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Old 3rd May 2011, 11:04   #1
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Default An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

A call from the son of my (Late) best friend at 8 am on 23 April to attend his wedding at Bhubaneswar made me start an impromptu and emotion filled journey that would cover 3250 kms over 8 days. Call was received at 8 am-decision taken to attend at 8.30 am, of to office to ensure that all was right as the skies came down the previous night and Bangalore was nearly inundated by a deluge of nearly biblical proportions.
Back at 1215-wife was ready with the suitcases, water and a day’s food.
Started my car at 1232 pm and was off on a journey on a whim and a decision which I toyed in my mind for a fleeting second. I never even dreamt that another long drive was in the offing after my sojourn to Gujurat, Rajasthan and Maha completed on 03 Mar 11-just over a month back.
No pictures as my daughter had taken our camera as she wanted two for her trip to Kerala with her husband so this is a log without pictures no time to buy another. Hopefully someone from Cuttack will send few of the wedding and reception.
Route- Kolar-Mulbagal-Chittoor-Tirupati (bypassed)-Srikalahasti-Naidupeta (NH-5)-Nellore-Guddur-Ongole-Guntur-Vijayawada-Rajahmundry-Vizag-Srikakulam-Berhampur (Orissa)-Bhubaneswar-Cuttack.

23 April:- Start Time 1232 pm-Lunch in the car-with an idea to cover as much distance on the first day. No bookings, no preplanned stops-just our body telling us that its time to rest. Thank NHAI for the newly laid road from Bangalore to Mulbaggal-excellent stretch of 90+ kms covered in quick time. Except for the road in the close proximity to and from Palmaner- ( w/o dividers but good surface). Crossed Tirupati at 5 pm and then onto to Nellore stopped at 8 pm at Ongole (507 kms). Dream run on NH 5 couldn’t have been better. Truck traffic after 5 pm on the NH was tremendous-scoot between trucks to get ahead.

Want to thank vnabhi for the advice on the roads. I did the same drive, backwards, in 2003 when we drove from Berhampur to Bangalore on my last Army posting to Mysore, the NH was under construction till Vizag from Orissa.
I will post updates of the road conditions enroute.

Last edited by Judemayne : 3rd May 2011 at 11:10. Reason: Fonts
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Old 3rd May 2011, 13:52   #2
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

Day 2-24 April-Easter Sunday-started from Ongole (507 kms) at 0545 hrs after a night halt at a Lodge-not bad-excellent AC-Rs 800 for the night. From Ongole till about 28 kms short of Guntur the road invited you to test the speed of your vehicle-then started the diversions-a No. of underpasses or flyovers are coming up-lost count after 11-till Guntur. Another surprise was not a decent eating joint on the Highway or its possible that we missed them. Had to enter Guntur to get a breakfast.
I thought that it was the end of the diversions but to my dismay they carried on till Vijaywada and beyond. This slowed me down considerably and added to this was the local traffic between these two towns.
Sorry Vijaywadans-going through the City was a nightmare-I will never post a "Rant" on Bangalore traffic.. The diversion continued till about 12-15 kms out of Vijaywada. After that it was as smooth as silk all the way upto the Orissa border.

Reached the outskirts of Berhampur at about 1715 hrs-815 kms-entering the town took me over an hour-serpentine line of trucks at the Orissa checkpost-and as Sree70 had mentioned-in his road trip to Bhutan-I too was advised to take the wrong side of the road if I was to get out of the mess-I did (sorry BHP) and was out in a jiffies! Stopped the night at Berhampur-nice lodge-neat place-New City Hotel-new place, still being built-Super Deluxe room for just Rs 900/- good for the night-easy to get out of the Town in the morning.
Day 3-25 April -Left Berhampurat 0630 hrs after visiting the bungalow I was allotted during my stint there-nothing had changed in the Town-just a new flyover-I still cannot reason out the reason for it?? Back on NH 5 and was shocked to see it-it was a mess with unconstructed portions, diversions, missing stretches and this continued till we crossed Balugaon.
60 kms of unfinished roads, narrow ones through Rambha and Balugaon. Just a point here for those travelling on this route-just before the main town of Rambha there is a turning to the left-take it-it will lead to a level crossing and then on to the finished portion of the Rambha byepass thereby you will miss the main level crossing and 4 abreast traffic trying to go through each other once the gates open!! I took it on the way back-followed three trucks by mistake. The crab sellers of Balugaon were still selling their wares-huge crabs from Chilka.
After Balugaon the roads is just fantastic right upto Bhubaneswar till the City traffic hits you in the face-but surprisingly the Cops were doing a good job. Reached Bhub by 0915 hrs and my sister's place near Kalinga Stadium by 0940 hrs-172 kms.
Jude
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Old 3rd May 2011, 17:13   #3
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

Great!! .. Any pictures taken for the travelogue?
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Old 4th May 2011, 09:15   #4
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

Sorry Mikon no pics as it was so suden that my daughter had our camera and we left station before she got back from her Kerala holiday.

We were pleasantly surprised to see the roads in Bhubaneswar-broad well surfaced and lit up. Traffic-how do these guys survive-they are all over the place. The most dangerous place for pedestrians are the pavements-the main roads are better-I was nearly run over by MCs a No. of times-the two wheelers only use the pavements-Red lights here mean that you have to make a dash before it turns green. One more drastic change-the traffic cops-both the ladies and gents-smartly turned out in white and blue with ankle length gloves and dark glasses on-slim and trim. I remember the yesteryears-the male cops had difficulty in balancing as their paunches kept tilting them forwards. Bhubanesawr has expanded-on all sides.
My Ritz was crossing the 10000 km mark (after my 5800 kms drive to Guj & Raj in Feb/Mar 11and this drive) so went looking for authorised Maruti Service centre-found a good one in Jyote near CRP Circle-kept their word and delivered in 4 hours.
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Old 4th May 2011, 09:40   #5
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

With the recent sprouting of very wide 6laned and 4laned roads within the city, the traffic in Bhubaneswar has become even more unruly and extremely fast. It is not uncommon for cars to pass by at 70-80kph. Not to mention all the bikers, who get so much space to easily to zip around traffic.

Though in off-peak times, Bhubaneswar's roads are now a dream for any driver/rider. It is always scary when the traffic hits peak time, when there are a lot more vehicles, but all of them are still maintaining much higher speeds.

As of now, the only roads where you have a bit of trouble are the Janpath, which is under expansion from 4lane to 6lane and of course the very very crowded NH5 with so many trucks and buses adding to the city based traffic. Even the NH5 within the city will undergo expansion to 6lanes and a few flyovers over the major junctions.

Though it has to be said, Bhubaneswar Traffic Police are one of the most efficient traffic police I have seen. Especially considering that they still manage a lot of the traffic using good old hand signals. The use of hand signals is not so much due to traffic lights not being there, but the light system can longer cope with the kind of traffic that is there now. The lights used to stay red for so long at one junction that the traffic would back up to the next junction. The traffic police are very active and react to changes in traffic density very well, all the while still enforcing the wearing of helmet and seat belts pretty effectively. Probably only about 1 in 20 riders dont wear a helmet and 1 in 5 pepople dont wear a seat belt. Almost all private vehicle driver's have their seat belts on. Regular checks by the traffic police and immediate imposition of fine of minimum 200rs has helped in this. Thanks to this almost every month or two some or the other city police force always comes visiting the city to learn how Bhubaneswar handles its traffic.

One of the most funny tactics that they adopt is for the people not wearing helmets. If you are riding alone and are not without a helmet while stopped at a junction, the police just goes and squats behind you on the pillion seat, lest you escape once the traffic starts moving.

@Jude
You seem to have hit Bhubaneswar at pretty much morning peak traffic hours of 8.30 to 10.30am and were a bit shocked to see the amount.

Though you have seen the Bhubaneswar traffic, you should see the traffic on the NH5 between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack at peak times of 8am-10pm and 5pm-7pm. I will give you just one example to give you an idea of how bad it gets at times. Once, while visiting my granparent's place in Cuttack, we left our home near Vanivihar square at 5.15pm. Completely choked traffic. We took no less that 50mins to get to Link Road square about 22kms away, and believe it or not we were behind the same Innova all the way, who was behind a Mahindra Bolero. Not a single overtaking opportunity on either lane. And it was not like we were moving for 5kms and then stoppint for 10mins. It was pretty much moving continuously though very slowly. There was no real blockage of any sort, it was just heavy traffic, bumper to bumper for miles on end.

Last edited by julupani : 4th May 2011 at 09:43.
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Old 4th May 2011, 11:49   #6
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

Quote:
Originally Posted by julupani View Post
Though in off-peak times, Bhubaneswar's roads are now a dream for any driver/rider. It is always scary when the traffic hits peak time, when there are a lot more vehicles, but all of them are still maintaining much higher speeds.
Amen. Thats why my car is in Bhubaneswar now, and not in tvm or bangalore. The roads are so, SO much better, and the traffic vastly more manageable as long as you avoid the NH
But still there are some things to watch out for. Bikers switch lanes without giving indication ( happens everywhere in india, but a lot more frequently and dangerously here), and at a turn or an intersection, you are supposed to take the inner curve, not the outer, as you're taught elsewhere. I was hauled up by a lady cop for taking the outside of a turn !

Last edited by greenhorn : 4th May 2011 at 11:52.
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Old 4th May 2011, 12:08   #7
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

@greenhorn

Ironic situation, your run in with the lady cop. We should applaud the cop for pulling you up for something like that, even though she was not exactly correct. A cop anywhere else wouldn't really have cared.

Another very surprising incident that came to mind now about police in Bhubaneswar. Recently a friend of mine, at about 11pm, took to the wrong side on a dual carriage way, so as move to an opening to the other side which was less than 50metres away, instead of going some half a km to the next U-turn. To his surprise the Police in their ubiquitous Sumo were waiting in darkish alley on the other side. Ended up paying a fine of 100 bucks.
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Old 4th May 2011, 12:11   #8
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

[quote=julupani;2337409]@Jude
You seem to have hit Bhubaneswar at pretty much morning peak traffic hours of 8.30 to 10.30am and were a bit shocked to see the amount.

Though you have seen the Bhubaneswar traffic, you should see the traffic on the NH5 between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack at peak times of 8am-10pm and 5pm-7pm.

Julupani-you are spot on-hit Bhub at 0915 hrs-boy was I tense-thank the lord I know the language-it helps!!
Yes I went to Cuttack on 27 April-left at 1000 hrs was in at my sisters place in Tulsipur in about 45 mins?? after a brief stop at Pahala and ate my favourite "Chenna-Poda-Peeta" and Yummy "rasogullas'-wow what a feast. Do not talk about Cuttack-time has stood still there-cosmetic improvement-that all. Please no offense to the "Cutkies" I was once one!! Left in 1974 to join the Army. It was a flood of nostalgia seeing my old schools-St Joseph's Convent, Cambridge and Stewart (passed out from there-1969) Stewart College-still the same and so was Christ-did not enter Ravenshaw-any changes from the early 70's????
There is another road to Cuttack as you enter Bhubaneswar from Khurda-any update on this road??
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Old 4th May 2011, 14:05   #9
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@Jude

The road towards Cuttack, turns off the NH5 just after Khurda. As of now that road has been done up by the BDA, into a proper 2lane highway kind of road, and rejoins the NH5 just before the former toll boths before the Kathjodi bridge. Trucks that use the NH5 to pass through Bhubaneswar are now being "encouraged" to use that road. The issue is BMC forced truckers to use this road, but it is not a by-pass by the NHAI, which has raised certain objections to city authorities diverting trucks.

Initially the road was supposed to be a part of a proposed Bhubaneswar Cuttack Bypass to be developed by the NHAI, but the distance difference was too high, thus NHAI favoring to build a large number of flyovers within the city instead. Thus the BDA has developed this road on its own.

Attaching a picture for reference for all future trips by BHPians who may be using the NH5 and want to avoid the traffic inside Bhubaneswar city. The pic also shows a road from Khurda to Jatni to Pipli, which is being developed to by pass traffic coming from the south wanting to go to Puri directly. Also an new road is being constructed for people coming from the north towards Puri, bypassing Bhubaneswar city.
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Old 5th May 2011, 06:09   #10
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

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Originally Posted by julupani View Post
Attaching a picture for reference for all future trips by BHPians who may be using the NH5 and want to avoid the traffic inside Bhubaneswar city.
As on date the NH 5 route through Bhubaneshwar is the better of the two routes. The alternative route is not yet "upto the mark" as it has two railway crossings and one would not save time taking the said route.
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Old 5th May 2011, 08:34   #11
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@Gautam

The Pitapalli to Gopalpur road has been recently, less than a month back, spruced up by the BDA as a alternate road. True there exist 2 railway crossings at Barang and Gopalpur, but overall you will take less time taking that road than having to suffer through by taking the NH5, as traffic on the road is not very high at all, and it is a more than decent 2lane road today.

Also, though I am not sure of it, I remember the 1st railway crossing having been bridged over by the railways at Barang. I rememeber seeing construction work for a road over bridge at that place about 4-5months back while travelling by train. I beleive the work must have been completed by now, leaving only one level crossing at Gopalpur.

The other two bypasses I talked about are not in great condition today, but still not in a bad enough condition to be avoided. You may still take those routes instead of having to go through the city itself.
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:25   #12
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@Gautam.

The other two bypasses I talked about are not in great condition today, but still not in a bad enough condition to be avoided. You may still take those routes instead of having to go through the city itself.
Dear julupani

Excellent information-I will keep it in perspective for my impending drive from Bangalore to Bhutan and the NE later this year. Hopefully some of the flyovers on NH 5 would be completed??? I will be taking a break at Bhub enroute.
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:39   #13
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@Jude

Unfortunately, the NH5 within the city are only going to get worse. You may have noticed construction has just started on the first of the flyovers. And going by the pace of construction normally seen, I doubt any of them will be complete anytime before mid next year.

In fact with the NH5 getting widened to 6lane between Bhubaneswar and Chandikhole, you can expect construction to start at many places, making things much worse.

But as you plan to take an overnighter here, you dont really have much choice.
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:47   #14
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Default Re: An impromptu & emotional journey to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar

Judemayne, can you share with us the contact details of the hotel you stayed in Berhampur?

julupani, that is a great bypass route to avoid Bhubaneswar city traffic, thanks for that. I found driving through Bhubaneswar and the road onward to Cuttack extremely difficult because of the high traffic, especially of 2-wheelers. When will the north road to Puri get completed?

What signages or landmarks should one watch out for at Khurda and Cuttack?
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Old 5th May 2011, 10:20   #15
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@hvkumar

When coming from the south towards Bhubaneswar, at the point when you turn off to the left towards Khurda town, take the service road on the left along the highway instead of taking the flyover towards Bhubaneswar. This road, then leads on to the by-pass that I had pointed out. There should be markings to take a left towards Khurda and Nayagarh at this point. This is also the point where if you turn right you go towards Jatni and Pipli joining the NH203 to Puri.

When coming from Cuttack side, immediately after you cross the Kathjori river bridge, after Cuttack city, you will come up on to the old, now unused toll booth. After the toll both, there is a turn to the right towards a railways crossing. The railway line is visible at this point. This is where you turn right, to hit Barang town, where you turn left toward the bypass.

As for the bypass towards Puri from the north, it will take quite a bit of time, as at present it is barely a single lane road, and also includes 1 single lane bridge. Also, there is a section of the alignment, where there is no road at all. Thus it should hopefully the road will probably only get complete by the early 2012. Even now, there is a small road, along the riverbanks of the Kuakhia river, but it is just a single lane road over the embankments, not exactly something too good.

On the other hand, the NH5-Jatni-Pipli road is in pretty good condition actually, and is decently wide as well. It saves you about 25kms and about 1hours of time to get to Puri, not to mention the Bhubaneswar traffic. For taking this road, again instead of taking the flyover at the point where you turn towards Khurda town, take the service road, below the flyover on the left. But instead of continuing on the service road, turn right below the flyover to go towards Jatni. Attaching a pic for help.
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