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Old 24th October 2013, 15:47   #1
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Default Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Well every year as the Durga Puja in Kolkata gets over most of the typical bongs like me feels sad. So to overcome the sadness best thing to do is a road trip. More or less every year we follow the same tradition. Last year we did North Bengal and Sikkim. Here is the link of my last years travelogue. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ota-etios.html (Darjeeling -> Pelling -> Holong in a Toyota Etios) But this year due to time constraint we decided to visit Puri for two days. Puri is like a second home for the Bengali's. So before the Durga Puja we got our rooms booked from 20th October to 23rd October 2013 in hotel Shreehari. But just one week prior to our trip a disastrous cyclone (Phailin) has hit the coastal regions of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Due to the superb prediction of the weather forecast association and the Odisha governments alertness they saved the lives of thousand's of people by evacuating them from the coastal regions. But the damage done by the cyclone was huge. In the news channel we saw water was flowing over Nh5 at Balasore and Nh60 has been washed away in few places. Houses were under 7-9 feet of water. So the local villagers are camping on the highways resulting in the cut off of the Nh connecting Kolkata- Puri. We were on the verge of cancelling our trip. But we had four days time. So decided to wait and watch. I started inquiring about the road condition from the Andhra bound trucks which carry fish to Kolkata. Called up Red Bus to know if there buses are plying or not. Finally Bhpian Turbokick came to a great help by letting me know that the roads are okay and i can go ahead with the trip. So after getting positive reply from all the three different sources we decided to go ahead with the trip.

But again a day before the trip i was down with viral fever, sore throat and body ache. So that was a let down for me. But still i thought of taking out the car and get the necessary check ups refuel the car. After the refueling i found out the rear right wheel has a puncture! So got it repaired and came back home after having a piping hot coffee at Singur Ccd. It was a short refreshing drive. Came back home and took rest. Parents told if the fever increases it will be better to cancel the trip. I was in no mood to cancel. Tried hard to sleep the last night but in vain. Some how after a sleepless night with sore throat, body ache and mild fever i had a hot shower and two hot cups of tea. It just simply recharged me! So the trip was on.

A teaser picture from the trip.
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Day 1

We decided to start by 7am and luckily we were ready by 6-45am. Soon we hit Nh6 and crossed the Kona expressway and reached the Dhulagar toll booth. There was mild traffic congestion over there so it took around 10 minutes. After that the drive was smooth till Kharagpur. With windows rolled down i was feeling cold and with windows rolled up i was feeling hot. So finally rolled up the windows and put on the ac in 1st position with the fresh air mode. That finally made me feel comfy. Once i crossed Kharagpur i had to take Nh60 connecting Balasore. Two years back it was a one way road but this year one side of the road was blocked and it was a two way road with intermittent road humps, uneven joining of the small bridges. The drive in this road now is not as before. We reached Jaleshwar and asusual there was a traffic jam. But at the border area the road is one way. So driving in the wrong side managed to cross the Bengal - Odisha border in about 15 minutes. As we entered Odisha slowly the scenario started changing. We could see waters on paddy field damaging the crops to a vast extent. In few places the other side of the road has been washed away due to flood. People were staying on the abandoned side of the Nh60. So the drive was slow and we reached Balasore in 2 hours from Kharagpur. Earlier it was possible to cover this 110kms stretch in 1 hour.From Balasore roads were again one way and one cant understand the effect of flood on Nh5. So we drove straight till Bhadrak in another one hour and by 11-45am we stopped for lunch at hotel Orion Bhadrak. Its a proper hotel with good food but the wash rooms are not very clean. It was 319kms in 5 hours. Had lunch and resumed our journey after an hour break. I was driving between 100-120km/hr. But had to be very careful. As the bikers in these roads follow no rule. They don't even look behind before taking a U turn. Riding on the wrong way is very common. Plus many do 40km/hr in the right most lane that too with out any RVM in there bikes! So its our duty to look after there safety. I was cautious and honked much more than i usually do. I just hate honking much. By 2-30pm we reached Cuttack and refueled our car. I was amazed to get petrol at 71rs per liter where as in West Bengal its 79.57rs/ltr! I was a happy person! Soon we crossed Mahanadi through the 2.2kms long bridge and entered Bhubaneshwar. Around 3pm the city traffic was less and it hardly took 20 minutes to cross the city and reach Puri- Bhubaneshwar road. I was surprised to see this road has now become a one way road in most of the stretch. 20kms prior to Puri we decided to have Coconut break!

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In 10 minutes we resumed our journey and reached Puri by 4-15pm and checked in to our hotel with 503kms on the odometer. I was feeling tired due to the viral fever so decided to have a hot coffee and head out towards the beach. Did so and the sea breeze just blew away the fatigue! It was so refreshing. Witnessed a beautiful sunset and took a couple of pictures.
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So with a happy mood came back to our room by 7pm. Me and my dad decided to go for a short drive around Puri. Mom decided to take rest in the hotel room. After the drive was back by 8pm, had an early dinner and retired for the day by 9pm. This time i was sure i will have a sound sleep! And i slept like a log till 9am next morning! A 12 hours sleep was what i needed the most.

Day2

Got up at 9am in the morning. Was feeling relatively better after the good sleep through out the night. Our sea facing room was a treat to our eyes. Had a leisurely breakfast and decided to give a visit to the dolphins at Satpara. Satpara is about 50 odd kms from Puri. By 11am we started for Satpara. As soon as we entered the rural Odisha part it was really a painful sight. Many houses were destroyed, paddy fields were damaged upto a huge extent and thousands of tree were uprooted. There was no electricity in the villages as the electric poles and the wires were damaged too. We saw many trucks coming with relief materials for the villagers. I was driving slow and witnessed what a cyclone can do. Soon after crossing the village area we were on the roads with farm land on both sides. I avoided taking pictures of the affected areas as they might feel bad as they were suffering. In fact i was feeling really bad seeing the damage done. But on the other hand the beauty of Odisha never failed to amaze me. So stopped my car to take a picture of the surroundings where it was not affected by the cyclone.
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Soon we were 10kms from Satpara and a village guy asked to stop. I stopped and he told me for the Dolphins i need to take left and there they will arrange for it. I smelt something fishy and went ahead ignoring his advice. I headed till Satpara and came to know there are many fake agencies which has developed newly. By hoax they take people to other places before Satpara and charges extensively. So any one traveling make sure you reach Satpara first and then arrange for a boat. The boat we took was till the Dolphin point and they asked 900rs for 1.5 hours. That's fair enough. But if you are not careful they will charge you anything between 1,500-2,500. So one must be careful before hiring the boat. It took us 2 hours to cover 50kms from Puri to Satpara. By 1-30 pm we boarded the boat and i must say it was a picturesque.

Attaching few pictures from the boat ride till the Dolphin point.

No its not Dal lake! Its Satpara Odisha..!
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Got a glimpse of few Dolphins. It was a hard time capturing the Dolphins.
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View from out boat.
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By 3pm we returned back to our car. We decided to head back to Puri and visit the famous Jagannath temple. By 5 we reached the parking spot of the temple. Parked our car and reached the temple by 5-15pm. First thing we saw was a huge rush of people. The panda's asked for their helping hand but we politely kept on refusing them. We knew that the actual prasad can be bought directly from the temple authority at much lesser price. They have a counter inside the temple itself. After we entered seeing the rush we purchased there vip gate pass for rs25 each from the temple authority. It allowed us to enter the temple and view the deity of the god from the front. We were lucky enough to touch our head on the rock were the deity has been kept. The darshan was smooth despite of so much people. If one knows about these small details one can easily avoid paying the panda's the extra money and do the whole thing without anyone's help.

After the darshan we bought the prasad and headed back to our car and drove straight away to our hotel room. Spend the evening on the beach. Headed back to hotel had our dinner and retired for the day.

Overall a day well spent. But first time i witnessed the real damage of a cyclone. This somewhat made us feel bad for the people who suffered.

Last edited by Samba : 28th October 2013 at 00:56.
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Old 25th October 2013, 01:28   #2
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Day 3

This was our last day at Puri as the next day we were scheduled to return back to Kolkata. So things to be done were a short drive to Konark and mom had to do some shopping in the evening from the famous swargadar road market. First we decided to go ahead to Konark. We had no plan to visit the sun temple as we had visited it many times before. The prime reason to visit konark was for the picturesque drive firstly through the forest then beside the sea. Its just 40kms one way drive but am sure every one will enjoy the road. By 11am we went out of the hotel took couple of pictures.
It was overcast and was raining from the last night.

I was amazed to see the different colors of the sea!
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Soon after spending around an hour in the beach by 12pm we headed towards Konark. I was driving in a slow pace enjoying the drive. Just 10kms before reaching i saw few villagers were igniting fire on few rubber tyres and dry branches of tree. I went passed them and as soon as i crossed they blocked the whole road with a big branch of a tree and the burning tyres!
I stopped my car at a distance and inquired a local guy about the matter and was informed that cyclone relief has not reached them so to protest they have blocked the road. Felt bad about it but could do nothing. Went ahead till Konark. Spent an hour in the beach and decided to head back to Puri. While returning i could see no cars coming from the opposite direction. That made very clear that the road was still blocked. Reached that spot and it was so as i assumed.

Traffic jam due to road block.
Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2-img_0789.jpg

I asked a local guy if there is any other alternative route to Puri. He told me a route through a place called Gop and warned me the roads were bad. Came back to Konark asked a police men about the road blockage. He called his senior officer and advised us to take the alternative route as it will take time. it was already 2pm so we had our lunch at OTDC Panthaniwas Konark. I must say the food was really tasty.

This small creature visited the roof of my car at OTDC.
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After the lunch we headed towards Gop and it was raining heavily. Gop is 15 kms from Konark and Gop to Puri is another 30kms. Till Gop roads were ok. But from Gop the roads were no less than the surface of moon! It was raining and the pot holes were full of water so it was difficult to judge the depth. I was driving cautiously. After a place the road became narrow with steep slopes on both sides. It became difficult to give space to the oncoming vehicles. But i must say all the drivers were very cooperative too. This road goes through the deep rural area. I was driving through the devastated villages of Odisha. The paddy fields were submerged in water, big tree fell on the houses, the electric poles fell down with wires all over the road. The number of uprooted tree's were uncountable.

Just sharing a picture of the uprooted tree's.
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It was a sad sight all over. But a thumbs up to the people of Odisha. In this disastrous condition they were help full too. When ever i asked them for a direction they gladly helped us. Soon this road met the Puri Konark road skirting the area of the road block. By 5pm we reached back to Puri. Parked my car at Swargadwar road as mom had to do some shopping and i decided to do a bit of street photography! Sharing a couple of pics.
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Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2-img_8493.jpg



But as it was drizzling continuously mom had to cut short her shopping time and we returned back to our hotel by 7pm. It was raining so cant go to the beach too. So decided to drive towards Sterling resort which is on the other end of Swargadar road. This road was pitch dark at night. The road is broken and if one is not careful can get his car stuck in sand. But i was enjoying the drive in night with rain accompanying us. Stood there for few minutes by putting the lights off. It was silent all around so the sound of rain and the sea was prominent. It was like music to the ears. But considering the safety issue of standing there in pitch dark with no body around we moved on and headed back to our hotel. Had our dinner and slept off by 10pm.


Day 4

This was the last day of this trip. Woke up by 7-30 am and decided to start by 8-30am. It was raining heavily through out the night and the morning was no different. Having a cup of tea in the balcony with heavy rain and Bay of Bengal roaring in front of me will be a moment i will cherish for a long time!

But we had to head back to Kolkata so without spending much time i got ready and we started our return journey by 8-45am. Due to the incessant rain few roads in Puri were water logged. But the depth was ankle deep so wading through the water was not difficult. With the wipers on we hit the Puri- Bhubaneswar road. Road was more or less empty with sparse traffic. Just few kilometers before Bhubaneswar i saw a bypass stating Cuttack. This 11kms long bypass skirts the Bhubaneswar city and takes you directly to the Bhubaneswar- Cuttack highway (Nh5)! This was a great boon to us. This bypass atleast saved half an hour from the Bhubaneswar city traffic. While going i some how missed this bypass. The drive till Cuttack was slow due to heavy traffic on the highway. As soon as we crossed Cuttack it was all clear road ahead with rain god accompanying us. By 11-45am we reached Bhadrak and again halted at hotel Orion for lunch. In 3 hours we did Puri to Bhadrak. As soon as we resumed our journey post lunch it started raining so heavily that wiper at 3rd level was also not of much use. The visibility was really poor. Most of the car halted on the sides with there flashers on. I kept on driving with my side light and fog lamps on.

Took a picture of the rain.

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There were waters on the highway too. I was fearing aquaplaning so was driving below 80km/hr. And when ever i could see water on road i was slowing down further. Like this i drove till Balasore and from there the aggressiveness of the rain came down. After Balasore i refueled my car to its brim as petrol prices in Odisha is much lesser than West Bengal! With tank full of fuel we witness a heavy traffic snarl at Jaleshwar! So had to do a bit of circus to come out of the traffic. Drove in wrong side, had to give way to the trucks by going off the road. To cross a road had to drove over a drain too! But some how managed to cross it by 20 minutes. Another person in Opel Corsa was also stuck but seeing me doing all these he too followed me and came out of the congestion.

From here there's nothing much to write about. Drove till Sher e Pujab Kolaghat. Halted there for 15 minutes and drove back to Kolkata. Reached home by 5-45pm. It was 497kms in about 9 hours.

The total odometer reading of the trip was 1273kms. Etios did a great job this time too. Got a mileage of 15+ with speeds above 100 and 50% ac. I have visited Puri many times before but this trip showed me a different Odisha. I just witnessed the sayings that humans are nothing in front of natural calamities. People are so helpless when nature decides to take a revenge.

Few tips which can help others visiting Puri.

1) If you are driving from Kolkata try to cross the Bengal- Odisha border as early as possible. By chance if there is a huge traffic jam 8kms before Jaleshwar there is a road which can take you through Jaleshwar city and reconnect again at nh60 2kms after the border check post. While coming back you can take the same.

2) Don't miss the Bhubaneswar bypass. That can save a good 30mins to 1 hour.

3) Hotel Orion at Bhadrak is a good place to have food. Though i personally didn't like there wash rooms.

4) Most of the petrol bunks at Balasore kept only diesel so for petrol one must find a better fuel station.

5) While visiting Puri Jagannath temple you can buy the prasad from the temple authority and to avoid rush buy the vip pass for 25rs each. This way you can avoid paying hefty money to the panda's.

6) Visiting satpara is worth. But don't go for any other boat ride before visiting Satpara. Locals are there to misguide you. So visit Satpara and hire a boat. Ask for the rate charts and then confirm the boat. It was 900rs for us for a full boat for 1.30 hrs. That was till the Dolphin point.

7) Hotel Shreehari offered us good rooms with nice view and god food. So this hotel is recommended.

8) Lastly be careful while driving on Odisha roads as most of the bikers are very much unruly.

Last edited by Samba : 26th October 2013 at 00:38.
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Old 28th October 2013, 18:54   #3
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th October 2013, 22:22   #4
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WOW!!! You just on my insistence created a travelogue of your puri trip. That speaks a lot about the spirit you hold dada. Heartiest congratulations to you on completing this journey. Also the state in which Odisha is right now is really heartwrenching. You just let me know about the prasad part and all which I'm sure will help me a lot when we visit Puri which I'm hoping will happen soon but not by road but by train as my father is paranoid about me driving. But will create a travelogue for that if possible. Your thread covers all the important points to be kept in mind while visiting puri from a bengali's point of view(God..can I have another smiley limit please for another applause to Samba). Many small points I didn't know you highlighted them so that the next time we visit I'm sure we're not going to be conned by those 'famous' (wink wink) pandas. They've made it hell there. But enjoyed reading it thoroughly dada. What you did on just my insistence shows the deep passion you share about team-bhp and it's members. Keep them rolling forever. A big toast to the spirit of team-bhp which you've upheld. Now onto some excitement for the next travelogue which you'll undertake. I'm eagerly waiting for the next one. My thread is still in the assembly line. Sorry I'm a lazy bum will complete the thread soon and bring it up. A big salute to you dada.


Subhra.
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Old 29th October 2013, 19:03   #5
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tacho9000 View Post
WOW!!! You just on my insistence created a travelogue of your puri trip. That speaks a lot about the spirit you hold dada. Heartiest congratulations to you on completing this journey. Now onto some excitement for the next travelogue which you'll undertake. I'm eagerly waiting for the next one. My thread is still in the assembly line. Sorry I'm a lazy bum will complete the thread soon and bring it up. A big salute to you dada.
Subhra.
Its great to know you liked the travelogue. I thank you too as you inspired me to write it. I have visited Puri many times before. But this time after the cyclone it looked different. So thought of sharing the experience with Team Bhp.

And yes am eagerly waiting for the ownership report of your small wonder Goldie.
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Old 29th October 2013, 19:34   #6
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In few places the other side of the road has been washed away due to flood. People were staying on the abandoned side of the Nh60.
Do you mean that one part of the dual carriageway in NH-60 is washed off completely, by the effect of cyclone and flood? What is the approximate length of this damaged stretch? Is it damaged in such a way that restoring it to it's previous state may take a long time?
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Old 29th October 2013, 19:46   #7
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Do you mean that one part of the dual carriageway in NH-60 is washed off completely, by the effect of cyclone and flood? What is the approximate length of this damaged stretch? Is it damaged in such a way that restoring it to it's previous state may take a long time?
No its not washed away completely. A few parts near Balasore has been washed away. But for the remaining parts work is going on in full swing to revert back the road to one way. But from the scenario what i can assume is it will definitely take a long time. So if you have any plan to go through this stretch keep around 2 hrs in hand.
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Old 29th October 2013, 21:24   #8
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

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Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
Do you mean that one part of the dual carriageway in NH-60 is washed off completely, by the effect of cyclone and flood? What is the approximate length of this damaged stretch? Is it damaged in such a way that restoring it to it's previous state may take a long time?
KGP - Balasore essentially a single carriageway. From before the cyclone. Essentially the old section of the road could not take the strain.

The tolls remain though!

The biggest problem I faced (15 Oct 2013) was flood affected people taking shelter on the road, though other reports from a few days later said that that was no longer the case.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 29th October 2013, 22:24   #9
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5 Star thread this is.

Samba. You must be among those rare species who dared to have a holiday trip to Odisa after the cyclone

Jokes apart, things werent as bad as flashed. It was relatively fine post the cyclone and the roads as you mentioned were just fine enough without any worries.

Photography has been a real highlight of your threads and this is no different. Your snaps actually made the coastal Odisa more beautiful it is !

The passion and interest with which you write the travelogues is amazing. Keep it up. Very detailed and its almost like living the moment.

Keep us updated
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Old 29th October 2013, 22:56   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
KGP - Balasore essentially a single carriageway. From before the cyclone. Essentially the old section of the road could not take the strain.

The tolls remain though!

The biggest problem I faced (15 Oct 2013) was flood affected people taking shelter on the road, though other reports from a few days later said that that was no longer the case.

Regards
Sutripta

Yes bang on Sutripta Da. Even on 20th Oct when i was going still there were many people taking shelter on the abandoned side of Nh60, but while coming back on 23rd the number of people reduced significantly taking shelter on road.

Quote:
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5 Star thread this is.


Jokes apart, things werent as bad as flashed. It was relatively fine post the cyclone and the roads as you mentioned were just fine enough without any worries.

Photography has been a real highlight of your threads and this is no different. Your snaps actually made the coastal Odisa more beautiful it is !
Thanks a lot.

When i was on the verge of canceling the trip your suggestion on going ahead with the trip gave me the confidence.

Yes on the main highway things were not that bad but the interiors were badly affected. If you visit the village areas there the damage was very much prominent. Sadly the poor villagers suffered a lot than the people living in city.
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Old 30th October 2013, 19:03   #11
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
Do you mean that one part of the dual carriageway in NH-60 is washed off completely, by the effect of cyclone and flood? What is the approximate length of this damaged stretch? Is it damaged in such a way that restoring it to it's previous state may take a long time?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
KGP - Balasore essentially a single carriageway. From before the cyclone. Essentially the old section of the road could not take the strain.

The tolls remain though!

The biggest problem I faced (15 Oct 2013) was flood affected people taking shelter on the road, though other reports from a few days later said that that was no longer the case.

Regards
Sutripta
NH 60 is a single carriageway from a long time now and it will be like this for months in future if not a year. Last time when i passed this stretch in June this year KGP onwards it was fully broken and dug up for relaying the whole stretch. It would take a lot of time for the newly laid stretch to be fully operational.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 00:10   #12
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Witnessing the aftermath of a disaster can be really painful. We had a similar situation when we did Old Silk route in Sikkim after the massive Earthquake, in some places roads had huge difference of levels. By the way, nice narration and as usual great pictures.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 03:14   #13
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NH 60 is a single carriageway from a long time now and it will be like this for months in future if not a year.
I asked the guy in the first toll booth from the Kharagpur side that how long will it take for the full stretch to become one way again and his reply was he has no clue as the soil on one side was not able to take the load so the road broke early. According to him it might take more than a year. But one thing i could not understand was if the soil was bad then both side should get damaged how can only one side get damaged. Anyways it was good to see work was going on in full swing. Near Balasore the work they progressed again got washed away in few places for about a kilometer stretch due to the flood. So it might increase the repairing time a bit.

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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Witnessing the aftermath of a disaster can be really painful. We had a similar situation when we did Old Silk route in Sikkim after the massive Earthquake, in some places roads had huge difference of levels. By the way, nice narration and as usual great pictures.
Yes i agree to you 100%. I saw people taking photographs of their damaged properties in a well dressed way parking their tourist taxis or there own car. But some how i felt bad to do so. It might hurt the villagers as they were suffering and i coming out from a car and taking pics of there sufferings may look odd. If i would have gone for photo journalism, i would have definitely taken the pics but for a pleasure trip taking pics of others suffering wont be a good idea. Else i could have shared the true scenario over here.

And thanks for your compliment, glad to know you liked the pictures and narration.

Last edited by Samba : 2nd November 2013 at 03:24.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 23:48   #14
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

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Originally Posted by Samba View Post
but for a pleasure trip taking pics of others suffering wont be a good idea
Thats precisely why even I avoided property destruction pics too. Very painful for even onlookers, can't possibly imagine what it must be for the owners.
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Old 3rd November 2013, 02:19   #15
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Default re: Phailin (Cyclone) affected Puri-Satpara-Konark. In a Toyota Etios EDIT : Updates on Page 2

Well let me just give an update which i got from my friend today itself. My friend was riding back to Bangalore from kolkata couple of days back. But on the way he was fined by a police men near Cuttack as he exceeded the given speed limit. So according to him in the Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar stretch cops are very much alert. I was lucky i didn't speed up as i was following the other local vehicles. So friends driving in this section please be extra cautious. On doing a Google search i got this link too. http://www.telegraphindia.com/113031...p#.UnVkjVMl9W0
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