Bangriposi Travelogue

#1 Feb 1st, 2010, 16:15
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  • deepmajumder is offline
#1
Recently I had been to Bangriposi which is a less known tourist destination in Orissa. Find below my travelogue.

It’s the time of the year again when one intends to run away from the mundane life and recharge one’s energy levels. And what more refreshing than spending a few days away from the hustle-bustle of Kolkata, in some tranquil location around uninhibited nature.

Since I just came back from another trip (Madhya Pradesh – the experience of which I would like to share at some other point of time) I was looking for a nearby place and suddenly I came across an article about this place called Bangriposi in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. More than anything the lyrical name caught my attention.

At first I planned a weekend trip to this place with a couple of my friends (we three formed an incredible threesome during our student days and shared some memorable travel experiences but did not quite get much opportunity after we started our work life) and their families but both of them backed out later due to personal problems. I was not seriously thinking about the trip any more when all of a sudden another occasion arrived and I found myself again being part of a short trip with my cousin sister’s and aunt’s families.

Initially some other names were doing the rounds and then I put forward my suggestion of choosing Bangriposi as our destination. I was a bit hesitant to begin with since I did not know much about the place myself but then a weekend getaway is more about enjoying the vacation itself than worrying about the destination.

We started in the morning of Friday and took the Falaknuma Express (departing at 07:25) from Howrah to Balasore. The journey takes a little more than 3 hours. Dhauli Express which leaves at 6 o’clock is another good option but none of us were game for it as we are not particularly good at being early risers and that too in the winter (btw, Kolkata experienced one of its lowest temperature stints this year). One may take the road way as well, to Bangriposi which is off NH6 and about 230 kms away from Kolkata. However there may be some safety issues of late due to Maoist activities.

From Balasore we booked a cab to Bangriposi which is about 100 kms away and takes around 2 hours by road. We were 6 people so an Ambassador sufficed for us but I hardly noticed any other car model plying as cab. We paid 1100 bucks for the cab and reached our hotel around one thirty in the afternoon ready to feast on the lunch (which was ready for us as per our arrangement during the booking of the hotel). The drive was a pleasant one and the road looked gorgeous with those drooping trees at both sides on the road.

The hotel was kind of a setback to tell the truth. There is an OTDC Panthasala at Bangriposi (Rs. 150/- per room) which can be supposedly booked from Utkal Bhavan in Kolkata. However when I called at their office, they said that the booking has to be made from forest department. Apparently there was some confusion and we booked another private hotel (Hotel Bangriposi Rs. 350/- per room) the booking of which was done at Pratapaditya Road. This hotel was also mentioned and actually praised in the article that I mentioned at the beginning. It’s a bungalow type small one storied house with three rooms to rent plus a common dining space. We were not hoping for any luxurious accommodation at this remote place but the hotel fell well short of the expectations set by the hotel owner herself during booking. In fact, we checked the OTDC Panthasala (which was absolutely empty) and it seemed to be in better condition. During the evening strolls we came across another hotel (Simlipal Resort) nearby which looked much well maintained from the outside.
The food at our hotel was not of much delight either but there was hardly any other option outside. The local market was also quite far away.

Mobile network at Bangriposi was feeble and the cell phones did not work for most of us and for major part of our stay. BSNL service was still better than the others. We took this obstacle however in good spirit and some of us were actually happy with the fact that our professional life would not tag along due to our being mostly unreachable.

The evening went by without much happening. We went for a leisurely walk along NH6 and enjoyed the serene surroundings. There was a small hill in the backdrop the view of which added to the beauty of the place. We had our evening tea at a nearby roadside dhaba and returned to our hotel. There was a power cut soon afterwards. Power cuts are regular events in Bangriposi in the evening and the power remains away for about a couple of hours. We played a few rounds of dumb charades in the ghostly candle lights at my nephew’s insistence, before he dozed off. Even when power was back, the light was not bright. The yellow bulbs were dim and the voltage was fluctuating and there was no idiot box for recreation. We went to sleep (or rather to bed) right after dinner at around 9 o’clock as there was nothing else to do. In fact we spend the entire tenure of 2 nights and 3 days without any television or newspaper, detached from the civilization at large.

The next day (Saturday) we woke up at 7 am, a bit late than we planned. We had booked a cab on the previous day for local site seeing. The caretaker of our hotel provided us with the contact number for the local tour operator Dilip Kumar Jena, who is by profession a reporter at a vernacular press and probably runs a tourism industry as a side business (though not sure how many tourists visit the place regularly). He charged us Rs. 1300 for a day’s outing. We could have bargained a little more but there was no other option available to us, so we gave in. The bad news was that the Simlipal forests had been sealed off for tourists due to Maoist activities. That was a setback since we heard Bangriposi is one of the gateways of Simlipal National Park and that is one of the major attractions of this place. But Dilip promised us some other places of interest.

The journey started at 9:30 am, a little late one would say but the previous night was quite cold and no one was eager to wake up earlier. We had to go to the local roadside teashop for our breakfast tea since our caretaker could not be found in the morning. One advice for people would be to take enough snacks and refreshments during visits to such small places where there are very few shops, if any.

The first stop was Sulaipat dam on Khadkhai river which is build in the midst of a range of hills in an exquisite location. The journey (about 2 hours’) was a pleasure as well, the last part of which was through earthy cottages and red soils of hamlets. The dam was almost deserted barring a few local people from the nearby villages. Some fishermen were busy catching fish in the river with large fishing nets. The dam with the hills behind it against the backdrop of the serene river looked magnificent from distance. The green water locked on the other side on the dam was a breathtaking feat as well. There was some flight of steps leading to the woods which serve as a beautiful picnic spot. There was some scattered rubbish here and there to suggest that it is indeed a busy picnic spot. Only because of this careless attitude of people, the environment is affected so adversely today.

We conducted some photo sessions and started the journey back. The afternoon sun was blazing and we were wondering what the weather would be like in the summer.

On our way back we had our lunch in a sort of “pice-hotel” in the town of Bisoi. The quality of food was again not so good but one gets such only in places like this.

The next stop was the banks of Buribalam river. The famous freedom fighter Bagha Jatin fought with the British alongside this river. The river had been brought down to a mere creek in the winter and we noticed some local villagers crossing the river with their bicycles on top of their shoulders. However, the place provided a panoramic view of the river and the bushy woods with the hill ranges in the background.

The afternoon temperature was mounting and we were becoming restless to be back in some cool shades. That’s exactly what we received in the small village we visited next to get a glimpse of the local Dhokra art. We also got to see how the figures with metal casting over clay are made. At first a rough clay structure is built to form the core without the delicate art work, which is then coated with a layer of wax. The finer details of carving are done on the wax layer and again covered with a layer of clay to form the mould. Liquid brass metal is then used to fill the mould and the outer clay cover is removed. The villagers use a crude form of earthy furnace for putting the layer of liquid metal inside the mould. This form of art is carried out in about every house in the village and the products are dispatched to Bhuvneshwar for marketing. The products were not polished and the finishing was not very professional, so I presume that the final touches are applied in the city workshops of Bhuvneshwar. Mostly religious figures and figures of animals comprised the artifacts. I bought a model of goddess Durga at the cost Rs. 350/- and it seemed a good bargain.

Evening was setting in and we were on our way back to the hotel. Just before our hotel there was a small lake and the sun was setting behind the hills and the reflections it was making in the lake water was mesmerizing. The shutterbugs in us took some quick snaps in excitement.

t was evening at the hotel appended again with power cut. The journey was coming to the end. The next day (Sunday) we would be coming back to Kolkata. We had booked the same cab which ferried us from Balasore to Bangriposi for the return trip as well. Some of us were tensed as the return train tickets (of Dhauli Express departing at 16:20) were not confirmed. But more than anything else, we were depressed to return to the monotonous daily chores of life starting from Monday.

We took refuge from the growing melancholy by planning our next trip to Uttaranchal, sometime soon in the future. If that materializes into reality, I hope to return to you to share another enchanting experience.

You can also visit my travel blog.
Thanks,
Deep.
http://yougodeep.blogspot.com
#2 Feb 3rd, 2010, 14:15
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  • rathee is offline
#2
nice post Deep. Thanks for sharing the info.

Manish
#3 Feb 16th, 2010, 14:07
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  • trektrek is offline
#3

@deep

I talked to Baripada Tourism office about accomodation in Bangriposi Panthasala. They said the Utkal Bhavan should be able to do the reservation. I was wondering if you have any info on Simlipal resort- wherefrom it can be booked, tariff etc. Thanks in advance.
#4 Feb 17th, 2010, 11:01
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  • deepmajumder is offline
#4
trektrek, when we visited bangriposi the forest was sealed off for tourists due to Maoist threat. Not sure if things have changed.

I found this phone # in one of the websites -
Assistant Conservator of Forests, Jashipur Ph. 06797-2474

You may also try the Orissa Forest Development Corp.
Orissa Forest Development Corp. Ltd.
A-84, Kharavela Nagar
Bhubaneswar - 751001
Orissa, India

T +91 (0)674 2534086, 2534269
F +91 (0)674 2535934

Email Address:

general@orissafdc.com
sales@orissafdc.com
ofdcsecretary@yahoo.co.in
companysecretary@orissafdc.com

Let us know what you find out.
Thanks,
Deep
visit my blog at http://yougodeep.blogspot.com
#5 Feb 20th, 2010, 12:22
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  • trektrek is offline
#5

Panthasala

@deep

Yesterday i booked the Bangiriposih panthasala from Utkal Bhavan. I think for booking of forest guest houses, you need to go by forest department route, otherwise for regular panthaniwas, panthasala etc., Utkal Bhavan is fine.
Please do not hesitate to suggest anything from your experience in Bangiriposih. Thanks a lot for your very informative travelogue.
Cheers!!
#6 Feb 24th, 2010, 12:12
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  • deepmajumder is offline
#6
@trektrek

since the weather has started to warm up it would be good if you can start early - the afternoon temperature will be quite high.
and spend some time in the evening after dark watching the skies - i have never seen the stars so bright in kolkata.
hope you like your vacation. a forest trip if possible will be even more exiting.
#7 Feb 27th, 2010, 12:38
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  • trektrek is offline
#7
@deep

thanks a lot for your suggestions. lets see how it goes. i am excited about the possibility of my son seeing a 'star-studded' sky.
will keep you posted.
#8 Mar 24th, 2010, 11:58
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  • trektrek is offline
#8
completed the trip- excellent. as stated by deep, the beauty of the star-studded sky is one to behold. also made to the devkund, a small waterfall near baripada. the drive through the ghat region of bangriposi to boshoi is another scenic drive. highly recommend this trip for the footloose. one thing to keep in mind though, be informed about the bandh called by maoists and the resultant traffic issues. we came out on sunday but for next monday and tuesday, there was a bandh. simlipal forest, as deep said, is out of bound for the tourists.
#9 Mar 24th, 2010, 19:33
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  • deepmajumder is offline
#9
too bad that the forst has been closed down. else it would have added to the attraction. my fear is that the maoist action would soon bar the tourists from visiting these small places aroung bengal, orissa and jharkhand.
personnaly i quite liked the place for a weekend tour and i am happy trektrek reciprocated the same feeling. however some people may not like the place as much (like one or two of my fellow travellers). my guess is that people who tend to enjoy exploring unhibited nature would like these places rather than those who are more concerned about citylife comforts even during travelling.
i would like to seek similar short trip info around Kolkata which can be done in a weekend.
#10 Mar 26th, 2010, 11:48
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  • trektrek is offline
#10
I cannot agree more with what Deep has to say. these places are increasingly becoming inaccessible for obvious reasons. at the same time, the lifestyle and livelihood of the native people are so poor that the benefits of civilization has eluded them forever.
#11 Apr 6th, 2010, 21:40
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  • newislander is offline
#11
Interesting to read your trip report since I passed through Bangriposa earlier this year too. In January i think.

I did not book to stay at the govt guesthouse you mention. I never book in advance. Sometimes this leaves me high and dry but mostly i find somewhere. There are only two rooms in this guesthouse so booking ahead is not a bad idea.

The simlipal resort was closed when I went past. I suspect it will remain closed until they reopen the park.

It is a scandal that the government has closed the park. I think it only helps the terrorists group. Even the forestry department agreed with me when I voiced my opinion.

However, I was not terribly disappointed that the park was closed as the Orissa government feels its ok to rob foreign tourists. they tend to charge us 1000 rupees per day just to enter a park. This is three times the price of a national park in my own country - Australia. I am have vowed not to bother with fee paying parks and monuments any more in India. I am now over this business of paying inflated prices for less than top quality. Two exceptions were jailsalmer and jodhpur forts which came with excellent voice recorded information.

Anyway you did well to find those villages where the dhokra art was made. I guess that's what guides are for. I had no idea they existed. On the way up to Baripada, i encountered tribal women who were making rope in an old fashioned way which was thrilling for me to discover as like most foreign tourists we value your tribal culture so any encounter is a good experience.

Anyhow... that's my two bobs worth.
#12 Apr 6th, 2010, 21:55
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  • shahronakm is offline
#12
Good trip report. Thanks for posting.

Ronak.
#13 Apr 6th, 2010, 23:06
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  • Golghar is offline
#13
Has anyone trvelled by train from Baripada to Bangriposi recently? I know there are some Narrow-Gauge enthusiasts here.
#14 Aug 25th, 2011, 17:13
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  • traveller2520 is offline
#14

Bangriposi in Orissa

Yeah, I totally agree. Bangriposi is indeed a beautiful place in Orissa. I have been there twice and was delighted by the natural beauty of the Place.
#15 Sep 8th, 2012, 21:23
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  • Duronto Jajabar is offline
#15
Yes Bhutnath,

Your thread is very nicely written. I put the link here :

Bangriposi & Sulaipat in Orissa

aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)

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