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Old 27th January 2011, 17:06   #106
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
the sheer quality of the GQ here - simply fantastic ! The entire stretch is concretised, sparse traffic, disciplined villagers and trucks !. Given the notion of Bihar of yester years, we wonder - are we in Bihar ?

...
...

Hooligans turn up from nowhere, threatening to smash headlights for no reason ! Cars behind us try to back off and return, but are promptly signalled to stop and shut down the engine by these senseless guys. One such hooligan with a big lathi comes close to us and points us to the oozing stream of water from the AC condenser. Baal Baal bach gaye ! - he did'nt notice our number plate ! They are not to be seen a little later.
OT:
My recent experiences in Bengal have been worse than Bihar which I visited recently and was pleasantly surprised.

Bengal is probably going down the old-Bihar route. Too bad...

Quote:
Originally Posted by KishoreC View Post
It mostly true with the BANGALs (bengalis who migrated from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) during the partition of Bengal). You'll find lots of spicy(hot) dishes eaten in BANGAL families regularly.
A small correction -
BANGALs are from eastern Bengal, but they didn't migrate ONLY during the partition. I know bangals living in WB for the past 100+ years.

@roamingrao
The more you progress in your travelogue, my respect for you and your family grows. This is truly an incredible drive covering the GQ and your attempt to meet ABV - the man behind the GQ - is nothing short of a fairy tale.

Looking forward to your remaining days on the GQ. Bring it on!
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Old 27th January 2011, 23:02   #107
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

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Bengalis are known for their love of Kanchalankas (green chillies) also. They put it in almost every curry.
Yes Kishore, i now recall having read about the hottest varieties of green chillies grown in northern regions of WB and further in some NE states also. We had our second episode of burning when we had Bhel puri from a street cart in front of Belur math. Man, it was spicy !


Quote:
Originally Posted by KishoreC View Post
Hope you tried some authentic Bengali sweets also while in WB.
Yes we did, how else could we compensate our burning palates ? Had so many sweets that we had to skip lunch ! Kesar chanar payas was a revelation !!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by aryasanyal View Post
The more you progress in your travelogue, my respect for you and your family grows. This is truly an incredible drive covering the GQ
Thank you aryasanyal for your kind words. Thank you very much. Writing this Tlog has also given us joy and made us relive the entire experience !


---------------------


Day 9, October 16, 2010. Saturday

After a blissful sleep at Citi Residency, Asansol, we hit the road again at 6am and shoot through the deserted highway past Durgapur, a short stretch of undivided and rough highway through Panagarh and the super smooth expressway through Bardhaman all the way to Howrah.


Come, Lets drive !

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Durgapur Steel city entrance

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We see many cold storage units along the highway. This one is on the Bardhaman byepass.

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The highway plays hide and seek with a broad strip of railway tracks all along the route. Now you see it... now you dont...

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Emerald green fields. Pleasing to those who were awake. I was, of course !

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Kolkata, here we come

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We take the left most lane to reach GT road, Howrah. 9.15am ( it seems like 11ish here )

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Our first stop is Belur math, Howrah. We ask for directions and navigate our way through the old and narrow Grand Trunk road ( GT road ). At the Belur math main gate, we are diverted to a nearby football field for parking. Visitors to the math are coming in thousands, being the ninth day of navratri festival. Very auspicious indeed. We walk our way through a lane to the Belur math ferry and take a boat ride across the Hoogly to Dakshineshwar Temple. The 20 min boat ride is exciting...around 25 people on the boat, powered by a old diesel engine creating a racket which was in our ears for hours !



Through the GT road. All shops are closed. We see a small pandal - our first one in Howrah.

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Please dont leave me alone here. Its really out of place for me here........WB, WB, WB, KA, WB, WB, WB....!!!

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Across the hoogly

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Vivekananda Setu and Nivedita Bridge

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Dakshineshwar temple ghat

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Approaching the ferry stop

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At Dakhineshwar temple, a long queue of devotees waiting to have darshan welcome us. Standing in the km long queue would take hours, so we approach the office and ask if we can have a faster darshan. He says that the queue is only for devotees who intend to offer flowers / fruits to the goddess and instructs us to stand in the mukh mantap ( a large pillared hall exactly in front of the sanctum ). After a wait of 10 mins, a priest stalls the queue inside the sanctum allowing us to have darshan of Maa Bhavatarini for almost 15 seconds. She is short, dark, in a walking posture with one foot over the chest of a lying shiva ! Members, please explain here . Another doubt, why is she facing south ? Doubts apart, we are excited no end - darshan of the Maa kali on navami day ! The queue resumes, blocking our view, we sit in the same hall, meditate for a minute and walk to the 12 identical shivling.

Rani Rosmani built this temple in 1855 and puja was conducted by none other than Ramakrishna ( the founder of Ramakrishna Mission ) whose most famous disciple is Swami Vivekananda.




Dakshineshwar Temple. The sanctum at the cente and the mukh mantap on the right.

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The Founder of the temple, Rani Rosmani

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Garden on the river bank, Maa Bhavatarini

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We take a ferry back to Belur math. Now, going downstream, we reach within 15 minutes.




Innocence !!!

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Testing the waters
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Collector

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Belur Math Ghat

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At the Belur Ghat ferry dock

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We walk to Ramakrishna temple at Belur math. This temple is built to resemble a temple ( hindu and buddhist ), a mosque and a church viewed from different directions - a symbol of religious diversity of our Incredible India ! Inside the building - a large hall - a marble Idol of Ramakrishna ( Paramahamsa ) in meditation.

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We also visit Swami Vivekananda temple built at the place where he was cremated, his living room and a museum. On our way out, we notice a old building - the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission.




Driving back on GT road, we get confused on which road to take towards Kolkata after some roads are marked one way. A policeman helps us and directs us to what we see ahead - The symbol of Kolkata - The Howrah Bridge.

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Gudiya and Titli clap fervently as we drive on the bridge - not because we are crossing the hoogly for the second time in this trip, but for we enter our third metro city in our drive - KOLKATA.


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Old 28th January 2011, 12:35   #108
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Amazing Sir,
You have been a huge bundle of inspiration. Will bump into you one of these days as i do see your scorpio in and around Blore south. Due credit to HVK Sir who did a tele chat with me and helped me on my routes to RJ. The first few pages did bring in sweet memories of mine.

Kudos to your family and appreciate your fitness in achieving long distances...
you have me glued to this thread for more updates...
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Old 28th January 2011, 23:55   #109
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Kudos to your family and appreciate your fitness in achieving long distances...
Thank you Mahesh. Thank you very much.


-----------------


We cross the majestic Howrah bridge and are in Kolkata at 1.30pm. Belur math and Dakshineshwar temple visits have taken more than four hours. Little time remaining, and so much to see, we staightaway head to Esplanade junction, park our car in a small lane behind a mosque and raid the KC Das sweet shop ! Extremely sweet tooths that we are, the friendly staff help us in tasting almost everything on display ! - we order for a mixed platter of Rosogolla, Ram bhog, a cup of Kesar chanar payas, Shondesh, Kalo jam, Chomchom, mishti doi and have a samosa for dessert !!! Is this not enough to taste authentic bengali sweets ?

A relaxed drive of the area surrounding the maidan follows.......Raj Bhavan, Fort William, Vidya sagar setu, Eden Gardens Stadium, Victoria Memorial and a casual drive through Park street. Gudiya and Titli were thrilled to see multiple crossing of the tram !


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And, what's Kolkata without a ride in the underground metro ? Driving back from Park street, we search for a parking slot to access the park street metro station..... and end up near Rabindra sadan metro station !

Parking the car in front of a chinese restaurant, we climb down, and when our turn comes to buy tickets, i go blank ... where do we go ? I see the board in a hurry and looking for a station alteast 5 to 6 stops away, i mention Shyam Bazaar !

On the platform, we are speechless - yes, this is new to us, a first in our lives ! The excitement continues when a trains pulls up, we board the train, the doors close and wham ! the station disappears !

Inside the train - serious people stare at four thrilled faces !

After some stops....... Parabarti station.......... Shyam Bazaar.


Shyam Bazaar at first sight

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We walk into a small pandal

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A short walk along the main road, we cross the road and walk into a bigger pandal. This pandal is impressive. Let me share all the photographs we clicked here.


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The organisers call us aside and hand over small bowls of dal and curd rice as prasad. Atleast some staple food for the day !


A look at my watch and we head back to the metro station. Thank you Shyam Bazaar !


Rabindra Sadan welcomes us back with heavy rains. Not to waste any more time, we run to the car, navigate our way through to Vidya sagar setu and out of Kolkata. Our kolkata rendezvous has been most memorable.

The stretch from the setu to the junction with NH6 is full of potholes ! Kona expressway ?

Its dark at 5.15pm. We drive towards Kharagpur. Being puja days, maybe truck traffic is lean. Each village crossing has a massive pandal. Again, must appreciate the way pedestrian junctions are manned by village volunteers.


NH6
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Azad Hind Dhaba at Birshibpur ( next to BPCL ) offers us the best dhaba food we have in the entire trip. Excellent location, spacious and open seating, fresh / tasty food, service in a jiffy and clean rest rooms - could you expect more ? Spirited attendents at the filling station too !

Traffic eases after Kolaghat and then on its a flat out drive to Kharagpur. Yes sir, Kharagpur byepass junction is confusing, extremely confusing at night. But as we are headed towards the town, we just had to follow the boards !

8pm, we enter Kharagpur. We ask a traffic policeman for a family type hotel. His directions lead us to a slush filled road behind the railway station, almost desolate. We are there - a lodge ?.... No lights, no parking, no families, nothing. So, if this is a good hotel, we should have asked for a 5 star hotel ! and we did ask - at a auto stand.

Hotel Park on the IIT road is better, with some semblance of a family hotel ( and secure parking ). The atmosphere is festive - looks like all the families of Kharagpur have come here to dine ! Despite the orchestra, we manage to sleep !
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Old 29th January 2011, 00:17   #110
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Following the travelogue for quite some time now, and its fabulous. The snaps of Kolkata made me homesick
Agree with KishoreC, Bengali's also love spicy food - try 'kasundi' (mustard sauce) some time, available in Spencer's Bangalore.
A small correction, it is Rani Rasmoni and not Rosmani.
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Old 29th January 2011, 00:31   #111
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

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Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Azad Hind Dhaba at Birshibpur ( next to BPCL ) offers us the best dhaba food we have in the entire trip. Excellent location, spacious and open seating, fresh / tasty food, service in a jiffy and clean rest rooms - could you expect more ? Spirited attendents at the filling station too !
We too had stopped at the same place for a very late lunch after leaving Kolkatta. Nice place, with fast service and tasty food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Traffic eases after Kolaghat and then on its a flat out drive to Kharagpur. Yes sir, Kharagpur byepass junction is confusing, extremely confusing at night. But as we are headed towards the town, we just had to follow the boards !
Tell me about it. We had a frustrating time here, trying to find the right road. We went in all the 4 directions from that round about, since we were driving onwards!!

Brings back a lot of memories.
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Old 29th January 2011, 14:57   #112
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Now the only stretch left is through the Naxailte prone zone.
Waiting for updates.
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Old 31st January 2011, 12:41   #113
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Nice details of your Kolkata trip with very good photogrpahs.

Your Kolkata tour is simliar to what I do, when my relatives visit Kolkata. It always ends with ride on Metro.

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Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post

Azad Hind Dhaba at Birshibpur ( next to BPCL ) offers us the best dhaba food we have in the entire trip. Excellent location, spacious and open seating, fresh / tasty food, service in a jiffy and clean rest rooms - could you expect more ?
Azad Hind offer excellent food, we also visit regularly to that place to have a drive + good food.

Looking forward to your Orissa and Andhra trip.
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Old 1st February 2011, 16:20   #114
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I have only one question...
What resources did you use (internet / books etc) to know what you must see at all the places that you visited - eg: Kolkata.

Such detailed planning for such a big trip with so many places to see en-route must mean many hours / days of planning / reading up.

BTW your trip thro' Kanpur's elevated by pass and the NH2 brings brings back many memories of our trip last year... Thanks for helping us revive the trip memories.

EDIT: Did you use a GPS for the trip ? What make ?

Last edited by kingshukt : 1st February 2011 at 16:22.
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Old 1st February 2011, 23:11   #115
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Following the travelogue for quite some time now, and its fabulous
Thank you Arindamray. Nice to see you post here, in this thread !

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
A small correction, it is Rani Rasmoni and not Rosmani.
Thank you for the correction, arindamray. I stand corrected. I apologise if the mistake conveys a different meaning.


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Originally Posted by unni.ak View Post
We too had stopped at the same place for a very late lunch after leaving Kolkatta. Nice place, with fast service and tasty food.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram_NP View Post
Azad Hind offer excellent food, we also visit regularly to that place to have a drive + good food.
We were mighty impressed with the Dhaba. If the dhaba had a cottage, we would've stayed there for the night !

Is'nt it a good idea - Ghar dhabas can have one or two small cottages - can be immensely useful !


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram_NP View Post
Nice details of your Kolkata trip with very good photogrpahs. Your Kolkata tour is simliar to what I do, when my relatives visit Kolkata. It always ends with ride on Metro.
Thank you, Ram. Though the metro ride delayed our schedule in Kolkata - it was worth it. again, a first in our lives ! The pandals at Shyam bazaar were bonus !


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Originally Posted by KishoreC View Post
Waiting for updates.
Yes Kishore, a few more posts remaining. will complete at a stretch


Quote:
Originally Posted by kingshukt View Post
What resources did you use (internet / books etc) to know what you must see at all the places that you visited - eg: Kolkata. Such detailed planning for such a big trip with so many places to see en-route must mean many hours / days of planning / reading up.

EDIT: Did you use a GPS for the trip ? What make ?
Kingshukt, thank you for those kind words. It feels good to be appreciated.

we had four months to chart out the list of places to visit at each city / town we were to pass through. Wikitravel and www.districts.nic.in helped us in filtering. Also, it was not tough to eliminate tourist spots / monuments in the time we had for that city. For example in Delhi, we could'nt visit the Qutub Minar ! The basic idea was to have a glance - been there, seen that types. Otherwise, a 60 day tour would'nt even suffice.

No, GPS is not installed. Hvkumar ji's log is more than that ! and within cities - as one member puts it in this forum - roll down the window and ask !

Regards,
Rao

----------------



Day 10, October 17, 2010. Sunday. Kharagpur - Bhubaneshwar - Konark - Puri : 448kms

The orchestra at Hotel park, Kharagpur goes on till late in the night on saturday. This is the only reason we can attribute to our late start from the hotel - everything is slack ! This is to cost us very dearly later in the day.


We drive to Kharagpur Junction to view the longest platform in the world.

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driving towards the byepass, IIT Kharagpur.

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back on the GQ

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Runway NH60 !!

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Lorriyon ki baraat !!!

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Ahoy ! Chennai sighted !

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we drive on , discussing some very interesting facts

we are on our 10th day of our drive,
also the 10th day of navratri festival ( dussehra )
in the 10th month
10th year ? ( 2010 )
10th state of our trip ( KA, MH, GJ, RJ, HR, DL, UP, BR, JH, WB ) or we enter the 10th state ( OR ) if KA is to be counted later !
10th National Highway ( 4, 50, 3, 8, 76, 79, 79A, 2, 6, 60 )
and are to visit 10th temple at Puri today !

Titli chipped in - the time is just past 10 ! after 10 minutes, gudiya tells - we are running on diesel filled at the 10th filling station ( Birshibpur ). I say enough - i dont want the 10th fact !




We are in Odisha

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acres of green gold !

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And then the bad stretch starts. We cross Jaleshwar, drive for about 15kms and the road gives away. Incomplete stretches of highway, broken bridges, diversions, gravel filled road and continues all the way to just before Bhadrak. 90 odd kms is done in two and half hours.

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Bhadrak - the road improves ! and yes ! NH 5 will take us all the way to Chennai. We have lunch at a small hotel in Bhadrak and continue.

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approaching Cuttack

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Heavy traffic greets us on a Sunday afternoon in Cuttack. A traffic jam near a pandal takes one hour to clear.

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Crossing the Mahanadi

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We are glad to be the Utkala kingdom ! Odisha is mentioned as Utkala in our national Anthem.

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A large pandal as we drive through Bhubaneshwar. Later we come to know that a pandal here is styled after Vidhana Soudha of Bangalore !

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Yes sir, the diversion to Puri is well marked !


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Day light fades as we approach Pipli. We need to rush.


Applique shops at Pipli.

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At Pipli, we ask for directions and take a diversion towards Konark.


These ducks pretending not having heard screeching of tyres, stop in their march across the road, stare at us for a while and continue to march with gay abandon ! Talk about attitude !

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Lush green fields near Gop. Do we have the time to appreciate the scene ? A regretful NO !

Instead, i must apologise to the locals here for having to drive in such a reckless manner.

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Konark at 5.10pm. Again, dusk. We are at the Sun Temple and the sun has gone down !

Titli points a finger at me, tears running down and angry - I told you to get up early !

Could i answer ?

Last edited by roamingrao : 1st February 2011 at 23:15.
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Old 2nd February 2011, 09:12   #116
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Quote:
Azad Hind Dhaba at Birshibpur ( next to BPCL ) offers us the best dhaba food we have in the entire trip. Excellent location, spacious and open seating, fresh / tasty food, service in a jiffy and clean rest rooms - could you expect more ? Spirited attendents at the filling station too !
Where exactly is it?

the 10s was fantastic!
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Old 2nd February 2011, 14:06   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
we drive on , discussing some very interesting facts

we are on our 10th day of our drive,
also the 10th day of navratri festival ( dussehra )
in the 10th month
10th year ? ( 2010 )
10th state of our trip ( KA, MH, GJ, RJ, HR, DL, UP, BR, JH, WB ) or we enter the 10th state ( OR ) if KA is to be counted later !
10th National Highway ( 4, 50, 3, 8, 76, 79, 79A, 2, 6, 60 )
and are to visit 10th temple at Puri today !

Titli chipped in - the time is just past 10 ! after 10 minutes, gudiya tells - we are running on diesel filled at the 10th filling station ( Birshibpur ). I say enough - i dont want the 10th fact !
I quickly scrolled back to see if it was page 10. But unfortunately no

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Konark at 5.10pm. Again, dusk. We are at the Sun Temple and the sun has gone down !

Titli points a finger at me, tears running down and angry - I told you to get up early !

Could i answer ?
You were just 10 mins late !!!

Sir, I was following the travelogue, and thoroughly enjoying the narration and the pictures.
It really takes a lot of coordination and also the support of family to take up such a trip. Congratulations to your complete family for the great achievement. I must confess, trying to meet Sri.ABV was such a great thought. I keep mentioning to my wife every time I travel on GQ or North/South corridor that if not for the vision of one man, this wouldnt have been possible. This has really changed the way we drive on roads.

I was also moved by the incident you mentioned in Shirdi of tears rollong down the eyes of daughter in front of diety, and the occasion of late arrival at Konark, shows her deep belief, interest and curiosity. May God bless her.
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Old 2nd February 2011, 14:29   #118
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Nice pictures and amazing patients to drive along with family.
The pictures from Kharagpur to Puri made me nostalgic of my trip to these places in 2007.
I was driving back from Gangtok and was guided by an auto guy before Cuttack to Konark Sun Temple.The road passed through lot of small towns and narrow roads.
Awaiting for your pics from Sun temple.
I appreciate the support you got from your family.
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Old 2nd February 2011, 23:29   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Where exactly is it?
Hi,
Uluberia, 19 KM from from first tollgate on NH6 after exiting Calcutta towards Kharagpur, on Southern side of road. Chainage 54 (N22.47795 E88.06398)!

3 KM further on, there is/ was an A1 Plaza.

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 2nd February 2011 at 23:32. Reason: Added Reliance info
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Old 3rd February 2011, 17:30   #120
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Where exactly is it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
Uluberia, 19 KM from from first tollgate on NH6 after exiting Calcutta towards Kharagpur, on Southern side of road. Chainage 54 (N22.47795 E88.06398)
Thank you, Sutripta. Yes, approx 26 kms from Kona expw / NH6 junction towards Kharagpur. The BPCL filling station is hard to miss.

Ram NP, Do you have any photograph of this place ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sriturl View Post
thoroughly enjoying the narration and the pictures.
It really takes a lot of coordination and also the support of family to take up such a trip. Congratulations to your complete family for the great achievement
Thank you for that, Sriturl. Glad to know you are following this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sriturl View Post
if not for the vision of one man, this wouldnt have been possible. This has really changed the way we drive on roads.
So true !

Quote:
Originally Posted by sriturl View Post
shows her deep belief, interest and curiosity. May God bless her.
Sriturl, Gudiya and Titli wish to thank you for your wishes.

I too was moved and when i could'nt answer her, i cursed myself for my delayed rising !

I feel all kids are like that - we project a picture and when we don't stick to our commitment, this happens !


Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Nice pictures and amazing patience to drive along with family. I appreciate the support you got from your family.
Thank you gajadonga. I'm enjoyed your escape to Solang valley too. now, the deserts ! Great trip !


---------------



At Konark Sun Temple

We hire an elderly guide at the OTDC counter and before we walk in to the temple, he briefs us on the history of the temple - both, from the legends and historical. He also goes on to explain the reasons for the fall of the temple.

As we walk in and realise, the lack of sunlight does not let us down. The entire monument is brilliantly lit on all four sides which in turn gave the monument a magical ' wonderland ' look.

The enormity of the monument is breathtaking. What we see now is only a fraction of the entire temple built earlier. Two sanctums of 380 feet and 580 feet high which were behind the sanctum ( what we see now - Jagamohana ) have fallen. Imagine a 580 feet high temple on a sea shore. The ruined temple now stands at 230 feet high.

Built in the 13th century, the temple in its original entirety was a colossal chariot of the Sun with 7 horses symbolising seven days of the week ( other notions may be seven colours of light or seven chakras ), 24 wheels meant as fortnights in a year ( paksha ). Each wheel which acts as a sundial, is 3 meters in diameter and is exquisitely carved with 8 spokes ( each depicting three hours - prahara ). Each prahara is again divided by beading ( small spheres ) type of smaller spokes. The shadow of the hub on these spheres were to depict the time of the day. 12 wheels face the north and the other 12 south to enable the sun casting of shadow on the wheels throughout the year.

The temple was built to enthrall all age groups. On the lower level, for kids, the entire periphery of the 8 feet high porch is carved with marching elephants, animals, musicians and dancers. The next higher level has some erotic sculptures and the highest level has various forms of god.

The guide shows us metal slats inserted between large blocks of stone. A gigantic magnet of 52 tons ( historians call it a load stone with magnetic properties ) placed on the top of the last sanctum held all the stones together by virtue of its attraction. A throne which was directly under the magnet and seated the idol of the sun is said to float in air and the sun rays deflecting from a diamond placed on the idols chest lit the entire sanctorum. The deflecting rays of the sun is said to be behind the name Kona ( angle ) and arka ( sun ) - Konark

The magnet also caused compass of the passing portugese ships to behave erratic and caused many shipwrecks. The magnet was looted and this caused the temple to collapse. There are other theories on when and how the temple was built and the reason for its fall. This site discusses the possibilities - www.konark.nic.in.

Is this magnet inside the bermuda triangle ?


Kudos to the British and Indian archaeologists who have restored the temple to what it is now. A must visit, as an Indian !

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on Konark Sun temple - "Where the language of stone...defeats the language of man"



Photographs of whatever i could click in this type of light. Even at night, with illumination, it seemed a professional photographer's delight !


In front of Nata Mandir ( assembly hall where dancers perform )

Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !-1.jpg




Marching lions symbolising crushing of any hurdles in the path of the majestic stride of the Sun

Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !-2.jpg





Intricate carvings on the porch of Nata mandir

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Jagamohana, from Nata Mandir

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The only galloping horse remaining, out of 7

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The giant wheels of the Sun Chariot

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A broken portion of the spoke exposing the metal slat between the stone slabs of the porch

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On the western side, where the main sanctum once stood on the porch

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The Jagamohana interiors was filled with stones to prevent further collapse. ( Jagamohana is a hall between the prayer hall and the main sanctorum )

Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !-15.jpg




The sealed doors of the Jagamohana.

Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !-16.jpg




We walk back unwillingly. The guide also felt we could have spent more time here.

Passing a small shopping area, he went on to explain the history behind Lord Jagannath temple at Puri. The story of King Indradyumna and how he installed half sculpted idols as lord Jagannath, lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. At the same time, the guide also mentions the centuries old ritual of tribals in this area of worshipping wooden poles decorated with cloth and flowers - a more scientific approach. There are again different theories on manifestation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Subhadra, Krishna and Balabhadra respectively. This manifestation theory gains importance as the diety's escorts, Saraswati, lakshmi and Parvati are painted along with the three main idols at Puri. So, Lord Jagannath temple at Puri signifies a place for unity of all the three rulers of the world ( Jagannath ). I may be wrong as this is what we have heard. Members, please share / contribute your beliefs on this here.

Gudiya and Titli were happy with the guide's narration, though it sounded more of odiya than hindi !


I console Titli - what if the sun is not there, have'nt we seen the Sun Temple on a Sunday ? We all have a good laugh !


A 45 minute drive on a road right on the shores of Bay of Bengal takes us to Puri . At some places we hear the roar of the sea.

On the extremely broad main road leading to the temple which seemed like the path of the annual Rathyatra, we are diverted to a parking area and from here, we take a rickshaw to the main temple. Again, a very broad flight of steps takes us inside the huge temple complex. Being Vijayadashami day ( 10th day of dussehra ), the temple is crowded - devotees in front of all the smaller temples inside the complex ( said to be around 120 temples ), priests running around, the ringing of numerous bells, drum beating is heard in the background - beehive of activity ! even at 8pm.

There is no queue for darshan. A 100 strong group including us is held just ahead of the sanctum sactorum by a few barricades and when the curtains are drawn - it is free for all. But all the pushing and jostling is disregarded when we are in front of Lord Jagannath - dumbstruck by the enormity of the idols. We could push forward and go very close to the idols, but we choose to do a pradakshina. Not satisfied, we come out and wait for the rush to subside and enter again after 20 minutes. This time, very few inside, it is priests' turn to torment us. They make us touch the pedestal of the idols and on getting a note which is less than what they expect, hurl a hindi word at me - equivalent to miser / stingy. I disregard them, ask them to leave us alone and stand at one corner of the sanctorum, praying like we never did. Touching the lotus feet of lord Jagannath on Vijayadashami is the most fortunate event of our lives ! We are floating in air !

We come out after 10 minutes, have darshan at Devi Mahalakshmi temple, have prasad and roam about in the temple complex, observing all. On our way out of the temple after climbing down the main stairs we are attracted to a sweet stall selling the local delicacy - Khaja. New to us, apprehensive at first whether it is vegetarian, assured and tasted, we consume a dozen ! sweet dinner !


Back to our car, this time we are allowed to drive close to the temple and click these photographs of the temple.


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OTDC Panthanivas on the Puri beach is our home for tonight. ( Rs.900, a/c, two bedded, massive room with a small room for dressing ! ). We can hear the sea ! calling !
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