Friday 16 January 2015

Christmas 2014 Day 5 of 11, Konaseema to Puri

The destination today was Puri and it was a long drive. We had to start quite early. We had to quickly get on to NH-5 and continue our drive. Following was the route that we took.
5:20 AM We got ready and left the place. We started without any breakfast and had planned on finding breakfast somewhere along the way.
6:15 AM We reach NH5.
6:23 AM We crossed Godavari bridge. It is really long and straight bridge.  The bridge is littl;e longer than 2 kilometers.
6:45 AM Crossed Rajahmundri
7:40 AM Crossed Annavaram
7:54 AM Crossed Tuni
8:25 AM Crossed Yellamanchilli
8:55 AM Crossed Anakapalle. Google maps suggested that we take SH 38 which is kind of a bypass to Visakhapatanam. For us, this worked out better because while returning we drove through the city and that takes too much ot time. Only problem is that there are no restaurants on SH38. So it you don't want to take a break, it is better to go through SH38. If you want restaurants then you have to continue on NH5 which goes right through the city.

9:44 AM Crossed Visakhapatanam
10:25 AM Stopped at a small town called Thallavalasa and had breakfast there. The place was nothing to talk about but they were cooking up hot dosas and Idli so we ate there and then moved on.

10:50 AM Started on our onward journey.
11:07 AM Crossed Srikakulam
As you get closer to the border, all of a sudden the traffic becomes very crazy. There are many local two wheelers and you have to very careful of them. They are all over the road and don't easily give the way.

12:48 PM Crossed Ichchapuram
1:15 PM Crossed Berhampur or Brahmapur. It seems that original name was Brahmapur but British spelt it like Berhampur. I think recently it has been changed back to its original name.
2:05 PM Once you enter Odisha, there are very few options for stop and food. We found a small hotel called Maa Narayani Restaurant. It was ok place, the toilets were just ok. Not very clean but manageable. The food was decent. It was like a rush hours and they told that making rotis takes too much time so we have stopped making rotis right now. We found some dal, vegetables and rice. Around half an hour stop and then we proceeded for our onwards journey.
3:31 PM Turned right towards Puri on to New Jagannath Road which meets NH 203. This is a good road but not divided and two laned so one has to be slow for oncoming truck traffic. The road is good, scenic but under construction.

The toll on the road is also pretty steep, around Rs. 100/-. The toll receipt was a pre-printed one and printed in Odia so I can't figure out which one is for which amount.
Road connecting NH-5 to Puri is an interesting drive. The surface is good, but narrow and you can encounter a street market blocking almost the complete road and you find spaces that are totally empty and scenic drive.

4:46 PM We reach a road block. I am not sure whether it is permanent or because of the fact it was a Sunday. We are arbitrarily asked to turn towards some village road. It looked like that the sole purpose of the traffic police was to somehow divert the traffic away from the temple. After a really long and tiring sequences of detours we reach near the temple.
5:36 PM We find that there is no parking available near the temple so we decide to drive to our hotel and then come back for temple. Another things that we realised that the hotel Sterling Holidays Golden Sand that we book is not an appropriate choice for people intending to visit the temple. It is too far and in an very isolated area where one can't walk to. Here is my review of the hotel.

6:10 PM We reach hotel and checked in.
We decided to visit the temple straight away. Reached temple at around 7PM. A nice visit to the temple and then sumptuous prasad and we were ready to call it a day.

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