The things we’d do to hit the road again. A combination of self-searching, adventure and leisure, the open road with all its romance is calling us and we are ready to embrace the next big adventure. Welcoming every wanderer with open arms, Odisha’s scenic roads can put most of our expressways to shame. Be it the Puri-Konark stretch via NH 203 or the road leading up to the magnificent Daringbadi, meandering through the winding roads in the backdrop of lush, unspoilt nature is as close to tranquillity as we can get. Home to some of the most exquisite temples and beaches, the laidback and sun-stretched state is flanked by treasures reminiscent of a glorious past. Going beyond Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark are virgin places and experiences waiting for those willing to hit the road on an adventurous whim.
Nestled amidst dense forests, the Duduma waterfalls tearing through the rugged rocks of the Eastern Ghats are one of the most exhilarating sights in the state. Originating from the Machkund River, the backbone of the Machkund Hydro Electric Power Project, it is the third highest waterfall in Odisha. Sitting on the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, it has two sub-waterfalls. Around 70 kilometres from Jeypore, Duduma doesn’t attract the typical tourist crowd. There are two roads that lead up to the Duduma waterfalls. While one can be accessed from Jeypore, the other can be reached from Semiliguda via Nandpur. The grandeur of the falls can be witnessed in all their glory especially during the monsoons.
Often called the ‘Silent Valley’ of Odisha, this offbeat destination, tucked away in Daringbadi, in Kandhamal district is guarded by 22 hills positioned one after the other. With temperatures occasionally dropping as low as zero degrees, it’s no surprise that this quaint little hill station is also tagged as the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’. Surrounded by deciduous forests, the Mandasaru ecosystem is a treasure trove of rare medicinal plant and animal species. Set amid lush rolling hills, it houses two perennial and four non-perennial waterfalls— Beingumaha, Kaddigdapa, Pisibrunda, Keragaadu. Approximately seven hours from the capital Bhubaneswar, its unexplored terrain makes it ideal for the intrepid traveller.
The wilderness at Khandadhar, coupled with the cacophony of the chirping birds is a treat for a tired soul. One of the highest waterfalls in India, the crystal clear waters cascading down the uneven stone floors, it derives its name from its shape that resembles a sharp sword. Situated in the Sundargarh district, the falls drops to the ground from a height of 244 metres. However, reaching the site might be a bit of a challenge, navigating through the lush jungles, the last stretch of the waterfalls has to be traversed by foot. Nature and adventure lovers can go for a hike along the Tensa Valley, nearly 25 kilometres from the Khandadhar ecotourism site.
Standing in its lone majesty, across the Mahanadi River, Hirakud is the world’s longest earthen dam. Located 15 kilometres north of Sambalpur, its unrivalled sparkling waters are picture-perfect. Stretching across the Laxmidungri Hills on the left to the Chandili Dunguri Hills on the right, the dam was the first multipurpose river valley project in India after independence. The 21-kilometre drive on the dyke unveils a remarkable opportunity to swirl in serenity and tranquillity. Make your way to the several revolving minarets nearby, which offer a view of this massive expanse of water. The Gandhi Minar, a watchtower perched on top of a nearby hill offers a bird’s eye view of the Hirakud Dam.
See odishatourism.gov.in for more.
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