Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal (Part 5)

A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
This is the concluding part as well as continuation of the fourth post on my motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal. Here I'll resume the story from my afternoon drowsy spell at Old Digha Beach. It was 2:15 in the afternoon… I got up from my position to find my brother licking on an ice-cream cone. In the Internet I had come across recommendations for the evening light/sound show ‘Jurassic Park’ in Digha Science Center, so purchased two tickets for the same on our ride back to our den. In my mind floated the memories of mesmerizing light/laser show in Hyderabad… Probably it won’t be that good, but how can it be much worse?... We reached the venue in right time to join some twenty other audiences for the next twenty minutes. It was the most horrible show for which I’ve ever spent any bucks. There was poor lighting, low quality sound system and above everything zero animation of their old model dinosaurs! Brother made fun of my decision and it was logical. Later we relaxed in New Digha beach till we finished the day with lip-smacking chicken Biryani.
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
Digha Railway Station looks quite unique in blue shades.
Is 13 an unlucky number? Well, for us apparently it was a happy day (13th September, 2012) that started late with the satisfaction of almost completing our trip and returning home. We checked out of hotel by 9:30 AM and rode out of beautiful Digha in no time. After reaching Contai, we took the road to Rasulpur to visit Dariapur. There waited some real bad road ahead to suck out our morning energy. After reaching Dariapur Lighthouse we found that the main gate was locked as visitors are allowed to climb up the tower only between 3-5 PM with entry fee. We missed the ‘might be superb’ aerial view but the lighthouse could be nicely photographed from out of the boundary walls in its full glory. Moreover we realized later that we didn’t have enough energy stored in our muscles to clear some thousand steps and then ride three hundred kilometers in a day (we didn’t even have idea of road condition then!).
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
Dariapur Lighthouse.
Five minutes from the lighthouse, there waited the ruins of the Temple of Kapalkundala which had inspired the great Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee to create his masterpiece work of literature ‘Kapalkundala’! I looked here and there but nowhere could I spot a temple inside the village till one veteran man directed me towards a skeleton of bricks half hidden behind the bushes and the remaining half by the cattle grazing before it… oh how could I locate that! Leave aside any expectation of seeing an idol there… no roof… no floor… some remaining walls… bleeding bricks and few crippled pillar.
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
Ruins of the Temple of Kapalkundala which had inspired the great Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.
I started my motorcycle with a sad thought that the structure won’t remain much longer for curious tourists like us if no messiah comes to its rescue. Again a ride back to Contai… some inquiry about the routes from bus ticket counter guys and we were ready for our final leap for home (obviously more sweet when you’re returning after completing your trip successfully). It was half past twelve noon when we left Contai. The road was nearly perfect and we reached Kolaghat as marked by its Kolaghat Thermal Power Station on the other side of the highway. From there our misery started… at first in the form of road and then the weather to force us to believe the unlucky potential of ‘13’!
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
Statue of the great Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, near the ruins of Kapalkundala Temple.
One truck driver suggested us to take the road to Bardhaman via Aarambagh. Few kilometers of four lane road stored in our ‘biker’s luck’ finished very soon along with a short and light shower caressing our clothes as we took a right turn to take the horrible potholed road to Ghatal. Another few kilometers of zigzag attempt with the handle to avoid those “Public graves intelligently dug and carefully maintained by State Government” and we realized the futility of our cautiously riding. It was around three when we felt the need for lunch. The tolerance of my butt started decreasing with every passing minute… we were taking more frequent breaks… little before sunset we could hobble into Ghatal. One bus driver smiled in negativity when I asked him the road condition till Aarambagh. There wasn’t really any dough-nut for us.

I always avoid riding long distances in dark hours as it gets more risky when the rider’s vision is obscured by the high halogen beam of bigger vehicles on the road but this time there was no narrow escape… our venture continued on wasted roads with aching butt (well transmitting to sacral region as well as back muscles) under the diffuse twilight sky. One kilometer felt like ten to me (Holy cow! Were we hallucinating too?). Our struggle with untameable path and blinding car lights continued for more than an hour. It was complete dark (seven O’clock I think) when the climax gave the finishing touch to our trip, almost eight-ten kilometers far from Aarambagh. It started raining cats and dogs and that too suddenly!
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
Kolaghat Thermal Power Station as visible from the highway.
A slice of fortune came to our rescue, there was a shop nearby… a cloth store… we became good refugees under their leaking tin shade. It was another experience smelling the smoke of bidis, listening to the amusing discussions of local men, passively watching our pony getting washed by the consistent downpours and doing a hopeful countdown for the nature to calm. The rain had controlled its flow but showed no sign of stoppage even after ninety minutes… we took out our raincoats for the first time in our trip and we were ready to go.

Another challenge stood up now. Big/deep holes were now filled with mud water and got camouflaged with the rain smacked road in dark. So, we were actually finishing our remaining distance meter by meter, mentally prepared to fall off anytime by virtue of any ditch with sufficient depth! Splashing a metric gallon of mud water we crossed Aarambagh to get into the lovely state highway up to Bardhaman. Soon we discovered the fun rain-riding on a fine ‘almost empty’ road under intoxicating charm of night and my wet shoes. One and half hours of wet riding brought us back to home by ten. Hurray… we finished our trip successfully!
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
This is how betel leaves (Paan) are grown/cultivated.
Epilogue: All’s well that ends well. I was happy to had have broken my previous record of riding 768 KM… this time it was 1,026 KM with the same pony! You might be thinking how insensitive I’m to speak only of kilometers leaving aside the good memories. Well, journey matters to me more than the destination and each and every kilometer is a souvenir of the entire trip. I wanted to ride up to Gopalpur of Odhisa but time didn’t allow… there’s always a next time… the journey will continue (remember those famous lines by Robert Frost? “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep/But I’ve promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep")… If you want any info regarding the places/routes I’ve covered in my trip you can ask me anytime and I’ll be glad to be of any help. Keep traveling my dear friends… and if you’re a riding freak, ride safely with your Helmet on.
A Motorcycling affair along the Bay of Bengal
If you've missed previous parts of this travel series, do click these links below:

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Glad to get you on board... Let's travel bro :-)

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  2. I need to visit the temple of Kapalkundala once more. Visited it l-o-n-g time back. Beautiful pictures as always... :-)

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    1. I don't know whether any effort has been made in these last 4-5 years to preserve that temple... Frankly speaking, I'm least optimistic... Hope, when you visit it again you find it in a better state :-)

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