It was to be the penultimate day of our Orissa trip but was to be one of the most exotic and exciting. We left for Cuttack railway station early in the morning of 23rd October to take the train to Keonjhar – one of the largest districts of Orissa. Keonjhar is famous for being rich with minerals. The place is hilly and forested and a stronghold of Maoist overt activities – a headache for Orissa government and the administration. As the train chugged past Cuttack and once it crossed the Mahanadi at Janapur (Jajpur district) and as we entered the district the landscape changed abruptly. From vast stretches of fields and sundry towns to forested hills and eerie wilderness. The color of the soil had also changed remarkably. We were going to Keonjhar for the Khandadhar falls but as luck would have it, we would land at a different fall but with the same name. It was a passenger train full of people but not crowded to the point of discomfort. We reached Keonjhar at around 1 in the afternoon and straightway took an auto to scout for a hotel. I had little cash with me and I needed it urgently for the remainder of the day. There was hardly any ATM in the town and to the top it all the usual problem at such places – the long queues in front of them if you find one. We booked a hotel and a car for our trip and while my parents waited at the hotel I waited outside the ATM. The problem with the queues outside small towns is the average time people take here for completing their transactions. I was reminded of the long queues outside ATMs at Jorhat in Assam and Daltonganj in Jharkhand. People are pathetically slow and it was frustrating. Another problem is the limited cash these ATMs have and I needed cash urgently. Since it was already afternoon I didn't have much hours of sunshine left to complete the trip – which included three waterfalls and return to the hotel.
|notice the location of khandadhar from konjhar|
|the bridge over mahanadi at janapur, jajpur district|
|landscape of keonjhar district|
|khandadhar falls, keonjhar district - 152 m|
|exotic keonjhar - the day is about to end|
|sylvan countryside - mayurbhanj|