Chotila-OM Banna

The deity is indeed a motorcycle and such is faith that hundreds of devotees turn up every day to pray for a safe journey. The unlikely shrine near Chotila village, around 20 km away from Pali en route to Jodhpur on the highway, has a Royal Enfield 350 cc motorbike as its deity. It's hard to miss the din of pilgrims here. Every day nearby villagers and travellers stop and pray to the bike and its late owner Om Singh Rathore. The temple beside the Enfield motorbike has a big picture of Singh, fondly known as Om Banna.

It is said that a person who does not stop to pray at the shrine is in for a dangerous journey. The story goes that back in 1991, on a fateful summer night, Om Bana was returning from Pali to his native Chotila on his Bullet 350 when it skidded and hit a tree, killing him on the spot. The tree stands over the battered vehicle till date. Villagers say after Om Bana's death, the motorbike was taken to a local police station. But next day morning, it was found at the accident spot.

The Bullet Baaba Shrine at Chotila village
Om Banna – Om Singh Rathore

Police initially thought it was a prank and after emptying the fuel tank they brought the bike back to the station. However, the motorcycle was again at the accident spot the next day. "As soon as the story spread, people in the nearby village built a platform on the spot where the death occurred and started offering prayers," said Chotu Singh, a resident of the nearby village. Many shops offering incense sticks, flowers, coconut and red thread meant for offering prayers have sprung up near the shrine. Local people sing folk songs in the name of Om Bana who owned the Royal Enfield. The cause of his death, the tree itself remains ornamented with offerings of bangles, scarves and rope. The temple even has its own priest, Poonam Giri, who has been incharge of the upkeep of the shrine for two decades.

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