These marigolds have been used to decorate Om Banna Temple (or Shri Om Banna), a temple built in devotion to a deity in the form of a motorcycle, a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet, and its late owner, Om Banna. In 1988, Om Banna, was travelling home when he lost control of his motorcycle and hit a tree. He was killed instantly and his motorcycle fell into a ditch. The next morning, local police took the motorcycle to the police station but the next day it was found back at the site of the accident. It was again taken to the police station and had its fuel tank emptied, and put under lock and key. The next morning the motorcycle was again found at the accident site. Despite further attempts to keep the motorcycle at the station, it was always found again in the same ditch before dawn.
This came to be seen as a miracle by the local population, and they began to worship the “Bullet Bike.” News of the miracle motorcycle spread to nearby villages, and a temple was built to worship it. It’s believed that Om Banna’s spirit helps distressed travellers and brings them good luck in their journey.
Every day nearby villagers and travellers stop and pray to the bike and its late owner Om Singh. I’ve been several times with friends from Ganaheda near Pushkar, about 4 hours away by car. We’ve hired a car and a driver and bought ladoos (an Indian sweet) and a bottle of whiskey to offer to Om Banna. Om Banna’s had a little to drink, and we’ve had the rest! In my experience, a trip to Om Banna is not only a chance to pray for good luck, but also to have a very big day out with friends!
Om Bana Temple, on National Highway 65 between Pali and Jodpur, Rajasthan