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 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 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 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 direction to the waterfall and we were in thick 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 was amazing.....

First Fall in the background

The fall is actually in two 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 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 did we

Was lucky that bike did not run out of fuel in the middle...we safely reached kuchinda and refuelled our 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......

Pradhanpat Waterfalls in Deogarh

Bike ride to Pradhanpat Waterfalls in Deogarh district was planned long back and finally on this Sunday we did bike to this place. There are two roads to go to via Barkot (about 130 kms) and another through Kuchinda (about 150 kms). But we did choose the later as road through Barkot is almost non existant...courtesy Mining Dumpers....After having a good breakfast at Badgaon which is about 45 kms from Kansbahal. There was a small chowk called Gariamal on SH 10 from where we took left turn to Kuchinda.Passing through some of the dense forests and small ghats that I have seen in recent times we reached Bamra and then Kuchinda.Here we met the NH 200 and moved towards Deogarh at a brisk pace.

Another waterfall...Pradhanpat under my belt

First view of waterfall was enough to make us say "its worth biking 165 kms to see this waterfall".Falling from a height of almost 100 feet it actually sprayed water to near by onlookers.This place is sorrounded by hills on all side and place was really dark.

Pradhanpat spraying water to vistors delight

Pradhanpat waterfalls...testing my photography skills

One good thing that we found at Pradhanpat was that district tourist officials have really taken care about the place and made all kind of arrangements like cement benches and small bridges etc.Good to see that some people are working hard in keeping the place up to the mark.

At a small shrine near waterfall...with Anna and Prithi

As anna was feeling hungry,we had to leave little bit early and drove back on NH 6 looking for a good dhaba( 18 kms on NH6 and then 40 odd kms on NH 200).If you plan by any means to drive down to Pradhanpat then make it a point to have lunch at Kuchinda.There was not a single dhaba on the whole 50 km stretch from Deogarh to Kuchinda where you can get good food.Feeling hungry,we drove the bikes at full throttle towards Kuchinda.

Driving on SH 31 from Bamra to Kuchinda was a pleasure

Weekly "haat(market)" at Bhojpur near Kuchinda

13 kms from Kuchinda we stopped for a minute to have a look at the local weekly "haat"(market) at Bhojpur where all kind of things starting from Onions to Cattle was being sold.

After having lunch at Kuchinda we drove towards another waterfall Gudguda which has been covered in another section of this blog....

Chatia Temple- Future Home of Lord Jagganath

It is said that end of Kalyug is inevitable. But that has some connection with Chatia Temple in the district of Jajpur. Situated beside NH 5 and about 35 kms from Cuttack is Chatia Temple. It is said that there is a sword inside the temple premises and it is slowly coming out of the ground .Over the period of years it has come out to some extent. The day it comes out completely , Lord Jagannath along with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra will come to Chatia on a black horse leaving behind Puri and destroying the evil society. This phase of Lord Jagannath will be known as “Kalaki Avatar” and will mark the end of “Kalyug”.

Chatia Temple in Jajpur

A closer look of Chatia Temple......The future home Lord Jagannath

Though, I was not fortunate enough to enter the temple(one cannot enter any of Lord Jagannath’s temple after having non veg food and unfortunately I had non vegetarian lunch earlier) and see this different look of the almighty but felt that this needs to be published in my Blog.This along with some other anecdotes related to Jagannath Swamyji will be covered in an all together different series.After all he is the God of whole world..Lord Jagath+Nath

Gadachandi(Gadchandi) in Kendujhar

Continuing my drive in southern parts of Kendujhar after photographing Gudguda Waterfalls and Ghatgaon temple, I halted at Anandpur. I had heard of this place called Gadachandi earlier but lot of research on net did not come of any help. Hardly any information available on net. Asked one of local petrol pump owners about the road to Gadachandi. Its around 35 kms on the road towards Bhadrakh from Anandpur. After driving through for around 15 kms one can have glimpse of the southern parts of famous Boula Mountain Range of Eastern Ghats. These are actually the southern parts of Hadagarh Sanctuary.From a chowk called Chenapati, one needs to take a left turn towards Gadachandi. The same road leads to Hadgarh dam and Boula Mines owned by TATA group(I was told so).

Stream flowing down near the Gadchandi temple

After reaching the place one can feel the coolness of the bushy trees of the Boula Hills.The place is absolutely superb for Rock climbing as the hill is almost vertically steep. There are lot of caves around and one needs to have experts while trying hand out in rock climbing. Some steps beside the stream leads to the
place where Chandi thakurani(Goddess) is worshipped. The temple is actually a part of the cave in the lower parts of the Boula Hills. From a near by rock a perennial stream flows down creating a beautiful scenery. Perfect picture setting. I always ask a question that why our Oriya Movie makers never try to shoot some sequences in these places.Perhaps one needs the passion of someone like Dwarka Divecha who roamed around India to select location for Sholay and finally zeroed on in a place called Ramnagram( between Bangalore and Mysore).

Stream flowing out of the Rocks near the Temple

Man.. I am tired

Southern Parts of Boula Hills

I was very tired driving through out the sunny day. So just fell flat on one of the rocks. Wished that I could stay for some more time but sun was about to set. We drove back to Baitarani Road my maternal uncle’s place via Jajpur Road.

Maa Tarini Temple at Ghatgaon

Maa Tarini is the Forest Goddess that every Oriya retorts to in the time of need…when all hopes fade away, one goddess will come to your rescue-Maa Tarini of Ghatgaon (Ghatagaon).
Anecdote is that King of Kendujhar was bringing Tarini Maa from Puri to Kendujhar. But Goddess in the beginning of journey warned the King that if King will turn back and look at the Goddess then she wouldn’t proceed further. So, the journey started. King was riding a horse and Goddess was following her to Kendujhar. King could make out from the Jhum Jhum sounds of the Goddess’ ornaments that she was accompanying him. Suddenly near thick forests of Ghatgaon, the sound stopped. King stopped over there and turned his head to see whether Tarini Maa was there or not. This was the mistake he committed. Tarini Maa vanished. She made Ghatgaon her new home. This way she came from Puri to Ghatgaon.

Main Entrance of Maa Tarini Temple,Ghatagaon

Situated amongst thick Sal forests on NH 215 and about 70 from Panikoili and 40 kms from Kendujhar is Ghatgaon. It’s in Anandpur Subdivision.

NH 215 passes through the thick forests of Kendujhar

Inside the temple-Maa Tarini

There are few things quite famous about Ghatgaon- Nadiakora(Coconut Sweets) and the way Coconuts reach Ghatgaon from various parts of Orissa.
Suppose a devotee wants to send a Coconut to be offered to the deity from as far as Koraput..then he need not worry. Fastest and the most efficient courier service and that too free of cost is available in Orissa. The devotee needs to give that coconut to any long distance Bus. The Bus driver will carry the coconut to the nearest possible place of Ghatgaon on his route. From there another bus will carry that Coconut in the same way. Finally busses going directly towards Ghatgaon will drop the coconut at the Temple.No bus driver will charge or even say “No” for rendering this service. By default any coconut that is offered to a Bus driver will reach Ghatagaon safely. DHL & Fed Ex –is this service comparable with yours????

Bus Carrying Coconuts from devotees and delivering at Ghatagaon

There are so many Coconuts reaching Ghatgaon-Maa Tarini temple that temple authorities are making best use by giving them to local agents for making Nadiakora . They are quite sweet made only with sugar and coconut. I still remember when I used to be a child and used to go in bus to Panikoili from Rourkela, I used to gulp down a quite few. My mother would carry some packets of Nadiakora to distribute to all our neighbors.

"Nadiakora"(Coconut Sweets) Sellers infront of the Temple

Its my personal experience that whenever I am in any sort of trouble, I have always turned to Maa Tarini for help and she has always listened to me. Hopefully, her blessings will always be there with me and others…..

Gundichaghai Waterfall

“What’s the happiness you get by visiting new places and photographing them?”...This was the question one person asked me when I told that I was going to one unheard place called Gundichaghai for photographing a waterfall. After travelling overnight in train from Rourkela to Jajpur Road…then biking for 75 kms towards Ghatgaon on a beautiful road (NH 215) amongst forests of Sal & Mahua…then driving on a virtual non existent road to the point of waterfall..and finally photographing the waterfall and publishing in the web for the first time….What did I achieve? Answer is simple- Sense of Achievement.

Gundichaghai Waterfall

River Mudala cuts through the rocks

Daitari-Banspani Railway Line ....Lifeline of Orissa's Economy

Me and my cousin Bunty took the left diversion from Ghatgaon towards Harichandanpur..Its surprising that few people have idea of this waterfall near Ghatgaon of Kendujhar district. After you drive for 15 kms on the road you reach Harichandanpur.This is an important small road junction with roads leading to Kendujhar,Bansapani and Sukinda. There is also a railway station at Harichandanpur but presently not a single passenger train plies on the important route of Daitari-Bansapani.Thanks to our poor, low voiced good for nothing MPs .From Harichandanpur, there is a kachha road of 4kms that leads to the waterfall. River Mudala was at full flow due to incessant rains on previous day.

I just wish that more and more people can visit these unheard ..unknown..neglected tourist places…Tourism in Orissa is not only Puri,Konark ,Bhubaneswar & Chilika….but rather those numerous waterfalls like Gundichaghai…deep gorges of Tikarpada…Temples of Veda Vyas…Tiger sanctuaries of Similipal….Sprawling Deomali of Eastern Ghats in Koraput and the list is never ending…..