Located in Pali district close to Jodhpur in India, Om Banna is a place visited by hundreds of drivers every day so that they can pray for a safe journey. They don’t pray in a religious temple, nor to a God. They pray in front of a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle.
An accident occurred back in 1988, when Om Banna (Om Singh Rathore) was traveling on his motorcycle from the town of Bangdi to Chotila. He hit a tree and died, and his motorcycle fell into a ditch. The local police took the motorcycle and brought it to the police station, but the next morning the motorcycle wasn’t where they left it. They eventually found it… in the same ditch from where they collected it the first time. So they took it back to the police station and this time, for fear of it being stolen again, they emptied the motorcycle of fuel and locked it up.
The next morning the motorcycle was missing again from the station, and once again was found in the same ditch near the site of the accident. According to the legend, the motorcycle kept returning to the place where his owner died regardless of the police officers’ efforts. No matter what they did, it was always there in that ditch before dawn.
The story spread around and local people started worshiping the motorcycle, naming it “Bullet Bike.” The legend traveled from village to village, from town to city, from the cities across the world. So now, many travelers in India visit the site every day. The locals have built a temple for the bike wich is know as “Bullet Baba’s Temple.” Those who pray believe that Banna’s spirit will protect them on the road.
People leave flowers, incense sticks, coconut, red thread and various different objects that associate them with their road and their vehicle. It is believed that those who drive by the site and don’t stop to pray face danger on their journey. Devotees also apply the ’tilak’ mark and tie a red thread on the motorbike. Local people sing folk songs in the name of Om Bana.