Time of visit: 12:30 p.m
I was quite excited when I first knew about the Degree Confluence Project. My friend Ganesh Dhamodkar told me about this project a few days ago. I felt it would be quite soon for me to plan to visit a confluence this early. Within four to five days, I searched for the confluences around me. I was planning for 20°N 80°E at first as I was not aware that 23°N 82°E was yet unvisited, but as I explored the DCP website further, I found this confluence to be unvisited and I got very excited to find it just 33 km from my place.
I searched for the exact location in Google Earth and put a placemark on it. I then explored the possible ways to reach there and fixed at one. Without a second thought, I submitted my visit plan to be website to visit between November 12th and 13th 2011. Then, I again made a detailed search for more information in Google Maps and Google Earth. I zoomed over the place to ground level to have a very minute look and planned the way to reach there. Finally, I fixed at one way, with which the confluence was just 33 km from my place.
The day before the planned visit, Ganesh called me and asked "How's the preparation going on?" Suddenly I realized I had not even started the
preparation yet. I had not had a GPS device. I was quite worried about the GPS. Without a GPS device, how would I prove that I had been to the confluences. I googled for a GPS application that supports my Nokia phone, but could find nothing. My phone have something like GPS data, but I could not get the coordinates in latitude-longitude format with it. I tried to get some help from my mobile service provider and called their customer care service, but
could get no help again. Finally, I thought I would visit the confluence point without a GPS device, it may be considered an incomplete visit, at least I
would know that I have visited the place. Then an another friend of mine Danidas Giriya, who was to accompany me to the visit, told me that his Samsung
phone shows GPS reading in latitude, longitude, and altitude. I asked him to check current readings to verify the accuracy with Google Earth and found it to be about 99% accurate. Done!!
Thus, we were ready to go. It was my first visit and I could not sleep all over the night prior because of excitement. I had hardly three to four hours of sleep. Next morning, like every other Sunday, I got up at 7:30 a.m and got the things ready like laptop, chargers, data cables, etc. We started the journey at 10:30 a.m. We were going by a motor bike.
At first, we approached a petrol pump to have adequate fuel in the bike and then we started our nonstop exciting journey towards the confluence. While studying about the confluence, I had kept very minute detail of the road in mind: Where to take first turn, second turn, where to go straight and how long, what places will come along the way, and so on, but when the actual journey started, things really started looking different and I got confused only after the first turn whether to go right or left. We asked the local people for the way to Siuni and they told us to go right. They told us to go straight until we reach Cholna and then to take a left turn for Siuni. Thus, we headed cautiously asking every passerby how long the Siuna/Cholna is and finally reached Cholna. There we again asked the way to Siuni to a few villagers and headed forward as per their directions. By this time, we started getting help from our GPS device and it really helped us a lot to reach the destination.
We parked our bike and walked just a few meter to reach the confluence. We reached there at about 12:30 p.m. We tried to get an exact GPS Reading and we could record it at 23.000016°N 82.000008°E. It was in a paddy field. Fortunately, the paddy was harvested and we could get to the exact location of the confluence point. On the east, there is a well and a heap of soil dug from the well. On the West, North, and South, there were paddy fields and the paddy was being reaped. A Mahua tree (Madhuca latifolia) can be seen on the North.
We celebrated there for a while. We had a talk with the locals there about the point and also told them about purpose of our visit. One of them named Ashok Kumar Sahu was aware of the terms like latitude and longitude, so we could easily explain to him about the degree confluence. He was really happy to know the degree confluence point is just few meter away from his house. He can at least tell his children about it.
We took some photos of the surrounding area for My Panoramio Gallery and left for home at around 2:00 p.m. This was the story of my maiden visit to a degree confluence point. Lets meet again with a new story of my next visit to confluence 20°N 80°E.