I arrived two days before Nigel in Dehli, so I could use the remaining time to find a halfway trusted motorcycle dealer who does not totally bamboozling us when purchasing his Royal Enfield. Motorcycle and spare parts dealers as well as workshops for Royal Enfields stretch over two streets in the center of Delhi. I had to have my princess repaired anyway, so I could combine the same with the search.
While I was visiting some traders, my princess was whipped into shape again. The „workshop“ is located on the roadside in the open air, the toolbox of the mechanic is chained to a lamppost with a bicycle chain.
Within an hour was a used motorcycle dealer with a half-way reasonable offer found. My travel companion for the next weeks had only to decide for a motorcycle and buy this.
We had in New Zealand only casually discussed details of the tour. Nigel does not have a motorcycle driving license, but according to his own statement enough experience in Enduro races collected. At the beginning I was a bit queasy, because the Indian traffic would face special challenges. After riding with him for the first time as a motorcycle tour guide, I could not really estimate that. Fortunately, he is an excellent, very safe, nerve-heavy motorcyclist. We could ride all routes with a maximum fun-factor without compromise.
After leaving Delhi we headed for Rajasthan. In April / May to travel to Rajasthan is of course a madness, the best travel time is normally from November to February. Temperatures of 50 ° C and above can be expected, the asphalt heats up and lets the temperature rise again by 10 ° – 15 ° degrees. With commitment and enough madness, one can also overcome these circumstances.
Shekhawathi is an approximately 14,000 km² region in the north-east of Rajasthan and is known for its beautiful Havelis – old, painted mansions. Our first stop was Mandawa, a small town in the center of Shekhawati, the ideal starting point for day trips around the region.
We were late in the evening – already in the dark – in the place arrived. Because of in this time of year hardly tourists are traveling, it was not particularly difficult to find a room in a Haveli at moderate prices. Mandawa itself also has a large number of ancient Havelis, which can be discovered on strolls through the village.
The Shekhawati region has a several thousand-year-old trade tradition, the wealth of the past can be seen at every corner, at every house. A special feature is the fact, that of the richest families in India about 50 are from this region. This is especially noticeable when traveling to Alsisar, about 50 km north of Mandawa.
In Alsisar, the last Maharaja has built a palace as a hotel. Because there were no guests in the house, we got a guide through the facility after cay.
The chef of the hotel had nothing to do, so he agreed to take us through the village against a voluntary donation – he showed us also old, usually not accessible Havelis.
The walk through such an idyllic, abandoned place with a local guide is something special.
The Haveli that we were allowed to enter belongs to the general importer of Honda vehicles in India, a very rich family who lives in Agra a few hundred kilometers to the south.
Further south, in the village of Nawalgarh, we were able to visit a particularly well-preserved Haveli, which is open as a museum for visitors. The color splendor and love to detail in these houses is really something special.