W
NW
N
N
NE
W
the Degree Confluence Project
E
SW
S
S
SE
E

India : Rājasthān

1.9 km (1.2 miles) N of Pipli, Rājasthān, India
Approx. altitude: 527 m (1728 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 25°S 106°W

Accuracy: 7 m (22 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: GPS proof, my first all zeros photo! #3: A 360 degree panorama with north at the centre and the horse at the east. #4: A decorated cow passing me on the last "road" that the motorbike would take. #5: Veejay's father and his dancing horse. #6: Veejay, after asking me to ride his horse, but before asking me to have some lunch with him. #7: The author at the confluence site with Veejay's horse.

  { Main | Search | Countries | Information | Member Page | Random }

  25°N 74°E (visit #1)  

#1: A horse eating grass a few meters from the confluence point.

(visited by Chris Shannon)

07-Nov-2008 --

I researched this confluence from an Internet cafe in Udaipur the night before using Google Earth. It had fantastic resolution of the area and I methodically wrote out 15 waypoints for the 50 km route that should get me there. Only the first 10 km or so were on a paved road (National highway 8), so I was counting on the rest of the roads to be motorbikable.

Udaipur is perhaps best know to the western world for the use of the Lake Palace Hotel on Jagniwas Island as Octopussy's palace in the James Bond film of that name. Because of this, every restaurant continuously replays this film every evening. I watched the movie but used the non-Indian scenes of the movie to painstakingly enter each waypoint into my GPS.

The following day, I woke up at 7:00AM and had no trouble renting a 300 Rupee motorbike from Heera, as recommended by the Lonely Planet. The tank must have been siphoned completely empty and it costs 775 R to fill it up with India's surprisingly costly petrol. Even though I've been averaging around 600 Rupees per day here, I dreaded the thought of running out of gas miles from nowhere, so it was well worth it. I asked about the fuel efficiency and I figured I could go about 5 times my planned distance on that amount of gas.

It was still nice and cool out at about 15 degrees Celcius to start. Even though the Google Maps were still fresh in my mind I tied my GPS to my left wrist and was able to frequently consult it while safely driving the motorbike. I had set each waypoint to be about 50 meters down the correct branch of a junction and I'm proud to say that I took every turn correctly. Each turn, however, found me on a road half the size of the previous, so by about 10:00AM I was on a track no wider than my bike tire. I recognized the area from Google Earth. Only 100 meters before the closest point on the path, a decorated cow greeted me and I had to wait for it to give way.

As I got off my bike and walked the remaining 80 m to the confluence I got an enthusiastic greeting from a young farmer. He introduced himself as Veejay and pointed out his mother and wife working in the field nearby. A moment later his father appeared. Veejay, who was walking a horse, was quite keen on getting me to jump on it. Meanwhile, his father went to get another nearby horse and brought it over. On command, "HUP!" the horse reared. The father maked a camera gesture to me and I happily took a few shots and a quick movie. I also took the confluence photos and showed Veejay my GPS. Because it seemed they understood my purpose there about as well as I understood their Hindi (which is not at all), I gave my name, email and the confluence.org URL to him on a piece of paper. I said goodbye so they could get back to their work but Veejay's father invited me to their home for lunch! A stranger shows up on your land, starts taking pictures and you offer to feed him? Indian hospitality is amazing! I declined because I felt like I was imposing and we left thanking each other for the visit.

Because I had allotted myself the entire day for this, I briefly considered going to the next confluence north, 26N 73E, which looked very easy on Google Earth. Instead, I made my way to Kumbalgarh, an old Jain Palace and temple complex on a mountain. That ride was an adventure in itself, including picking up an old man as a hitchhiker, trying not to panic when my bike started clicking and would not drive another inch, and hitting speedbumps in the dark on the highway going 60 km/h. By a stroke of amazing good luck, after driving for 45 minutes in the country, it turns out that it was the chain that had fallen off the sprocket which was hidden under a protective covering (impossible to fix without having a wrench to take off the covering). A mechanic happened to be only 50 meters back in the small town of Charvudra (probably spelt incorrectly). The mechanic took only seconds to put the chain back on, and spent 5 minutes giving it a good tune up. The crowd that had gathered tell me to pay him. "Well of course" I say and face him and pull out my wallet. "How much?" He says something to the translator. 100. No problem, I hand him a 100R note but he doesn't take it. "Uh oh!" I quickly thought "I hope he didn't mean 1000." No, the translator then said "50." Well come on, I insist on 100 and after a quick back and forth, he accepts. The crowd laughs and cheers him, like saying "way to make a bucket-load of money in 5 minutes." It's all good and 100 R is actually pretty fair for a mechanic's rate I think, and especially since he helped me on the spot. I also wanted him to know that he saved me hours of walking, and possibly a night of sleeping on the street (but I would suspect the generous Indian hospitality would have come through for me again). They all wished me a happy journey and I drove off just as the sun was setting.

I was absolutely exhausted when I returned to Udaipur 12 hours after setting off. My face was black from the dust and pollution, and my butt was very sore from bouncing over the dirt on the shoulder of the road after losing games of chicken to cars passing each other going the opposite direction. Finding the correct turns back to the rental shop in Udaipur without taking out the GPS was much more difficult than expected and I took 3 or 4 wrong turns and missed a couple. The windy streets disorientated me but the trusty ol' GPS saved my butt again! After 12 hours on the bike, I was in no mood to be lost.

All and all it was a fantastic day, and I very highly recommend renting a bike and getting off the beaten path in Rajasthan, India. The people are fantastic and the scenery and sights are amazing.


 All pictures
#1: A horse eating grass a few meters from the confluence point.
#2: GPS proof, my first all zeros photo!
#3: A 360 degree panorama with north at the centre and the horse at the east.
#4: A decorated cow passing me on the last "road" that the motorbike would take.
#5: Veejay's father and his dancing horse.
#6: Veejay, after asking me to ride his horse, but before asking me to have some lunch with him.
#7: The author at the confluence site with Veejay's horse.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)