“Would you like to ride in the Mountain Trail, from Delhi to Leh” was the first sentence of the call I received from the Mahindra Two wheeler guys.

They wanted me to ride their new innovation motorbike, The Mojo 300cc from Delhi to Leh. The event was called the Mountain Trail.
http://mahindramojo.com/mojotribe

“Yes” was my answer.

Mojo Mountain Trail

I had a week’s time to prepare myself for the Mountain Trail. The flag off was from Gurgaon , Bikers Café on the 24th of July 2016.

I did my usual homework about knowing the machine im going to ride – The Mojo 300cc.Mojo Mountain Trail

The MOJO comes equipped with a state-of-the-art engine with DOHC (Double Over Head Camshaft), low friction piston and rings, advanced EFI (Electronic Fuel Ignition), iridium spark plug, resonator fitted intake system and twin exhausts.

 

Yes. I was impressed with the specs and very excited to ride this unique machineMojo Mountain Trail.

 

I landed up a day before in Delhi to test ride the Mojo.
Mr Deepak Saxena & Varun Chaddha at Khandelwal Automobiles , Moti Nagar, handed over the Mojo and explained everything I needed to know about the bike.

I rode on the streets of Delhi, getting to know this roaring machine, heads turned around and immediately fell in love with the Mojo.
Mountain trail Day 1: 24th July 2016, Sunday,Delhi to Chandigarh -260kms
Flag off

As a usual practice of mine, I said a small prayer and attached the Buddhist flags to the handle and set off for a journey of a lifetime.

Mojo Mountain Trail

Mojo Mountain Trail
Registrations at the Bikers cafe , Gurgaon

Our flag off was from the Bikers Café in Gurgaon at 11:30 am.
A well-organized welcome by the Mahindra Mountain Trail team at the café, made me feel comfortable immediately. To my amazement there were around 30 riders who were on this Mountain trail. We were made to register for the event and followed by a hearty breakfast.

Mojo Mountain Trail
The whole atmosphere was very electric and I could sense a feel of brotherhood in the air already, as the music played loudly “Got my Mojo riding”, the Mojo Anthem.

Mojo Mountain Trail Mojo Mountain Trail

On the occasion, words of encouragement were said by, Mr.Naveen Malhotra, Senior General Manager, Marketing & Product Planning, Mahindra Two Wheelers.
He announced, “What makes this even more exciting is the association with youth icon and avid biker Ranvijay Singh and ace filmmaker Nagesh Kuknoor, who will be joining this trail for the Chandigarh to Leh leg.”

Mojo Mountain Trail
Ranvijay Singh joining the Mountain Trail

We were introduced to the Mahindra on-road team and the expedition leader Mr. Surbhit Dixit.

Mojo Mountain Trail
Our leader in center – Mr Surbhit Dixit

The moment had come where all the 30 riders were eager to commence the historic journey of the first ever Mahindra Mojo Mountain trail biking expedition from Delhi to Leh .

Mojo Mountain TrailMojo Mountain Trail

All our bags were packed and we were ready to go.

Mr Naveen , did the flag off and we were on the roads with the roaring Mojo. The Delhi traffic tested our riding skills and once we hit the highway to Chandigarh, the Mojo was flying with ease at 120kmph.

Mojo Mountain Trail
Flag Off by Mr. Navin Malhotra, Senior General Manager, Marketing & Product Planning, Mahindra Two Wheelers.
Mojo Mountain Trail
Me & Mr. Govindarajan – DGM R & D Mahindra Two Wheelers

A small incident came to my notice, which showed the greatness of the Mahindra team and their love for the Mojo.
One of the riders had a small defect in the headlight and the service vehicle was behind. Mr Govindarajan – DGM of R & D, who was also riding with the team, came to sort the problem out. One of the participants asked, why he needs to look into the problem, when the service team is there. To which he humbly replied, “ the vehicle doesn’t know who is operating on it, so what difference does it makes to the problem, moreover if I can solve the problem, it will help everyone”.
My respect for him & the Mahindra team increased since that moment.

Mostly everyone was riding at an average speed of 120kmph, Chandigarh came quickly and we rested for the day in comforting rooms.

Mountain Trail Day 2 : 25th July – Chandigarh to Manali – 310 kms

I was curious and excited for the fact that the Mojo would be entering the mountain terrain and avid biker Ran Vijay & ace film director Mr. Nagesh Kuknoor would be riding with us.

Mojo Mountain Trail
Prateek Deo & Ranvijay ( l to r )

 

Mojo Mountain Trail
Mr Nagesh Kuknoor & Prateek Deo ( l to r)

We started early, since it was a long day today with lot of hairpin bends to deal with. 50 kmph was the average speed and the occasional 100s. It was a delight to watch 28 Mojos in a single line roaring into the hills, as if a tiger has entered the jungle.

Mojo Mountain Trail
near Beas river

We took a short break near Beas river as soon as we entered Manali , crossing Mandi and Kullu. Everyone looked tired after long hours of riding.

My belief in the Mojo increased by the day, and I became more and more confident with this amazing piece of machine. The Mojo was like a sweet poetry in motion on the hills.

Mojo Mountain Trail IMG_0531

We got a strict briefing from our leader, regarding the start time next day. We had to cross our first high mountain pass – The Rohtang Pass and reach Keylong. This crossing had to be done before 6 am because of some regulations of the Government. So our wake up call was at 3 am and 4 am departure.

 

Mountain Trail Day 3 : 26th July – Manali to Keylong – 115kms

I woke up to the sound of heavy rainfall at 3 am, and lot of hustle bustle amongst the participants.
With a delay of an hour, we started the day’s journey with our rain gears. Today the Mojo would be tested in the rains.
At Gulaba we got our permits checked and started the climb towards the first mountain pass of our mountain trail – Rohtang Pass (3,980 m)

The Mojo was smoothly flying on its first real ascent.
A quick breakfast at Marhi did well to our morale on a wet morning.
Within no time we were on the zero point of Rohtang Pass. After few photo sessions, we started our descend towards Keylong.
This time the Mojo was tested for it’s off road skills.

Mojo Mountain Trail
at Rohtang Pass – BROTHERHOOD !!!

IMG_0551

A quick lunch at Koksar and permits checking, gave the timely rest to our backsides.

The rest of the journey till Keylong was dusty and smooth, crossing potato fields, and small hamlets.
The last petrol pump before Leh , at Tandi , is surely not missed by anyone , just before reaching Keylong.Keylong is the district headquarters for the Lahaul Spiti area, and at an altitude of 3,080 m.

By this time, I had learnt to control my bike and started speaking to it quite often.
Mountain Trail Day 4 : 27th July – Keylong to Sarchu – 107 kms

Once again I woke up to a roaring downpour. Though today’s riding distance was lesser, but had to cross the mighty Baralachla pass (5,030 m) to reach Sarchu (4,300 m)
With the weather god’s on our side, the rains stopped as soon as we started from our hotel.
I could see some tensed faces. I too was a little tensed since we were going to go above 14000ft and with the weather packed didn’t know what to expect. We crossed Darcha and stopped for a short tea break at Zing Zing bar, just before the Baralachla pass climb started. I realized how important is to have these short breaks.

Mojo Mountain Trail

Slowly & steadily, in a linear fashion, the Mojo Tribe reached Baralachla pass.( 5,030 m)
After descending from the pass, we once again stopped for a quick tea session at Bharatpur and by early evening reached Sarchu.

This was a testing night for the whole group, since we were at a high altitude and Sarchu is known for its chill winds.

Sarchu is a small location at 4,300 m, nesting on the border of Himachal & Jammu & Kashmir. What divides the two States is the huge Sarchu river. There are small makeshift tents and Army settlements.

At Sarchu - the Mojo Tribe
At Sarchu – the Mojo Tribe

 

Mojo Mountain Trail
Sarchu

Though Sarchu has a very beautiful landscape, the wind at night makes staying there very difficult.It was a quiet evening for the team.

My mind was thinking about the next day, where we had to cross 3 higher mountains passes.I was a bit nervous and anxious, but I trusted the Mojo for an awesome ride.

It was amazing to see the ever-ready Mahindra Service team fine-tuning everyone’s bikes, even at this altitude. They did an awesome job.

Mojo Mountain Trail
The Mahindra Service team

Mountain Trail Day 5: 28th July – Sarchu to Leh – 250kms

The final day had come. The whole team was anxious. Our leader gave us final instructions for the day and we commenced the epic journey with our Mojos.

The Mojo had no problems on the Gata Loops -22 loops (4,190 m), and crossed the Lachungla pass (5,059 m) and Nakeela Pass (4,739 m) without any difficulty.

Pang (4,600 m), a small-tented stopover, was our next pit stop for lunch, before we crossed the second highest motor able pass in the world – The Tanglangla Pass at 5,328 m.

Mojo Mountain Trail
At Pang – Mr Prateek Deo & Ranvijay ( l to r )

IMG_0585

The road to Tanglangla pass was fantastic, thanks to the Border Road Organisation (BRO), they have done an amazing job to make our journeys smooth and comfortable.

My heartbeat became faster as we were nearing the second highest pass in the world.

Yes we did it. We reached Tanglangla pass with our Mojos.

After a quick session of selfies , we started our descend and entered Ladakh.
Small beautiful hamlets, fields, streams, monasteries, open space filled the landscape. I cut down on my speed and was absorbing the beautiful landscape around me. The poet rider in me was alive again, I started to sing and the Mojo gave me accompaniment.

We passed beautiful villages of Rumste, Gya, Upshi, Thiksey, Shey to finally reach Leh.
At the hotel, all the bikers were welcomed by a local customary scarf ( Khatask) and a local drink ( Kahwa).

I kissed my bike, and thanked god that everyone reached safely.

It was a moment of joy. The Mountain Trail experience  with the Mojo Tribe was amazing. I made friends, brotherhood prevailed in my thoughts had a great time together.

It was now time for celebrations.

Mojo Mountain Trail
time to celebrate

IMG_0591
Got my mojo riding ……

 

  • About the Mahindra Mountain Trail team

    An every-ready, very helpful, inspiring, knowledgeable team of experts made this journey look so simple. It is because of them that our ride became comfortable and enjoyable.

    • Govindarajan – Dy.G.M. R & D
    • Anish Thakkar – Marketing Manager
    • Prashant Shinde – Sr. Manager PMG
    • Mahinder Choudhary – Territory Manager Customer Care Punjab
  • The Mojo Tribe – Brotherhood for ever.
    Just riding with the Mojo Tribesmen for a week, felt like we had been riding for ages , such was the effect of brotherhood. We understood and helped each other during difficult times on this trail, and that kept us going.
    30 roaring Mojos on road made a lot of difference, and i felt that.
  • Me & The Mojo – “A wild horse to tame”

    Senior General Manager, Marketing & Product Planning, Mahindra Two Wheelers.
    Me & The Bike

  • Im not a technical person to give statistics about the bike performance etc. I have been riding all kinds of motorbikes all over India and outside India also, since I was 15 years old. When the Mojo was handed over to me, I realized it’s “ A wild horse to tame”. Once you tame it, learn to control it, understand it – it’s a beautiful, powerful and elegant piece of machine – just like a wild horse.
  • It took me a complete day to tame or understand the Mojo. Mr Govindarajan , who was riding along with us, had tested the Mojo on all different terrains. It was very interesting to know from him, a lot of details about this fantastic piece of the Mahindra innovation.
    His love for the machine clearly showed in his approach towards the Mojo.
    He said, “Once you ride a Mojo, you wont feel to ride any other motorbike again”.

Trust me … its true.

 

 

Mojo Mountain Trail
A wild horse

 

  • written by Prateek Deo – CEO, Life Away From Life , who was also riding in this event by Mahindra Two Wheelers – The Mountain Trail

Top 5 Northeast As suggested by Life Away From Life

  1. Japfu Peak trek – Nagaland

    Japfu Peak  at 3048 metres , is the second highest peak in Nagaland. It is situated around 15kms from the town of Kohima and in the Dzouko valley.
    This trek can be done by enthusiastic trekkers , since its not very tough.

    Japfu peak trek

    more details:
    http://bit.do/JapfuPeak
    For more details, reach out to us on 022 66096693 / 7718058351 ( whats app)

  2. Motorcycling in Arunachal

    Our Biking Tour to Eastern Arunachal Pradesh will be starting from Guwahati, the gateway of North-east India, covering 2 Nationals parks in Assam. Then we will step into Lohit district and Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh. Both the districts are dominating by Mishimi tribes.

    Motorcycling in Arunachal

    More details : http://bit.do/ArunachalBiking

  3. Hornbill Festival – Nagaland

    The Hornbill festival is a collaborative celebration of all Naga tribes at one venue. It has been coined as “Festival of Festivals”. The Festival is a tribute to the great “Hornbill”. It is the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas. It’s famous for its qualities of alertness and grandeur.

    Hornbill Festival - Nagaland

    More details: http://bit.do/HornbillFestival

  4. Cherapunjee Waterfall Trek – Meghalaya

    Famous for its scenic beauty, nature & culture. It is in the state of Meghalaya, surrounded by beautiful lake, breathtaking water falls, hills, greenery which you cant forget for a lifetime. At an altitude of 5000 feet msl, it turns out to be a very exciting trek to these falls.

    Life away from life - adventure travel

    more details : http://bit.do/CherapunjeeTrek

  5. Meghalaya Jeep Safari

    Meghalaya is one of the Seven Sister States of northeast India, filled with mountainous terrains, stretches of valley and highland plateaus, and is geologically rich. The word Meghalaya means the “the adobe of clouds” in Sanskrit, and the various patterns and colours of clouds throughout the day is a mesmerising sight.

    Life away from life - adventure travel

    More details : http://bit.do/MeghalayaJeepSafari

Got a call from Mahindra Two Wheelers and they invited me for their  Mojo #MountainTrail . A biking expedition from  Delhi – Leh – Chandigarh. Starting on 24th July 2016.

Mojo Mountain Trail

 

“It’s now time to claim the Mountains. Get set for a journey of a lifetime to the mystic Leh. Ride through the majestic north as you conquer valleys and mountains with your Mojo. Laid with treacherous terrain and sub zero temperature, discover the land that will bring you face to face with the adventurer in you as you take on the path braved by our soldiers. Welcome to an expedition that separates the men from the boys.Welcome to the Mountain Trail.”

Mojo Mountain Trail

I will be riding their newly launched Mahindra Mojo 300cc from Delhi to Leh ( Ladakh) , crossing some worlds highest passes , along with 30 other riders as well starting from 24th July till 28th July 2016.
This tough route would cross 5 high mountain passes with the highest being at 17380 ft.

The bike which i would be riding is the new Mojo 300cc sports tourer.
The MOJO comes equipped with a state-of-the-art engine with DOHC (Double Over Head Camshaft), low friction piston and rings, advanced EFI (Electronic Fuel Ignition), iridium spark plug, resonator fitted intake system and twin exhausts.

 

m2w-mojo2

When the road comes calling, you need a pack to answer it. Brotherhood, camaraderie and the love of riding is what the Mojo Tribe is all about. And it will ensure that you never ride alone.

Mojo News.

Rannvijay Singh comes onboard for the first ever Mahindra Mojo Mountain Trail

TOP 5  Ladakh Trips
by Life away From Life

Ladakh Trips have been a favourite with Life Away From Life since the year 2000. Based on our experience in this Trans-Himalayan region , we suggest 5 top trips this year which one must experience.

 

  1. Ladakh Backpacking Trek

    Ladakh backpacking trek

    What’s Backpacking?Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent travel. It includes the use of a backpack that is easily carried for long distances as well as short periods of time, the use of public transport, and inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels. It can be done for short or long duration of a trip and is typically coupled with an interest in meeting locals, seeing sights and treks.

    The Experience:
    At a height of 9000 feet and spread across the Himalayas, Ladakh has the essence of backpacking flowing through the city. Your first look at the city and you will all in love with vast stretches of mountains, sneak-peaks of snow, the sound of water passing by and the hospitality of the people. With Ladakh’s mysterious way of life and its humble people, a backpacking trek to Ladakh is a lifetime experience, something every backpacker is looking for.
    This trip is one of the most looked for trip amongst all the Ladakh Trips.

     More details

    http://goo.gl/SYRFwU

     

  2. Ladakh Adventure Trip

    Life away from life - adventure travel

    The word ‘Ladakh’ means ‘Land of Passes’. On the way from Manali to Leh, there are 5 high-altitude passes (Rohtang, Baralacha-la, Namik-la, Lachunga-la, Tanglang-La). They offering spectacular view of the world’s highest routes between the snow clad mountain ranges of Ladakh and Zanskar. We think that experiencing unique beauty of this mountain-highway is experiencing Ladakh in a true sense.
    The white water rafting is done in the world famous Zanskarriver.  The route is very adventurous and ends at the confluence of Indus and Zanskarriver at Nimu.
    The trekking is done in the world famous Sham valley. This trek crosses streams, astounding landscapes, beautiful villages. We would camp one night in tents and have dinner over a camp fire in the valley.
    The Ladakh Adventure trip is one of the most exciting trips in the world.
    More details

    http://goo.gl/09d3hH

  3. Mentok Kangri Expedition

    mentok kangri expedition
    Mentok is the Tibetan name of a wild flower growing in the Ladakh region during the summer season. MentokKangri, located in the Rupshu plateau in Eastern Ladakh, lies south of the village of Korzok and the highest peak of the range is at 6250 metres. It consists of 3 peaks – Menthok 1, Menthok 2 and Menthok 3, which offer some breath-taking and stunning views of the landscapes of TsoKar and TsoMoriri.
    The trek starts from Korzok village and setup our base camp at a height of 5240 metres. Following a day’s rest at the base camp, we will summit Mentok I (6250m). After a long trek to reach the summit, you will be treated with amazing scenes of the TsoMoririlake and beautiful horizon of snow, clouds and spectacular landscape all around you.

    This trek is not very demanding technically but is quite challenging for adventurous trekkers.

    More  details : http://goo.gl/FpA7Qk

  4. Ladakh Jeep Safari

    ladakh jeep safari

    The word ‘Ladakh’ means ‘Land of Passes’. On the way from Manali to Leh, there are 5 high-altitude passes (Rohtang, Baralacha-la, Namik-la, Lachunga-la, Tanglang-La). They offering spectacular view of the world’s highest routes between the snow clad mountain ranges of Ladakh and Zanskar. We think that experiencing unique beauty of this mountain-highway is experiencing Ladakh in a true sense.

    Flying from Mumbai to Delhi to Leh means reaching from the sea-level to 12000ft (Leh) within a couple of hours. This can is invite high altitude sickness (headache, vomiting, nausea) no matter how fit you are. Whereas, if you take a Jeep Safari from Manali to Leh over two days your body can slowly acclimatize to this altitude change, making you fitter to enjoy the rest of the trip.

    Go for it  The Ladakh Jeep Safari

    More details : goo.gl/faC8Sf

     

  5. Kang Yatse 2 Trekking Expedition

    Kang Yatse expedition

    Ladakh has several fascinating peaks to its credit, Kang Yatse being one of them. With a height of about 6400 meters, the trek to the top of it is adventurous and arduous. It  takes you through some amazing valleys, some beautiful rivers and some really quaint villages that give a glimpse into the local life of people here.

    You even come across some monasteries along the trek, which adds a bit of spirituality to this Ladakh trekking experience. We start our excellent trek from Spituk near Leh and cross pass of Ganda la before entering into Markha valley. A entire Markha valley is an evidense of old civilisation which has been passes through it and can still find ruins of castle and forts along the trek.Trekking along the Markha river enroute we pass through barley fields, beautiful villages, and experiencing daily life of Ladakh people. We climb to an open pasture of Nimaling, and climb gradually to the base camp. With a panoramic view finally ascending to left shoulder peak of kangyatse.We also cross pass of kongmaru la.

    More details : https://goo.gl/4fegtg

     

For further inquiry u can call us on 7718058351 ( whats app)

The LAFL team gets felicitated by the , then Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee , for the 2500kms Mumbai to Haridwar cross country cycling event, 2005.

The team consisted of Prateek Deo, Vinod Kumar, & Glean Gonsalves. These were 3 brave riders from Mumbai who cycled for 2500 kms in 23 days crossing 7 states.
There were no back-up vehicle for support. The motto of the trip was “do it the truckers way” , so no hotel stay was decided.

The team successfully completed their journey in the planned 23 days and made their name in history for this unique journey

Mumbai to Haridwar cycling trip

 

 

23rd – 26th March 2016

gir-biking

Sitting down in office, discussing our next recce trip. The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat is next on our long list of recce trips that needs to be done before the end of the year. It’s a completely new territory and the excitement starts seeping in.  But there’s a wait, a long wait before you hit the roads. Patience is the key. With each passing day you feel the anxiety building up, the wait getting shorter and soon you’re on your way to unfold a beautiful road route – one that passes through forests, small villages, large cities and more.

Day 1 of the road trip and the car has already hits 100 Kmps. Our destination for day 1 is Ahmedabad and thanks to the amazing national highways and good-quality roads, we reached Ahmedabad in less than 9 hours. 530 Kms in less than 9 hours…we definitely drove at some speed! The final leg of this journey, the route from Baroda to Ahmedabad was spectacular with top notch roads that are surprisingly and absolutely just straight. We spent the night at a local couple’s place in Ahmedabad. After spending most of the day traveling in the heat, the joy of being treated with some chilled chaas was refreshing.

The next day we were up early and all geared up to reach Gir Forest. We were greeted with some tea and breakfast, and the couple were also kind enough to lend their bike for the next 2 days. It is the hospitality of people like these that keep us going on such backpacking trips. The clock hits 7AM and we are already on our way, ramping up the bike on the Ahmadabad – Rajkot highway. With halts for some local ‘fafda’ breakfast, fresh sugarcane juice and some tea, we reached Junagadh which is a couple of hours from the forest.

Local Breakfast

The route now turned into one-lane roads inching closer to our destination. Almost 24 hours since we left from Mumbai and after a long 9-hour bike ride, we reached the Gir Forest – the home for over 500 lions or so they say. There was a sense of excitement and a hint of victory at successfully completing 900Kms in 24 hours as we reached a little before 4PM. The journey did take a toll on us. Tired and exhausted we immediately checked into the hotel and spent sometime in the room relaxing & discussing our course of action for the evening.

Selfie 2

Plans are meant ‘not’ to be followed, and as we made our way of to start our recce work, we bumped into our old clients, who surprisingly were doing a trip of their own at Gir Forest. Nature has its own ways, and almost 3 years after a Meghalaya trip we were destined to bump into them again and of all the places at Gir! Surprised at seeing known faces in an unknown land, we sat down for a cup of tea reminiscing the memories of our escapades during the Meghalaya trip. One thing leads to another and soon we found ourselves driving into the forest with our friends on an adventure trip of our own. Driving into the forest for almost 30 minutes, we finally reached an establishment, relieved to see humans and not lions :P! We spend the evening catching up on how life has fared for all of us since our last trip and bringing up fond memories of Meghalaya. We also got a chance to witness the tribal performance called ‘Tamasha’ (not sure if this is the correct name, but that what everyone there called it). Frankly speaking wasn’t quite amazed at the performance. It was a little offending than pleasing, and more so there was nothing ‘authentic’ about it. But nonetheless a new experience! We then made our way to meet Mr. Murad – a legend of the forest and a hero in the eyes of locals! Mr. Murad is known for his brave encounters with the lions and for whom the forest is another home! A humble person with absolutely no airs about his accomplishments that’s who Mr. Murad is – a true hero! We were obliged by the fact that Mr. Murad invited us to his house late at night close to 10:30 PM, and was more than happy to share his experiences. We spent almost an hour talking to Mr. Murad understanding the nature of lions, the way they live, his encounters with them, and asking him plenty of questions. One account that stands out is when we asked him ‘If you are given an opportunity to move to a city with a high-paying job, will you do it’ he replied saying ‘Never will I leave my lions’ – the sign of a true legend! Truly obliged and thankful to Mr. Murad for his time and humility, we left his house immersed in thoughts of his bravery, achievements and his life!

With Mr. Murad

After a good night’s sleep, we finally decided to start with our recce work the next day. A quick breakfast at a local hotel, and we were back on our bike hoping from one resort to another trying to understand the accommodation charges, services and other facilities being provided. Riding through Gir and interacting with locals all morning, we got to know of this place called Jamwala about 35kms from the city. We had all the information we needed from Gir, and were about to leave for Ahmedabad, and there we were contemplating on whether we should visit Jamwala on our way back or not. Our instincts somehow kept telling us that we should and the adventurer in us backed those thoughts. Soon we checked out of our hotel and headed straight for Jamwala, completely unaware of what to expect from this place. We started riding, asking for directions on our way; the roads taking us away from the city and the forest around us getting dense. We crossed the tribal village on our way and eventually found our way to Jamawala check post, an hour after leaving from Gir. A couple of locals led us to a farm-house owned by Mr. Falgun, and to our surprise it was the best place we had seen at Sasan Gir. Camouflaged deep within the forest, away from the city, surrounded by farms, water reserves and the dense forest – this place was what we had imaged the Gir forest to be and exactly what we were looking for! Mr. Falgun too seemed quite surprised at our adventurous trip from Mumbai and amazed that we rode all the way to Jamwala to find his place. A chirpy and adventurous person himself, he was more than welcome to show us around his and also offered lunch. A nice home-cooked meal with barbeque fish – what a delight! The gamble to visit Jamwala…paid off, the intention of the recce trip…met, the excitement of discovering a new place…achieved! Satisfied and content with ourselves, we said our goodbyes to Mr. Falgun with an assurance that we’ll be back again and left from Jamwala. Little did we know that the best part of the trip was yet to come…

On our way out from Jamwala, we were suggested to take a different route to Ahmedabad, a much shorter and time-saving route. We made our way to Dhari and within a few minutes we were at a check post registering our personal and bike details. Curious to know the reason for the registration, we were informed that it was for safety reasons as the next stretch of 35kms is through the actual Gir Forest!

Shocked, surprised and excited, you could see a change in our body language. We were no longer tired of riding in the heat, but were all charged up, ready to face the challenge, our cameras ready just in case we saw a sneak-peak of something! We started riding, with a strange sense of fear within. There was no one on the road, not a single car or bike ahead or behind us. The roads were rough but we kept riding. As we went deeper into the forest, we saw a herd of deer…we slowed down a bit to sink in a visual and get a closer look.

Deer

Deer Crossing

It was just beautiful; seeing the animals in their natural habitat. We didn’t halt as this would scare the deer, but we drove as slow as we could to get a good glimpse. We continued our way through the forest, scared to even halt for water, as a deer ran across the road a few yards ahead. We kept riding, highly attentive to the movements happening around us, as the roads became more and more rough. And out of nowhere we spotted a peacock. We slowed down again as the peacock continued walking in the woods. We could just barely see it among the trees and then it emerged from woods to cross the road. The majestic bird crossed the road just a few feet ahead of us and disappeared into the forest – whoa what a sight! Absolutely amazing! We went on till the end of the forest, completely watchful, gripped with a sense of fear and curiosity!

Peacock

The 35kms forest stretch was a complete off-roading experience and took us almost 2 hour to traverse, but was absolutely worth it! We were hoping to reach Dhari soon and from there zoom into Ahmedabad. But to our destiny, the route after the forest had something unique – a sense of freedom which we couldn’t anticipate. We found ourselves riding on narrow 2-lane roads connecting small towns with golden farms on both sides. What a contrast – off-roading through a forest and now riding through beautiful farms.

The roads

We stopped beside a farm just to absorb the extravagance and beauty all around us. We didn’t speak a word; the silence around us divine. We felt at peace doing absolutely nothing. This is what life is all about…these tiny moments when you find yourself completely lost in the beauty of nature, your mind exhilarated at capturing the scenes around you and your body relaxed with a sense of freshness!

Freedom 2

It had started getting a little dark by now. The thoughts of camping there at night did cross our minds, but we had to reach Mumbai the next day. Soon we were back on our bike, with a long journey to Ahmedabad that had to be covered in the time left in the day.

We reached Ahmedabad early morning the next day, completely exhausted. We spent what was left of the night at the same local’s place. The next morning we spent some time with the couple, telling them about our adventurous journey across Gir, returned their bike very much grateful at their kind gesture and were back on the road for the last leg of our journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. We were back to Mumbai after a long 9-hour drive, and having covered 1800 kms in 4 days, we were completely burned out and waiting to hit the bed. But we felt content at the end of the day, having successfully achieved the intention of going to Gir forest and having discovered some really amazing places and routes.

There’s one thing I’ve observed in doing these trips. By the time you’re back home, you’re physically exhausted. But as you lie in your bed and your body slowly starts relaxing, you start collecting your thoughts and memories, and when you close your eyes, you find yourself riding on the beautiful roads surrounded by golden farms on both sides! That’s when you know you’ve created another fond memory, something you’ll cherish for the rest of your life!

Freedom