India is celebrating its 75th Independence Day today and in order to commemorate the same, we decided to take a visit to Longewala which happens to be the battlefield for the famous 1971 Indo-Pak war. So, the bike that we chose for this journey was the Royal Enfield Classic 350 Signals edition for the simple reason that if you are going to Longewala, a bike that is truly inspired by the Indian Army just feels like a cherry on the cake. So, we started our journey from Delhi to Jaisalmer, which is located around 825 km away from the National Capital. The said distance was covered by us in two days and by the second day’s evening, we decided to call it a day only after visiting the Jaisalmer war museum that is situated just a few km before the city.
In this museum, you can see multiple Indian Army vehicles that played a vital role during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. These include the highly aggressive T55 tank and also, Indian Air Force’s Hunter fighter jet aircraft that swiped off an entire T59 tank regiment of the Pakistan Army from the battlefield. In addition to these, you can also see destroyed Pakistan Army vehicles including a military recovery vehicle whose duty was to recover the demolished vehicles from the site of war. Moreover, there is a small theatre here in which you can watch a short film based on the India-Pakistan rivalry. The same depicts the courage, sacrifices, and victories of our armed forces over the enemy.
The very next day, we started our journey at 7 in the morning with the first destination for the day being Tanot Mata Temple. Just after crossing a few kilometres from Jaisalmer, you will see numerous windmills and these are actually a part of one of the biggest wind farms in India. While in the pictures and videos, these may not look big, but trust me, these are really massive in real. The road to Tanot Mata from Jaisalmer is smooth, however, there are a few bottlenecks in between because of the construction work that is going at quite regular intervals in between.
The last fuel station on this route that is basically also, the last one for India is situated in Ramgarh that is the midpoint of the Jaisalmer to Tanot Mata temple route. Apart from this, this is an ideal spot if you wish to take a break and have some food. After taking a stop here for half an hour, we started our journey again and after a 50-minute ride, we finally reached the temple of the deity.
It is said that Tanot Mata protected the soldiers during the 1965 and 1971 India Pakistan wars. During the rivalry, Pakistan Army dropped over 3,000 bombs out of which 450 fell in and around the temple. As a miracle, none of them exploded and it is being believed that Tanot Mata has been protecting our soldiers for ages now. After the 1965 war, BSF (Border Security Force) took the responsibility of the temple on their shoulders, and even today, the place is completely managed and maintained by BSF only.
A few years later, the soldiers built a Vijay Stambh (Victory Pillar) in the temple premises in order to celebrate the 1971 victory. Vistors also tie white coloured handkerchiefs inside the temple and it is believed that doing so fulfills wishes.
Our experience summed up in a video:
After visiting the Tanot Mata temple, we headed to our next destination for the day – Longewala War Museum. The place is situated 38 km from this place and the section of NH70 that connects the two sites is certainly a delight for car and bike enthusiasts. In fact, it is one of the best roads that we have seen in India till date. Thanks to almost zero traffic, it took us almost 25 minutes to reach the Longewala war Museum. Here, you can see the destroyed Pakistani Army tanks including the T59 and also, the M4 Sherman.
In addition, there is also a 106mm RCL (Rcoilless Anti Tank Gun) that is mounted on a Mahindra Jeep. The said weapon was used effectively by the Indian Army during the 1948, 1965, and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. The purpose of this military vehicle, as the name suggests was to destroy the enemy tanks. In addition, you can find a detailed illustration of the battle and you can also take a look at the pictures and weapons used by our soldiers in those times. Right in front of the museum, there is a cafe called Laungewala Cafe. It is India’s last western cafe and the same is run and managed by the Indian Army.
A big salute to our brave hearts who stay awake day and night at the frontiers so that you and I can sleep peacefully. So, on this Independence Day, this story is a tribute to our armed forces. Places like these only can make you realize and feel what all difficulties our soldiers go through along with the challenges and sacrifices they make to ensure that the head of every Indian stay sky-high with pride. They’ve been doing that for years now and will continue to till eternity – a belief that is very well instilled in every Indian. Moreover, what better way to bid goodbye to the current generation Royal Enfield Classic 350 as the next-gen model is all set to be launched in India on 27th August!
Team Express Drives wishes you a very Happy Independence Day! Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!
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