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Old 17th October 2021, 22:54   #1
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Default Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-roadside-view.jpg
Teaser

It was past 11:00 PM. I had just stepped out on to the balcony to soak in the ambience. The silence of the Satkosia forest was magical, broken intermittently by rain drops dripping off the branches and an insect or two hitting the window glass in its quest to reach for the light bulb inside our room. Beyond the periphery of the resort, the darkness was absolute. A couple of stars were starting to shine through the discontinuity in the clouds. A slight breeze was bringing in the marshy smell from the nearby Mahanadi. This is the perfect juncture to start a travelogue, I was thinking. My momentary romance with nature was short lived, as the silence was broken by a voice in the next room.

“What? You do not have carbolic acid?”

I tried swallowing a bit of saliva, but my throat felt dry, as I witnessed some frantic activity. To confirm my fears, a man came in with a snake catcher. Then I heard someone say that it has escaped. Escaped where into the forest or into the next room?

At the hastily arranged dinner I learnt that, as our fellow travelers were checking in, they were greeted by a two foot long snake who had already made himself comfortable on the window curtain. The hotel staff told us that these snakes are not poisonous. That was extremely reassuring, as reassuring as KFC trying to pass off their French Fries as health food. As we retired to our room (I was sharing the room with two others), I quietly sneaked into the middle hoping that this subtle move of mine will go unnoticed. But it didn’t. For the next one hour I kept tossing and turning on my bed. In more than two years I was facing a threat that couldn’t be warded off by Masks, Sanitizers, Social Distancing or even Vaccines.


Getting to Know



Well, it wasn’t so scary in the beginning. Rajarshi made the trip sound very plush and luxurious when he sold it to me. I am not one who gets convinced about road trips that easily, but he assured me that this will break me off from the shackles of Covid-induced monotony that has taken over my system. And the best part, we would be accompanied by a couple who are both doctors and their six-year old. His final logic: if a six-year old can do it, so can a forty year old.

Rajarshi Bhattacharya – If modesty had a name it would be Rajarshi. He enjoys swimming and trekking. After spending months with him you will never know that he can actually drive. But he sure can. How else do you log over 250K kms across India? His favourites are North-East (especially Arunachal), Ladakh, Bhutan, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh and MP. Once he had even sneaked into Myanmar. Does not take picture, never writes travelogues, and prefers remote destinations. Avoids tourists and any hint of publicity.

His Ride – Black 2017 Scorpio S4 + 4WD. Has logged some 80k kilometres on this one.

Dr Sayantani Majumdar – A doctor (physician) by profession, driving is one of the several things she excels in. Loves travelling, cooking, trekking and making friends. Do not worry about conversations, she will do all the talking 😊

Her Ride - 2021 Thar LXI (Hard Top Manual Diesel)

Soumyajit Dey – You cannot imagine this trip or any trip without him. A great photographer, a meticulous planner, a perfect keeper of records. He is extremely street smart and has had been on long rides on various occasions. He is also an avid trekker and a movie buff and has a genuine eye for the details.

Dr Arijit Dey – A doctor by profession, and although the tallest in the gang, he prefers lying low, literally so, on most occasions. But he can be pretty gutsy if the situation demands and comes up with the wittiest of comments at the most opportune moments.

Beas – At 6 years she has more road experience under her belt than many accomplished adults. A perfect traveller, she prefers telling stories to having her meals. On long stretches of road she can dictate entire novels as she creates them. To be in her good books, you should never attempt to insert logic into her fantasy world. The title of this travelogue is inspired by her nickname Ichhe (which means desire)

Tamoghno Bhaumik (Yours Truly) – Knows how to drive. Knows how to write. But never too willing to do either unless pushed.

The rough plan, as a I knew it then, was Kolkata-Gopalpur-Jagdalpur (Chitrakote Falls)-Sunabeda-Kolkata. It changed considerably as roads, destinations and characters evolved.

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Rajarshi Bhattacharya

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Dr Sayantani Majumdar

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Soumyajit Dey

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The Gang


The Warm Up Lap


Day 1: Kolkata to Gopalpur – 610 kms

This 610 km stretch, via NH16 (previously NH6 or the Kolkata – Chennai section of the golden quadrilateral), was always meant to be uneventful and so it was. Most people in Kolkata have their first taste of the highway by driving to Puri, so this is familiar territory. We started at the crack of dawn and halted at Kolaghat for a cup of tea. As we gobbled up the sandwiches and brownies that Sayantani had so thoughtfully prepared for us, the progress was very decent. Stretches from Balasore to Bhubaneswar has a lot of repair work going on, so advisable to drive carefully especially at night. Sometimes accumulated water can mask rather deep potholes in otherwise smooth stretches. In the outskirts of Bhubaneswar you get the first glimpse of the Eastern Ghats, but the most beautiful section of this stretch is the winding hilly roads near Chilika with some spectacular bird’s eye view of the lake. The only obstacles were bursts of torrential rain as we approached Gopalpur or a flock of goat taking the highway, perhaps trying to hitch-hike their way home.

It was 7:30 PM when the vast stretch of Bay of Bengal, beautifully illuminated by the near full moon of upcoming Janmasthami greeted us. Our accommodation, though modest, was right on the Gopalpur Beach next to the light house. There are lots of options here, and you may want to explore this place as an alternative to the more touristy Puri. Our only regret, this being an interim halt, we could not spend time at the beach or take a dip in the sea.

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Kolkata - Gopalpur Route

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Chilika Lake

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The Hitch-Hikers

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Moonlit Bay of Bengal at Gopalpur


Things got Interesting


Day 2: Gopalpur to Chitrakote Falls (near Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh) – 468 km

I was told to wake up early as it is advisable to reach Chitrakote Falls before sundown, due to some disturbances in the area. I put in my best effort to dash off by 7:00 am only to find my buddies discussing nonsense over endless cups of tea. When poking and shoving and nudging did not help, I joined in the conversation. We started two hours behind our scheduled departure.

Now there are essentially two major routes from Gopalpur to Jagdalpur. The first moves westward along the heart of Southern Orissa, cutting through the beautiful Eastern Ghats before entering Chhattisgarh. The other route, which is about 15km longer, first heads south into Andhra Pradesh and after Srikakulam turns west towards Chhattisgarh. The first one, as we later figured out, is perhaps the more scenic of the two. After a good one-hour drive, a quick call and some arguments about the next stop revealed that the two cars had taken the two available routes. Apparently the one thing that was left out from the morning’s Chai-Pe-Charcha was chalking the route. Which meant the only chance we had of a get-together later that day was at Koraput, barely 100 kms from Jagdalpur.

I was in the Scorpio accompanied by Rajarshi and Soumyajit. A few kilometres after Behrampur (also known as Brahmapur), this route became a treat for the eyes. I took to the wheels and was enthralled by the quality of the roads all along, from the straight roads of the plains to the gentle curves of the Ghat Section. We were witness to some breath taking beauty of the countryside. The hilly sections would suddenly open up to reveal vast undulating plains showcasing every shade of green. The colours appealed even to me, often dubbed as color-blind in school. At around 1:30 pm we reached the congested area of Raygada, the midpoint of our journey for the day. We stopped for a sumptuous lunch of Rice and Chicken curry at a roadside eatery. For a princely sum of Rs320, it filled our heart and stomach to the brim.

3:00 PM by my watch and GPS confirmed there is no way we are reaching Chitrakote before nightfall. Rajarshi had taken over the wheels once more, Vodafone network had vanished (never to return for the next three days) and Airtel was providing feeble intermittent coverage. With no way to make contact, we glided along hoping that the other car would be on its course. An hour before sunset, I was back behind the wheels and was wondering if the SUVs were much of an advantage if the roads are this good. Within moments of this thought crossing my mind I saw a few good men on the road signalling something.

A bridge ahead was broken and they told us, there is a crossing 1 km behind. Back we went and had it not been for Soumyajit we wouldn’t even have recognized it as a road across the river. A path full of slush went down from the highway at a pretty steep incline. The crossing, almost at the level of the river, also full of slush was barely wide enough for the Scorpio and an equally steep muddy path took us to an almost non-existent village road. Seeing my initial hesitation, Rajarshi assured me that this was a 4X4, just in case. But the Scorpio sailed through the entire stretch like a charm in normal mode, making me reconsider my views about the utility of the vehicle.

It was dark and raining incessantly when a series of rusty barricades marked our entry into the state of Chhattisgarh. A bunch of cows lazing on the road didn’t bother much about checking our vaccine certificates (there are strict border control we had been warned). Near Jagdalpur a brief period of connectivity made us realise that the Thar was barely 30 mins behind us. Once inside Jagdalpur we stopped for a quick sip of the very sweet milk tea. Then onwards we continued on our journey towards Chitrakote Falls. This road is dead straight and cuts through the forests of Bastar region. Dubbed “unsafe” after evening, the heavy rains and the absence of mobile network which had vanished once again, made this 37km drive particularly thrilling. We reached our destination at 9:00 PM and was joined by the Thar some 20 mins later. Though it was dark, we could already hear the distant roar of the falls somewhere in the vicinity.

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Gopalpur to Chitrakote - Route Option 1

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Gopalpur to Chitrakote - Route Option 2

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Enroute Jagdalpur: Somewhere in Odisha

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The Shades of Green

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A Random Halt as Evening Sets In


The Legends of the Falls


Day 3 & 4: Around Chitrakote

The Dandami resort, our abode for the next three nights was a charm. The cottages were pristine, all complete with a balcony providing spectacular views of the Chitrakote Falls. Look right and you see this majestic wall of water some 1000 feet wide, dropping 95 feet over a steep edge. Look left and you see the Indravati river meandering through a beautiful valley in its journey towards the Godavari. The resort has multiple cottages spread out across a vast property with a restaurant offering decent food. What made the next two days especially special was the fact that we were joined by another couple who are local to Chhattisgarh. Dr Hemant Kanwar & Dr Neha Kanwar took it upon themselves to give us an authentic feel of the place.

The next day we headed for the Tirathgarh Falls some 38 kms from Jagdalpur. The journey was short. The falls, some 300 feet high, breaks out into frothing white streams giving the impression of milk being poured on a Shiv Linga. No wonder it hosts a Shiv Parvati temple which attracts not only throngs of tourists and devotees but also monkeys who line up the 200 or so steps leading down to the lowest point of the fall. Hemant guided us to a point which is perfect for a shower, albeit a natural one. There was one catch though. While the shower itself is refreshing, reaching the point isn’t, with the slippery rock face being witness to many a fall. After several unsteady steps and moves which resembled a combo of Odissi & Tango, I aborted the attempt and was content to witness my buddies having fun, from a distance. On the way back we stopped for tea at a small village house of one of Hemant’s friends. The place seemed to be in the middle of nowhere and was made extra special by the warmth of our host, the sweet milk tea, the delicious Puri Sabzi as crickets sang outside under the bright constellation of stars. While returning to the car, my host pointed to an anthill and asked us not to walk too close to it. “I ain’t afraid of ants” I could not resist a chuckle, which soon vanished as others pointed out that once the ants leave the nest, the place is sometimes taken over by snakes. I quickly crossed over to the other side of the road. We bade goodbye to our friend and his family, but not before taking a groupfie using the headlight of the Thar. For the second time in two days, we drove the not-so-safe stretches after nightfall.

Swimming in a mountain stream was never on my bucket list and surely not on my agenda for this trip, which is what we did the next day at the Tamda Ghumar Falls. Egged on by the encouragement of the group I did jump in and had a gala time. I had no idea at that point that if we got too carried away, literally so, there was a 100 foot drop waiting for us barely 100 meters downstream. A view point with the falls in the backdrop made for a perfect picnic spot /selfie point /suicide point. We chose the first. That evening Soumyajit, Neha and Sayantani went back to Jagdalpur once more for shopping (sarees). These stretches were now their backyard.

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Cottages at Dandami Resort

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The Falls from the Balacony

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The View Downstream, also from the balcony

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At Tirathgarh Falls

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Groupfie by Headlight

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Tamda Ghumar: The point where we went swimming

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Tamda Ghumar Falls

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IOT: Inter-NET of Things


Are We There Yet?


Day 5: Chitrakote Falls to Satkosia – 540 kms

The beautiful time we spent at Chitrakote made us realize that it might be worth spending a few extra hours at the destination than on the road. Besides, Arijit was desperate to reduce journey times after spending ridiculously long hours on the back seat of the Thar. So Satkosia was picked up as our alternate destination with a stopover planned at Keonjhar on the last leg to Kolkata. The combination of Covid, Monsoon and the enthusiasm of Sayantani helped us secure a reservation at the Satkosia Sands Resort on the banks of the Mahanadi.

We parted ways with our friend Hemant and his wife Neha at the Jagdalpur bus terminus and continued our journey. In no time we were back in the familiar terrains of the outbacks of Odisha. Past Bhawanipatna we stopped for lunch at a small roadside dhaba with a name that is not easily forgotten – Lulu Dhaba. The owner and his son managed to impress us no ends with great food and even greater service. I would recommend this place to anyone taking this route.

It is at this point that I took the reins of the Thar for the first time in the trip. I had previously driven a 2012 Thar in small stretches and was thoroughly impressed as a driver, not so a passenger. The current model is a best of both worlds, beautifully upgraded interior, far better suspension, and shock absorbers (in the previous ride my spinal cord did most of the shock absorption in the back seat), and all the ICE but the majestic yet easy feel of driving one has been retained. The maneuvering of the vehicle on the curved inclines remains a charm as does the commanding seating position of the driver. Now for a vehicle that is built to explore uncharted terrains, the small boot space can be an issue. You may need an overhead carrier. Also, personally I feel a bit claustrophobic in the back seat, if the window next to you cannot be opened at all.

We were somewhere near Daringbadi, and traveling at great pace through some beautiful roads, when the dusk slowly started to surround us. Once again with no network we relied on random folks in the towns, having a Jio sim, to try establishing connectivity with the Scorpio. After nightfall we were entirely at the mercy of the GPS, running on offline mode, to show us the way ahead. Very often the GPS lead us into narrow village paths, which it presumed was a shortcut. Had it not been for the Thar, I would have stopped and challenged the GPS. For once our youngest companion, who had been a wonderful traveler all through, was a bit scared and kept asking “Are we there yet?”. For some reason she was afraid of being attacked by tigers. After a few reassuring words from mommy dear, she felt sleeping and dreaming about fairies was a better option.

At night, and with a slight drizzle, the Ghat section felt wonderful from the driver’s seat of the Thar. Closer to Satkosia, connectivity was briefly restored and men from the resort started calling us frantically, trying to enquire if we would make it that day. We did make it that day, but not before 10:00 pm. The guard at the forest gate tried to act stern. We apologized for being late but the guard won’t let go. He kept repeating the two words he had probably learnt back in high school “Not Allowed”. Even in his state of heightened intoxication he could not ask for the money which he desperately wanted us to cough up. We paid no further attention to his rants and got the other folks at the office to create the permit for us.

At the resort we were greeted by a bunch of reluctant staff unwilling to carry any luggage, a set of 95 stairs leading up to our rooms and the snake to whom you have already been introduced.

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-chitrakote-satkosia.jpg
Chitrakote to Satkosia Route


Of Snakes & Crocodiles


Day 6: At Satkosia Sands Resort – 0km

Now Rajarshi is an amphibian and given a chance he would prefer to live in water than on land. His vehicles, a Scorpio and a Thar, are merely means of getting him to a nearest water body be it a waterfall, lake, dam, river, sea or any other source of water natural or manmade. Now imagine his plight when almost all the places where you can take a dip were closed for months due to Covid. Add to that the frustration of staying overnight at a beach and not getting into the sea at Gopalpur. All through the previous five days he had been asking everyone around, if it’s possible to swim at Satkosia.

The morning, after we checked in, revealed a beautiful sight. I would let the picture below, rather than my words, do justice to what was before us. Rajarshi seemed happy as the Mahanadi, with its multiple streams, was flowing right next to the resort. The main stream though was at a fair distance, separated by a huge stretch of sand. In winter the resort puts up camps on these sands. At breakfast, the staff was cordial and mentioned that it’s ok to swim in the small stream next to resort. But they warned us not to venture too far into the main stream as there is quicksand and crocodiles.
We put on our swimming gear and came near the small stream. A man was in there, with the water reaching up to his neck. Rajarshi let go of all his past and plunged into the Mahanadi. A few seconds later we saw him slowly stand up in less than knee deep water, cursing himself and the cruel world. The man who was taking a quiet bath, now stood up from his almost lying position. We rolled over to the other side of this stream laughing. The expression on Rajarshi’s face had now turned stern. He resembled Moses, as he made us cross the nearly 1 kilometer stretch of burning sand precisely at midday. On reaching the main stream, we realised that the shallow waters will continue for a long time. Rajarshi did not stop. He was determined to cross the Mahanadi on foot or so it seemed as he became barely visible. Finally, he found a spot where, as we later learnt, he was able to swim.

But his euphoria was cut short as a few staff from the hotel came running out with a piece of stick, which looked like the snake catcher from the previous night. They were waving frantically. Our relentless effort at getting Rajarshi’s attention finally paid off, as he turned his back on his beloved Mahanadi. Through the concoction of Odiya and Hindi and Bengali spoken in a tone of nervous excitement, all I could make out from the staff was that, the spot where Rajarshi was, is precisely the point which has quicksand and crocs. So even if he manages to not get himself drowned or eaten up by crocs, he would definitely render the hotel staff jobless. As we came back to the resort, the entire staff (we were the only guests) were talking about us. For the rest of our stay they ensured that a pair of eyes are always on Rajarshi. The fellow turned pale every time Rajarshi was anywhere near the water or even made a passing reference of Mahanadi in his conversations. It did not help that in the midst of all this, Beas wanted to eat Magur Mach (a fish popular in Bengal) which sounds similar to the Hindi word Magarmacch (crocodiles). It further raised their suspicions as to who we really are.

Now to disappoint all who have read this far, since the boat rides were all closed, we did not actually see any crocodile lazing in the sand. So we spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around inside the room. The snake which had disappeared the previous night did not make a reappearance, but a Salamander did venture in to check if things were alright. The resort had great views, basic food and also arranged for some cultural programs in the evening. It is essentially run by the tribal people of the surrounding areas and could be rather busy during the winters.

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Mahanadi: Sands of Time

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One for the Drivers


I am getting a hang of this


Day 7: Satkosia to Keonjhar – 218km

The only regret we had, as we said good bye to Satkosia, was not spending more time. On the day of our departure, while we were asleep, Sayantani did a short jungle hike on foot and spotted a Sambar deer sending alarm calls for her lost child. The route we took ran parallel to the Mahanadi for a fair distance before getting to a bridge with most spectacular views. The entire route once again was very scenic with a combination of single lane roads and hilly sections. Road conditions in some stretches were less than perfect but nothing that would challenge a sedan, leave alone an SUV. For the last 40 kms the route merges with NH49 which is the arterial road connecting Mumbai and Kolkata. The Sanaghagara Nature Camp, our stay at Keonjhar, was barely 300m off the main road. We got there at around 5:00 PM.

The nature camp boasts of a host of activities. The cottages are spread over a sprawling property which is a perfect spot for picnic. There is an Archery Range, enough fields to enjoy a game of cricket, badminton, football etc or do a barbecue on a chilly evening. The major attractions of the region are the Sanaghagara and the Badaghagara Falls. The Sanaghagra is a relatively small but quite scenic sight barely a kilometre from the resort. As the name Sana / Chhana, which means a kid, suggests it is the smaller of the two falls, Bada being the Big Brother.

Badaghagara situated at a distance of 4 kms from the resort is a much bigger and prettier site. It is situated amidst the greenery of the nearby forests and can be a perfect spot to spend some quality time. The reservoir on the Machakandana river is next to the falls. Apart from the two falls, the area has lots of beautiful nature walks and jungle trails rich in flora and fauna. Being situated barely 8km from the Keonjhar town, it has easy access to all amenities, should you require to be in touch with civilization.

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Satkosia to Keonjhar

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Crossing Mahanadi, by car

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An Apple a Day, Doesn't Always keep the Doctors Away


Can’t Believe It’s Almost Over


Day 8: Keonjhar to Kolkata – 350km

The breakfast at Keonjhar was something I had been told of from the start of the trip. Soumyajit and Rajarshi, who had both been there on a prior occasion, spoke highly of the heavenly taste of Pakhala. Pakhala, also know as Panta in Bengal, and by various names in the Easter part of India is essentially rice, which is made to mildly ferment overnight in water. Served with traditional fries (brijal, potato, pulses), pickles (preferably mango or tamarind), curd and similar accompaniments, the taste, though an acquired one, is something to remember for a long time. And the best part you will not feel hungry through out the day.

With a stomach full of Pakhala we started the last leg of the journey. No hiccups this time, with only a few bad stretches from time to time after Keonjhar. At the end of one such poor stretch of road, as conditions improved, a white Honda Civic started trying all sorts of overtaking manoeuvres on the Thar. Once there was enough space, I gave way to see him vanish into the horizon within seconds. About 20 mins later I found him negotiating another of those pothole ridden stretches. I drove right past him without even having to think of potholes whatsoever. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I was literally living the Rabbit -Tortoise story.

As we neared Kharagpur, things started to change. The network became steady and with it the stark reminder that day after tomorrow is in fact a Monday. Sporadic items from my ever increasing To Do List started flooding back to my mind. The doctors’ phones started ringing more frequently apparently from people who had been “Patient” for almost a week. We were moving much faster than planned and got to Kolaghat by 4:30 PM. We made our final stop for some refreshments.

Goodbyes are always hard but you can make it sweet if you do it with a tub of Ice Cream. Baskin Robbins at Kolaghat took care of the ice cream bit.

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Keonjhar to Kolkata Route

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Till We Meet Again

Here are some facts and figures about the trip entirely courtesy Soumyajit who kept a log of every details. More can be provided if you need.

Total Distance Covered: 2437 km
Total Trip Cost (5 Adults + 1Kid): Rs 117,661
Fuel Expenses: Rs 41,000
Accommodation and In-House Dining: Rs 56,000

The trip did not change me, but it did re-prioritize some of the items on that coveted To Do List. And the best part, I removed “Covid19India.org” from the Favourite list of my internet browser. As for the others and their love for their automobiles, the lyrics of this George Benson song from my childhood “Nothings Gonna Change My Love for You” says it all –

If the road ahead is not so easy
Our love will lead the way for us
Like a guiding star
I'll be there for you if you should need me
You don't have to change a thing
I love you just the way you are

So come with me and share the view
I'll help you see forever too
Hold me now, touch me now
I don't want to live without you


And on that note I sign off, at least for now …
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Old 17th October 2021, 23:44   #2
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Default re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Very nice and detailed travelogue Tamoghno

You joined T-Bhp in early 2008 and are still in Newbie status

This needs urgent correction. Expecting some more travelogues from you.
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Old 18th October 2021, 00:23   #3
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Default re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Tamoghno, that's a brilliant travelogue. You can literally paint pictures with your words. Keep traveling and keep posting, maybe a bit more of those pics that you click.

Best wishes.
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Old 18th October 2021, 01:11   #4
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Default re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Lovely travelogue there. I have been to chitrakote falls but that was after sundown and hence couldn’t really enjoy the view fully. Hopefully I get to stay in the resort on my next visit around Jagdalpur.

And even if you hadn’t removed covid19India.org, by October end it would have gone as the website is shutting down anyways

Last edited by SoumenD : 18th October 2021 at 01:14.
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Old 18th October 2021, 11:33   #5
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Yes you must spend more time on ur next trip, the place has so many hidden gems.

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Originally Posted by SoumenD View Post
And even if you hadn’t removed covid19India.org, by October end it would have gone as the website is shutting down anyways
That's good, coz I ended up spending more time studying case counts at the places, rather than studying the routes to get there.
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Old 18th October 2021, 20:48   #6
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

An excellent read! Enjoyed reading every bit of it, including the white Civic part!

Chitrakoot is in my to do list for a long time. Had plans for Chitrakoot in last year June, but had to drop the plan due to Covid.

Between, we were at Satkosia too at the time of Janmashtami! We stayed at the Baliput side. Boat service was operational from the Baliput side.

Sharing the link of our travelogue-
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ster-awds.html (Forests & Beaches of Odisha | Satkosia, Konark & Puri in two Duster AWDs)

And some photo-bombing -

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-241059717_6371415436263629_7869483046992422804_n.jpg

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-241103249_6371401102931729_3189404820519334412_n.jpg

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-241310300_6371398856265287_2792557594924695988_n.jpg

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-241447783_6371424322929407_9036477614086832939_n.jpg
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Old 18th October 2021, 21:44   #7
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Thanks for enhancing this thread with a different viewpoint of Satkosia. Your travelogue is lovely and your snaps are exceptional.

Yes do visit Chitrakote. It's full of hidden treasures. You will be able to capture it beautifully through your lenses.
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Old 19th October 2021, 11:02   #8
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Wow. Superb travelogue Tamoghno. The write up is amazing and kept me gripped throughout. You should write more often. Looks like a you guys had a great trip. We are yet to explore CG & OD. Will keep this TL handy while planning.

Cheers,
Pawan
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Old 19th October 2021, 16:38   #9
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Superb trip and travelogue. More so, that my hometown "Bhawanipatna" got a mention.

I had done this route a couple of years earlier. Most people do not know that South Odisha has a lot to offer. I am putting down my route in case it helps anyone planning this route.

Day 1- Kolkata-Sanghaghara waterfalls, Keonjhar - Sambalpur (Night halt)
Day 2- Sambalpur-Bhawanipatna (My hometown) Local sightseeing...lots of options there. (night halt)
Day 3 - Bhawanipatna- Phurlijharan waterfall-Jakham-Thuamul Rampur (these are all scenic viewpoints) - Nawrangpur-Jagdalpur (Night Halt)
Day 4- Tirathgarh Falls, Kotumsar Caves, then Chitrakote falls - back to hotel (night halt).
Day 5- Jagdalpur-Onukadelli Tribal Market-Duduma Falls - Lower Kolab dam - Koraput (night halt)
Day 6 - Koraput - Damanjodi - HAL Museum - Deomali (highest peak in Odisha (cars go to the top) - then onwards to Araku, Andhra Pradesh - (night halt)
Day 7 - Araku local sightseeing and late afternoon drive to Vizag (night halt)
Day 8 - Vizag local sightseeing.
Day 9 - Vizag - Bhadrak (night halt)
Day 10 - Bhadrak - Kolkata..


Cheers
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Old 19th October 2021, 18:58   #10
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Glad you liked it and thanks for sharing this route option. It is an interesting one and you seem to be one spirited traveler. Yes I was also surprised by how scenic and beautiful southern Odisha is. I had been to Daringbadi by road, way back in 2009, and found it beautiful too.

Of the falls around Chitrakote, I found Tamda Ghumar most pristine and picturesque. Here is one snap we took while in the river (gives a feel of infinity pool, actually river)
Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-infinity-river.jpg

One interesting coincidence, my first travelogue in TeamBhp was a roadtrip to Vizag in 2008, and it started with the same phrase as that of your signature

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-bit-more.html (Kolkata-Vizag-Kolkata (All in a weekend and a bit more))
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Old 22nd October 2021, 21:02   #11
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Lovely TL, @Incognito! Really loved the pictures and narration. I hail from Berhampur (not Behrampur--minor spelling change), but have been working in AP/ Telangna for 4 decades.

It looks like the route you have taken from Gopalpur to Jagdalpur was via Taptapani hot springs. I'm not sure if you stopped for a few moments there to witness the hot sulpur water emanating from the ground in the hilly area. We used to go there often during childhood and stay at the Dak Bungalow there.

Below is a picture of Chitrakote Falls that we had visited in Oct 2019. We drove there from Hyderabad via the Sukma route (was naxal infested earlier) and reached in 11.5 hours. We also visited Tiratgarh Falls the same afternoon, and drove to Jaipur and Araku from there.

Chitrakote Falls and Tirathgarh Falls:-

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-img_20191006_105133.jpg

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-img_20191006_142353.jpg

Last edited by vnabhi : 22nd October 2021 at 21:13.
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Old 23rd October 2021, 12:12   #12
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Default Re: Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Lovely TL, @Incognito! Really loved the pictures and narration. I hail from Berhampur (not Behrampur--minor spelling change), but have been working in AP/ Telangna for 4 decades.
Thank You . Glad you enjoyed the write up and the correct spelling of Berhampur noted.

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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
It looks like the route you have taken from Gopalpur to Jagdalpur was via Taptapani hot springs.
You are absolutely correct. We did contemplate stopping, but with the distance to cover that day, we had to decide against it. I did visit the Taratarini Temple on a previous visit to Daringbadi in 2009. Both the route and the temple site were beautiful.

Most of the route, with the tree trunks painted white to mark the edge of the highway, is a very pretty sight, especially at night.

Wings of Desire – Exploring Odisha & Chhattisgarh in a Scorpio & Thar-trees.jpg
Tree Lines
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