03-Sep-2008 -- The CP lay just 15 Kms from the famous Sun Temple or Black Pagoda of Konark. In fact the distance as the local crow would have flown ( notwithstanding the ever strong headwinds which blow from the shoreline) is not more then 7 kms.
This was to be my first CP visit amongst the seventeen that I had planned for the entire state of Orissa. I chose the auspicious day of Ganesha Chathurthi, the day when the elephant god is worshiped all over the country. Ganesha is a much favored start up god from among the pantheon of gods in the Hindu religion. Most of the chants and invocations first appropriate him, as worshiping him is a good omen. It is during this day that many new projects and ventures are launched.
I, Kasinath Sahoo, Deepti Jena and Sahil started from Bhubaneswar early at 5 A.M. Deepti happens to be a Research Scholar in the Geography Department of Utkal University and was working his way towards his doctorate. He had come along as a friend, philosopher and guide, to teach us to read the Garmin and navigate to the right place. The otherwise excellent 1:25,000 detailed map was about 60 years out of date so we relied heavily on the GPS and compass. Google earth too had last updated the location in November 2006.
We reached Nimapara at 7 AM. The place bore a festive atmosphere, with school children all decked up in their colorful new clothes, fresh faces, well oiled hair, and the eager anticipation of the festivities that lay ahead in the day.
From Nimapara, the road forks after the bridge over the Kushabhadra River, and we took direction on the right. The distance to Gop is only 13 Kms. From Gop Bazar, the road to Puri once again crosses the river, where a new bridge has been built. The confluence point lay just two kms away from the bridge.
Our handy Garmin 24 navigated us to the village of Icchapur. We had to leave our Utility Vehicle two kilometers away from the point. The CP lay just in the fringe of the last house of the village. We reached the fields behind the village, where sowing of rice was in full swing. There were many people working in the fields. Most of the small plots had already been planted, and there were hectic activity going about.
One small patch lay flooded, with the transplanting not yet done. The field had six inches of water; this flooding was a prelude to the actual planting of the rice seedlings. We went looking for the land owner, Anand Behera, and asked his permission to enter the field. At first he was pretty worried, assuming that perhaps a new road was to pass thru his field, or maybe an electricity tower was to be erected. Our explanations left him more confused then he originally was. It was the timely help of Mr. Pradip Rout, a resident of the village, who worked as a Medical Superintendent in the nearly Gop Hospital, which made us convince him. I'm not sure he quite understood why we wanted to stand in his field and take photographs; however he was quite happy to let us.
His bewilderment then turned into sheer amusement, as the sight of four city slickers, with their rolled up trousers, slithered bare footed into his field. In fact he encouraged us to wallow around a good bit, as this would do his field a lot of good. The wet and gooey mud needed to be mulched before the transplanting of the rice seedlings, and usually the services of a pair of sturdy bullocks was utilized. He warned us of leeches and snakes, but riding high as we were, zeroing in on out first CP, we threw caution to the winds.
On the east lay the full grown paddy fields on whose edge there was a banana plantation. On the west, the houses on the village border lay covered by a thick growth of Coconut trees. The village path lay on the south, and the wide expanse of rice fields lay on the North.
Bingo, right in the centre of the field, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we got the desired zeroes in place. We had to indulge in a difficult bit of a Confluence Dance to get the exact bearings. Our feet would sink a full six inches in the muck, and with a lot of squelching efforts we would heave out one foot to sink it again a few inches away. We soon got our bearings with the desired zeroes in place. The accuracy was within 8.4 meters. In spite of many cotton candy clouds, the eight satellites gave us excellent bearings. The elevation was understandably just 6.90 meters as the CP lies within 10 Kms from the beautiful sea beach of Chandrabhaga.
The photographs taken, we made our way to the nearest tube well and washed of the muck. The farmer asked his son to climb the nearby Coconut tree and soon we were treated to fresh coconut water. A real godsend after the hard work. We took photographs all round and returned to Bhubaneswar for our next visit to the Confluence Point 20N 85E.
- Time at the CP: 13:00 a.m.
- Duration: 50 minutes (until we were back on our route)
- Distance of car parking: 2400 meters
- GPS height: 6.9 meters
- Description: Absolutely flat land, irrigated rice fields inundated with water. Fringed with coconut and other trees.
- Given Name: The First Confluence of Orissa
- Time and date at the CP: 08:30 AM
- GPS accuracy: 8.4 meters
- Temperature: 28 °C