Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rayagada-Koraput Rail Link

Few photographs showing the rail connectivity in Koraput... I felt it like Konkan Railway with a beautiful terrain and landscape.

Rayagada to Koraput is just surrel in monsoon with a thick green blanket all around the hills. This 170 kilometer stretch had 38 railway tunnels and 400+ bridges. But there is a fear of landslide during rains, and the trains from state capital and other routes did not go till Koraput and gets diverted from Rayagada. This time though I reached Koraput via train but on my way back after a week, the train service was interrupted by landslide. So had to travel till Rayagada by bus and then by train. This should be kept in mind if you are travelling to the region in monsoon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekly Village market in Koraput

I remember, almost two decades ago when I used to visit the local weekly market with my father to get fresh vegetables directly from farmers. I did experience these kind of markets mostly in coastal Odisha, but this time I was in Koraput (Koraput is the Southern most district of Odisha) and fortunately landed in a weekly market for work. This market was so different and lively that the experience is indescribable. Tribals are very happy and fun loving innocent people. And not to surprise me, they were so friendly that I did spend 2+ hours roaming around and speaking to people and clicking there portraits (Will pen down those stories here).

More portraits and happy faces to follow soon :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Travel: My first visit to Koraput District, Odisha

Few images from my first ever visit to the Koraput district in Odisha till I come up with a detailed blog post and more images from the region... :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Travel: Bichitrapur mangroves, Odisha

 It is an absolute delight to see plenty of red crabs there on the beach.

This time the purpose of the visit to Bichitrapur was not travel but to do the post-wed shoot of my childhood friend. As all other pics posted above were very very random, so sharing few framed compositions :)

Utkal and Pragyan... The sweetest couple ever.

How to Reach: Bichitrapur is roughly 50 kms from Jaleswar and 100 kms from Baleswar. Digha beach in West Bengal is only 18 kms away.The diversion you need to take from NH5 is towards Digha/Talasari before the octroi toll gate (Signage by Odisha Govt is there but chances of missing them are there because of the road construction work and lots of diversions). The road after Jaleswar is good but construction work at some patches (may be the road will be smoother by next month). Chandaneswar is the diversion point, from here Bichitrapur is towards right (10 kms). The left one goes to Digha (6 kms) and straight down is Talasari (3 kms). The 10 kms drive is on a single lane typical road through villages and is worth looking around. Nearest railway station is Jaleswar and most of the trains do have a stoppage.
Rest room facility is there at Bichitrapur.
Contact Details: Resource manager - +91-7894542500, +91-9937157332
Divisional Forest Officer (Balasore Wildlife Division) - +91-6782-256142
GPS Coordinate: 21.589698, 87.419135
What to Do: A boat ride into the mangroves is the attraction. The boat ride for nature watch can be availed from the lone government facility only. 6 and 8 person boats are available and the trips lasts for around 60 minutes with a tariff of INR 1000 and INR 1200 respectively. The service is available from 10.30 am till 5.30 pm.
Where to Stay: OTDC Chandaneswar Panthasala (Govt.) is the best place around. It is close to Talasari beach and seems to have good amenities. Large government standard rooms with big washrooms and all is pleasure. Not to mention about the very friendly staff, they were happy to answer all my queries to the detail.
Contact Details: +91-6781-232528/212500
What to Eat: Being an Eco tourism site, Bichitrapur is less commercialized and has only 2 small shops probably who sell some sort of snacks and water etc. If you are planning for a long stay there, then my personal advice will be to carry some food, especially if you have kids along. The nearest market is Chandaneswar (10 kms) and good restaurant is at OTDC Panthasala at Talasari. There must have many options towards Digha but I personally have not explored that route. But OTDC restaurant at Talasari offers some of the best food at unbelievable pricing on the menu. Especially the locally caught crabs from Subarnarekha River.
Nearest Tourist Attractions: Talasari Beach, Digha Beach, Mondarmoni Beach, Chandaneswar Temple, Bhusandeswar Temple
Caution/Precaution: Carry food for Kids and Infants. And be careful for your camera accesories as water may keeps spilling into the boat. There is no shelter/shaded place at the last destination point where you will walk towards beach. So you may carry an umbrella for the kids and elderly. Sleepers or Water-proof shoes are preferable if you are going during high tide. You can leave your shoes in the boat though as walking barefoot on the sand will be fun.

P.S. I visited the place during low tide i.e in the afternoon (5 ish) but during the high tide the place is brilliant and you will find all the mangrove area wet. Even the beach at the last point looks interesting with water level up. So you may plan your visit in the first half of the day for some adventure.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Travel: Gopalpur on Sea, Odisha

I always did regret that I could not explore my home state Odisha much. Average one visit to home town almost every month and still did get enough time to explore places around, but this August was different. Three new places and 2 of them were less explored was like an unexpected lottery.

Putting them in three different posts (mostly as photo features) and starting with Gopalpur-on-Sea :)

Visited this place 2-3 times earlier but never experienced the Sun-Rise... So this time, the early morning stroll on the beach with a camera in hand was just perfect.

A panoramic view of the Gopalpur beach...

Early morning stroll...

How to Reach: Gopalpur is only 170 kms away from Bhubaneswar and is well connected by Rail and Road. NH5 is at it's best and barely takes 2 and 1/2 hours to be there. And this place is 16 kms away from Berhampur city. The nearest railway station is also Berhampur and has good connectivity from the state capital as well as from Vizag (Andhra Pradesh).
Where to Stay: Gopalpur offers a variety of places to stay. OTDC PanthaNiwas is something I will suggest to contribute to the governments efforts. It has 4 independent cottages and AC and Non-AC rooms with dining facility. Mayfair and Swosti are there for Luxury. All these are on the beach and have brilliant views.
What not to miss: The sea at Gopalpur is quite violent in compared to other beaches in Odisha and watching the Sun-Rise is a pleasant experience along with an early morning stroll.
What to Eat: If you are a foodie, then berhampur is the place you should go to have a different culinary experience. 15-16 kilometers is hardly a distance to have some good food. I personally had been to 'Girija Restaurant' and not to mention the butter chicken they make is an absolute delight to have with Stuffed Bread. And so is their Chicken Pakora. Though this place lacks a bit on cleanliness but the taste is guaranteed. Berhaupur city also has many famous South-Indian food joints to offer a great breakfast experience.