Orissa Travelogue – Day 2

11 Oct

The start to Day 2 was not great. I developed an allergy in the night due to the dust and dampness of the room and got wheezing. Add to it, hot water was not was not coming in the taps and we had to have a cold shower. The bathroom was as big as a match-box and there was waterlogging all over. We just managed to get ready somehow and got ready ahead of schedule because we just wanted to get out of the room! We were a little hungry by then and headed to the restaurant for the complimentary breakfast. That was arguably one of the worst breakfasts we had ever tasted. There was upma, potato sabji, vada and bread, all of which were dead cold almost like they just got it out of a fridge. We just ate to a bare minimum. There was a jug containing tea which we thought of trying, but gave up the idea after we saw a cockroach strolling on it!

At around 9.30 am we checked out of the really bad Sutrupti Hotel and were happy we would never come back there again! Our first stop today was the biggest temple in Bhubaneshwar, the Lingaraj Temple. Today was Dussehra and there were lot of visitors to the temple. Our driver warned us to stay away from the priests who would lure us into giving some special darshans in order to make a fast buck. We had a taste of it, when a couple of them appraoched us instantly and said he would show us around and get us blessings of all the Gods. We resisted and entered. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed there and so we don’t have pictures. But there are a series of temples, within a big complex, having idols of different avatars or forms of Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga, Lord Ganesha, Nandi etc. We noted that all temples in Bhubaneshwar have a similar form of architecture and the Gods and Goddesses are also similar with big faces and even bigger eyes.

We then headed to the Rajarani temple which is not really a temple as it does not have any Gods. It was built by the maharajas of that time as a garden with a small temple complex.
Another striking feature we noticed was that all the monuments we had visited so far was extremely well-maintained and neat. Next we visited the Brahmeshwar temple. However, by this time the heat was unbearable and we didn’t feel like getting out of the comfortable AC car to a sunny and hot atmosphere outside. Luckily, this was the last stop in Bhubaneshwar and we then headed to Dhauli Hill which is the place where the Emperor Asoka raged the Kalinga War. This is located on the banks of the river Daya which according to folk lore, became red at the time of the war because 11,000 soldiers were killed and thrown into the river.DSC01830
We first went to a small garden-like place which had real Asokan edicts preserved within a glass enclosure. From there, a few metres uphill is a while Pagoda which was constructed in the 1970’s to spread the cause of Buddhism.
On our way down, we bought some snacks to eat on our way and then headed to the Chausathi (64) Yogini temple. This temple is supposedly more than a 1000 years old and has 64 sculptures of Yoginis ( God’s attendants) around a round temple wall. DSC01866Though it didn’t look too magnificent to us, the place had trees all around and we sat in the shade for a while to cool ourselves. Our driver then insisted we visit the house of a local staying nearby there who specialised in Oriya paintings. The paintings were spectacular to say the least, and had different intricate illustrations of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Lord Krishna’s childhood etc. We thanked the hosts for having us over and we headed to our next destination.
Next, we were taken to the village of Pipili which specialises in handicrafts made of patch-work. We did some window-shopping but didn’t find anything specifically interesting and so we began on our journey to Konark which was 45 kilometres away. We were tired to the excessive heat and sweat and we slept throughout the one hour drive until our driver woke us up when we arrived at the Sun Temple Hotel for lunch. It was a simple but delicious spread of rice, vegetable kadai, dal and curd, with of course tea and coffee at the end and we were thoroughly satisfied. Owing to the heat, we decided to the head to the hotel for now and visit the Sun temple the next day.
DSC01911We arrived at Lotus Eco Resort, Konark and this was a refreshing change after the bad encounter we had in our previous hotel. We got a welcome drink of Jaljeera and were taken to a quaint little cottage which was beautiful. We relaxed for a while, watching couple of movies on TV and headed to their private beach at 5 pm. We indulged in some photography and sat by the breezy beach-side watching the beautiful scene in front of us.
Also, this was the only place in the resort where our mobile signals were appearing and so we quickly called home to tell them the events of the day. We returned after sun-set and vowed to get up early the next morning to see the sun rising and frolick in the waters for a while.
2 days of our trip are already over! 3 more to go :).



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