this road trip in March 2011. It was six months after we got our Scorpio. As
soon as we got the delivery of the vehicle, we had done a road trip to Maharashtra
covering Kolhapur, Pandharpur and Ellora. This time we wanted to go longer.
After brainstorming on the places to go, we zeroed in on Chattisgarh, which
still remains unexplored. This was a fascinating journey of 5000 plus KMs.
Ride on with
us to experience it.
left early in the morning on 05 March 2011 around 5 AM. The merit of leaving
early hit us when we crossed Mulbagal, 100 KMs from Bangalore. The four-lane
road ends at this place. Starting early helped, we did not encounter trucks. We
could see early morning sun caressing the brown hills of Tirumala when we
reached Tirupati around 8.15 AM. It was a lovely sight. A quick breakfast and we
were back on the road. When we reached Naidupeta, we were welcomed by a lovely
tarmac of NH5.
green expanse at this time of the year was a big surprise and soothing to tired
eyes!! These lovely roads have spoilt all of us as we could comfortably cruise
at 130 KMPH. Miles and Miles of Lush green fields, streams and rivers makes
drive on NH 5 very pleasant.
|The green expanse on either side of National Highway 5|
|.............And the lovely tarmac|
plan was to stay in Vijayawada. Driving on excellent road, we reached city at
2.30 PM. It was then that we decided to continue to Vizag and spend night there.
This would help us leaving comfortably the next day morning to Jagdalpur.
Vijayawada looked a clean and good city. River Krishna is wide and there was
not much of water. We had good Biryani lunch in Hotel Ilapuram recommended by a
friend who is from Vijayawada.
The best part of driving on these Golden Quadrilateral roads is that you don’t
encounter any villages or towns as most of them have bye pass, which will help
you to maintain the speed. Vijayawada to Vizag drive was again without hassles.
As we neared Rajahmundry we were excited to see sun setting over Godavari. But
we were disappointed as the span of Godavari is small here as the river splits creating
islands unlike while travelling by rail over the country’s longest railway
bridge. Nevertheless the sunset over Godavari was still good.
|Sun setting over Godavari|
reached Vizag around 8.30 PM and were ready for a well-deserved rest.
done, we started the second leg to Bastar from Vizag. We had read about the
train journeys on the famous Vizag – Jagdalpur train by well-known travel
writer Bill Aitkin that is supposed to be an experience in itself as tribals
extensively use it. Though we were driving, we were expecting to get a
firsthand experience of the region ourselves. As we crossed Vizianagaram – any
cricket lover will remember this city as Maharaja of Vizianagaram was a great
cricketer and Vizzy trophy is named after him - the mountains appeared. Winding roads with beautiful valleys
greeted us. The valleys here are quite long and wide unlike the Western Ghats,
which are smaller. The land looked brown and dry and must be stunningly
beautiful if you come here after rains.
|First views of valley as we climb|
|The winding road through the mountains|
This is the tribal heartland of Orissa
and we could see them attired in colorful dresses at many small towns and
markets. Being Sunday, there were many village markets thronged by people.
Overloaded jeeps bring them to markets as we saw this one in Pottangi. These
tribals looked happy and contented lot. On outskirts of Koraput, we were
greeted by this large expanse of clear water from Kolab Reservoir. The setting
reached Jagdalpur by 3 PM in time for Lunch.
Bastar jungle Resort is a new resort, which was opened six months ago. Spread
over 15 acres next to forest – in fact one has to go through forest check post
– it gives one a serene feeling. The rooms are well laid out and really big.
The food is good as well. Checked in and lunch done, we ventured out to see
|Bastar Jungle resort|
used to be the headquarters of the largest district in the country – Bastar –
before it was split to create four more districts. This is the heartland of
tribals in Bastar. The Dasara in Jagdalpur is celebrated over 70 days when
tribals from remote areas come to town to celebrate and enjoy the festival. We
missed the weekly market in Jagdalpur as it is held on Saturdays.
is a well laid out clean town with colorful roundabouts featuring statues different
tribes. There is nothing much to see in the town except for the Dantedevi
mandir – the name Dantevada takes after the name of this goddess – and so
called “Jagdalpur Palace” which is more like a huge bungalow than a palace.
we returned to the resort to enjoy a quite evening under the skies, we were
excited to what was in the offing on the next day– Chitrakot Falls, Tiratgarh
falls, Kutumsar caves and lal chinti ki chutney or red ant chutney!