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Amritsar-Still here… Why would I leave?

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The good news is that I am still here and still getting free internet. The bad thing is that I will probably be taking off tomorrow morning to start heading towards the mountains.

I spent the morning getting Schwinn as fixed up as I can as the next leg is some serious biking and it could be downright dangerous if I get stuck up there in altitude. The only thing that is really left is that I have a slow oil leak that I can’t find and I need a shifter rubber. Beyond that, the Schwinn seems to be humming really well. We shall see.

The rest of the day I hit a few more tourist sites like the Mata Temple which is a adulterated labrynth of tunnels and caves which was turned into a temple honoring the female saint Lal Devi. Women wishing to get pregnant go there to pray. It was pretty cool wandering around ankle deep in water and climbing through little passage ways. It’s more like a fun house than an actual cave however. After that I went to see a supposedly impressive museum at the Summer Palace built by the Lion of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It however was closed for renovations so I checked out the panorama instead. After that I did the sunset at the Golden Temple. I will have to say that Amritsar has turned out to be my favorite Indian town (Arambol is not considered India.) The people, the Sikh religion, the temple all score very high with me. Another big plus is that there are not very many cows, goats, and animals in general roaming the streets. That in itself really helps to efficianize the city. Plus, you don’t get that cow shit smell with the droves of flies everywhere.

Spending the evening at the temple and just kicking back I noticed a few more things. They have priests inside the temple who do a continuous chant out of the Sikh Holy book. This is broadcast over the whole complex and really helps to put you in a relaxed state. There are also these little glass booths with I am guessing other priests dotted throughout the complex. They sit in the booths praying and the people come up and pray with them. In the evening it is really nice because the weather cools and many families and groups come to the temple to just stroll around or to sit by the waters edge and chat. It is extremely calming just sitting there people watching with this gleaming golden temple reflecting off the lake. A very spectacular site that I definitely prefer over the Taj.

So that is it for me. Tomorrow, I should be heading farther north to Jammu on my way to Srinigar and Dal lake where the claim to fame is houseboats. You go there, rent a room on a houseboat and just chill there for a few days. After that, depending on the road conditions I would like to try the road to Ley. I am a bit early so if it doesn’t open for a while I will have to come all the way back down go across and then head all the way back up again as there is the only one seasonal road that is open a couple months out of the year. So, that’s it for a bit.


Shots from the Mata Temple.

Sunset Golden Temple

Royal Enfield Bullet (Schwinn) – List of repairs

Friday, April 25th, 2008


This will be an updated list as things break, wear out, are stolen, or added. Hopefully it will be a short list. Add about $50R per litre for petrol and about 25 kms per liter. Biking it is not cheap, but I figure it would come out to about the same cost if I were to go Ac class on the train and took taxis to hotels and sites.

Prices are in Rupees. $40R = $1US

Bought the Enfield in Arambol, Goa.

$100R Arambol – Tail light screws (2), replaced all (4) signal light bulbs, brake light bulb (1), blinker switch, and hooked up all the wires so all lights are working correctly.

$250R Margao – Added lock kits to side compartments, spare light bulbs, grease nipple.

$225R Gokarna – Replaced gear box gasket and topped off oil.

$90R Hampi – Replaced speedometer cable

$150 Bidar – Engine oil

$300 Udaipur – Replaced front speedometer hub, replaced cable, rebuilt front brakes, wash job
$100 Udaipur – Replaced clutch lever and bracket (dropped Schwinn-bad day)
$40 Udaipur – Re-did wiring and connectors
$200 Udaipur – Replaced brake light switch and voltage gauge.

$30 Jodhpur – Added front brake wiring

$40 Pushkar – Added side handle
$10 Pushkar – Replaced clutch housing filler plug
$20 Pushkar – Welded/repaired kick stand bracket

$165 Mathura – engine oil
$2200 Mathura – see breakdown
Clutch pack – 247
Rod – 25
Pin – 30
adjuster – 15
housing cover – 530
Clutch plate housing – 1050
Clutch seal – 37
Oil – 76
Foot peg rubber – 30

$400 Amritsar
Replace front spindle
Replace speedometer hub
Fix speedometer gauge
Replace speedometer cable
Replace clutch seal
Adjust chain
Repack gear box
Replace helmet visor screws
Replace rear signal light

$40 Jammu
Bungee cords

$250 Srinigar
(2) Spark plugs (spare)
Clutch lever (spare)
De-compression cable (spare)
Front light bulb (spare)
Adjust timing, carbuerator, steering

$.10 Kargil
De-compression screw

$250 rebuild front shocks
$60 (2) De-compression cables (one broke and spare from Srinigar wrong size)
$60 (4) light bulbs (to get all gauges lit)
$170 Tire pump
$50 (2) extra fuel containers
$80 (2) bungee nets for fuel containers
$450 replace head gasket
$75 Bearing grease

1) make tire levers – 70

1) Tow bike to town – 500
2) Help with bike and lodging + tip – 500

1) clutch lever bracket – 35
2) front brake lever bracket – 35
3) bottled water for battery – 20
4) labor – 10

Manali 645
1) Headlamp – 80
2) Headlight bezel – 130
3) (2) bulbs – 30/30
4) Pair of foot peg rubbers – 45
5) (2) Clutch lever brackets – 35/35
6) Tail light cover – 40
7) Fuel tank lock – 95
8) Speedometer cable – 75
9) Weld main stand – 30
10) Tighten chain – 20

Rishikesh $350Rs

Air cleaner assembly
– box
– bracket/bolt
– air filter
– rubber connecter

Rishikesk $3200Rs

Front shock seal repair
New Sprocket and Chain Set (rear sprocket is also brake drum)
New brake pads
Replace all transmission seals
Repair seal housing in inner case
Replace transmission hardware
Replace kickstand stud

Rishikesh $1000Rs

Replace clutch springs
Replace alternator
Adjust clutch pressure

Responses to comments: Sorry so late again. Still important though.

Thursday, April 24th, 2008
Okay. First like usual. Mom, I'm still okay. Judy- Got that e-mail about the dogsledding at your friends lodge. I will definitely have to give Alaska a try. Somewhere in between doing the vacation thing and dying ... [Continue reading this entry]

India vs. Pakistan: The peaceful battle of the Honor Guards

Thursday, April 24th, 2008
100_5924.JPG100_5922.JPG100_5916.JPG 100_5920.JPG 100_5926.JPG With the recommendation by Blog reader Acidspike, I made the 30 km. dash to the ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’m up to date, your up to date, Amritsar: The Golden Temple

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
golden-temple.JPG golden-temple-1.JPG golden-temple-2.JPG golden-temple-3.JPG golden-temple-4.JPG golden-temple-5.JPG I just took those photos like an hour ago. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Delhi bragging rights

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
lotus-temple.jpg india-gate.jpg I was not going to Delhi. I am running out of time, it's getting too hot, I spent extra time and money in Jaipur recovering from Giardiasis, the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Taj Mahal- Now, I’ve been to India.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
front.JPG The Taj Mahal I think is the epitomy of what people think about when they hear "India", well that and trash, but I already went into all of that. For me, it was ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jaipur- the city of Giardiasis

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
jaipur-palace.jpg After leaving Pushkar, well, before we leave Pushkar, I do have to add that I did do a few things which were a first for me. First, I did a puja down at the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jodhpur and Pushkar: The Blue city and the Lotus flower.

Saturday, April 12th, 2008
jodhpur-blog-1.JPG Jodhpur was once a vital trade route city and is now home to the dominating Tepui Fort that looms over the city. The market is still well known for its crafts and spices. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Dirty India?

Saturday, April 12th, 2008
trash.JPG Since so many people have commented on my unique perspectives (5 people), I will throw this one out as I believe it is one of the main negative perceptions people have of India. Dirty ... [Continue reading this entry]