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.
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.
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.
Finally we made it to the end. this was floowed by a 1.5kms walk to the waterfall.
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.
PS: Hope you liked reading th travelouge