Road Trip from Kolkata to Puri and Rambha (Chilika Lake)

#1 Aug 22nd, 2012, 03:14
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  • debdasd is offline
#1
Recently I got a chance to visit Puri and Chilka (Rambha). Trying to put some notes here.

I started planning for this trip in June. I was very excited as this would be my first mid-ranged drive. I have done Digha, Durgapur many a time and also went to Bishnupur once, but never before planned for a 600 km drive. I was not sure where to go and had the following options in mind,
1) Puri-Panchalingeshwar-Chandipur (well below 600km)
2) Rambha-Chitrakoot-Gopalpur-Puri (Chitrakoot is 1100 km from Kolkata)

Considering the number of days I had, I choose something in betweeen. Decided to go to Rambha with a night halt at Puri. Also we shall go to Gopalpur from Rambha and spend couple of hours there. (Unfortunately we could not go to Gopalpur this time, but theres always a next time)

Friday, 10th August 2012:
We planned to start at 5 AM, which was almost impossible for late-risers like us. I am happy that we could start by 5:50.
First tea break was at Kolaghat. Reached WB - Odisha border at 9:30, there were long queue of standing trucks blocking entire left side of the road, had to move to the right side. No Odisha road tax at border. It started raining heavily when we entered Baleshwar (Balasore). We reached Cuttack at 13:30, we were hungry and had to stop for lunch. We looked for a good restaurant, but could not find any. Next time, when we are in Cuttack, we would go for a roadside dhaba. After lunch, we continued and at Dhauli we made a stop. It was really a wonderful sight at Dhauli temple, it was more than what I expected it to be. Reached Puri around 5 PM. We started looking for a hotel. Hotels were either fully booked or charging for too much. Finally got a room at Hotel Niladri in New Marine Drive just before the light house. They charged 1600 for a first floor AC room with side view of the sea. The hotel is good, only negative point is the room didn't have a balcony. It was drizzling, but could not stop us from going for a walk in the
evening.

Saturday, 11th August 2012:
At 9 we checked out from the hotel, spent some time at sea side and then went to Jagannath Mandir by a rickshaw. After puja and a quick look at the worlds largest kitchen we returned to our car which was parked near Puri hotel. It was a fine morning and there were no signs of rain, we suddenly decided to have a 'sea-bath'. Due to heavy rains, the day before, the sea was furious and not many people were bathing. After a quick bath we started for Panthanivas Rambha where we can take a proper wash. It was 12:30 by then. I chose the Jagannathpur - Nirakarpur shortcut for NH5. We had no idea that it would be so pathetic. The road constuction was in progress, and I hope in two years time it would be a great concrete road. First 24 km, thoght narrow road but was ok, next 24 km till Nirakarpur was worst. Another 4 km of good road took us to NH5. You will understand how bad it was if I say it took two and half hours for this 48 kms. After that there was no looking back and we reached Barkul Panthanivas for lunch in another 30 minutes. After lunch, another 30 minutes to reach Rambha and we checked into our previously boooked room at Panthanivas. New 4 lane road is under constuction/ partly completed near Barkul and Rambha which bypasses these places. So, if you want to go to Barkul or Rambha, be careful to see the roadsigns and take the left exit (the old NH5 as seen on google maps). The new road is still not there in google maps (switch to satellite mode to see the roads). By mistake I took this great road past Rambha, but I could quickly identyfy my mistake as GPS in my mobile told me I am off the track. I had to make a U turn to get back to the road that took me to Rambha village. By the way, other than Panthanivas I did not see any good place to stay at Rambha.

Sunday, 12th August 2012:
Plan was to go for boating in the morning and then visit Gopalpur in the aftrenoon so that we can go to the top of Gopalpur light house which is open from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. The sun was hot and we didnot feel like boating in the morning. I played TT with my son in panthanivas games room and after that we went out to see some temples nearby. Visited Nirmaljhara temple, Khallikote Govt Art college and Narayani Temple. Enroute to Nirmaljhara saw some signboards which says there are some Emu firms. Nirmaljhara temple is nice. After the temple visit, came back to Rambha panthanivas, had lunch. The lunch was too full. We dropped the idea of Gopalpur and prefered to take a nap. When we woke up, it was almost dark and too late for boating.

Monday, 13th August 2012:
Woke up at 5:30, got ready and went for boating on Chilika lake at 6:30. The boatman said we can cover 3 points (breakfast isle,
cave and bird island) in 1.5 hours and 5 points in 3 hours. In 1 hour boating (in motorboat) we could see Breakfast Island and a
the cave. Disappointed to see the 'cave', don't know why they call it a cave, it's simply some rocks. After breakfast at panthanivas started return journey at 8:40 am. First thing I had in my mind was to go to an emu firm and watch the big bird. We knew where the firm was and didnt have any problem in locating it. It was just 5 km off the NH5 toward the road to Nirmaljhara.
When we reached Bhubaneshwar it was 11:15 and got stuck in traffic jam. It took 35 minutes to cross Bhuvaneshwar. I kept on driving and could locate a good restaurant at Bhadrak where we stopped for lunch, at 2pm. Reached Odisha - WB border at 5pm. By now we realized that we can afford to take some breaks, took 30 minute tea break at a dhaba. Kolaghat came at around 7:30 pm and again a tea break for 20 minutes. Unlike NH60, NH6 was full of trucks and had to switch lanes every now and then. It was raining too. Reached home at 10 pm.

Overall the road condition is excellant (except my shortcut route from Jagannathpur to Nirakarpur). You can press your feet as much as you can. In NH60 there are some speed breakers at the southern end. In NH60, there are small bridges/culverts and you have to slow down as these are not concrete and road is broken at places on these culverts.

For details of time and distance you can have a look at the attached tour log. The template was originally prepared by 'DriveTrain' who created this in September 2009. I found this in a Gopalpur forum (see below).

Kolakata to Gopalpur-on-Sea : a Long Weekend

I am now planning for my next road trip, probably Varanasi, the oldest living city on earth.




At Dhauli Temple



At Puri



Boat at Barkul, Panthanivas



View from Balcony at Panthanivas, Rambha



Rambha Jetty



Rambha, Panthanivas



Nirmaljhara Temple



Narayani Temple



GQ



Going to Hawrah, I guess



Rambha Jetty, just before dark



Breakfast Island, built by British
Attached Files
File Type: doc TripLog.doc (70.5 KB, 307 views)
#2 Aug 26th, 2012, 19:04
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#2
Nice travelogue. But why did not you take the ferry across Chika lake (along with your car) to reach Rambha, if you were driving from Puri? It could be an interesting option! You could take a drive up to Satpada (48 KM) and take the ferry from there. It ferries cars too and allows one to reach a place called Krishnaprasad, from where there is a road which goes to NH 5 and Rambha.
And I was once told by a friend of mine that the OTDC Panthanivas at Barkul offers a better view of the Chilka lake, when compared to the Panthanivas at Rambha. But this is completely a second hand information, as I have not stayed at any of them.
#3 Aug 27th, 2012, 14:17
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Yes, Rahul, That would have been a nice route. I read about this route here once but was not 100% sure if it would have been possible or not. I also didn't have any idea of the road conditions in that route. Later in Rambha, I asked the Panthanivas guys about that road and they confirmed that from Satapada we could have taken the ferry (with the car) to Krishnaprasad.

I choose Rambha as there are more scenic islands than Barkul, and also because of the great review of a dish called "Crab in the shell". Unfortunately all the crabs went into their hideouts when they knew I was coming to Rambha. The kitchen guys apologised on both the days for not able to arrange the dish.

After visiting both the places I still like Rambha more. The view of Chilka from room balcony is something I liked most and that you won't find in Barkul.

I have started to dislike Barkul for another reason, the cows at panthanivas have no manners, they should not have dashed onto my car causing a big dent.
Last edited by debdasd; Aug 28th, 2012 at 18:50..
#4 Aug 27th, 2012, 14:23
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#4
Interesting thread, thank you.

Did you alight on Breakfast Island?
#5 Aug 27th, 2012, 15:01
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No, didnot alight at breakfast island, but went into the cave. Its bit tricky, you have to pull/drag yourself inside through the small opening between large boulders. Liked it.
Last edited by debdasd; Aug 27th, 2012 at 16:31..
#6 Aug 27th, 2012, 20:12
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Any pic of "Emu Firm" with big bird?
#7 Aug 28th, 2012, 10:35
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by debdasd View Post After visiting both the places I still like Rambha more. The view of Chilka from room balcony is something I liked most and that you won't find in Barkul.
As you have visited and stayed at both the places, I am now certain that Rambha should be the better place to stay. Will you please share the type of rooms you took as well as their rates?
Quote:
Originally Posted by debdasd View Post I have started to dislike Barkul for another reason, the cows in panthanivas have no manners, they should not have dashed onto my car causing a big dent.
Too bad. I do share your feeling. A dent in his car surely make the owner annoyed. These OTDC guys must properly educate and enforce discipline among their cows. But what about the current condition of NH 5? I am thinking of going to Rambha first. Will you please give me a brief direction, starting from Bhubaneswar town?
#8 Aug 28th, 2012, 18:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asishdas View Post Any pic of "Emu Firm" with big bird?
Asish da, I did not know there exists emu firms in India, so the Nirmaljhara firm was quite a surprise to me. Emu photo was something I really really wanted to share. I tried to upload the photo a number of times, but for some reason it did not allow me to upload. After your post I tried again.

By the way, recently some of the Emu firms were in news. Saw pictures of emu in newspaper (The Telegraph) too.






Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post As you have visited and stayed at both the places, I am now certain that Rambha should be the better place to stay. Will you please share the type of rooms you took as well as their rates?

Too bad. I do share your feeling. A dent in his car surely make the owner annoyed. These OTDC guys must properly educate and enforce discipline among their cows. But what about the current condition of NH 5? I am thinking of going to Rambha first. Will you please give me a brief direction, starting from Bhubaneswar town?
Rahul,
You can book panthanivas room online. I did.
The non AC rooms are 700 (small room, approx 90/100 sq ft + balcony), we stayed at room #10
The AC rooms are very nice, 1300 (bigger room, approx 140 sq ft + very long balcony), we stayed at room#11. balcony was triple the length of room #10 balcony.
Each AC cottage has 2 rooms, so could accommodate more people. I think INR 2000 for cottage. Please check OTDC website.
If you take the AC room, book online and call them up a week before you go. Check if they can give you room 11. This first floor room has very nice view of Chilika. Cottages are better though

The road is excellent. Just follow google maps in you will be fine. Near Balugaon you can take the left side road which goes through the Balugaon village and then you will again join NH5 new road after 16km. There is a roadsign for Balugaon, arrow pointing to left. You will also find two railgates in this section.
Or else, from the roadsign, you can follow some other vehicles which are moving to the right side of the road to the oncoming traffic and going straight bypassing Balugaon. In google maps, this road starts just after Sunakhala and is named as Banpur road (check satellite mode to see the complete Banpur road). Be careful of oncoming traffic.
The same logic applies to rambha as well, new road bypasses Rambha village. So, take left when you see the Rambha roadsign. As I don't have a GPS navigator, I used my mobile GPS. It helped me a lot in locating myself in the map.
While returning to Kolkata, its pure driving bliss, throughout. GQ is considered as the best road in India, right?

When do you plan to visit? After you come back please share the pictures of "Crab in the Shell".
#9 Aug 28th, 2012, 22:53
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by debdasd View Post The non AC rooms are 700 (small room, approx 90/100 sq ft + balcony), we stayed at room #10
The AC rooms are very nice, 1300 (bigger room, approx 140 sq ft + very long balcony), we stayed at room#11. balcony was triple the length of room #10 balcony.
Each AC cottage has 2 rooms, so could accommodate more people. I think INR 2000 for cottage. Please check OTDC website.
Thanks for the information. It was precisely what I was looking for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by debdasd View Post The road is excellent. Just follow google maps in you will be fine. Near Balugaon you can take the left side road which goes through the Balugaon village and then you will again join NH5 new road after 16km. There is a roadsign for Balugaon, arrow pointing to left. You will also find two railgates in this section.
Or else, from the roadsign, you can follow some other vehicles which are moving to the right side of the road to the oncoming traffic and going straight bypassing Balugaon. In google maps, this road starts just after Sunakhala and is named as Banpur road (check satellite mode to see the complete Banpur road). Be careful of oncoming traffic.
Is there anything worth seeing much at Balugaon? As I plan to drive all the way straight from Calcutta to Rambha, will it not become somewhat stressful, unless there is something really worth seeing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by debdasd View Post The same logic applies to rambha as well, new road bypasses Rambha village. So, take left when you see the Rambha roadsign. As I don't have a GPS navigator, I used my mobile GPS. It helped me a lot in locating myself in the map.
My friend, it seems that we are in the same boat. Neither do I have a GPS device. I do have a GPS enabled phone, but am not fond of using it either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by debdasd View Post When do you plan to visit?
I only wish to visit these places during the Puja vaccation, when the school of my daughter remains closed.
Last edited by rahul4640; Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:26..
#10 Aug 31st, 2012, 11:27
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post Is there anything worth seeing much at Balugaon? As I plan to drive all the way straight from Calcutta to Rambha, will it not become somewhat stressful, unless there is something really worth seeing?
Its on the route. Why not stop there for some time, may be for a 20/30 minute tea break and check the place on your own. You may like the place. Its always recommendd to take short breaks to relieve driving stress. But one thing.... "Goru hoite sabdhan" (be careful of 'cows'), I don't think the cows are getting proper lessons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post I do have a GPS enabled phone, but am not fond of using it either.
Use it, I am sure you will love this. Only thing I needed to do is enable GPS and open google maps and I am never lost


Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post I only wish to visit these places during the Puja vaccation, when the school of my daughter remains closed.
In that case book your room in Panthanivas well in advance. Puja is only 1.5 months away, so its already time (if not late) to book your room.
Visit Gopalpur too. You may talk to Munna (09861954459) of hotel Sea Side Breeze for room booking.
#11 Sep 16th, 2014, 23:38
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#11
Lovely travelogue, enjoyed very much, thanks

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