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Old 18th March 2011, 16:27   #1
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Default Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

We were in two minds as we planned our next road trip. Should we go to Goa –we found an amazing place near Agonda – or drive to Madhya Bharat to cover Chattisgarh and Kanha. Madhya Bharat always fascinated me whether it was quaint little Betul railway station in the middle of Vindhyas amidst blooming “Flame of the forest” trees or the indigenous culture of the tribals in Bastar region. Ever since I missed a trip in late eighties for recruitment rally in Jagdalpur while in Army, I always wanted to explore the region. We planned a detailed itinerary with lot of help from H V Kumar and dumped Goa – which we thought can be done over a long weekend from Bangalore – and voted for Chattisgarh and Kanha.

Planning done, reservations confirmed and Scorpio serviced, we were raring to go. We were three – yours truly, wifey and a friend.

Day 1 – Vistas of Coastal Andhra Pradesh

We left early in the morning on 05 March 2011. I generally start around 6.30 AM for any road trip. But this time after good advice from BHPians, we decided to hit the road around 4.30 AM and it was worth it. Going towards Kolar is something I don’t relish as one has to cut through the city. Staying close to NICE road has spoilt me. Thus, leaving early morning was a boon a we zipped past KR Puram and Hoskote within no time. The road till Kolar is done up and four lane really helps. One odd deviation is not a big deal. The merit of leaving early hit us when we crossed Mulbagal. After seeing the nice four lane stretch till Kolar, I thought that the complete stretch of NH 4 was done up likewise. To that extent I was disappointed. As we reached Mulbagal bye pass, the road returned to double lane. Thankfully being early in the morning we did not encounter trucks and were in Tirupathi for breakfast at 8.15 AM.

At Tirupathi, we had option of taking the bye pass and move on. But, I was skeptical about good restaurants on the road side and took a detour to city. It was worth it as we could see early morning sun caressing the brown hills of Tirumala. We Stopped at Krishna Theja Hotel – next to Bhimas - for a quick bite of Idli, vada and Dosa . The preparation was decent – we had come once to the same restaurant in mid night after darshan – and after a hot cuppa, we were back on the road. Getting out of Tirupathi was a bit hassle as one has to go past the railway level crossing and a small stretch of bad road due to over bridge construction. Once we crossed this hurdle, it was smooth drive all the way. We were just waiting to hit NH5 and were pleased as we joined it after Naidupeta.

What a road!! NH 5 rivals NH4 or NH 7 (Bangalore – Hyderabad) and possibly better than NH 4 due to less traffic. The green expanse at this time of the year was a big surprise and soothing to tired eyes!! These roads have spoilt all of us as we can comfortably cruise at 130 – being in Scorpio we didn’t cross 140 - and above.
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-nh5.jpg
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As we drove on the road, I was wondering how beautiful the landscape would be after rains! Miles and Miles of Lush green fields, streams and rivers make drive on NH 5 very pleasant. I had read rave reviews of photography of beautiful landscape of Coastal Andhra in the Telugu movie “Godavari” - which I didn’t see - and had seen it captured well in the Hindi movie “Morning Raga”. (This was the best part of the movie; else the movie was a dud). Now I was witness to it.
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-fields-nh5.jpg

We were actually planning to stay in Vijayawada. But the roads being so good, we were able to reach the city by 2.30 in the afternoon. It was then that we decided to continue to Vizag and spend night there as it would help us leaving comfortably the next day morning to Jagdalpur as we would have already covered 300 KMs. Vijayawada looked a clean and good city. River Krishna is quite wide here and there was not much of water – remember it was the same Krishna which had flooded the town a year back.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-krishna-river-vijayawada-background.jpg

A friend of mine who is from Vijayawada had recommended that we go to Hotel Ilapuram for Lunch. After checking with locals for direction – I ever wonder whether we need GPS in India when there are so many people to help with directions - we were there in restaurant in time. As usual, Ravi being a chicken fan ordered “Andhra Chicken Biryani” and we both being eggitarians, were comfortable with Egg Biryani. Hotel Ilapuram seemed to be well known landmark in town. The egg Biryani was one of the best I had ever eaten. Same was vouched by Ravi for his chicken After eating in Nandini and Bhimas in Bangalore, this was a welcome break!

The best part of driving on these GQ roads is that you don’t encounter any villages or towns as most of them have bye pass which will help you to maintain the speed. Vijayawada to Vizag drive was again without hassles. As we neared Rajahmundry I was excited to see sun setting over Godavari. But I was disappointed as the span of Godavari is small here as the river splits when you drive on the NH. My memories were always that of Coromondel Express going on the longest railway bridge over Godavari before Rajahmundry with sun setting in the horizon. But this was not to be. Nevertheless the sunset over Godavari was still good.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-sunset-over-godavari.jpg

We reached outskirts of Vizag around 8.30 PM and as usual we got another human GPS who guided us all the way to beach road where our hotel was located. In Vizag, we couldn’t get accommodation as most of the hotels were full due to celebrity 20-20 match between Tollywood and Bollywood. We were lucky to get room in ITC Windsor – expensive though – and were ready for a well deserved rest.

Next part: Day 2 - Journey through Tribal heartland
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Old 18th March 2011, 18:03   #2
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

One day almost 1000kms, Good one man..weren't you feeling a bit of tired, Backache, leg pain, at all ?
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Old 18th March 2011, 18:19   #3
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

Thanks 2500CC. We were actually pleasantly surprised at the road conditions and decided to reach Vizag and stay put instead of Vijayawada as earlier planned. Scorpio that way is very comfortable and you would not feel the journey tiredness.
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Old 18th March 2011, 18:25   #4
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

Nice pics of Godavari, it is one of the beautiful rivers in India (Papikondalu, if you have heard of it), best during the Oct and Nov..

what was the mileage returned Fauji sir ?

Cheers,
Rajesh
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Old 18th March 2011, 18:36   #5
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

Fauji, very good narration. Quite an achievement covering Blr to Vizag in one day. I am planning for a drive through tribal parts of orissa and your TL comes at the right time. Looking forward for the next parts.
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Old 18th March 2011, 18:39   #6
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

Hi Rajesh,

Yes, i have heard about Papikondalu which is supposed to be beautiful. A complete tour of Godavari is on cards including the cruise on the river. Should do it in Sept when everything is green and there is water in the river.

We got a mileage of around 13 KMs on average.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
Fauji, very good narration. Quite an achievement covering Blr to Vizag in one day. I am planning for a drive through tribal parts of orissa and your TL comes at the right time. Looking forward for the next parts.
Thanks Extereme Torque. We too were surprised. We can now think of Vizag and Coastal Andhra for long weekend trips from Bangalore

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team: Please use the "edit" button if posting within 30 minutes of the first post, instead of creating another back-to-back post.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 28th April 2011 at 10:14.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 20:15   #7
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Default Journey through Tribal Land - Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha - Day 2

Breakfast done, we started the second leg to Bastar from Vizag. The route being Vizag – Vizianagaram – Koraput – Jeypore – Jagdalpur on NH 43. I was warned of likelihood of people stopping for ransom. I had not told this to my wife lest she will get scared. Getting out of Vizag was a breeze and it was already turning hot at 9 AM. A quick picture of Ramakrishna Beach for keepsake and we were on the highway. The city beaches are always the same. Dirty and used like a public toilet. I understand the beaches at Rishikonda and Bheemunipatnam are very good. Now that we know we can cover Bangalore – Vizag in one day, a separate trip needs to be planned to explore this area in winter.

I had read about the train journeys on the famous Vizag – Jagdalpur train by well known travel writer Bill Aitkin which is supposed to be an experience in itself as tribals extensively use it. Though we were driving, we were expecting to get a firsthand experience of the region ourselves. As we crossed Vizianagaram – any cricket lover will remember this city as Maharaja of Vizianagarm was a great cricketer and Vizzy trophy is named after him – we spotted these statues of YSR in different hues and colors! Life size statues being made for supply to different towns in AP. In fact, every town in AP has one these days.
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-ysr.jpg

We moved on and the ghat section started. Winding roads with beautiful valleys greeted us. The valleys here are quite long unlike the western ghats which are smaller. Harvesting done, the land looked brown and dry and must be stunningly beautiful if you come after rains. The road was being laid and for 15 KMs we had to drive slow as there many bad patches.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-valley.jpg

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-valley-2.jpg

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-valley-3.jpg

This is the tribal heartland of Orissa and we could see them attired in colorful dresses at many small towns and markets. Being Sunday, there were many village markets thronged by people. Overloaded jeeps bring them to markets as we saw this one in Pottangi. These tribals may be poor but they looked happy and contented lot,
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-cab.jpg

On outskirts of Koraput, we were greeted by this large expanse of clear water from Kolab Reservoir. The setting looked beautiful.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-lake.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-lake-2.jpg

NH43 must be one of picturesque roads specailly after rains. Surprisingly, the road condition is very good except for the stretch I mentioned above. We reached Jagdalpur by 3 PM in time for Lunch. The road condition is good throughout and excellent the momenet you recah Chattisgarh. It was a realxed drive and we were not hassled by anyone for ransom on the way as well.

Bastar jungle Resort is a new resort which was opened six months ago. We were planning to stay in well known Devansh Residency when we heard about this place and we were not disappointed. Spread over 15 acres next to forest – in fact one has to go through forest check post – it gives one a serene feeling. The rooms are well laid out and really big. The food is good as well. Checked in and lunch done, we ventured out to see Jagdalpur town.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-resort-1.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-resort-3.jpg

Jagdalpur used to be the headquarters of the largest district in the country – Bastar – before Bastar was split to create four more districts. This is the heartland of tribals in Bastar. The Dasara in Jagdalpur is celebrated over 70 days when tribals from remote areas come to town to celebrate and enjoy the festival. We missed the weekly market in Jagdalpur as it is held on Saturdays. This is a well laid out clean town with colorful round abouts featuring different tribes adorning the city. There is nothing much to see in the town except for the Dantedevi mandir – The name Dantevada takes after the name of this goddess – and so called “Jagdalpur Palace” which is more like a huge bungalow than a palace.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-jp-circle.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-jp-pal.jpg

As we returned to the resort to enjoy a quite evening under the skies, we were excited to what was in the offing on the next day– Chitrakot Falls, Tiratgarh falls, Kutumsar caves and lal int ki chutney!
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Old 23rd March 2011, 00:15   #8
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

Great drive on Day 1, Fauji!
Yes, the NH5 in AP can easily be rated the best of the entire GQ, with its good condition, well-planned truck lay-bays, etc. One wishes that they build a good bypass for Vijaywada and also expand the Vizag bypass (from Anakapalle).
Good to hear that NH43 is in good shape and heartening that you did not face petty extortion which had become commonplace on this important gateway highway for Bastar in recent times.
The Bastar Jungle Resort looks an interesting find - can you post details (including contacts info) and also directions to get there?
How long did you take from NH5 to Jgdalpur?
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Old 23rd March 2011, 10:59   #9
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Default Re: Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Great drive on Day 1, Fauji!
Yes, the NH5 in AP can easily be rated the best of the entire GQ, with its good condition, well-planned truck lay-bays, etc. One wishes that they build a good bypass for Vijaywada and also expand the Vizag bypass (from Anakapalle).
Good to hear that NH43 is in good shape and heartening that you did not face petty extortion which had become commonplace on this important gateway highway for Bastar in recent times.
The Bastar Jungle Resort looks an interesting find - can you post details (including contacts info) and also directions to get there?
How long did you take from NH5 to Jgdalpur?
Thank you sir!

Since the road was so good we streched ourselves on day 1 so that we could have a relaxed drive the next day from Vizag. I did not notice the bye pass issues in Vijayawada and Vizag as we went into Vijayawada for Lunch and stayed in Vizag for night. NH 43 is in good shape and some strecthes of the road was being relaid. Possibly one of the scenic roads after rains. We need to plan another trip after monsoons just to see Chitrakote falls in full glory

Bastar Jungle Resort opened only in this tourist season in last Oct. Joint venture of Hotel Rainbow and Kanker Palace. Very good and spacious rooms. Here is the website http://kankerpalace.com/. You can talk to Jai, who is the present Yuvaraja of Kanker for reservations at 9425259129. He is a youngster and good guy.

We left Vizag around 9.45 AM after breakfast and we were in Jagdalpur around 3.15 PM for Late lunch.
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Old 31st March 2011, 15:15   #10
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Default Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Folks,

As we continued our meanderings in Central India, our first stop was Bastar.

A good night's sleep in Bastar Jungle resort had got us prepared for next days excitement. Richard, our resort manager was a good bloke. An Anglo Indian from Jagdalpur - very few families still live here - the guy was always smiling and helpful.

The day was packed. Tribals, waterfalls, caves, weekly haat and Lal int ki chutney!!! He had arranged us a guide - Chetan - and we were to pick him up on our way to Nainanar, the tribal settlement, our first stop for the day for a tete-tete with tribals.

A small detour from the highway through dirt tracks took us to Nainanar. We were visiting “Bison Horn Maria” tribe settlement and see their famed "Bison horn Dance". This group is generally dispersed in and around Jagdalpur. They are not as remote as "Muria" tribes and seemed to have adapted well.

The dance is performed by men and women. The men wear a highly decorative head dress made out of " Wild Bison Horn" and women wear colourful dress with silver jewellery.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-tribal-1.jpg

Men beat drums as they dance. Women sing and join them in dancing. The dance is rhythmic in circles with easy steps. The women carry iron rod like structure – not sure what it is called - and they hit the ground with it along with their steps! The dance is performed in festivals or during social occassions.

Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-tribal-2.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-tribal-3.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-tribal-4.jpg
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-tribal-5.jpg

We too joined them for a dance. As we finished, we saw a guy selling local toddy palm liquor on a bicycle. He seemd to be a regular to the village. Freshly brewed, we offered it to all performers and they were happy to sip it. We too tasted it. It tasted good though little tangy!
Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha-tribal-6-liq.jpg

As we bid good bye to the colourful maria tribe, we were heading towards discovering Kanger valley park and Tiratgarh Falls.

(First two days of our journey from Bangalore to Bastar is covered under this link http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...arh-kanha.html (Meanders in Madhya Bharat – Chattisgarh & Kanha) )

Our next stop - Tiratgarh falls and Kutumsar caves
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Old 31st March 2011, 17:06   #11
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Logged in for the Tigers !!
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Old 31st March 2011, 19:34   #12
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Hooked on your TL Fauji. Chattisgarh gets back so many memories, especially the Laal Int Ki Chutney. Your pictures are very vibrant. Keep hitting us with more.
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Old 1st April 2011, 10:29   #13
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Wow. Superb wild experience. I am glued to it.
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Old 1st April 2011, 11:02   #14
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Keep it up Fauji, Empowering Rural India with the wild. Waiting for the tale to continue.

Salut
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Old 1st April 2011, 12:47   #15
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Default Re: Trailing Tribals and Tigers - Chattisgarh & Kanha Diaries

Aur phir aagey kya hua?
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