So What Happens at Chorla 

Read without prejudice and dispassionately. Might just save your life. 

In a span of last few years there has been rise of motorcycle accidents on the Chorla ghat. Most of them were motorcycle travelers and not the local people. Many of those turned out to be fatal, sending motorcycle community in grieving. While the ghat remains one of the most beautiful places in the Konkan region, connecting Karnataka and Goa; why does such a site turns into a platform of human loss!

So what happens at Chorla, why good riders before blossoming into inspiring people, meet their end so early and deplorably.

Pay close attention; consider this piece as a survival manual for Chorla ghat.

Chorla is a popular route to enter Goa when coming down from Mumbai or Pune via NH-4 till Belgaum. And then via a state highway entering Goa at the eastern border. It’s a scenic route, very pretty sight at dawn. The curves are spread over a length of 35kms approximately. One must take this route over any other for refreshing countryside vistas.

Now here are some undisputed facts about this stretch which I would like you to drill them in your mind and remember it whenever you are here on this particular zig-zag tarmac.

Chorla road is not wide in size and has back to back curves from start to end. So there exists a high chance of longer/bigger vehicle coming in your lane at the curves. Please don’t go arguing about traffic laws and lane discipline. My vision is to get you home no matter what. So coming to the point there will be times you might need to get your vehicle off the road at least 1/3rd of it for the longer vehicle to pass. Smaller vehicles to the edge of the road. And believe me when I say the long vehicle is not doing this on purpose. But if they do, then his loss is insignificant to yours. This also means you cannot go above certain speed even when there is room. I think my point is clear about where I am going with this.

Next is the thrill of lapping Chorla. Many riding groups have now been promoting Chorla as a breakfast ride, locally. A weekend destination for groups coming from outside. Fact check; Chorla has countless back to back curves. The total distance is 35+ kms and most of these curves are blind.

Only 1 out of 10 in such group rides can keep their nerves in check. Rest are just waiting to be instigated to show some display of “talent” and become ‘talk of the town’.. (At what cost)

Over that there’s a high chance of none having the real skill set of lapping. (Real racing/control is what you  see in the documentary ‘A Twist of The Wrist‘.) So after 1 or 2 curves you are doing what I call ‘Banta-giri’. Slang for the great idiot.

Now when the above two scenarios were not enough then there’s the “photographer” act thrown in.

Many or rather all want their cornering photographs on social media asap. So a picture paints up where bikes are parked randomly next to the road (becoming a hazard), everyone doing corners back to back with 1-2 photographers waiting to take their shots from middle of the road. This is something no local traveler or otherwise is anticipating and probability of a crash just went from none to high.

And after all this, still not done; there’s Mother Nature. Chorla road has sudden animal crossings, especially the gray langurs who jump in middle of the road out of nowhere. One touch to your speeding vehicle, panic and disaster awaiting next.

So these are the main events of Chorla that can change your life; a change which you really want to avoid for thousand benefits.

I’m sure with keen observation you can spot more scenerios from which you need to carefully traverse during the ascend/descend of Chorla ghat, and I wish with each passing time you become wiser; not just a survivor.

Read the top line of this article again.. 

Good Luck, God Bless. 

Udaipur Impromptu

Cover Pic – Puneet Yashod

Udaipur is one of the most beautiful places in Rajasthan, India. If one knows how to go around in the old city then in less time a lot can be seen and explored. Part of the city has turned into a developed urban town with all those malls and commercial centers but the old city area still has the feel of a bygone area.

On one winter a friend of mine went on a solo trip to Udaipur with 5 days in hand. I gave a surprise visit on the 3rd day at his hotel. And in next 3 days we managed to cover the best of Udaipur when we had arrived with least preparation and study of the place.

So if you happen to come here with less time and almost no info in hand, you can work around with the following read, and experience Udaipur in unforgettable way.

First what to see –

  • Bagore Ki Haveli
  • City Palace
  • Monsoon Palace
  • Old Bylanes

Where to stay –

Plenty of accommodation from hotels, resorts and budget stay available in Udaipur. My personal favorite is Zostel. Gives uninterrupted view of Lake Pichola and has rooms, dorms, private parking for bikes or 1 car and a terrace restaurant. Kind of a complete package. Located in the heart of old Udaipur. Address accurate in Google Maps.

Eat –

Udaipur has endless options for the hungry belly as well as the curious one. But in today’s time I prefer to eat the best, true local and flavorful cuisine. So for breakfast, the area around Bagore Ki Haveli is decent enough. Plenty of options from street sitting to terrace view. I personally recommend the Jheel Cafe for its quality and location.

I usually go with brunch way and straight dinner; with a quick coffee break in between. But if in afternoon you feel the need to chow then restaurants around City Palace have fresh preparation.

And for dinner I recommend a place called Tribute restaurant where the service will blow your mind away and topnotch food quality. You can also try out local dishes here. Cost wise Tribute falls under premium. Plenty of similar options in the same belt towards Lake Pichola.

(Most of the time I rely on Four Square to recommend good food options around. 8/10 the result works in my favour. Don’t rely on Lonely Planet, content is quite outdated.)

What to do –

  • Walk the old bylanes of Udaipur near the City Palace. Plenty of opportunities for street photography.
  • Take the rope-way to Manshapurna Karni Temple. Panaromic view of Udaipur.
  • Sit by the lake and sip some coffee. Better yet, a Beer.
  • Chillax on the roof top hangouts.
  • Check out Gulab Baug public library for its heritage feel.
  • Beer & Bite at the Bar located within City Palace compound.
  • Chetak Smarak if you are fond of the famous tale of Maharana Pratab’s horse.

(There’s plenty more that can be done in Udaipur but with limited number of days you can start with the above first.)

Udaipur Photo Gallery

Flickr Album – Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Speed & Glorification

Read without prejudice and dispassionately. Might just save your life.

It so happened that I was in Goa to attend an engagement ceremony of a friend of mine. And since its Goa I had arrived a couple of days in advance to enjoy the beach & beer combo. It was a good weekend with great friends and share of old stories. Goa is best enjoyed when you are arriving in a small group. I finally got to see the less visited places around, like the Figueirodo Mansion in Loutolim and Jila Bakers (All items are homemade by a loving family).

During my time here I was frequently overhearing talks about speed just over my shoulder. By speed I mean fellow riders bragging about how fast they have ridden their bikes. Now this is not a new subject because lets face it, we all have been there. One way or another we have pushed our machine till the red-zone; some even beyond, and enjoyed the thrill of speed. What bothered me is the unnecessary glorification that follows after the act.

So here I’m just trying to put things into perspective — We all love speeding, no doubt about that. Its thrilling but like BRO wittily says, Speed Thrills but also Kills. Roads in India are not meant to be ridden on beyond a certain speed. I’m not saying its impossible, its just that after a certain mark the recovery is next to impossible if something suddenly comes in your way. Dogs, cats, cows, the idiot pedestrian… list is endless. So if you ride regularly and keep pushing your luck, you are calling a disaster on yourself. Remember if you want that odometer to keep clocking then your well being is the most important thing here.

The other perspective of the same topic is people with low self-esteem. Most people who brag about riding very fast are the ones making constant attempt to get others to respect them, to revere them highly. To illustrate this in the simplest way are the riders who buy a motorcycle, rides to near by hill station, rides to Ladakh and voila He’s the One. He’s giving out lessons as if he’s been doing this since decades.

So coming back to a simple point, touching top speed on your bike and constantly bragging about it is not a sign of wise riding but sophisticated banta. And you don’t want to be known as a banta or the good old C word, in your community. Surely in your close group you are the “cool dude” but beyond, just another unsafe rider. Threat to himself as well as others who use the same road.

Be wise. Take pride in responsible riding. Its the greatest privilege a motorcycle tourer can have. And if you really want to quench that urge of high speeding then take it to the track.

Read the first line of this article again.. 

Good Luck, God Bless.