09-Mar-2008 -- This is the 13th point in a journey by motorbike in India to visit 16 confluence points. The story starts at 22N 86E and this visit follows on from 21N 82E. The next point in the series is 21N 84E.
We left Kharhial Road at 7.00am and soon covered the 10 km to Nuaparha and turned left to Padampur. We stopped a few km short of Padampur to check on the final approach and found that we had already overshot by 3km. We traveled back and after a couple of false starts found the road that led to the village next to the point.
I had looked at this point on Google Earth which has a high resolution image of this area. It showed a compact village with the point lying less than 100 metres to the west of the houses. We rode into the village and quickly found a path leading out again toward the point which was conquered at 9.15 am. The land outside the village was dry fields with raised pathways between them – used to retain water at planting time. We stopped at the edge of the village and walked to the point. The path from the village leads to the communal pool that is present in many villages and is used for washing clothes, people and animals! We did not venture into any of these! There was a steady procession of people carrying buckets of clothes to and from the pool. The villagers were very quiet and only one spoke any English. They stood and stared at us as if they had never seen anything like us before. Afterwards I was imagining little children asking their grandparents to tell them again the story about “the day the white men came on motorbikes”. We think the population was probably tribal as they appeared different from most Indians we had met – possibly more like Burmese in appearance. We were not entirely comfortable about the encounter even though we were not threatened in any way. Maybe they felt the same way. In any case we did not linger and felt a sense of relief when we got back onto the main road and headed east again.
Degree of Challenge:
1 – Good road to within a km of the point and then good track to the village where the point is located. (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
3 – In fields very close to the edge of a very traditional, village. (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
5 – Very interesting to get into the heart of a tribal (?) village – these are the fascinating moments that the Confluence Project brings – I would rather be at 21N 83E than at the Taj Mahal! It was only a pity that there was no way of communicating more with the local population. (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)
From the point we enjoyed an excellent road over the hills to Patnagarh on the way to Sonapur. Once we found a hotel there we set off for the next point – 21N 84E.