This is the 16th point in a journey by motorbike in India to visit 16 confluence points. The story starts at 22N 86E and this visit follows on from 21N 85E and is the final point on our expedition.
We approached this point from the west via Talcher and Bubhan. Near Talcher there was an enormous excavation which we thought could be a new Suez or Panama Canal! We did not stop and investigate – regrettably it is always easier to carry on than to stop and ask questions and take photos. From Sukinda I took on a pillion passenger – it seemed an omen that someone who guided us towards the point should also be asking for a lift to the nearest village – Dubiri. Of course he didn’t know that he was only my 3rd pillion passenger and that overtaking trucks on rough narrow roads was a new skill only partially acquired! We arrived without incident. Dubiri is the junction of the old east-west road that we had traveled along and a road leading north into the forests to mines. To the east of Dubiri are many very large steel factories and other associated industries – the point lies just on the edge.
We went north 1 km from the junction and then headed west across rough ground marked out as building plots until we reached the typical small fields. The point was still 0.9 km away and there was a large wall on the far side of the valley that would be impossible to pass. The route passed by the dry fields and then after crossing a small stream rose up the other side. Fortunately the point lies about 80 metres outside the walled area and so no permissions were required. The point itself is on rough uncultivated grazing land. Another path came from the south and it would probably be possible to approach the point more easily from the south by following the wall from the road.
Degree of Challenge:
2 –Within a couple of kilometres of a busy road junction on flat unoccupied land. A fair walk from the direction that we came – but a closer approach could be made. (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
2 –On the edge of a large industrial area but not quite in it! A shallow valley of fields and rough grazing. (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
2 – I suppose it depends if you like steel works! From here eastwards is highly industrial. To the west is rural and forested. (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)
At theis point we declared the Indian Point Hunting season closed!
From where we had parked the bikes we rode back to the road across rough grassland including a cricket pitch – although there was little to show for it except the players getting ready. We then rode to Jajapur Road and north east to Bhadrak for the night. The next day we decided to explore the coast and stopped at Digha on the West Bengal coast before returning to Calcutta across the New Hughly River Bridge on 13th March and returned the bikes.
If you have read all the way through this story over 16 points you have more stamina than I expected and I thank you for your persistence! There are still many points to be conquered in India and I can recommend motorbikes as a means of travel. Try to go earlier in the dry season – between November and February when the temperature is a little lower. Travel during the monsoon would be a considerable challenge. John and I are still friends and would do it again. We were lucky with the bikes, and in finding accommodation every night. Camping would have been possible but to do it comfortably we would have needed more equipment than just the basic tent, sleeping bag and mats that we carried. Both the road surfaces and the traffic pose problems and are not for the feint-hearted!