Every since I got my steed, aka the Black Panther, I have been raring to go on long distance roadtrips. Days trips like the one for Maithon never really filled my appetite. Hence, I was super excited when the plan for the Konarak and Rambha roadtrip finally materialised. This was our first intra-state trip in our Ford Fiesta Classic, and one which had been in the offing for very long. My co-passengers for the trip was my friend Jaydeep and my wife. It was a 4 day, 3 night trip with plans for spending the first night in Konarak and the next 2 nights in Puri. But luck had some other plans for us – more on that later.

The Konarak and Rambha Road trip

Planned trip:

  1. Day 1 – Kolkata to Konarak. Stay at Hotel Surya Inn – +91-97763-00977
  2. Day 2 – Visit Sun Temple, Chandrabhaga beach and head for Puri. Bookings to be done one reaching.
  3. Day 3 – Stay in Puri
  4. Day 4 – Return back to Kolkata

Actual trip:

  1. Day 1 – Kolkata to Konarak. Stay at Hotel Surya Inn – +91-97763-00977
  2. Day 2 – Visit Sun Temple, Chandrabhaga beach and head for Puri. No rooms found in Puri on 15th August. Reach to OTDC Rambha
  3. Day 3 – Stay at Rambha. Enjoy a leisurely boating in CHilka
  4. Day 4 – Return back to Kolkata
Orissa Countryside
Orissa Countryside

 

Kolkata to Konarak

We started early morning on the 14th of August, and reached Kolaghat for our first halt for breakfast. Post that, the steering wheels rotated between Jaydeep, my wife and myself till the lunch break just outside the district of Jajpur in Orissa. We opted for traditional Oriya lunch at a restaurant called Oriyani. The variety of choices provided in the veg-thali amazed us. Feeling pleasantly surprised and wonderfully refreshed, we resumed our journey.

Just before Cuttack, we took the left turn and headed towards Konarak. This was not the state highway, but a local village road. However, it was in pretty decent shape. A tea-break around 3.30PM, and we reached Konarak Inn, our place for the night halt by 4.30PM. The inn was actually a homestay, with the owner residing in the ground floor, and 3 rooms available on the 1st floor. Even though it was not very up-market, but the rooms were well maintained. The owner of the place was a renowned sculpture of the region, and his artwork could be seen all around the house.

Around Konarak – Chandrabhaga Beach and Sun Temple

We freshened up quickly and went to the Chandrabhaga beach. After enjoying the wonderful sunset at the beach, we headed for the night view of the famous Konarak Sun Temple, also known as the Black Pagoda.

This temple was built by king Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250. The temple was originally built at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has receded since then. The temple has been built in the form of a giant ornamented chariot of the Sun god, Surya. It has twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels which pulled by a set of seven horses. The temple follows the traditional style of Kalinga architecture. It is carefully oriented towards the east so that the first rays of sunrise strikes the principal entrance. Thankfully, I could take some night photos of the temple. Here they go.

Post dinner, we hit the bed, tired after the first long road trip.

Next morning, we went to the Sun Temple once again, and this time took a guide to help us understand the history of the place.

Konarak to Puri via Marine Drive

After that, we headed towards Puri via the famed Konarak Puri Marine Drive, a true drivers delight.

We reached Puri by 11.30AM. However, it was here that we got the shock. Being 15th August, it turned out to be choc-a-block. We searched for almost 4 hours to find a hotel which also had space for car-parking. Could not find even 1. Finally, by 4 PM, we gave up our search, and decided to head back to Konarak and try our luck there. We took a break at a restaurant and was thinking out our options, when suddenly I recalled the OTDC Panthanivas on Chikla at Rambha.

Puri to Rambha on Chikla

We had been there way back in 2011, but only for a few hours. I was really impressed by the cottages then, and had wanted to stay there. We googled up the number of the place and gave them a call. Wow! They had rooms available. We requested them to keep the cottage for us, and said that we are on our way. The only problem – it was already late evening, and Rambha was about 120 kms from Puri. But not having much of an option, we hit the road, finally reaching the place by 8.00 PM.

The cottage overlooking the Chikla turned out to be really nice, with a good view of the lake and the hills on the opposite side.

Rambha and Chilka

The next day was spent lazing around in the place, and also by taking a boat ride to cover some of the sites like the Breakfast Island, and a small temple on the hills on the opposite side of the resort.

Rambha to Kolkata

Next day was return day for us. We started around 7.00 in the morning. Crossed Cuttack by 10.30 and stood for lunch at a small roadside dhaba. Though initially a little skeptical about the food there, we decided to give it a try, as options were not really much. To our pleasant surprise, the parathas and the chana masala turned out to be really lip-smacking.

After that, we hit the highway once again. Lunch stop was around 2.00 PM in Bengal-Orissa border town of Jaleshwar. The fried rice and chilly chicken was mouthwatering, except the color. Hehe! Nevertheless, we enjoyed it, thanks to our empty stomach.

After that, there was ot much of s stop, and reached back home in Kolkata by around 5.00PM, thus ending our first road-trip in the Black Panther, but not before promising ourselves to go back soon, this time with all hotels booked for Puri.

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