Day – 13
Bhubaneswar (Orissa) to Satapara Chilika Lake (Orissa) = 227 km
Starting Place: Hotel Richi Bhubaneswar
Starting Km Reading: 7395 km @ Hotel Richi
Starting Time: 07.00 A.M. Morning
Closing Km Reading: 7622 km @ Hotel Yatri Nivas Chilika Lake Satapara
Closing Time: 22.00 P.M. Night
Day – 13 started with a relaxed mood as we had driven 655 km previous day on Day – 12 from NTPC Bakkeshwar to Bhubaneswar.
We planned to visit Puri Jagannath Mandir (Temple) and visit Konark Sun Temple and at night proceed to Chilika Lake @ Satapara.We checked out from the hotel & left at 7 A.M. Morning to Puri which is about 35 km from the city.
Enroute to Puri we came across a handicraft showroom cum manufacturing unit. They had placed very beautiful hand-made artifact idols of various deities outside.I went to the caretaker and requested whether I could take pictures.Initially he was reluctant and was kind of worried if his idols & designs should not be copied by his competitors.I said how is it possible as I was just taking small snaps and we were from down south. He agreed and we had a great time.
We reached PURI Jagannath Temple and we had to park our cars & take a long walk to reach the temple & we took local cycle rickshaws.In PURI you will be hounded by a whole lot of pandas (priests / pujaris) who come & offer their services and exorbitant prices and haggle with you.It can leave a bitter taste in your mouth when you wish to offer your prayers to Lord Jagannath. I had told my wife to be ready for this.
Luckily after we rejected a couple of Pandas, we came across this young Panda (Priest) & he came to us & introduced himself as Harihar and politely asked whether we would be happy to give him an opportunity to take us inside & do all the puja etc. We liked him & requested him to take us around the temple & explain to us about various important things from within.
After the visit to temple we were on our way to Konark to visit the Sun Temple.
After the Sun Temple visit we did quite a bit of shopping picking up some nice stuff from the handicraft shop. The sales staff guys became very attached to us & my daughter was their pet. We picked up some bronze tortoises, Konark Sun wheel, wall hangings etc.
We left Konark & had to drive a long way to Satapara Chilika Lake which is quite far away close to some 80~90 KMs & it had become very dark.
The road is also very lonely and you can’t ask just stop anywhere to ask directions. Somehow we were in the right direction and we passed through some small villages and I kept stopping and kept asking Satapara & Chilika Lake & they said continue on the same road.Reached Satapara Yatri Nivas Hotel which was recommended by HV Kumar and I had called well in advance & booked a room & told the caretaker that I was on my way from Konark.We reached the Hotel Pantha Nivas Orissa Tourism Development Corporation Ltd @ night 10 P.M. and checked into a room. The tariff was
Day – 14
Satapara Chilika Lake (Orissa) to Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) = 365 km
Starting Place: Hotel Yatri Nivas, Chilika Lake Satapara
Starting Km Reading: 7622 km @ Hotel Yatri Nivas
Starting Time: 07.00 A.M. Morning (After Boat Ride & seeing Yerawadi Dolphin)
Closing Km Reading: 7987 km @ Hotel Haritha, Visakhapatnam
Closing Time: 21.00 P.M. Night
Chilika lake is just adjacent to the Hotel Yatri Nivas. Chilika Lake is famous for the Yerawadi Dolphins and it is a very large lake. My son had a topic on Chilika Lake in his 2nd standard and was so thrilled & was eagerly looking forward for going to the lake & see the dolphins.The caretaker came with us & helped us in arranging a motor boat for us to take us around the lake & show us the Dolphins. The boat owner charged me a Rs.800/- and I felt it was on higher side but having come all the way to Satapara with kids did not want to disappoint them. End of the day it was worth it.
There are some boats that will approach your boat while you are right in the middle of the lake & they will bring a huge bowl which is full of shell-fish and they open these and say there are Pearls and try to sell them saying they are very costly etc. Many people fall for this trick.HVK had already told me in advance about such approaches and to avoid. I politely declined and said we weren’t interested & imagine opening poor live shells just to show some fake pearls they have inserted inside?
Look at their smiles below – YES it was really worth the boat ride on Chilika Lake & to see the wonderful dolphins & up so close too. Both the kids were thrilled!!!It was time for us to say good-bye to Chilika Lake and we had to reach Visakhapatnam which was a long way to go.HV Kumar had told me that there is a ferry that will leave from Satapara to Krishnaprasad Island at 10 A.M. morning.He had asked me to take this ferry at any cost as it will help me in getting to the National Highway by passing through the Chilika Lake to the other side.
If I had missed this ferry it means I had to drive a whole round about route back towards Orissa and to reach the national highway.It was one of a memorable experience to put our brand new car on a ferry & all 4 of us with it along with a whole lot of local people & their 2 wheelers etc crossing in a ferry. The charge for transporting the car was Rs.300/- you will have to book your car & buy a ticket from the ferry counter.
We reached Krishnaprasad Island & got off from the ferry and we had to drive through some remote villages with absolutely no sign boards and roads going GOD knows where and we were heading to the National Highway which we finally reached. The village roads were in very bad shape-in many places as last year’s flood & heavy rains in Orissa had done a lot of damage.Luckily we had a safe & happy trip on the lake. I will definitely recommend this to any one who is interested and should do this early morning when there is no disturbance from other boats & sun is also not very high & hot.
I was only concerned that there was no safety jacket / any tube in case of any emergencies.We were out of mobile coverage range for very long time & we could not contact HV Kumar.Finally when we came closer to the highway we got in touch with HVK & updated status.We told HVK we just were passing a village called HUM MA.HVK made fun with us probably this village inspired A.R.Rehaman to sing his famous song Humma??
We finally reached Vishakhapatnam by 9 P.M. Night and had covered 365 KMs.
Total Toll Fees 31.12.2010 = 125
31st December night & year 2010 was coming to an end and the entire city in Vizag looked like it had gone crazy, people in a hurry, boys on bikes revving & shouting around, whole lot of people moving, ATMs run out of money, teams of young boys desperate to get money from ATMs standing in big que, cops everywhere& total chaos.
Is this New Year??
All looking forward for a Happy New Year 2011 in few hours as if the whole life & things will change for better!!We checked into Hotel Harita on Beach Road, tariff was Rs.1365/-. The hotel & room was decent & facing the beach road, we were throughout the night disturbed by revving bikes shouting Happy New Year, bursting of Fire Works & Crackers and drunk people shouting and fighting etc.It was a disturbing night. I was trying to get some good sleep!!!
Welcome to New Year 2011 @ 12 mid night, received quite a lot of SMSes, phone calls from near & dear, all 4 of us greeting each other finally I believe we must have had some 2-3 hours sleep. We had to start very early morning by 5 A.M. On 1st January 2011 I had to drive a long distance &in fact it was one of the longest NON-STOP drives I have ever done.I drove all the way from Visakhapatnam to Coimbatore 1400 KMs non-stop via Chennai.
The back-home drive is always quick. In one of the ‘British Airways’, add they had a line called ‘..Kids always run back home from school…’. In my last long drive, we were coming back from Bandhavgarh and were more than tempted to not stop for the night and just head home. It was good that we stayed at Gwalior since it was already close to 8 PM but somehow for the whole of that long drive, I was secretly planning to drive all the way to home :-)
Panda scene is really very bad. Hope it didn’t affected too badly towards your experience of the place. Rajeev Tiwari wrote 3 stories couple of years back. Please read when you are free.
Waiting to reach home. :-)