Khuludi Waterfalls and Temple in Angul

Khuludi Waterfalls

After a long gap, I planned for some biking and still there were some places in my radar which I had not captured in my lens till now. One of them is Khuludi Temple and waterfall in Angul District and others being Mirigkhoj/Miriglotah and Murgamahadev. And this time a new pillion ventured with me- Subhashis (our FRIEND…MUNDU…. WAKIL).

Journey started with some left over Chicken Puffs and light drizzle. Weather was pleasant in the morning with an overcast sky and we reached Lathikata in no time. This is generally my Chai halt in the morning on this route, as you need some energy to ride through NH 215. But one thing that I experienced was that unlike last time when we traveled on this road, this time it was in a much-improved condition. At least some improvement. It just took an hour and fifteen minutes to reach Rajamunda. There we took the NH 23 towards Barkote(Barkot) which passes through a thick patch of forest. But again to my surprise, road was in superb condition except for a patch of 3-4 kms, which was horrible. But it is good that work is going on and will get over by Monsoons. This was originally the route used by busses for going to Bhubaneswar via Talcher but thanks to the hard work of NHAI, they are now covering 150 kms extra going through Sambalpur.

Camera Inside water...on the top of the waterfall

We stopped at Barkote and had some cold drinks before turning left towards Pallalahara (Palhada,Pallahara) on NH 6. Pallalahara is 27kms from Barkot and we reached there in just half an hour. I had no idea about the road to Khuludi, as hardly any information is available in net. After asking a localite we headed ahead towards Kendujhar on same road. As one passes through Pallahara, one can see the Malyagiri Range of Hills . There is a Kuttcha road that branches out from NH6 about 10kms from Pallalahara and goes to Khuludi waterfalls. From this point Kendujhar is just 60 kms away on NH6 and one has to pass through Telkoi,Suakathi and the Kanjipani Ghats. Kanjipani Ghat is one of the longest ghats in Orissa.

It's not Europe..

View from the Temple...

Source of Khuludi Waterfalls

Driving on the Kuttcha road we just had no clue about the destination ahead and neither we came across a lot of people. At every diversion we waited for some one to come and tell us the about the road to Khuludi. This is the plight of tourist places in Orissa where in our Babus sitting in Bhubaneswar know only Konark,Puri and Chilika.I also doubt whether our Tourism authorities would have heard about Khuludi. Even Anugul (Angul) district officials are unperturbed and don’t find mere 10-15000 rupees to put some signboards.

On the Diversion to Khuludi from NH6...introspecting Subbu

Saying Good Bye to Kendujhar Section of NH6

Finally reached Khuludi waterfalls.There is also a temple beside the waterfall. This place is quite similar to Gadachandi in Kendujhar. The waterfall is a small one with a height of 10-12 feet. We climbed to the top and sat for some time, gazing at the flowing stream. I am happy that again I am first to click the pictures of Khuludi. By the time we climbed down, temple had already closed. After spending some more time we started our return journey. Had our lunch of Roti and Tadka at one of the Dhabas. I am amazed that being a sardarji’s dhaba you won’t find anything related to chicken but eggs. This thing I have found out in all of the dhabas on this route. But pleasantly the tadka was good. After over eating we drove fast and in just 45 minutes we reached Barkot. Had some lassi and did set off for our next stop at Rajamunda. By this time we felt as if an A** transplantation surgery was required and this ignited me to run the bike at full throttle.

Malyagiri Range of Hills

By 5:30 in the evening we were back in Rourkela.298 kms in 8 hours touching 4 districts (Rourkela & Rajamunda in Sundergarh,Barkote in Deogarh,Pallalahara in Anugul and some portion of Kendujhar en route to Khuludi).

India Moves in Slow Motion...Journey to Darbhanga by Railways

True that Mark Tully has described Gangetic Plains and its stories as “Heart of India”. And perhaps I would have missed the beats, had I not visited Darbhanga which according my boss is “Texas of India”. Reason being that in these parts of India, guns speak before mouth…true “Cow Boy ishhhhhhtyle”. Mark Tully is obsessed with the stories of these regions and is quite obvious from his three books “No Full Stops in India”, “Heart of India” and “India in Slow Motion”.

Our journey began with South Bihar Express from Rourkela to Tata Nagar passing through one of the largest forest patches of India called Saranda Forests. And, what a way to begin the journey—listening commentary of India’s win over Australia in the CB Series on cell phone. Our first stop was Chakradharpur, Divisional Railway Head quarters. As an avid Indian Railways fan, one gets overwhelmed to see shades of British Architecture in the main station building. Being the Divisional Headquarters, Chakradharpur proudly houses various Training Schools of railway Employees and all of them built under the sheds of huge old Banyan Trees. All these are the gifts that “Raj” has given to us in their stay in India. Chances are that in near future, the Headquarters may move to Tata since CKP (Chakradharpur) falls under the hardcore red corridor of Naxals. As a child one used to get excited when Utkal Express used to reach CKP on the way from Jajpur Kendujhar Road to Rourkela. Being the privileged grand child of one the Member of Parliaments, I used to travel free in Railways with my grand father. But I would fight with my grandfather to travel in First Class rather than in AC compartments as it gave me a chance to clearly see the green forests and hills of Saranda and not to forget the tiny Mofusill stations of Posita,Goilkera,Lotapahar,Jaraikela,Bisra,Bhalulata,Bondamunda,Manoharpur and the one off tunnel. Sitting in the cozy First Class Coupe of the Train with breakfast of Omlette Toast, fried finger chips, Coffee with morning Sun rays piercing through the window, one used to get a Royal feeling with a little kingdom of First Class Coupe. I am sad that Utkal Express does not have that type of carriage these days. Sometimes I used to feel that one day I will follow the foot steps of Bill Aitken ,the travelogue writer.

Deserted Posoita Railway Station

The Station Hut

Chakradharpur Station....look at the architecture

Main Platform at CKP

Coming back to present, we reached Tata around 7:30 in the evening and after having dinner left for Samastipur by Tata Chapra Express. Early morning we reached Barauni and had breakfast. One can literally smell the cool breeze blowing from Gangetic Plains and there is all together different aroma of air of UP and Bihar mixed in the breeze. As train left for Samastipur, suddenly the Express became “Sawari Gadi(Passenger Train)”.Train halted at a small station Teghra.

Scene around Teghra reminded me of Ramgarh Station in Sholay where there was market monopoly by Basanti’s Tanga. There was a small chai shop, Ram Saran’s Tanga and Avtar’s rickshaw. Gossip in the Chai shop was about local politics and corruption. On the Teghra station, I got the first glimpse of poverty of Bihar with kids suffering from malnutrition running here and there. There was filth all around and a sole hand pump on the platform was the thriving place for mosquitoes. Train started after half an hour’s halt. We reached Samastipur and the scene there was no different. I was told that Samastipur was bastion of some of political barons of Bihar . Then started the experience of life time. For reaching Darbhanga situated around 60 kms from Samastipur, it took us 4 and half hours. I have never seen a worst road than that. Even NH 215 from Rourkela to Kendujhar will loose out in this battle.

Discussion ...

Dhanno of Teghra....But where is Basanti ?

Landed up at the Ganga Residency Hotel situated inside the premises of Fortress of Darbhanga. I bet that had this place been in any other state, Darbhanga would have been sure shot hit amongst tourists. It’s a shame that such a big fortress of Maharaja of Darbhanga is in ruined state. To add to the woes, I saw a Cinema Hall inside the premises with a B Grade movie being screened. Horrible.

Fortress of Darbhanga..standing tall

World of Advertisements....

Inside the Fortress....last days

The Tower Chowk....back to 1940s

Tangas...Integral part of Darbhanga

Struggling to keep pace with time.....

Sweetness in the potholes....

Banwari's Chai Tapri outside Darbhanga's Railway Station...

After seeing the town, one gets a feeling that really India is moving in slow motion despite the soaring stock prices. Every where you see is poverty and the fortress standing in the center as a silent witness to all this. Next morning went on to see the markets of Darbhanga and especially the crowded one, near “Tower Chowk”. Market was over crowded with Tangas, Rickshaws, Bullock carts meandering every where. I felt as if I have gone back ages. Life is so different and as if cut off from the rest of the world. But had a smile on my face when I saw the following graffiti on a wall…………….