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Old 28th September 2009, 13:07   #1
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Default Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend

This is a travelogue of my recently concluded road trip to Gopalpur on Sea. Incidentally this is my first post on Team-BHP as well. The planning for the trip was almost entirely based on the information gleaned out of browsing Team-BHP and a first hand experience from my colleague who drove to Puri and back. The vehicle of choice was my Getz Hatchback (2007 Getz Prime 1.3 GLS).

The car was last serviced in Jul , hence the preparation for the long drive was limited to checking out & topping up all fluids in the car.

We left our Kolkata home at 5:10 AM on 18th Sep with the chant & tunes of Birendra Krishna Bhadra blaring through the car audio , yes it was Mahalaya day !!!. The load on the Getz was light , I had my wife and daughter for company with 2 small overnighters thrown in the boot. Fuel had been stocked up the night before.

Our route to NH6 was via the second Vivekananda Bridge through VIP Road , Jessore Road and Belghoria Expressway. There was moderately heavy truck traffic on NH6 , however we passed Kolaghat Bridge at 6:20 without a hitch , it was nearly empty !!! . The next challenge was to correctly navigate to NH60 from NH6 . Thanks to the inputs in these forums, this too passed completely uneventfully as we correctly transitioned to NH60 from NH6. From then on it was pure driving bliss till the outskirts of Balasore. The 4 laned NH60 was nearly completely devoid of traffic and its concrete carriageway was made for speed. I really flogged my steed to see what it could do and must guiltily admit that for a few minutes I crossed 160 Kmph, There was still some juice left in it to touch 170 perhaps , but decided to leave it at that. Inspite of being a small hatchback , the car felt amazingly stable and was planted on the carriageway at those speeds. The border crossing into Orissa too was without incident , except for a small sign and a few shanties , there was nothing on the road to suggest a border crossing. No Rs. 800 Orissa Tax to be paid as well !!!. By this time we were hungry but could not spy any suitable place to eat. Had to wait till Balasore , where we headed straight for the first open eatery we could lay our eyes on.

From about 8 Kms out of Balasore , till Bhadrak , a distance of about 70 Kms , NH5 is a nightmare. Yes NH60 transitions to NH5 just out of Balasore. A stretch of about 25 Kms around Balasore and Soro is very bad , completely cratered , it makes you literally crawl on this stretch. For nearly the entire 70 Kms the road operates on one carriageway only , with diversions every 400 – 500 Metres redirecting traffic from one flank of the road to the other. This was our slowest stretch. NH5 was back to its glorious self after Bhadrak and soon we were roaring towards Cuttack.

All along the way the tall white blossoms of “Saccharum Spontaneum” (Kash / Kans Phul) swaying in the breeze made a very pretty and nostalgic sight. There were dense bushes lining both sides of the road – a sure sign that Pujas are round the corner !!!.

We reached Bhubaneswar at 1 PM and choose a place to have lunch. Day time City traffic in Cuttack , Bhubaneswar and on NH5 between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar slowed us down a bit.

NH5 continues to be a 4 lane highway till about 60 Kms out of Bhubaneswar. Then it switches back to the old single laned and tarred NH5 with traffic on both sides and potholes for company. But the drive is beautiful , with arrow straight roads , green vegetation on both sides and the hills of the Eastern Ghats for company. There are a couple of Railway crossings thrown in as well. The entrance to OTDC Panthanivas is about 400 mts from NH5 and it is marked from 2 kms out. You cannot miss it if you are on the lookout. We reached there at 15:45 , capping an eventful journey of 560 Kms.

We liked the place and its ambience , it is right on the Chilka , with almost all rooms having a grand view of the lake. Had a great time on 19th morning , taking a long boat ride (3 hrs !!!) on the lake and visiting the nearby landmarks. It was hot and the migratory birds were absent , however a lot of the local fauna kept us company.

Started on the onward journey at 12:30 and after about 26 Kms , turned into the OTDC Panthanivas at Rambha , to check out the place and also have lunch. Personally felt that the location and ambience of Barkul was much better than Rambha . However it appears that some local landmarks on Chilka like Beacon and Honeymoon Islands are best viewed from these parts. Here too the signs for OTC Rambha appears about 1 Km out and you cannot miss it.

Started out again at about 13:30 and immediately was on to a stretch of about 3 -4 kms of Ghat section . To the left , the wide expanse of Chilka was sparkling in the sun while the road climed up and down inclines.

For most of the last 50 kms to Gopalpur , NH5 is under construction with frequent diversions after every few 100 meters from one flank to the other. The road at the point of the diversions is pretty bad with lots of potholes. A fork comes on the way where a road branches off to Behrampore (Brahmapur) and the NH5 continues on the left, You need to be on NH5. The left term to Gopalpur from NH5 is well marked , and the turn is just under a half built flyover. From here is it 9 kms out to Gopalpur on a narrow country road , which surprisingly is in a good condition. Thanks to Google Earth , we safely navigated to our hotel at 3 PM .

The rest of the evening and the next day was spent lazing around Gopalpur and soaking in the Sun and the Sea. The lighthouse was next to our hotel and it offers splendid views from its top. There are a couple of temples and British era ruins that could be explored. The beached were amazingly clean with strong surf in short a good atmosphere for taking a dip in the sea. The crowds were far less than at Puri. We liked the quaint charm of the place , it makes for a nice and lazy holiday. The location of out hotel was good , smack on the beach. On the other hand , OTDC Panthanivas at Gopalpur is about a Km off and not directly on the beach.

The plan for 21st was to start early and try to reach home by evening. We left the hotel at 5 AM , while it was still dark and raining heavily. Hence progress was slow. We cruised past Bhubaneswar around 8:30 and Cuttack around 9 AM. The biggest problem on the way was availability of food. Almost all Dhabas and eateries were closed and so were the roadside restaurants at Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The closure of the Reliance Plazas means that you are severely constrained for food options on the way. Past Cuttack , we noticed a road side vendor selling Idlis and Dosas , where we promptly stopped to have breakfast. Past Bhadrak we had bad roads for company again. At Balsore , we pulled up at Ginger Hotel for Lunch. The hotel looked good from the outside , inside was a bit run down , but the food was fresh and tasted good.

A shock awaited us at the border , Orissa MV was out in full force collecting the entry tax. The truck queue stretched for kilometres. I went down and tried to argue but it was of no avail and had to shell out the Rs 800 , it looks like robbery in broad daylight. The entire 5 year WB road tax for my vehicle is 550 , and where Orissa Govt was extracting Rs 800 for 6 months for travelling on NH where one has to pay toll anyway. As of the real Orissa roads , the less said the better. I chatted with the collectors and found out that these days they are occasionally out on such collection drives , if you are lucky , you might give them the miss altogether. 21st was Id and with Puja’s drawing close , they were out to meet their target collections !!!!!.

It started raining heavily as we crossed into WB , we cruised on , this time too Kolaghat Bridge was completely empty. We reached the 2nd Vivekananda Bridge toll gate at 5PM and by 5:40 PM we were home. The Getz was a bit dirty and mud streaked , but otherwise she was fighting fight.

The excel version of the trip log is attached , it provides the time and the distances. When calculating the average speed on the sections , I noticed that the best was about 88-90 Kmph. Found that a revelation since at most good stretches on NH , I thought that I was clocking 100 -120 Kmph on an average , at least that is what the Speedo said !!!!!

Excluding the Rs 800 Orissa tax , total toll was Rs 288 one way (Rs. 576 both ways).
Attached Files
File Type: xls TripLog.xls (22.0 KB, 743 views)
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Old 28th September 2009, 14:20   #2
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Hey I too was in Gopalpur-on sea that weekend (travelled by train from Kolkata though). Stayed at Sea Pearl - right on the beach.
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Old 28th September 2009, 15:00   #3
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Oops we missed bumping into each other - who knows , we might have actually bumped without knowing !!!!
How is Sea Pearl , in terms of Rooms , Tariff , Service and Food ?
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Old 28th September 2009, 16:28   #4
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Hey DT, Welcome to TBHP. Wonderful written travelogue, it was as if I am doing the trip myself. Dont know when will the GQ in Orissa be fully functional? It looks more or less the same when I last travelled in 2006.
But a travelogue is always incomplete without pics, Pls post them soon?

Shubho Bijoya !!
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Old 28th September 2009, 18:33   #5
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Thank you Abhi , Subho Bijoya to you too. It was your post in TBHP of the Banagalore to Kolkata trip that started it for me !!!! You inspired me for this trip.

You are abosultely correct , by the current state of NH5 in the Balasore to Bhadrak section - it would probably need many more years to complete. Towards Chilka in many places there is even no sign of land acquisition for the Highway , the old NH5 lies quite with several Railway crossings on the way - by it's look - this section will probably take several decades to complete. In the NHAI website it says that of the 1600 + Kms from Kolkata to Chennai - only 5 % or less than 80Km remains incomplete and it is all here.

Will try to post some pics as well.

Mods: I made a bloomer in the thread title , could you please correct the spelling for Kolkata ?
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Old 28th September 2009, 18:53   #6
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Some snaps around Chilka
Attached Thumbnails
Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7741.jpg  

Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7818.jpg  

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Old 28th September 2009, 20:53   #7
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Few more snaps of Chilka and Gopalpur
Attached Thumbnails
Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7830.jpg  

Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7844.jpg  

Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7857.jpg  

Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7908.jpg  

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Old 29th September 2009, 16:57   #8
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Hi Drivetrain, very helpful triplog and good pics. I'm planning to do an East Coast trip sometime later this year, and Gopalpur or Rambha is my planned destination for day one. Some questions:

1. How did you get bookings done for OTDC Rambha? Was it advance booking or just a walk-in?

2. What (price) range is "Song of the Sea" at Gopalpur? Are there any other hotels you recommend?

Queries apart, welcome to Tbhp. The Kolkata chapter is an active bunch, and we'd be happy to have you with us. Why dont you post an intro in the "Introduce Yourself" section?
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Old 29th September 2009, 17:44   #9
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Hello Predatorwheelz , Thank you, will post the Intro soon.

I actually did not stay at OTDC Rambha , just had lunch there. I had put up at OTDC Barkul. I justed walked in there , had checked their website before and verified that rooms were available. I think you can book the OTDC properties over the Net using this link

OTDC - Online Hotel Reservation

I liked OTDC Barkul better , to me it has a better setup with better views. However the food at Rambha was streets ahead of Barkul.

A non AC double room here costs Rs 650 with complimentary breakfast.

As for Gopalpur , I can recommend "Song of the Sea" as I stayed there. They charge Rs 900 for non AC and probably 1200 for AC. I took a non AC room , the cool sea breeze beats an AC any day. The reason we picked this hotel was that they allow you to pre-book by paying an advance using Netbanking. Owner: Sanjeev Bedi, 98615 35627

You can try the Sea Pearl as well- it lookes nice from the outside. OTDC would be good too , however it is someway off the beach.
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Old 30th September 2009, 10:37   #10
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Love the snap of that colourful insect!

Best thing about Sea Pearl is the huge balcony where you can sit and watch the waves. We took AC rooms, which we pre-booked from Kolkata by paying 50% advance. The rooms were fairly basic (though clean). Service was ok, but a bit on the slow side probably because the place is a bit under-staffed. Food was great though esp. the prawn malai curry.

On the way back we took a cab from the hotel to Bhubaneshwar via Rambha and Barkul. Took a 1-hr boat ride at Rambha and saw the sights (Breakfast island, some caves etc.) will post pics soon as I download them off the camera.
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Old 30th September 2009, 12:41   #11
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Drivetrain you made me nostalgic.I have driven on this highway in 2007 Oct.I am surprised this Balasore to Bhadrak road is still bad.I remember one Road over bridge on this route which was looking like it may collapse. Balugaon to Ramba still bad roads sorry to hear about it.Orrisa road tax this is crazy.
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Old 30th September 2009, 12:54   #12
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You do bring back fond memories. We had done this trip during the late 80' (oh my good. I sound so ancient) with my friends. A lovely trip with loads of fun and great food. Awaiting more pics.
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Old 30th September 2009, 13:24   #13
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One more picture , not of Gopalpur though , this is Bakkhali beach in WB , drove there in Dec of 2008.
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Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_5456_1.jpg  

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Old 30th September 2009, 13:35   #14
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Excellent photographs. Liked the last one and the first most.
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Old 30th September 2009, 17:40   #15
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Hotel Locations (Shot from atop the LightHouse) and 1 more shot of my winged friend.
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Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7843.jpg  

Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend-img_7743.jpg  

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