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Old 31st October 2009, 11:00   #16
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Interesting point on the road tax. SO, if I have hotel booking and credit card receipts to back it up - I will NOT pay the scammer RTO guys. Because my stay in Orissa is only limited to the duration of the hotel stay or to the time required to drive through!!

eh PW? You've just given us a way out!
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Old 31st October 2009, 12:12   #17
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@pw,
nice pictures with narration.
Your travelogue reminded my puri-gangasagar visit exactly one year ago with my mom and dad.
The market scene on puri beach, jagganath temple and honest pandya, simple people, memories of that place is still fresh in my mind.
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Old 31st October 2009, 12:36   #18
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Well written and superb pics. Where's the writeup on the Chilka Lake tour? I was there 2 weeks back, no migratory birds yet.
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Old 31st October 2009, 12:37   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
...they made us Fish n Chips and Roast chicken for Dinner, because we wanted something continental!
...exotic items are not on the menu. You have to ask for them.
The only chef who can rustle up the pucca-British stuff there appeared to need at least 6 hours' notice to fix us the fish 'n' chips - but then, we didn't mind!
Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
The Orissa Road Tax is a legal order passed by Orissa RTO authorizing vehicles going into orissa to compulsorily pay road tax if they will stay inside state limits for 3 months or more, and voluntarily pay if the period of stay is uncertain. The last clause is clearly a loophole, and this is what the corrupt officials are taking advantage of.

Since most motorists who go into Orissa have no clear document certifying their period of stay, the officer makes them cough up road tax, not allowing entry unless the amount is paid. The legal loophole provides a nice escape route for the officer, because if you book him through vigilance, he can get away showing that you voluntarily paid the amount!

How can you escape it? Well, I really don't know. Contrary to what people who visited previously told me, the entry barrier has been made pretty strong, there's a "All vehicles entering Orissa must pay road tax - by order" signboard, and the guards have become wiser. So the "ignore the guard and sail through" won't work. The only choice is to tell them you work for the government or the army, or you're the guest of some senior Orissa admin official.
That's interesting - the bit about voluntarily paying if the stay period is less than 3 months.

There was no barrier in December 2008, just a khaki-clad fellow waving us down. But apparently this extraction of tax does not happen when entering OR from the AP side - can someone reconfirm please?

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Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
...you happened to drive back straight from Puri to Delhi!!!!
And FYI, do you really think a foodie like me would have missed the Khaja at Puri?
Yes, I continued on to the NH60 till Raniganj, which was a road from hell, stopping over at Benaras.

And food is the driving power for travel anyway!
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Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
...25 unsilenced engines, and 150 unsilenced voices turning Chilka into a fish market!
...pearl sellers who were pulling out live shellfish from the sea, then breaking them in front of our eyes and taking out pearls.
In trying to create an artificial heaven, ABC had ended up creating an artificial hell.
Exactly my thoughts. Those boats have noisy smoky diesels which create enough racket to be audible a km away. And all this activity is despite the warnings put up.
Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-warn.jpg

The lake is huge, but the activity is confined to the area near the sea, where the dolphins abound.
Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-map.jpg

They charge a pretty penny anyway, but environment is the least of their concerns.
Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-rates.jpg

The pearl sellers actually forcibly stuff an artificial plastic pearl into the shellfish, and kill and discard it in the process of hardselling it as a genuine pearl to gullible tourists.
Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-pearl.jpg

Our boat was hired from the OTDC Yatri Niwas Satapada, which cost a little more than the regular rates,

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-otdc.jpg

but the boatman was thankfully not commercially inclined. And he did get us to see dolphins by switching off the engine in an area with few boats, and making absolutely no noise.

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-dolph1.jpg

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-dolph2.jpg
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Old 31st October 2009, 14:21   #20
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Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
I completely agree-Bengalis are a loud-no offence but I had very bad experience with them, not once but twice on a trip to Ooty and Araku.They just can't keep quite. Apart from being loud they also sometimes get rude when travel in a large group. Strangest was when the whole group kept on shouting every time a tunnel came during a train ride from Vishakapatnam to Araku.
Sorry if I hurt anyone, but this has been my personal experience.
No offence taken. Despite being a Bengali myself, I have no hesitation in admitting that a large Bengali group is the noisiest around. And we Bengalis have this strange habit. Regardless of whether we're sitting in Puri, Manali or Houston, the discussion centers itself about the prices of fish in Maniktala or Gariahat Market, and the jewellery at PC Chandra!

This is why we as a family choose not to travel with companions - freedom to take decisions, less clutter, and obviously, the much treasured silence!

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Interesting point on the road tax. SO, if I have hotel booking and credit card receipts to back it up - I will NOT pay the scammer RTO guys. Because my stay in Orissa is only limited to the duration of the hotel stay or to the time required to drive through!!

eh PW? You've just given us a way out!
Technically yes. But I suspect you'll also need a strong voice and a few hours at your disposal, besides a lot of luck. A person who's out to cheat you with a legal loophole, doesn't after all, take time to find loopholes within loopholes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
@pw,
nice pictures with narration.
Your travelogue reminded my puri-gangasagar visit exactly one year ago with my mom and dad.
The market scene on puri beach, jagganath temple and honest pandya, simple people, memories of that place is still fresh in my mind.
Thank you, Ashish. BTW, what, or who, is Honest Pandya?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS Power View Post
Well written and superb pics. Where's the writeup on the Chilka Lake tour? I was there 2 weeks back, no migratory birds yet.
The entire dolphin sighting episode is on the Chilka Lake, you *&^^$%!

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The only chef who can rustle up the pucca-British stuff there appeared to need at least 6 hours' notice to fix us the fish 'n' chips - but then, we didn't mind!
In our case, he only took an hour. And the quality was excellent!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
That's interesting - the bit about voluntarily paying if the stay period is less than 3 months.

There was no barrier in December 2008, just a khaki-clad fellow waving us down. But apparently this extraction of tax does not happen when entering OR from the AP side - can someone reconfirm please?
There has been an extensive discussion on the entry tax in some other thread. Most of this info is present there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The pearl sellers actually forcibly stuff an artificial plastic pearl into the shellfish, and kill and discard it in the process of hardselling it as a genuine pearl to gullible tourists.
Oh, this I didn't know. But either way, the shellfish gets killed, doesn't it?

And dada, a heartfelt thanks for enriching this thread with your pictures. Keep them coming.

Day 3 - The Epilogue

There was nothing much to do after this. The boat made its way back to the harbor. On our way back, was this curious sight

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A group of cows, grazing right in the middle of Chilka! The water indeed was so shallow, that the cows could confidently walk across the lake!

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The harbour drew closer. Spot my car in the parking, the only private vehicle in a sea of commercial MUVs.

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On our way back, we had lunch at this excellent restaurant right next to the boating point. Run by a Mr Ganguly from Kolkata. Spartan, but extremely good quality of seafood.

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Old 31st October 2009, 14:44   #21
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Quote:
predatorwheelz;===
BTW, what, or who, is Honest Pandya?
while visiting jagganath temple, i was aware that pandyas at that temple are notorious and force the pilgrims to cough money on the name of god. initially, we were hesitant to take any pandya for darshan but one pandya approached us to offer his services for as little as rs 21 only. we took his word. when we were in the temple complex, he told us that pilgrims offer prasada worth anything from rs 100 to rs 5000. so we bought prasad from counters for rs 251. in the temple, the pandya told us to wait for some time and took that prasad and our monetary offering to god and vanished. we waited there for almost 30 min and thought that this is experience of pandya story for us and left the place.
as we approached the exit gate of main complex, that pandya came from behind running toward us and and gave us the prasad and said that he was late due to rush.
if he decided, he could have easily vanish with our offerings. we were really impressed with his honesty.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 31st October 2009 at 15:04.
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Old 31st October 2009, 15:18   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
Hi PW,
Very well narrated Travelogue. I had just been to Puri once in early 2005 when one of my friend was working in infosys, Bhubaneshwar . We went on a bike and had fish curry and rice on the way. Awesome experience.
I completely agree-Bengalis are a loud-no offence but I had very bad experience with them, not once but twice on a trip to Ooty and Araku.They just can't keep quite. Apart from being loud they also sometimes get rude when travel in a large group. Strangest was when the whole group kept on shouting every time a tunnel came during a train ride from Vishakapatnam to Araku.
Sorry if I hurt anyone, but this has been my personal experience.
No offence taken because it's very true. But this has nothing much to do with ethnicity. Any single community that travels in a large group behaves in an uncouth and loud way, particularly here in India. It's just that Bengalis travel in very large numbers all over the place and are therefore most noisy, uncouth and get noticed.
Personally I avoid them like plague despite being very much a Bengali myself.
You get restaurants with signboards in Bengali in all sorts of remote places in India.
However, the loud guys who were responsible for the Thekkady accident weren't Bengalis, though some 5/6 Bengali tourists died in it.
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Old 31st October 2009, 15:47   #23
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Err Sudipto da, no comments about the travelogue?

The return trip

The return trip was quite eventful, and not in a good sort of way. We left Puri at about 11 AM, 3 hrs behind schedule. The Puri-Bhubaneshwar stretch was jam packed with traffic, as was Bhubaneshwar city and Bhub-Cuttack highway. It was about 1.30 PM by the time we crossed Cuttack and hit the road to Bhadrak.

My dad again insisted on taking the wheel. I lazed around on the passenger seat, taking pictures.

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Minutes after I took the second pic, disaster struck. About 15 kms before Bhadrak, Dad missed a large rock lying on the side of the road, which brushed the right rear tyre at 120 kmph and ripped the sidewall. Within moments, the tyre deflated. It was a moment of panic, but the car held its line and we came to a safe stop.

Pics of me changing the tyre

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The real trouble started after changing the tyre. We searched and searched in Bhadrak for a shop that repairs tubeless tyres, but found none. Ultimately we found one outside the city, but they declared the tyre too ripped to be repaired. They didnt even have any 185/65 tubeless tyres in stock!

Wattado? There was the notorious 70 km stretch to Balasore ahead of us, and 260 kms of good tarmac after that. There was no way that I was doing 330 km without a stepney.

The only thing left for me to do was to buy a 14' tube, and put it inside the ripped tyre. That too they took an hour to find the right size tube (we finished lunch in the interim).

After the tyre fiasco, and enduring the 70 km stretch from hell, we finally reached Balasore at 5.30. It was already dark. A 10 min coffee break was all we could afford.

What happened after this was a point where I really stretched myself. The next 260 kms I drove through the night, through dense fog near the border, and through hordes of trucks. Did not lift off anywhere except toll booths, just drove flat out, pushing trucks out of the way.

We finally made it to Kolkata at 9.30 PM, 10.5 hrs after we had left Puri! We were thankful that the car gave us no problems whatsoever.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the Puri trip was a good learning experience. I've never driven more than 300 kms in a single day, and never suffered the trouble of a tubeless tyre puncture (as well as getting it repaired) on the highway. Wish to do many more such trips in future.
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Old 31st October 2009, 17:54   #24
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As ashish had wrote his experience even I had a similiar experience when I went to Puri.The parking for cars are far away from temple.After parking the a boy about 18yrs wearing traditional dress came up to me and said we can finish the darshan quicky come with me.I did not even asked him how much he would charge.He warned me about the pujaris who touch the head and ask for money so ignore them.We reached the temple in rickshaw this boy was waiting at the entrance.He took us to prasad counter and told us the details I was impressed as the money goes for the temple paid about Rs700.The boy took us for darshan we were took almost 1.30hrs to see all the temples inside he was patiently waiting with prasad.After completion I was ready to give what amount he wanted and my wife was already behind me that I should not bargain with the boy.I asked him how should I pay he said Rs20.I was baffled and I was ready to give him more but he insisted to pay what he wanted once I gave him the money he just dissapeared.Really unforgettable
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Old 31st October 2009, 17:54   #25
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Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
The real trouble started after changing the tyre. ...The only thing left for me to do was to buy a 14' tube, and put it inside the ripped tyre.
The advice elsewhere on this forum says you should have been carrying a spare tube anyway... And no wonder you had a tough time, trying to locate 14' tube!

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Wish to do many more such trips in future.
...and write many more such analytical travelogues!

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 31st October 2009 at 17:56.
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Old 31st October 2009, 18:19   #26
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The advice elsewhere on this forum says you should have been carrying a spare tube anyway...
IMHO, I don't think we'd need to carry a spare tube with tubeless tyres. Puncture repair kit should be enough.

Punctures in tubeless tyres are generally non-issues - the accident faced by PW was a totally unexpected one.

Last edited by sdp1975 : 31st October 2009 at 18:20.
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Old 1st November 2009, 06:45   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
Hi PW,
Very well narrated Travelogue. I had just been to Puri once in early 2005 when one of my friend was working in infosys, Bhubaneshwar . We went on a bike and had fish curry and rice on the way. Awesome experience.
I completely agree-Bengalis are a loud-no offence but I had very bad experience with them, not once but twice on a trip to Ooty and Araku.They just can't keep quite. Apart from being loud they also sometimes get rude when travel in a large group. Strangest was when the whole group kept on shouting every time a tunnel came during a train ride from Vishakapatnam to Araku.
Sorry if I hurt anyone, but this has been my personal experience.
Well that happens whenever there is a group.
In my last visit to Ooty, There was a group from Rajasthan in the toy train and there were doing the same whenever there was a tunnel.
Can we generalize this act as by saying All Rajasthanis keep shouting.

Abhi
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Old 1st November 2009, 09:28   #28
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Cool Typo shypo

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The advice elsewhere on this forum says you should have been carrying a spare tube anyway
Point taken. Although I suspect a puncture repair kit does make more sense.

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And no wonder you had a tough time, trying to locate 14' tube!
Aha, now who's being analytical?
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Old 1st November 2009, 09:50   #29
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Sorry Aniket I forgot to comment on the nice travelogue. More than it being "nice" I like the enthusiasm with which you travel and write and share your pics.
Regarding your problem with tubeless tyre - you didn't have a puncture. A tubeless puncture repair kit (though a must in your glove compartment) wouldn't have helped you with fixing a tyre with a ripped wall.
I keep a tube in the boot all the time, plus a puncture repair kit and a foot pump. These three are must in any long trip.
Where next?
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Old 1st November 2009, 11:27   #30
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Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
Aha, now who's being analytical?
LOL...

At the cost of trying to hijack your thread, here are a few glimpses of what you didn't take pics of (but surely saw/partook of)

The shopping

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-saree.jpg

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-lamp.jpg


The fresh fish on the beach

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-maachh.jpg


The green coconuts

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-daab.jpg


The birds at Chilka (perhaps this was too early for them to have arrived)

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-chilka-birds.jpg


The sunset

Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa-sunset.jpg
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