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Old 12th March 2019, 06:04   #1
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Default Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

The idea of a road trip was peeping for some time now. This is in fact the time for our family’s annual vacation.
Last year, it was the Kol-Bodh Gaya-Varanasi-Kol road trip.

This year, a few destinations were there at the back of the mind which included Puri (Odisha), Bhutan, Ranchi-Netarhat-Daltonganj (Jharkhand) and the Purulia-Bankura belt (W Bengal).
Weighing the pros and cons, tour duration, road conditions, and climate, finally zeroed in on Puri – one that is evergreen with all Bengalis.

A synopsis of the tour to begin with:
Car: 2017 Maruti Suzuki Celerio ZXI
Members : Self (lone driver), father and mother (both 60 plus).
Preparation: Nothing much except that the left rear tyre was having some issues with the pressure, so made a visit to a local mechanic; others were in perfect shape.

Tour itinerary:


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We had planned to pack up early on Saturday and be off to bed by 10 pm to make an early start on Sunday. However, man proposes and God disposes. Some pre-engagements on Saturday (23/02/19) meant that it was well past midnight before we had packed up and called it a day.

Day 1 (Sunday) Kolkata to Puri:

We left our Salt Lake home at 08 am and decided to take the Maa flyover – Santragachi route to join Kona Expressway/ Mumbai Road and thereafter NH 16. (In short, Google maps can be blindly followed in this stretch right from Kolkata to your hotel in Puri).

Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark-puri_route_map.jpg

It was an absolutely smooth drive till the Dhulagarh Toll Plaza where we were met with about 10-15 minutes of a hold up due to the morning unruly and chaotic traffic at the toll lines. Separate Fastag lanes were non operational, though all lanes are Fastag/ETC enabled.

The 3 lane highway from Kolkata to Kolaghat and thereafter till the bifurcation of Mumbai Road and Chennai Road has got to be one of the most smooth surfaces of the entire trip. Having crossed the first toll hurdle, it was time to appease the hunger pangs at the obvious destination- Express Food Plaza at Kolaghat.

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After gorging on some succulent aloo parathas and sipping on some delicious lassi, it was time to hit the roads again. Having ate to our heart’s content, we left Kolaghat at about 10. 30 am. After having stopped at a couple of tea stalls, the next destination was reached at around 2.45 pm – Hotel Orion at Bhadrak.

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After a short working lunch of butter roti and chicken curry that was served really fast and piping hot, we were off again within half an hour- a really quick pit stop for lunch break.

As we approached Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, the roads got even more scenic with smoother surfaces. An important point worth mentioning - in the stretch about 1 hrs either side of Balasore, there are many culverts where the road surface has nearly disappeared leading to an extremely rough and bumpy ride at speeds over 60.

Both the sides of the road are lined by sweet shops as we approach Cuttack.

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Small hillocks kept company till Cuttack.

After crossing Cuttack, one needs to leave NH 16 and take the Puri expressway (NH 316). The road condition is excellent though there are issues of stray cattle roaming on the road. On both the up and down trips, Fastag did not work in this toll and had to pay Rs 80 in cash.

Finally, reached Victoria Club Hotel in Puri after painfully tackling and negotiating the Puri traffic. The most irritating part of any road trip is to be welcomed by the chaotic and unruly traffic with its hustle and bustle after hours and hours of discipline laned high speed driving.

Total Distance : 523 km
Time Taken: 9 hrs 5 mins (including breaks)

We freshened up and hurried for the beach. The yellow sand and the cool waters bring out the inner child in us even after 500 + kms of driving.

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Day 2: Site seeing

The second day began with an early morning visit to the Jagannath Temple. Mobiles and electronics are not allowed inside the premises.
The frantic crowd leading to an almost stampede like situation at the temple was not to my liking and crowd control was too poor on behalf of the authorities. If any one from OTDC happen to read this one, please improve facilities at the Jagannath Temple. Not intending to hurt any religious sentiments, but if I visit Puri again, our family will probably give the temple a miss.

Having completed the puja, we set out for some shopping at the Sargadwar area, namely "khaaja" at Ganguram Sweets (I don't think this is the same Ganguram's of Kolkata). The morning ended with some fun and frolic at the sea followed by a sumptuous meal of fish and rice at the hotel.


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The evening was spent exploring the beach market, and leisurely walks along the sea.

Day 3: Puri to Konark and detour to Raghurajpur.


The next day, we started off from our hotel at about 10 o clock and decided to make a detour to visit the heritage village of Raghurajpur before taking the sceninc marine drive for Konark.

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I am attaching the You tube link for this entire journey.


The Puri Konark Marine Drive is one of the most picturesque sea side roads in India. With its lush greenery, avenue trees and sea front, every frame is fit to be a windows wallpaper.


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We stayed at the Otdc Yatrinivas, Konark. It provides the basic amenities, however at 2.5k + it is absolutely not worth the money. Konark has very limited accommodation facilities and so a day outing at Konark and night stay at Puri is recommended.

Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark-pano_20190226_120459.jpg

I was highly disappointed at the Chandrabhaga beach. After having read that it was Asia's first Blue flag certified beach, was really looking forward to a visit, but the ground story was absolutely contrary.

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The Sun Temple, Konark

Day 4 : Konark to Kolkata

Total Distance: 540 km
Total Time: 8 hr 30 mins

The return leg was uneventful. Since there was a threat for thunderstorms, I tried to return home asap. Hence, drove non stop from Konark to Kolaghat in about 6 hrs 30 mins.

Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark-pic2.jpg

Rain bearing clouds welcomed us into Bengal.

Take home points:

1. The road condition is very good to excellent barring some stretches around Balasore.
2. Puri Expressway does not accept Fastag it seems.
3. There are few speed guns in Bhubaneswar, so maintain your speed limits in the city premises.
4. All the lanes are Fastag enabled in all toll plaza except one (cannot recall the name)
5. Breakfast at Kolaghat and lunch at Bhadrak is the perfect timing.
6. Avoid this route in summers. It gets very very hot.
7. Beware of stray dogs and cattle that make a surprise visit on the roads. Hence, driving at the extreme right part of the road is not recommended.
8. Total toll (for up and down journey): Rs 1290
9. Total distance (Home to Home) - 1179 km
Total fuel: 54 litres
Average mileage: 21.83 km/l
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Old 12th March 2019, 22:45   #2
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

Wonderfully penned down travelogue, On_the_drive! The Kolkata to Puri drive is one that a lot of Calcuttans have undertaken and written about, but your simple yet beautiful writing made it a good read!

Quote:
Originally Posted by On_the_drive View Post
The frantic crowd leading to an almost stampede like situation at the temple was not to my liking and crowd control was too poor on behalf of the authorities. If any one from OTDC happen to read this one, please improve facilities at the Jagannath Temple. Not intending to hurt any religious sentiments, but if I visit Puri again, our family will probably give the temple a miss.
+100 to that. Although I'd say it's the same with most places of religious interest in the country (barring a few). I've faced a near stampede situation at the Puri Jagannath temple myself, and it's a horrifying experience to say the least. Needless to say, I've never looked forward to visiting a major place of religious interest after that.

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Originally Posted by On_the_drive View Post
The Puri Konark Marine Drive is one of the most picturesque sea side roads in India. With its lush greenery, avenue trees and sea front, every frame is fit to be a windows wallpaper.
Agreed. I've travelled from Puri to Konark by road in 2012, and it was a beautiful journey. Given that the roads were amazing back then itself, I can't even begin to imagine what an amazing experience it must have been driving on them now!

Thank you for sharing this travelogue with us BHPians. Your location mentions you're from Kolkata too, so I hope to come across you at future BHPian meets.

Regards,
boniver
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Old 12th March 2019, 23:46   #3
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

Quote:
Originally Posted by boniver View Post
Wonderfully penned down travelogue, On_the_drive! The Kolkata to Puri drive is one that a lot of Calcuttans have undertaken and written about, but your simple yet beautiful writing made it a good read!
==========
Thank you for sharing this travelogue with us BHPians. Your location mentions you're from Kolkata too, so I hope to come across you at future BHPian meets.

Regards,
boniver
Sure, will definitely get to know each other in the meetups.
Coming up in a few days is a Kol-Vizag-Araku-Chilka-Kol travelogue that was completed 2 days back. Having completed almost 3300+ kms in a fortnight, I wish to gift myself a couple of days rest before starting to pen down this travelogue.

Regards,
On_the_drive (Souvik)

Last edited by khan_sultan : 18th March 2019 at 16:28. Reason: trimmed quoted post
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Old 12th March 2019, 23:53   #4
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

Congrats on penning down your first travelogue in TeamBhp ! Brings back memories of my drive over 3 years back with family

Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark-2015_12_23_puri.jpg

Next time you can plan a drive to Rambha - Vizag - Araku - Gopalpur. Lovely write up with pretty pictures and all the details to help someone planning the next drive there. Keep up all the good work !

Last edited by Samfromindia : 12th March 2019 at 23:54.
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Old 18th March 2019, 16:17   #5
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

That's a crisp, quick & racing travelogue supported with nice pictures.

Tks for sharing, loved reading it.
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Old 18th March 2019, 17:59   #6
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

Thanks for sharingv
Brings back fond memories of my Barrackpore to Bangalore road trip two years back. We'd also visited Puri & Konark. And yes, the road to Konark is sheer bliss. Did you have a chance to dine in at the wonderful Lotus resort? Great location & lip smacking food.
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Old 18th March 2019, 21:17   #7
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

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Thanks for sharingv
Brings back fond memories of my Barrackpore to Bangalore road trip two years back. We'd also visited Puri & Konark. And yes, the road to Konark is sheer bliss. Did you have a chance to dine in at the wonderful Lotus resort? Great location & lip smacking food.
No, did not know about the culinary brilliance of Lotus. Maybe, next time.
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Old 21st March 2019, 10:26   #8
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Default Re: Kolkata to evergreen Puri & Konark

That’s a very nice write up. When we visit puri, we end up taking much longer because we drive into Bhubaneswar to grab a bite from Pizza Hut.
When me and my family went to puri about an year back, we went to Jagannath Mandi around the afternoon when the priests change the flags on the top most point of the Mandir. During this time, the crowd is generally less and I never encountered stampede but a few of my friends do and the management there is very bad but timing too is very important too.
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