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Old 2nd January 2011, 18:54   #1
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Default Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

The plan to do a Kolkata-Vizag road trip first struck me in 2008, when I reunited with an old friend over the net and learnt that he stays and works in Vizag. He told me vivid stories of how he lives on the beach, of how the hills and sea come together at Vizag, and how (important for us petrolheads) the distance between the 2 cities can be covered by one prolonged day's driving. Sat down to search for Kolkata-Vizag travelogues over the net, and one of the first links to open up was a Kolkata Bhpian's driving account in his Esteem. In fact, that was my introduction to this great forum.

I bought Predator in September 2008 and marriage loomed in November that same year. My first plan was to drive over with a few friends to Vizag and have a bachelor party, very much like the dudes in the movie "Hangover" . Unfortunately, overcautious parents and in-laws put an end to that dream :(.

In 2009 the plan surfaced again, this time with my wife. I put up a query on tbhp in this thread (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...le-august.html (Kolkata - Orissa - Vizag. Doable in August?)), and received a lot of constructive responses. But again, my father's falling seriously ill saw an end to the plan. After dad recovered, we went to Puri instead (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...al-orissa.html (Puri and Chilka from Kolkata - Rediscovering coastal Orissa))

2010 was a boring year with too much work and no chance to take a long leave. By the time I managed a long holiday, it was 20th December. All trains to all tourist hotspots were booked (as were the hotspots themselves), flights were priced sky high. Thats when the decision to revive the Great East Coast Drive plan struck me. First made an overall sketch of places to see en route to Vizag. Among the ones shortlisted were Chandipur, Puri, Gopalpur on Sea, Barkul and Araku. Except Chandipur, everything came to nought.

Ultimately, a few helpful friends in helpful places err, helped. We managed booking in Haritha Rushikonda, undoubtedly the best scenic hotel in Vizag, and one of the Harithas at Araku as well. The last day's halt was still unbooked, but we decided to give it a shot. The car's old Bridgestone B250 tyres were changed to new 195/60 R14s.The Great East Coast Drive was on!

This was the broad plan:

Day 1 - Kolkata to Chandipur
Day 2 - Chandipur to Vizag
Day 3 & 4 - Vizag and thereabouts
Day 5 - Vizag to Araku (and Bora)
Day 6 - Araku to Puri (ultimately ended up staying at Rambha)
Day 7 - Rambha to Kolkata

Day 1 - 26th December 2010

The first day's drive was from Kolkata to Balasore, about 260 kms. This is an easy route - 175kms on NH6 till Kharagpur, 75 kms on NH60 right upto Balasore, and 10 kms till Chandipur. The road surface is very very good all the way to Balasore. In last year's Puri trip, I had done this route in just 2 hrs 20 mins! This one was more sedate, about 3 hrs. Left Kolkata at about 7.30 AM and reached by 10.30 AM. The road surface rapidly deteriorates once you leave the highway, so be aware. 10 kms of bad roads later you're at Chandipur.

Chandipur was absolutely packed with people. Thousands of MUVs packed with millions of people thronged the beach. Loud music was playing from places, food stalls and vendors were set up, and the overall setting was more of a carnival than quaint seaside beach. As a knee jerk reaction, the cops had set up a checkpost about a km before the beach, and were preventing people from taking cars into the beach unless they had a booking with some hotel. I was not carrying the OTDC receipt, so a mild altercation ensued until I called up the OTDC and made them speak. 5 mins later we were at the hotel.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-panthanivas-chandipur-1.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-pc2.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-pc3.jpg


Having reached the resort, we checked into our "AC Suite" room, which turned out to be just a large room with some luxury features like LCD TV and large chairs:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-panthanivas-room-1.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-pr2.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-pr3.jpg

Bhpian Planet Rocker was there with his wife Indrani. Met up with them over lunch:

Name:  Chandipur meet with Planet1.jpg
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Went for a stroll to the beach. It was disappointing. The sea was about a km away, the sand in between had been turned to mud by the millions of people picknicking on the beach.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03528.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03526.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03527.jpg

Everywhere you looked, there were people and more people.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03534.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03536.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03541.jpg

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Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03544.jpg

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We just about managed this moment of solitude among the masses:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03542.jpg

Clearly Chandipur did not promise much in terms of memories to take home. We had an early dinner and bed. The next day was the longest drive of the trip, all of 650 kms to Vizag. Promised to be exciting.

Last edited by predatorwheelz : 2nd January 2011 at 18:55.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 19:09   #2
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Nice ! Went to Chandipur probably 10 years ago ! Stayed at a private hotel behind this one. Forget the name. It was significantly more deserted back then. Hardly any people around.


Did @planet drive down?
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Old 2nd January 2011, 20:15   #3
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Nice Start ! I tought Chandipur is a lesser known beach and hence less crowd. But it does not look like that. End of year holiday effect ??

I am also planning a trip to Vizag in Feb. So, looking forward to the details from you.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 20:51   #4
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Wow.

Really excited waiting for the other halves to come.


EDIT: No Gaadi Pics?

Last edited by cityvic : 2nd January 2011 at 20:54.
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Old 2nd January 2011, 20:58   #5
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
.
.
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The first day's drive was from Kolkata to Balasore, about 260 kms. This is an easy route - 175kms on NH6 till Kharagpur, 75 kms on NH60 right upto Balasore, and 10 kms till Chandipur. The road surface is very very good all the way to Balasore. In last year's Puri trip, I had done this route in just 2 hrs 20 mins! This one was more sedate, about 3 hrs. Left Kolkata at about 7.30 AM and reached by 10.30 AM.
.
.
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Nice start, would be following your travelogue for your driving experience, beaches and road conditions.

Your thread reminded some old memories (college days ), surprised and happy to see that calcutta to chandipur can be done within 03hrs that too driving sedately.

I still remember catching Dhouli express from Howrah early morning and reaching balasore by 03 hours and from there another 30minutes to chandipur. And our return trip was by Bus which took almost 5.5hrs to howrah from chandipur, Larica, resorts.

The beaches in chandipur are not that great, agree with you, but the uniqueness is the water receding miles away from the beach and one can take a walk for 30-45 minutes from the beach towards the sea with ankle deep water dodging many many 'star fish' to reach a point where the waves are crashing onto the ocean floor.

And from this point, looking back towards the actual beach - somewhat blur as one has already traveled a km+ or so deep onto the ocean and seeing the waves crashing in front of you is a fantastic feeling and a little bit frightening too.

Did you see those red crabs all over the beach, any photos?

Last edited by AvonA7 : 2nd January 2011 at 21:14. Reason: spelling
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Old 3rd January 2011, 01:36   #6
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Did @planet drive down?
Nope. He, with his 7 (or was it 9?) cousins travelled by train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram_NP View Post
Nice Start ! I tought Chandipur is a lesser known beach and hence less crowd. But it does not look like that. End of year holiday effect ??

I am also planning a trip to Vizag in Feb. So, looking forward to the details from you.
Probably end year holiday effect. Keep reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityvic View Post
No Gaadi Pics?
Have patience

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvonA7 View Post
surprised and happy to see that calcutta to chandipur can be done within 03hrs that too driving sedately.

I still remember catching Dhouli express from Howrah early morning and reaching balasore by 03 hours and from there another 30minutes to chandipur. And our return trip was by Bus which took almost 5.5hrs to howrah from chandipur, Larica, resorts.
Those must have been the pre-NH60 days. Believe me, the roads are so good now, anyone can do Kolkata - Balasore in 3 hrs now, without much effort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AvonA7 View Post
The beaches in chandipur are not that great, agree with you, but the uniqueness is the water receding miles away from the beach and one can take a walk for 30-45 minutes from the beach towards the sea with ankle deep water dodging many many 'star fish' to reach a point where the waves are crashing onto the ocean floor.

And from this point, looking back towards the actual beach - somewhat blur as one has already traveled a km+ or so deep onto the ocean and seeing the waves crashing in front of you is a fantastic feeling and a little bit frightening too.

Did you see those red crabs all over the beach, any photos?
I don't doubt that the Chandipore beach must be very good in solitude. It was the multitude of people which pissed me off, and the red crabs too. The reason I didn't photograph any red crabs is because I didn't find any!

Day 2 - 27th December 2010

We woke up to this beautiful sunrise.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03555.jpg

It was a cold, foggy morning. Got ready, had breakfast and left by 8.30. We planned to reach Bhubaneshwar (about 150 kms) by 10.30, stop at Barkul for lunch and hit Vizag before sundown.

Our progress to the highway was halted by these 2 trains at a level crossing. Oh, how I'd love to steal one of those Gypsys:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03557.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03558.jpg

Then this passenger train rolls by. A lot of people going to Puri. Unlike us, they've been travelling the whole night.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03559.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03560.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03561.jpg

Trainspotting for the morning completed, we hit the highway. The Balasore-Bhadrak stretch is no longer the nightmare it was a year ago. About 30 kms is perfect 4 lane carriageway, and even the remainder is dual lane. You can live with it.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03564.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03565.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03567.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03568.jpg

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Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03576.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03580.jpg

Bhubaneshwar looms closer....

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03582.jpg

...And closer. We're half hour ahead of schedule, and I'm so happy with myself.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03583.jpg

And then we hit a wall. Its 10 AM, and chock a bloc office time traffic in Bhubaneshwar. Our progress gets painfully slow.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03587.jpg

The turnoff to Puri

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03588.jpg

Twiddling our thumbs in traffic.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03590.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03597.jpg

It was 11.15 by the time we rid ourselves of the mess, and hit the highway. From here, its 180 kms of perfectly formed 4 lane highway. The scenery beside the road is beautiful, and you'll just fly through if you're in a fast car. The sort of road that makes you feel happy about being alive, being a driver, being romantic with your wife etc etc. Enjoy the pics:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03603.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03606.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03612.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03614.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03617.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03619.jpg

And then, just when you're thinking the world can't get more perfect than this, the road abruptly ends. Sweeping carriageway metamorphoses into a bumpy, single lane road. Apparently you've come near Chilka, and NH5 hasn't been built here.

The road surface stays smooth for the first few kms, then rapidly deteriorates into bumpy, uneven surface. After about 10 kms you are straight into a bustling small town. No choice but to sit behind streams of cars and trucks trying to make their way out of what is part of a national highway!

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03621.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03622.jpg

All these pics are roadside pics of NH5!

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03623.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03624.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03625.jpg

(Maximum pic limit reached. To be continued in next post)
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Old 3rd January 2011, 03:07   #7
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Default Day 2 continued - Onward to Vizag

The road continues through Chilka town:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03626.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03627.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03628.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03629.jpg

Endless traffic jams

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03630.jpg

After 20 kms through this frustrating road, you see a signboard directing you to Panthanivas (OTDC) Barkul on your left. It was about 2 PM in the afternoon, good time to stop for lunch.

Panthanivas Barkul is a small resort built around what was originally a boating spot on Chilka. Again, hoardes of people in a picknicking mood. The rooms were full, the restaurant was full, so was the jetty. Thankfully we were carrying some packed sandwiches and jam rolls. We decided to find a quiet spot near the lake and sit down to have a peaceful lunch. Some pics:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03632.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03633.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03635.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03637.jpg

Full tummies and a little apprehension

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03639.jpg

Some pics of the cottages at Panthanivas Barkul. Incidentally that frog boat was sometime used to go sailing on the lake. Now merely a garden ornament.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03640.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03641.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03642.jpg

Getting into Predator to cover the remaining leg (250 kms) of the journey. I wish I'd taken some more pics of the MUVs parked around my car, just to give you an idea of how many people thronged Barkul that particular day!

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03644.jpg

The road continues to be bad till 50 kms upto the border. A stretch of single lane carriageway first, road surface patchy.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03646.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03647.jpg

The road gets up into a little hill here.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03650.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03651.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03652.jpg

A point to mention. At the end of that hill, at a point the road completely vanishes. There's a mound of earth to mark the end of the road. We were pretty scared about what to do, until trucks behind us signalled to the left. Here we found an almost 40 degree drop into a kachha road, which ultimately led us into Rambha town and out through it. In my Verna itself negotiating the drop was scary. Wonder how the multi-axle trailers manage it. (sorry, no pics of the drop)

Post Rambha, again single lane, featureless highway right upto the border. Patchy road surface here too.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03657.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03658.jpg

Truck carrying truck. My wife found this an extremely funny situation and clicked the pics. I spared her the anorak fact that the truck on the road had a 35 tonne payload, and the cargo was a truck that was capable of a 50 ton payload!

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03660.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03662.jpg

We reached the AP border with some apprehension. It was 4 PM. Anirban Das(sadnabrina), who had just travelled 2 days back, had warned us that there was a huge traffic jam of trucks near the border and it took them more than an hour to negotiate the same and cross the border. Thankfully we were luckier. There was no jam whatsoever at the border, not even a police checkpost. We just flew through. In fact I was unsure whether we had entered into AP at all till we saw the language on all the signs had changed to Telugu

From the border till Vizag lay 200 kms of absolutely perfect roads. Totally 4 lane, sweeping wide roads. Predator had a blast through them.

The only bad part I must warn you about is there are almost no towns adjacent to these roads till Vizag. So don't expect habitation or good restaurants, let alone help in an emergency! The helpline numers pasted across the signs alongside the highway are your only hope.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03664.jpg

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Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03667.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03668.jpg

This photography (and smoke) break was taken just a 100 kms before Vizag. It was 5 PM. We had made 550 kms by then, and the sun was just setting.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03669.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03670.jpg

And on we continue against the setting sun.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03671.jpg

(Maximum pic limit reached. To be continued in next post)

Last edited by predatorwheelz : 3rd January 2011 at 03:10.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 10:21   #8
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Nice trip update!
How was OTDC at Chandipur (where you stayed) and Barkul (where you dine?)?
The dip towards Rambha is where the rail overbridge is under construction - correct? It has been that way for over 2 years now! No signages, very dangerous you can go off the road.
You are lucky you did not get stuck at the WB-OR border before Jaleshwar - that is also seeing massive traffic jams because of chaotic truck parking at the check posts on the OR side.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 11:14   #9
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

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Nice trip update!
How was OTDC at Chandipur (where you stayed) and Barkul (where you dine?)?
Thank you sir. Both OTDCs at Chandipur and Barkul were very nice. Standard Panthanivas room format, comfortable amenities at a basic price. Like all OTDCs, they're built on the most scenic land at any given location. All OTDC staff (I've stayed in 5) are very polite and have this personalized touch at hosting you. They will welcome you, and ask open ended questions and suggest good alternatives for you - "What can I make you for lunch today? "Try out the crab, we've had a good catch today.", "Cigarette shop is 2 kms away, but if you give me the money I can get you a packet while coming for duty tomorrow". Makes you feel special. Private hotels at double the price don't offer you this feeling.

Only problem is, both OTDC Chandipur and Barkul are built right at the entrance to the beach and lake respectively. As a result, everyone who visits the sea/Chilka has to come right through the campus, robbing the boarders of their sense of solitude. In short, all throughout the day its a teeming mass of humanity outside your window.

OTDC Rambha, where I also stayed for the first time, is much better built. but we'll come to it as the thread progresses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The dip towards Rambha is where the rail overbridge is under construction - correct? It has been that way for over 2 years now! No signages, very dangerous you can go off the road.
Yes, precisely that spot. And its dangerous if you're a first time traveller like me and driving after sunset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
You are lucky you did not get stuck at the WB-OR border before Jaleshwar - that is also seeing massive traffic jams because of chaotic truck parking at the check posts on the OR side.
We were lucky not to have been stuck at any border anytime during the trip. Only on the first day we faced a minor jam at WB-OR border (just 10 mins), before a cyclist waved us into a side lane. We bypassed all trucks, and the checkpost guy let us pass.

Day 2 - The conclusion

So we were just 100 kms shy of Vizag when the sun started setting. After the break, we made a dash for it, keeping up 140 kmph on the speedo. The magnificent road allowed us to maintain that speed right upto Vizag city limits.

At this point I must mention this Swift Dzire VDi(see pic). The guy appeared in my rear view mirror about 50 kms before Vizag, and started gaining on me. I increased speed to 150, he just kept on gaining, ultimately overtaking me at 160 kmph!

I had no idea a Swift Dzire could even make those speeds! We continued racing for about 15 kms, bypassing trucks in a blur. My wifey kept telling me to let go, it was his turf, I'd driven 550 kms already and all that, but I wasn't in a mood. Ultimately he got ahead of me at a toll booth, and I never saw him again.

If anyone knows this guy, ask him to join tbhp asap!

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-dsc03675.jpg

We slowed down again after losing the Swift's tail. Vizag city limit was reached by 6 PM. A lot of asking people, and we made it to APTDC's Haritha Beach Resort at Rushikonda at 6.45 PM.

650 kms in 10 hrs (with a one hr lunch break). It was dark, we were too tired to explore anymore. Just had an early dinner and went to bed.

And in my next post, I shall trumpet shamelessly about the resort, one of the best places I've stayed in!
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:17   #10
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

APTDC Haritha Beach Resort, Rushikonda Beach, Vizag - A Review

At the outset, let me declare that Haritha Beach Resort is the most scenic government resort I've ever stayed in! Built on top of a hillock at Rushikonda beach, its a sprawling well laid out facility with 57 rooms, a separate restaurant and a conference hall.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hr1.jpg

The open air portion of the restaurant

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hr2.jpg

The path to the restaurant. Conference hall building is on the right.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hr3.jpg

There are 3 kinds of AC rooms. AC standard is Rs 1680 per night, AC Deluxe is 2300, and AC Luxury is 2700.

SS-Traveller had advised me to go for the AC luxury rooms only to experience the superb balcony and the view from it. Due to last minute booking, we got AC Deluxe for the first night and AC luxury on the 2 subsequent nights.

Here are some photos of the AC Deluxe room. Try to overlook the clutter :

A staircase leads to a common balcony (for 2 rooms) and then the door:

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad1.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad2.jpg

Inside the room

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad3.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad4.jpg

Funny painting on the wall

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad5.jpg

Funnier ensemble

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad6.jpg

That staircase leads to the bathroom, which is at an elevation

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad7.jpg

View from the balcony

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad8.jpg

View from the room window

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad9.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hrad10.jpg

The next day, we were shifted to the AC Luxury room, which was even better:

The room

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral1.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral2.jpg

The king size bed

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral3.jpg

The heeeuge balcony. Thats me looking like Devdas in the morning.

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral4.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral5.jpg

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral6.jpg

The view from the balcony

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral7.jpg

The road to the resort, again a view from the balcony

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral8.jpg

Mini fridge

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hral9.jpg

Even Predator was happy to get its own covered parking, right under our balcony!

Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms-hr4.jpg

Complaints? - Well they serve complimentary breakfast in the morning, which is only Udipi items. After 3 days we were sick of having idlis, uthapam and upma! Room service is available, provided you're willing to wait for a year for your order to arrive. Staff is not as courteous as OTDC, more like "Kya hai? Kaam to kar raha hoon na!" types. And being government, the maintainence is not upto the standards of the investment.

But I'm just nitpicking. Go in the off season, book an AC Luxury room, and spend days just lazing out on the balcony with a bottle of beer and some friends! The good life!
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Old 3rd January 2011, 12:48   #11
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Good log, Aniket. Did you drive on the coast road from/to Haritha, heading northwards? We did it in pouring rain last year, but the scenery was amazing still.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 13:06   #12
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Wow,Brilliant write up and pichars too.

Aah Predator with stickers. :P

Seems like you have to update your gallery now.

Its time you forget Gypsy's and become a JEEPER.

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Old 3rd January 2011, 13:34   #13
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Good log, Aniket. Did you drive on the coast road from/to Haritha, heading northwards? We did it in pouring rain last year, but the scenery was amazing still.
Yes, the Rushikonda-Bhemmuinipatnam road is indeed a scenic drive, and you can connect with NH5 at Tagarapuvalasa without returning to Vizag.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 13:50   #14
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Nice write-up dada, congrats for the drive, m sure the predator had a nice dose of tarmac, howz it feeling now ?
I could see CAMEL in one of the pics (the one with the king size bed)... reminded me of good ol'days.
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Old 3rd January 2011, 15:24   #15
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Default Re: Predator's Great East Coast Drive - 6 days, 3 states, 2300 kms

Great travelogue dada!This might just turn out to be the inspiration for planning a driving holiday for myself.

On another note, some of the roads pictured above are just nirvana.Never knew such roads existed in our part of the country.But as you've written somewhere above, its the bad stretches(like the one where you had to go down a 40 odd degree incline.That would have killed the RS bumper for sure!) that really make me think twice about taking a low ground-clearance car like the RS on such highways.

The Haritha resort is a pleasant revelation..Quite unlike state-maintained resorts/guest-houses.

Waiting for the rest of the travelogue.

Last edited by octane1002 : 3rd January 2011 at 15:29.
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