Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bhutan Trip - Days 13, 14, 15 & 16

Day - 13

30.12.2010 (Thursday) Bhuwaneshwar (Orissa) to Satapara Chilika Lake (Orissa) = 227 kms

  • Starting Place: Hotel Richi Bhuwaneshwar
  • Starting Km Reading: 7395 km @ Hotel Richi
  • Starting Time: 07.00 A.M. Morning
  • Closing Km Reading: 7622 km @ Hotel Yatri Nivas Chilika Lake Stapara
  • Closing Time: 22.00 P.M. Night

Day - 13 started with a relaxed mood as we had driven 655 kms previous day on Day - 12 from NTPC Bakkeshwar to Bhuwaneshwar.

We planned to visit Puri Jagannath Mandir (Temple) and visit Konark Sun Temple and at night proceed to Chilika Lake @ Satapara.

We checked out from the hotel & left at 7 A.M. Morning to Puri which is about 35 kms from the city.

Enroute to Puri we came across a handicraft showroom cum manufacturing unit. They had placed very beautiful hand made artifact idols of various deities outside.

I went to the caretaker and requested whether I could take pictures.

Initially he was reluctunt and was kind of worried if his idols & designs should not be copied by his competitors.

I said how is it possible as I was just taking small snaps and we were from down south. He agreed and we had a great time.

We reached PURI Jagannath Temple and we had to park our cars & take a long walk to reach the temple & we took local cycle rickshaws.

In PURI you will be hounded by a whole lot of pandas (priests / pujaris) who come & offer their services and exhorbitant prices and haggle with you.

It can leave a bitter taste in your mouth when you wish to offer your prayers to Lord Jagannath.

I had told my wife to be ready for this, luckily after we rejected couple of Pandas we came across this young Panda (Priest) & he came to us & introduced himself as Harihar and politely asked whether we would be happy to give him an opportunity to take us inside & do all the pujas etc.

We liked him & requested him to take us around the temple & explain to us about various important things from within.  

Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri.

After the visit to temple we were on our way to Konark to visit the Sun Temple.

Welcome to Konark Sun Temple.

After the Sun Temple visit we did quite a bit of shopping picking up some nice stuff from the handicraft shop. The sales staff guys became very attached to us & my daughter was their pet. We picked up some bronze tortoises, Konark Sun wheel, wall hangings etc.

We left Konark & had to drive a long way to Satapara Chilika Lake which is quite far away close to some 80~90 KMs & it had become very dark.

The road is also very lonely and you can't ask just stop anywhere to ask directions.

Somehow we were in the right direction and we passed through some small villages and I kept stopping and kept asking Satapara & Chilika Lake & they said continue on the same road.

Reached Satapara Yatri Nivas Hotel which was recommended by HV Kumar and I had called well in advance & booked a room & told the caretaker that I was on my way from Konark.

We reached the Hotel Pantha Nivas Orissa Tourism Development Corporation Ltd @ night 10 P.M. and checked into a room. The tariff was Rs.1150/-

Day - 14

31.12.2010 (Friday) Satapara Chilika Lake (Orissa) to Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) = 365 kms

  • Starting Place: Hotel Yatri Nivas, Chilika Lake Satapara
  • Starting Km Reading: 7622 km @ Hotel Yatri Nivas
  • Starting Time: 07.00 A.M. Morning (After Boat Ride & seeing Yerawadi Dolphis)
  • Closing Km Reading: 7987 km @ Hotel Haritha, Vishkhapatnam
  • Closing Time: 21.00 P.M. Night

Day - 14

Chilika lake is just adjacent to the Hotel Yatri Nivas. Chilika Lake is famous for the Yerawadi Dolphins and it is a very large lake. My son had a topic on Chilika Lake in his 2nd standard and was so thrilled & was eagerly looking forward for going to the lake & see the dolphins.

The caretaker came with us & helped us in arranging a motor boat for us to take us around the lake & show us the Dolphins.

The boat owner charged me a Rs.800/- and I felt it was on higher side but having come all the way to Satapara with kids did not want to disappoint them. End of the day it was worth it.

There are some boats that will approach your boat while you are right in the middle of the lake & they will bring a huge bowl which is full of shell fish and they open these and say there are Pearls and try to sell them saying they are very costly etc. Many people fall for this trick.

HVK had already told me in advance about such approaches and to avoid. I politely declined and said we weren't interested & imagine opening poor live shells just to show some fake pearls they have inserted inside?

Look at their smiles below - YES it was really worth the boat ride on Chilika Lake & to see the wonderful dolphins & up so close too. Both the kids were thrilled!!! 

It was time for us to say good bye to Chilika Lake and we had to reach Viskhapatnam which was a long way to go.

HV Kumar had told me that there is a ferry that will leave from Satapara to Krishnaprasad Island at 10 A.M. morning.

He had asked me to take this ferry at any cost as it will help me in getting to the National Highway by passing through the Chilika Lake to the other side. If I had missed this ferry it means I had to drive a whole round about route back towards Orissa and to reach the national highway.

It was one of a memorable experience to put our brand new car on a ferry & all 4 of us with it along with a whole lot of local people & their 2 wheelers etc crossing in a ferry. The charge for transporting the car was Rs.300/- you will have to book your car & buy a ticket from the ferry counter.

We reached Krishnaprasad Island & got off from the ferry and we had to drive through some remote villages with absolutely no sign boards and roads going GOD knows where and we were heading to the National Highway which we finally reached. The village roads were in very bad shape in many places as last year's flood & heavy rains in Orissa had done a lot of damage.

Luckily we had a safe & happy trip on the lake. I will definately recommend this to any one who is interested and should do this early morning when there is no disturbance from other boats & sun is also not very high & hot.

I was only concerned that there was no safety jacket / any tube in case of any emergencies.

We were out of mobile coverage range for very long time & we could not contact HV Kumar.

Finally when we came closer to the highway we got in touch with HVK & updated status.

We told HVK we just were passing a village called HUMMA.

HVK made fun with us probably this village inspired A.R.Rehaman to sing his famous song Humma Humma Humma??

We finally reached Vishakhapatnam by 9 P.M. Night and had covered 365 KMs.

S.NoDateToll Plaza NameStateTimeFees
131.12.2010LAXMIPRMANDHRA15.29 afternoon40
231.12.2010MADAPAMANDHRA16.33 afternoon35
331.12.2010CHKPALEMANDHRA19.56 evening30
431.12.2010NATHAWALANDHRA20.28 night20
Total Toll Fees 31.12.2010 = 125

31st December night & year 2010 was coming to an end  and the entire city in Vizag looked like ithad gone crazy, people in a hurry, boys on bikes revving & shouting around, whole lot of people moving, ATMs run out of money, teams of young boys desperate to get money from ATMs standing in big que, cops everywhere & total chaos.

Is this New Year??

All looking forward for a Happy New Year 2011 in few hours as if the whole life & things will change for better!!

We checked into Hotel Harita on Beach Road, tariff was Rs.1365/-. 

The hotel & room was decent & facing the beach road, we were throughout the night disturbed by revving bikes shouting Happy New Year, bursting of Fire Works & Crakers and drunk people shouting and fighting etc.

It was a disturbing night. I was trying to get some good sleep!!!

Welcome to New Year 2011 @ 12 mid night, received quite a lot of SMSes, phone calls from near & dear, all 4 of us greeting each other finally I believe we must have had some 2-3 hours sleep. We had to start very early morning by 5 A.M. 

On 1st January 2011 I had to drive a long distance & in fact it was one of the longest NON-STOP drives I have ever done.

I drove all the way from Visakhapatnam to Coimbatore 1400 KMs non-stop via Chennai.

Day - 15

01.01.2011 (Saturday) Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) to Chennai (Tamil Nadu) = 846 kms

  • Starting Place: Hotel Haritha Vishakhapatnam (Andra Pradesh)
  • Starting Km Reading: 7987 km @ Hotel Haritha
  • Starting Time: 05.00 A.M. Early Morning
  • Closing Km Chennai Reading: 8833 KMs on 01.01.2011 11 P.M. & Coimbatore 9405 km on 02.01.2011 10 A.M. Morning @ Home Coimbatore
  • Closing Time: 10.00 A.M. Morning

Wishing every one who is reading this blog a very HAPPY & Prosperous & Healthy New Year 2011.

Day - 15 started @ Hotel Haritha Vishakhapatnam very early in the morning before 5 AM.

We got ready by 5.30 A.M. ready to leave.

We fueled the car with 36.58 liters of Diesel @ Rs.40.45 per ltr and paid Rs.1480/- at IOCL Pump Usha Petroleum Agencies, Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Remember what Swami Vivekananda said, " All Powers are within You! Realize that and you can do anything & everything".

This was an inspiration for me throughout this trip!!!

We fueled the car with 38.16 liters of Diesel @ Rs.41.14 per ltr and paid Rs.1570/- at HPCL Fuel Pump Mary Filling Station, Kavali, Nellore Dist, Andhra Pradesh.

We reached TADA bordering to Chennai by 11.30 P.M. Night and I checked a APTDC Hotel to see if my kids & wife could get some sleep & take rest at night & start in the morning.

There was no room & hence we decided to drive on to Chennai and reached by night 12 mid night.

I had covered 846 KMs from Vishakhapatnam (Andra Pradesh) to Chennai (Tamil Nadu State) and I was still feeling fresh and there was no driving fatigue & I wanted to go on. My wife was concerned.

We spoke with H.V.Kumar at 12 mid night and he was still awake waiting for our call & was keeping track after our last phone call from TADA.

We informed him of our intension to drive to Coimbatore by not stopping at Chennai.

I assured HVK that I will drive safe & do 2 power naps in between Ambur & Vaniyambadi or before Thoppur to re-charge myself.

He assured Jamuna that it was fine & wished both of us safe journey.

He asked me to call very early in the morning by 5 A.M. My wife asked Sir, do you not sleep?

He just laughed and said anyway he had to get up early morningto go to Airport @ Mumbai!!

S.NoDateToll Plaza NameStateTimeFees
101.01.2011AGNMPUDIANDHRA07.01 morning15
201.01.2011VEMPADUANDHRA08.25 morning45
301.01.2011KVARAMANDHRA09.16 morning45
401.01.2011TANAKUANDHRA11.01 morning55
501.01.2011POTIPADUANDHRA12.38 afternoon15
601.01.2011VIJAYWADA TOLL KAZAANDHRA15.18 afternoon61
701.01.2011BOLAPALIANDHRA16.36 afternoon40
801.01.2011TANGUTURANDHRA17.52 afternoon45
901.01.2011SUNMBATIANDHRA19.16 evening35
1001.01.2011SWARNA TOLL NELLOREANDHRA19.46 evening20
1101.01.2011BUDHANAM TOLLANDHRA20.31 night25
1201.01.2011SULLURPET TOLLANDHRA21.07 night40
1301.01.2011CHENNAI TADA TOLLANDHRA23.13 night32
Total Toll Fees 01.01.2011 = 488

Day - 16

02.01.2011 (Sunday) Chennai (Tamil Nadu) to Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) = 572 kms

We fueled the car with 36.37 liters of Diesel @ Rs.40.69 per ltr and paid Rs.1480/- at HPCL Fuel Pump Sri Rajalakshmi Fuel Services, NH-7, Salem - Bangalore Highway, Thoppur, Dharmapuri Dist, Tamil Nadu.

S.NoDateToll Plaza NameStateTimeFees
102.01.2011NEMILITAMIL NADU00.57 mid night30
202.01.2011SAMUDRAMTAMIL NADU03.00 mid night25
302.01.2011PKONDATAMIL NADU03.50 mid night45
402.01.2011VANIAMBADITAMIL NADU05.31 early morning35
502.01.2011L&T KRISHNAGIRI THOPPUR TollTAMIL NADU07.14 early morning66
602.01.2011OMALUR TOLL NH-7TAMIL NADU08.02 morning53
702.01.2011SALEM HIGHWAY TOLLTAMIL NADU08.35 morning41
802.01.2011KUMARAPALAYAM TOLLTAMIL NADU09.19 morning37
Total Toll Fees 02.01.2011 = 332

We reached Coimbatore at 10 A.M. morning on the outskirts of the city we stopped at Hotel Anand Bhavan opposite to KMCH Hospital on Avinashi Road and we all had a good South Indian breakfast which my 2 kids, my wife & myself we had missed for almost 2 weeks.

It was mouth watering & realishing to eat something your tastebuds like.

The car's odometer reading was 9393 KMs at the hotel.

We went to Jamuna's parents house by 12.00  noon and met her parents & family members who were so eager to meet us & to know about our foreign trip to another country by car!!!

We also met our Temple Amma who was so happy & pleased to see us all come back home safe.

The trip was finally closed at our home @ 1.40 P.M. and our car's final closing odometer reading was 9405 KMs.

We had driven non stop from Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) to Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) via Chennai city without halting at Chennai.

We had covered a distance of 1418 KMs.

Thank you Lord Ganesha Vinayaka for bringing us back home safe.

You were always with us to ward off all evils & vignas (any stumbling blocks) and making our journey one of the most memorable one for years to come*

Our sincere thanks to the man who made our dream trip to Bhutan come true a speacial friend to me & my wife & a darling to my 2 kids whom they started calling Kumar MAMA H.V.Kumar (HVK).

Here is HVK with my 2 kids on 16th April 2011 when he had come down to Coimbatore.

The last SMS message from H.V.Kumar said, "Congratulations on a Fantastic Drive. Take a nap & start planning for the next one!!!". Such is his confidence on all 4 of us.

What next?? Who knows!!!

HVK suggested we can do Arunachal Pradesh / Sikkim / Himachal Pradesh..India is such a large country & one life time won't be sufficient to visit all these places..

My sincere thanks to all the members of Palio Users Group (PUG) and Team Fiat India (TFI) who wished me well & encouraged & supported me with a lot of best wishes, advise & lots of love and to have a safe journey & back.

My personal & sincere thanks to my life partner & my non driving navigator, my 2 lovely & lively understanding kids who endured such a long trip couped up in the car for so long hours without any complaint for 16 days for the 3rd time in the last 3 years, without their support this trip would have been impossible!!

Another long drive can be done provided I am able to mobilise the funds / if I get some corporate sponsership !!!*

Last but not the least my sincere thanks to FIAT for making such a lovely car.

The FIAT Linea 1.3 MJD proved what a fantastic car it was by giving us once in a life time experience of long distance drive from Coimbatore to Bhutan & back and brought us back safe.

The car was extremely good and proved that it really was a long distance runner. Brand new car, no breakdown, no puncture, no fatigue only pure pleasure of driving it long distance and excellent build.

Its suspension was so good that there was no body pain to any one of us through out the journey and my 2 small kids went to school the next day morning & I was back in Office to work. That speaks it all.

It felt safe inside travelling that long distance and a great mileage it gave with almost 100% AC usage and heavy usage of heater at Bhutan.

I am overall very happy & satisfied with the purchase of FIAT LINEA 1.3 Multijet Diesel Emotion Pack Top end Sedan.

Read the complete cost details of this Trip. Click on this link.


  1. How good or bad was OTDC resort at Satapada?

    Did you see dolphins?

    I loved the cruise across Chilka Lake to Krishnaprasad Island from Satapada in the car ferry, gives you glimpses of an unspoilt world of fishermen and old-fashioned life styles on the banks of the famous Lake.

    One has to applaud both Uttam & Meenakshi for their pursuit of their drawings and paintings, maybe that is why they kept such a cheerful temparament during such a long drive!

  2. Wow, what a drive it was! Reading it made one feel that we are also part of the drive! One has no words to applaud you and the family, especially the children. I remember Jamuna was awake and alert as your navigator throughout the drive, something for all of us to emulate!

    I loved the detailed descriptions and the photos of the sign boards, wonderful for anyone planning a drive t these parts, he can now visualise what to expect!

    And the last leg from Vizag to Coimbatore non-stop was simply the icing on the cake!

    So next to Kashmir?

  3. Aah.... I could not lift out the eyes from this blog. What a lively narration. Even I was enjoying personally as I was travelling all along with you.

    Proud that I stay very near to your house in Vadavalli.

  4. Superb! It was a virtual travel for me.

  5. Nice post.Thank you for sharing this in blog.Book bus tickets in Paytm Bus Offers