‘Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul’ – This quote sums up exactly what every biker feels!
Though biking to offbeat places is picking up in India, it’s not everyday that people venture to explore the unseen beauty of our own state.
Meet Sajal Sheth, a biker-photographer from Cuttack who shed all pre-conceived notions and decided to chart his own path along with a group of riders. Dissing the conventional ‘travel guides’ – they kick started their journey towards Mahendragiri, the Second Highest Mountain Peak of Odisha.
Brimming with stories of mythological legends, Mahendragiri seems like a chapter right out of a J.R.R. Tolkein book.
It is believed that Lord Parashuram meditated here for Lord Shiva after which he received the Parsu(double-axle). During Dwapara Yuga, Kunti is said to have stayed here along with her five sons during their 12 years of exile.
Apart from the temples of Lord Shiva and Parashuram, there are Shrines dedicated to Kunti, Yudhistir and Bheema. Within the Kunti Temple lies a Gokarneswar Linga (cow-shaped ear) which can absorb any amount of water. Everything you pour disappears!
Like they say – The road to reach the top is never easy, but the scenic view from the top is what kept the group going.
The dangerous off-roads , which can give 4×4 vehicles a run for its money, looked menacing. However, the group of bikers decided to take on the challenge. Only few of them from the entire group made it to the top with the rest retiring mid-way.
The road is scenic with clouds engulfing every twist and turn of the mountain.
Like they say, it’s always the journey and not the destination which makes travel fascinating – the journey to Mahendragiri is indeed filled with more scenic places like Khurda Garh, Salia Dam , Potagarh, Tampara Lake, Parlakemedi’s Gajapathi Palace & Gandha Hati Waterfall.
If you are planning a road trip, here’s how you can reach Mahendragiri in 2 ways:
a. Either via Samantiapalli – Gopinathpur which can be via Barhampur or Ichchapuram.
b. Another route is via Kainpur which can be Gandhahati- Paralakhemundi- Palasa or via Goppilli- Palasa. But either way you need to reach at Burakhat which is the base.
Stay at Burakhat
There is no option for night stay at Burakhat. But you can stay at Ashram near Kunti Temple or it’s better to carry your own tent. The Ashram can accommodate around 20 people in a big hut. It will be great if travellers can carry extra food and vegetables for the Ashram.
It’s the last 5 km from Burakhat to Mahendragiri which is the most gruelling! However, reaching the top is a surreal feeling according to Sajal.
Lined with prayer flags, swaying to the gentle breeze on the top. The sight is nothing less than breath-taking.
Before we return to our desk jobs and cubicles on Monday, let’s take a moment and savour the beauty which Odisha has to offer.
So let’s hit the road and venture out, because difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
[Photo Courtesy – BMC Touring & Sajal Sheth]