Jaganath Puri, Orissa
We hired a car for visiting places around Puri and had planned to go to Chilika Lake near Satpada. We hired a boat from there and started out boat trip around 10:00 which lasted till 4.p.m. The boat charges are pretty high there, call it monopoly or goongiri but that’s how it is. It was really an amazing experience. When we started out boar ride we saw some Dolphins . They were too far & too fast for my camera to capture or maybe they were not in the mood to come near us and pose they were maintaining the low profile and we as a good tourists behaved ourselves too.
On the way towards Sea Mouth we saw so many beautiful migrated birds enjoying their afternoon after-meal time sitting by the bamboo sticks placed everywhere within the lake.
Then we stopped by an Island parked our boat there (These parking the boat is really a very fascinating concept) we also saw so many sea creatures waiting to be cooked. And a guy with a basket full of shells with a real pearl in it I doubt how much real though.
My co-travellers had live sea food. As in fresh Tiger Prawns and crabs recently caught from the water & specially cooked for them. I loved the sea on the other side of the island this was really an unique experience when you have a lake on one end and beautiful waves of Bay of Bengal on other.
After food we all were so drowsy but then still visited the ‘Chilika Visitor’s centre’ near the booking office, after coming back from boat ride. We reached back around 5:30-6:00 to Puri. Then all we did was enjoyed the sunset & just chilled out at the beach.
I’ve noticed that drivers here in Puri are really very arrogant and they have this irritating habit of honking after every few minutes despite the car is within the traffic or on the empty road. And also they give money to anyone and everyone who stops them. That can be some random bhaktjans who has arranged some pooja and collecting money from car drivers or a place that don’t seem like a toll booth nor they provide any receipt. Which is so weird.
Late that evening, We got our Mahindra Scorpio back from service station. Which was such a relief in so many aspects specially from wasting money on any such drivers.
As next day we had planned to goto Konark and Raghurajpur.
Gopalpur to Puri
We had heavy filling breakfast at our resort at Gopalpur and left from Gopalpur around 8:00a.m. vidula and Sumati will be driving today. The drive was almost 150kms from Gopalpur to Puri. It was refreshing and filled with heartwarming landscapes, fields and lots of migrated birdies. I guess this whole area starting from Pulicat and all the way towards Puri is full with migrated birds during this season of the year. That is one of the reason for many beautiful sanctuaries around this area.
I was sitting at the back seat so got a chance to capture some amazing flicks.
We reached Puri around 12:00p.m had lunch and went to take the blessings of Lord Jaganath . Thr temple was good not clean though the Idol was colourful and very well maintained but the people specially the pandas here are ruining the essence of the place by commercialising and cussing the devotees about how god will curse if they don’t give money or if You won’t buy prasaad there. Which was a bit disheartening though. But the Temple is amazing, I liked the Carving near the Sthambs but sadly, that too is fading away as a new white and red cemented construction is coming on it.
The temple is popular as one of the four dhams. Puri sees millions of devotees throng the Jagannath Temple premises throughout the year seeking the blessings of Lord.
The security follows some rules before allowing the devotees inside. They will ask you your religion. I’m thankful he didn’t ask me my Gotra. As only Hindus are allowed to visit the temple.
We roamed around the place for awhile, tried some delicacies and also booked a cab for Tomorrow for Chilika and left for hotel.
Our car was sent for servicing at a Mahindra service centre.
Then we grabbed a chance to capture the blissful Sunset while coming back to our hotel.
Puri offers the tourist the rare opportunity of witnessing the colourful Sun rise and Sun set at the same place.
Which is rare.
This was the view from our hotel 😀
Vishakapatnam to Odissa (Gopalpur)
We left from Vizag around 9:00-9:30a.m. for Gopalpur which is around 300kms today’s drive was bit longer as compared to other days. While leaving Vishakapatnam I wasn’t feeling so good, I think it was the city I felt in love with or may be the place we visited last night. I will definitely come with Sumit again for a weekend stay here.
Then on the way we stopped at a place for food a typical Odisha cusine was served, I loved the food 😀
And here starts our journey in a new state. Each state has its own way of welcoming you. Here in odissa ‘I observed that people on the road contemplate keenly they wait for someone coming in your direction and then head towards them so they can bang or atleast scold the driver who is on the wrong side of the globe according to them’😝
Gopalpur and our resort (swosti resort)both gave me a relaxing break from the hectic day. The beach was mesmerizing. One of the cleanest and pleasant one. This languorous beach with coconut groves, casuarinas and gentle sand dunes is deserted for miles.
We just Chilled around the beach for few hours and then had most amazing food at Hotel Mayfair just next to our resort. Which again is a very posh place for commercial meetings. And our day ended with equally soothing and yummazing dessert🍰
Kakinada to Vishakapatnam
We started early today from Kakinada and reached Vishakapatnam aka Vizag around 12:00-12:30 p.m. to Vishakapatnam. I liked this place so much it has so much positive vibes around. One of my Neighbor Rashi Gupta is also from Vizag she always have so many lovely things to say about her hometown now I know why. Even our hotel ‘Daspalla’ where we are staying is quite elegant.
The Security at the entrance were so kind, a guy and a lady. The moment we entered they welcomed us do warmly and were so amused to see only girls travelling and driving for so many days. The lady was so curious about our trip and enquired about our route and also showed her concern about our wellness. Later then, everytime we went out that lady was continuously smiling with appreciation:)
We had lunch at the hotel’s restaurant and then had planned to Visit a temple nearby so me and Sumati left the temple is just 18kms near Vizag. It is called Simhachalam It is dedicated to Narasimha (the man-lion), an incarnation of Vishnu. The architectural style of the central shrine is Kalinga architecture.
Had Darshan and Prasad and sat there for awhile. Legend has it that the Ugra form of Narasimha as he killed the demon Hiranyakashipu was so fierce that the image is kept covered by sandal paste throughout the year. The image resembles a Shivalingam covered with sandal paste. It is only once a year, during the Chandana Visarjana that the sandal paste is removed, and the image is seen by pilgrims. During Akshaytritiya.
We returned back to Vizag and picked Vidula from hotel then we explored the beach road. Vizag is really clean and very beautiful. We also got a chance to encounter a Live Boxing Match there which was something I’ve never seen.
We even planned to visit the ‘Submarine Museum’ but unfortunately it was closed due to renovation work in progress. As it was wrecked badly by the recent Cyclone named as ‘Hud Hud’ We roamed around for awhile and then went to the Hotel ‘The Park‘ for dinner at ‘Bamboo Bay’
It was one of the most romantic place I’ve recently been. But then when you see so much love in the air you instantly miss your beloved and want them beside you to relish the moment🙂
Even the food there was so amazing .This is among those places I will love to come back with my hubby 😉
Vijaywada to Kakinada aka Coringa.
January – 20.
We had light breakfast at our Hotel in Vijaywada and left for Kakinada we’ve a new companion now. Sumati Madiman, she is a good driver and really perky. She can talk about anything and everything which made this drive more exciting and I’m really looking forward to know her more. I was little bit finicky about Andra Pradesh initially but somehow I felt I hardly know Andhra Pradesh and especially esthetic wise. Telangana and Andra Pradesh is not at all same. I really loved the roads and infrastructure here. Whereas at times I hated Hyderabad roads.
The ride was quite delightful today. We passed Godavari river as most of this area is surrounded by Godavari. We reached around 12:30-1:00 p.m. The hotel was ok but the staff was really very kind.
After having lunch we headed to Coringa Wild Life Sanctuary. Which wasn’t a sanctuary at all and definitely nothing related to Wildlife either. I guess there should be some wild animals or birds but can be viewed only in the interior of the sanctuary. Where local people or normal tourist aren’t allowed. There was a long wooden bridge so we clicked a lot of pics there.
At the entry gate the lady demanded me for Rs.200 each by saying ‘We need to pay that as we are Tourists’ I was so amused and also bit agitated by the comment. Sumati still laughs about this scene that people calling us tourists. Even later on that wooden bridge ‘People came to us and asked us get our pictures clicked with them’ that was really weird. But we agreed and thought of it as a new experience and enjoyed the attention 😄
Then Vidula insisted that we should go to Yanam. Yanam [French: Yanaon] is a town in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. There was not much to explore so we came back to Kakinada.
Nellore to Vijaywada.
As it was just two of us, Me and Vidula, we started early today. On the way we stopped by a shack and had some amazing south Indian breakfast.
I drove almost 200kms today. We reached Vijaywada around 12:00p.m. met Sumati Madiman, our new cotraveller. I was so relived to see her. She added the much required freshness to the drive.
We freshen up and left for ‘Gora Science Centre‘ there we met so many amazing people. We met Subha, her uncles and her Grandmother (Daughter of Mr.Gora), theyall are actually the descendants of Mr. Gora.
‘Gora Science Centre‘ was started by Mr.Gora and Saraswati Gora in 1961. The centre with its interactive touch, feel and explore popular science exhibits helps people to understand basic scientific principles and develop critical inquiry. The centre adopts scientific strategies to investigative the claims of the paranormal and godmen. It also focuses awareness building on witchcraft and sorcery and their impact on children and women.
They were waiting for us, we had lunch there. Homemade lunch ahh after a long time.(I loved the Tomato-Baingan Thecha)
Then we visited the centre. And later a reporter from ‘The Hindu‘ Mrs. Sujhatha Verma, took our interview for her newspaper. Which was so enthralling. While answering her queries I’d this self realization my excitement and guilt regarding the trip that ‘how we all want a break from our routine. It isn’t about the people or place but the same old routine we’re following and yes enjoying it though. Still a break like this makes you feel completely free and rejuvenates your soul.’
On the way to Vijaywada somewhere near Guntur we stopped by a milestone and were so happy to know that the team has already covered almost 3500 kms till now and that again is an achievement in itself 🙂
Sellarupet to Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.
Now after the girls leaving, it is just me and Vidula till Vijaywada. Sumati is suppose to join us there. We started early today as we have planned to visit Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. Which was mesmerizing and worth. It is the second largest brackish-water eco-system in India after Chilika lake in Orissa. We saw some amazing birds there.
Also we were lucky to capture some spectacular Pink Flamingos while heading towards Satish Dhawan Rocket Launching Centre, ISRO at Shriharikota.
When we reached at the ISRO Centre we came to know that it is opened only two days in week and only those people with authorised letter are allowed to visit the Rocket launching pad. And right now there is nothing much to see than the colonies where people/workers are leaving. So we clicked some pics from outside and we left for Kakinada.
We reached Nellore around 12:30.p.m.
It was a relaxing day. Started with a bang though.
It was Sunday today when people were just waking up and planning their day whereas, our day was already made 🙂
Pondicherry to Sullurupeta
Since morning I was feeling a bit low. Prerna being a Mountaineer got an urgent call from back home and she decided to leave so she will stay one more day in Pondi and will leave tomorrow. Whereas, Sayali has some personal issues to be resolved so her dad has asked to come asap. So, even she would be leaving today from Chennai. We will drop her on our way to Sullurupeta.
Initially, after Vanita leaving we were suppose to be four and then after Sumati would have joined us from Vijaywada. Which makes five who will stay till the end of the journey. But all of a sudden the scenario is totally changed. There is just two of us left for next two days. Just me and Vidula. Which is a high risk but for some reason I am mentally prepared to face the consequences. Hence, I was feeling bad for Vidula as she being the organiser and backbone of the team, she was a bit nervous and worried. Which is natural. I assured her that “whatever happens I’m not going to leave you even if you send me I won’t go back”
Then the time has come that we should start our today’s journey.
I clicked some departing selfies with Prerana and Sayali and along with Sayali left for Sullurupeta via Chennai.
I will definitely miss these girls.
We reached Sullurupeta in Andhra Pradesh around 3:00.p.m.checked in at ‘Hotel Kinnera Grand’. We had Andhra meal for lunch. Vidula joked about the name of the hotel, that ‘Now in Andhra most of our hotel names have the word ‘Grand’ in it’. (Which really were grand in every sense though)
Then we left to visit Nelapattu Birds Sanctuary which was around 18-20kms. It was late so we decided to visit the nearby sanctuary instead of going towards Pulicat Lake, the hotel people were also so kind they helped ua in planning and also sent one guy with us who knew local language so he can guide and assist us with the road and the place.
(P.S. – He knew only telegu and some English words😝)
Nelapattu Birds Sanctuary is a well known bird sanctuary in India and is the favorite spot of migration for Grey Pelicans. The sanctuary covers around 40,040 ha of area and is also located near Pulicat Lake, which is also known as the 2nd largest salt lake in India. Which we will be going tomorrow.
The time period between Octobers to March is the ideal time to visit the sanctuary. It was really an Amazing Experience .
Vellanki to Pondicherry.
Vellanki was really a cool place. We left around 8:30-9:00a.m. After having a filling breakfast. We stopped at Tranquebar it is also called Tharangambadi. We directly headed towards the beach which also have a Danish Fort nearby the fort was basically built for soldiers to stay as it was near the shore so the goods that are transported were kept in the fort those days. There was a small museum inside the fort.
Then we left for Pondicherry aka Puducherry. The City of Pondicherry have recorded history after the advent of the Colonial Powers like the Dutch, Portuguese, British and the French.
Our hotel was Already booked for that day and then next day we were shifting to another place. We were received by Revathi Co-chairman of the Annamalai Institute. Even the media people were expected but due to the pongal the plans were changed.
Sayali wanted to buy ‘Mallets‘ from this particular shop, so we rushed to Auroville. The place is called ‘Svaram‘ which is the place where you can buy beautifully synchronised musical instruments. I just loved that place. It was about to close so the our darling Prerna took the responsibility and drove insanely, so that we reach there before it closes.
Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township. We came across so many foreigners roaming around on mopeds and bikes.
You may get a sense of the appeal of the place after a visit to the visitors centre and the ‘Mantrimandir‘ in Auroville.
We later roamed around the place had coffee at a beautiful cafe at Auroville there I met this amazing creature.
Then we left towards our hotel.
It was already late we had food and as that was our relaxing day we all planned a party and bought some snacks and boozers and partied till late. We played ‘I never ever had..’ and ‘Truth and Dare.’
Next day, after having breakfast we left for Auroville again some of us wanted to roam around and some of us were keen on sightseeing and Vanita was leaving that day so we dropped her at bus-stand and went to ‘Aurbhindo Ashram‘ The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a spiritual community located in Pondicherry
It is a calm and beautifully decorated ashram. I bought some books from there one for me and another one for my daughter Keya.
Then we went to an exquisite Italian cafe had Coffee and Crepe there. Which was yummy.? 😍
Later that evening we explored the beach at Pondi again. And also shifted to another Hotel 😀
Rameshwaram to Vellankani.
We started early and went to see Ramsetu outside Rameshwaram city. There the beach was just wonderful. High surfers waves and pleasant breeze. But that was a point from where the local people take us to the Ramsetu in there 4×4 vehicle as the road wasn’t suitable for ordinary vehicles. But it would take our another two hours which wasn’t fitting in our already tight schedule. So we all decided to start our journey towards Vellankani. I drove almost 150kms today. For lunch we stopped by the shack in a small village on the way and had authentic Lemon rice with tomato chutney and coconut chutney.
When we reached Vellankani we experienced very positive vibes, which worked for us as well. As our hotel seems one of the loveliest place, which also have a swimming pool. ‘We definitely gonna enjoy here’ that was our first reaction. Which eventually we did. Prerna taught us floating in the water with ears inside the water for support I was holding a rod though it was an excellent experiment. So relaxing so soothing. After that we went to see the church of Vellankani. The churches here are breathtakingly spectacular. Anyone who goes to Velankanni should visit ‘The Shrine Basilica’ comprising of three Churches, Our Lady’s Tank, Church Museum, Priests’ Residence, Offering Center, Stations of the Cross, Stations of the Rosary, Shrine Mega Mahal and Vailankanni Beach. The unique feature of the church is its Gothic architecture.
Also the food that we had tonight was just so mouthwatering. These guys had Chicken chettinad and Lama Parotha and Fish. Whereas, I’d onion uttapam with four types of chutneys. We had some relaxing time, which allowed us gel well together and which was fun.
While returning back I bought a black necklace with a cross at the end, And also for the first time I tried Jackfruit and I liked it. 😀
One more thing about this town is that, Vellankani was one of the worst hit areas in the 2004 Asian Tsunami.