Kansbahal Dam near Rourkela

Contrasting...vibrant colours of Kansbahal Dam

Hardly,4 kms from Kansbahal and 30 kms from Rourkela is Kansbahal Dam. This dam has been constructed by Irrigation Department of Orissa and is only for Irrigation purpose. This Sunday ,my department people at Larsen & Toubro went to have an outing at the place. Having got bored with Chicken and Mutton dishes,we planned to have only fish gourmet . But to my surprise I didn’t find a single fisher man boating in the area.So, it was good that we did carry full ration of Prawns,Rohu and Kerandi(Karandi) fish from Rourkela.

Where is the Boatman???....I want to sail free

I wish.... its Green and Blue every where....

There is a huge patch of forest which touches dam waters and sprawls over,covering places like Kuchinda and Bonai. Its full of wild elephants and at times cases of Elephants feasting on nearby paddy fields have been heard off.

Time captured in Lens...

Ripples......Don't exist here

Being winters,there was huge rush of picnickers all around the place.But ,we did manage to find a secluded place covered with greenery all around. Just a small descend will take you to the Dam waters and all the photographs that you are seeing have been captured in that place only. There are small small islands every where and I wish I could have gone to those ones. Since,we didn’t find any boat man ,we could not do that. But,if you are lucky enough,then one of the boats of near by villagers can be hired for a pleasant boat ride.

Did, I notice ripples???.....perhaps imagination

Collected firewood over there and we prepared a good fish curry and steamed rice. And not to forget the wild dance of Mothi alias ANNA,Jayram Das aka JRD,R K Mishra alias Sir(we call him Saaaaaaaare),never ending sarcastic comments of Murali Pattnayak aka Pattu Bhai to add to the flavour.Oooooooooh I forgot our other gang members ….fellow Ex-PGTs (now extinct species in L & T)both Amits,the cook-Raj and ever smiling Nanda Babu aka Nands….Though, we missed our big boss RSS.

Marooned Island....Waiting to be explored

But ,terrible thing ………and I go on repeating that we need to respect nature and some how people in this part of the region lack civic sense. You will find all around plastic bags and bottles……just disgusting.We are lucky that living freely in a country like India is taken for granted and we go on harming mother nature. I wish,I can go on visiting schools and colleges and tell students the ways of protecting nature as it is. That’s where basic love for nature and its gifts can be understood.This thoughts have been the gift of studying at IMDR,Pune. Though,I did my post graduation in Management,but beautifully designed courses on Science &Technology and Ecology has created a sense of indebtedness towards mother nature. But why this subject in Human Resource Management at IMDR??????.........EXPERIENTIAL Learning Man…. EXPERIENTIAL Learning…………………….Hats off IMDR.

How to Reach Kansbahal Dam:

Reach Kansbahal which is about 20 kms from Rourkela on State Highway 10 (Rourkela to Sambalpur …popularly known as L&T road).Take a left turn and road will lead to L & T Residential Colony and then reach Kansbahal Railway Station. A right turn (near the Railway Cabin)before the station will lead straight to the Dam.Its hardly 5 kms from the SH-10.

Best Time to Visit: November- February

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Entrance of Debrigarh Sanctuary at Dhadrokusum

Tandoori Chicken….Fish Fry…..Bon Fire…Clear Moonlit Sky with Twinkling Stars…distinctive tremulous eerie call of Mottled Wood Owl amidst dark silent night…Roar of Leopard from a far off place indicating that a night game going on….and a cool breeze from Mahanadi……life is beautiful isn’t it???????Yes, this was what we did at Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the less heard sanctuaries in Orissa but the best in terms of wildlife. Forests are quite virgin and unexplored. We started our journey from Kansbahal at 3’o clock in the evening and reached Burla at 7:00 in the evening. On the way did pick up the entire ration which included all vegetables and chicken. Remember that meat is not allowed inside the sanctuary. As we were supposed to stay at Dhudrukusum Forest Cottage which is the entry point of the Sanctuary,we were allowed to carry Chicken. Since people know little about Debrigarh ,no one at Burla was able to give information about the road to Dhodrukusum. Luckily we were able to get in touch with the Forest range officer stationed at Dhudrokusum who had booked the cottage for us. Driving on the dykes of Hirakud reservoir we reached Dhudrokusum. Never expected the Forest Cottage to be so cozy and comfortable.

Preparing Tandoori Chicken at Dhadrokusum Forest cottage

There were also two local guys that our Range officer had arranged for us. They started preparing Chicken Curry for us as we prepared fire for Tandoori Chicken. Night was chilly and sky was clear and a paradise for Star Watchers. As it turned out to be, Tandoori Chicken that we prepared was fabulous. Talk about the forest and wildlife started with our nice Range officer. Typical animals found are Wild Bisons ( flagship animal of Debrigarh),Leopards, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Sloth bear, Wild boar, Langur, Percupine. Also lots of Peacocks are spotted in the sanctuary. Incidents about Leopards moving inside the cottage premises created a chill in our spines. There is also fear that Maoists may infest the Sanctuary in coming 2-3 years as there is continuity in forest over Orissa and Chattisgarh. Last count of Royal Bengal Tigers based on pugmarks inside the forest was 2, which is also quite alarming. As we started our dinner, a dog started barking standing near us….Signs of a big carnivore moving near by. Our ranger Mr Dilip Dash took us near the forest with his spot light. Pugmarks of Leopard were all around. But we could not see it. Retired early for sleep only to wake up at 5 in the morning.

Pugmarks of Leopard in front of our Cottage

In our jeep we were supposed to travel to Chaurasimaal Cottage about 21 kms from the entry point. One of the local forest official accompanied us since inside the sanctuary its only forests…forests…and nothing else. First animal spotted was a Wild Bison. Since Camera flashes distract animals, so as a true wildlife fan one needs to click pictures carefully and without flash.But I always think of my dream machine a Conon 1000D and good SLR lens. Had that been there with me I would have got some ggod shots. We could see some peacocks and Bisons in plenty. But contrary to our expectations we could not see Deers..unlucky. There are also some artificial salt licks inside the sanctuary.

Wild Bison/Gaur ...early in the morning

Driving all along backwaters of Hirakud, I saw the most amazing Sunrise till date. No words to describe it…only to be experienced. But be careful while taking these pics as you may suddenly meet a leopard standing and gazing at you.

Another pic of Sunrise inside Debrigarh Sanctuary...qualifies for my desktop

Peacocks on our forest road

Inside the Debrigarh Sanctuary

Driving through thick forests we reached Chourasimaal Forest Cottage. Then we trekked up to another point where we met a couple of Fisher men who have built small cottages inside the Sanctuary. Our wait there was not in vain as a huge 5 kg fish was caught for our Lunch. We returned back to Dhodrukusum and had some more fried Fish.

What a Catch?...our lunch

Infront of the cottage is the beautiful lake. Hirakud reservoir looks like a sea. Had some good time boating in the reservoir and clicked pictures that would remain in heart forever.

Can a place be more scenic?????

Come and fall in love with Debrigarh....

Crystal Clear Blue Waters of Hirakud Dam

Dhadrokusum Forest Cottage

In the evening said good-bye to all the forest staffs and drove back to Kansbahal.

The Sanctuary comprises two wildlife ranges namelyKamgaon and Lakhanpur.

A wireless communication system covering all important points within and around the sanctuary has been established. During emergency this communication network will usually be available to multi-day trekkers through the established base stations. At present the VHF Base Stations of the communication network in Debrigarh are located at places like Sambardhara, Lakhanpur,Chourishimal.
The Sanctuary entry point at Dhudurkusum adjoining Hirakud Reservoir is approximately 35 km from Burla town and about 50 km from Sambalpur.

Divisional Forest Officer,Hirakud Wildlife Division, Motijharan Po- & District: Sambalpur-768001 (Orissa)Ph. (0663) 2548743 (O/Fax)

Forest Range Officer
Lakhanpur Wildlife Range at Lakhanpur
Ph. (06646) 264241

Forest Range Officer :
Kamgaon Wildlife Range at Dhodrokusum.

Debrigarh during Freedom Struggle: A peak in the Barapahar hills in Bargarh sub-division having a height of 2267 feet. It was a noted rebel stronghold during the revolt of Balabhadra Deo, the Gond Zamindar of Lakhanpur, who was killed here. Mahapatra Ray and Baldia Ray also sought shelter here during 1840 AD after murdering Baluki Dash, the Maufidar of Bargarh. Veer Surendra Sai the freedom fighter was captured here in 1864 by British solders.

Source: Wiki

Leaning Temple of Huma

Leaning Temple of Huma

30 kms from Sambalpur is the Leaning Temple of Huma. On State Highway to Subarnapur ( Sonepur/Sonpur) is the Leaning Temple. Anecdote is that whenever people have tried to straighten it, but it tilts at an angle. Lord Vishwakarma constructed the temple in one night. Situated on the banks of river Mahanadi in the district of Sambalpur, people draw parallel between this temple and Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Mysterious Fishes in Mahanadi river in Huma

Near the temple there are lots of fresh water fish in the river, which come to the surface to eat bread crump and biscuits. Anecdote is that all these are forms of various Gods who have decided to reside near the river. Never before I had seen such a scene though heard off.

Women selling Biscuits forMysterious fishes

And what happens if you try to catch them….one of the snaps will tell everything…Again anecdote is that you will become rock..that’s what happened to one of the village girls who became rock after catching one of the fishes. Over the period of centuries the rock has flown away. But people worship that Lady in form of a rock idol in one of the nearby islands formed in the river. Every year in Kali Puja, a small fare takes place on that island where one temple is also there.

 Tilt is quite distinctly visible

We sailed to that island and sat down under one of the shady trees just gazing at the Huma Temple on the other side of Mahanadi and gazing at the natural wonder….the angle at which temple is bent…

Hirakud Dam

Hirakud Lake..hard to differentiate between water and sky..so blue and serene

Road along the Catchment area...just look at the submerged hills in the back ground

After staying overnight at Jharsuguda,we left for Hirakud Dam in the early morning. Hardly 20 minutes drive from Sambalpur is the dam. Since,photography of the dam is not allowed from security point of view,I am posting the pics of the Lake...though its funny,,since Google earth gives a better satelite picture than my camera. 
Just imagine a tourist place on earth where one pass for taking the vehicle upto the dam costs Rs 1...yes 
you read it right...Just Rupees One...
Since,there are lot of techicalities and numbers associated with Hirakud Dam,I am posting some selected text from Wikipedia.

The Hirakud Dam is a composite structure of earth, concrete and masonry. Ten km north of Sambalpur, it is the longest major earthen dam in the world measuring 24km including dykes, standing across the river Mahanadi. The main dam has an overall length of 4.8km spanning between two hills; the Lamdungri on the left and the Chandili Dunguri on the right. The dam is flanked by 21km long earthen dykes on both the left and right sides, closing the low saddles beyond the ajoining hills. The dam and dykes together measure 25.8km. It also forms the biggest artificial lake in Asia, with a reservoir holding 743km² at full capacity with a shoreline of over 640km.

Cattle Island exists in one of the extreme point of Hirakud Reservoir, a natural wonder. It is near Kumarbandh village of Belpahar-Banharpali range which is about 90 km from Sambalpur. By motor launch from Hirakud Dam, it is closer by 10km via the river. The island is nothing but a submerged hill, and prior to Hirakud Dam construction, it was a developed village. Only cattle inhabit the island. During the resettlement period, villagers left some of their cows and bulls behind; when the dam construction was over the cattle settled down on the hill-top. By the passage of time the nearby area filled up with the reservoir water, turning the hill-top to an island. Being away from mankind, the cattle are now wild, very swift and not easily caught. Living on a hilltop with dense forest, they are larger than tame cattle. Almost all are white in colour. Nearby residents attempt to hunt these animals from time to time, but these hunts are rarely successful. Though descended from tame cattle, these animals provide a contrasting picture of this breed of animal returning to life in the wild.

For more information log on to

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Khandadhar Waterfalls in Sundergarh

Fresh Morning at Kansbahal...our journey begun

Generally we get disgusted by seeing potholes in roads but what if you see bits of road in potholes and that too on a stretch of 110 kms...heavenly happiness...have a experience of lifetime and come to see Khandadhar waterfalls..the second highest waterfall in Orissa after Barehipani Waterfalls of Similipal. Disgusting is the road affairs in the state. One can feel the plight of the people living in the mining area of Barsuan,Lahunipada,Kalta,Banei and Khandadhar. Absolutely unmotorable roads and criminal offence on the part of National Highway authority of India to maintain( I am finding a word to replace the word maintain) NH 215. At this stage I am least bothered about the plight of tourists planning to visit Khandadhar Waterfalls but thinking about the horrifying situations that patients and their relatives must be going through while being taken to the nearest big hospital in Rourkela. Absoultely criminal and unpardonable offence on the part of State Govt, NHAI, Local MPs and MLAs that a National Highway is in such a poor state. Sorry, I forgot to add the names of f*****g Mine owners and Truck(dumper owners) and the local police officials who are a part of this crime. Shame on you all. Sorry to those who are reading this article but I can't control my rage and anger.
Only these monsters can move on NH 215

Now about the Khandadhar Waterfall. I was little bit judicious to travel in a Bolero to the place. Reason I have already discussed earlier. We started quite early around 7:00 am in the morning from Kansbahal and reached the Waterfall at 12:30 in the afternoon. 5 and half hours for 110 kms. On the whole stretch, we didn’t find a single car. Our first stop was Lahunipada(Lahunipara) chowk. Previously this place was quite an important halt for all busses between Rourkela and other places in Orissa. They used to stop here for Dinner before moving to different places like Balasore, Baripada, Kendujhar, Jajpur Town, Berhampur etc. Reason was that at Lahunipada there are two important diversions. One towards Kalta mines and other towards Barsuan and Tensa mines. Both of these roads again meet at Kendujhar. Chuna Ghati near Kalta is little bit lesser treacherous compared to Tensa Ghats. We took some cold drinks from Lahunipada and then moved ahead. After moving for 15 kms you will come across another small chowk called Kaleiposh. Straight Road goes to Barsuan and Tensa. Here we took left turn towards Barkot. Again a drive for 7-8 kms and another small chowk. One needs to take a left turn and drive for 10kms to reach Khandadhar Waterfalls.You can actually see the waterfall from a distance of 10 kms. An Inspection Bunglow is there but it was closed. We trekked up on the Khandadhar Hills all along the rivulet Korapani Nala cascading down at a good speed.It's all lush green forest everywhere. Just by following the sound of the waterfall we finally reached the place.

First close view of Khandadhar Waterfalls

Sprawling Khandadhar Valley and gushing water...awesome

Just couldn't stop clicking...

The closest view possible of the Falls

Huge.. Awesome.. Marvelous...words are few and hard to describe...come and see to believe the aura of Khandadhar Waterfalls...But be cautious. In the past there has been reports of casualties because of the terrain and the force of falling water. When I looked upward towards the waterfall...straight away one question came to mind..."what must be there on the top of mountain and can one see the Tensa and Barsuan Mines if one treks up the top of waterfall?...If you have plans of doing so then start trekking very early in the morning...it would take around 3-4 hours. May be better luck next time for me....

Forest Flowers all around..adding to the beauty

Tall Barsuan Mountains in the background

Radio Waves dont find space to reach this place amidst thick forests...look at the Radio..searching for the nearest station

Time stops ticking at this place......

While returning back our tyre got punctured on the road to Kaleipos. As our driver was getting the repairing done we gossiped with local tribes. They were quite happy with the way local MP was taking care of their needs. Later on came to know from our friend Amit that all of them are someway connected to Naxal movement thriving in the region as everyone had a black thread on the left leg..symbol of Naxal follwers...Though not that much a concern for incoming tourists but still then its better to go in a group and come back before sunset to Lahunipada.

Mahavinayak Temple near Chandikhol

Manda Pitha Gol Gol,Chal jiba Chandikhol,
Chandikhol re ayeee,chaluchi nayin nayin
.......This is what Ravi Mamu(uncle) used to sing for us when we were kids...for us during those days,going to Chandikhol and watching Monkeys near the temple was a big thing.Today ,I dont know how much fun and curiousity Chandikhol or Mahavinayak brings in the minds of kids living in and around Jajpur.Situated at around 40 kms from Cuttack on NH5 is Chandikhol. From Chandikhol one needs to take a left turn on the Sukinda-Paradip Expressway. Hardly 10 minutes drive will take you to Mahavinayak. Situated amongst thick and very old trees is the temple of Mahavinayak.Exactly I dont remember but my memory tells that there were very small springs that used to flow near the temple,but when I visited last time the place in October'07, water was coming out of some artificial fountains and taps. I assume that those natural springs have been forced to come out of man made taps.....spoiling the natural beauty.

Old Banyan Trees and the Monkeys

Entrance of the Temple

Inside the Temple

One reminder for people who are planning to visit this place....don't forget to have sweeeeeeeeet "Pedas" made out of Khoya (skimmed thickened milk) at Chandikhol.They come in all sizes and prices...1 rupees,2 rupees and 5 rupees.I challenge...your taste buds will need some Mexican Chillies to neutralize the sweet effect...

Gudguda Waterfalls in Sambalpur

Gudguda Waterfall cascades down in two falls(one is visible in the backdrops)

This weekend's drive had been a hectic one...drive to Deogarh from Rourkela..and then back to Rourkela .We drove for 392 kms but after seeing the Gudguda waterfalls..all tiredness did vanish...On the way back to Rourkela from Pradhanpat waterfalls we stopped at Kuchinda and had our lunch..as usual Mutton curry at the Kuchinda bus stand.It was almost 2:30 in the after noon and we did set off for Kusumi , a small settlement about 20 kms from Kuchinda.Gudguda Waterfall is near by Kusumi...thats what was told to us by the local dhaba owner at Kuchinda. Road was okay type and one can see greenery all around but not thick forests. As we reached Kusumi, we were told to take a right turn towards the waterfall about 13 kms in a unmettaled, kuttcha road. Oh god..I had forgotten to fill in my fuel tank at Kuchinda and the vehicle was running in reserve quota.Then came the challenging part of the trip..no direction to the waterfall and we were in thick forest..one will come across a lot of cross roads while approaching the fall...but all doubts ceased once the road ended at a small stream....after lot of introspection we could see that actually there was a cement bridge that had been washed away by the stream...but decided that we need to move ahead by walking to the falls...Slowly as we approached on the forest path, a feeble sound of falling water was coming...ooh there was the Gudguda waterfall ahead...but instant reaction from fellow bikers...its not a beautiful one...but some one has said that every waterfall has its own beauty and one needs to feel it....when we reached near the waterfall...it was amazing.....

First Fall in the background

The fall is actually in two steps...one fall in the background was not visible clearly and we could not even reach to the fall .it was as if challenging us...look u can't even feel me completely....that was the beauty of this waterfall.It was already getting darker and we needed to drive back to Rourkela.

God's Canvas

May be one day I will come back and explore the untouched first fall of the Gudguda Waterfall...or may not be................

No body would remember our Trails...Forest Path to Gudguda

While crossing the Rivulet near the Gudguda falls

Orange orchards of Kusumi

While driving back ,we came across so many Orange orchards...to top up to all these Guava,Jackfruit,Mango,Litchi farms every where...It was hard to believe that I was seeing all these in a village near Kuchinda in Sambalpur....A sense of freshness and fruit scent was all over ...This village is a model one for all fruit farmers in Orissa...

Bikes needed some rest...so did we

Was lucky that bike did not run out of fuel in the middle...we safely reached kuchinda and refuelled our bikes...it was almost six in the evening..did drove back to Badgaon and had our evening chai and kachori...Rourkela was just 65 kms away...we drove down fast and ended up with a good well needed hot water bath......