Each time this year, around the same date and time, people gathered at India Gate are confused. Should they be clicking pictures with India Gate in the backdrop or, with a huge group of intimidating, but cool bikers on their Royal Enfields? As the synchronous thump of over 100 Royal Enfields crack open the mundane atmosphere giving way to celebration and revelry, onlookers wondered what the occasion was. In it’s 11th year now, Royal Enfield’s flagship motorcycling event The Himalayan Odyssey, witnessed over 72 bikers from across India and the world descend in New Delhi to traverse 2700 km at 11,500 ft above sea level to Leh-Ladakh. This is one of the biggest, and most coveted motorcycling event in India among others.
This year, four riders have travelled all the way from Dubai to be a part of this event. One of the riders, Parthasarthy Venkatesh, also the founder and CEO of Taj Mahal Group of Restaurants, said he has heard a lot about the Himalayan Odyssey, but could never make it before. “The ride to Ladakh is much talked about in the biking community, so this time I wanted to make it happen at any cost,” said Venkatesh, who happens to be an automobile engineer.
He further reveals that back in his hometown Chennai, some 25 years back, he had the authorised dealership to service around 350 Royal Enfields belonging to the Chennai Police. That’s when his passion for motorcycles began. “Biking reveals a lot about ones character and through this ride I hope to experience what I’ve only heard from people and discover myself more. Besides, you don’t get that signature thump of a Royal Enfield on any other bike. It’s truly special and from hereon, I want to be a part of all their other rides,” he said.
“Since I haven’t done the ride before, I don’t know what to expect. But riding in India is very different from Dubai. In Dubai, the roads, bikes and mentality is very dfferent from India. Here, it is more organic and down-to-earth,” added Venkatesh.
The Royal Enfield cavalcade also includes riders who have travelled from major metropolitan cities and smaller cities like Tripura, Calicut, Amravati and Erode to be a part of this annual motorcyling event. The motorcyclists will pass through Parwanoo, Narkhanda, Keylong, Sarchu via Kalpa and Kaza regions on their way to Leh.