While driving from Puri to Konarak we heard minor rattling sounds from the front of the car. So we stopped to check that out. We found the front guard-bumper had become slightly loose and so vibrating noisily ... we decided to get that fixed when we get back to Bhubaneshwar.
But then Tapan noticed some fumes emanating from under the bonnet! On opening the bonnet, we found the fuel hose pipe (rubber) had a half-inch split - where it enters the engine and the diesel was spraying out all over the engine. There was flood of diesel all over that was turning to fumes in teh engine heat!
We borrowed sickle from a road side farmer and cut out half-inch of that rubber pipe and refitted it to fuel intake. The really surprising part is that we found this problem by chance! My friend said maybe we need to thank Jagannath-ji, whom we had visited just half-hour ago, for this chance discovery!
4th January 08 > Day-22 : Bhubneshwar - Puri - Konarak
We left Bhubneshwar at 7:30AM and headed for Puri on NH-203. We reached Puri around 9:00AM. The roue was pretty scenic with swaying cocunut trees along the pretty smooth and nice highway:
We took a Panda known to Tapan, to escort us through the Jagannath Temple. He was a knowledgeable guide and explained every importaant shrine in teh courtyard and finally he with great efficiency he negotiated the huge crowd inside the Sanctum Sanctoram, to lead us to the front row from where we got a closer look at the diety of Jagannath. We were done by 11:00am and started off along the coastal road to Konarak.
The Konarak Sun Temple built in mid-13th Century by the Orissan King Narasimhadev-I to celebrate his military victory. The entire Temple was conceived as a Chariot for the sun god, Surya. There are 24 giant stone wheels, around the base of the temple and the entire structue is covered with carvings, sculptures, figures and bas-reliefs; many in erotic poses!
We got back to our Bhubneswar via Pipli by 3:30PM and went straight to a garage and got the front-gaurd rattle fixed and also a new fuel pipe fixed. The garage guys here charged us a mere Rs 50/- (2 guys worked for 30+ Minutes each). In Bombay, I would have had to pay Rs 50/- for a mechanic to just open his eyes and look at my car, not even touch it! .... I would have been fleeced Rs 500/- for this job. There is something good and honest in small towns, in India despite the dirt and sqaulor.
Tomorrow we need to leave for Vishakapatnam early; as we need to do 400+ Kms again.
5th Jan 08 > Day-23: Bhubneshwar to Vishakapatnam 444Kms
We left early at 6:30AM and continued on NH-5 towards Vishakapatnam via Khorada, Chilka Lake, Ganjam, Berhampur, Srikakulam, Waltair. The roads were very good through-out Orissa and Andhra Pradesh except for some short stretches near Chilka Lake. We reached Vishakapatnam at 3:15AM and this place looks pretty decent and well planned. Roads are wide and the approach to the city was scenic, hilly and green. Nice place! Vishakapatnam.
On the way today, the (Indica-V2) Car did'nt start on the first turn of Ignition key, a couple of times. Surprised! But on showing it to the Tata Motors service center (SRMT) near Vishakapatnam Rly Stn. They said it was minor problem in the Self-Starter Motor and will happen, only if we restart the engine in hot condition. If we wait 5-10 mins, it will start OK. He also assured us battery is charging ok and we can travel the remaining 5000Km and the starter problem can be resolved back in Mumbai. Here he will have to send it TVS Service center who may take a day to repair and return. We don't want to wait 1 day in this place, for that, so we will carry on. In Vishakapatnam we had no sight seeing to do so will leave for Vijayawada tomorrow. We stayed at Hotel Morya near Gokul Cinema Hall ... a good, small but clean, single room here was for Rs 260/-
6th January 08 > Day-24 : Vizag to Vijaywada - 402 Kms
We left Vishakapatnam at 6:30AM and continued down NH-5 and went via Anakapalle, Tallepalam, Tuni, Rajahmundry (crossed Godavari here), Tadepallegudam, Eluru and finally Vijayawada (on Krishna river). We also got our 3rd tyre puncture today ... just as we stopped for lunch at a h/way dhaba. Again lucky to have a tyre repair shop within 100 yards.
We reached Hotel Raj Towers (near Rly Station) at 3:00PM. In the evening several roads & alleys behind the optel became "pedestrian only" shopping promanades; with huge crowds milling around the streets there and many vendors hawking all kinds of goods and food. Had Andhra style chilli pakodas (real hot) there!
7th January 08 > Day-25 : Vijaywada - Chennai - 467 Kms
Left at 6:15 AM and again took NH-5 south. Via: Guntur, Ongole (crossed Pennuru river here), Gudur, Arambakkam (entered TN here), Gummidipundi and then Chennai. Heavy traffic as we neared Chennai and it took more than 1.5 hrs just to reach into Chennai Mount Road. At 3:30PM reached T-Nagar at my sisters place. I stayed there the night but dropped Tapan at a hotel nearby in T-Nagar.
25 GIRT 33d GQ+ >
Days: 22 to 25 of GIRT tour
Bhubaneshwar > Puri > Konarak > Vijaywada > Visakhapatnam > Chennai