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A drive to the Eastern Coast : Bhilai to Puri for a splendid holiday

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by Arryan, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. Arryan

    Arryan Regolare

    Messages:
    257
    Bhilai
    Linea 1.3
    Puri is famous for the 11th century temple of Lord Jagannath and is a prominent pilgimage of India. The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine) sites comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka. According to Hindu teachings, a pilgrimage of the temples of India is not considered complete without a journey to Puri. The word "Puri" in Sanskrit means 'town', or 'city'. It is possible that Puri is a shortened name for Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri.

    Apart from the religious side of this place, Puri is endowed with one of the best beaches for swimming in India and is, therefore, also a very popular beach resort, especially as it is positioned geographically in such a way that both sunset and sunrise can be viewed from the beach. The beach hosts sand art displays, including work by international award winning local sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik.

    The planning

    I'm not so religous minded and it was only the popularity of the place as a beach resort that I decided to visit Puri. Actually my mother was going to my sister's place and my son was perturbed with the whole idea of missing "dadi". His annual examination was complete on 13th and the school would reopen on 01st April. To cool him we decided to make a short trip to Puri. My wife have never visited Puri and I had visited Puri last with my parents when I was in class five. So a visit to Puri was always on the cards, this time every thing clicked and we got a good excuse.

    The Route

    There is only one route from Bhilai (or Raipur) to Puri.
    You take NH6 from Bhilai to Sambalpur : 304 KM
    Sambalpur to Manguli Chowk NH42 : 265 KM
    Manguli Chowk To Puri via NH5 and NH203 : 95 KM

    Total distance would be around 664 KM.

    Day One : Wednesday 20/03/2013

    We set off from home precisely at half past three in the morning on my Linea. The roads were empty and the car sped through the Raipur - Durg Expressway towards Raipur at triple digit figures on the odo. We reached Arang (66 KM) exactly at quater to five. The four lane expressway ends there and the old two laned highway begins all the way to CG-OD border. Four laneing of this portion has started but it is in a preliminary stage; the trees are being cut and the land is being levelled and it might take atleast a couple of years to complete. Just after Arang I was caught in a jam created by a breakdown truck on the bridge over the Mahanadi river. That wasted about 20 minutes. From Arang as you proceed towards Odisha, you cross the Barnavapara jungle followed by Tumgaon, Patewa, Pithora, Basna and Saraipalli, a distance of around 121 KM. Saraipalli is the last noticeable town on the CG side on NH6. Around 28 KM from Saraipalli is the Luhurachati inter-state (common) check post between the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. As expected there is huge queue of heavy trucks on both side of the border check post (though not comparable to Jaleshwar check post between WB and OD on NH6) and the road is in bad shape most of the time. I had to take a detour through a small village named "Chiwri" or something similar. This road unfortunately is not showwn in the Google maps and even my MMI maps went for a toss when I was crossing this streach. There is no road sign at this place either at the CG end or the OD side but this abondoned road takes you through the border by avoiding the checkpost and saves time.

    The narrow village road through "Chiwri" to avoid the check post at CG-OD border.
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    Even my MMI devise was lost in this unknown territory.
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    After I completed the trip I searched in Google Maps for this road. As the map view was of no use I swtched to the satellite view and could locate the probable points where I left NH6 in CG and again joined NH6 in Odisha. This location might be helpful to anyone who gets stuck in the jam at the CG-OD border check-post.

    luhurachati.jpg

    As you enter Odisha, you are greeted by the freshly laid fourlane road (under construction) with lots of diversion right upto Sambalpur. The culverts on this streach are being built and hence the diversion on several places. As you proceed ahead you'll cross Sohela, Bargarh, Attabira and then Sambalpur. The road from Attabira to Sambalpur is full of patch works which would restrict your speed and also make the journey uneven and bumpy. We halted at Hotel Ganapati at Bargarh for breakfast at around quater to eight. The hotel staff were not ready with the breakfast menu but they provided wonderful sandwitches and tea/coffee for us. After the breakfast we reached Sambalpur around nine thirty. There is a by-pass around Sambalpur (as shown in the picture) for NH6 but recent expansion to the city has brought the by-pass within the city limits. On one side of Sambalpur is the river Mahanadi, so all the expansion to the city is obvoiusly happening on the other side. At Sambalpur one has to leave NH6 and take NH42.

    Sambalpur by-pass on NH6 and way to NH42 :
    Sambalpur.jpg

    From Sambalpur one would pass through Charmal, Redhakhol, Angul, Dhenkanal and Chaudwar to join NH5 at Manguli Square/Chowk, a distance of around 270 KM. NH 42 is double lane, old styled highway, except that I noticed some huge potholes at places that were not there when I travelled last on this route in January. The NH42 passes through some forest area like the Redhakhol-Charmal range, Bamur forest range, Badamba forest range, Kapilas forest range etc. and it feels wonderful to drive on this serpentine highway with thick vegetation on both sides of the road and small villages in between. The 18-20Km streach through Angul is the worst part of this otherwise beautiful highway. There is no by-pass for Angul and one is forced to drive through the city. Apart from NALCO factory and the bauxite mines, there are coal mines and a Super Thermal Power Plant of NTPC in nearby Talcher and various mining projects and power & steel plants of Jindal, Bhusan and others. All the heavy dumpers carrying coal and other minerals would also ply on the same roads making the roads congested and difficult to drive. However, there is a proper by-pass for the Dhenkanal city.

    We halted on NH42 to collect some unique "palash" flower (Common Name : Flame of the forest). This flower blooms only during the holi festival.
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    For the information of the members, I would like to add here that Dhenkanal was a princely state till the independence of India and has a long history. Most part of this district is covered with dense forest and a long range of hills, which are home to elephants and tigers. The famous “Kapilas Hill” which is popularly known as the “Kailash” of Utkal is also in this district. Dhenkanal is called a “Tourist Paradise” by the people of Odisha and is surrounded by mountains and beautiful natural sceneries. Its ancient temples on the hilltops are an added attraction for the religious people.

    We reached Manguli Chowk at about two in the afternoon and took a right turn for Cuttack. NH5 takes you ahead by another 30KM through Cuttack and upto Rasulgarh in Bhubaneshwar. By this time you cross the distributaries of the Mahanadi thrice. At Rasulgarh you have to leave NH5 and proceed through NH203 to Puri for around another 60-65 KM. After crossing through the rest of the crowded Bhubaneshwar city, we took a rest under a big banyan tree on the roadside. We completed our homemade lunch there and proceded towards Puri. Contrary to some of the views I've received from various sources, I stuck to NH203 straight upto Puri. The road is being converted to fourlane and there are diversions on the road but driving on the freshly laid tarmac was fantastic. Even Pipli was not crowded at all, maybe the afternoon heat was the reason. Ultimately we reached Puri at four in the afternoon.

    The Hotel

    Puri has a wide variety of hotels suitable for all class of people and for all budgets. Most of the popular hotels of Puri however are located on the Marine Drive Road, but this place seemed too overcrowded to me. The affluent ones prefer Mayfair (new Mayfair Premium is coming up), Toshali Sands, Hans Coco Palms and some others. But for the average people and if you would like to enjoy the sea away from the crowd, the OTDC Panthanivas is the best choise. The hotel has direct access to the beach and the beach in this side is absolutely peaceful with only a handful of tourists.

    A view from the hotel balcony :
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    Now enjoy some pictures taken on the road. The pictures are taken from inside the moving car, therefore, sorry for the poor quality of the pictures.

    The sun coming up from slumber :
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    Some pictures of the beautiful NH42 with thick vegetation on both sides :

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    The four lane higway NH203 between Bhubaneshwar and Puri :

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    9 people like this.
  2. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    6,001
    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Nice details about route and places, nice pictures too, I hope you will have more to share.
    Don't know why but boder areas with Odisha and Bengal has this problem.
    In my recent drive - http://www.teamfiat.co.in/street-travel-experience/8316-back-roots-road-trip-north-bihar.html -, I found other states borders are properly managed and no isssue to normal drivers.
    Agree, all OTDC Panthnivas has excellent location, bang on beach, spacious place and decent service.
  3. Arryan

    Arryan Regolare

    Messages:
    257
    Bhilai
    Linea 1.3
    After settling in the hotel room we headed straight to the beach and had a beautiful time till 7:30 in the evening. It eventually became our daily routine for the rest of our stay; the mornings and evenings were spent on the beach.

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    Day Two : Thrusday 21/03/2013.

    Jagannath Darshan

    The next day we woke up early at four and was out for the famous Jaganath Temple by quarter past five. The hotel has a panda of its own and the gentleman promised us a trouble free "darshan" of the deity provided we can be at the temple premises by five thirty. He even arranged a auto to take us to the temple and the auto reported dot at five in the morning. By five thirty we were at the front of the Main gate of the temple. True to his words, this gentleman arranged an absolutely trouble free (no queues and more importantly no demands or harassment from the main pandas) darshan for us. We stayed inside the main temple (garv griha) for around an hour and witnessed from close the deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and the goddess Subhadra, which constitute the trinity of deities sitting on the bejewelled platform or the Ratnavedi in the inner sanctum. The Sudarshan Chakra, idols of Madanmohan, Sridevi and Vishwadhatri are also placed on the Ratnavedi. I always knew that there are only three deities inside the Jagannath temple, the other four were never known to me before this visit.

    Visitors to the temple are not allowed to take any mobile or camera inside the temple. It would always be advised to leave your mobile and camera at the hotel during the temple visit. Or else you have to deposit the same with them on the same counter where you would leave your shoes, this I felt was quite risky.

    In front of the entrance to the eastern gateway there is the beautiful Sun Pillar (Aruna Stambha) over which squats the praying Aruna the charioteer of the Sun God Surya. This structure originally stood before the temple of the Sun at Konark and was shifted here by the Marathas.The Sun Pillar is a monolithic shaft with sixteen sides.

    The Singahdwara, which in Sanskrit means The Lion Gate, is one of the four gates to the temple and forms the Main entrance. The Singhadwara is so named because two huge statues of crouching lions exist on either side of the entrance. The gate faces east opening on to the Bada Danda or the Grand Road. This gate is used by the general public for entry to the temple. Apart from the Singhadwara there are three other entrances facing north, south and west. They are named after the sculptures of animals guarding them. The other entrances are the Hathidwara or the Elephant Gate, the Vyaghradwara or the Tiger Gate and the Ashwadwara or the Horse Gate. They are also called as Purbadwara, Dakhinadwara, Paschimadwara and Uttardwara according to their directions.

    Sorry for the boring description of the temple. We visited the other temples within the premises and saw the kitchen and finally returned to the hotel by nine. After freshening up and having our breakfast we headed for Konark.

    The Sun Temple, Konark

    The distance from OTDC Panthanivas, Puri to the Sun Temple at Konark is 36 KM, out of which the first 5 KM is within Puri town, the next 25 Km is through the Balukhand-Konark Reserve Forest, 3 KM is just by the sea side to Chandra Bhaga beach at Konark and the last 3 KM is perpendicular to the beach to the Sun Temple.

    The road is full of such signboards :

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    The Puri-Konark Marine Drive, NH 203, is another very beautiful highway to drive on. I have read somewhere (I do not re-collect the source) that it is one of the most scenic and beautiful highway in the country :

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    All approach roads to the Sun Temple has been blocked for the public. There is a parking lot cum bus stop near Hotel Chandrabhaga and you have to park your vehicle there and walk for 1KM to reach the temple premises. Hats were available in the roadside shops on rent to protect one from the heat. Very interestingly an auto approached us and for twenty rupees he took us past all these police barricades right upto the ticket counter in front of the temple.

    The name "Konark" is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Kona" (meaning angle) and word 'Arka' (meaning sun). Konark Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), is constructed from sandstone and is an excellent example of Orissan architecture of that period. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and has been declared as a World Heritage Site. It is one of the Seven Wonders of India (as per the poll conducted by NDTV). Legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. It is said that Samba was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built the magnificent Konark Sun Temple.

    The temple has been built in the form of the majestic chariot of Surya (Arka), the Sun God, and is heavily decorated with stone carvings. The entire complex was designed in the form of the God's huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated wheels at its base. The huge wheels carved at the base of the temple are one of the major attractions and the spokes of the wheels are said to serve as sundials and the shadows cast by these can give the precise time of the day. The temple complex also contains erotic sculptures, which can be found primarily on the second level of the porch structure, similar to the temple in Khajuraho. Majestic in conception, the Sun Temple is one of the most sublime monuments of India, famous as much for its imposing dimensions and faultless proportions as for the architectural grandeur. Every inch of the temple is covered with sculpture of an unsurpassed beauty and grace.

    Excerpts from the Wikipedia on The Sun Temple :

    The entrance is guarded by two giant lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body.Here lion is represented as pride and elephant is represented as money and the meaning conveyed is both money and pride crushes man (see the picture below). The temple symbolizes the majesty of the Sun God. At the entrance of the temple is a Nata mandir. This is where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the Sun God. The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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    The Sun Temple with the Nata Mandir in the front :

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    Of the seven magnificient horses driving the chariot, only this one has managed to withstand time :

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    Some more pictures of the Sun Temple. Enjoy the beautiful sculptures :
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    6 people like this.
  4. limraj

    limraj Superiore

    Messages:
    915
    Trivandrum
    Linea 1.3
    Beautiful roads. Liked the Sun Temple photos. The chariot wheel is so popular in photos.
  5. raj29

    raj29 Superiore

    Nice travellogue and beautiful pictures.
  6. Hey Arryan great travelogue, and pics..

    I think I saw your car parked near block b of panthanivas (where they shifted the receptuon temporarily) 23rd or 24th night, we used to go there for dinner most nights.btw it was CH registered, right?

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2
  7. GaganTakker

    GaganTakker Amatore

    Messages:
    177
    New Delhi
    Hi

    Nice pics and good drive

    Which area you are putting up in Bhilai ?

    I have relatives & friends there
  8. Arryan

    Arryan Regolare

    Messages:
    257
    Bhilai
    Linea 1.3
    You are spot-on.
    BNW Linea parked next to the Block B near the reception counter (with LTD sticker on the rear bumper).
    It must be 23rd. night, because we left on 24th.
    It is CG07 not CH.

    Missed a great chance of meeting you. BTW I never spotted another Fiat there.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  9. My car was parked beside the ac otdc tour buses...by the time I came back from dinner I couldnt spot your car.i wanted to park beside your linea but a yellow board innova squezzed himself in that spot.
    Btw it was a red punto WB registered with fiat stickers on the front doors and ltd sticker at the back.


    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  10. Arryan

    Arryan Regolare

    Messages:
    257
    Bhilai
    Linea 1.3
    A few broken pieces from the temple structure are kept at the side :
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    Some other broken/disintegrated pieces kept aside on a platform :
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    Notice the way the structure is falling apart, this historic monument is in ruins :
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    The ASI is trying it's best to maintain the structure, but all the efforts has resulted in this :
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    Maybe in the near future there will be no carvings to see for the visitors, only flat stone walls, a monumental effort towards restoration of the historic site by ASI :
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    Stone statues of the Sun god on the outside of the temple :
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    A final shot of the once magnificient temple structure at Konark :
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