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Old 3rd February 2011, 18:20   #121
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

What a fabulously detailed account sir! Your travelogue is an inspiration to me (and I am sure to many others like me!) to explore our country. To see and absorb every magnificent part of history.
It is really a shame that most of our places of such importance are tainted with the 'moha' or temptation of money. For some reason, this very feeling of crass commercialisation has been offputting enough to prevent me from visiting these places more often. However, your reactions to such behaviour has indicated a great way for dealing with these elements and I hope it helps people like me to shed our inhibitions and travel more.
I hope you and you family clock many miles more on your future travels (disclaimer for selfish interest: so we get to read more travelogues from you!)
If I am not asking for too much, can you please put up a summary of your trip (miles clocked/ mileage/ any issues/ etc) when you reach Bangalore in this travelogue?
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Old 3rd February 2011, 23:15   #122
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The flag seen on the top of the Jagannatha temple, till date hoisted at that height manually.

There are certain families in and around Puri, who have been doing it for several generations.

They climb up there, to the top of the temple, without any gear or protection. It is said no accidents have happened yet.

I guess, the event happens once every week.

It's definitely a sight to behold.

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Old 4th February 2011, 15:56   #123
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Roamingrao-I just taken my breath-i read your log from first sentence till the last one you penned. Just amazing-I am echoing HVK's sentiments "when did you eat and sleep....."??? Boy some trip. Fantanstic trip, better pics and the best naration-spell bound. You and your family should be an inspiration for all. It was nostalgia for me when you covered the Eastern part-Kharagpur-walked the platform in the late 1960s yes-just after my Senior Cambridge exams-it was just declared the longest-prior to Kharagpur-Sonepur was the longest. Cuttack my home town.
Sir I salute the family and you.
Colonel J H Mayne
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Old 6th February 2011, 11:11   #124
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Default Re: Our Incredible India Drive - 13 days on the GQ !

Roamingrao,

First of all, hearty congratulations to you n your family. No matter what all a person must have seen across the world but nothing compares when you go around our incredible india. Its an achievement and I salute you all for the achievement. Pls keep it coming.......FUNTABULOUS.......

HVK-tks again for all your help in my venture to south twice. Salute your relentless pursuit in exploring our incredible India and 24/7 help to all.

Last edited by GTO : 8th February 2011 at 18:56. Reason: STRICTLY no more than two smileys per post please
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Old 8th February 2011, 00:01   #125
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Your travelogue is an inspiration to me (and I am sure to many others like me!) to explore our country. To see and absorb every magnificent part of history.
Selfdrive, Thank you. Your appreciation inspires me too !


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Originally Posted by KishoreC View Post
The flag seen on the top of the Jagannatha temple, till date hoisted at that height manually. There are certain families in and around Puri, who have been doing it for several generations. They climb up there, to the top of the temple, without any gear or protection. It is said no accidents have happened yet. I guess, the event happens once every week. It's definitely a sight to behold.
Thanks for the info, Kishore. Called Dhwaja rohana here in Karnataka - also a family tradition in most temple festivals. Kadri temple festival in Mangalore - the huge wooden Dhwaja Stamba ( pillar ) itself is erected on the first day of the festival using three ropes tied at the top end and pulled ! For the next 9 days, the pillar rests only on a small groove and does not move an inch ! As kids, sitting directly in the direction of the pull, was scary !


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Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Boy some trip. Fantanstic trip, better pics and the best naration-spell bound. You and your family should be an inspiration for all.Sir I salute the family and you.Colonel J H Mayne
Thank you, Colonel. We are overwhelmed ! At loss of words to reply. We could only take a bow and say, THANK YOU !


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Originally Posted by anna_mumbai View Post
No matter what all a person must have seen across the world but nothing compares when you go around our incredible india.
Nothing could be more true ! Thanks for that, anna_mumbai !



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


Day 11 - October 18, 2010. Monday. Puri - Vishakapatnam : 555 kms


At OTDC Panthanivas, Puri


The alarm rings at 5.30 am. For a change, instead of running to the car, we run to the beach !

and walk on the sands for an hour, watching the colours change in the horizon. The sun rise is spectacular.



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As we walk, we mention and discuss about Sudarsan Pattnaik, a renowned sand sculptor from here, famous for his theme based sand sculptures on this very beach.

After a long walk, we bare our feet on the water line and sit down to steal some quiet and leisure moments of the trip !




The hotel is old, but has a charm of its own.


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A long breakfast follows...


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Driving out of Puri, Paradise Filling Station at Mukteswar bazaar, Puri, cheats us by filling 56 litres of diesel ! Mileage which hovered around 10.75 to 11.5 per litre all along the trip drops to 9 thanks to a manipulated machine here. Attendents do not speak anything other than Odiya ! What baffles me is, the filling station is crowded and seems popular.


We do not turn left at Pipli to take a shortcut to NH5, instead drive towards Bhubaneshwar.




This showroom on the main road just before Bhubaneshwar attracts us


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Guess their biggest client..... Govt.of Karnataka !! Got an idea after visiting Belur, Halebeedu and Somnathpur ? Come here !


a peek into their workshop


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We have our second breakfast at Vithal Kamat, Bhubaneshwar, knowing we pass through rural Odisha and Andhra for the rest of the day and finding a decent restaurant for lunch is difficult. Yes, the fare at Vithal Kamat is more of a tasting test ! Later, we turn left and drive on NH5



After Khurda byepass

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The best of Odisha GQ. Though very shortlived ! This is as we approach Balugaon.

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In the next 15 minutes, just before Balugaon, the road magically turns into a undivided two lane road ! We can now see the Chilika lake to our left.


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We enter Balugaon and turn left towards the lake. The entire stretch of 2 km to the lake is a fish market !



We hold our breath at the first sight of Chilika Lake. Yes, a 60 km long, second largest lagoon in the world !


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December to June, the lake is salty with sea water coming in. During both monsoons, fresh water from the 52 rivers which feeds the lake pushes out the sea water to make it a fresh water lake. Unique !


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Winter home for migratory birds from as far as Siberia. 12,000 km one way - just to escape harsh winter ! every year !!


Fishing is the only occupation for the 150 odd villages along the coast of this lake.

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A boat man offers us a ride to Kalijai temple and back, a 2 hour round trip to an island of the presiding deity of this lake and also promises us dolphin sighting. We would have loved to go, but our car is waiting for us !

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Now, the scary part - A 'Save Chilika Lake' board mentions that the depth of the lake which was 4 to 5 metres 30 years back is now only 1 - 2 metres. Silt is a major threat. Something must be done, else our grand children would not be in a position to answer the Siberian cranes !

Last edited by roamingrao : 8th February 2011 at 00:09.
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Old 8th February 2011, 00:15   #126
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Rated 5 stars sir, I have never been hooked onto a travelogue so much. A couple of my colleagues here are impressed with the miles you have clocked, especially as we do not talk much about roadtrips in India.
Respect quadrupled as you are the only driver, your family is travellling with you and you planned this all so well.
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Old 9th February 2011, 00:21   #127
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Rated 5 stars sir, I have never been hooked onto a travelogue so much. Respect quadrupled as you are the only driver, your family is travellling with you and you planned this all so well.
Selfdrive, Thank you very much. we only hope this travelogue lives upto your expectations ! and if this travelogue inspires you to take up and complete a similar trip, we would feel writing this was all the worth while. Again, Thank you for your wishes.


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


Heading back to NH 5 at Balugaon after our tryst with Chilika Lake, we drive southwards and get stuck at Barkul village for 20 minutes and later 40 mins at a narrow level crossing - two trains pass on either direction and later a huge trailer truck unable to take a turn at the crossing.



Sorry Pantha Nivas, we are skipping lunch today.


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The pride of these tracks - The Coromandel Express !

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Unfinished stretches of the GQ in Odisha. The only other state that has incomplete stretches of the GQ is Karnataka. Partners in slack !

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Climbing up a hillock after Nirmaljhara gives us fantastic views of Chilika Lake on our left. Hard to believe its not sea !

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Just before we are on top of the hill and start downwards, we turn back to see - Good bye, Chilika !

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One sided two lane GQ ! Just as we think the worst roads are behind us...........

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..............Rambha hits back ! and badly. Is this the GQ ?

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33 kms to the hill shrine of Maa Taratarini

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Rushikulya, Gahiramatha and Gokharkuda beaches are close by ! World famous site for laying of eggs by lakhs of Olive Ridley sea turtles in March to May every year.

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We pass through the last town in Odisha, Berhampur.

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Back in South India !!

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The sun sets as we approach Srikakulam

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We divert from Srikakulam byepass, enter the crowded town and drive 15 kms to the village of Srikurmam.

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In the village - the only temple in the world dedicated to Kurma avatar ( Lord Vishnu in Tortoise form ).

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Telugu and Kannada scripts are similar - we make out the board as Sri Kurmanatha Swamy Devasthanamu, Srikurmam.





This temple is old, very old. Apart from us, there is noboby around. Stone pillars and sculptures inside the temple suggests it was built centuries ago.

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The head priest takes us inside the sanctum sanctorum, ensures we sit and explains - the temple was built in the 2nd century by the Cholas, but historical records mention that Sri Narahari Teertharu ( disciple of Sri Madhvacharya. yes, Udupi seer - founder of dwaita philosophy ) established this temple in the 13th century. The Kurma avatara idol is said to be a tortoise fossil.

The priest conducts a small pooja, arathi and hands us prasad. We sit for a while, meditate and then later, offer a pradakshina namaskara. We feel fortunate.

Camera is not allowed inside the sanctum. Please allow me to paste this photograph of the idol ( taken from image search on the net )

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The head priest walks along with us and shows a large pond - Hundreds of tortoises. Fed and looked after by the temple. We have'nt seen so many of these gentle creatures anywhere else ! On his request, we make a small donation for the upkeep of these !

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As we drive back towards Srikakulam and NH 5, we realise the scientific importance of setting up this temple by our ancient seers - the turtle visits in neighbouring south odisha and north Andhra have been on since centuries. Is there any better way to protect these species than making people realise them as Lord Vishnu ?





Vishakapatnam at 8.30pm

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Vishakapatnam is not new to us. Our first long drive from Bangalore was to this beautiful city in June 2008. We had a Maruti 800 then. A three day tour had seen us visit all the tourist spots here and capped it with a APSRTC rail cum road tour to Araku valley and Borra caves. We love this city !

This time though, she is unhappy that we have come after a long gap ! She refuses to help us find a decent hotel to sleep. We roam the next one hour, knocking at the doors of almost ten hotels - Sorry sir, all rooms are full. All of Bengal and Assam is here !

I resign, almost about to hit the highway again and target Rajamundry before midnight.

Gudiya helps us again - appa, is there a ISKCON temple here ? We run to a telephone booth, ask for a directory and drive to the Hare Krishna temple at Sagar Nagar. The guest house is full, but the manager helps us sleep in a massive state of the art room, 1200 sq feet, 6 air conditioners and four individual mattresses - The Conference Room !!

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Our car has a blissful sleep too !

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Old 9th February 2011, 08:38   #128
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Hi Ashok,

You seem to have captivated one and all, waiting for the last 2 days of the travelogue, felt like I was traveling. I am all set for Oct 2011.

Downloaded yr Travelogue, sorry if you have patented, could not relish the thought of having a ready reckoner. 450 Pages, still going strong.

Great Work, Catch up with you soon.

Rajesh


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Selfdrive, Thank you very much. we only hope this travelogue lives upto your expectations ! and if this travelogue inspires you to take up and complete a similar trip, we would feel writing this was all the worth while. Again, Thank you for your wishes.

Last edited by mobike008 : 9th February 2011 at 12:15. Reason: Please avoid quoting large text, videos and pictures as it inconveniences our low bandwidth users. Thanks!
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Old 9th February 2011, 10:22   #129
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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
Selfdrive, Thank you very much. we only hope this travelogue lives upto your expectations ! and if this travelogue inspires you to take up and complete a similar trip, we would feel writing this was all the worth while. Again, Thank you for your wishes.
The road from Balugaon to Itchapuram at AP border looks to be the same as I saw in 2007.
Did you cross the Itchapuram Bypass or went into the town.
The railway crossing is notorious even I was stranded at this crossing for 40mins and chaos after the train crossing.

Last edited by mobike008 : 9th February 2011 at 12:16. Reason: Please avoid quoting large text, videos and pictures as it inconveniences our low bandwidth users. Thanks!
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Old 9th February 2011, 11:57   #130
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Hi Ashok,
You seem to have captivated one and all, waiting for the last 2 days of the travelogue, felt like I was traveling. I am all set for Oct 2011.
Downloaded yr Travelogue, sorry if you have patented, could not relish the thought of having a ready reckoner. 450 Pages, still going strong.
Great Work, Catch up with you soon.
Rajesh
I agree with your views!
How does one download a travelogue thread? I will download this as soon as roamingrao reaches Bangalore There is another Magnificient Maharashtra thread that I also need
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Old 9th February 2011, 12:26   #131
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Hi,

I just did use cutting edge technology ( copy,cut and paste)

It is about 500 pages till Day 11 and about 40 MB, still needs formatting, may come down by a few pages.

Not sure if there is anyway that I could transfer 50 MB (once Ashok Reaches Bangalore) over the web, unless I break it into small packets and send it.

If you need it, shall send it, let him reach Bangalore

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I agree with your views!
How does one download a travelogue thread? I will download this as soon as roamingrao reaches Bangalore There is another Magnificient Maharashtra thread that I also need
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Old 9th February 2011, 12:49   #132
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roamingrao,

It is an excellent trip. You are very late in the evening at Srikurmam. otherwise you could have easily gone to three other near by places. Actually Arasavalli sun temple is on the way to srimurmam. Arasavalli is in proper srikakulam town. you ahould have just crossed it on the way to srikurmam

Another feature of srilurmam temple is it has two dwaja sthambam one in front and other in back of sanctum.

Arasavalli temple uniqueness is sun rays fall on the feat of Sun god on Ratha saptamai day( surya jayanti) i.e last week Magha sudha saptami

Another 14 km from Srikurmam is Salihundam 2 century BC buddhist site and stupa. But it will be closed by 5 PM

Before one Narasannapeta town deviation on the right side will take to Srimukhalingam 8th century siva temple. Here the sanctum has a tree stub has siva linga. it is feature like eyes and mouth. hence the name sri mukhalingam. it is one banks of Vamsadhara.

here is the map
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Old 9th February 2011, 12:55   #133
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Aah, I thought there is some extraction option that you utilised. Once roamingrao reaches Bangalore, we should ask him if he can use something like rapidshare to share files.
Maybe he should consider consolidating all his travelogues into a book, I am willing to pre order
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Old 9th February 2011, 19:56   #134
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roamingrao - Wonderful travelogue. Excellent narration...I thoroughly enjoyed read this. You literally took me along with you. Kudos to you & your family. Hopefully I too can make it one day after returning to India. How much % of GQ conversion is completed (approx)? Any specific reason why you skipped 'Arasavalli' sun temple at Srikakulam which is equally famous. How did you managed hotel bookings at each of the places?
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Aah, I thought there is some extraction option that you utilised. Once roamingrao reaches Bangalore, we should ask him if he can use something like rapidshare to share files.
Maybe he should consider consolidating all his travelogues into a book, I am willing to pre order
+1
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Old 10th February 2011, 00:33   #135
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You seem to have captivated one and all, felt like I was traveling. Great Work, Catch up with you soon.
Thank you, Rajesh. Glad you are enjoying as much i am writing this ! Sure sir, soon..


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Did you cross the Itchapuram Bypass or went into the town.
Ichchapuram byepass is complete. We did not notice the road going towards the town. there was a large billboard at the byepass junction -'welcome to eenadu pradesh'


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I just did use cutting edge technology
It is about 500 pages till Day 11 and about 40 MB, still needs formatting, may come down by a few pages.
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I thought there is some extraction option that you utilised.
Please correct me if iam wrong, and you may also be aware, - you could use the option of ' show printable version ' under thread tools to minimise the number of pages. Attachments do not show in the version, which may be directly downloaded from the thread.


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It is an excellent trip. Actually Arasavalli sun temple is on the way to srimurmam. Another 14 km from Srikurmam is Salihundam 2 century BC buddhist site and stupa. Before one Narasannapeta town deviation on the right side will take to Srimukhalingam 8th century siva temple. it is one banks of Vamsadhara.
Thank you for the info, rkg sir. You seem to be a native of the region or widely travelled to know these details ! Great info ! Yes, as you mention, we were late to reach Srikurmam temple.



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we should ask him if he can use something like rapidshare to share files
Selfdrive, what's that ? Sir, I plead ignorance ! I'm more of a hardware man, would prefer handling pliers,rachets, nuts and bolts . Unless instructed step by step, rapidshare is rocket science to me !!


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Maybe he should consider consolidating all his travelogues into a book, I am willing to pre order
write another travelogue ?


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Wonderful travelogue. Excellent narration...I thoroughly enjoyed read this. You literally took me along with you. Kudos to you & your family.
Idlebrain, thank you for your appreciation ! Those words mean a lot to us.

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How much % of GQ conversion is completed (approx)?
Complete except Jaipur - Gurgaon and entire Odisha. I will provide exact details of the incomplete stretches of the GQ at the end of this travelogue.

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Any specific reason why you skipped 'Arasavalli' sun temple at Srikakulam which is equally famous. How did you managed hotel bookings at each of the places?
To be frank, we were not aware of this temple. The priest at srikurmam asked us if had come after visiting the sun temple at Arasavalli. By the time we started back, it was late ( and dark ) and we had to rush to Vizag. Thank you for the info. I'm sure we would visit the shrine the next time we pass through Srikakulam.

And yes, we had 4 months to plan and book the hotel rooms. Info was directly from the Tour Dev Corp of respective states. easy and more important, economical !



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



Day 12. October 19, 2010. Tuesday.

Vishakapatnam - Vijayawada - Suryalanka Beach ( Bapatla ) - Chirala - Chilkaluripet - Ongole : 643 kms


On paper, our plan was to reach Chennai before midnight. We were in Ongole at 7.30pm, so another 298 km meant we could have been in Chennai before our target time. But my body clock plans were different - refusing to oblige to drive the long desolate stretch from Ongole to Nellore. I said, you win ! We returned to Ongole !

Why am i mentioning this at the start of the day ? Well, because we hardly slept in Vishakapatnam. Just 4 hours ! and this showed later in the day.


Knowing that we have a long day ahead, we are up at 4am, pack our bags and drive on the Beach road towards the byepass at dawn.


At the Tennati park view point, just below kailasgiri hill.

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Beach road is full of activity at 5.45am..... skaters, joggers, elderly couples on their morning walk.... we enjoy the atmosphere. Infact, envy them. The best place to be on the eastern coast !

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A frigate of the Indian Navy is on duty off the coast. Here, on the road, sleepy Gudiya and Titli are gunning me - appa, why do you wake us up so early today ? Should we leave this place so early ?

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We had toured the entire city during our last visit. Some magical spots we visited then....

View of Yarada beach from atop Dolphin's nose

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Night view of the Beach road from Kailasgiri hills.

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This city never ceases to amaze... Clean, spacious, friendly people, good broad roads, lots to see in and around.... wow !


On the byepass, we stop at the Vishaka dairy and pack goodies.... Khova, Flavoured milk, Milk cakes, Peda and yes, Mysore pak. The mysore pak dished out here is of the hard, porous type, like we make at home ! Yummy !



Vizag Steel Plant

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My client at the Duvvada SEZ would have shot me if he had known that we passed his factory on a tuesday morning ! Who knows, he may be reading this !




Anakapalle - Tuni - to just after Annavaram is one of the best stretches of the GQ

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Annavaram temple from the highway

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Photograph of the temple from our last visit. Sri Satyanarayana Swamy temple complex is big and unique. Visiting this temple and having darshan of Swamy is considered very sacred and fruitful to ones aspirations. On the flip side, as in many other temples, sorry to say this, the priests stand taller than God !

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We move on...

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This statue of Swami Vivekananda here is the most photographed icon in this forum !

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Rajahmundry is byepassed !

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Wise biker ! Doing the wrong, the right way or RIGHT way of doing wrong or rightly totally wrong ??

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Nurseries on the entire stretch of Rajahmundry byepass. Hundreds of them !

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My wife makes me stop the car, several times - thoroughly confusing... which one to pick ? As if we have tons of space inside the car ! The last thing i want now is saplings below the seats ! 20 minutes of searching... in the end, like always, back with none !

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Healthy tip - please make sure your wife looks the other way while passing this stretch OR sleeps OR totally avoid this stretch. God help you if you are into gardening !!






Gowthami branch of river Godavari after Rajahmundry

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All in one ! Gowthami river, the other lane of the bridge, a car following us, road bridge behind us, a stained mirror, Titli.

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10.20am - Breakfast at a small restaurant on Tanuku Byepass

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Hanuman Junction

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All the way to Vijayawada.

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We have been to Sri Kanaka Durga temple and Paanakala Narasimhaswami temple at Mangalagiri earlier.

So, we proceed to turn left and cross the krishna for the second time !


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Last edited by roamingrao : 10th February 2011 at 00:46.
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