Showing posts with label Bhubaneswar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bhubaneswar. Show all posts

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Christmas 2014, Hyderabad, Konaseema, Puri, Bhubaneswar

The plan in Christmas vacations of 2014 was to visit Odisha specifically Puri and Bhubaneswar. We also decided to join All India Meet 2014 organized by HV Kumar & group. Following was the itinerary that was finally designed.

The total drive was of 3910 kilometres with a total drive time of 71.14 hours. Total about 430 litres of Diesel was used up in the trip. Total amount spent in tolls was Rs. 3045/-.

Christmas 2014 Day 10 of 11, Return drive part 1, Bhubaneswar to Vijaywada

We start our drive back. We have planned to doing it in two days. 

5:45 AM We start from the hotel, get on to NH-5 and continue our drive back. The road is empty and good.
7:30 AM Crossed Chhatrapur
7:41 AM Crossed Brahmapur
7:56 AM Crossed Ichchapuram
8:20 AM Crossed Kasibugga
9:04 AM Crossed Srikakulam
10:09 AM We entered Visakhapatanam. We thought we will get better restaurants within the town so we decided to go through the city. In hindsight it was a pretty bad idea. It was so crowded that we did not stop at any restaurant and it took long time for us to get out of city.

10:57 AM We almost get out of the town but still see city traffic.
11:32 AM Crossed Anakpalle. Just after Anakpalle we see a dhaba with a BP petrol station and we decide to stop there and have something to eat.
The place was average but food was hot and the petrol station next to it had toilets which were usable. The person running the dhaba was very particular about not allowing liquor in the place. We saw him arguing with a group of five individuals who wanted to drink and he told them to go somewhere else. They returned after 10 minutes with liquor in Pepsi bottles and he again told them to go away. Those guys then sat in the parking, drank there and then came to dhaba for food.
12:30 PM We finished the food and continued on our way.
1:16 PM Crossed Tuni
1:30 PM Crossed Annavaram
2:30 PM Crossed Rajahmundry
3:17 PM Crossed Tanuku
4:01 PM Crossed Eluru
4:56 PM We are on the outskirts of Vijaywada

5:10 PM We are in the hotel.

Christmas 2014 Day 8 of 11, Buddhist circuit, Udayagiri, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri

As the last day of the year arrived, the plan was to do the Buddhist archaeological circuit around Bhubaneswar. The started with rain arriving in Bhubaneswar.
Looking at the time on hand, we decided to visit three main archaeological sites around Bhubaneswar. These are Udayagiri, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri.
12:00 PM Left the hotel, quickly got on to NH-5 towards Cuttack.
12:55 PM Reach Cuttack. There are many construction activities going on in Cuttack and it takes some time to get out of city.

There are many detours and traffic snarls. Outside of towns the NH5 is in pretty good shape but once near towns there are many overbridges being made and they slow down the traffic.
Udaygiri situated 102 km north-east from Bhubaneswar. The northern half of the valley had been excavated from 1985-86 to 1989-90. which had brought to light remains of a huge Buddhist Monastic complex protected by a large enclosure wall , a seven metre high stupa having four dhyani Buddhas in all four cardinal direction of the stupa. The site was identified as “Madhavapura Mahavihara” on the basis of epigraphical findings. After gap of 08 years excavations at the medieval Buddhist was resumed in 1997-98 in the southern half of the valley named as Udayagiri-2. The excavation had partially revealed a double storied monastic complex datable to 8th Cent. A.D. and important antiquities images of Buddha, Tara, Manjusri, Avalokitesvara, Jatamukuta Lokesvara and terracotta sealings.

1:40 PM Reached Khosalipur where we turn right towards NH-5A.  NM5A is good four laned road with good surface quality. The turn into NH-5A is hard to notice. One has to just cross the overbridge and turn right next to traffic island.

Ratnagiri Monastery in Jajgir district of Orissa crowning like flat hill-top is affording a panormic view of the surrounding might have been chosen for the Buddhist establishment for its isolated eminence which ensure that monks seclusion for the serene and calm atmosphere necessary for monastic life, meditation, and studies. Excavations conducted by Archaeological Survey of India in late 1960's yielded the remains of an impressive stupa (Stupa 1) surrounded by a large number of Votive Stupas of varying dimensions, two quadrangular monasteries (monasteries 1 and 2), a single winged huge monastery with beautiful carved door jamb and lintel., specious open courtyard, cells and verandah facing the courtyard with a specious sanctum enshrining colossal Buddha. The existence of temple with curvilinear tower is only one of its kind discovered in Orissa.
From the impressive remains and a large number of sculptures, discovered during the excavation, it is clear that the Buddhist establishment of Ratnagiri dating from Circa 5th century A.D. witnessed a phenomenal growth in religion, art and architecture till the 13th century A.D. A large number of stone sculptures, a few bronze and brass images of Buddha and of Buddhist pantheon recovered during excavations tend to prove that Ratnagiri was a great Tantric centre of Buddhism comparable to that of Nalanda in Bihar.
A large number of clay sealings, found during excavations, bearing the legend "Shri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya Arya Bhikshu Samghasya" have helped in identifying the name of Rathagiri monastery. By the end of 13th Century A.D., it was on decline, decadence is discernible i.e. in architecture amd sculptural art of Ratnagiri. Though no longer in an affluent condition the Buddhist establishment at Ratnagiri continued till about the 16th Century A.D.
1:49 PM Reached the place where we need to turn left for Udayagiri and Ratnagiri. The road is undivided and narrow but with really good surface quality. Given that there is not much traffic on the road, it is not a problem at all.
2:04 PM We reach the Udayagiri complex. The place has a large compound which seems to have been converted by some people into a picnic spot There is music being played. Anyway we ignore all of that and have a look at the site.
3:05 PM It takes just about an hours to leisurely go through the complex. If there is intense interest in archaeology then one can spend more time.
The next stop was Ratnagiri, the place is just about 4-5 kilometers from Udayagiri. We reach there in 20 minutes.

3:25 PM By this time we realise that we are running short on time since most monuments close at around 5-5:30 in the area. So we decide to just visit the Ratnagiri monuments but skip the museum that is next doors. This is a large area and requires longer to go through. But we kind of do a quick job of it.

4:05 PM Leave Ratnagiri for Lalitgiri. While on our way back, the google map shows a route that doesn't require on to go back to Udayagiri but unfortunately that path is not in a motorable shape. After couple of about turns, we decide to go back to NH-5A and then find the path to Lalitgiri.

Beautifully carved door.

4:38 PM We were back at NH-5A and continued towards Lalitgiri.
4:45 PM Reached Lalitgiri. The place is not very crowded and there were few tourists there.
We were pretty late, it was already dark, so we very quickly went around the site.

5:20 PM We leave Lalitgiri.
7:15 PM Reached hotel.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Christmas 2014 Day 7 of 11, Konark Sun Temple

The plan for the day was to visit Konark temple. 
11:30 AM We left the hotel, drove on NH-203 and turned left into NH-13 that takes us to Konark.  The road like most road in Odisha that we encountered are good but undivided and two laned making overtaking and dealing with oncoming traffic little difficult.
Konark temple is a classic example of how over the years we have messed up our heritage. The place clearly was a fabulous structure but years of neglect and damage has just meant that the temple keeps of deteriorating.

The carvings on the temple are just magnificent. the picture above is the wheel of the chariot in Konark temple and the picture below is the carving in one of the spokes. Each of the spokes have such intricate carvings. 

There is so much construction going on at the temple and  it seems to have been going on for eternity. 
Because of holidays, the place was super crowded.
3:15 PM Finished with the temple and started back.
There is a Yatrinivas, we decided to go for lunch but were informed that some VIP has booked the place and there is no lunch for us. So we decided to leave back for home. We were also told by friends that there is this place called Pipili where one can get handicrafts items, so we decided to go there before going back to hotel.
5:20PM We reach Pipili and drive through the main streets. The place looks completely closed. We couldn't locate any place that was selling handicrafts. So we head back to hotel.

6:45 PM We reach back to the hotel.

Christmas 2014 Day 6 of 11, Puri To Chilka Lake to Bhubaneswar

 The plan for the day was to visit Chilka Lake at Satpada and then proceed to Bhubaneswar. Since we had not visited the beach, we decided to spend some time on Puri Beach before we left the town.
Puri beach is an interesting place, there is a market on beach which has many souvenir shops right on the beach. The beach also has religious crowd which takes a dip in the beach before/after heading to the temple.
The road running parallel to the beach is called Marine Drive and appropriately so. It is probably closest to the Marine Drive in Mumbai. In some sense it is even better. The road is lined up with hotels and restaurants and the beach even had a group offering Jet-Ski rides for Rs. 250/- a piece.
Here are some of the pictures from the areas surrounding the beach.
Hotels on Marine Drive
Restaurant on Marine Drive
Another hotel with interesting building
11:00 AM We finally leave the beach and start towards Chilka Lake. Puri has all kinds of oneways near the temple. As soon as we start, we are directed into small lanes and roads by the traffic police and we get into a comedy of errors. We are into a lane where our vehicle is stuck and there is traffic both ahead of us and behind of us and everybody is shouting and abusing. There were some nice gentlemen that help us get out of that mess.
12:00 PM We finally find out way and get back on track. We get on to NH-203A that will take us to Satpada. The road to Satpada is narrow but good surface quality and traffic was comparatively less. 
Just before the Satpada parking there is a state bank of india branch. They don't have a working ATM yet but if you reach at the branch timings, you can use the debit card to withdraw money.
1:30 PM We reach Satpada and chilka lake parking. After reaching here, we realise that our decision to leave late from Puri was not probably the smartest one. 
We are told by the boat guys there that the boat to bird sanctuary takes almost 4-5 hours and it may be too late for us to go for that. We settle for the next biggest boating. All the boating stalls seem to have same published rate and one has to pay Rs. 1/- as jetty fees per person. The boating was interesting, we saw some dolphin and some birds.
It is a prudent idea to buy some items to eat and water bottle because there is nothing to eat once you are in the lake and some people do feel little motion sickness in the boats.
Like most places in India, the boating was nice and sad, there is crowd of people shouting, whistling and doing all kinds of unruly activities. There is also a ambulance boat that we saw. I am not sure if it is in use or just a show piece.

3:25 PM We come back from the boating and we are really hungry. We find a Panthanivas near the lake and decide to go for lunch there.  We go there and ask the waiter to get us whatever he can get us quickly. He gets the food in five minutes. Meanwhile our neighbouring table has three NRI families and they start fighting with the waiter. Their complaint was why were we served before them. The waiter tried to explain to them that what we ordered was all ready and what they ordered had to be made. In any case, we get out of that place by 4:30 PM.
Our stop for the night was Bhubaneswar. We start on our journey back. To go to Bhubaneswar from Chilka Lake one has to go all the way back to Puri and then go to Bhubaneswar. The good thing is that we don't have to enter the Puri town.
6:00 PM We reach back to Puri and continue on our way to Bhubaneswar. We continue on NH-203 which is also known as Jagannath Sadak. It gets dark very quickly in this part of country. Around 5:10pm one has to drive with headlights on.

7:30 PM We reach Hotel Mayfair Lagoon in Bhubaneswar. Here is my review of the property.