Interior Chhattisgarh/ Sourthern Orissa- Tribes, Falls & Forests


Hello all, reading so amazing travelogues out here thought like sharing one of my favourite journeys among all those done with the Safari VTT 2.2 LX. Some of you surely would have read this travel story in some other forum but then thought would share this journey - one of journeys that brings out the amazing diversity and uniqueness of our country.

Safari VTT has seen some fantastic journeys, from the very next day North Bengal Forest and Hill tour, to the unknown interior Orissa jungles [Kuldiha & Satkosia], to the rural badlands and wastelands of Purulia and West Midnapur districts of West Bengal, to the 1-year ownership fantastic travel to Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul and going to some places were few tourists venture to, and then the amazing overnight journey across the absolute desolate NH6 towards one of most remote and part Maoist affected forest of Orissa [Sunabeda] and the unbriddled joy of finding a hidden waterfall with blue waters and a white sandy beach in the middle of the forest, and lastly till this tour to the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary in Jharkhand for some 2 days of zero population and absolute tranquility and then also the 1.5-year ownership was celebrated with the Grand Extreme-Exclusive North Sikkim to the Mandarmoni sea Beach Tour.

Some of the tours done till now:
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As the Puja holidays neared and all known places booked before hand that too with exorbitant rates; searched for some interesting unknown place, one news item suddenly caught my mind - around half a lakh foreign tourists visit a place near Ankadeli, a tribal village beyond Jeypore, Orissa, - more so as a tri-state place where the borders of Orissa, Chhattigarh, and Andhra Pradesh meet.

And more we came to know about this tribal land and its people and desolate roads and caves, the more we were fascinated. Here is a place where we Indians dont know about and yet when I ask for a hotel room, I find out that all hotel rooms in the good hotel are booked all Thursdays till mid 2010 by foreigners. Why? As we encountered that Thursday, we were fascinated by the people, whom we call the most primitive tribe other than the Jarwas till now and yet one can but be enchanted by their simple life, market scenes, and their way of living.

Now any place such as this evokes a immediate concern - Maoist presence and soon I find that there are more than enough out there. All the nearby police stations have been blasted as recent as July. So reasoned like, if a foreigner could come up and visit out here, so could we. With that also grouped the Chitrakote falls, India's Niagara, which is magnificient to watch during the monsoons but since late rainfall happened last year, it was still in magnificent flow.

All in all we had a fantastic journey, not a glamourous one like a Ladakh or a Goa tour would be, but a journey to kind of discovery of tribals, places, people and roads, and to see the waterfall also known as the Niagara of India!


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Re: Interior Chhattisgarh/Sourthern Orissa- Tribes, Falls & Forests

Left at 10:30 pm, night, reached at 3:30 pm, afternoon, at Jeypore - fantastic road till before Balasore - amazing to see a the Cal-Puri Volvo going at 115 kph as we overtook it. After that it is a hell road with averages coming down till we get on to the double roads after Berhampur and then on the State Highways of Andhra Pradesh, again slow but the roads are good, single laned.

Jeypore to Jagdalpur/Chitrakote around 120 km. We based ourselves 1 day at Jagdalpur and 2 days at Chitrakote Resort, just near the Falls - fantastic location. From Jagdalpur covered the Tirathgarh falls beyond Kanger, Danteshwari Temple at Dantewada, and Kirandul/Bailadala mines. At Chitrakote just relaxed for 2 days.

From there Chitrakote we moved to Rayagada, Orissa. Followed this route as wanted to see the interior desolate roads. Amazing views, total emptiness, narrow roads for a halt at Rayagada.

After a night halt at Rayagada, we started at around 10 am again followed the state highway to the NH5 at Berhampur/Ganjam. Again a journey through the eastern ghats among near empty roads till we come near to Berhampur. Reached Kolkata the next day at around 6 am. Had a puncture near Panskura on NH6, it sure takes the gut out to change a Safari tyre after some 16 hours of driving.

In all Orissa state highways and national highways are deteriorating and both are in condition of disrepair - latest update is some part is patched up like - we know soon as heading to Satkosia this weekend. Road infrastructure of Chhattisgarh and AP, what we encountered, is much improved.

Travel Route:

Calcutta to Jeypore[2 days] -- 1050 km -- 17 hours

Jeypore to Jagdalpur/Chitrakote [3 days] - 120 km
[NH43-NH16] - plus quite a few off route journeys to Tirathgarh, Kanger, Danteshwari temple and Kirandul.

Chitrakote - Rayagada [1 day] - 250 km

Rayagada - Calcutta via Taptapani - 1150 km -- 20 hours
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Staff member
What a fantastic way to introduce yourself & your steed to the forum of travelers !! Awesome !!


Awesome jouney... Pour some more pics...
What a fantastic way to introduce yourself & your steed to the forum of travelers !! Awesome !!
Wow !

Wow! This is going to be fun!

The areas around Koraput was always been my interest!!
Thanks guys, hope you all like the rest!

Day 0 and Day 1 - Kolkata - Jeypore - 1050 km - 17 hrs

Morning Day break around Chilka Lake, Orissa


It does confuse for a few seconds from distance, going direct towards you or from you!



Soon enough the eastern ghats as we enter the State Highways of AP to enter Orissa again



We enter Orissa through the absolutely desolate highway plus did not encounter any border checkposts between these 2 states on this state highway road!



Again desolate roads but with rains and greenery all around, it was a great experience and feeling to drive.



We went through Koraput [saw a local market there but was apprehensive to take photos] and then to Jeypore for a much needed rest for that day - it has been a long journey




Morning next day we were headed towards the unseen and unknown - roads empty out soon thereafter. After dark, no one roams around this place


Just beyond Jeypore, to go to these places we cross a British 1931 bridge.


Empty rural roads, almost zero traffic other than the local transport jeeps, but visually stunning scenery with all the mist and the colours of earth











All good and well until you face the reality of places, all the police stations blasted out, no administration around - these happened as recent as July 2009



Jeypore-Lamptaput-Gupteshwar-Machkund ..contd

Road to Gupteshwar Temple through the forests

The Jalaput Dam built across the Machkund River of Orissa stands as a boundary between the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The dam is situated near Ondra Gadda in the district of Vishakapatnam and is placed along the Mudugal hills. The dam has a steep fall along it known as the Duduma Falls. The Jalaput Dam has been functioning from the year 1955 and it holds around 34.273 TMC of water under the Machkund Hydro-Electric Scheme (MHES), down stream.

The name Jalaput is basically a tribal name which has acquired its name putting together the two words Jal and Put. The word Jal means water and Put means store house. As Jalaput Water Reservoir provided water to many of the local tribes the dam came to be known as the Jalaput Dam.

Jalaput Dam

And soon rain and mist enveloped us - amazing to drive, just like a hill station minus the crowd - in fact zero traffic



Gupteswar is a cave temple located on the banks of Kolab River, about 80 km from Koraput, in Koraput District, Orissa. Situated on a lime stone hill amidst scenic bliss, the cave shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple houses a sacred swayambhu Shivling called Gupteswar, which literally means the ‘Hidden God’. Shivratri is the major festival celebrated here amidst much pomp and splendor.

The fame of the temple is not restricted to Orissa but it is also well known in other parts of the country. The people of Chhattisgarh refer to the shrine by the name ‘Gupta Kedar’.

Gupteswar can be reached through a forest tract which starts from the east of the Ramagiri

Gupteshwar temple


Behind Gupteshwar temple there is a absolute dark cave, took one of priests with torches to see some unique limestone rock formation






Duduma Waterfall, Machkund
The majestic waterfall, also known as “Matsya Tirtha” falls from a height of 175 meters. A hydro - electric project with its winch developed amidst deep greenery is a place for pleasure

Duduma Waterfall at Machkund

And then to Machkund mini hydel plant for the trolley ride and the Duduma Falls. One cannot go up to the falls but see it at a distance as it all dense forest surroundings. The trolley ride was missed as the caretaker was out somewhere, who knows, met a local person tending cattle and chatted with him up for some time. Quite informed and well dressed and good to chat with someone, after all in all this journey out to this particular place here, first time I am talking to a local


The stairs and winch trolley lead right down to the bottom where the turbines are located.


Of course, Machkund Police Station is also blasted out - this done around July-Aug 2009.


After a very satisfying drive and travel to these unknown parts, we return to Jeypore town just around dusk. On the next post, I write down about our travel to the Bonda market at Ankadeli, one of the main reason for us to come out here. This market happens only on Thursdays each week.


Bonda Tribes - one of the most primitive tribes of India

The beautiful state of Orissa houses 62 tribal communities with the total tribal population of approximately 7 million. Among these tribal communities, the name of Saora (or Sabar) tribe is mentioned in the Hindu scripture Mahabharata. Few more characteristics of the tribal people of Orissa can be enumerated on the basis of the study and surveys. The tribes of Orissa though belong to 3 linguistic divisions, namely Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Austric and Tibeto-Burmese.

It was in March 2007, 6 months before the VTT days, we travelled to Daringbadi and Baliguda-Belghar and saw the fascinating tribal markets of Dessia Kondhs and Khutiya Kondhs. One of the highlights of that tour was the tribal market and also this unique photo.

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This is a exact cross-section with half of it being carried off to the in-laws house for marriage and celebration. The other side is a "treat" to watch, it has been cut exact in half.

Who are the Bondas : The Bonda or Bondo are an ancient tribe of people numbering approximately 5000 who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwesternmost Orissa, India, near the junction of the three states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh. The Bonda are a scheduled tribe of India and are also known as Remo (meaning "people" in the Bonda language), Bhonda, Bondo, or Bondo Poraja. Their language belongs to the Munda subgroup of the Austro-Asiatic language family.

The Bonda are generally semi-clothed, with the women characterised by the wearing of thick silver necklace bands. The tribe is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India with their culture little changed in over a thousand years. Their isolation and known aggression continue to preserve their culture despite the pressures of an expanding Indian population. In contrast with many other populations in India, the number of females among the Bondas greatly exceeds the number of males.

The best way to view members of the tribe is by going to one of the local town markets. It is not considered safe to venture into their tribal areas. Bondas still use 'binnimoy protha', i.e. give-and-take policies. Every Sunday they use to go in a market.

They like to put castor oil in their head. Women make worli painting in their house.

Norman Lewis' 1991 book "A Goddess in the Stones" is a must read and the way he describes the places and tribes in Orissa is absolutely enchanting.

In his own words ""Miniature in stature, they are the only Orissan tribe to show fierce aggression, killing not only animals but humans with their bows and arrows. Perhaps misleadingly, the Bonda girls have a sweet expression, so neat and pretty with their neck rings and shaven heads covered with a cap of beads which hangs down in front of their naked breasts.""

In the country markets you can see tribal people who live high in the hills where no road or visitors reach. Once a week they come down to sell their produce and buy cheap jewellery and cloth. You see people whose features you would never expect to find in India; some with the characteristics of Australian aborigines, others high cheekboned and definitely Asiatic.

Norman's words came alive when he talked about the intriguing Bonda people, who live in a dramatic, mountainous terrain and seem more primitive than other tribes.
As such, we take a same day excursion trip to Ankadeli/Onukudelli, home of the approximately 6000 members of the fierce Bondas (naked people) of Tibetan-Burmese origin. They live in the remote hills & keep themselves isolated. They grow rice by shifting cultivation & keep domesticated cows & goats. They can only be seen when they come to trade at the local weekly market. The Bonda women are noticeable by their bead necklaces, striking brass & silver neck lets & their shaved heads decorated with plaits of Palmyra leaves.

This market happens only on Thursdays and believe it or not all rooms of Hotel Hello Jeypore is booked, not by Indians but by foreigners. Not a single tourist from our land. Of course, with the knowledge that I gathered from reading and all, we are not going to go there on our own. We gathered at the hotel premises and followed the foreigners [mostly from Switzerland] along with their guide. A big thank you to our guide for allowing us to tag along.
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