Wednesday, October 04, 2017

QUIT 2017 - Day 6

Today's plan was to drive from Araku valley to Jagdalpur in Chattisgarh. Started early at 6. 30 am from Araku and took the Araku - Jeypore road. Early morning start meant Ready to eat MTR Upma for breakfast. There were hardly any vehicles on the road. Early morning fog ensured poor visibility and we had to drive slow. The magical scenery on both sides of the road more than made up for it. Winding roads, misty hills and a river on the side, no other vehicle on the road - it was a pleasant drive.

Early morning fog makes the roads appear magical
Is that a fishing net? Never seen one like this before

Green fields on the side
The road was decent to drive except for a couple of places where bridge work was under progress. Araku - Padua - Lampatput stretch was good to drive. Just before Jeypore we had to climb up a hill and get down on the other side. Road work was going on the entire stretch. We had to drive 6km on gravels with a couple of hairpin bends to boot. Finally made it to Jeypore at around 8.40 am. From Jeypore to Jagdalpur roads were spotty at Orissa side. Once we entered Chattisgarh, roads were pretty good. A word of caution though. It is a National Highway but a 2 lane road with no median. The fields on both sides of the road mde it a cheerful drive. Our original plan was to check into the hotel in Jagdalpur and go to Chitrakote waterfalls, the main reason for this trip. But as we entered Jagdalpur, decided to visit Tiratgarh falls first. It is a 35 km drive from Jagdalpur on NH 30 through the Kanger Valley National park. The last 3 kms is on a Ghat road. There was decent crowd in the waterfalls, but not as bad as we feared. To reach the falls you have to climb down 200 steps and the first view of the falls is amazing. Almost every one is there to take a selfie or a photo, not many people opt to bathe in the falls. Ani and me took a bath and came out refreshed.

Tiratgarh water falls.
There was a moment of panic when we found that my spectacles were missing. I had given it to her before going to the falls, but she found it was not in her pocket. I was thinking, "I can drive without spectacles for a short distance, but 1600 kms is a stretch." Finally found them behind a rock, miraculously unbroken. Went back to Jagdalpur and checked into the hotel. After a quick lunch set off to Chitrakote water falls. We had been planning to visit Chitrakote water falls for years now. Some how or the other things never worked out. Finally this year we were ready. As we started it started raining. It was clear from the overcast skies that the rains won't stop anytime soon. Yet we drove on to the falls. The road from Jagdalpur to Chitrakote is well maintained and easy to drive. As we entered the falls view point, the rain had settled into a steady drizzle. We weren't going to let something trivial like a rain to stop us from visiting the falls, especially after driving 1600 kms. The first view of the falls is jaw dropping. After the monsoon Indravati river is in full flow and sheets of reddish water gush forth over the horse shoe shaped falls. The mist from the fall rises almost halfway up the falls. It is India's widest falls and is seen in its full glory after the monsoon.

Without bothering about the rain we went to the view point and started clicking photos like crazy. Because of the rain there was very little crowd. After an hour or so of drinking in the beauty of the falls, we started back to the hotel. It looked like the steady rain had let up for a bit. But it was deceptive. Suddenly the skies opened up accompanied by thunder and lightning. Nature's spectacular sound and light show was thrilling and scary at the same time. The 30 minute drive to the hotel seemed to stretch for eternity. Finally made it to the hotel. It has been steadily raining for the past 8 hours now. Monsoon time Chattisgarh is magical and one of the most beautiful sights I have seen in India. If you get a chance don't miss to visit Chattisgarh. Total distance travelled so far. 1598 km

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