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Old 16th December 2009, 12:14   #1
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Smile Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats

Last week we went on a four-day trip from Visakhapatnam to various places in Orissa & Chhattisgarh. Total distance covered was 1012 km - and about 65% of that is in twisty ghat roads. The Xylo performed admirably and inspite of driving mostly on ghat roads and in 3rd & 4th gears, returned a mileage of 13.7 kmpl for the trip.

Day-1: Visakhapatnam to Deomali (near Koraput). The Deomali peak is 1672 m (5486 ft) above sea level and is the highest point in Eastern ghats. The NH43 winding through the ghats offered many delightful views. But the road was in absolutely horrible condition - was completely absent in several stretches and we literally had to crawl at snail's place through some areas. And to add to it, there was quite a bit of truck traffic even though it was mid-day. Still, we made it to Semiliguda in 4.5 hours (a distance of about 200 km), had lunch there and started for Deomali - another 45km drive.

The approach road to Deomali was single lane and road surface was broken for most of the part, and plain gravel & dirt at quite a few places. The climb was quite steep with hair-pin bends and double-hair pin bends. The Indica (TDI) ahead of us was visibly struggling with it. Xylo, with four adults and four kids, didn't think much of it and made it through quite comfortably. At the top the Indica driver said that he had to use 1st gear most of the way and the engine got overheated. Xylo pulled through in 2nd & 3rd gears - this vehicle is excellent for rural roads.

The view from the top is beyond words. It was almost sunset (even though it was only just after 4PM) when we reached the top, and the green valleys all around us displayed various hues of greens, yellows and blues in the shifting light. Here is a pic of the Xylo on Deomali in the light of the setting sun.

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1278s.jpg

We spent an hour there (it was getting quite chilly) and then drove to Jeypore, our night-halt and checked into a hotel. Jeypore would be our nigh-halt for the rest of the trip. I will post the other days' details & pics shortly.

Cheers.
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Old 16th December 2009, 12:24   #2
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Default Day-2 at Chitrakoot Waterfalls

Day-2: Jeypore to Chitrakoot Water-falls in Chhattisgarh. The journey was uneventful and roads were quite good. We made good time even though we started late and reached the place by mid-day.

The water falls has a 96ft drop and carved a wide u-shaped canyon in the plateau - it claims to be the largest water-fall in India and is also referred to as India's Niagara (probably because of the similar horse-shoe shape of the falls). The water flow was low, but it still had a very good fall. The locals said that just after the rains, when the water flow is max, the roar could be heard almost a km away. It must be sight behold when the falls is at full-force. The attached pic is a panorama stitched from 5 photos and conveys a good image of the falls - if only it could also convey the roar of the falling water.

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1301ps.jpg

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1336s.jpg

We had lunch at a Tourism restaurant there. They also had cottages along the canyon edge with excellent view of the falls - very nice if you want to stay the night there. At lunch someone drove up in this Premier Padmini modded into a Jeep-look-a-like and parked right next to us. I thought the mod was nicely done and it was quite eye-catching.

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1360s.jpg

After lunch, we stopped at Jagdalpur on the way-back - supposed to be famous for wood-carvings. But I wasn't impressed. Most of the stuff was mediocre and could be found even in Vizag. There were some really good ones, but the asking price was ridiculous. I guess there is a wide margin for bargaining. By 7:30pm we returned back to our hotel in Jeypore for dinner and rest.

Thats the end of day-2.
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Old 16th December 2009, 12:28   #3
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Nice locations. The falls are beautiful. What is it floating in the water? is it log of wood or someone on small boat?

Man, First sight, I thought it was a Gypsy moded with PAl's emblem, headlights etc. But seems this is other way. May be thats because of the Bonnet. Anyway, one look at the tyres and we can confirm
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Old 16th December 2009, 12:34   #4
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Wow !! That's a beautiful location there and never knew something like this existed in India. Thanks for sharing H3LIOS .

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Nice locations. The falls are beautiful. What is it floating in the water? is it log of wood or someone on small boat?
Anna looks like a canoe/a small boat.
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Old 16th December 2009, 12:46   #5
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Beautiful pictures H3lios, the first picture is out of this world. rainbow, canoe at all.

How tall are these falls?

Now why did he need to do that that the Padmini?

Last edited by beejay : 16th December 2009 at 12:48. Reason: Now....
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Old 16th December 2009, 14:56   #6
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Hi,

The pics are awesome and breathtaking, specially the waterfall pics. Thanks a lot for the pics. Waiting for some more.
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Old 16th December 2009, 18:22   #7
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Nice pictures there. Orissa got lot of unexplored scenic beauties and you are lucky to experience those. Keep them coming. TFS.
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Old 16th December 2009, 20:24   #8
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Here are some photos post-rains of the Chitrakot Falls




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Old 16th December 2009, 20:28   #9
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NH43 is in a bad shape? Were there only some stretches where it was terrible or was it bad most of the way? In AP too? Or only in Orissa?
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Old 16th December 2009, 23:59   #10
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Excellent travelogue. The fall looks great.
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Old 17th December 2009, 00:16   #11
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That's simply amazing pictures

Chitrakote has been on my radar for way too long
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Old 17th December 2009, 17:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
What is it floating in the water? is it log of wood or someone on small boat?
It is a canoe with a man in it - he was fishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beejay View Post
How tall are these falls?
Height is not much - the drop is about 100ft. But it is very wide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Here are some photos post-rains of the Chitrakot Falls
WOW
Look at that volume of water. Might have to visit again to see this in person.

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
NH43 is in a bad shape? Were there only some stretches where it was terrible or was it bad most of the way? In AP too? Or only in Orissa?
Yes, it was in pretty bad shape - only in Orissa, the AP part was fine. 50% of the road was terrible. One lane would be completely dug up for repairs and the other lane would be pot-holed and littered with debris and stones from the repair. Had to wait a few minutes at each stretch for the oncoming vehicles to pass before attempting to clear it.

Much of the other 50% was bad, mainly pot-holes - especially in the turnings. Impossible to maintain a decent speed. It improved a bit after Pottangi, but there were many stretches which were one-lane only because repair work. Hopefully it will be much better once they are done with all the repairs.
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Old 17th December 2009, 17:14   #13
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Default Day-3: Gupteswar & Kolab Dam

Day-3: To Gupteswar (shiva temple in a cave in the hills) through a hilly & very dense forest region. For those interested, this is part of "Dandakaranya" - the forest that SriRama travelled through during his exile. There are several local lores about Rama or Hanuman sleeping at a place or praying at a temple etc. The road again was very bad or non-existent, and there were huge pot-holes big enough to swallow an auto-rick entirely. The Xylo fell in one at about 40kmph with a loud thud and I thought the car may have broken something. Luckily everything was still in one piece - I guess the Jeep genes are still at play. I managed to pull-out slowly, inspected for damage and then drove very carefully from then on.

The route through the thick forest was exiting for the kids - they were spotting monkeys, foxes and strange birds. We came across a nice girder/truss bridge built by the british in 1931, still in excellent shape. Here is a pic for you.

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1406ps.jpg

Gupteswar temple was not so much of a temple, but a deep cave with a large Shiv-linga in one corner. It is a stalagmite formation that is common in caves, but was quite large. Apparently Lord Rama & Hanuman were regular visitors here. Anyway, we had lunch there in a small hut - it was tribal food, a bit different but tasty, especially the Dahi-Bhindi was a hit.

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1384s.jpg

Then we drove towards Koraput and visited the Kolab dam & reservoir. It was almost dark by the time we reached there and enjoyed the serene view in the evening light. Spent some time there and returned to Jeypore for the night.

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1423s.jpg

Xylo at Deomali - Highest peak in Eastern Ghats-imgp1435s.jpg

Fourth & last-day's update tomorrow.

Cheers.
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Old 17th December 2009, 17:19   #14
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H3lios: Nice travelogue and some fantastic location.

How far is Chitrakot from Vizag?

Cheers.
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Old 17th December 2009, 17:30   #15
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Dear H3LIOS- are you facing any cold starting problems in your xylo? what is the month of manufacturing of your xylo?
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