Leg 4 : Bhopal to Darrah

Leg 4 : Bhopal to Darrah
3rd March 2005
8:30
Went to the Sanchi Stupas in the morning. I always feel humbled by the ancient monuments which have stood the test of time. The road to Sanchi had been a pathetic one. But on the way back, I took the road via Raisen – which though a longer route, is freshly mettelled, and quite rideable.
The stupas are quite different from the pictures that we see in our history books. Somehow, the black and white prints could not even come close to giving the feeling that these monuments evoke by being in their presense. The Stupas open at 9:00am , and there is a museum there which opens at 10:00AM. I had reached the place by 9:30, so went to see the Monuments first.
smooth roads!!
At Sanchi
Amazing carvings
At Raisen One thing which the history books don’t tell is that this place is on the top of a hill, and from the top you get quite a good view of the surrounding countryside. Also, they don’t tell that the Stupas are enclsoed structures, and you cannot enter them. Somehow I always had this impression that I can go inside them – which was not the case. The books also don’t tell about the exquisite carving. It is so good that even after so many centuries you can make out each and every strand of hair on some of the sculptures tresses.
At the base of the hill, there is a museum set up – where you cannot take your cameras. No idea why that is. The most intersting part of this was a series of pics taken during the British Raj about how the Stupas were found and then restored. The Archaeological Survey of India now only ‘protects’ monuments. They preserve the monuments while the British actually restored them. In some ways we are far backwards than the people 100 years before our time. I do not think that with the bikering going on in the Govt we can even think of restoring these monuments. I have seen the ASI using concrete to preserve monuments – most notably in Hampi. How dumb can we get ?
On the way back I stopped for a short stop at the Raisen Fort which towers majestically above the town of Raisen. Its a classic case of ASI preservation – which in other words means – let it rot.
13:45
[1750]
Started from Bhopal after settling my bills. I think this is also the place where I left my phone’s headphones by mistake 😦
15:35
[]
The road out of Bhopal has been quite good so far. Looks like roads are being made in MP after all. I was able to go quite fast now. Stopped the bike as my bag was coming loose. A couple of the hooks of the bungie net had come loose. It was good that I was using 2 bungie nets, so that even after the hooks coming loose, the bag was quite securely tied.
15:50 – 16:10
[1877]
Stopped for lunch. NH12 merges with NH3 for sometime, and then diverges again at Biaora. However, I missed the turn at Biaora as there was no signs on the highway – MP still needs a lot of road improvement. Fortunately, the LP had shown this merger and I was waiting for it. Suddenly I saw a milestone for Guna – I knew I was on the wrong track. Stopped at a roadside eating place, and asked. Got to know that I had left Biora about 7kms back. Took a lunch break there as it was getting to be quite late, and this place was the only lunching place I had seen for the last 1 hour.
17:25
[1930]
Doubled back to Biaora and took up the NH12 trail again. The road started going from bad to worse. Probably, NH3 would have been better – but then my destination was Darrah. The highway became a single lane road from a double lane. Slowly the potholes started appearing. No road markers on the way, until I saw a marker with ‘machalpur’ on it. Machalpur ? I don’t recalling storing that waypoint in my head. Stopped and took out the LP and there was no Machalpur on the road I was to take. Had a look at the surrounding areas – and sure enough, I was way off the road. Stopped a local jeep going by and asked the way to Kota . Well, I could have continued on the road I was at and go another 50-60kms of this broken road, or double back for 25kms or so and take the highway again. I decided to double back. Overtaking buses on this broken 1 lane road was a big pain.
State Highway
19:00
[2025]
Reached Aklera. The roads are no great shakes. I had to call up the DFO of Darrah from here – and gave him a call ( the place had cell coverage luckily as I could not see a STD booth in site). Told him that I had gone off the route and was a bit late reaching. He told me to meet me at Jalawar. Noticed something about the trip meter display of the ZMA. It resets to 0 at 2000kms. Strange – why does it have to do so ?
20:25 – 21:10
[2080]
Reached Jalawar. The DFO had send a range officer to guide me to his residence – who was to be there at a dargah. Asked a coupld of school kids about this place and they pointed out the way , and started asking me questions about the bike. The amazing thing was that they knew the bike to be a Karizma – in Pune, the kids know of it only as the ‘Dhoom’ bike. And when I started the bike again , they were really kicked to see that i did not require a kick to start it !
The ranger who came to meet me met me at the Dargah. A young chap on a Bullet – with a number plate ending in 007. Here was the original James Bond I thought ! He said to follow him and started to kick the bike into life – but it did not. Old tech meets the new. Here was I with a self starter bike … and there was this chap with a bike as old as him, desperately tyring to kick it into life.
Finally he gave up and asked if I wanted to have paan. I said nope – its quite difficult to have paan when wearing a helmet – and I was more interested in getting to the rest house and crashing for the night now. Suddenly a gypsie materialized, driven by Mr R.S. Shekhawat  – the DFO of Darrah. Followed him to his house. He insisted that I have dinner with him. Then moved onto Darrah where I was to stay at the Rest house.
22:05
[2115]
Reached Darrah.  This was my first day involving riding at night – and I just did not like it. The narrow highway with a lot of diversions and the buses, trucks and taxis at high beam were quite irritating. After Jalawar, the traffic was a bit less, and the road a bit better. Passed through a couple of train bridges looming high above with forests on both sides of the road – I did not know such structures existed in India . I also passed a small mahal on the left side of the road – which I wanted to check out – but not at night. Maybe tomorrow I might get time to check it out tomorrow.
Me Mr Navnit Sharma the FO at Darrah. Discussed a bit of the mornings plan with him and went off to sleep.

3rd March 2005

8:30

Went to the Sanchi Stupas in the morning. I always feel humbled by the ancient monuments which have stood the test of time. The road to Sanchi had been a pathetic one. But on the way back, I took the road via Raisen – which though a longer route, is freshly mettelled, and quite rideable.

The stupas are quite different from the pictures that we see in our history books. Somehow, the black and white prints could not even come close to giving the feeling that these monuments evoke by being in their presense. The Stupas open at 9:00am , and there is a museum there which opens at 10:00AM. I had reached the place by 9:30, so went to see the Monuments first.

smooth roads!!

At Sanchi

Amazing carvings

At Raisen One thing which the history books don’t tell is that this place is on the top of a hill, and from the top you get quite a good view of the surrounding countryside. Also, they don’t tell that the Stupas are enclsoed structures, and you cannot enter them. Somehow I always had this impression that I can go inside them – which was not the case. The books also don’t tell about the exquisite carving. It is so good that even after so many centuries you can make out each and every strand of hair on some of the sculptures tresses.

At the base of the hill, there is a museum set up – where you cannot take your cameras. No idea why that is. The most intersting part of this was a series of pics taken during the British Raj about how the Stupas were found and then restored. The Archaeological Survey of India now only ‘protects’ monuments. They preserve the monuments while the British actually restored them. In some ways we are far backwards than the people 100 years before our time. I do not think that with the bikering going on in the Govt we can even think of restoring these monuments. I have seen the ASI using concrete to preserve monuments – most notably in Hampi. How dumb can we get ?

On the way back I stopped for a short stop at the Raisen Fort which towers majestically above the town of Raisen. Its a classic case of ASI preservation – which in other words means – let it rot.

13:45

[1750]

Started from Bhopal after settling my bills. I think this is also the place where I left my phone’s headphones by mistake 😦

15:35

[]

The road out of Bhopal has been quite good so far. Looks like roads are being made in MP after all. I was able to go quite fast now. Stopped the bike as my bag was coming loose. A couple of the hooks of the bungie net had come loose. It was good that I was using 2 bungie nets, so that even after the hooks coming loose, the bag was quite securely tied.

15:50 – 16:10

[1877]

Stopped for lunch. NH12 merges with NH3 for sometime, and then diverges again at Biaora. However, I missed the turn at Biaora as there was no signs on the highway – MP still needs a lot of road improvement. Fortunately, the LP had shown this merger and I was waiting for it. Suddenly I saw a milestone for Guna – I knew I was on the wrong track. Stopped at a roadside eating place, and asked. Got to know that I had left Biora about 7kms back. Took a lunch break there as it was getting to be quite late, and this place was the only lunching place I had seen for the last 1 hour.

17:25

[1930]

Doubled back to Biaora and took up the NH12 trail again. The road started going from bad to worse. Probably, NH3 would have been better – but then my destination was Darrah. The highway became a single lane road from a double lane. Slowly the potholes started appearing. No road markers on the way, until I saw a marker with ‘machalpur’ on it. Machalpur ? I don’t recalling storing that waypoint in my head. Stopped and took out the LP and there was no Machalpur on the road I was to take. Had a look at the surrounding areas – and sure enough, I was way off the road. Stopped a local jeep going by and asked the way to Kota . Well, I could have continued on the road I was at and go another 50-60kms of this broken road, or double back for 25kms or so and take the highway again. I decided to double back. Overtaking buses on this broken 1 lane road was a big pain.

State Highway

19:00

[2025]

Reached Aklera. The roads are no great shakes. I had to call up the DFO of Darrah from here – and gave him a call ( the place had cell coverage luckily as I could not see a STD booth in site). Told him that I had gone off the route and was a bit late reaching. He told me to meet me at Jalawar. Noticed something about the trip meter display of the ZMA. It resets to 0 at 2000kms. Strange – why does it have to do so ?

20:25 – 21:10

[2080]

Reached Jalawar. The DFO had send a range officer to guide me to his residence – who was to be there at a dargah. Asked a coupld of school kids about this place and they pointed out the way , and started asking me questions about the bike. The amazing thing was that they knew the bike to be a Karizma – in Pune, the kids know of it only as the ‘Dhoom’ bike. And when I started the bike again , they were really kicked to see that i did not require a kick to start it !

The ranger who came to meet me met me at the Dargah. A young chap on a Bullet – with a number plate ending in 007. Here was the original James Bond I thought ! He said to follow him and started to kick the bike into life – but it did not. Old tech meets the new. Here was I with a self starter bike … and there was this chap with a bike as old as him, desperately tyring to kick it into life.

Finally he gave up and asked if I wanted to have paan. I said nope – its quite difficult to have paan when wearing a helmet – and I was more interested in getting to the rest house and crashing for the night now. Suddenly a gypsie materialized, driven by Mr R.S. Shekhawat  – the DFO of Darrah. Followed him to his house. He insisted that I have dinner with him. Then moved onto Darrah where I was to stay at the Rest house.

22:05

[2115]

Reached Darrah.  This was my first day involving riding at night – and I just did not like it. The narrow highway with a lot of diversions and the buses, trucks and taxis at high beam were quite irritating. After Jalawar, the traffic was a bit less, and the road a bit better. Passed through a couple of train bridges looming high above with forests on both sides of the road – I did not know such structures existed in India . I also passed a small mahal on the left side of the road – which I wanted to check out – but not at night. Maybe tomorrow I might get time to check it out tomorrow.

Me Mr Navnit Sharma the FO at Darrah. Discussed a bit of the mornings plan with him and went off to sleep.

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