Saturday, November 23, 2013

In the search of chilika dolphin , Satapada

Visit: OCT 2013

Chilika Lake is world famous for migratory birds and i wanted to spend some time watching and capturing some beautiful pics. I planned to stay in Bakul to explore the chilka. Unfortunately i came to know that it is not the time of bird migration after calling many hotels in bakul. I changed my planning and included one day for satpada trip to explore chilika and see chilika dolphins. Late-night we reached Puri from Bhubaneswar by train. I booked car for next two day through my hotel to take us around the puri. We started our journey in morning in the search of chilika dolphins.
We passed through green pasture and small villages. Ponds and flooded field with beautiful lotus flowers followed us entire journey. I could see many birds on electric wires and cattle wading through waters. We ordered our lunch in a restaurant just  few km before the chilika lake and our driver suggested that it will be ready when we comeback.
Beautiful lotus flowers on the way to chilika lakeFlooded field on the way to chilika lake
I bought water and some snacks for our trip from nearby shops. With the help of our driver i was able to negotiate the price of our boat for the trip. I requested boat owner to provide life jacket for safety, he laughed and said don’t worry you will not die as water depth is only 4 feet.Boats at chilika lake , satpada

Finally our four our journey started. Weather was calm and pleasant.  I could see many area with bamboos projecting out from water, i guesses it might be for fishing. After half an hour we landed on Small Island. People were sailing pearl and coral reef to the tourists. We had a chance to get glimpse of unique chilika lake crab.

Strange crab at chilika lake
After 2 hour, we reached our final destination. We were able to see many dolphins. Dolphins were swift and unpredictable and i could not manage to take any good picture. After spending 15-20 minutes and watching dolphins and migratory birds, we started our backward journey. Soon it was raining and made the weather very romantic. Our boat driver covered the boat to protect us from rain. We slept on the boat and could see and touch the water of the lake as freeboard was very less. It was wonderful experience. There were many birds, mainly hawks sitting on the bamboos. Only annoying part of the whole journey was the sound of motor of the boat.
Raptor at chilika lake at stapadaMigratory bird at chilika lake, stapadaHide and seek with chilika dolphinChilika dolphins
On the way back we had preordered seafood lunch  and returned to puri with memories.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Temple city, Bhubaneswar ,Odisha - DAY-2

Visit : Oct 2013
Stay : The Presidency, Bhubaneswar

 In the Morning we visited near by ISCON temple and spent some time doing meditation . 
ISCON temple Bhubaneswar
ISCON temple Bhubaneswar
After checking out the hotel we continued our second day journey of bhubaneswar. 
Our first destination was ekamra haat by mistake. I wanted to go Ekamra Kanan to see beautiful garden but my driver dropped us at ekamra haat. It is a small garden with many souvenir shops and restaurant. We had coffee and left the place quickly.
Ekamra haat Bhubaneswar
Ekamra haat Bhubaneswar
Ekamra haat Bhubaneswar
Ekamra haat Bhubaneswar
I heard a lot about tribal museum of odisha and asked by driver to take there. Unfortunately it was closed on 2nd october due to official holiday. I cursed my driver , he only convince us yesterday that all the museum would be open tomorrow
tribal museum Bhubaneswar

Tribal museum Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar is city of temple and still having 500 ancient temple. We  thought of exploring few more temples before heading to Puri.
First temple we stopped was Kusakeswara temple, it is one of the few temple with garden.Temple exterior is having beautiful erotic sculptures. 
Kusakeswara temple Bhubaneswar
Kusakeswara temple Bhubaneswar
There are 3 temples  Laxmaneswara ,bharateswara and saatrughneswara just opposite side of Kusakeswara temple . All temples are inside single compound . Archaeological survey of india is doing maintenance of these temples. Two of these temples are in good condition and have unique stone carvings with minute details.
Laxmaneswara ,bharateswara and saatrughneswara Temple, Bhubaneswar
Laxmaneswara ,bharateswara and saatrughneswara Temple, Bhubaneswar
Restoration of temple by ASI

Vaital temple or Baitaḷa Deuḷa is 9th century  temple dedicated to goddess chamunda. the temple base is below ground level. The outer walls are full of sculpture and carvings  of Hindu deities, mostly Shiva, Parvati in her Shakti. There is many sculpture  of erotic couples. 
Vaital temple or Baitaḷa Deuḷa, Bhubaneswar
Vaital temple or Baitaḷa Deuḷa, Bhubaneswar 
 Next we stopped at bindu sagar lake. It is lake in the middle of city and there are many temples surrounding the lake. We could see the lingraja temple in the background. Dredging of the lake was going on at time we arrive . There is also a medicine plant nursery near the lake.
bindu sagar lake, Bhubaneswar
Bindu sagar lake
There was a strange tree near the lake with flower hanging from the branch.
Strange tree near bindu sagar lake, Bhubaneswar
 Last temple we visited was 8th century Parsurameswar Temple. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Orissa.

Parsurameswar Temple, Bhubaneswar
Parsurameswar Temple, Bhubaneswar 

There is also a very old small Daitesvara temple near Parasuramesvara Temple.
Daitesvara temple, Bhubaneswar
Daitesvara temple, Bhubaneswar 
Our trip ended at evening and we headed towards bhubaneswar railway station for puri.

NEXT>>>>>>   Visit to Jagannath Puri

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Temple city, Bhubaneswar ,Odisha - DAY-1

Visit : Oct 2013
Stay : The Presidency, Bhubaneswar

My Wife and i arrived bhubaneswar railway station at night from chennai. We took taxi for the hotel and on the way i got first glimpse of the city. Bhubneswar is comparatively organised and cleaner than most of the cities of India.
Bhubaneswar is known as temple city of India. Once there were 7000 temple in the city. Thanks to the invaders and poor maintenance, less than 500 survive today. Almost all the temples were built between 9th to 11th century. Most of the temple is now maintained by ASI (archaeological survey of India). Odisha architecture is predominant in all the temples. Exterior of most of the temple is having beautiful stone carving and erotic sculptures.
Next morning we started our Odisha journey.
Hirapur was our first destination, it is 20 Km from the city. We passed through green field and river  to reach the  famous 64 yogini ( chausath yogini) temple. There are only four temple in India dedicated to 64 yogini. This temple is not very impressive from outside but have excellent sculptures. Face of most of the statues were broken by a king to make it unsacred.
64 yogini ( chausath yogini) temple
64 yogini ( chausath yogini) temple
Migratory birds in near field
On the way back to city we stopped for famous dhauligiri Buddhist stupa. View from the top was amazing and we could see the field where gruesome war took place in 260 BC between king ashoka and king of kalinga. After this war Ashoka renounced the violence and turned to Buddhism.

dhauligiri Buddhist stupa
Dhauligiri Buddhist stupa
 There is also a active shiva temple besides stupa.
Our first stop was lingaraja temple dedicated to lord shiva. Pandas (Not the Chinese one but mainly money hungry fake priest) started accosting us from the car parking area, I polity refused with namaste. It was easier than expected and after few polite refusal to 4-5 pandas they left us alone.Non Hindus are not allowed inside but there is a raised platform aligned with temples boundaries. Raised platform provides complete view of the temple. This temple is biggest and most famous temple of the bhubaneswar. There are many small temple inside the temple compound surrounding the main temple. 
lingaraja temple
lingaraja temple, Bhubansewar

There is also a small temple called traffic mahadev near the ligraja temple, which acts as a road divider.
traffic mahadev
Traffic mahadev
 The next stop was 10th centuries Mukteswara temple, which is also dedicated to lord shiva, There were no rush like lingaraja temple. I saw only one priest , who requested us to perform puja. This temple is having beautiful carving in excellent condition on the exterior and on the ceiling. It also have a unique entrance structure which is very uncommon.
Mukteswara temple
Mukteswara temple, Bhubansewar

Beautiful  stone carving in Mukteswara temple ,bhubaneswarBeautiful  stone carving in Mukteswara temple ,bhubaneswar
Beautiful  stone sculpture in Mukteswara temple ,bhubaneswarBeautiful  stone sculpture in Mukteswara temple ,bhubaneswar

Rajarani temple is managed by ASI (archaeological survey of India)  and it is not an active temple. Name of the temple is derived from the name of  building stone which is locally known as rajarani. This temple is surrounded by beautiful garden and there is also an entrance fee. The sculpture of beautiful female in different poses can be seen all around.
 Rajarani temple in bhubansewar
 Rajarani temple, Bhubansewar

Our last stop of the day was Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves.
These 2nd BC caves are situated on Udayagiri and Khandagiri hills and separated by a road. Caves of udayagiri is more impressive and in good condition than caves of Khandagiri. These caves was once the house of jain monks and i was wondering about their asceticism and hard life . There is a jain temple on the top of khandagiri hills and it also provides a beautiful view of the city. Now bats live inside most of the caves. Few beautiful carving is still presence on the exterior of caves even after 2000 year.
Udayagiri Caves, bhubaneswar
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves, bhubaneswarUdayagiri Caves, bhubaneswarView from the top of Khandagiri hills