Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jan 6: Best Day so far! (part 4 of 5)

After Singapur, the road fairy tale ends. From here there are two paths to Khajuraho - one roundabout main road over Panna(diamond mines here), and another direct road through the villages and jungles. The latter road is my choice. The next 4 kms is purely offroading, about a km or so uphill. Soon Ajaigadh comes up. 'Gadh' means 'fort', and this place has a fort. The locals have described it as a high fort, with a few idols and canyons. Nothing much to see, and equally, who has the time?

Next stop : Bariarpur 25kms away. The road is a mixed bag. It's 5:20 by the time I reach this sizable village, and 25 kms more to Khajuraho. Local advice: halt and rest. The owner of Janata Hotel offers a cot to rest. I've been thinking of stopping at a village all day and everything seems to have fallen in place. So I decide to rest at the village. I'm satisfied with my 100km ride for the day.

The bike is obviously a big attraction in the village. Once I take off the bags from the bike, it's test ride time for everyone. We play a prank on the hotel owner. I set him up on the hardest-to-pedal gears. He is huffing and puffing by the time he is back, but muttering 'bahut speed bhagat hai'.

There are some dacoits around the jungles here. Mostly they seem to target the wealthy outsiders by stopping vehicles and robbing them of cash and valuables. The police seem to be doing a good job of controlling the dacoits, having eliminated a couple of them a week ago. An estimated 50-100 dacoits are still at large, but an equal number are apparently behind the bars. There is a path which goes directly from here to Khajuraho, and that passes through jungles all the way. There has been an instance of a foreign biker being robbed after being betrayed by some local chap of another village. Need to be a bit careful to choose the right path here too, but that's for tomorrow.

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