India is an incredible country. We got all sorts here – admiring cows, paying respects to Banana & Banyan trees, marrying little girls to the idols in temples, worshipping in a place riddled with mice or bats & planning excursions to places with large ice bodies. And we do all that in style, in faith & with a lot of love. That said, the story I am going to tell today is a bit more incredible – this place worships a Royal Enfield & the people frequenting the place offer alcohol to the shrine.
On Pali-Jodhpur highway in Rajasthan, some 50kms. away from Jodhpur, there’s a temple dedicated to Om Banna whose photo adorns the small temple. Inside the premises, within a glass case, stands a stylish 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet RNJ 7773. People burn incense sticks, offer flowers and bow their heads before the Bullet & Om Banna’s photo. Legend has it that if you don’t pay respects to this temple on your way, your journey can get nasty & malicious.
One might wonder – why? how? when?
It happened in the December of 1991 when a young, guy Om Singh Rathore was riding his Bullet on Pali-Jodhpur highway. Something went wrong and he met with an accident. He died on the spot leaving behind the bullet. Cops came and took the bullet to the police station as part of the process. Something happened during the night & the next morning, the bike was no longer found in the station. In fact, it was found at that very spot where Om Banna died.
It surprised people, but nevertheless the cops took the bike again to the station, this time emptying the fuel tank. To their surprise once again, the bike couldn’t be chained to the station and was again found on that very spot where the accident happened, the next morning.
This went on for a while until people realised that this is no ordinary bike. Months went by and we got a small temple dedicated to the Bullet and Om Banna. It’s believed that his spirit helps the troubled travellers. In other words, visiting the temple brings you a ‘good-luck-safe-travels’ charm.
Many truck drivers even offer small bottles of alcohol to the shrine. They even keep a 24-hour fire going on in the temple as a symbol of their undying faith in Om Banna. You may also find locals (ladies included) singing songs for Om Banna inside the temple.
This is Incredible India – of undying faith, of abundant miracles & of a bit-eccentric-but-largely-welcoming Indians!
Coming weekend, pay a visit to the Majestic Mehrangarh fort of Jodhpur, relish the Jodhpuri Ladoo and Mawa Kachori & pay your respects to Om Banna (or as they fondly call, Bullet Baba Mandir).