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Old 26th November 2009, 22:12   #1
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Default Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata

Hi,
This is one trip that I'll never forget, done beginning this year 2009. Let me give a brief background that resulted in this trip. I've always been a person who loves excitement with my family members, me my parents and my wife. S

ince dad purchased the car back in Mar '07, I've been slowly extending my limits in and around Kolkata. The fever of long drives was already peaking in me by then. It was getting too stressed for me as well since our last trip to Shimla - Manali after my marriage we not been out of Kolkata for a long time. I started sneaking into the Web for information on destinations around Kolkata, road conditions and was deciding to plan a trip somewhere. That’s when this forum was of tremendous help to decide Puri as the destination. I got some local info about Bhubaneshwar from office colleagues as well. But there was a Big –Problem.

My parents will never let me go on such a trip and more so with my new wife and the car, she has become the heart throb of the family by then, hence wont risk her in my hands. Well, seeing the trip almost getting cancelled before I could plan it I changed the destination for them. Told them that it will be a near by (almost 200 Km+ from Kolkata) place called Shantiniketan. My parents promised that they will accompany me and my wife, provided my aunt was able to come and stay with by grandparents. Well it was all set that we will be off for Shantiniketan on the 11 –Jan 2009. I have used Google map and downloaded all the necessary maps of the route I’ll be covering.

My Xeta has been tanked up and Tyre pressure all checked and I’m all ready for the trip. The day before we were about to leave my aunt called up saying she has an eye infection and wont be able to accompany my grand parents when we are gone. Huh! The trip was almost cancelled, seeing my face and the mood that it threw me into, my parents volunteered to stay back and was ok to let me and my wife travel. That forced me into another trouble now , I was mentally prepared for Puri with 4 people and all of a sudden I have just my wife along side a 10-12 hour journey, a little scary and terrible undecided was the night before. For Shantiniketan I planned nothing, route – maps, hotels, no local info, hence had to decide between Puri or stay home. I lied to visit Jagannath but he liked it I guess, will be back with the trip and pictures. Catch you guys soon!

Last edited by Eddy : 26th November 2009 at 22:23.
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Old 27th November 2009, 00:58   #2
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Interesting start for the travelogue.
awaiting the remaining part eagerly.
And, welcome to T-BHP
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Old 27th November 2009, 12:18   #3
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Starting from Home

Pretty chilly and dark during that time of the year at this hour, I got up early around 4:30 AM, took a nice bath though chilly but it helps me to concentrate and gets my reflexes going, hate yawning when driving. I was a little tensed but was mentally preparing up for almost last 7 days. I talked to myself a lot knowing what big responsibility I'm taking on myself. My wife also got ready in the mean time. We packed the usual snacks, My Sony H9 Digicam, a kit for our clothes and essentials we were almost ready.

My mom prepared some hot drinks for both of us and urged me at least 20 times to drive safely. I promised and re-promised and was almost able to convince her that I'll keep everyone safe, including myself and the car. My Xeta came out of the garage, we waved at Mom at balcony.... and we were off to .....Shantiniketan... well Puri actually. It was 6:00 AM sharp according to my Xeta dashboard clock.

Reaching Kolaghat

Left our house behind and it’s such an empty feeling it was to leave mom and dad behind. We were on the main road ... and that’s Jessore Road. Ironically if I just cross the road, coming out of the lane my house is in and take a U turn I'm on Belghoria Express Way and if I take a left turn I’m on NH34 heading North Bengal. I kept driving at a steady pace along Belghoria Express Way until we crossed the Nivedita Setu.

We crossed the first toll tax booth and before I knew I was floating on NH6 at around 80 to 90 Kmph. Xeta felt absolutely safe and stable the down-force kept increasing whenever I ventured above 90 Kmph, excellent road . I was loving my Xeta.

I relaxed a bit . My wife was my navigator. She had a whole bunch of Google maps all arranged in sequence and decked up to note timings, kilometer readings and note down the emergency numbers displayed on the highways, which was all her responsibility. She was doing her job to perfection.

We reached Kolaghat at around 7:30 AM. We stopped at Sher e Punjab Dhaba and had the excellent tea. I gave a quick call back home to ensure that Mom and Dad are a bit relaxed. Mom spoke to her daughter (in law) and was again almost convinced we are safe and she is comfortable.

Last edited by Jaggu : 27th November 2009 at 12:26. Reason: Please DO NOT type in all Bold, its bad net etiquette. Thanks
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Old 27th November 2009, 12:24   #4
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Nice teaser. Some pictures please. And do mention your experience at the NH5 Jaleshwar border (Related to the Orissa road tax).

Regards,
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Old 27th November 2009, 20:29   #5
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Hello again,
After a break lasting about 20 mins we were off again. Crossed the dreaded bridge at Kolaghat, construction was still on; the traffic congestion lasted for about 15 mins approx. I thought it was much less then my expectation, we sprinted to Kharagpur. I drove into the town; read here later that most people do the same. I didn't overrun too much took an about turn and found the way out to NH60.

Soon we whizzed through Belda, Datan and arrived at Jaleswar.

Aroop to answer your question: We really faced no issues at the Tax Booths, I'm sure we were lucky. Upon our return I did get to see a lot of posts in Team-BHP where many members faced extortions at tax booths. Contrary to that I faced no such trouble through out Orissa during this visit. I'd not have given them a penny more, but itís difficult to maintain such stance when you travel alone with your wife onboard.

Left the tax booths behind and headed on.... Ahhh! Concrete roads, I never drove on such surface. Grip was excellent and Xeta was silent I could only hear the tarmac on the concrete. My wife was dazzled, but it was a sparkling highway no people around a few whizzing vehicles on the other side, disappearing on the RVM before you can see the make. She was getting tensed thinking "What happens if the we have a break down in this empty place?" well not that I could ignore such thoughts completely. I diverted her mind onto the beauty of the winding roads ahead of us.

I was trying to maintain good speeds now since I really did not want to drive in dark during winters and my target was to reach within 5:00 PM. I did not reserve any accommodation for us since the trip was not according to plan till the very last moment, but I did call up OTDC at Konarak and was assured I'll get a room that was 2 days prior to my journey date. I confirmed the guy around 9:00 AM that I'm definitely coming and requested them to keep some arrangement for me, I was assured.

Crossed Baleshwar the approach to Bhadrak was where construction work was going on for a good 50Km stretch, I took this stretch pretty carefully really did not want to test my rubbers yet. I was already looking for a place to tank up again since it was nearing half empty by now. I was getting a little frustrated not being able to find a fuel station selling petrol. I found a good fuel station about 30 KM ahead of Bhadrak. Surprisingly for me Xtra Premium was at least about Rs. 3 per Ltr. cheaper. I tanked up. We got fresh and had some snacks here itself, I normally skip lunch and drink a lot of water when Iím driving. It keeps me fresh and helps to reduce the stress.

We were approaching Cuttack around 2:30 PM this is where I started taking snaps. I was taken aback all this while by the beauty of these endless roads and the power you feel when you cut through that air at high speed and it keeps coming at you endlessly.

NH60 - Approaching Cuttack
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Last edited by bblost : 27th November 2009 at 21:50. Reason: back 2 back posts
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Old 28th November 2009, 09:22   #6
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Guys, I'm off to Ghatshila today, don't know if this is the right time to visit. It's just a suddenly decided trip will share the details once I'm back. I'm gonno be back in a days time. Until then have a nice weekend!
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Old 29th November 2009, 20:42   #7
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Thumbs down NH5 Some more snaps

Hi,
I'm back from Ghatshila, the trip was a bad one, but my Xeta gave its heart out for each one of us, I'll share more on that once I complete the Konarak Puri part.

About 2 PM we were about to reach Cuttack

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02533.jpg

Crossing Mahanadi before entering Cuttack, the bridge didn't seem to end

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02542.jpg

We were getting a little restless but still we had a fair distance to cover, we took a little break at Cuttack for 15 minutes and kept moving along. Xeta was puffing along well. We crossed Bhubaneshwar without much traffic and took the diversion from Pipli to Konarak. It was 5:30 PM that we reached an exact 12 hour journey.

We entered the OTDC Tourist Lodge and was well impressed by the arrangements. some of the pictures inside Konarak OTDC lodge, the entrance and the reception area.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02563.jpg

The reception area

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02567.jpg

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02568.jpg

We got fresh and decided to view the Konarak Sun Temple. It was very dark and the light was not good enough for taking photographs. My wife was pretty reluctant to enter the Sun Temple area seeing the darkness and the surroundings, it didn't look safe to me as well. But we (read I was) were reluctant to go back hence entered the premises and as expected were disappointed since light was not enough for photography, wastage of time and effort.

We had a good dinner at the OTDC Lodge itself, shops outside did not look good enough, in-terms of quality.

Our plan next morning was to head to the Chandrabhaga beach early morning for the sunrise (about 3 KMS from the OTDC Lodge) , view the Sun Temple and take some snaps in sunlight. Then have some snacks and head to Puri Via the Marine Drive. Its was time to take some rest!
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Old 30th November 2009, 16:01   #8
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Default Konarak to Puri Day 2

We were ready around 5:30 AM to view the Chandrabhaga beach. After a grand success in waking up the caretaker, we were disappointed. It was very foggy and absolutely no visibility. Xeta was all dretched and was cleaned up with the water drops that condensed on it all night. I was having a tough time driving it in such near zero visibility. We reached a 3 Km journey in about 25 mins. The sea was not at all visible and it was pretty chilly. Here is a snap around 6:45 AM when it cleared up a little. We could not see the sunrise. The fog is still visible in the background.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02569.jpg

After spending some time at the beach having tea and coconut water we headed to the OTDC lodge. We will have breakfast and get everything ready to head to Puri. But, before leaving for Puri we wil be going back to the Konarak Temple.

Here are some snaps of the Konarak OTDC Lodge

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02581.jpg

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02583.jpg

The most common Crane

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02596.jpg

The majestic chariot wheels of the Sun Temple

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02603.jpg

Maintenance going on to preserve the temple

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02604.jpg

Another part of the Temple

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02611.jpg

The front side of the Sun Temple

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02613.jpg

Flowers bloomed, well maintained temple premises

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02623.jpg

Another snap of the perched butterfly

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02624.jpg

Will be back with the rest of the journey.
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Old 30th November 2009, 16:51   #9
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Nice one. Post some more beach photographs.
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Old 1st December 2009, 19:23   #10
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Nice travelogue. I will be driving to Bangalore next week. Good to know that it takes around 12 hours to reach Bhubaneswar. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 5th December 2009, 12:12   #11
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Akas will definately comeback with the rest of the photos.
Suman, I'm planning a trip to Puri through to Vizag in Jan mid. Please post your experiences on the road, road conditions and other relevant details. I'll be travelling with my 4 months old boy, hence want to collect as much info I can before setting off. Thanks
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Old 6th December 2009, 21:52   #12
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Thumbs up Leaving for Puri from Konarak

After getting back from the Konarak temple, we completed our breakfast and were on our way to Puri. NH203 was an absolute pleasure to drive, it was a mere 55 to 60 odd KM drive. We were both sinking in the beauty of the marine drive as its called. As soon as you land on NH203 the sea will be on the left make it a breezy relaxing drive. Here is the first snap from the car window.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02626.jpg

A little futher down the highway I could not but stop myself from taking a few more of those lovely pictures.

My Xeta basking in the Sun

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02629.jpg

We reached Baliharchandi, a popular picnic spot of Orrisa, as I learnt on reaching the place and could see families enjoying their day. Here are a couple of snaps.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02631.jpg
Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02632.jpg

As we drove on, the sea left us and we were soon driving through Balukhand Reserve Forest. The road was a treat to the eye. One could see alerts from the forest department requesting to look out for rare Black Bucks and Spotted Deers, unfortunately we did not encouter any.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02634.jpg

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02635.jpg

We arrived at Puri before mid day. I was a little frantic about accomodation since none was booked! but was not much worried as so many options are available in Puri. I did not want to park my car on the road and soon got a good place to stay, here's a view from the balcony of the hotel we stayed in. Loved it! I could see my Xeta any time from the balcony.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02647.jpg
Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02648.jpg

We relaxed a bit, had a great meal in the hotel itself, rates were reasonable. We spent the evening going around Puri and I did collect a Tourist Map from the local tourism office since I was planning a drive to chilka. We decided to visit the Jagannath Temple next day since I was carrying my digicam and cell phone and were not allowed to carry them inside. I minded leaving them at the temple counter, so will visit the temple inside next day sans camera and cell phone.
Here are a couple of snaps of The Jagannath Temple

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02537.jpg
Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02657.jpg

The next day we had our breakfast and left for Chilka. The tourist map was helping me great in navigating inside puri and soon we were on NH203A towards Satapada. The roads were again pretty much ok and not much traffic making it an easy drive. Satapada was exciting for me, since I really wanted to watch the Irrawady dolphins, but it was boring for my wife.

My suggestion:

If you are not in a habit of watching wildlife in open spending hours to catch a glimpse of the animal do not visit Satapada, it can get very boring for people who take no such interests. The place is otherwise not happening by any other means.

Another suggestion is to hire OTDC boats ( We were on private ones since we reached late.) if you do want to visit, reaching early is the key, since OTDC boats will not leave if its not full (around 45 ppl approx), private boats will charge a lot and will not show what you can see (Dolphins, Bird sanctuary and Sea Mouth) at least 5 hours trip, so keep time in hand. We missed the bird sanctuary and the sea mouth.

At Satapada

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02661.jpg
Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02663.jpg

After Satapada, were were back to Puri around 4' o clock. Relaxed for an hour and then went on to vist the Jagannath temple and do some shopping.

Next day we left early morning for home, the hotel guy had our breakfast ready and it was 7:00 Am sharp that we left Puri for Kolkata.

A last couple of snaps before leaving...early morning

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02686.jpg

The sun shining on Puri beach, sunrise was not our luck this time due to heavy fog.

Kolkata - Konarak - Puri - Kolkata-dsc02687.jpg

The return journey was obviously faster and we made it in 10 hours with a small break at Kolaghat to satisfy hunger and the usual traffic snarl at the kolaghat bridge.

And thus the Puri trip ended, I was at the receiving end of all the glares and stares from family members around but me and my wife enjoyed a lot.
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Old 7th December 2009, 09:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arindam_xeta View Post
Akas will definately comeback with the rest of the photos.
Suman, I'm planning a trip to Puri through to Vizag in Jan mid. Please post your experiences on the road, road conditions and other relevant details. I'll be travelling with my 4 months old boy, hence want to collect as much info I can before setting off. Thanks

Sure, I will do that.

Excellent pictures. Thanks again for sharing.

I am planning to start around Friday this week. If time permits, I will stay at Visakhapatnam and visit Araku Valley.
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Old 7th December 2009, 10:36   #14
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Nice adventure! So when did you break the news of the actual destination to your parents ?
Which hotel in Puri is that?
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Old 7th December 2009, 11:25   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumannandy View Post
Sure, I will do that.

Excellent pictures. Thanks again for sharing.

I am planning to start around Friday this week. If time permits, I will stay at Visakhapatnam and visit Araku Valley.
You are most welcome! Suman, have a nice safe trip and enjoy a lot. Will be eagerly waiting for your update.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Nice adventure! So when did you break the news of the actual destination to your parents ?
Which hotel in Puri is that?
Well my wife herself came to know when we crossed Balasore and were heading for Bhadrak, we had to call our parents around 2 'o clock since we were not reaching (Santiniketan should have been well reached by 12' 0 clock since we set off at 6 AM) and they were getting anxious now, even though we were constantly in touch on phone. There initial reaction was to a betrayal on my side, but later it tranformed into a big worry about all road side incidents that could affect one. My mom keeps spawning of different ideas at times a filmy that can cause trouble to us, she was so damn worried about us! They were pacified once we reached the hotel in Konarak. My inlaws too were really worried but things cooled down once we shared our lovely experiences and the photos after returning back!
Joy Jagannather Joy

Thats Victoria Club Hotel, Suman it can be an option for you if you are planning a halt in Puri.


Guys I'm planning the same trip as Suman in Jan 2010 after 10th, please let me know if any of you have similar plans around that time and if it can be synced. We will drive together, its just for the sheer fun of being together! Kolkata - Puri - Vizag - Pui - Kolkata something like that. I'll be halting at least for a day during both onward and return journey, since my 4 months old won't be able to do 15 hours continous journey to Vizag (which will be my actual destination though).
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