Anga, Banga and Kalinga… in times of Samrat Ashoke of the Maurya Dynasty, Bihar, Bengal and Orissa were known as such, respectively… and the Sea Sides of Orissa has a place to be for Wander-lusters such as myself for who knows how long.
This is my 9th time in Puri… Yes, you’ve heard it right; 9th… As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like Sea Beaches that much, but there was some other attraction here, which lured me back to Orissa…
When a friend of Mine introduced me to the idea of Driving from Kolkata to Puri, I was on board immediately. And after a little deliberation, we decided to take my Swift Dzire and start on 13th.
The Plan was Simple. Start from Kolkata, and after a few necessary halts, reach Konark Sun Temple. And after a brief visit to the Temple and Chandrabhaga Beach, we break for the Night in Puri, and on the Next Day, after Sea Bathing and Visiting the Jagannath Temple, we leave for Bhubaneswar, on the way, we visit Dhauligiri (Dhabalgiri) Shanti Stupa, Nandankanan Zoological Park and Udaygiri-Khandagiri Caves. On the last day we visit the Lingaraj Temple and start for home.
Being the conditional early-riser, I planned to start on 4 AM on 13th, but my comrades pushed that to the territory of 5:10-5:20 AM. With the morning drizzle the weather was pleasant, but there were chances of heavy rain, always. And we did get quite a heavy rain on our way. We managed to reach Konark by 2.10 PM clocking a whooping 504 Kilometers. The road was nothing sort of delightful.
The Morning Breakfast of Bread and Omelet was digested even before we reached Baleswar. So, we had our lunch in the OTDC, Konark. It was adequate as we opted for Thalis.
After Lunch, we thought we’d hit the Beach first, and then Enter the Sun Temple. So, we went to Chandrabhaga.
I’ve never seen Chandrabhaga Like this… the salty moist wind coming from the sea was so strong, it felt like my mobile will be thrown off from my hand. The Drizzle returned, and we locked our gadgets in the car and enjoyed the breeze and the shower for a little bit. Then we went back to Konark Sun Temple, and I was Disheartened by the sorry state of the Temple. Although restoration is ongoing but, with the exoskeletons and botched up restoration jobs, things are worse than ever.
We reached Puri at around 7:30 PM, and called it a Night.
I think OYO Room ACs hold some kind of grudge against me, as the temperature Controller never seem to work. I went to bed in Puri, but woke up in Shimla in the Morning. And obviously, caught a cold.
But I dragged my reluctant friends in the beach and the saline did clear my noses a little bit. But that came with its share of logistical problems. I was wearing a running trouser, which had a internal netting, and sand went through that net and got stuck inside, making me look like a person suffering from Elephantiasis. The situation was so much worse, I’ve had to cut myself out of the Trouser and discard it.
We left for Dhauli at about 10-10.30 AM. In an hour we reached the Shanti-Stupa and the view was great, but with the hue and cry of a miscellaneous type of tourists, the Shanti was definitely lacking.
Next stop, Nandankanan Zoological Park.
I was pleasantly surprised by the state of Nandankanan. The Zoo looked very well maintained, and the Animals felt well treated. After an exhausting 3 hours stroll around the park, we had our lunch in OTDC Nandankanan. After that we left for Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves.
Again, my disgust for mankind became profound after I saw how the Monkeys of Khandagiri are treated. They are semi domesticated, for the purpose of humans to earn a penny or two. I don’t think Indians quite understand, offering an animal some food is not doing it a favour. It’s the opposite. A wild animal is supposed to hunt, and gather food on its own. But if we keep offering food, they will stop doing that and their natural instincts will die out, and their dependencies to humans will increase and that result tends to be catastrophic. Because if Monkey’s don’t get what they want, they opt for snatching. And that is not going to be OK for anyone… not the travelers, and not the Monkeys.
We were about to call it a day, but a senior of mine living in Bhabaneswar arrived (with my invitation, of course) and we went for a late night food walk/drive… We had Orissa Special Biryani and Chicken Pakoda.
On 15th August, we gave in to our Lethargy and woke up late. Got dressed and went to see the Lingaraj Temple. Although camera/mobiles were not allowed, but believe me, it was magnificent. The structure, the artwork, the sculpture it was all a treat for the eyes. And on the entrance to the temple itself, I found something incredible.
We all know how the Hindi Imperialism is trying to take over our Country and most of us have a very wrong conception that Hindi is our national language. But, on the entrance of the Lingaraj, I found two wall, where there are inscriptions in different languages of India; I found Old Bengali (the script used in Charjapad), Old Odia, Devanagari, and some Dravid scripts. And it made me realise once again, how, day by day, we are replacing Harmony with chaos. Yes, it was a religious monument, but cultural harmony was never left out. A respect for different cultures and different languages were reflected on those walls.
Now, it’s time to head home. And after hitting the road, we realized, Orissa Government keeps most of the gas station closed in Independence Day till the Evening. And with fuel indicator reaching reserve, with the help of google maps, a few phone calls and 50-60 KMs of Detour, we found some Diesel to fill the tank.
The way back was pleasant enough, except for a few devil-may-care cows and goats on the road. We reached Kolkata at 9:45 PM while clocking a total of 1178 Kilometers on the Car.
This might be the last Wanderlust for a long time. As, I’m one step away from being a corporate slave. I don’t know when or in which year, I might hit the road again. So, Wanderlust might have to be Wandersaint for a while.
Libberish is Now https://www.libberish.net/
As Promised, there is A New Gallery Section Added, and I hope to see you in my next rant.