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Sponsored feature: The roads less ridden

12th May 2015 5:20 pm

Sponsored feature: The Wanderers return to Rajasthan. This time it’s a little offbeat.

About the contest: Hero Karizma ZMR Wanderers is an ongoing monthly online contest hosted on Autocar India and Hero MotoCorp’s Facebook pages. All participants are asked to answer some very simple questions, and at the end of the contest every month, three winners are chosen.

These lucky bike enthusiasts win an all-expenses-paid two-nights, three-days ride on three Hero Karizma ZMRs. The rides are planned well in advance and cover several beautiful locations across the country. Those interested in participating can enter the contest on Autocar India or Hero MotoCorp’s Facebook page. The contest and rides are organised and conducted by Autocar India.

The fourth ride to Rajasthan was surprisingly a very wet one. But this didn’t dampen the Wanderers’ spirits. So, for the fifth ride, Rajasthan was once more the place to explore. A plan was chalked out. The ride would start at Jaipur, head out to the highway to the famed city of Pushkar but via a slightly different route as compared to the one everyone takes. Then they would head to Ranthambore to see if they could meet any of the resident big cats and head back to Jaipur to complete the circuit. As always, the plan looked good on paper. What remained to be seen was whether it really panned out that way.
 
It was a dark and stormy night, again. For the second time, in Rajasthan, it was pouring. After a restless night, the next morning, our Wanderers — Rahul Ranjan, Rajarshi Mitra and Mahesh Tanwar — along with Autocar India’s Vir Nakai, were thankful that the storm had passed. It was as if the weather gods were playing a prank on them.
 
 
They soon saddled up and headed out of the Pink City. Now getting out of Jaipur is fairly easy if you use a combination of direction from the natives and Google maps. According to our riders, it is “deadly” and “accurate”. The regular road is an arrow-straight, three-lane, super highway called the NH8. From a Wanderers’ point-of-view, it is also incredibly boring. So, they decided to ride towards Dudu and then turn right off the highway towards Sambhar Lake. And this is exactly what they did. For those who don’t know, Sambhar is India’s largest inland salt lake, and it is a sight to behold. About 35km long and 11km wide, this lake has a catchment area of about 5,700 sq km. It has a circumference of 96km and encircles the historic Sambhar Lake Town. Many come here when it’s dry to try and max out their cars and bikes. But this can be perilous. Our Wanderers wanted to ride on the dry lake bed. But thanks to the erratic weather and rainfall, the bed was either submerged or still too soft to ride on properly. They still tried anyway. But then they discovered a country road that skirts the lake, passes through a few villages and has no traffic. It made for a brilliant ride. The Hero Karizma ZMR’s suspension really stood out on that road. Even on sections of the ride where the road got really bumpy, the Wanderers experienced no fatigue or back pain. The bikes just kept the Wanderers chugging along happily right onto a highway that took them to Pushkar via Kishangarh. When they arrived at the small temple town of Pushkar, they rode to a small lake near the city centre. Apparently, views of the sunset from there are superb and many locals also gather to watch the day end. Our riders then headed to their hotel and retired, happy with the day’s ride.
 
 
The next day, they had a choice to make. Take the all-highway route from Pushkar to Ranthambore or take the country roads less travelled. Obviously, they decided to ditch the highway and headed off to the country side. The roads were a mix of good and bad, smooth and bumpy, wet and waterlogged but the Wanderers just rode straight through it all. They arrived in Sawai Madhopur, hoping to make it in time for a safari at Ranthambore National Park, but were too late. They did find a good alternative though. They were enthralled with stories about wildlife photography and tiger spotting by their hotel’s owner Aditya Singh. The next morning, they went off on a safari hoping to spot the big cat, but weren’t lucky enough to catch a glimpse.
 

Later, they rode out from Ranthambore and headed straight for Surya AutoCorp, the Hero MotoCorp dealership at Jaipur to hand over their Hero Karizma ZMRs. They also met a Karizma ZMR owner Rustam Ali and swapped a few stories about the bike and the ride with him. All in all, the Wanderers had a brilliant ride again.

“It was a superb experience. The roads in Rajasthan were lovely as was the accommodation and hospitality. Riding with Vir was a lot of fun. The bike was surprisingly good, handling all kinds of roads really well. The seats were comfortable and we could do long distances easily. Our ride went off without a hitch.” - Rajarshi Mitra
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