Trip Report - Drive To Chattisgarh

#1 Jul 20th, 2007, 22:05
Join Date:
Dec 2004
Location:
Chennai
Posts:
1,849
  • rangss is offline
#1
On July 14, 2007, four of us (including IMer Roopesh Kohad and Praveen) took a car right through the Maoist stronghold of Bastar. Our destination was the Chitrakote Falls in Chattisgarh. Here is a report on the trip:

Day 1

We started off on July 13, 2007 from Hyderabad in a Tata Indigo (diesel car) at 1530 hrs. We wanted to drive through the forests of Bastar to Jagdalpur and from there to Chitrakote. Our immediate destination was Bhadrachalam on the banks of river Godavari from where tjhe Hihway to Jagdalpur started. We reached Bhadrachalam enroute Khammam by 23.30 and took lodgings with the Andhra Pradesh Tourism's Punnami resorts guest house.

Day 2
The room was pretty good and clean at Rs 700 a day. We visited the local Rama temple the next morning and returned to the guest house. Breakfast was complimentary and we had dosas, idli and Pooris in good qualnities before hitting the road.

Bhadrachalam was close to the border of AP and Chattisgarh and we started at 9.00 AM. The monsoon had started to recede, though there was a considerable amount of rainfall.

The route is like this:

Bhadrachalam - Chintur (diversion)- Konta (diversion)- Penta- Mothugudem -Sukma- Kukanar-Darba-Tirathgarh-Sosanpal-Jagdalpur-Chitrakote

The road was a National Highway (No 202) and unlike other highways, was a narrow road in a real bad shape. At places, the macadam surface is missing completely and the rains had rendered the road muddy and slushy. However, post Konta at the AP-Chattisgarh border, the scenery began to change rapidly into a thick and lush jungle to make up for the bad road. Since this was our first trip into this territory and after the monsoon, I am not sure if the greenery sustains itself during summer.

The scenery was what we looked forward to and we were rewarded all along.There were nunmerous streams and rivers in spate with muddy water. Principal among them was the river Sabari which ran along the road to join the Godavari at Chintur. We were driving upstream for many miles.

The route was patronized well despite the bad state of the road. We had a steady company of loaded trucks, buses, jeeps, off-roaders, auto rickshaws and tractors. One common thing throughout the trip were cows and goats. Somehow, we saw more cows, goats, dogs and chicken than human beings. All of them in the middle of the road in groups, blocking the road at will. These animals found the road to be the only warm and dry spot they coud afford and stuck there despite all the traffic.

Barring the animals, the next most common sight were police! Chattisgarh has recruited an entire army of para-military forces to check the Maoist (Naxalite) menace. Special Group and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) cops manned the checkposts in every village. There were fortified barracks next to the checkposts at every village. Each of these barracks were sand bagged and protected with a three layer wood-and-wirelink fence. All the cops bore sub machine guns in their hands that looked as if their safety locks were removed. We were checked (frisked) at a couple of villages. Some of the cops who frisked us appeared quite young and appeared to be illiterate. Their casual dress, a mix of battle fatigues and rural lungis caught our attention. They were not as thorough and professional as the AP Greyhounds who were quite professional and intimidating (though we felt intimidated, we were glad they were around!). There was no point in querying them about the route. Their answers ranged from indifferent smirks to incomprehensible banter. We kept wondering how the state could think of combating the resourceful Maoists with such misfits.

Rural folks were somehow subdued and resigned to the presence of cops in their village. We saw a lot of signposts extolling the virtues of conserving the forest wealth and the environment. there were sincere appeals to send kids to school, keep the village clean or unite against Maoism. I had noticed many schools in this absolutely backward area. We had expected a complete backwater road with absolute bacwardness and poverty. The the poverty and backwardness was there to see, we also witnessed the earnestness of the Chattisgarh government in reaching out to these firnge villages. In the past all these were under Madhya Pradesh and practically ignored. The bifurcation of the state has been a poignant move.

Continued...
Attached Images
Picture 011.jpg Picture 016.jpg 
...and I took the road less travelled.
#2 Jul 20th, 2007, 22:56
Join Date:
Dec 2003
Location:
Murcia - Spain
Posts:
1,953
  • Jorge Reverter is offline
#2
rangss,

Thanks for the information. Please continue your very interesting journey...

Jorge
#3 Jul 21st, 2007, 00:21
Join Date:
Nov 2006
Location:
Noida, India
Posts:
57
Send a message via Yahoo to setuniket
  • setuniket is offline
#3
looking forward to read rest of the journey...
#4 Jul 21st, 2007, 01:02
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
70,797
  • Nick-H is offline
#4
Looking forward to the next episode
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#5 Jul 21st, 2007, 01:37
Join Date:
Jun 2006
Location:
IIT-Kharagpur
Posts:
2,050
  • Nattusbs is offline
#5
Rangss

You were on a roll. Looking for more.

Nattusbs
#6 Jul 21st, 2007, 17:19
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
Mumbai, India
Posts:
3,684
  • shahronakm is offline
#6
Onward journey please. Especially a picture or two of Chitrakote Waterfall.

Ronak.
#7 Jul 21st, 2007, 17:58
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
UK
Posts:
16,662
  • steven_ber is offline
#7
Thanks Rangss, I'm another member looking forward to the rest of the trip report, very interesting reading about an area I'd love to visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shahronakm View Post Especially a picture or two of Chitrakote Waterfall.
Rangss has posted some here.
#8 Jul 21st, 2007, 18:36
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
Mumbai, India
Posts:
3,684
  • shahronakm is offline
#8
Steven, thanks for the link. The photos are really great. Would love to visit this this place.

Some years back I had visited a Chhatisgarh tourism stall in one of the travel related exhibitions, over there they had told me that staying facility (In tents) was coming up at the Chitrakote falls. May be rangss will be able to update us on the same.

Ronak.
#9 Jul 21st, 2007, 18:50
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
styx
Posts:
21,572
  • capt_mahajan is offline
#9
Very interesting; planning to visit Chitrakoot post monsoon.

The road condition doesn't look encouraging, though. Better check train possibilities.


PS: trains seem to be problematic.

Rangss, given the maoist stuff, what do you think about the same trip with a family?
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#10 Jul 21st, 2007, 19:13
Join Date:
Sep 2001
Location:
UK
Posts:
16,662
  • steven_ber is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post Very interesting; planning to visit Chitrakoot post monsoon.

The road condition doesn't look encouraging, though. Better check train possibilities.


PS: trains seem to be problematic.
Trains just dont work from Hyderabad/Secunderabad.

The only train to Jagdalpur is on the Vizag-Kirandul section, a passenger train departs Vizag at 07:45, getting to Jagdalpur at about 17:00, it has the old First Class (non air con) and is said to be very scenic.

But it's difficult to get to Vizag early enough for the train.

Hyderabad to Raipur (3 hours by bus from Jagdalpur) doesn't work either, you go directly north, but the line to Raipur is an East-West line and I can't remember any direct trains (I've not checked for a while though).

Mancheral is about 4 hours by train from Hyderabad.

There is a direct road from Mancheral to Jagdalpur, it's a long road, but may be worth considering.
#11 Jul 21st, 2007, 19:19
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
styx
Posts:
21,572
  • capt_mahajan is offline
#11
The road trip is much more interesting. Not too far, too. But my two concerns are

-transitting the area with family... and I usually drive 3am onwards.
-condition of the roads.
#12 Jul 21st, 2007, 23:47
Join Date:
Dec 2004
Location:
Chennai
Posts:
1,849
  • rangss is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post Trains just dont work from Hyderabad/Secunderabad.

Mancheral is about 4 hours by train from Hyderabad.

There is a direct road from Mancheral to Jagdalpur, it's a long road, but may be worth considering.


Steven, you would be as much surprised as we were had you tried to use this road to reach Jagdalpur. You would discover quite late that this road does not officially exisit!!! Just like we did after trying to use it to reach Hyderabad from Jagdalpur. But that is supposed to be the last part of my trip report.
#13 Jul 22nd, 2007, 00:02
Join Date:
Dec 2004
Location:
Chennai
Posts:
1,849
  • rangss is offline
#13
OK...firstly, let me answer the queries:

Ronak...You are right. There is a facility at Chitrakote and we had stayed there. Good place. I suggest you look out for the rest of the trip report.

Captain...we did not face any trouble from anyone except cows, goats, the bad road and the frequent frisking by the police who are merely taking a precaution.

However, you might find it difficult to get food and water if you are particular about hygeine and bottled water. This you can overcome by packing enough food and water for an 8 hour trip.

The road condition is bad. We had to exercise caution with our Made for Indian Conditions TATA Indigo. An off-roader or SUV can take the terrain, however.

As for the Maoists, They would not trouble any traveller leave alone a family. There have been instances where they have blasted or burnt government owned buses but only after the passengers have been evacuated. They have never kidnapped innocent travellers nor harmed a private vehicle.
#14 Jul 22nd, 2007, 00:12
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
styx
Posts:
21,572
  • capt_mahajan is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangss View Post
As for the Maoists, ... They have never kidnapped innocent travellers
That cancels my trip then

But seriously, thanks. Making some plans- the road conditions will get worse as it rains more

ps: waiting for the rest of the report, please?
#15 Jul 22nd, 2007, 01:58
Join Date:
Dec 2004
Location:
Chennai
Posts:
1,849
  • rangss is offline
#15
Day 2 Continued...

One of the pleasures of not being a driver is in being a back seat driver. I do not drive and hence relished the role of a back seat driver literally, much to the annoyance of my compatriots. I took the lead in warning about potholes, mud and obstacles; yelled each time we hit a bad patch and pretty much controlled the movement by demanding frequent stoppages for easing myself or to savour and photograph the wonderful scenery.

Thanks to the monsoon, the land was swathed in different hues of green. The forests typically consisted of teak, sal (Shorea robusta) and mango trees. The fields were planted with rice all over. Offthe fields, grass grew lush and green, evidently fed with monsoon water. The ubiquitous eucaplyptus was prominent in souring the scenery with its dullness and pretty much threatening the levels of ground water. However there was no dearth of water. It drizzled continuously for quite sometime and the lands were muddy and wet. Numerous streams overflowed with muddy water, forcing us to stop and savour the scene. To add, there wqwere numerous ponds and tanks that overflowed with water.

I had spied many varieties of mango trees during this drive. The abundance of the trees revealed how hot it could be in summer in these parts. However, thanks to the overcast conditions and the drizzle, the weather was cool enough to avoid the air conditioner of the car.

While my friends took turns to drive the car, I snatched precious movements of sleep, much to the surprise of my friends who seemed to be vexed with the road conditions.

Post Kukanar, the road seemed to improve. We took in the ghats of Darba to the first destination of our trip - Tirathgarh Falls, nestled deep in the mountains.

The approach to Tirathgarh consisted of a narrow but well built road. Thanks to the monsoon, there was enough water to retain its magic. The water was a river that originated from a lake further up stream. Water tumbled down from a height of 100 feet over a wide column of rock on to a flat piece of land before slipping down further along the slopes of the mountain into the forest. There were a couple of small shrines beside the stream.

A series of steps led us down to the foot of the falls. The water was shallow enough to wade through and reach an appropriate spot to sit and watch the water cascade down. The falling water gave rise to a spray of droplets that kept clouding my camera lens. We spent quite sometime at the falls. There were not many people around. It was not a season of tourists. Th entire region is still waiting to be discovered.

We resumed our journey to Jagdalpur only to discover that the highway went over a bridge that was only a few feet away from the edge of the falls. It is possible to get to the edge by either wading across the shallow waters or by treading over the rocks adjacent to the stream. An hour later, we were reached Sosanpal where we took the road from Gidam to Jagdalpur (NH 16). At Jagdalpur, we did not find it difficult to find the way to Chitrakote. We turned into the road that ran in the north-westerly direction from Jagdalpur. This road was amazingly broad and well built. We hit a good speed on the road and reached Chitrakote (39 km away) in 20 minutes. The falls were right beside the road but we could not make much out of it in the fading light.

At the end of the road and overlooking the falls was the Public Works department's guest house. It was now was undergoing major renovation, probably being converted into a tourist guest house.
Adjoining the building was a dirt track that led to the facility built by the Chattisgarh Tourism for tourists. This is a resort that is still being constructed. The department had erected 5 log huts as a temporary measure to attract tourists. A good part of the landscaping was completed. The resort was built at a higher ground than the river. There were a series of concrete cottages being built the edge of the plateau, that offered an uninterrupted grand stand view of the falls from their balconies.

The huts were at a disadvantage thanks to these new facilities which blocked the view of the falls. In any case the huts are a temporary solution. The resort, despite being in state of construction looked beautiful and promising.

Unfortunately, we had our first major problem as we drove along the dirt track towards the resort. The track bore the brunt of the heavy monsoon rainfall and hgad turned into a strip of mud and slush. The car got stuck in a pool of slush and lost traction. The wheels kept spinning and the gears jammed. We stepped out only to find our feet sinking into the sticky claylike mud and made it difficult to walk. Weary from the drive and caught unawares in wet mud, we had no clue what to do. Fortunately, the caretaker of the resort, Mr. Tiwari, who had received a message of our impending visit from the CG Tourism office qat Hyderabad, rushed to the spot with some construction workers. Together, we pushed the car out of the mud and parked it away from the slush, but not beforemaking a fine mess by trampling all over the interiors with our muddy feet and getting the mud guard broken. later, we found mud caked into the grill at the front, blocking the radiator.

The kind folks of the resort carried our bags to our huts as we summoned buckets after buckets of water to wash off all the mud on our person. It took me quitye an effort to get the mud off my leather slip-ons. Once clean, we took possession of our respective huts, two per hut.

Next...Shocking bathroom, nocturnal visit to the falls and Mahua!
Attached Images
Picture 050.jpg Tirath1.jpg Tirth2.jpg IMG_0008.jpg River1.jpg river2.jpg 

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
Amritsar Trip Report Jul 10th, 2007 02:11 8 5380 Punjab
Trip Report Apr 3rd, 2007 22:08 3 3257 Forum Help
Varanasi Trip Report Feb 23rd, 2007 11:07 5 6851 Varanasi
Calcutta trip report.. Feb 18th, 2007 13:50 2 3101 Kolkata (Calcutta)
Report on my NE trip 2005 Jan 13th, 2006 12:37 6 5154 Off the Beaten Trail in India


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2018
Page Load Success