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Old 11th February 2013, 07:51   #1
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Default Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

During early Feb 2013 my wife and I, along with a cousin and his wife, drove in our XUV-W6 to Visakhapatnam and back (from Jamshedpur). From Vizag we also drove up to Araku Valley. On our way to Vizag, we spent a couple of nights at Chilka Lake and during our return we spent a night at Gopalpur-on-Sea.

Here's my travelogue -- less words and more pictures.



From Jamshedpur I drove via Bahragora, Jamshola border and Baripada to Balasore. Near Balasore our route finally joined the excellent GQ between Calcutta and Madras. Here's a pic of the wonderful Golden Quadrilateral that took us from Balasore to Vizag.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-2.jpg



We spent 2 nights at Chilka in Orissa, right next to the lake.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-3.jpg



Huge number of birds, both migratory and 'permanent residents', can be seen everywhere along the Chilka Lake.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-4.jpg



My Cheetah peeking through the bushes at Chilka.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-5.jpg



Going to Kalijai island in Chilka Lake.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-6.jpg



Approaching Kalijai island.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-7.jpg



Devotees at Kalijai temple.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-8.jpg
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Old 11th February 2013, 08:05   #2
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

A devotee at Kalijai temple.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-9.jpg




At Kalijai island.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-10.jpg




Boats on Chilka Lake.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-11.jpg




Devotees at Kalijai temple.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-12.jpg




Devotees at Kalijai temple.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-13.jpg




It was a wonderful photo-op when I sighted a peacock on Kalijai island.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-14.jpg




Boats on Chilka Lake.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-15.jpg
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Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-14.jpg  


Last edited by debuda : 11th February 2013 at 08:13.
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Old 11th February 2013, 08:08   #3
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Wonderful start, lovely pics. Is the entire stretch between Balasore and Vizag now 4-laned?
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Old 11th February 2013, 08:15   #4
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

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Is the entire stretch between Balasore and Vizag now 4-laned?
Yes. The road (GQ) is wonderful.
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Old 11th February 2013, 08:40   #5
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

At Vizag.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-16.jpg




Fish being dried at Vizag.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-17.jpg




View of Vizag harbour from Dolphin's Nose. There is a good motorable road going up to the lighthouse on Dolphin's Nose.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-18.jpg




War (1971) memorial along Ramakrishna Beach.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-19.jpg




A real submarine parked on the Ramakrishna Beach at Vizag! The positioning of decommissioned Indian Naval submarime Kursura on the beach and converting it into a nice museum was a commendable feat by the Indian Navy.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-20.jpg




View from Kailashgiri. Visitors to Vizag must visit this place for a nice view of the sea coast as well as the city.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-21.jpg




The gardens at Kailashgiri are very well maintained. Hats off to VUDA and A.P. Tourism.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-22.jpg




At Kailashgiri.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-23.jpg




Temple at the foothills of Kailashgiri.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-24.jpg




We went back to Vizag after about 25 years. We had spent many wonderful years there during my service in the Indian Navy. One of our children was born there. But after 25 years we found Vizag almost unrecognizable. Mostly for the better though.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-25.jpg
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Old 11th February 2013, 09:05   #6
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Rushikonda beach near Vizag.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-26.jpg




My XUV near Rushikonda beach. From the Indo-Pak border of Wagah, to the hills of Kasauli and Nainital, to the mountains of North Sikkim, to the Indo-China border of Nathu La and down to sea level at Vizag -- it has been an incredible journey of 9500 KM over the last 3 months. A streak of madness in me cannot be ruled out!
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-27.jpg




Couldn't resist taking a pic of my Cheetah with INS Kursura.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-28.jpg




On the way to Araku Valley.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-29.jpg




I'd strongly recommend a visit to Borra Caves near Araku. I've seen some pretty awesome caves at Halong Bay in Vietnam and at Batu near Kuala Lumpur. Borra Caves compares very well with those caves plus it is really huge. Also quite well maintained.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-29a.jpg




We drove to see a waterfall (disappointing) near Borra Caves and the road was horrible. But the XUV took it in its stride. This picture shows a relatively good part of that road!
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-30.jpg




A local woman at Araku Valley.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-31.jpg




At Araku Valley. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed by Araku Valley -- there isn't much to see or do there. But at 3200 feet it is cool and pleasant and for the people from the sea-level plains of Andhra Pradesh it is a good change. But personally I prefer somewhat higher altitudes when I visit the hills.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-32.jpg




Coffee plantations at Araku Valley.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-33.jpg




A dead butterfly on my XUV's front grill. Poor thing.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-34.jpg

Last edited by debuda : 11th February 2013 at 09:10.
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Old 11th February 2013, 09:18   #7
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

While returning from Araku Valley, we took the road to Vizianagaram. On the way we came across the beautiful Gosthani Reservoir which supplies drinking water to Vizag and Vizianagaram.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-35.jpg




At Gopalpur-on-sea. Note the ladder being used to mount the camel.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-36.jpg



At Gopalpur-on-sea.
Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500-xuv-37.jpg
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Old 11th February 2013, 10:28   #8
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Hi Debuda

Amazing pictures once again telling your travel story. Keep them coming. I am hooked onto your thread as usual :-)
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Old 11th February 2013, 11:52   #9
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Thanks for the nice photo's

What about the road condition between Jamshedpur and Balasore?

Did you stop at Tyda en route to Araku . This place is in between araku and borra caves?
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Old 11th February 2013, 12:13   #10
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Nice pictures, Debuda. Please keep posting.

I spent a good 20 years in Orissa, and an equal number in Vizag, so your pictures have stirred nostalgia in me.

I agree with your views that there is nothing much to do at Araku. I'd prefer to stay at Ananthagiri or Tyda which have more exciting options.

I wanted to ask if the border at Ichchapuram is now smooth for traffic.
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Old 11th February 2013, 12:46   #11
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Default re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Debuda : Thanks for another fantastic TL.
I see you have been travelling across the country - is this the XUV effect or was this already there before the XUV.
I would like to ask you about the road condition of Baharagora - Jamshola (NH6) portion, because you have traversed the section very recently.
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Old 11th February 2013, 14:14   #12
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Default Re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkg View Post
What about the road condition between Jamshedpur and Balasore?

Did you stop at Tyda en route to Araku . This place is in between araku and borra caves?
1) While going to Vizag, I went from Jamshedpur to Balasore via Bahragora and Baripada. The 90 KM stretch from Jamshedpur to Bahragora is very bad, with some gigantic craters -- very wide and deep. My XUV's suspension took it in its stride, but there were a couple of occasions when the bottom touched ground though I was driving very slowly and carefully.

While returning to Jamshedpur, I took a slightly different route. After crossing Baripada, instead of going to Jharpokharia (8 KM from Jamshola border) I took the road to Bangriposi. From Bangriposi I drove to Jamshedpur via Bisoi, Rairangpur and Hata. This route was definitely better though (A) the stretch between Bisoi and Rairangpur is quite narrow, and (B) the number of speedbreakers between Hata and Jamshedpur is not funny.

2) We indeed stopped at the A.P. Tourism resort at Tyda for half an hour for a tea / restroom break.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
I wanted to ask if the border at Ichchapuram is now smooth for traffic.
Yes, it is quite smooth now. No problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
I see you have been travelling across the country - is this the XUV effect or was this already there before the XUV.

I would like to ask you about the road condition of Baharagora - Jamshola (NH6) portion, because you have traversed the section very recently.
1) I have always been a travel freak with a preference for driving holidays. But after buying the XUV I seem to have gone a bit berserk (my wife thinks so). But now that the initial josh is subsiding, my long drives should become less frequent. The analogy with being 'newly married' readily comes to mind.

2) As I have stated already, the stretch between Jamshedpur and Bahragora continues to be bad. But the 8 KM stretch between Bahragora and Jamshola border has been recently repaired.
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Old 11th February 2013, 14:27   #13
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Default Re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Quote:
Originally Posted by debuda View Post
2) As I have stated already, the stretch between Jamshedpur and Bahragora continues to be bad. But the 8 KM stretch between Bahragora and Jamshola border has been recently repaired.
Thanks Debuda for the feedback. Actually to avoid this streach (which I was informed to be in really bad condition) I had to go to Kolkata via Cuttack and it was 120KM more.

When I read your thread I instantly wanted to ask you about this road.
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Old 11th February 2013, 15:21   #14
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Default Re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Quote:
Originally Posted by debuda View Post
1) While going to Vizag, I went from Jamshedpur to Balasore via Bahragora and Baripada. The 90 KM stretch from Jamshedpur to Bahragora is very bad, with some gigantic craters -- very wide and deep. My XUV's suspension took it in its stride, but there were a couple of occasions when the bottom touched ground though I was driving very slowly and carefully.

While returning to Jamshedpur, I took a slightly different route. After crossing Baripada, instead of going to Jharpokharia (8 KM from Jamshola border) I took the road to Bangriposi. From Bangriposi I drove to Jamshedpur via Bisoi, Rairangpur and Hata. This route was definitely better though (A) the stretch between Bisoi and Rairangpur is quite narrow, and (B) the number of speedbreakers between Hata and Jamshedpur is not funny.

2) We indeed stopped at the A.P. Tourism resort at Tyda for half an hour for a tea / restroom break.
Thanks for the update on road conditions
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Old 11th February 2013, 18:10   #15
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Default Re: Drive to Chilka, Vizag, Araku Valley & Gopalpur-on-Sea in my XUV500

Debu da. Fantastic TL. Actually you beat me to it. I did a similar route through Satapada-Vizag-Araku valley in mid January on my Vento. From Satapada I took the ferry to cross the lake over to the other side and then drove from there on drove a wonderful rural route in Odisha before getting on NH5 towards Vizag.

Sad to hear the state of NH33 from Jamshedpur to Baharagora. With even 200mm of GC your XUV bottoming out speaks volumes of the sorry state of affairs of this national highway. Hope all those who have ever thought of doing this stretch in a sedan or a hatch give up any such hope.

Lastly I fully agree. Even I found Araku valley to be a damp squib. It looked to me a landscape from Purulia if you can understand what I mean. Borra caves were also a high point for me and I also liked Anantgiri as a quiet getaway in the hills. We skipped going to the waterfalls near Borra caves as I knew that there would be no water falling mostly in this season .

Quote:
Originally Posted by debuda View Post
1)
While returning to Jamshedpur, I took a slightly different route. After crossing Baripada, instead of going to Jharpokharia (8 KM from Jamshola border) I took the road to Bangriposi. From Bangriposi I drove to Jamshedpur via Bisoi, Rairangpur and Hata. This route was definitely better though (A) the stretch between Bisoi and Rairangpur is quite narrow, and (B) the number of speedbreakers between Hata and Jamshedpur is not funny.
PS: Thanks a lot for pointing this route out. Is this the route that you took http://goo.gl/maps/H39Ab? If this route is smooth enough specially when compared to the Baharagora-Jamshedpur stretch I guess then its a very good option. In fact another person from Bangalore was recently inquiring about ways to do a road trip from Ranchi to Bangalore via Jamshedpur. Again thanks for pointing this route out and sharing the conditions. I can live with speed breakers but not with craters which can bottom out an XUV. By the way how much time did it take for you to do this stretch from Bisoi all the way to Jamshedpur?

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 11th February 2013 at 18:31.
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