The Shrine Dedicated to the Bike: Around 50 km from Jodhpur in Rajasthan to Pali, there is a thickly populated location beside the highway where throngs of tourists and worshippers stop to pay respect to a Royal Enfield Bullet before continuing on their journey. Locals claim that Om Banna, the state’s Bullet Baba who “fulfils wishes and prayers,” is the subject of the temple.
The Shrine Dedicated to the Bike: Bullet Baba: Who is he?
Om Singh Rathore, also known as Shri Om Banna or Bullet Baba, is the object of worship at the shrine, where followers of the motorbike RNJ 7773 gather. Every day, hundreds of worshippers come to this late Rajasthani youth’s memorial to offer prayers for safe travel.
The Bullet Baba’s past
The story of Om Banna begins in 1998, when a young man named Om Singh Rathore, the offspring of a village chief, was riding his motorbike from the hamlet of Bangdi near Sanderao of Pali when he lost control and crashed into a tree. Om died instantly, but his motorbike swerved and landed in a neighbouring ditch.
According to local folklore, authorities in the area transported the motorbike to a neighbouring police station the morning following the collision.
The Shrine Dedicated to the Bike: The enigmatic bike
However, according to reports, the bike left the station and eventually found its way back to the scene of the collision. Once more, the cops drove it back to the station, emptying its gasoline tank and locking it up. Strangely enough, the motorbike somehow found its way back to the scene of the collision despite their best attempts.
According to local tourist Raman Jay Singh, who was headed to Jodhpur, “the police on the second night chained the bike and kept a vigil to see who was stealing the bike and taking it back to the site of the accident.”
“The motorbike self-started and made its way back to where its owner had died,” he allegedly said. “The police were amazed to see that a little after midnight.”
Folklore holds that despite attempts to move the motorbike away from the scene of the accident, it kept returning to the same ditch.
Raman concurs, stating that after the event, police ceased attempting to bring the bike back to the station. Locals soon started adoring Bullet bike and treating the location as if it were some type of pilgrimage. The locals quickly learned of it and constructed a temple to honour it. The popular belief is that Om Banna’s ghost aids lost or troubled travellers.
Raman could have heard about unusual happenings at the temple, but according to Kirnesh Yoganandi, the villagers consider Om Banna to be a “jeeta jaagta devta (a living God)”.
He continues, “Ask for anything good and logical, and your prayers will be granted. Kuch bhi logical cheez maanglo, woh milega.” But you have to give him something alcoholic in exchange.
Asking how he can be so certain, Kirnesh responds, “I was involved in a matter for which I was travelling to Udaipur. I visited Om Banna as I crossed the shrine and made a vow to return to see him if I was able to escape the misery. Look at that! I became a free man after two days.
I did go back to see him and thank him when the situation was resolved.
Kirnesh claims that his companion also had a similar event. “He spent three years unable to move forward in his divorce case. He prayed thereafter carrying a bottle of wine. His petitions were heard at the subsequent hearing, and the judge decided in his favour. And his divorce was finalised after six months.
If you travel the Pali route, you will undoubtedly see throngs of worshippers rushing to the Om Banna temple. Travellers wait patiently in huge lines to give booze to the local god. It is thought that refusing to bow down to Om Banna might result in a dangerous voyage.
The temple also hosts daily havans, and if travellers are unable to pause, they often honk twice as a sign of respect as they proceed. At the location, many people offer Om Banna booze in exchange for their desires coming true.