Motorcycle Worship

om banna temple
Royal Enfield 350 cc Bullet, Om Banna Temple, located in the city of Jodhpor, India.

I think it is safe to say that those who ride, worship their bikes, but we tend to say that in jest. I’m talking about really worshiping a motorcycle as a deity. Strange? Cool?

On December 23, 1988, was the last ride that Om Singh Rathore took on his Royal Enfield Bullet. Rathore was twenty-three years old.

As the legend goes, the motorcycle which was in the possession of the police, simply vanished one day and ended up back at the scene of the accident. Common sense dictates the motorcycle was taken and placed there. Police could not figure out who did this, but guessed it must have been members of Rathore’s family.

Police then emptied the motorcycle of fuel and removed the chain, but once again, it was found at the scene.

Well, Rathore’s family then sold the motorcycle to someone that lived more than two hundred miles away, only for the motorcycle to reappear again at the same site. Villagers took that as a sign that the motorcycle and it’s owner were to be worshiped as deities.

A temple was built, named Om Banna Temple, with the motorcycle on display and hundreds visiting daily with offerings given as a way for protection when traveling .

Now, my question is why don’t we do the same here? Bear with me.

Mount Everest has over two hundred bodies, forever frozen in time, scattered throughout. This has been well documented from the 1996 disaster of the eight mountain climbers that died due to a severe storm. The bodies were left there because realistically, at 26,000 feet, it is all but logistically impossible to remove the bodies. Due to the extreme cold, the bodies remain intact.

Now, the bodies serve as a stark reminder as to the dangers of climbing Mount Everest.

Mount Everest 1996 disaster
Known as “Green Boots,” this is thought to be the body of climber Tsewang Paljor. Mount Everest.

When someone dies in an accident, one can request that a marker be placed at that spot by the Department of Transportation. We have all seen those reminders where friends and family go back and place gifts and personal items at the sign. However, those signs are removed a year later. I can only guess why.

Drive Safely Signs, Department of Transportation

While I do appreciate the sign and believe it provides comfort for friends and family, why not do the same as the temple of Om Banna? What conveys a more powerful message than having a motorcycle encased and leaving it there for twelve months with the same message of “drive safely.”

Most of the time, we can’t even see these signs, but imagine leaving at the scene a motorcycle that was destroyed in an accident because someone was texting/driving. And don’t stop at motorcycles, do the same for cars.

There is no denying that images can be very powerful. It just depends on the message you are trying to convey.

Vietnam girl napalm photo

Be safe.

MC Atty

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