Promises are meant to be kept, and when you promise someone who is really close to your heart, then the importance of those promises increases immensely. Flashback a couple of months back -
Raksha Bandhan day, I asked my little sister what she wanted as a gift this Raksha Bandhan and she gave me the best answer that I could expect. She told me to take her for a ride and I was more than happy to do so. But then her schoolís examinations were scheduled to start just a couple of days after the siblingís festival and we postponed the idea after getting angry stares from our mother. Soon we forgot about our rideís plan but destiny had something else in store for us.
Raksha Bandhan day 2012Time Travel, Present day -
Close to a couple of months later, it was one of those nights for me when I was not getting any sleep. After repeated attempts my mind failed to drift to dreamland and soon I saw the sky turn into a shade of blue indicating the sun was about to come into business for the day. I decided to bunk the idea of going to sleep and do something interesting instead. My sister got up from her sleep because of the commotion created by me and I whispered into her ear and asked her ďDo you want to go for a short breakfast ride?Ē I was expecting a positive response but sleep had got the better of her and sadly she declined my offer. So I decided to do the next best thing, picked up my camera, got into my running shoes and left for a photowalk in the wee hours of the morning. I had barely clicked half a dozen photographs when I got a call from my sis. She said she was up now and we can go for the breakfast ride. I returned home quickly and on my way I remembered that I had promised to take her out for a ride as the Raksha Bandhan gift and even though I had decided not to go for any rides before my exams, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to fulfill my promise. I returned home and told my idea to my mom and she was visible and verbally upset with the abruptness of the plan!
I turned on my computer and did a quick search of the probable places where we could go. Keeping in mind that it was my sisterís first somewhat long distance trip, I decided to keep the ride as comfortable as possible. Within 10 minutes of searching I came across this relatively unknown place called Rasulpur, about a 100 kms away on the smooth NH2 which has a nature park full of lakes, plants, trees, etc. and finalized it to be the destination for this unplanned ride.
By 7 am we were out on the road. I took the Kona expressway and reached the NH2 in no time only to find ourselves in a 5 kms long traffic jam which is a rarity on this part of the golden quadrilateral. I had to fight bumper to bumper with vehicles having wheels ranging from 3 to 20 for every inch of the space available. After a good half an hour we reached the source of the traffic jam which I so far had expected to be a bad accident of some trucks. But to my surprise and utter disgust the jam was created by local police personnel who were taking their personal toll tax from the truck drivers, giving no regard whatsoever to the mess it was creating on a road constructed by the government out of the hard earned money of its tax payers!
Roads choc-o-block with traffic!
We left Dankuni and the messy traffic jam behind and after which my bikeís speedometer didnít see the lower side of 80 kmph until we were forced to listen to the call of our tummies and stop for breakfast. We stopped at the usual Azad Hind Dhaba after a speedy ride of about half an hour. As always aloo parathas were ordered and we clicked a few pics while they were getting cooked. We had the parathas to our tummyís content and then continued our ride towards Rasulpur.
so far just posingbut she is gonna ride it soonwhile waiting for the alloo parathas
I had kept the destination secret from my sister and all throughout the ride she kept on asking me but to no avail. After crossing the second toll booth at Palsit I saw the board which showed Rasulpur would be on the right and followed it. We entered the old G.T. road after riding through narrow village roads and reached the town of Rasulpur. I took a wrong turn which took us right through the villages of West Bengal. We rode on narrow cart tracks made out of red soil for about a couple of kms and found our way to the park.
We got the tickets for ourselves and bikey and went to explore the park. It consisted of many small lakes and ponds (dighis) surrounded by large coconut, palm and other tree. There we a couple of foot bridges, one of which was made out of bamboo and was very fragile which made crossing it all the more exciting. The park had provision for boating as well but given the humidity in the weather we decided to give it a pass. We took a long and lazy walk along the lakes and clicked lots and lots of photographs of each other after which we bid goodbye to the place. My sister thought this was it for the day but I had some other plans in mind which I had not told her yet.
Parked under the subtle shadeOne of the several dighis (lakes)she found her friend
While doing my research in the morning I had read that a village called Ahmadpur, about 10 kms from Rasulpur had a collection of old Kali temples and terracotta ruins of old temples. So I decided to add it to the itinerary and headed towards it after visiting Rasulpur. Another 15 minutes later we reached Ahmadpur village and asked ourselves to the Kali temples. One by one we visited all the temple and old ruins in the village, clicked lots of photographs, interacted a bit with the locals and the rode back to the old G.T road. My cell phone was showing just 11 am so I thought to extend the plan a bit further.
Ruins of old templeThe goddess of destructionTerracotta work on ruinsOne for bikey
I saw a milestone saying that Burdwan was 20 kms away so I decided to ride to the city and pay visit to the 108 Shiva temples which I had heard about but never visited. We came back on the NH2 and zoomed into the town of Burdwan in no time. Once again we asked the locals and they guided us to the 108 Shiva temples. We parked our bike, took off our shoes and entered the templeís compound. The templeís marble floor was burning like hell which made it really tough for us to do a round of it. Nevertheless, we managed to take a walk inside the beautiful temple. It had two small ponds with the idols of Shiva and Parvati floating on them, the lotuses were the added attractions. There were exactly 108 small temples with Shiva lingas inside them and there was a place which had 108 bells one for each temple respectively. Once again we took lots of photographs of the surroundings after which my little sisterís stamina gave way and we sat down for some time to take rest.
Bells, innumerable!!The 108 shiva templesThe floating goddessLotus pudsEven the mighty Shiva needs rest!!!and so does the little girl
In the meantime I gave a call to Swatabdi who suggested us to visit Krishna Sayar, a large lake in the heart of the Burdwan town. It took us around 10 mins through the crowded streets of Burdwan to reach the Lake. The lake was large and beautiful just like any other lake in the cities. We started walking around it and half way through, realized it to be a bad idea in the heat. Somehow we managed to circle around the lake, clicking photographs en route.
Krishna Sayer lake in the city of Burdwan
By this time even I had started to get tired and the heat and humidity only made it worse so we decided to head back home after a bite of lunch on the way. We stopped at one of the various Langcha shops of Shaktigarh and had our lunch and got some Langchas parceled for home. Tummies were full so now it was once again time to enjoy the speedy ride on the buttery smooth NH2. But, unfortunately our enjoyment didnít last long as about 10 kms from Shaktigarh the hot weather suddenly changed like the promises of our politicians. The sky got covered with dark black clouds and it started to rain heavily. We couldnít find any shade to protect ourselves and after getting half wet my sister told me that she was carrying an umbrella with her! Slightly annoyed I asked her to open it but it didnít turn out to be much of a help because the wind still made us get wet. We were stranded at the same place for close to half an hour and then we continued our journey when the rain stopped. Much to our amazement, just after a couple of kms we found the roads to be completely dry and having no sign of rain! By now the rain made the weather pleasant and we rode nonstop to our home enjoying the weather, the roads, the surroundings and the fields full of kashfuls. We reached our home at 4:30 pm and after a sleepless night and a ride of 300 kms I was satisfied when I saw a big smile on the face of the joy of my life. So much so for the unplanned Raksha Bandhan ride.