to him. His motorcycle had become stuck in the mud, and his rear tyre was spinning furiously with no grip at all. My friend was much heavier than me and had a lot of luggage on his bike, which caused it to sink deeper into the loose mud and slush. We worked for an hour that day to get his motorcycle to drier ground so he could sit and ride again. We rode to a location that was safer so that we could relax for the evening and see the famous sunsets of the Rann of Kutch after narrowly avoiding having to spend the night in the open desert. We saw one of the most stunning sunsets of our lives as the sun spread a lovely golden light across the sky. The two of us were alone with our motorcycles as we sat and watched their silhouettes vanish into the night. We also got to feel the chilly, harsh night of the desert when we travelled back to Bhuj that evening. That is something I never want to go through again.
We made the decision to part ways and return to our own homes after two days in Bhuj, during which we experienced local life and visited nearby attractions. On the way home, I made the decision to take a different route and stop in the charming cities of Udaipur and Pushkar. The lovely city of Udaipur, which is situated in Rajasthan, is constructed around a lake, and my hostel's terrace provided me with stunning views of both the lake and the lake palace. I rested at my hostel for a day before departing for Pushkar. I arrived at my location at around noon thanks to the very smooth journey and short distance. Pushkar is one of India's oldest cities, with many temples, and is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Sikhs. Tourism has recently boomed in this tiny town, and many hotels, cafes, and restaurants have sprung up to accommodate the influx of visitors. After witnessing one last glorious sunset of my trip in Pushkar, I decided to call it a night and prepare to return home the next day, bringing to a close this beautiful ride of nearly 3,000 km and a lot of pleasant memories.