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  • #31
    Originally posted by chicane1879 View Post
    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!!
    Good to hear you are back on the circuit Swagat bhai...We went to Sambalpur in mid-April. We are definitely looking forward for an HDR feature of the Hirakud.

    Originally posted by yatishankar View Post
    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....
    Yati da, hum BULZZz bhi ajkal ghooma kam aur khana jyada kar rahe hai. Next month ek 2 day overnite stay program ban raha hai.
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    • #32
      @Sunil

      Could you please mention the distance of all the places which you visited from Sambalpur?

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      • #33
        • Hirakud - 16 km
        • Ghanteshwari temple - 25 km (not sure)
        • Debrigarh - 25 km (turning at UCE Burla)


        Other places were on way to Keonjhar and around it.
        The Leh Experience!!
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        • #34
          Day 4 – Hunt for the Sword’s Edge

          Each day that I wake up on the journey, it takes me a minute to put me in place with the present surroundings. A minute in bed and gazing around the beautiful room, I bumped with reality and started shouting at others to wake up. An hour into the morning, we were ready to roll. The bikes had been parked in the hotel’s backyard the night before, so we headed there first to make sure they were OK. Mr. X’s bike was having a noise due the chain’s slack, so we took the other two bikes. After coming back to the main road (and the highway), we had our plan set for the day. But some food first!! A stall across the street was vending out steamy dosas and we went right for it. The dosas tasted awesome and were priced dirt cheap; I wondered what could possibly motivate our canteen caterers to roll out such dishes.

          Knowing that we had to head back the same way we came yesterday, we prepared ourselves mentally for the torture. Climbing the curvy road leaving Keonjhar, we braved the attack of the savage of roads and covered the requisite 13 km, when we saw a board saying Khandadhar. Khandadhar, literally meaning sword’s edge, is the second largest waterfall in Orissa; the largest waterfall is nested deep inside Simlipal forest reserve. The road initially passed through a small habitation and then turned into a single lane road passing through villages. The road, thankfully, was surrounded by tress most of the way, so we didn’t have a hard time driving. Khandadhar was supposed to be 40 km from where we turned in from the NH. The road was pretty good at most of the times, except when we came across buses or trucks coming from the opposite side. They seem to be oblivious to other smaller species of vehicles and hog the road; so we jumped on the narrow patch of soil running along the road whenever we saw a four-wheeled giant thundering towards us. At a really sharp turn, I had to stand on my brakes to stop the bike…tyres screeched, but the moron bus driver didn’t have time to brake even gently. Hanging on to our dear lives (and dearer bikes), we ploughed through the roads and stopped for a break under the shade of mango trees. Mr. X tried to pluck a mango or two, but Soumya stopped him from doing so because the people living around might get offended.


          Road to Khandadhar

          As we closed in towards the falls, the road got a lot bumpier and we began seeing a hillside at a distance. Gazing at the hill, we knew we had found the sword’s edge!! The thin, white line of the waterfall stood out even from the distance. With renewed zeal, we drove in the direction of the hillside. Sadly, the roads were not upto the mark near the waterfall and the last mile was a pure agony for us as well as the bikes. Careful maneuvers got us close to the base, but then the road got steeper and much worse. Mr. X, who was a pillion with us, had to get down and walk along, while we negotiated the climb in first gear. Eventually, we made it to the top with just a few slips on smooth stone chips. Treacherous trail indeed! And while we were on the way, a guy was coming down merrily without a lid and two ladies as pillions!! Now that is something I wouldn’t like to try my luck with. We parked the bikes and were ready for a climb up the stairs, which led to the base of the waterfall. Just as we started climbing, a drunk sitting at the bottom started shouting at us, but we chose the ignore option. Drenched with sweat and weighted down by the riding gear, I huffed-puffed all the way to the top. Boy, the waterfalls are turning up exponentially beautiful than the last I see. The top of the stairs had a most primitive watchtower built, basically an open room with a roof. Climbing up and down to take pics, we could no longer resist and went down the stairs to the bottom of the waterfall. Hardly halfway there, we were already getting soaked in a drizzle of water coming down from the waterfall. Taking off our shoes and gadgets, I and Mr. X rushed to the bottom, while Soumya waited at the top. No words can describe the joy that we felt standing under the showers of Khandadhar, which truly was sharp like a sword’s edge, and swaying with each gust of wind. The water reached a pond at the bottom and drained downstream from there. After being drenched completely, I stepped out shivering and Soumya went in to pose for a few pics. The water was deep enough in the center, though not so much at the edges of the pool. And cold, yes. A few people came down there to take a bath, so we started packing our stuff and got moving towards our bikes. Soumya told us how the Orissa state government was planning to lease out the already eroded hills from where the Khandadhar descended, to POSCO for mining purposes. Perhaps, he said, our children might get to see the beauty only through the photographs if such a deal goes through. Development, if it comes at such a huge cost, should be let to pass.


          Stairway to paradise


          The swaying fall


          Drizzle-d


          The area around

          Getting down was not an easy task. The bikes were very unstable due to the broken path and started skidding uncontrollably at the slightest touch of the brakes. Both me and Soumya got down from the bikes and steered them down walking along them. How we would conquer the mighty mountain passes of Laddakh in future with such skills, I wondered. Water had run short and our throats were parched, so we stopped at a roadside tube-well to drink up a little and fill up the bottle. Reaching the NH, we pounce upon the first roadside hotel (not fit to be called a dhaba) that we chanced upon and had a basic lunch. The bikes were hot like burning charcoals after being in the sun. Splashing the seats with water took care of that to some extent. The next stop was Gonasika, the point of origin of the river Baitarani. We had seen the pictures of the place at a guy’s blog and were fascinated to read how a weak stream turns into a large meandering river. The turn we had to take for Gonasika was around 7 km from where we had our lunch. The road off the NH was good this time as well, but as we got deeper inside, it showed signs of bad roads. As we keep going further, we asked a couple of kids where the spot was and they pointed straight ahead. As we kept moving, we were ushered at a place where the road was under construction. Not wanting to turn back, we braved the loose gravel, sludge and sand, and went ahead as far as we could without a thought. One of the laborers asked us where we were heading to and shouted at us when they heard Gonasika; we had left the turning around 3-4 km behind usL. Feeling like fools, we turned around and drove to the turn, where we confirmed from some other kids whether we were heading in the right direction.


          The underdeveloped road...checkout the waterfall's stream on the hillside


          Off to Gonasika now


          Oh dear Lord...


          Bike on support system

          The cemented path ended in a dirt track, from where we could see a temple. It was the Harishankar Mahadev temple, where we took a stop and paid a visit. Feeling thirsty, we took out the bottle we had filled at the tube-well. Surprise surprise!! The water was now totally clouded with brown colored iron ore. Throwing that away, we headed up the red gravel road towards Gonasika. We crossed a village on the way and finally ended up near stairs leading to the river outlet. We could already hear splashing of the river, as it galloped down the hillside and even caught a glimpse of the narrow trail it left among the trees. Climbing the stairs, we found a small cave on the way and were amazed to learn that a person was living there…it was hardly tall enough for a tiger. Leaving our shoes, we headed to the top of the stairs, where a temple had been built not too long ago. Inside, the statue of Ma Baitarani was positioned in a small hollow in the center. Below it was a cow’s mouth sculpted in stone, from the nostrils of which water was trickling. The place was looking fantastic and we were forced to wonder how the water was coming out from the cow’s nostrils; was it directed there underground by nature? We asked the priest if we could trek uphill to find the source, but he said that there is nothing uphill; the water shows up here for the first time and it called as Gupt Ganga (hidden Ganga). Still wondering, we climbed down and started putting on our shoes, when the cave’s occupant came up to us and started a friendly chat. We exchanged our tales, before leaving back to the base. After climbing down to the Mahadev temple, we parked up for a while and started looking for water again. What we hadn’t noticed earlier was that a shop nearby had some bottles hidden behind other wares. Quickly gulping down some, we sat for sometime in the peaceful place before moving back to the highway. On the way back, I dropped Mr. X on the other side of a water crossing on the road that we had crossed on our way to the temple and asked him to snap a few pics while I splashed through it. After a couple of tries, we got back to the road and caught up with Soumya. Before we hit the NH, we saw some guys were using a welding machine from which sparks were flying off on the road. Even though it sounds immature, we rode right through it like they do in Bollywood flicksJ. I guess they were laying pipes to harness the water sources near Keonjhar, just as they were doing on the way to Khandadhar.



          The deity...Ma Baitarani


          The river's origin


          Nullah time!!


          From a distance


          Some more WOW! roads

          Next was the hunt for Sana Ghaghara’s elder bro, Bada Ghaghara. But someway or other, we missed it when coming towards Keonjhar and ended up back to Sana Ghaghara. There, we took the tickets and had a round of drinks before deciding on the next course of action. We decided to come here later, since the place is already known to us; just asked around for the directions and set off to Bada Ghaghara. The trail to the falls started behind a rickety hotel and took us through a garbage litter. The trail looked promisingly off-road and we buckled up for the rough ride. Driving at one edge of the path and sometimes switching to the middle, we reached an intersection, so Soumya went ahead to inquire some folks. Meanwhile, I had found another water crossing on the road and handed my cell to Mr. X for taking pics, while I went speeding through the puddle. Can’t get enough of the fun!! After Soumya comes back, we head in the right direction: straight. The road had been partitioned into alternates of tyre-track, ugly crest of gravel and tyre-track due to the cars frequenting the area. We had a hard time running among these and finally landed up in front of a rusted iron gate. We could see stairs going up and the trail on the right, and took the latter. Brushing against the trees, stepping on stones, we got the first view of the grand, yet beautiful waterfall. Not Niagara falls kinda grand, just grand enough for this trip. The thundering of the fall was audible much before we reached it. Oodles of water fell into a basin, from where it dispersed down small drains. This waterfall, each of us felt, was much more beautiful than its younger sibling, due to the natural surroundings. Getting crazy to explore all the way to the top, we came back to the gate and took the stairs going upwards. After crossing a sluice gate at the top, we took turns to jump over the water drain and proceeded to the waterfall top. I’ve felt this at some point on my trips earlier, and I felt it yet again: I am at the top of the world!!!


          What! Can't help it...


          Bada Ghaghara


          Water flowing off the base


          This pic came out nice

          Scanning the top around us, I saw the water meandering from upstream and jumping wildly among the rock before falling off the edge. No pics could capture the beauty of the place. Mr. X wondered why the tourism dept has ignored this beautiful spot and renovated the Sana Ghaghara instead. We went to the edge of the waterfall and enjoyed the view down the basin. While I was content there, Soumya and Mr. X decided to descend the front face of the waterfall and land up in a nook just below the edge. I was horrified to think what a slight slip would mean at that place and voiced the concerns. But they assured that there was enough space there to stay safe. However, I was panicked and couldn’t regain any calm till they surfaced back. Soumya handed me the cam and asked me to take a pic from the other side of the waterfall, where we had went to earlier. I went down the steps and positioned myself at the edge of the pool, while Soumya posed at the top of the falls. After clicking a couple of snaps, I urged them to return. After this, we had planned to go back to Sana Ghaghara, but I was somewhat upset so I asked them to make the visit while I headed back to the room. I sped back to the NH while they followed at a distance. After landing in the room, I freshened up and lay in the bed wondering whether I should have accompanied them. After some time passes, Soumya comes in and mentions that I have missed the smaller fall, but he has captured some beautiful pics for meJ. That was good enough to alleviate my mood and we talked out the things, while Mr. X had gone to get his bike fixed. Later when he came back, we went out for snacking while Soumya was confined in the room owing to a headache. While outside, we headed for a place where I had seen a guy selling mechanical tools and made a couple of purchases, before getting back to the hotel front for a treat our tummies.



          From the top


          Powerful one, that stream


          The basin, and beyond


          Upstream

          After getting back to our room, we found that the hotel staff had arranged for a low-budget room for us, as requested. We moved our stuff upstairs to a room which had yet to undergo renovation, much cheerless than where we were earlier. Being on a shoestring budget, we had to be content from what we had. I dumped my stuff and went over the window to gaze at the busy NH, crawling and breathing like a snake. Soumya’s contact came by and asked if we were OK. We chatted over the places we had been to, and the ones we would be to the next day. He told us about an incident where one of his friends drowned in front of them in the Sana Ghaghara’s basin after his foot got caught in the rocks underwater. So anyone going to these places, please do exercise caution. He also told us myths about the places we had planned for the next day; would share them in the next edition of travel times. After bidding goodbye to our newest friend downstairs, we headed to the now-usual hotel for our dinner. Having enjoyed our spicy dishes, especially liver masala, we headed back to our room. After a heavy coat of talcum, anticipating the discomforting heat of the basic room, we retired for the day amongst noises from the buzzing trucks on the NH below.


          Keonjhar, from the hilly enterance

          Distance covered from start – 854 km
          Last edited by diffuser911; 06-17-2009, 05:47 PM. Reason: Pics, duh!!
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          • #35
            Come one, come all!!! Pics added for Day 4 now.
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            • #36
              Nice long text written. I suppose you did not go to the top of the Khandahar! I noticed that you went to the the top of the Bada Ghaghara. Have you any idea what is the source of these waters that are coming down.
              Secondly, is that a source of a river that you have photographed at the bottom of the Figurine Ma Baitarani? That is very interesting. Does not look like a very big source. But the water must be pristine pure!

              These parts of the country, whenever we see rides, we often notice that the colour of the soil is a strong hue of red. This shows the rich presence of Iron ore in the vicinity.
              The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


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              • #37
                ^^Orissa and Jharkhand are two states RICH in iron ore...wherever you go you would find mines

                BTW diffuser bro : nice log and pics...keep them coming
                ...Back to HIBERNATE mode...
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                1200kms : Across Tamil nadu & pondicherryl


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                • #38
                  are Sunil,good to see the log continuing yaar....btw i didnt recieve any snaps of our last G2G with Pinak...yaar bhejo zara....agar kheechen ho to....

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                  • #39
                    Good stuff there mate! Nice off roads The waterfall would be splendid in the monsoons!
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                    • #40
                      Have you guys visited Simlipal and Surenda forests? I have done both many years ago, but not on bikes then. Maybe you should do it and put up a log Liking the richness that you present in the logs.

                      Originally posted by happybiking View Post
                      ^^Orissa and Jharkhand are two states RICH in iron ore...wherever you go you would find mines
                      Yes I know. SE Bihar, Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand are all rich in iron ore. Which is why I was making this remark of red soil! I have lived and moved in those places for 21 years. My father was with SAIL and Eastern Coalfields was a client of my mother for nearly a decade.
                      The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by ken cool View Post
                        Nice long text written. I suppose you did not go to the top of the Khandahar! I noticed that you went to the the top of the Bada Ghaghara. Have you any idea what is the source of these waters that are coming down.
                        Secondly, is that a source of a river that you have photographed at the bottom of the Figurine Ma Baitarani? That is very interesting. Does not look like a very big source. But the water must be pristine pure!

                        These parts of the country, whenever we see rides, we often notice that the colour of the soil is a strong hue of red. This shows the rich presence of Iron ore in the vicinity.
                        Thanks Ken da. We did miss going to the top and came to know about it later thru my girlfriend, who had hiked to the top with her family. Bada Ghaghara has a dam upstream from where water flows down; you can see the slope upstream which is most probably the dam's wall. We could have gone there, but were pretty exhausted.

                        Yes, the river comes out from the bottom of the idol of the deity. I couldn't get a closer shot; there is a stone sculpted as a cow's mouth from where water flows. Will post the pics taken by Soumya when the travelogue is finished.

                        Originally posted by happybiking View Post
                        ^^Orissa and Jharkhand are two states RICH in iron ore...wherever you go you would find mines

                        BTW diffuser bro : nice log and pics...keep them coming
                        Thanks buddy.

                        Originally posted by yatishankar View Post
                        are Sunil,good to see the log continuing yaar....btw i didnt recieve any snaps of our last G2G with Pinak...yaar bhejo zara....agar kheechen ho to....
                        Koi pics nai Yati da...sab to khaane me lage the with both hands...BTW, maine GPS phone liya and tested it out on the empty stretches of Jaidev Vihar....awesome stuff.

                        Originally posted by prafultripathy View Post
                        Good stuff there mate! Nice off roads The waterfall would be splendid in the monsoons!
                        Thanks Praful...would love to make it during the rains, but the know the roads around Keonjhar...potholes, endless line of trucks, etc.

                        Originally posted by ken cool View Post
                        Have you guys visited Simlipal and Surenda forests? I have done both many years ago, but not on bikes then. Maybe you should do it and put up a log Liking the richness that you present in the logs.

                        Yes I know. SE Bihar, Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand are all rich in iron ore. Which is why I was making this remark of red soil! I have lived and moved in those places for 21 years. My father was with SAIL and Eastern Coalfields was a client of my mother for nearly a decade.
                        Thanks again Ken da...you are spoiling me with the praises. Simlipal doesn't allow bikes, plus is closed during the monsoons. Will definitely cover it during my stint at Bhubaneswar...
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                        • #42
                          Again an interesting Day 4 log and pics.Interesting story of the origin of the river.Does that stream goes on to make Baitarini River? I had only heard about the places but it's for the first time i am actually seeing it. A trip to those places is definitely on cards from me.And it couldn't be any better when the rain starts!!

                          Great going, Sunil.A couple of trips like those and you will be roped in by Orissa Tourism as their brand ambassador!!

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by chicane1879 View Post
                            Again an interesting Day 4 log and pics.Interesting story of the origin of the river.Does that stream goes on to make Baitarini River? I had only heard about the places but it's for the first time i am actually seeing it. A trip to those places is definitely on cards from me.And it couldn't be any better when the rain starts!!

                            Great going, Sunil.A couple of trips like those and you will be roped in by Orissa Tourism as their brand ambassador!!
                            Thanks Swagat bhai...Yes, the river does start there itself, and believe me, it does inspire wonder. In the rains, do visit the waterfalls; they would be thundering with the rain water.

                            As for the tourism part, how I wish!! No need to save cash for the trips!!
                            The Leh Experience!!
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                            Orissa 1302
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                            • #44
                              Btw, how far are those waterfalls from Sambalpur?

                              A pic i 'illegally' took of the Hirakud Dam 2 days back. (Pardon the picture quality, taken from a 1.3 mpx camera phone!!)






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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by chicane1879 View Post
                                Btw, how far are those waterfalls from Sambalpur?

                                A pic i 'illegally' took of the Hirakud Dam 2 days back. (Pardon the picture quality, taken from a 1.3 mpx camera phone!!)
                                Nice pics there. But why was it illegal?

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