Yes, I know what sandman means. Cutting all the chase, it is the Mahindra Mojo that I am referring to. Why you ask? They made it as a tourer that does good duty in the urban jungle and now we are playing with it in the dreary lands of northern India.
The occasion is Mahindra’s Desert Trail that is equivalent to the company’s Great Escape and its likes that is done by the Adventure section. The Desert Trail was flagged off from Jaipur on December 17, 2016 and ended in Ahmedabad on December 25, 2016 Taking part in the first ever edition were riders from across the country who have covered a total distance of over 2,500 kms. While you can read about the information of the Mahindra Mojo Desert Trail, let me tell you my experience with it.
Day 1: Sanchore to Bhuj – The straights
I did have my fair share of experience of riding the Mahindra Mojo but that has been primarily on the well paved city roads and similar highways. Needless to say, the Mojo’s 295cc felt apt for the surface. However, this time around, i wasn’t riding on that kind of roads. Instead, it was about to get a whole lot uncomfortable with the blazing sun and the sand enveloping around me always. To my surprise, I was proved extremely wrong.
The tourer side of the Mahindra Mojo is always prepared to deal with such conditions and that is what was a big relief for me. The distance from Sanchore to Bhuj is over 300km. As soon as we entered the NH68, it was a double carriage highway with moderate traffic. Now when the roads are wide, smooth and the obstacles are less, it just stands for pure motorcycling pleasure. Got on the throttle and whipped it to make the beast of a heart perform with absolute confidence. Oh yea, the exhaust note needs a special mention as it produced a amazing track while showcasing ts touring prowess.
While the going was getting better and better, there was a temporary halt to our momentum as we crossed certain village sections. The roads here seemed a bit unsettling but the Mojo’s long travel front paired with the cushy soft sprung rear took care of it. A convoy of one make motorcycles being ridden by tribesmen is sure to get attention of them standing beside the road. And it did indeed. In fact, a gentleman also managed to ask me if I can sell one to him there and then. I had to be polite and not ridicule his request. Told him, he can buy from a company dealership.
The memorable bit was the splash of sand dunes and also encountering the salt flat which happens to be my first. The sun began its journey to conclude for the day and we “tribesmen” too followed suit.
Day 2: Bhuj to Dhordo Tent City – Palatial Beauty
A new day welcomed us at Bhuj that happened to be the starting point for out day 2 of the journey. After quickly stuffing ourselves, we headed to the Prag Mahal palace. This art witness dates back to the year 1865 wherein it was commissioned by the Rao Pragmalji II to Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins. It is said that the workers who played an instrumental role in creating this masterpiece were paid in gold coins. So the next time during your appraisal, you know what to ask your boss. The Prag Mahal palace has also been featured in movies like Lagaan and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. This piece of info was shared by a local guide Raju. The moment I told him, that I haven’t watched either of them, he wasn’t as sweet as he started.
Soon then we headed to our next stop which was Kalo Dungar. Again an important location as it happens to be the highest point in Kutch, Gujarat at 462 m. Stand here and you shall witness the majestic location of the Bhuj in whole.
Th scenic location feels surreal as you see the large ocean meet the dreary region of Rann of Kutch with extreme calmness. With amazing memories captured here, we finally decided to head to our final location for the day – Dhordo Tent City
Day 3: Dhordo to Koteshwar – Vast land of awesomeness
Don’t you dream of taking your motorcycle to a place that is not intruded by anyone? I got a chance to fulfil mine at the Rann of Kutch. Managed to beat the sun in shining for the day and got my Mojo on the epic white salt flat. The temperature was soothing and the ambience around me was beyond explanation.
It looked like those dreamy wallpapers that one has on our systems. We could not see far far away as there was dense fog limiting our vision. Being as careful as one can be, we hopped on our Mojos and started riding on this terrain. The Rann of Kutch is extremely unpredictable as it is giant portion of marsh land with some sections being still wet. It was a moment to enjoy, relish and ponder that how even what we see can bring us immense overwhelming joy. And this feeling will always be there irrespective of how many times I visit this place.
All geared up, we started our journey for the day and reached Hajipir Dargah in Kutch. Dedicated to a Muslim saint Hajipir, this 800-year old shrine is a witness of the saint who died while saving cows from dacoits. And since he did Hajj here, it was named Haji Pir.
This was then followed by a stopover at Mata no Madh. This small village is surrounded by hills on both banks of a small stream and has a temple dedicated to Ashapura Mata. This particular temple draws a lot of attraction during Navratri as there is a popular belief that the one who prays here, his/her wishes get fulfilled for sure. We have done it too and will update our readers if our wish has actually come true. (#Prototype1 racer). Interestingly, the Mahindra team arranged our lunch in the temple itself making it extremely special and cultural.
The convoy then moven to Lakhpat, a sparsely populated town enclosed by 7km long 18th-century fort walls. Yea, the experience here was a bit different as you could see the victories and losses that the region has seen in the different years. The town is named after Rao Lakha who ruled in Sindh about the middle of the thirteenth century. The fort rebuilt and expanded in 1801 by Fateh Muhammad is an irregular polygon, defended by round towers and built of hard brown stone. The 7 km long walls are of considerable height but not thick.
Day 3: Koteshwar to Mandvi – The Beach run
The team told us that the journey for the day will be close to 144km. What? That’s it? Why. To begin with the roads were not as wide as the ones that we started on. The Desert Trail convoy took its first halt at the Shiva temple. After seeking the holy blessings from the lord, we stepped out to see a large yard that is an area where all the boats confiscated from the Pakistani fishermen are kept. Here was also one of border forces’ camp along with a jetty.
Soon after we started riding and the highway was a pleasure indeed. The 143.5mm travel front upside down forks soaked all the undulations with great ease and confidence.
Even the mono shock in the rear did an impressive work. Moving on, the journey kept better with every milestone crossing our way. Finally, we reached the beach section that also turned out to be our halt over for the day.
We saw the sun calling it a day and took that an opportunity to let ourselves loose on the beach sand. Of Course with our Mahindra Mojo. Splashing sand and water reminded me of the times when I was a child and used to ride over each and every puddle only to get a high by splashing all of that.
Day 5: Mandvi to Ahmedabad – That’s it folks
All of us got on our machines for the last ride of this chapter and started marching towards Ahmedabad. The roads got as amazing as the ones we started on. Team Mahindra told us to enjoy as much as we can and didn’t emphasize on any halts. Though, we did pull over at different occasions to catch a glimpse of the beautiful surrounding. It was the day for the final chapter of this journey.
We started as a group of riders who weren’t aware of each other and today we had made new friends and promised each other to stay in touch. I made a lot of them and Sarath remains one of my closest pals in this journey. I still have a special liking for his custom rad Mahindra Mojo that he has been bunny hopping everywhere.