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An Unforgettable Journey to Odisha (Orissa)

Updated on July 4, 2017
sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

A travel enthusiast, Sunil Kunnoth finds pleasure in making trips to historic places and share his experience with the readers.

That night too was not an exception. The Madras railway station was so crowded as usual. Arrival and departure of trains, hundreds of passengers, platform vendors, porters. The typical scene of a busy Indian railway station was emerging there.


We, a five member gang, boarded our train "Coromandal Express" at 21.45 hrs. As we had confirmed tickets, we were in a relaxed mood and entered patiently into the coach S10. The train would start its journey from Madras to Howrah at 22.30 hrs. It covers Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Orissa and finally reaches West Bengal. Passengers to Calcutta mainly depended on this train.

Konark Sun Temple, A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Konark Sun Temple, A UNESCO World Heritage Site | Source

Don't be confused why I say Madras, Calcutta, etc. During that time, these places were known so. Yes, the journey was made during a cold February in the year 1999. Now as you know Madras is Chennai and Calcutta is Kolkatta.


We are back in our sleeper coach. It is nearly 10 pm. The train is to start its 2 nights' long journey within 10 minutes. Kabeer Das and his cousin Lalu are engaged in arranging their berths (read bed). Sreejith and Sidharthan were the other guys part of the 5 member team. Our mission is to attend a 10 days long camp in Berhampur (now it is called Brahmapur) in the eastern state of Odisha (Orissa) organised by the National Youth Project (NYP).


The Chennai  Central Railway station
The Chennai Central Railway station

Inside the coach, I noticed a passenger standing opposite to me. He had elegantly dressed in a safari suit. The lady sitting next to him seemed to be his wife also looked smart in her costly silk sarees. She had lavish gold ornaments on her body and a big red bindi on her forehead. The man is busily settling his luggage and arranging their berths to have a comfortable sleep. I noticed they are conversing in some languages very strange to us. We thought they must be a north Indian couple. What surprised us more was their conversation was in several different languages. Is it Oriya? Gujarathi? We had no clues. Soon he began asking me some questions, all in English. We just began exchanging some customary questions. The train is moving fast and time is nearing 11 pm. Slowly we occupied our berths and fell into sleep.

The Chariot Wheel-The symbol of Odisha Tourism
The Chariot Wheel-The symbol of Odisha Tourism

The next morning, while the train was passing through Andhra Pradesh, we had some surprise. These middle-aged couples speak Malayalam! Our very mother tongue. We felt extremely happy when came to know that they are Malayalees. Naturally our conversation progressed and we were engrossed in various discussion. The surprise rocked high when they informed that they too are going to Berhampur. They had settled there since the last 25 years and doing good business in the city.


As we are reaching two days ahead of the program scheduled date ignoring the organizers' direction, we were not sure of the accommodation availability. Moreover, it is our first journey to such a long distant place and we had no contacts either. So finding lodging was the main concern. A lot of questions like where, how, when were forming in our tensed mind. We felt a kind of relax on the God's grace for we have got a helping hand even before reaching the destination. The family consoled us not to worry anymore and offered us any assistance in case we need it.


At 7.25 evening, we got down at Berhampur station. Our first coming to the state of Odisha and the eastern region. The family took us in their car parked outside the railway station and dropped us at Berhampur town hall. The camp office was functioning there. The organizers were present in the office. We acquainted with them. Soon we got accommodation and food thanks to the help of our new friend- KGN Acharyar, that was his name. Fortunately, he was a well-known personality in the town and a member of many organizations in the area. The organizers too were his friends.

The next morning he phoned us to get ready immediately as he wishes to take us for some temple darshan (visit). Incidently, I may also inform you that in Odisha, you can find temples everywhere and its capital city Bhuvaneshwar is even known as "The land of 1000 temples"! As promised, he came on time and took us to show some famous temples in and around the town. He also invited us to his home and served us good food.


The camp lasted for 10 days. During the camp days, he often visited us and brought us good food made in his home. On his request, we also spent time in his hotel "Purnapriya", the famous eatery in the Berhampur city. The former Prime Minister of India Mr Narasimha Rao was a regular visitor in the hotel during his election campaign in Berhampur Loksabha election. Thus, the hotel and its guests had a VIP status too.

The Puri Beach
The Puri Beach

We had more surprise in store before the camp was concluded. The day after the camp was over, Acharyaji sent us his car along with the driver. His plan was to send us for a two days' sightseeing. During this trip, we visited major attractions in Odisha. The famous Chilka lake, Bhuvaneshwar city, Konark Sun Temple, Konark Beach, Puri Beach, Puri Jagannada Temple and many other known and unknown temples. Truly it was a wonderful experience to know and feel the rich heritage of Odisha. Our stay in Odisha was a different and unforgettable experience. KGN Acharyar, the man we acquainted in the train compartment made it so pleasurable. The two days' trip and sightseeing would have surely emptied our pocket but for his kindness and hospitality.


Who on the earth provides such a sincere love, spend money lavishly and do whatever possible to make his guests so comfortable and cheerful? It is very surprising to note that such a display of love was poured on a group just acquainted in a night and day long journey!


On the day of our return, he came to send off us at the railway station. He had some packets of Sweets in his hand, which he lovingly put into our bags. The pain of departure was well seen on his sparkling eyes. Our hearts too were sobbing. While the train was moving, we were learning a new lesson. The golden lesson of love, compassion and friendship in its purity!

© 2012 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Dear Hariprasad

      That was a wonderful experience I had in my life and it was worth mentioning to a large society for obvious reasons. Hence I wrote it in details. Thank you for your visit and comments.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      3 years ago from New Delhi , India

      Sunil, a very lovely and amazing true tale of friendship ! I think, you also have some bright spark in you that ignited so much affection in the mind of that gentleman. A very touching story I enjoyed thoroughly. Voted up.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      arcgexotic

      Thank you very much for visiting and commenting on my post. Noted your link and will check. Thanks for this information.

    • profile image

      archexotic 

      4 years ago

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving some comments.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Thanks for your visit and comments.. Hope the readers will note down this information.

    • profile image

      greenfield 

      4 years ago

      Really this blog is very informative.i love to read and look forward to reading more.thanks!

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      sandystower 

      4 years ago

      great post! nice written.sandystower will provide comfortable accommodation, safe environment and a family friendly atmosphere and takes care of most of your needs immediately.

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Thanks for the information and officer. I shall get in touch when needed.

    • MOKSHA TOURISM profile image

      MOKSHA TOURISM 

      4 years ago

      We, MOKSHA TOUR PLANNERS PVT. LTD. is a fast growing Travel Agency in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. We are specialized in in Orissa Tour Packages, Odisha Package. We provide Orissa Tourism Packages, Taxi Services, Hotel Bookings, MICE Tourism, Orissa Honeymoon Packages & Group Tours for Corporates. We arrange Lord Jagannath Puri Dham Yatra from all major cities and towns of India. Odisha Tours consists as Puri, Konark, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Chilka Lake, Bhitarkanika, Baleswar, Similipal etc. We also book Odisha Tourism hotels managed by OTDC and Orissa Tourism in different locations of India . www.OrissaTourPackage.com & www.JagannathPuriTourism.com

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi William

      Nice to note your comments. Thank you dear.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 

      5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      What an enjoyable read. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Sounds good sunilkunnoth2012 :)

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Noorin,

      Thanks for your kind words. Sure I will write more and will provide your a delightful reading stuff. Keep on watching my hubs.

    • noorin profile image

      noorin 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Beautifully written, I am sure its the guy's hospitality that made you and your friends remember the experience more than anything else. Rated it up and will be coming for more.

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