29-Feb-2008 -- This is the second point in a journey by motorbike in India to visit 16 confluence points. The story starts at the previous point, 22N 86E. The next point in the series is 22N 84E.
This visit was definitely incomplete – we didn’t even stop at the point of nearest approach – which was just 1.68 km from the point.
The day started well enough – we left Champua and rode south to Rimuli. From there we headed west on the NH 215. This was against the advice of a young man in a telephone sales booth the night before but what did he know? What did we know? We did not want to detour miles south so decided to give it a go. The hundreds of trucks stopped on the road out of the village should have given us a clue. These trucks carry iron ore and steel from the mines and steel works in the Orissa hills down too the port on the coast. We were told that there are 40-50,000 trucks involved – it seemed that we saw most of these that day. Once we managed to pass the bottlenecks on the village outskirts we started onto dirt roads up the hills. The road had been metalled once – the evidence was still there, an occasional pillar of asphalt standing a foot higher than the dirt. The trucks treated the rough roads and the hills with disdain – the dust they created did not taste good and at times reduced visibility to a few metres. The dirt roads went on and on sapping our strength and optimism. We averaged less than 10 km per hour for most of the day and both fell off our bikes negotiating particularly difficult sections at low speed. By the time we were down from the hills it was 5pm and we needed to find accommodation for the night. At this point we passed the CP without even a sideways glance. If we had realized that it was only 1.68 km away and that a road would take us to within a few hundred metres of the point then we might have done it – but it was not to be. A small river does flow between the road and the point but from the Google Earth image this looks fordable on foot at least. Having been liberated from the dirt road we just went on into the dusk to find a bed for the night. We missed the first town completely (was it down a side street) and drove on a further 36 km in the dark to reach Barakot. This small town, back on the NH 6, has a hotel that we were happy to see despite being rather basic (200 Rupees or £3 for a twin room with ensuite bathroom). The food at the neighbouring café was excellent and we were befriended by Assistant Superintendent Rameswar Satapadhy of the local police. He welcomed the chance to practice his English.