I had to leave Bhubaneshwar on the 14th of july at 11:25 pm and I had finally managed to hire a taxi and with four of my friends we were all set to leave at 4 in the morning. Indian Standard time as is popularly known, we left at about 5am , 1 hour late. Our hopes of seeing the sunrise at the sun temple were over the moment we left our hotel. Konark is around 60 km from Bhubaneshwar. Despite the late start, there was a sense of achievement in me that I would finally be able to see something very popular.
There is only one road from Bhubaneshwar to konark. Early morning, it is a bliss to go through the road. On both sides of road is a small row of trees. Those trees manage to cover the road and it seems like the road to heaven. The camera of my Nokia 6110 navigator phone was at work and we started taking snap shots of the scenic beauty. The weather was cloudy and as a result the sun rays were scattered throughout the sky. Once I had felt I had seen god in my dreams. His appearance was hidden in the foggy weather. The Sun god had given a similar appearance as if blessing our trip to konark and puri.
thad ^ thad ^ thad…
The first speed breaker.
I felt a slight pain on my right shoulder. Four of us had squeezed on the back seat of Tata Indica. Four over-sized, over-weighed people teaching the world to conserve space and food like malnutrition activists out on the road. Peta activists although show more than what they teach, we had no such motive. I was fitted just behind the drivers seat. On the other side was my friend Aman getting the best view of the sun rise. On my side were large farms on the edge of which was a continuous forest cover running parallel to the road. Early in the morning it seemed as if somebody had outlined the forest with a white marker which had smudged all across the boundary of the forest. There was the morning mist which covered the forest in pure white foam. The magic came from the real beauty of Orissa, the temples. They were frequent and all had a peculiar architecture and almost identical entrances. All five of us were amazed by the beauty of Orissa and noise of the car breaking our silence confirmed this amazement feeling to me.
Bhubaneshwar, the city of temples was left behind but the temples kept coming bringing a feeling of spirituality and bhakti in me. Two lions adorned the gates of each temple. They seemed to me like the horses pulling a chariot of peace, love and karma forward. Each passerby must have crossed the path of the chariot carrying the vibes of the message of god. The roar of the engine seemed to mellow down and our car slowly came to a halt near the road side.
” Why has he stopped ? ”
“He’s feeling sleepy and needs tea ”
These words broke the silence as the driver walked out of the car to the tea stall behind. We also got down to have a tea break. After a quick puff the 5 pilgrims were back stuffed in the Indica. The roar was back and the sun had risen fully. The journey to the konark sun temple was back on track and as we crossed the 60 kmph mark, a god cut short our speedy run. The sacred cow was on the road enjoying the cool road. After crossing the speed god check point we were back racing ahead. The cool moist air seemed much better than the controlled temperature conditions in hotel, where most of our training batch fell ill. This fresh air was better than a doctor curing the ill health. The cool breeze became a cool fast blowing wind as the topi waala driver stretched his right leg over the paddle pulling the rope of the horse pulling our cart. The snake like road was more like a straight wide highway to the Schumacher of Orissa. As everything seemed to go well, he again had to slow down as if on a pit stop. This time it was the god of superstition blocking our way. A cat had just crossed the road in front of us. The capped schumacher stopped the taxi, opened his door, spitted on the road and then again powered us through the rest of the journey. Temples passed and extra tanned half naked people standing near road passed by. The light at the end of an already extra lit tunnel had arrived as I spotted a top of a temple, larger than the ones on route.
“Is this the Konark sun temple ?”
yes replied digant (a resident of Bhubaneshwar)
In about a minute the driver stopped the car. The temple was no longer visible. We had to walk another 385 meters, as written on the board to reach the temple. The sun was up as we reached the first milestone of our trip.