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Old 19th October 2014, 23:18   #1
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Default Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

When we started our journey around 5:30 in the morning, it was bit darker than usual. It turned out to be cloudy. Although it didn't look that threatening. We moved out of our campus shortly and then were cruising on Kalyani Expressway rather sedately. I tend to drive bit slowly during the first 15-20 minutes. The sky then decided to open up. It started to drizzle which also began to dampen our mood. We had more than 300 KMs of journey ahead of us and who would like to have their road trip soaked in rain!

It was almost a month ago when we planned this trip to Chandipur. Chandipur in Orissa has an unique beach where water level recedes several kilometers everyday between the tides. This flat beach turned out be quite enjoyable for our little daughter. Chandipur is also well known for hosting India's missile testing range which is run by DRDO and of course off-limit to the regular tourists. Among the two choices of the weekends that we had, considering my work commitment we chose it on the 3rd week of September. My primary reasoning was that chances of rain would be lower as monsoon was approaching towards its end and we had only a moderate monsoon this year. This expectation however didn't turn out to be right! Following suggestions from several online reviews, we had booked our stay at the OTDC Panthanivas and with other preparations completed we were all set to go.


Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2406.jpg


Onward Journey:

Kalyani Expressway which connects the satellite city of Kalyani to Kolkata has been strengthen and resurfaced before the monsoon this year and it is now quite smooth to drive. Considering the drizzle which had made the surface bit slippery, I continued to drive cautiously. Using the Sodepur connector and then the BT Road, we merged with the Belghoria Expressway at the Dunlop intersection. Around 7 am, we crossed the Nivedita Setu to merge with NH-6 towards Kharagpur. By then the drizzle has turned into moderate rain. The dust-turned-mud from ongoing 6-laning work of NH-6, was making both the front and rear windscreen dirty. In fact, for the first time, I was forced to use even the rear windscreen wiper of our three-and-half year old Estilo VXi hatchback. At the back seat, our little daughter who will turn four in this December, had fallen asleep. The face of my better-half was having clear reflection of the gloomy weather outside.

On Kalyani Expressway
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2307.jpg

Rainy green
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2314.jpg


As planned, we took a halt for breakfast at Kolaghat which a popular spot among the travellers using this route to take a break. We reached there around 8:25 am. The rain had subsided a bit, however, the cloud had become darker. After a heavy breakfast and a cup of hot tea, we resumed our rain-adventure around 9 am. Earlier I had driven to Kolaghat few times but had always taken NH-41 towards Haldia from there. So the remaining 200 km drive through NH-6 and NH-60 was something rather new for me. As we shifted to higher gears, so as the rain. One positive side of this heavy rain was that exterior of the car which had become quite muddy got a thorough natural wash. Of course, this good feeling was short-lived, as the rain turned even heavier. At several occasion, I could feel the aquaplaning of the car as the water-logging on the highway at few places were quite deeper than I had anticipated. Within the horizon, I couldn't see any reasonable place to pull out for while. I decided to slow down and follow a truck which was doing around 40-50 kmph.


The ghostly smoke

Generally, while driving I keep the windows rolled up and have the AC turned-on. One advantage of having AC turned on during rain is that it keeps humidity low inside the cabin. This prevents condensation on the windscreen from inside. However, it was getting too cold occasionally. So I was turning the AC on-and-off regularly. Around 10:30 am when we were cruising on the concrete surfaces of NH-60, it was raining cats-and-dogs outside. Then suddenly, I noticed something terrifying! A thick whitish smoke was coming out through the AC vent. This almost gave me a heart attack. I pulled out the car immediately and stopped the engine. It was raining heavily outside. My wife inquired: what's wrong? I answered: either the engine or the AC of the car is on fire! I was expecting a panicky reaction from her but that did not happen. Somehow she wasn't convinced as there was no burning smell inside. Strange! but that was also true. Anyway, I took out the umbrella and went out of the car to see if there are any sign of damages from outside. There was none. After a while, I got back my nerve and we decided to continue our drive.

However, the question continued to linger in my mind for a while: What was the white smoke then? Did I see it wrong?

Smoke inspection under an umbrella!
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2315.jpg

On NH-60 towards Balasore
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2320.jpg

On NH-60 with hazard light on
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2324.jpg


Border crossing at Jaleshwar

Around 11:50 am, we reached the border of West Bengal and Orissa. It was still raining. There were many lined-up trucks at the check-post though the line wasn't too long. Then I remembered the tips by the fellow BHPians Wanderers and psurelia given here (A Zip Trip to the Shores Kolkata to Puri). I followed another passenger vehicle and drive through the wrong side of the carriageway. This was the first inter-state trip for our car and we were quite relieved to have a smooth border crossing at the end. By paying the required toll charges there, around 12 noon we started our drive in the state of Orissa.

The rest of the drive up to Balasore was through a series of road-diversions. This slowed us down considerably as most of these diversions were water-logged. We reached Balasore at around 1:45 pm. After a brief discussion, we decided not to stop at Balasore and to reach Chandipur at the earliest. The rain had turned into drizzle by then. After crossing the city traffic of Balasore, we reached the Panthanivas at around 2:30 pm. The parking lot there was under water and I had to park the car on a higher ground. The turn of events had got all of us exhausted and without any delay we crashed into our room.

Estilo surrounded by water
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2332.jpg

The Panthanivas
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2339.jpg

and the beach...
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2337.jpg

Last edited by gmhossain : 21st October 2014 at 23:39.
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Old 21st October 2014, 12:30   #2
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At the beach on Day 1:

After having lunch and a bit of rest, we went to the beach around 4:30 in the afternoon. The rain had stopped by then. However the sky was still gloomy and so was our mood. The strong wind that was blowing at the beach had then an amazing effects on us. Within minutes, the sea wind had blown away all of our exhaustion and brought back the smile in our faces. Given the weather, there were only few people at the beach. The beach had de facto become our private beach . I guess this was a fitting reward for enduring nine hours of drive through non-stop rain!


Gloomy sky
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2344.jpg

Yes, finally some happy moments
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2341.jpg

The art-work on water by air
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2349.jpg

Is it land or sea? It's both.
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2351.jpg

Evening sky
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2371.jpg



Day 2:

On the second day, the weather had improved considerably. There were clouds but there was no rain. We went to the beach to have an early morning walk. We could not see the sunrise as expected but morning breeze was rather soothing. We spend the whole day mostly on the beach. The beach was really flat. We walked about two kilometers towards the sea yet the water level didn't cross the waist level of our daughter! This turned out to be quite enjoyable for her. The waves were just right for her height!


The morning
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2408.jpg

Under the veil
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2411.jpg

Timed selfie
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2382.jpg

Sand dune
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2395.jpg

Lonely flower behind the dune
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2387.jpg

The mighty nature
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2439.jpg

... the return journey and the mundane details... to follow....

Last edited by gmhossain : 22nd October 2014 at 00:20.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 09:30   #3
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogue section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 22nd October 2014, 11:20   #4
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Nice travelogue, Keep them coming.
Good to see another Dusky Brown Estilo Vxi on the travelogues section
Me too curious to know what that white smoke was., waiting for replies.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 11:58   #5
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Thanks for sharing the travelogue. Rains, beaches & sea-food make for an awesome combination. I do enjoy driving in the rain, roads are washed off, it is all clean with less traffic. You have to be cautious & drive a notch slower than you normally do. But it more than makes up for it.

You do not need to turn off your A/C if you are feeling cold, all you need is to adjust your temperature via the temperature knob Name:  temp_dial.jpg
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present in your car. Please do not mistake it with the fan speed. I usually keep it at the opposite of what is shown in the picture. 30-40% cooling, not at full blast. In full blast at fan speed 2, my AC chills me to bones. I too didn't know this and came across when I was reading about our very own Sam Kapasi's thread.

That white smoke was part of condensation occurring inside the HVAC. It is normal. Happens when the weather is nippy and or is raining like crazy with too much humidity.

Last edited by Sheel : 22nd October 2014 at 12:03.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 12:19   #6
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Finally! After so many route updates, comments and appreciation of travelogues, atleast you have given the readers something to give you back. Awesome pictures.
Driving in the rains is a pure bliss. Enjoy it - more than hurrying to the destination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmhossain View Post
However, the question continued to linger in my mind for a while: What was the white smoke then? Did I see it wrong?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
You do not need to turn off your A/C if you are feeling cold, all you need is to adjust your temperature via the temperature knob present in your car.

That white smoke was part of condensation occurring inside the HVAC. It is normal. Happens when the weather is nippy and or is raining like crazy with too much humidity.
Its pure case of condensation. Which was active at that time - Open-Air or Closed-Air/ventilation mode ?
When driving in the rains, apart from the temperature control as mentioned by Sheel, use the Climate Control System knob, and put it to windshield defogging mode. This way you would not feel the chill, yet the windshield would not be foggy.

Last edited by gearhead_mait : 22nd October 2014 at 12:23.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 12:25   #7
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Nice travelogue gmhossain. The beach looks fantastic.
One of the few things I love more than driving is driving in the rain. It makes u feel so much more alive.
As for the white smoke, it is pretty normal. It occurs due to the condensation in the AC and will disappear after a few moments.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 22:42   #8
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Thanks for sharing the travelogue. Rains, beaches & sea-food make for an awesome combination. I do enjoy driving in the rain, roads are washed off, it is all clean with less traffic. You have to be cautious & drive a notch slower than you normally do. But it more than makes up for it.
I do agree. In hindsight, the non-stop rain actually made the trip much more memorable and sweet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
You do not need to turn off your A/C if you are feeling cold, all you need is to adjust your temperature via the temperature knob present in your car. Please do not mistake it with the fan speed. I usually keep it at the opposite of what is shown in the picture. 30-40% cooling, not at full blast.
Thanks for the tip. Yes, I could have turned the temperature knob towards the red a bit to avoid uncomfortably cold cabin while the AC was on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
Finally! After so many route updates, comments and appreciation of travelogues, atleast you have given the readers something to give you back. Awesome pictures. Driving in the rains is a pure bliss. Enjoy it - more than hurrying to the destination.
Thanks! As the adage says, "the life is not a destination, rather it is the journey itself". I guess, the same applies also for a road trip vacation!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
That white smoke was part of condensation occurring inside the HVAC. It is normal. Happens when the weather is nippy and or is raining like crazy with too much humidity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
Its pure case of condensation. Which was active at that time - Open-Air or Closed-Air/ventilation mode ?
When driving in the rains, apart from the temperature control as mentioned by Sheel, use the Climate Control System knob, and put it to windshield defogging mode. This way you would not feel the chill, yet the windshield would not be foggy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by satan's_valet View Post
As for the white smoke, it is pretty normal. It occurs due to the condensation in the AC and will disappear after a few moments.
Thanks to all of you. I guess, it explains the magic smoke nicely.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 11:36   #9
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Default re: Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa

Nice travelogue. Sad to know that the Kharagpore Balasore stretch is still the same, having multiple diversions. Did you get any idea when the road will be restored to its former shape?
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Old 23rd October 2014, 18:08   #10
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Wonderful writeup,, great photos and I had fun reading it while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in the safety of my bedroom. I have never been to Chandipur so even better. If possible please post some more photos of the low tide zoney.

Personally I am fearful to drive in anything more than light rain so I salute you for highway driving in what seems like moderate if not heavy rain.

By the way, how was Panthanivas? I have only stayed at the Puri Panthanivas many times and it was quite good.

Last edited by Kumar R : 23rd October 2014 at 18:15.
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Old 24th October 2014, 20:19   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
Nice travelogue. Sad to know that the Kharagpore Balasore stretch is still the same, having multiple diversions. Did you get any idea when the road will be restored to its former shape?
I guess, another year or so. The ongoing work seems to be in full swing. According to NHAI website, it's scheduled to be completed by June 2015.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumar R View Post
Wonderful writeup,, great photos and I had fun reading it while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in the safety of my bedroom. I have never been to Chandipur so even better. If possible please post some more photos of the low tide zoney.

Personally I am fearful to drive in anything more than light rain so I salute you for highway driving in what seems like moderate if not heavy rain.

By the way, how was Panthanivas? I have only stayed at the Puri Panthanivas many times and it was quite good.
Given it's run by a government organization, I would say it's quite good. The best part of Panthanivas, Chandipur is the location. It's situated just across the beach. The online reviews suggested to book either AC Suite or AC DR for getting a sea-facing room.

During online reservation, I could get booking of AC DR room for the 2nd day only. For the first day, I had to book an AC Deluxe room which was bit expensive than DR but cheaper than a Suite. While checking-in, they showed us both the rooms. When we asked them whether we could swap the Deluxe room for a DR room they happily agreed

View of the sea from our room
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2417.jpg

Inside the room
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2421.jpg

Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2420.jpg

Estilo is in parking lot
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2419.jpg
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Old 8th November 2014, 22:46   #12
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Return Journey:

After staying in hostels for more than a decade, I had realized one profound truth that foods are objects meant to fill stomach of mortal. To reach this stage of learning, one needs to attain a sort of Nirvana from the concept of taste-buds. So after years of onslaught by hostel foods, I believed all my taste-buds were dead. (Un)fortunately, few instances in the past lead me to believe that may be some of them are still alive! One such instance that I experienced were at Sher-e Punjub dhaba at Kolaghat.

So when we started planning our return journey from Chandipur, it became our primary criteria that we should reach Kolaghat just around lunch time. Considering the time taken during onward journey and anticipated delay at Jaleshwar border-crossing, we decided to begin our journey by 6:30 in the morning. We made a request to OTDC canteen to serve our bed-tea bit earlier than regular. They happily agreed to do so. After having our morning tea we began just as planned. Our next stop was Balasore for refueling. It was bit surprising for me that the petrol is cheaper by almost eight rupees a litre in Orissa than West Bengal.

We resumed from Balasore at 7:15 am after a small break there. It was quite fun to drive early in the morning with clear blue sky. This is the first time in last three days we could see the Sun with its full glory. We reached Orissa-West Bengal border at around 8:40 am. It turned out to be even smoother crossing and within minutes we started cruising in West Bengal.


Towards Kolkata
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2462.jpg

It was the day before Mahalaya. One could sense that Autumn has arrived and the biggest festival of Bengal was about to begin.


The Autumn
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2461.jpg

After having couple of tea breaks at roadside tea-shops, we reached Kolaghat at 11:50 am. It was slightly ahead of our schedule but without any delay we ordered our lunch. My taste-buds fired again and it was another relishing moment at Sher-e Punjub!


On Nivedita Setu
Rain, rain & even more rain...at Chandipur, Orissa-img_2474.jpg

We took the exit from Belghoria Expressway at Dunlop intersection. As expected, BT road welcomed us back with a bumper-to-bumper traffic. Consequently, it took quite a bit of time to get into Kalyani Expressway. The remaining drive to our campus was pretty smooth. Anyway, everything either good or bad must come to an end. So it was the turn for our first inter-state road trip.



Trip Statistics:

Total distance traveled: 638 KM

Accommodation: Rs. 3008
(At OTDC Panthanivas for 2 nights with off-season discount but including taxes)

Food and other misc:: Rs. 2250

Toll taxes: Rs. 594

Petrol cost: Rs. 2260
(approx.)

Mileage: 20.5 km/l

(Full-tank-to-full-tank. AC was on around 70% of the time for onward journey and 90% for return journey. Generally, I am a soft-footed, sedate driver. So our Estilo VXi delivers such highway mileage consistently )
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