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  • #16




    Coming out of the city, we managed to enter Hirakud (the locality) by nine and were awestruck by the massive mounds of earth that formed the walls of the dam. As we closed in towards the dam, the size became all the more intimidating. Once we had climbed the road that led to the dam surface, we needed tickets to go to the top. But screw that, because now lay in front of us, literally, the whole wide horizon!! Too awestruck, we parked the bikes on one side and moved towards the edge of the dam where the dam wall started, while Soumya got us clearance from the check-post. I cautiously captured a couple of pics of the dam surface from my cell cam, as cameras were not allowed there. After that, we started off to the top of the hill, which offered a grand view from the top. What lay ahead was a winding road cut out at the hillside. Not able to resist, I zoomed away to the next curve and leaned all the way possible without falling off. A few turns later, I just missed going over the wall and down the hill, which helped bringing me back to my senses. We reached the top maintaining a decent pace, then parked and went up the Gandhi minaar after taking the ticket. After a climbing a long spiraling staircase to the top (80 steps, counted by our own Mr. X), not suitable for fat people in IT like us, we reached the top. The view was panoramic and wonderful. While we were enjoying the view, the tower started moving and I held my breath, looking at the floor. Then we realized it was all part of the show; both the inner axis and the outer wall were rotating, albeit at different speeds. After a few 360-degree views of the dam walls, the water and the city, we headed downstairs. What an experience!



    Sneak-pic of the dam


    The mighty one


    Road winding among earth dykes


    Park at the bottom of Gandhi Minar


    Islands formed in the reservoir


    Another park in the distance


    Blending with the industrial area


    Bigger that the biggest


    Calm waters



    Crowd building up below


    Vast expanse...

    Just a few numbers on the monstrosity (stolen from Wikipedia, hehe):
    • Total length of Dam: 4800 Meter
    • Sluice Gates Total: 64
    • Full Reservoir Level: 630 Feet
    • Reservoir shoreline: 640 km


    Riding back was a slow affair, as number of oncoming vehicles had increased. When the descent ended, we took a diversion that led to one of the dykes. Earlier, the gates to the dam surface were closed to keep away people with suicidal tendencies. Here too, we were denied entry, however, due to security reasons. Returning back to the main road from where we turned for the dam, we headed for the Ghanteshwari temple in Chiplima. On the way, we stopped at a rail bridge and another truss bridge for some camera-time. A detour off the NH took us through a bumpy ride to the Chiplima power house, another marvel of its kind. The reservoir was aligned along the side of a hill, and to cross it, we had to walk down a 2-feet walkway, then along a dried-up drain beside the hill! Reaching the temple, we found innumerous bells hanging at all places possible. Soumya told us the legend that small ships faring through Mahanadi were alerted of strong winds by the sound of the bells hanging here. I went back to the shops that we had crossed and bought a bell myself, tied near the temple for fulfilling my own mannat. Coming back, we had a chilled drink each, and headed back across the reservoir, this time avoiding the drain and taking the longer walkway. Since Soumya was getting a severe headache, we decided to stop for a pseudo-breakfast at a lone stall near the parking stand before heading back.


    The descent


    Coming to the divide in road for dyke


    Look at the massive walls!


    Behind the dam walls


    Going to get a view


    Coming back, turned away by security


    The tower we climbed


    The two riders (me looking constipated)


    The abandoned bridge


    Summer had taken it's toll on the river


    Parking by the road


    A nice architecture


    Peeping


    Babaji!!


    Near Ghantenswari Temple


    Look at the crane


    Closer look at the giant


    Water going downstream


    The little dam of the day


    Dried up


    S**la kitna gehra hai!!


    The narrow walkways




    The left dyke of Hirakud

    Once we entered the forest road, the roads became bumpy and rugged. Jumping around in the Bolero, we got acquainted with the sounds of the forest. While Soumya and Mr. X were enjoying to the max, panic was building up inside me. You see, I had seen The Blair Witch Project a few days ago; and now that I was inside a forest, I was beginning to relate the things in the movie, like a few piles of stone along the road. Reaching the guesthouse at six, we were delighted on seeing the place. Newly built cottages, named after the elements, were simple to look at, yet modernity was apparent even from the outside. Our host at the guesthouse took us to a restaurant that faced the waterfront. The gorgeous panorama ahead and the silence enveloping us struck a chord with the three of us, who are more than habituated to the sounds of the city. The calm waters of the Hirakud were occasionally disturbed by a bird dropping to the surface and taking off again. The restaurant cum activity center had a fireplace in the center for camp fires. The furniture was crafter of wood, and was so comfortable to sit, specially the low-slung ones. What a wonderful life it would have been, sitting on a chair, with your feet on the bamboo railings and gazing at the calm waters with a tea-cup. And all we had was one evening. Soumya captured some wonderful snaps of birds dropping down to the water while we still had daylight.


    View from the restaurant


    Till this point of time, all the animals that we had encountered were a dog and the infamous kala bandarJ. After finishing the tea, we dropped off the luggage in our cottage, named after the element Earth, Bhoomi


    Sun gone behind the hills


    See something black?? That's a wild boar


    Getting dark

    . As the driver moved the vehicle, the tension passed. The scene was reminiscent of the Hitchcock classic, Birds. A little ahead, we saw a huge ugly bird sitting on the path and staring at us; it was an owl, blinded by the lights of the car. As it flew in front of the car for some distance, with a small rodent in its claws, I thought about movie Raaz. As we took the turn that led us to the cottages, the driver stopped the vehicle with a screech and asked the guide to check the rear. Upon alighting, the guys found a snake crossing the path slowly! I alone remained in the car, while Soumya and Mr. X went out to take a closer look. As we headed towards the gate, we were still a little disappointed for not having seen a leopard, which is seen sometimes by the forest guards. Thinking that the adventures were over, we jumped in our seats as a full grown grizzly bear crossed the path and looked at us, then ran off into the jungle. Whoa! A few too many surprises for us in the jungle.



    From the watchtower top


    Bhaago yahan se!! It's already dark


    See carefully and you'll see strange bird in the dark

    We went straight for the restaurant for having dinner before retiring for the day. As we sat around gazing at the city light in the distance, the attendants laid down an array of delicious dishes. Hungry as we were, we almost ran through array of items to fill our plates, and then settled down comfortably at one of the tables. After a shameless third serving of chicken, I decided to quit. The others were full to their necks as well, as we walked off through the dark to our rooms. Reaching the rooms, we took out just enough clothes from our bags to take us through the night. Unfortunately, there was no power in the room to service all the fans. Just one fan and the bathroom light were working, so we took to two of the four beds and dozed off at around eleven. A couple of hours past midnight, the fan gave away too, but every one was too tired to open a window. I do remember having strange dreams of creatures looking through our cottage windows. It must have been my imagination running wild in my dreams. Hopefully.
    Last edited by diffuser911; 05-21-2009, 12:59 PM. Reason: Adding captions
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    • #17
      Yaar Sunil, Tu aur Soumya thaa isi liye yeh trip possible hua, nahin to kabhi nahin hotaa, went thru the log twice, loved it each bit of it, i envy ur camera yaar......so whats the plan for september?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by yatishankar View Post
        Yaar Sunil, Tu aur Soumya thaa isi liye yeh trip possible hua, nahin to kabhi nahin hotaa, went thru the log twice, loved it each bit of it, i envy ur camera yaar......so whats the plan for september?
        Thanks Yati da...the thread isn't getting much response, hence would suspend posting after one more day's log.

        Guess people here are entraced by snowcaps and green hills
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        • #19
          Sunil, Soumya: great to read about your 'hot' weather travel....wonderful.

          The Hirakud Dam is amazing...a true mega-structure. It is sad that because of a few morons bent up on destruction, law abiding and respectable citizens are denied a close look at the nation's achievements. Just to stand atop the dam wall would send a surge of pride for our country through me.

          Great pictures by you guys...they take us on the ride with you.

          Convey my best wishes to all others we had spent time with during the GIR 2.
          I don't let my motorcycles interfere with my motorcycling...

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          • #20
            nahin sir, keep your logs coming.......... really enjoyed going through your logs n pics..... wish more pics were there........

            waise sir, i am from puri....... but havent seen home for 2 years so all your pics making me go nostalgic........

            keep your logs coming bhai!

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Old Fox View Post
              Sunil, Soumya: great to read about your 'hot' weather travel....wonderful.

              The Hirakud Dam is amazing...a true mega-structure. It is sad that because of a few morons bent up on destruction, law abiding and respectable citizens are denied a close look at the nation's achievements. Just to stand atop the dam wall would send a surge of pride for our country through me.

              Great pictures by you guys...they take us on the ride with you.

              Convey my best wishes to all others we had spent time with during the GIR 2.
              Thanks Sandeep sir. The inspiring words from you and other members are what we need to keep going on rides, just for the sake of sharing the pics and log with my fellow riders out there.

              Totally agree with the scenario in Hirakud. We had to be satisfied with just a glimpse; had we know earlier, we could have taken letters from our company to get permits.

              The 'others' are looking forward another ride with you, as long as there's a card up your sleeve. What's next??

              Originally posted by trojan View Post
              nahin sir, keep your logs coming.......... really enjoyed going through your logs n pics..... wish more pics were there........

              waise sir, i am from puri....... but havent seen home for 2 years so all your pics making me go nostalgic........

              keep your logs coming bhai!
              Don't worry trojan bhai, they will keep flowing...the pics rite now are from my cam only. Once the log is finished, I would upload some really WOW pics from Soumya's H-9 cam.
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              • #22
                Its a pity not to be able to get closer to the Hirakud and share it with the others here. And btw, you did not manage to shoot the Bisons did you?

                Nice log there.

                I guess you guys should also do Simlipal National reserve and shoot the tigers and share!
                The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by ken cool View Post
                  Its a pity not to be able to get closer to the Hirakud and share it with the others here. And btw, you did not manage to shoot the Bisons did you?

                  Nice log there.

                  I guess you guys should also do Simlipal National reserve and shoot the tigers and share!
                  Thanks Ken da...we have a few pics of the wild, but most got blurred due to car's movement and animals running away. Will post them all when I get the pics from Soumya.

                  Simlipal is on the cards, but bikes are allowed only till a certain point. Right now, it's closed in view on monsoons and recent Maoist attacks on tourists...maybe end of year is destined for the ride.
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                  • #24
                    Good Simlipal would be interesting for you guys. Especially if you do a tiger sighting. You should go there post October. The odds get favourable.
                    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


                    BMW Motorrad Days 2011

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                    • #25
                      Day 3 - The Way of the Waterfalls

                      Day 3 – The Way of the Waterfalls

                      Soumya had been looking forward to capturing the sunrise in the wildlife sanctuary for days. However, when we woke up in the morning, luck had betrayed us. The sky was cloudy and it was raining lightly as well. He told us a little dejectedly that he had woken up twice earlier too, but there had been no sign of the sun. The guesthouse caretaker had sent coffee and biscuits to our cottage for an early morning snack; breakfast would be ready if we cared to wait for sometime. But needing to cover some distance, we declined the offer and packed up quickly. Both Soumya and Mr. X had bonded well with the guesthouse staff yesterday and bade warm goodbyes as we loaded the car. I too thanked them profusely for their hospitality and hoped to return for a longer visit in the future. By the time we started, it was seven.

                      The driver negotiated the turns and incline with dexterity, while we sat enjoying the morning breeze coming in from the car windows. After we neared township, he offered to take us through a road across UCE Burla, one of the best colleges in the state. Going through the hostels brought back memories from the college days. As we left the university area and headed back to the town, the driver took us through a different route which touched Samaleshwari temple, the most famous temple in the city. As we were running short on time, we just had a glimpse from outside the temple walls; Soumya intended to come back later after we completed the trip successfully. The driver took us through narrow lanes and finally dropped us in front of the hotel. The shocker was that none of our bikes were there! As we looked around and beside the hotel, we found them parked right across the road. Before packing up the luggage, we had to clean the fifteen layers of grime off our bikes. I was so busy packing luggage that my foot tasted inches of cow dung before realizing it. Annoyed, we drove off quickly to touch the NH, where we refueled for the trip ahead. In order to avoid hunger pangs ahead on our trip, we made a stop just outside the city for a breakfast. As we placed the orders, Soumya was clicking a few snaps. Just then, a guy from a nearby auto shop came over and asked him why he’s clicking pics. Soumya told him, I feel like doing it. Suspicious character! Soumya put his camera battery on charge in the hotel, as we hadn’t been able to charge it at Debrigarh. After a mildly fulfilling breakfast, we got back on the road.


                      A fleeting glimpse...

                      The good road that we rode on for some time was OK and promised a relaxed journey ahead. Not far from the city, we were horribly surprised to see broken up roads. In fact, there were no roads at all. The whole road was fragmented to dust and gravel. The locals were not having much difficulty riding there; we were the ones who were battling the bouncing bikes among the pits in the road. Who the hell gave this the status of a National Highway? We had expected bad roads due to large volumes of trucks traveling from the mines in Keonjhar, but this was absolute torment. Just imagine: even the truckers were driving on the side of the road to avoid the holes! We were trying hard not to graze Mother Earth and kept zooming away at the very sight of paved roads. The hands became weary from the excessive usage of clutch, yet we had a schedule to stick to. Daring not to stop for taking pictures, we were at the mercy of the highway for the next 15 km, after which the roads showed signs of getting right. The next challenge that lay ahead was Badrama Ghat. Asking around some NHAI guys working at the start of the valley, we found it was a 3 km stretch, after which roads would be better than what we had faced earlier. Praying to God, we started the climb ahead. Not too far from the point, we saw a trailer truck ripped in half on the valley climb, the cabin separated from the rest of the vehicle. Soumya was leading the way with me just behind, while Mr. X trailed at a distance. The climb was not too tough, but one still has to be careful after a treacherous accident like that. As we descended the ghat, we were much relieved and stopped at roadside for a butt-break. Soumya spotted a hut at some distance from the road and went off to get some water, while the two of us were still resting our hands after the ordeal we left behind. After Soumya returned, we got to the same hut and enjoyed the water from an earthen vessel. Man, was it the sweetest water I had tasted in my life!


                      Entering Badrama Ghat


                      Stop over for a sip


                      A beautiful co-existence


                      The jungle beside NH


                      Tired, but still going at it!!

                      Now that the thirst was quenched, we were ready for another long run. But lady luck was not at all happy with us, and we were faced with bad roads again after some time on the NH. The torment continued for a long time, longer than eternity itself, until we entered Deogarh at half-past eleven. Serious to God, those 90 km were the longest in my life. Entering Deogarh felt like passing through a locality along the highway; tight roads, houses just half-feet off the NH and, yes, omnipresent bumps. Now that we were here, it was the time to test our patience in finding the waterfalls. However, Deogarh being a small locality, we were easily able to make our way through the streets and reached the first waterfall in no time. Enter Pradhanpat! We were heading for sometime along a man-made stream along which water from the waterfall was flowing. The base of the falls was not visible from where we parked the bikes; a stairway was seen running upwards on the other side of the stream, and a fringe of water falling on the hillside. It was decided that I would wait while the other two go for a visit. Waiting for them, I jumped around the base, climbing the reservoir wall where water was stored and taking some snaps. After half an eternity, Mr. X could be seen running down the stairs towards the bikes. Even though breathless, he couldn’t stop praising the waterfall and the cold water. As he took morcha, I started the climb towards the waterfall, which, thankfully, was not too far away. Soumya was gazing at the falls with the cam in hand and asked me to take a semi-dip before he goes in. As I stripped my shoes and socks and ran towards the water, little heed was paid to the sharp stones biting my foot. After inspection, I found the water shallow and the only critters inside were small fish; good enough for dipping my feet. The WTF feeling when I walked into the water was involuntary, so cold it was. Upon finding a notice saying bathing is prohibited (as if the water was deep enough), I splashed water across my blackened face thoroughly before trying my luck in deeper water. At most, the water would have been waist-high; I went as far as knee-deep before I got my trousers wet. I was really thrilled for getting there, and envious of the people who came over daily for a splash. Why couldn’t we have at least one in BBSRL? I reluctantly came out of the water as it was Soumya’s turn. When he went in, I snapped a few pics from his cam. The moments of ecstasy came to an abrupt ending as we realized we were overcome with a stronger force: hunger. Coming back to our bikes, we had to make a decision, whether we would go to Kurudkote, a lesser-know falls in vicinity, or go eating. Knowing that we won’t be coming back here anytime soon, we road back to the town, from where we had to take another route to Kurudkote.


                      Pradhanpat from a distance


                      Jumping around walls


                      Stairs leading to the falls


                      A nice reflection


                      Checkout the fake lion


                      The falls close up...more pics later

                      The way to Kurudkote was bumpier that what we had gone through for Pradhanpat and took us through a village. Asking around, we reached a point where we had to leave the bikes and go on foot. Mr. X offered to stand guard while we took a hike along the stream, which was flowing just beside us, towards the town. I and Soumya went upstream, the water became wider and we had to take the help of stepping stones to cover the route with dry feet. A few villagers, taking bath in the stream, were surprised to see us so far inside the woods. We crossed a point where water was falling off the edge of a wall and found some interesting critters there, including a tiny lobster floating around in the water. Soumya tried to shoot the fellow but he won’t remain still. As we progressed upstream, I became evident that the stream was more of a shrunken rapid than a waterfall. I hiked back to the base so that Mr. X could come up and have a look. On the way back, I slipped off a stone and plunged my feet into the water, wetting the shoes. Back at the base, I took off the shoes and socks and set them on a rock to dry, while waiting for the guys. I utilized the time I had with me by sitting by the narrow stream, dipping my feet in and updating my trip log in a small diary. When the guys came back, Soumya informed that he had hiked further up the stream but there was no sign of a waterfall. Putting on my shoes, I followed the guys back to town, where we had to look for a place to eat. Locating a small hotel, we parked outside and took our seats. Ordering our meals, we set the cell phones on charge at a corner of the hotel. Even bland food tasted great after such a toll on the bodies.


                      A break in the Kurudkote section


                      Going upstream


                      Water jumps among rocks


                      The farthest I got to before returning

                      By the time we finished our lunch, the sun had climbed the peak at two o’ clock, and yet, we had no option but to get back on road. Navigating back to the NH, we found that the road was a lot better that what we had covered in the morning. Covering the distance quickly, we stopped at a place called Barkote, where there was a diversion off the NH. Soumya told us that the Khandadhar waterfalls lay on the way if we took diversion, i.e. if we cared to visit it today itself. But we decided against it, as we were not sure of the route to take, plus it was also accessible from Keonjhar directly. He also told us about the next Ghatsection, Kanjipani, where 14 km of long twisty roads that lay ahead. After the break, we crossed the bridge on Brahmani River and headed towards our destination. On the way, we found a left turn that took us to Deogarh waterfalls; never heard of that, plus the locals mentioned it was a long hike on foot, so we passed. Soon, we were met with the first sharp curve in the road, along with a steep climb. And lo, here come the truckers as well!! While taking the climb, a bus driver suddenly overtook a truck and was almost in front of us. It scared the shit out of me and Mr. X, who was just behind. After that, we developed a mindset that all the truckers ahead would be driving similarly, so we would have to modify our riding style. But being on a ghaton a bike and riding scared are not synonymous, not even distantly related. With each turn, I tried leaning hard into the road, trying to scrape my knee on the pitch. Although pretty good, I was not able to touch the ground; I thank God for that, as I had packed off my knee guard with my luggage and would have ended up with a busted kneecap. We took a stop at a clearing at the top of the ghat to savor the scenery beneath. The truck drivers were really daring, because driving the giants at breakneck speeds on such roads takes a lot of guts. One mistake in negotiating a curve and they could go tumbling down the hill.


                      The river flowing before Kanjipani ghat


                      On the ghat top


                      Not much greenery here


                      Let's get to Keonjhar soon!

                      After clearing the ghat section without incident, we found ourselves in front of a dhaba in the plains and halted for a break. Each of us narrated how we tried to take the turns at high speeds and the truckers in the area. Soumya mentioned a trucker who didn’t give a pass and almost pushed him off the road when overtaking him. Looking for a peaceful entry into the city, we started off at a sedate pace, knowing that we had time in our hands. But as we neared Keonjhar, it looked as if bad roads were not going to spare us the sore butts. We found heavy traffic at one point on one side of the road, so much that we could look what lay ahead. As the traffic cleared, we were suddenly thrust onto roads under construction. The surface had been shredded bare of any sign of tar and lay smothered in gray dust. Worse, the dust infiltrated our nostrils while we drove. Quickly closing the helmet visor and vents, I thought that we have had enough for the day and lurched forward on the bumpy road. The road soon went back to normal, but got back to itself when we almost touched the city. The steep climb, paired with the holes and trucks, gave us hell out there. The pits so large they could easily swallow a midget! Before entering the city, we had time with us, so we took a left and entered Sana Ghaghara (meaning small waterfall), in the outskirts of the city. Initially, we only saw a pond where people were paddling in rented boats. The gatekeeper told us that we have to go in another direction for the waterfall. Trusting the Lords in heaven, we left our luggage on bikes, and started out for the falls on foot. We saw a truck that had skipped the entry fee and jumped in from the road into the falls area, but now lay overturned. The driver was enjoying a nap on the side, on one of the truck seats laid outJ. As we ascended the steps that were under repair, we came up to a park, but no signs of the waterfall, although we could hear the sounds clearly. On looking around, we saw stairs and descended them, to find the waterfall spread on a rock surface and falling into a pool below. Though small in size and hardly classifiable as a waterfall, Sana Ghaghara was beautiful. The water flowed downstream and disappeared among an army of rocks, while the pool at the bottom looked quite deep. The area around us was rocky and contained a large number of crevices, which appeared to be abodes of rodents and other smaller species. We were in a mood to come back again the next day, since we were too tired to take photographs. The bikes still had the entire luggage on, so we drove out of the parking area and into the road. Uggh, the road! The messed-up road continued till we reached the top of a hill overlooking the town of Keonjhar. Thankful to see good roads again, we rode straight into the town until we came upon the first traffic light, and what seemed to be the major business area there. We had already crossed some hotels back there, but then, we were looking for something in the heart of the city. Soumya’s contact had called earlier that the hotel booking had been cancelled due to the heavy movement of politicians and their followers inside the city, but promised to find us a room if we were unable to do so on our own.


                      Taking a break after the long ghat


                      Roads?? Where are they??


                      Inside the Sana Ghaghara enclosure


                      Jumping the ticket proved costly


                      Small, but a treat


                      The deep pool


                      Stream disappears into rocksDistance covered from start – 689 km
                      Last edited by diffuser911; 05-26-2009, 12:26 AM. Reason: Pics n captions
                      The Leh Experience!!
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                      • #26
                        Good going through the log. Impressed by the way you keep a diary to log your daily events! I was wondering however about the way your bikes had moved from the place where you had parked them.

                        I too have a weakness for streams and waterfalls and fresh water bodies!
                        The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


                        BMW Motorrad Days 2011

                        Xbhp's Indo-French Kashmir-Ladakh Tour

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by ken cool View Post
                          Good going through the log. Impressed by the way you keep a diary to log your daily events! I was wondering however about the way your bikes had moved from the place where you had parked them.

                          I too have a weakness for streams and waterfalls and fresh water bodies!
                          Thanks Ken da...This was the first time with the diary, since other trips are smaller than this. We had given our bikes' keys to the hotel reception desk, even though we didn't like it, in case they needed to accommodate other bikes.

                          Since you love waterfalls (like we do), we have some more in store for you.
                          The Leh Experience!!
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                          • #28
                            Are Ken da , i have seen Sunil on this ride (untill some point) to keep writing and updating on his little diary of all the happenings, with such sincerity, hats off to this guy for his madness.......lage raho Sunil....

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                            • #29
                              Stunning stuff, Sunil.You guys are on a roll.Thanks for sharing the places and pics with detailed log.Will definitely help me as i am vying to explore those places.Btw, when did you guys visit Hirkaud.I am at Sambalpur right now.

                              Will be bringing my bike next weekend and after that it will be raining HDRs out here!!

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                              • #30
                                Thats terrific Chicane...u r in sambalpur.....have u come back to Orissa permanently? if its yes, then Sunil would be really happy i guess.....main to pardes agaya sir jee, so missing all our mates back in BBSR.....hope to see some trips happening bro in BBSR....

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