Road Trip from Kolkata To Panchalingeswar Orissa


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HI Folks,

Its time for my first trip report in my new jazz. Its been slightly over 2months now since Ive purchased it & its running exceedingly well. The Distance to be covered was around 280kms & the route was Kolkata-kolaghat-kharagpur-belda-jaleswar-balasore-panchalingeswar.

We left our residence in Kolkata at 6:30am on 18th Feb 2012. We went around the famous Victoria Memorial to click a few snaps & drove onwards to the Vivekananda Setu to hit the Bombay highway.

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The NH6 is a butter smooth road which is a pleasure to drive on. The only problem being vehicles travelling from opposite direcions on your side of the road. As we started gathering momentum, the FE started climbing up steadily inching upto an unbeliavable 19km/lt with AC[cheers]
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Our first hiccup was at Kolaghat bridge which is still under repairs (God knows how long will it take for any Bengal Govt to clear this mess). We were stuck for 25mins & eventually cleared it to reach a Dhaba at around 8:30am to have our breakfast.

I was maintaining a speed of around 100km/hr till this point of time. Post Kolaghat we reached Kharagpur where the infamous turnabout lies. Many thanks to fellow TAI member 'anisghos' to have warned me before hand not to take the first left instead go below the loop. Things were going smoothly, in fact much to our surprise we skiped 2 Toll Booths enroute as there wasn't a soul around. The local operators had protested against NHAI's decision to involve private operators to work the toll booths to save on revenue losses. Hence we sved about 60-70bucks thanks to these guys.

We were now on NH60 heading towards belda which is more or less the border of W Bengal & Orissa. Roads turned into concrete slabs & going was extra smooth. 2012-02-18 09.19.34.jpg This is when I hit my top speed of this trip at 140+km/hr before I was reprimanded by my father to reduce asap. Now let me be frank here, though the Jazz did hit 140, it was sounding quite strained at these speeds. The presence of a puny 1.2lt engine cold be felt easiy. Then again, stability was never an issue, though the jazz is a comparitively light car. I guess this was due to the very aerodynamic design of this vehicle.

We reached the infamous border around 10:30am. Luckily we didn't have to face any sort of fleecing as I had heard before. We paid a tax of 40bucks but the whole place is lined with trucks, the up lane was totally blocked, I had to request my co passengers to disembark, as I had to switch into the down lane by going into a ditch. It required some careful manouvering which I managed luckily.

Post border going was smooth, but no uneventful to say the least. In one instance, I was doing about 80 when a stray dog charged into my car from the road side & banged against the bumper like a mad bull. Luckily no damage to my car [surprise]. Moreover I noticed that in orissa highways, every biker makes it a point not to wear a helmet. 99% of them didnt have it on (maybe its a rule in this state). Last but not the least, near Jaleswar I faced onciming vehicles in my lane fom both the sides. Say for example a bike coming from the opposite direction on my right side & a truck, also coming from the opposite direction on my left!!! [frustration]

Another frustrating feature of Orissa highways was that very frequently there were small culverts/bridges on a slightly elevated level. Cars were going up the ramp at full speed only to find that the surface of that culvert/bridge is totally broken! After a a couple of bad shake ups I became very careful of these hindrances & took it easy.

Then we were in for another shock. After crossing Balasore, we asked a toll booth guy for the cut which we need to take to go to Panchalingeswar & he said it was 15kms ahead. After going the full 15kms we came to know from locls that the Shergarh cut is actually before the toll. Fuming, I drov all the way back & gave a mouthful to the toll guys & refused to pay the toll again. They profusely apologised & let me go without paying.

Cheers

Jazzy
PS: More pics & trip report to follow soon
 

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great pics pics buddy but 2nd one is best! well i dint knew such good highways also exist in india! [:D]
 
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Hi Jazzy, nice snaps again.. :-), eagerly waiting for the driving experiences and other snaps. Also is the low ground clearance problem affected you more often ? Also how about the vehicle's initial pick up/torque (the two most common issues that we can see in any Jazz forum) ? Then more about handling/overtaking etc ?

Cheers, Thanks...
 
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great pics pics buddy but 2nd one is best! well i dint knew such good highways also exist in india! [:D]
Hi Umang, the 2nd pc is of the Vivekananda Setu which connects Howrah to Kolkata. The Ambys really struggle to climb the gradient as its quite steep.

Cheers

Jazzy
 
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Hi Jazzy, nice snaps again.. :-), eagerly waiting for the driving experiences and other snaps. Also is the low ground clearance problem affected you more often ? Also how about the vehicle's initial pick up/torque (the two most common issues that we can see in any Jazz forum) ? Then more about handling/overtaking etc ?

Cheers, Thanks...
Hi Harinhs, The ground clearance is an issue definately in the jazz as you will find out in part II of my story. Initial pickup/torque wasn't an issue at all in the highways as I could rev it hard due to less traffic & good roads. But as I mentioned, at 130+ speeds the jazz is a bit strained but handling was never an issue as its a bit stiffly sprung & can take long corners with ease. The aerodynamic design helps too by cutting through the air swiftly

Cheers

jazzy
 
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Part II:
After turning into the State Highway, from the Shergarh crossing we headed towards panchalingeswar. Please note that its v easy to miss this shergarh crossing & one has to look out for the BIRLA TYRES factory on the right...the turn comes soon after this factory. The State highway was generally in good condition upto our destination & we were greeted by distant hilss & greenery all around as shown in the picture.

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We were booked in OTDC Panthasala which was a cute place location wise but rooms & amenities were quite basic. The service was just about ok as options were limited. The weather was fine & pleasant thanks to February!
In the evening we visited the Lord Shiva's shrine on top of a hill by crossing 250 stairs. The view from top was quite nice. One hasto lie flat on his face on a rock & peer down to actually view the 5 lingas. A water source emanates from this rock & is flowing throughout the year.
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The next day we started off for Devkund which is 70kms from panchalingeswar. The road goes through Khantapada-Udala to devkund which is again a religious place but a very scenic one as its situated iside the Simlipal Wildlife Sanctuary. But we wre in for a shock...15kms into the journey, the roads turned quite poor & then transformed into deplorable. The condition was pathetic to say the least. Potholes were formed the essence of this road & taking my 2 month old new JAZZ through this road was a pain & thorn in my heart!!! My dad even suggested we turn back but we had nothing to do that day so we went ahead.

The Jazz was taking a lot of punishment & the rear parcel tray was making certain sounds which I had not heard before. the heart was thumping & I was cursing myself all the time. Development has really not happened in these parts of orissa & it shows. But people arent too bothered. I say this becasue we had asked the manager specifically regarding the road conditions & he had said "its fine". If this is fine I dont know what is bad!!! The only vehicles which we were seeing were taveras, sumos, some indigos & bullockcarts!!! People were gawking at my Jazz like they were seeing a spaceship. I don't suppose they had ever seen a Honda before in these parts.

Eventually we reached Devkund after 3 hours, only to find out that the actual shrine & the waterfall is another 3kms inside the forest & guess what, its OFFROAD! My heart told me to turn around & go back but my mind said, what the hell, wev'e gone through hell how much worse can it be? So off we went into the red soil full of stones, boulders, tree branches & twigs. I'm quite sure this was the 1st & last jazz ever to venture to Devkund!!!! We were soon greeted by a thud in the under carraige (thanks to a stone) & then a twig go stuck somewhere & remained stuck for quite sometime thereby continously making an irritating brushing sound agianst the ground!
We then encountered two gradients litteredt with rocks & stones. I had my heart in my mouth & very cautiously drove the car over thi stretch. The slope made life dificult as the front wheels were slipping & scrambling for grip. [cry] Finally we made it to the end. this was floowed by a 1.5kms walk to the waterfall.
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We started our return journey & had to take the same horrid route.
We made progress for 50kms or so when we encountered 2 sets of speed breakers which were mamoth in size. Looking at them, we realised there was no way we could go through it unscathed. So my fellow passengers disembarked & i cautiously crossed the 1st one with some minor scraping underneath. While tackling the second one unfortunately there were a few trucks crossing from the opposite direction & hence I could not tackle it as well as I would have liked to. The Jazz simply bottomed out on this breaker with a horrible screeching sound. My heart skipped a few beats as I tried to reverse it out of this mess & this resulted in further damage & a gut renching sound from the suspension. Immediately I knew this car had given up...it had taken too much of a beating today & the little Honda had met its match! Somehow clearing the bump, I pressed on the gas & the total exhaust note had changed. The refined purr of the engine had transformed into a race car like vroom vroom sound. That meant that the silencer was damaged badly. Luckily the clutch, gear transmission & other handling parameters were fine.

We went to a local repair shop & asked them to have a look. They looked at the car & simply raised their hands & said that they dont understand anything about Hondas. Reluctantly we made our way back to OTDC accompanied by that horrible exhaust note & some mechanical sounds from the under carraige. I did remember the sales guy telling me on the day of the delivery, that if anything was seriously wrong with the car, some lights will pop up on the speedo/console. This wasn't the case & was our only saving grace.

Next morning we left early & decided to go non stop to kolkata & drive slowly. But after going for the first half hr I realised that this car will make it back without any issues apart from the sound. So I kept a steady speed of 90-100 & came back in hardly 4.5hrs flat. I headed staight to Pinnacle Honda for a checkup & my second service. They helped me staright away by lifting the car on a forklift sort of machine & even invited me to come beneath the car & hava look first hand at the DAMAGE. basically what had happened was a body part was stuck on to the silencer which he yanked off with a screwdriver & immediately my jazz was back to its refined Best. Hurray!!!!
He also showed me the several scratch marks in the underbody which were accompanied by slight rusting in 1 or 2 places. The SA suggested that I do the antirust asap to prevent further damage in future which i complied without thinking twice. The entire service (change of engine oil) & antirust costed me rs.6800/- but bought me mental peace...

So all in all, alls well that ends well. A few lessons learnt, the hard way! In all probabilities this was my first & last trip in my precious car on Indian Highways. Even if i do venture out, it will be on NHs & not in SHs. The jazz in essence is a very good city car, but these kind of deplorabel roads & bone crusing speed breakers are not its cup of tea so as to speak. What we need are MUV/SUVs like Scorpios & Innovas to tackle these sort of roads in India. I'm thankful to God that this injury to my jazz didn't cost me a bomb or damaged my car badly as that would have sent me into a deep depression!!!
It's a great car for the highway with lots of space, great FE, fine AC & decent luggage space. But its a sophisticated tender car, not meant to take this sort of brutal punishment.

Cheers

Jazzy
PS: Hope you liked reading th travelouge
 

Akash

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Good to know that the damage was minimum. However, i am still not able to understand what caused that horrible noise? When i first read your post, i thought that the scraping might have made a hole in the exhaust/muffler which would have led to the increase in the noise of the note.
 
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Akash,
We too thought the entire way back to Kolkata, that the silencer/muffler was damaged or needed to be replaced but what I saw was that basically a body panel had got stuck to the silencer & was brushing against it. The SA simply took a screwdriver & yanked that part away from the silencer & immediately the sound was back to normal. Probably if I had an engineering background, I could have had explained it in a better way to you.

Cheers

jazzy
 
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The govt has ordered removal of bumpers from highways. Orissa roads are too bumpy n very scary for small cars especially.
 
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Honda Cars are known to have less GC. Even my City back home has suffered a lot from the same but thankfully it still drives amazing even after 7 yrs. Great trip nonetheless.
 
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Hi jazzy! The jazz looks really great in that shade. And yes speed breakers are horrible in Indian Highways. Hope everything's fine in your beauty now.
I myself managed an underbelly hit today while crossing a speed breaker at the entrance of a village. I generally take the angled approach but sometimes situations are not like what you want.
A nice travelogue indeed.
 
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