Tuesday 5 March 2013

Serenading a Bullet

I own a (Royal Enfield) Bullet and I am aware of the passions that this beast evokes among people. The Bullet is as legendary a bike of India as is say Harley of America and Triumph-BSA of England.
The extent to which a Bullet rider will go to keep his vehicle “match fit” is legion as is stories about the vehicle and its riders. But I am sure none of the Bullet owners, including myself, worship the Bullet as I saw in Rajasthan.
The Bullet here is a shrine onto itself and it is serenaded with alcohol, horns, vermillion and prayers. The Bullet is the presiding deity of the temple here and people flock in hundreds every day to offer prayers with their offerings of alcohol, vermillion and what not.
In the two decades of its existence, the Bullet had transformed itself from an object of curiosity to one of worship and devotion. It is popularly known as Om Banna or Bullet Baba or Bullet temple.
The shrine is just fifty kilometers from Jodhpur located in the small hamlet of Chotila. The Bullet here is worshipped as a deity and all regular poojas are carried out by a priest and even prasada is given.       
The story behind the Bullet Baba is a fascinating tale of  a man’s love for a bike.
Om Singh Rathore was the son of Jog Singh, a village leader of Chotila. He was extremely fond of his Bullet and took loving care of it. In 1991, he met with an accident and was killed when he drove the Bullet into a roadside tree near the road to Nagaur.
The local police seized the Bullet and recovered the body from a 20-foot ditch. The body was sent to the hospital for post mortem and the Bullet was taken to the police station. The next morning, when the policemen came to the station grounds, they found the Bullet missing.
Suspecting mischief, they began hunting for the bike and found it near the tree where the accident had occurred. They again brought back the Bullet to the police station and tied it up with chains., One of the policemen thought he could make the Bullet “theft proof” if he emptied the petrol tank.
So the policemen emptied the petrol and left the Bullet with its chains. The next day, the Bullet had disappeared and this was the start of the legend of the Bullet Baba. The police found the bike again at the same spot and when they investigated they found that the petrol tank was dry and no fuel had been poured recently.
Very soon, the Bullet was sold to a person who lived almost 400 kms away from Chotila. The Bullet, locals told me, refused to stay with the new owner and made its way back to Chotila and parked itself at the tree.
The villagers of Chotila decided enough was enough and declared the Bullet to be a shrine. They said the atma of Om Banna had started residing in his Bullet. They then began worshipping the Bullet and how.
They bought liquor and offered it to the bike. The first follower of Om Banna was and still is Bagga Ram. He has been coming to the Bullet Baba everyday since its consecration.
The Bullet is now a noted shrine on the Pali-Jodhpur road and is  serenaded everyday with a steady flow of visitors, most of them being truck, cab and bus drivers, villagers and now Bullet riders.
They offer prayers and liquor, generally beer, along with flowers, incense, camphor, turmeric, kum kum and what not.
The shrine has led to the development of a local economy. Several shops and push carts have come up around the shrine offering pooja items, eatables, small dolls and other memorablia like key-chains, necklaces, charms, rings, audio-tapes, VCDs and even pictures of Om Bana. The Bullet of course is also photographed and it is sold too.
The Bullet is a 350 CC and it is kept sparkling clean. The only other marks on the otherwise matchless condition of the Bullet is marks of Kum Kum, flowers and pieces of offerings.
The petrol tank looks a little dented but the condition of the bike overall is okay.
Devotees go around the Bullet thrice and then pray. If you are anywhere near Jodhpur check this out. The shrine is easy to spot. Take the road to Pali and keep going till you come to a place where stationary vehicles are honking away with all their might. There is also music being played here and the cacophony of  sound is the shrine of the Bullet. Jai Bullet Ji.    


  1. Nice Read, however may I suggest that you also write about our own "Made in Mysore", Jawa & Yezdi motorcycles, ...Dr Raj Kumar always rode one in his movies bcoz that was a Made in Karnataka bike..

  2. You could contact me for info about Jawa/Yezdi vehicles..my bro and I have 15 of them