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MOTORBIKE TOURS RAJASTHAN DAY FIVE

Alrighty then, put the record on, sit back and start tapping your foot to “Back In Black” from AC/DC, or you could change the words slightly and put “Back On Bike” – yes I have risen from the dead, eaten breakfast, showered, and put my work suit on – my HELD rider suit, helmet, gloves and socks, along with my FORMA Adventure boots. 

After 3 days of sitting in the support car, I was back to having 800cc of fun positioned nicely between my legs so let’s doooooooo IT.

Today we are heading into the mountains of Kumbalgarh, where along the way we will see one of the riders nearly get knocked off his bike in Jodhpur centre, visit the most magical marble temple, and discover red arse monkeys on the side of the road.

We started our journey heading into the middle of Jodhpur where the traffic was on a collision course from the left, right, straight in front and no doubt behind you, to the point where Parakram was nearly taken out by a bike coming from his right, that he just managed to swerve and avoid.

The journey was taking us to Kumbalgarh, a destination up the mountains where we would once again see green ‘life’ on trees and be screamed at from the monkeys lining the road. 

The route wasn’t going to be that long, only around 200km, BUT the roads were to make up for this……well, when I say roads……!!!

We managed to get onto the highway which could take us more or less straight to our destination, but that would be boring wouldn’t it boys and girls, we’d rather go on the road less traveled making heads vibrate for hours on end to the point where seeing straight ahead was to become a national sport……yes that would be so much more fun !

Tally ho, and off into the wilderness, we went riding along roads where the roads looked as they had remnants of Roman soldiers footprints as they looked that old and ruined, interspersed with talcum powder sand hiding death trap rocks underneath.

This road went through so many villages I began to think we were going round in circles, but in each village, we went through Indians were sitting there without a care in the world. I will say at this point that I never saw one unhappy Indian, NOT ONE, they were happy with their lot in their village going about whatever it is they go about.

Each village, so I had learned in the car with tum tum troubles, had sprung up because of a water supply where the cattle, sheep, or goats could get water, and of course, so could the people. From this the villages spread as the population got bigger, but oh my god they were ramshackle old buildings, some without doors, and some without even four walls, but they know no different and I’m sure if they were to see where we live in the western world they would be equally shocked and may even end up depressed because their house or car isn’t as good as next doors.

Seeing this time after time along our journey made me think…….we just don’t know what we have at our feet, in that we have a roof over our head, clean water, and food on the table. 

Just by having those you have luxury compared to these Indians and everyone smiled when they saw us riding through.

Eventually, we arrived at the bottom of the hills to discover the magical famous Ranakpur Jain temple, famous for its interlocking marble architecture and for making me go WOW. We had to take off our shoes, and socks if you wanted to before you could go in. We were blessed by having a Priest take us around and share the story with us…….

During the guided tour (we had the tour because the guards wouldn’t let me into the prayer area because I was a white man. So the priest, whose family are part of the temple, saw this and took pity…..I felt totally blessed) I will swear on the lord almighty himself, I was looking into a room, through bars, at one of their idol god statues, and it winked at me, it bloody winked at me, frightened me to death. I shared the story immediately and they all looked at me as if to say – typical white man, whilst rolling their eyes…….(cheeky sods).

Can I also point out at this stage, that when I am saying, white man, it is not a racist thing because they had christened me “Your Majesty”, right from day 1 of the tour and we all had a damn good laugh about it….so much so I felt right at home with the brownies !!!

A bit of history of this fabulous temple:

The temple has four artistic entrances.In the main chamber or Gabhara (Sanctum sanctorum) of the temple there are four huge white marble images of Bhagvan Adinath, These four images, which are some 72 inches tall, have been installed facing the four different directions. In the sanctuaries on the second and third storeys also are enshrined four identical Jain images. it is because of these four images installed together in this temple, that it is popularly known as Chaturmukh Jain Temple In addition to Chaturmukh Prasad this temple is also known as Dharan Vihar, Trailokya Deepak Prasad or Tribhuvan Vihar. Dharan Vihar is a suitable name because it was built by Shreshthi Dharanashah. It stands like a luminous light spreading radiance in all the three Lokas (spheres) so it could be aptly called Trailokya Deepak Prasad or Tribhuvan Vihar. All these various names speak of its great glory.

Besides, seventy six smaller domed shrines, four Rangamandapas (assembly halls), four Mahadhar Prasad (Principal Shrines) situated in the four directions, a number of big and small Devakuikas (subsidiary Shrines)-in all 84 in number stand embellishing the temple, soliciting and inspiring man to strive for emancipation from cycles of 84 lakhs of birth and death and attain eternal salvation. The four ornate Meghanada-mandapas are unique in their sculptural beauty. The forty feet high pillars bedecked with delicate carvings, the artistic Toranas’ or festoons suspended like ornaments studded with precious stones and the magnificent dome with its delicately carved pendant simply keep one’s eyes glued to them. One feels as if the very core of the stone has not been left untouched by the artist’s chisel. The radiant images of the goddesses in the dome hold the beholders spellbound, with their hearts a thrill with expectancy. Judging from Meghanada mandapa alone, one cannot but feel that the creator must have been much more than a great artist indeed a weaver of dreams

Looking at the image of the Lord from the Meghanada mandapa, makes one realize how insignificant and imperfect one really is before his infinite Creator inspiring one to rise above false pride and ego and to become aware of one’s true place in the Divine scheme of things, while entering through the West Meghanada mandapa one sees on the left hand side pillar, the carved images of Dharanashah and Depak facing the Lard. They too seem to. remind man of his humble position before God. How could one not bow down in reverence before these two great souls the Minister for his artistic devotion and the artist for his devotional art. The domes and ceiling of this temple are replete with innumerable carvings depicting famous incidents from the past. The artists have given them life and movement with the magic touch of their chisels. While trying to comprehend their mute language, the beholder becomes oblivious of time and space, marvelling at the workmanship. The stone-slabs depicting sahasrafana (a cobra with thousand hoods) Parshwanath and sahasrakuta are equally impressive.

The most outstanding feature of this temple is its infinite number of pillars. This temple can be called a treasure house of pillars or a city of pillars. In whichever direction one might turn one’s eyes meet pillars and pillars big, small, broad, narrow, ornate or plain. But the ingenious designer has arranged them in such a manner that none of them obstructs the view of the pilgrim wishing to have a Darshana’ (glimpse) of God. From any corner of the temple, one can easily view the Lord’s image. These innumerable pillars have given rise to the popular belief that there are about 1444 pillars in the temple.In the North of this temple, there is a Rayan tree (Mimusos laxandra) and the footprints of Bhagavan Rishabhadev on a slab of marble. They remind us of the life and preaching of Bhagavan Risabhadev and of Shatrunjaya, the foremost among the places of Jain pilgrimage.

Once the tour had finished we made our way back to the bikes, put our boots and clothing back on heading towards our destination of Kumbalgarh, over the mountains making sure we BEEPED around every bend to warn oncoming traffic, where eventually we came across this lake in the middle of nowhere – guess what – it’s a photo opportunity TA DAR……

I digress, because I want to share with you what happened after we arrived at “The Aodhi”, our hotel for the night, but first, once we reached the hotel and our rooms where allocated we went to Kumbalgarh fort, to see a light show and listen to a story of legend and bravery, in Indian.

It’s a damn good job Digvijay was next to me as he translated the story that was booming out like a god of thunder reverberating through the valleys. (the story is later)

We returned to our hotel amongst the trees, where monkeys raced amongst the branches and off for dinner, which most nights wasn’t until 9 pm earliest as Santhosh kept snacking through the day so wasn’t hungry. I was, so didn’t bother waiting. It was superb, absolutely superb, here I was with my tummy okay and dishes of food lay before me – rude not to really.

Then we heard singing next to the swimming pool and off to investigate I arrived at the top of the steps and laid my eyes upon the most gorgeous girl I have ever laid eyes on in my life OH MY GOD ‘I Fell Instantly In Love” captivated I watched their show, even being made to get up and dance…..memorable end of the day doesn’t even come close……heaven really is an angel.

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