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Tuesday, September 2, 2014



Day2: 15th August.

Independence Day of the world’s largest democracy. It also happens to be the birthday of yours truly! And I was going to ride the Heritage Softail, 300 kms deep into the Aravalli range and into authentic Rajput territory, right next to Haldi Ghati where rivers of blood had flown 4 centuries ago in fierce battles between Akbar and Rana Pratap; straight into the old Heritage and customs of medieval Rajputana Kings and princesses. It used to be a very interesting lifestyle. And they have carried some of this lifestyle into the modern age as well. This is where you find a taste for refinement, an eye for detail, the look of class and the eagerness and pride to make it even better in an eternal pursuit. This is what I was looking for. This is what I wanted to explore. The whole thought is exciting! It is going beyond the mundane. It is going beyond just two wheels with a motor... it is going into the details... the length of the tassels, the shape of the exhaust, the note of the engine, the timing of the spark... and relating this to a thing of beauty and seeing and learning history and what shapes us and how we can shape things around us!

Getting into the Pink City of Jaipur with the Heritage Softail!

Going ahead, today’s ride truly turned out to be one of the most satisfying and one of the most beautiful I have done in recent times. The desert had transformed thanks to the monsoons into a lush green carpet on the undulating landscape of the Aravali hill range. From what was usually a rocky arid landscape, there was salad, cabbage, eggplants and sugarcane growing on either side of the highways! The highways from the Ajmer bypass continuing on NH8 all the way to Udaipur is a fresh tarmac that grips the tyre really well and was recently laid about a year ago. At some places they have blasted new openings in the Aravali ranges to widen the roads and make it safer. The quality of the ride on the Heritage Softail on such roads is nothing short of bliss. This is where I got to lean the bike some. However, leaning heavily is not what this bike is meant for. Nor do we recommend it. If you want to go canyon scratching, take anything but a Softail! Soon I was scraping the large broad foot pegs at every bend.

Beautiful country roads through the wonderful Aravalis!

The plush Dunlop white painted sidewall tyres gave us a ride so smooth that we will remember for a long time.

The Throttle Quest Team during the ride! :)

When we entered the kingdom village of Deogarh, the mere sound of the bike woke the people up from their slumber; women folk in colourful costumes came out of their shops to look at the contraption that had entered quiet village and their quieter lives; cows sauntering across stopped and turned around to see what the loud thumping sound was all about; children ran after us with national flags. This was truly like a royal procession coming in after a war victory!

Then came the best part; we entered the Deogarh Palace and there was a loud bugle blowing to mark our arrival and flower petals were showered. We parked in front of the impressive façade. The King of Deogarh was aware of our arrival. Soon he honoured our arrival with his graceful presence. More about him and his personality later. There were children staying as guests in the palace. They came and saw us standing with the bike. They came and asked for our autographs!

Almost there...

The Motorcycle that you ride changes the way people look at you!

Honestly, the beautiful Heritage Softail looked right out of the fables standing in front of the magnificent façade of the 350 year old historical heritage edifice that stood up in the background. There was a feeling of timelessness in the entire experience. It could very well have been the 1950s or the 2050s. Time stands still in such moments; the Heritage Softail motorcycle in front of the heritage palace!

This is it! This is what I was looking for. The Heritage Softail styling, the philosophy behind such bikes from the Harley Davidson stable blends perfectly with this medieval ambience of class, subtle luxury and a lifestyle that exudes a certain charm that is beyond description.

During the next 24 hours, more than a thousand photographs were clicked by 150 opulent tourists from Gujarat who happened to be passing by and had come visiting and their jaws dropped in wonder at the perfect juxtaposition of the Heritage Softail in front of the Palace Façade.

The Grand Arrival at the Palace!

My Partner in Crime with the Heritage parked in front of the Grand Heritage edifice!

Moment of reckoning!
What a moment it was! And this was just the beginning...
Part III coming up soon...

Text and Photographs by: Ken (Krishnendu)
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Item Reviewed: ROYAL DESERT ODYSSEY 2014, Part II Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Krishnendu, aka Ken.
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