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Ride to Gadda Mania - Lonar 2013

Don’t ask why I didn’t go to Banaras for Holi this year, I am already writing a novel on it; will take time, but if you will ask I will make sure you buy that crap in dozens. Anyways, as I didn’t go to Banaras for Holi (cliché warning), I rode to the Gadda Mania – which has been elusive for me for last few years. 

Gadda Mania at Lonar Crater


Gadda Mania is another religious ride for the Royal Enfield riders of the country celebrated at Lonar Crater every year on post-Holi weekend, unlike Rider Mania which is organized at different parts of the country annually. This mania to ride to Cosmic Gadda or Gaddha (pit) was started in March 2008 when some lunatics (interestingly its celebrated on a weekend closest to Lunatic’s favorite day of Full Moon) from Wanderlust MC and InddieThumpers planned to freak out and were endorsed by Wanderers and Highway Nawabs from Hyderabad. And, the legends say the Meet became a ritual in just a few years with more and more clubs and individuals roping in to the Mania.

Mumbai to Aurangabad Ride
Inddiethumpers were to start riding on March 28, 2013 and so should we. But, as I had leaves and weekend was still a day far, I chose to ride to Aurangabad and spend a day there visiting the architectural monuments of this historically marvelous city. Another vella Inddiethumper– Joshil – took no time to opt for it and we left the town in the wee hours of March 27, to avoid any ho-halla of Holi through the town.
Plan was not to take NH3 route to Aurangabad via Nashik, but riding NH222 via Kalyan/Malshej Ghat/Ahmednagar, take a detour towards Nath Sagar Dam at Ghodegaon and reach Aurangabad before sunset. So we had to cover some 390-400 kilometers in almost 12 hour – a easy ride was thus in front of us. Find the route map here.


Foggy NH 222 in the month of March
Achtung! posing for a snap at NH222
Pimpalgaon Joga Dam
 Though mostly single/double lane, NH 222 is another good road to ride. Especially if you cross the Kalyan part in early morning time, rest of the ride is ought to be scenic and worth doing. Morning ride was quite good, in comparison to what we had in afternoon session, it was fabulous. We reached Malshej at around 9:30 and it had started getting hot, so planned to take our first halt at MTDC Malshej. Cups of chae and we were all ready to hit the road again. A few kilometers and there was that lake, Pimpalgaon Joga Dam, on our left just after completing Ghats. That was the time when Cameraman in me and Model in Joshil couldn’t control the urge to have a photo-halt along the lake. Trying many a kachha roads to the lake, we finally got one worth exploring reaching Lake. Another hour or so there and we were on road again. Apart from lunch we didn’t then stop.
Achtung!  with Josh and his Sterk at Pimpalgaon Joga Dam
One of my favorite shot of Sterk
Afternoon riding was quite a tough one. I had been to Jaisalmer, a month back, but it was hotter at Ahmednagar.  Sweating vapour that was of no help bringing us any coolness, we had to take stops at almost every half an hour, twice for sugarcane juice and once for water. TRAVEL ADVICE/SEASON ADVICE:  Be prepared for heat, if its summer time when you are riding. You don’t need to be in Rajasthan, Heat wave will search you at any route you are riding on. Anyways, crossing Ahmednagar, we took SH60 towards Ghodegaon. From Ghodegaon we took another detour towards NathSagar Dam/Paithan via SH49.
We spent just a few minutes at Dam (story later) and took SH148 towards Aurangabad. TRAVEL ADVICE: By the way, Paithan is famous for traditional Maharashtrian Paithani sarees. One of the shortfalls of riding is you don’t generally (?) have much time to explore the town, and to our luck we didn’t find any Saree shop en route. We reached Aurangabad at around 5:30 PM, where we were hosted by Thunderclapper Harish – an enthusiastic trekker, bullet rider and a great human being. Thunderclap is a new Bullet Club from Aurangabad. Thanks to Appu for connecting us. Our brother Harish not only arranged Hotel for us and the other Inddiethumpers scheduled to come on next evening, but also ensured we have a good time dining and roaming in and around the City (more on the Moghul City of Aurangabad to come soon, believe me this city is full of awesome people).
Bibi ka Maqbara, Aurangabad
Ellora Cave
Ajanta Cave
We visited Panchakki and Bibi ka Maqbara on that very night we reached the place; Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga, Ellora caves, Aurangzeb’s Tomb and Aurangabad Caves were visited next day (Detailed reviews soon). Joined by Inddiethumpers on that night and revisited Bibi ka Maqbara (to fulfill Appu’s long cherished dream) and Ajanta caves the next day while riding to Lonar.
Ride to Lonar
Lonar is small village in Buldhana district of Maharashtra, a surprise district to my self-proclaimed geography knowledge. This town has not only got a Crater to its map but also a temple with carving next only to that at Khajuraho.
Well, not all Inddiethumpers were in mood to ride to Lonar while visiting some archaeological sites. Those who chose to do it were branded as New Schools and the old fellas chose to lie in bed. New Schools Inddiethumpers left the place at around 8 o’clock, paying visit to Panchakki, Bibi ka maqbara and finally taking Sillod-Aurangabad road towards Ajanta Caves. Some 4-5 hours at caves, Sun bid adieu while we still had to do some 50-60 km to reach the place at Lonar. ROAD ALERT:  This complete stretch is not a jolly road, single lane, with towns/villages on either side, potholes and above all – similar looking bends. So don’t hesitate to ask some localite if you feel being stranded – it always helps. Well, it was a long time since I rode with Appu and Yogi baba, so fun was doubled re-binding with the old buddies :)
Ragging time for first timers at Gadda
Party time at Gadda
Lonar to Mumbai Ride
After a kickass night with brothers from almost all over the country, we somehow managed to leave the place well in the morning. No adventure, pan was to do Lonar to Mumbai via Aurangabad/Ahmednagar/Malshej. Its fun to ride solo or in two, but riding in a group of freaks is just superb. Riding with seasoned Inddiethumper Amit Deshmukh after a long while, knowing Deepak Nair and Simon Uncle and of course with Joshil, taking halts for juice, water, food and peeing – we reached Kalyan well before it was evening. Calling it the ride, we parted for our own palces.
Take aways
  1. It’s not that difficult to reunite (a personal musing)
  2. If you are riding a Bullet, ride to Lonar next year post Holi and have the fun of your life.
  3. ROAD CONDITION:  NH 222 is fun but mostly single/double lane. Roads are good, but it’s highly advisable to cross Kalyan before 8 AM.
  4. ROAD CONDITION:  Riding in summers - do carry enough water and glucose with you.
Detailed reviews on Aurangabad monuments, Ellora-Ajanta and Lonar soon to be published....Till then, share with Ghumakkar if you have been to Lonar or Gadda Mania and how was your experience?


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