Konark, Puri and Dolphins at Satpada

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Off to Orissa

After spending the evening at Chandrabhaga Beach we went to the Konark Sun Temple. It was not far from the beach, almost at a walking distance for people who love walking. We took a quick round of the temple. The complete complex was well-lit, but it did not interest me much. It was crowded even in the night, but I failed to understand why there were so many people at that time. After spending some time there, we came out, had our dinner and I had a good–night sleep in our Panthniwas Hotel.

Konark Temple as seen during the Night-Time

Konark Temple as seen during the Night-Time

The next day morning, I woke up fresh enough to go through rest of the journey, which started with a visit to the Sun Temple again. Papa and Mama had gone to the temple early in the morning. Papa returned and told that Mama was waiting for us at the entrance of the temple. They had taken a guide and now for us Nikki Mama decided to play the role. In the meantime, Papa drew my attention to a picture in the hotel that showed an artistic impression of the original temple. It was double the height of today’s temple. I began to wonder how ancient people could build such sky-scrapers without today’s technology. With these thoughts playing in my mind Mummy, Nani and I arrived at the Konark Temple.

Self photographed picture with Konark in Background

Self photographed picture with Konark in Background

The temple compound had blooming flowers and huge trees everywhere. There was nobody in the beginning and soon tourists started to fill in. We started our guided tour from the Natyamandap/Bhogamandap. Two huge statues of a lion flanked both sides of the main steps to the hall. The lions were pouncing on an elephant that had a man under its trunk . The roof of this hall was missing. This portion of the temple was used both for offerings and dance. I was sure about the dance because all the pillars were carved with dancers and musicians. Nikki Mama told that in old times devotees were also offered Prasad there. This was the reason that one of its stairs was facing the kitchen portion of the complex.

The statues at the main steps to the Bhogamandap

The statues at the main steps to the Bhogamandap

From top of the Bhogamandap, I could see the main temple of the Konark Temple complex. Later on I came to know that it was not the main temple, it was Jagamohan. It was the portion of the temple where devotees used to assemble for devotional songs. It stands on a high platform. It is the only preserved structure in the complex.

The Jagamohan inside the Sun Temple complex

The Jagamohan inside the Sun Temple complex

The front door of the Jagamohan was carved fantastically. The Sun Temple of Konark was designed as a chariot drawn by seven horses. The twelve pairs of magnificently carved wheels represent the twelve months of the year. Huge scaffolding was erected on its sides as the temple was undergoing restoration and renovation.

The chariot wheels

The chariot wheels

I noticed a crocodile-shaped granite water-spout and it really picked me. On one side of Jagamohan there were two big elephants and on another, two statues of horse trampling man under their feet. But these days’ people are trampling them! Security guards were asking them not to do so to preserve this heritage for long – long time but many people did not care.

There were many ruins of smaller temples beside the Sun Temple. It was an interesting tour of the Sun Temple; I liked it and understood why Konark Temple is so famous.

The crocodile shaped water-spout

The crocodile shaped water spout

A statue of an elephant holding a men in its trunk in the complex

A statue of an elephant holding a men in its trunk in the complex

We came out of the complex and ate chaat which was very spicy. After that we went to our hotel to pack up and continue the journey. As I was bringing suitcases (with trolley) from our room, Tanmay ran to climb on it, sat on it and had a ride without walking, he was having fun. I too was enjoying carrying him.

The Konark Panthniwas Hotel had a big garden with different types of flowers blooming all over the area.

The Panthniwas Hote

The Panthniwas Hote

Our next destination was Satpada with a brief halt at Puri.

The road till Puri was neat, smooth and traffic less. Large trees bordered the road on both sides; meeting in the middle to form a canopy and the splendid ocean, glittering silvery accompanied us.

Road from Konark to Puri

Road from Konark to Puri

Puri was crowded and looked similar to Old Delhi. In Puri mummy, papa and nani decided to visit the Jagannatha Temple. I don’t like temples so I decided to go to the beach with Mama. The beach was crowded; I and Mama walked a little and came to a lonely spot. There we made a lovely castle and sat in the water. It was my first experience of building a sand castle. I always dreamt of going to a beach and building a huge sand fort there. I was happy to see my dream come true.

We made our way back to the main part of the beach. While returning we went deeper into the waves and saw many tiny seashells. In the meantime papa, mummy also arrived and called us on the mobile. We returned to the car and told them how much fun it was at the beach. Papa told that Jagannatha Temple was crowded and it was not possible to stand there peacefully. I was happy about my choice.

After a short drive towards Satpada, we saw the humongous Chilika Lake but our destination, Satpada was still far. There were many fishing boats in the lake. We reached Satpada before evening and went straight to the hotel. We could get a spectacular view of the Chilika Lake from our balcony and I thought that if the view of the sunset from there was so wonderful than how much better view we could get from the lake itself. We went to the port and took a boat to see the Irrawaddy Dolphins.

The sunset from the Chilika Lake

The sunset from the Chilika Lake

While going, moving westwards we saw the sun but not dolphins. When we had come to the point where dolphins are mostly spotted, I could feel that something was moving inside the water. Suddenly we saw a small group of dolphins, we all were excited and wanted to make a video of the playful dolphins. But whenever we started making videos, the dolphins disappeared from the camera screen and we would curiously look here and there. Suddenly someone would shout ‘There they are’. Even Tanmay, my four-year old brother, was taking great interest in spotting them. We all sat on different sides of the boat, looking in different directions to spot the dolphins.

While coming back we spotted many more dolphins playing. The boatman told us that we were lucky because not many tourists are able to spot so many dolphins at a time. The sunset from the boat was magnificent. Any boat running far away in the lake which would come in the visual sphere of the red sun would appear black in color just as we make in paintings. After the sun had set, there was a Dull Orange-Red band at the horizon and the whole sky just above the band was Dark Purplish-Blue.

We came back to the hotel and checked whether we were successful in making the videos of the dolphins or not. I did not forget to put the batteries on charge. I really like waking up till late night but I was not allowed and was forced to bed. It was really an eventful day.

Next day early in the morning, we took a quick breakfast and got ready for the journey towards the mouth of the Chilika Lake where it meets the ocean.

It became colder as we moved nearer to the ocean. We passed many islands and saw many birds. Sometimes we even spotted dolphins. I wanted to stay there and watch dolphins for some more time but we had a less amount of time to do both the things. So we decided continuing towards the beach even after spotting the dolphins. The beach, a small strip of land separating the sea from lake, is known as Rajhans Beach. We stopped at the beach and came out of the boat.

The boatman told that it is not possible to take the boat to the meeting point of the lake and the ocean. It was far. But, we could go there walking some distance. I wanted to walk till there but we were short on time. So we decided to spend that small time on the beach itself.

We walked to the other side of the strip. There the waves were double the size of the waves at Puri. So it was dangerous going deep into the water. We stood at a distance, where only huge waves could touch us. As for mama he was walking here and there quite ahead of us. It was lovely. I noticed that there were no boats in the sea as there were in Konark or Puri.

Roaring waves at Rajhans Beach

Roaring waves at Rajhans Beach

We drank nariyal paani and tea which were the only facilities on the beach. A man told us that we had come on the right time, soon there would be crowds of people on the beach and we would not have walked in peace.

We started our journey back to the hotel and as the man was saying we saw many boats carrying people to the Rajhans Beach. We came to the port and went back to the hotel.

On the way we came across a park. It was an interesting park. In which there were tracks and small bridges to cross over narrow fresh water streams. The seats in the park were snail shaped. These seats were wet and slimy just as snails are because of algae.

Inside it there was a huge slide on which Papa, Tanmay and I could slide together. Wow! There was a lighthouse slide as well. Tanmay and I went on it several times. We walked to the top from inside the lighthouse and slid down the slide. It was fun. From the park also we could see the lake. There were many boards in the park giving information and telling facts about the wonderful Chilika Lake creatures. There I came to know more about Irrawaddy Dolphins.

More about the Irrawaddy Dolphins

More about the Irrawaddy Dolphins

We were having great fun there. So, when papa asked us to come back to the hotel. Tanmay and I reluctantly went back for lunch. In the noon we made our way to the port in order to board the Balugaon bound ferry.There was lot of confusion about on which port, our ferry will arrive. . We had to walk a lot here and there. Even after reaching at the right spot we had to wait for a long time for the ferry to come.

I was thinking the ferry would be big and white but it was just the opposite. It was an old, dirty, small rowing boat that had an engine fitted to it. As the ferry came near I thought, what excuse to make so we drop the idea of going in that old, dirty ferry. I knew my tricks wouldn’t help. But I was lucky; Mummy and Nani were also equally disappointed and asked Papa to go and check whether the ferry had a smell of fish or not. It seemed to be a common fisherman’s boat and trunks of fishes were loaded in it. I could guess that Papa and Mama would still be OK with it but I knew Mummy would not like it and it turn out to be the same as I imagined. Mummy and Nani refused to go and luckily we saw the ferry go away without us!

Now the problem was that we had to reach Barkul by night and there was no better option than to book a private boat. I liked that decision because that new boat was rather clean than the ferry, and big as well. I would continue the journey towards Barkul by this ferry in my next article, where we stayed at my dream place.

Series Navigation<< My trip to Odisha – Dhauli, Pipli and KonarkBoat House at Barkul, Odisha >>


Comments

  1. chandrali

    October 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    even i went to orrisa, but at a very small age ,so i do not remember much about the place…after reading this, my memories are refreshed thanx . Nice pics and well written my fav was the chariot wheel……


  2. Pingback: Boat House at Barkul, Odisha – Manish Jaishree

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  4. Manish Khamesra

    July 15, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I read some interesting things about the fishermen shares with dolphin in Chilika. The dolphins and Fishermen survive on the same catch, still the fishermen at Chilika believe that the Irrawaddy dolphins stealing their catch brings them the good luck. They believe that dolphins are their allies who drive more fish into their traps. This is the reason when they set up their nets, they say a prayer to the earth Goddess Harchandi and tap the sides of their boat to summon their allies/emissaries.

    Earlier dolphins used to trap their prey against the shore, but they have now learnt new tricks of pinning them against the man-made barrier.

    According to a renowned botanist, dolphins neither help fishermen catch more fishes nor they reduce their catch by eating it up, however the fishermen do end up catching more mullet, a much sought after fish in this wetland with the aid of their old dolphin friends.

    Dolphins by nature are shy creature, but over generations, they’ve learnt to trust the fishermen and they can be seen surging within a couple of meters of the fishermen in the lake.

    A few of them also talk about stories where dolphins saved one of them by dragging him to the shore when he was drowning.

    And the love for these creatures is so strong that they feel “If dolphin die, the fishermen will suffer.” I wish this ecological balance remains forever in the lake.

    Information taken from an article by Janaki Lenin in the Hindu “titled Fishing with Irrawaddy Dolphins”


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