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Written by Sagar Raikar
After a great Goa ride in November 2016, we were itching to ride again. With a long weekend coming up, we started planning a ride, and finally zeroed in on the Rann of Kutch (ROK) The name says it all! We also applied for two extra days off, and were looking forward to tame the pristine white lands of ROK. No words can describe the beauty of the place. The best part, of course was the epic sunrise and sunset, which is something you cannot miss!
Day 1 - Mumbai - Dholavira
Me and my friends from LOST (League of Super Tourers), a biker group I am a part of, began our 915-km onward journey from Vashi, Navi Mumbai. We woke up the neighbourhood with the roae of our bikes, and set off at 3:30 a.m
The start was awesome, but then we hit traffic on the NH48, and it took 30 mins for the roads to open up.
Near Valsad, we took a much-need pitstop, where we fuelled up, had a wash and some snacks. We had already booked rooms at a nearby ecotourism resort. That, and the traditional Gujarati food felt like heaven, after a gruelling 900km ride. After squaring away our gear and planning the next day’s itinerary, we slept soundly.
Day-2: Sightseeing at Dholavira.
Dholavira is a world-renowned archaeological site. It contains the remains of the Indus Valley, and the Harappan civilisation. Though we had studied about it in school, it really was an unbelievable feeling to be walking amongst the very roots of India. It’s best to hire a local tour guide, because this place is a treasure trove for shutterbugs! Also, try the camel ride, as it is definitely one of the most unique things you can do over here. This town is 220km from Bhuj, so you will get all the peace and quiet you ever wanted.
Every once in a while, you see something that takes your breath away. That’s exactly what happened to me when I saw the Fossil Park, a royal landmark standing proudly over the white desert. We had to drag ourselves away from the view, because BOP Karni was next on the cards.
As we reached BOP Karni, we were greeted by a sunset unlike any other. The BSF does not allow anyone to ride, so we explored the area on foot. We also had to leave before it became dark, for our own safety. I suddenly realised I had misplaced my sunglasses, and even tried to look for it. But the BSF were very strict and, I had to say goodbye to my cool shades. There was nothing to be done, except heading back to the hotel and planning for our visit to Bhuj the next day.
Day 3: Dholavira – Rapar (95 Kms)
The next day, we rode towards Rapar, which was 95 km away, instead of going all the way to Bhuj. Remember the sunglasses I thought I had lost the previous day? Well, I found them after a lot of huffing and puffing in the scorching desert sun.
After a round of Photography in the Rann, we started our bikes. Then disaster struck. One of the bikes got stuck. It took a lot of time trying to get it out, which left us dehydrated completely. I had some protein bars, which was our only source of energy, as we were out of water.
With great effort, we reached a rock formation, which landed us in deeper trouble. We were officially lost. Also, another bike got entrenched in the brittle sand, adding to our woes.
It was especially serious because this time it was the front tyre that had gotten stuck. All of us were in dire straits, with one of our riders nearly unconscious.
We sent two of our riders ahead to get some water and help, while the rest of us stayed back, trying to extricate the bike.
In the searing heat, we got a call from the guys we had sent in search of help. They had found a villager, who came with a rope and some much-needed water. He was driving a tractor, and never did we feel more relieved than on seeing that old machine wrestle its way over and around the sand dunes
The driver helped extract the marooned bike, and was gracious enough to take us to his hut, where we spent 2 hours recovering from our ordeal. We played with his kids, who were awestruck seeing us and our bikes. They thought we were aliens from another world!
After some more rest, we reached Raphar by nightfall, and checked into a guesthouse for some much-needed sleep.
Day 4: Rapar – Bhuj – Lakhpat – Bhuj.
Next day, we rode towards Lakhpat The roads were extremely smooth. We had a superb time over there, and shared some nervous jokes about our near-death experience the previous day. Our gang left before sunset and checked into a hotel at Bhuj.
Day 5: Bhuj – Mumbai (830 Kms)
Our morning in Bhuj started quite late. At 12 noon, to be specific! We lubed our bike chains, checked the straps, then started our tiring journey back to Mumbai. We took our first two breaks after 200km stretches, and then at 150 and then at 100-km intervals till we reached Mumbai. I dream of the ROK sunrise every night. One more ride, completed!