In India, always expect the unexpected. The trip that I had planned was to be, or at least I was hoping would be a a truly wonderful, if incredibly unconventional trip through Rajasthan. So, following local tradition, I figured I’d start by offering a quick puja for the passage.
Where better to do this than at the Om Babba Temple, otherwise known as the Bullet Babba Temple? If you’ve never heard about this temple, then let me enlighten you, it is a temple dedicated to a motorbike, of course, its an Enflield motorbike, but even so, a temple dedicated to a motorbike, really? Oh yes.
The story behind the temple I have shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia: On 2 December 1991, Om Banna (formerly known as Om Singh Rathore) was travelling from the town known as Bangdi near Sanderao of Pali to Chotila, when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a tree: Om Banna was killed instantly, his motorcycle falling into a nearby ditch. The morning after the accident, local police took the motorcycle to a nearby police station. The next day it was reported to have disappeared from the station and was found back at the site of the accident. Police, once again, took the motorcycle, this time emptying its fuel tank and putting it under lock and chain to prevent its removal. Despite their efforts, the next morning it again disappeared and was found at the accident site. Legend states that the motorcycle kept returning to the same ditch. It thwarted every attempt by police to keep it at the local police station; no matter what precautions were taken, the motorcycle always managed to return to the same spot before dawn.
This came to be seen as a miracle by the local population, and they began to worship the “Bullet Bike.” News of the miracle motorcycle spread to nearby villages, and later they built it its own temple, as you would. This temple is now known as “Bullet Baba’s Temple,” and it is believed that Om Banna’s spirit helps distressed travellers. Well, I wasn’t distressed, but I did indeed receive safe passage on my unconventional journey, and you can’t knock that.
For anyone wanting to visit, the temple is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Pali and 53 kilometres (33 mi) away from Jodphur on the Pali-Jodhpur highway, near Chotila village. And for those who really do want to know, the motorcycle is a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet RNJ 7773.
Philippa is founder of Indian Experiences and author of Escape to India
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