Kettle, Fish, Stool, Pressure Cooker, Brinjal, Banana…..And what not !
I wonder what goes through the minds of the “eligible” election contestants when they choose such weird objects to represent themselves. Being on roads during the election season is crazy. Myriad announcements at the same frequency asking for votes and in voices which, I believe, are modulated, on purpose and in a funny way, to stand out amongst all….It’s a chaos at another level !
Being apathetical about politics, I was looking for my escapade from all the noise when my 9 year old son asked “Mumma, if You…. had to choose a symbol for yourself, what would that be?”
Very true…what would that be???
Pondering over the choices, I thank fully dozed off and woke up to the silence of the open fields and dizzy hills far away. The noise had fainted, and I could already feel the solitary vibes of Satkosia, a unique ecosystem in Eastern Odisha with an amalgamation of a beautiful gorge and a tiger reserve. Satkosia can be approached from multiple sides as the Govt. of Odisha provides many Eco Tourism sites surrounding it, all having access to the gorge and the chunks of the jungle. However, our favourite of all is the Satkosia Sand Resort at Badmul, in Nayagrah District for the sheer reason that it gives the joy of camping on Mahanadi riverbed surrounded by mountains at one side and the perpetual river at the other.
How to reach :- It is around 129 km from Bhubaneswar and what can be any other way to approach it ,than by road , relishing the beauty of the landscape that Odisha has to offer.
It provides 3 types of accommodation :
1 – The permanent AC cottages on the top of a mountain slope
2- The AC tents on the mid-mountain slope and
3 – The non-AC tents on the riverbed of Mahanadi.
We have been here before, but it was during monsoon and thus we missed the river bed tents which are available only from Nov – March and hence this second visit. However, given the experience , the number of visits are going to go up very soon 🤗.
The tents are comfortable with all basic amenities and lots of sunshine.The fooding area is just outside and serves sumptuous Oriya cuisines.However, the food timing is very strict and if you like to eat your food hot , then make sure to be amongst the first few in the line. The tents are stationed directly over the sand and hence It follows the desert rule – Mornings are burning hot and the nights are nerve wracking cold, thus do not miss to pack the warmers. It has also done justice to the eco friendly tag of the resort….No single use plastic containers, availability of the water purifier which reduced the usage of the plastic bottles to 0 and also sign boards every now and then saying “This is a plastic free zone” has really helped in reducing the carbon footprint, however ,as long as the visitors think munching on chips and gulping a coke bottle is a mandatory step of any outing, nothing is going to make a long term impact.
We had booked a 3 days and 2 night stay but cannot quite remember that when exactly did we decide to extend our stay by 1 more night 🤩. May be…. it was while Bathing in the silence of Mahanadi (make sure to follow the bathing zone , as its a crocodile breeding area) or while Cycling to the near by eco villages or Camping under the moonlight or Listening to local folk music or Watching the sand and the hills change colours with sunrise and sunset or may be… while just eating and sleeping without a worry in our head.
Words of Caution:– The AC cottages on the mountain slope are at a decent elevation and all the major meals are served at the base. So, it takes quite an effort going up and down. Room service is available , but then you might miss out on all the view ,hence , choose your rooms wisely. 🙂 .
Apart from being a beautiful weekend getaway, Satkosia is also an active breeding location for crocodiles and one can easily sight them basking in the sun while enjoying a boat ride in the gorge. However, I prefer ditching the boat ride and sitting at the boarding point immersing myself in the beauty of the gorge because the only boats available here are the motorboats which make annoying rumbling noise as they move and that kills the boating experience for me , because what is boating after all ,if you cannot hear the sound of the rippling waves in the water and create music in your mind while you watch the setting sun rays dance along with the dazzling river. Nevertheless, watching a crocodile in its natural habitat is also an interesting sight and thus one can prioritise their choices accordingly.
Where and How Much – The boating point is approximately 5 km from the resort and can be easily cycled with the ones available in the resort.Boating charges are Rs.750 for half an hour ride for a full boat and Rs.1500 for 2 hours. It is also available on sharing basis with a rate of Rs. 150/head.
Just across the resort is the jungle trail which is a 2 hour walk amidst the Satkosia tiger reserve and if you are deeply fond of jungle walks like we do, then the duration can extend further.Its better to start early cuz then you get ample time in hand to enjoy and return by breakfast.
Although it’s a tiger reserve, but unfortunately there are no tigers right now , just wild boars ,deers, giant squirrels and some gorgeous birds, hence not much sighting can be expected. However, if you can just celebrate the joy of being in the woods , then the feeling is exhilarating. The trail takes you to a water point , which is huddled by beautiful birds flying here and there , chirping continuously and perching rarely ..It’s a delightful free show 😊.After this it starts entering a village from where the resort is just 15 minutes away.
Every journey is a story and a story has many inspiring characters, so does ours !
He appeared like any normal road side vendor ,selling the famous Odisha delicacy Dahi Vada – Aloo Dum. Pretty sure of the fact that I will be served in a thermocol bowl with a plastic spoon ,I quickly started searching for my travel cutleries. But by the time I found my pack he had already made my bowl ready and hence I reluctantly said “Please do not give me a plastic spoon, I have my own spoon”.On that he said …”Do not worry Madam , I use eco friendly spoons made from Palm tree leaves dried and sharpened at my home” . And I was like ‘Whattttt, really ???’. I was amazed to find such a niche alternative on the roadside which is so easy to make and replace the single use plastic cutleries floating in myriad numbers in the market.Although he was doing it to save himself the cost price of the spoons , but unknowingly he had become the part of the change which is the need of the hour.I asked him if he can also replace the thermocol bowls with the bowls made with leaves, and he said with excitement “Madam, When you go back, do stop by to see the change”…..and when we returned 3 days later he was eagerly waiting for us to be served in his all new 100% eco friendly bowls.
3 nights 4 days went by at a breakneck speed and what remained are some unforgettable moments not only because of how calmly and soothingly Satkosia treated us but also because it is the first one which helped me to attain my target of 0 plastic waste on a road trip, since the time I developed the habit of responsible travel. (Read to know how I keep a track of my plastic wastes on a travel)
However, having said all that we did, I still feel there is so much more that has remained unspoken and can only be heard from the place itself ….. So do visit, but make sure not to disturb the conducive eco system that exist there with so much harmony!!!