“Green is the colour of your kind,greatness of the mind assists the eye….”
It was one of our tyrannical night shifts in our company with thousand of mechanical parameters creating heavy traffic in our brain when me and my juniour colleague Sambit decided to use our double off according to the shift rota in an epic 900 km road trip across Southern Odisha. So we started of in the afternoon of 17.07.2017 from our NTPC township in Talcher kaniha and that was our first district which is Angul to start with.
Scenic view in Angul Cuttack Highway.
We crossed the busiest industrial hub of Odisha within an hour with numerous chimneys that followed us as we then entered the dense elephants forest of Dhenkanal.
We decided to have our lunch in the Yuvraj Dhaba which was the worst experience in my life.The roadside Dhabas along the highway was very unhygienic and dirty with an equally dirty place to sit and have lunch.But due to our previous night shifts taht already made us hungry we quickly finished off with our lunch and by evening reached the capital city of Bhubaneshwar. My juniour colleague was in search of buying a new Nikon camera which we decided to use in our epic trip.I was amazed to see his commitment towards travelling as he strictly maintained his decision of buying a brand new camera for this trip.After buying his camera we started our journey towards Rambha Panthanivas in Chilka Lake. Well Panthanivas are state government guest houses provided in every tourist fanatic places in Odisha. Their campus is well maintained with rooms being provided approximately for Rs 1600 in almost every places.This is a terrific step taken by the government of Odisha to promote tourism. Panthanivas has well maintained restaurant and clean rooms.The Panthanivas at Rambha which is village in Ganjam district situated on the banks of Chilka lake amidst breathtaking scenery.
There are boating facilities which can be availed by the tourists to visit different islands in the chilka lake.Visit this place in the months of januray and february when numerous species of migratory birds do arrive here to have their feast and festival in the largest brackish water lake of India.
View from Panthanivas Rambha.
It was already half past 8:30 so we decided to have our dinner on the highway.This time too without any options we went for Dhabas as Sambit advised me that this is his hometown district which has very good hygienic dhabas as food joints.And he was true .We had dinner in one of his uncle’s dhaba and the way they prepared the food and cleanliness of the place mesmerised me.The first major thing by which a dhaba can attract tourists is its cleanliness and I must say his uncle strictly followed that.He provided us with delectable dishes of mutton curry and fired liver of goats.After dinner it was already 9:30 so we rushed our car towards Gopalpur sea beach which is a known place of Sambit since his engineering 4 years was from this coastal town.To our amazement when we reached Gopalpur it was 10:30 and there were empty streets with stray dogs barking .Every hotels main entrance was closed and the Panthanivas in Gopalpur had no rooms vacant for us.We thought of sleeping inside the car but fortunately right at the beach front a hotel named Sea horse lightened up their balcony in the main entrance.We quickly went inside but to our misfortune we saw all their staffs sleeping on the ground and with no manager to ask for enquiries .We noticed a boy half awake so we shook him up to enquire about any vacant room in the hotel.Unfortunately he disagreed to give us a room without the permission of the “anonymous” manager.The manager was nowhere to find so we urged this boy for a vacant room.He agreed to give us a room for Rs 900 per night, only on the conditions of leaving it by next day 7 morning.So at last we dint have to sleep inside the car and we were surprised to get a beachfront balcony room.This hotel is in the best location in Gopalpur as it is right in front of the beach with the rolling waves footsteps apart.
But I would advice other travellers to book the hotels in Gopalpur in advance to avoid a panic night.Next day we woke up early and left the room as promised and proceeded our road trip towards Daringbadi,which is considered as the highest point of Odisha. It was monsson time in India so we precisely chose this time of the year to experience the ultimate greenery of rural Odisha.
In Gajapati District.
We were gifted with a perfect weather with the sky remaining cloudy with little drizzle as subtle effects.The Green road side views started after an hour drive from Gopalpur and the first district we arrived today was Gajapati district.I was astonished by the countryside beauty of this district.The hills were green ,refreshed with clean grasses of the monsoon .There were tribal people grazing their buffaloes and cows and arranging their harvest in the green fields of rural odisha.
I mean everything around me was only green which is soothing for any traveller imbibing the pristine scenery from nature.
We arrived at Bhanjanagar where we visited the Sorada dam and Biju Pattanaik park.This place will also look like a lakeland countryside due to the huge reservoir of the dam.The roads were gradually gaining height meandering its way into the Eastern Ghats of Odisha.
Sorada Dam reservoir.
I must say that the government of odisha has provided excellent roadways in this rural areas that really inspires every passionate road trippers to explore the soul of India.By afterrnoon we reached the Udayagiri and Daringbadi forest range which made me spellbound due to its unique scenery.
Entrance to Udayagiri and Daringbadi forest range.
The road became narrow with the soil turning red in colour,and the hills transformed itself into small hills with rocks and boulders scattered over the ground.Sometimes there was a single piece of mammoth size rock forcing itself high into the sky.The fields were mostly with rice plantations and palm trees that turned our visions into that of a running kid traveller.
Scenic view as we enter deep into the forest.
As we proceeded ,the forest became denser and we arrived into a 16 km Ghat road known as Kalinga Ghati. The roads were narrow with steep elevations at each curves providing precarious hair pin bends.The traffic was almost zero with no signs of human activity.The forest became denser as we reached higher grounds with numerous elephant crossing boards falling on the way.
Dense forest before the ghat road.
With all such thrilling situations i drove my car as fast I could as i was afraid of any adventure with wild elephants.After nearly 45 minutes of a thrilling drive finally we saw outskirts of village and we knew we were near to our destination.
Few kms before Daringbadi.
We arrived in the Eco Home stay in Daringbadi at 14:00 hours in the afternoon.I must say the hospitable nature and warm welcome of the people in this hotel really made me happy,I would definitely refer Eco Home stay to my friends for a perfect warm rural experience in Daringbadi. The cook prepared for us excellent dishes which helped us to finish off our hunger after a 5 hour long road trip.In Eco Homestay they charge Rs 1500 per day for a room which have good facilities and rooms are very clean.
Eco Home Stay In Daringbadi
The 4G communications were working excellent in the hill station and from one of the notifications we found out that it was the day of the final clashes between India And Pakistan champions trophy final.So after few hours of sleep we started of our evening with the match which unfortunately India faced a humiliating defeat.Sad with the outcome of the match we were in no mood for a party.But fortunately God bestowed to us a lovely night monsoon shower .To experience a monsoon shower in a rural village is a different experience in its own way.The weather in Daringbadi is mild and you may need a blanket at night.The winters are chilling at such a height in Odisha which is 900 metres above sea level.
Daringbadi Valley view as we enter the hill station.
Next morning we woke up early and after having a delightful breakfast of puri sabzi we proceeded for an ultimate exposure to the rural culture of the Kondh tribes.The kondh tribes are one of the oldest living tribes in India .Their way of farming,ploughing the field,their attire and artworks from the local bark of trees transported our mind to a different world of rural India.
Artwork by the Kondh tribes .Notice the sculptures are made of bronze and the dark colour is formed from the juice of a bark from the local trees in Daringbadi.
Farmers engaged in ploughing the fertile plains.
Beside the pine trees plantation the women of the villages were ploughing their farmlands and their men were engaged in grazing the herds of cows.The pine forest was a paradise to watch.
Pine forest with termite homes.
There were termite homes and long trails inside the pine forests which will give us an experience like that of most hill stations in North of India. Daringbadi also has a coffee plantation int the town which is also worth for a visit.There is a short diversion from the town towards the coffee plantation where we can find a splendid avenue of Pine trees and forests.
Pine trees avenue before the coffee plantation.
After two hours of excursion in the rural side of Daringbadi we came back to our guest house and bid goodbye to the exceptional tourist friendly staffs of Eco tourism Guest house. We started our journey back towards Angul ,but this time through the dense forests of Phulbani. Phulbani is the district headquarter of Kandhamal District which is also home to the heritage Kondh Tribals. On the way there were numerous view points of the valley which were blooming with chlorophylls due to the last night downpour.
The paddy fields and huts of straw added to the splendour beauty in the road trip.The forests were mostly of Teak wood trees which were standing tall to provide a green wall along the highways.I must say the roadways are very smooth and concrete enough to give a comfortable experience of driving.One must be careful while driving through the villages as there will be numerous animals and small children playing carelessly on the road.The entire road trip was in Vijayawada Ranchi highway amidst deep forest which also had leopards settlements as mentioned in the boards,so if you are lucky you may have a chance for leopard sightseeing.The area is extremely remote and rich in deciduous forests which are home to sloth bears,leopards and elephants.
Picturesque view from the road of the Eastern Ghat valley.
Phulbani is well connected by road from Angul And Bhramapur. A road trip throgh this remote villages is very comfortable due to the excellent conditions of the roads,soothing weather and pollution free wind.
As we enter Phulbani
Gradually following the signboards and asking the locals we arrived in the Boudh district and the forests began to disappear and give way to Industrialization hubs.We had a homely lunch on a roadside unnamed restaurant and then proceeded our journey towards the industrial corridor of Sambalpur-Angul. There was a long bridge over Mahanadi as we were leaving Boudh district was similar to the bridges over Mahanadi in Cuttack.
Bridge over Mahanadi River in Boudh district
But there is a subtle and major difference.The forward vision is marked with mountain lines,the river bed is less polluted than the civilised society in the cities and the traffics are much less which gave us ample oppurunities to have photosessions on the bridge.But similar to every places where this mighty lifeline of odisha flows ,the river has dried up to a great extent.The construction of dams has lead to the devastation of the rivers and its high time to realize now that if nature retaliates we will have nowhere to go except this Earth which is a tiny speck in the whole cosmic arena.
Dried up river bed of Mahanadi River.
Gradually I increased the speed of my car for the journey as now the traffic and pollution arrived ,so instead of more imaginations, we transformed ourselves to practical engineers and reached our destination by evening.Visit Green Odisha once in the monsoons and I am sure you will be blown away by its picturesque beauty. Odisha is a lesser known treasure of our country which is not only rich in minerals that adds to the financial resources of our country but also a tourist friendly destination of India that truly speaks about the soul of our country.Visit Odisha and discover the unexplored gems for all travel enthusiasts in this world.