India is a country diverse, immense and endlessly fascinating. It has long held a ranking position on my list of must-see destinations, and so it was in October 2012 I travelled to the country with a travel worn backpack, a visa valid for 3 months and vague plans of seeing as much of the country as possible. On arrival in Delhi, I hired a Royal Enfield Bullet 500, a legendary motorcycle that has its roots in Britain and later began production in India.
(photo by: RussBowling)
After taking a few days to explore the frantic capital of a country home to 1.2 billion persons, I rode out of the city in the mist of an early morning and headed west into the ancient, beautiful state of Rajasthan. Reluctantly tearing myself away from the astounding architectural wonders, I then headed back over the top of Delhi, into the highlands of Himichal Pradesh and then east to Kolkata.
From Kolkata, I rode down the length of the east coast until I reached the bottom of the continent at Cape Comorin. At the cape I turned the bike around and began to make my way back north. Travelling via Kerala, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Agra, I finally arrived back in Delhi after covering a distance of over 12000kms.
This was a journey of epic proportions. The vehicle licence plates in India all feature a prefix indicating the state in which they are registered, and riding my motorcycle with its distinctive northern “DL” Delhi plate through India’s southernmost state caused much amazement among the locals. “We just do not do this, sir!” My bike was truly a long way from home, but took it all in its stride.
While it is undeniable that navigating the crowded streets of India can be challenging, with a little caution and a little patience I covered a great deal of the country without incident. Needing little more skills than basic motorcycle handling ability, this is a true adventure that is very achievable to many. With so few hurdles to overcome in carrying out this trip of a lifetime, perhaps you should be asking yourself, “Maybe if I took that annual leave I have owing…?”
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