The caretaker of the GH told me yesterday that I would not have any problem on the route to Bishrampur since there is no call for a road blockade from any of the outfits that make the route sensitive. He was right. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, stopping at many locations to capture the sceneries in the lens of the mind and some with my digital camera. Wide open spaces, acres and acres of yellow mustard fields, peanut and tomato cultivation, rice fields as far as the eye can see, thick teak forests – all these made the drive truly memorable. Batholi, about 20 kms from Ambikapur, boasts of an Ayur village and an Ayurvedic plantation. Life in the villages goes on at their own steady pace; not for them the hectic pace of the cities. I had thought of breakfast at Batholi; had to change my mind for the village was slowly stirring itself awake at 8 am! Breakfast at Sitapur in the ‘Rajesh Hotel and Bhojanalay’ consisted of samosas, which is fast becoming my standard breakfast diet. The ginger tea was simply divine; I left after the second cup of the specially made brew.
The condition of the road was terrible – it is a NH. Vast stretches of the NH 43 is a single lane road; you get driven off the road by the freight carriers that ferry project cargo and products from the Steel Plants. The condition of the road improved rather magically at Lodham, the Jharkand border – politics or negligence by the NHAI? Hard to say. At the entry point to the Jharkand State there is also a polite welcome board – a rarity. During the course of the nearly 400 km drive I completed 5000 kms since setting out from Cochin.
I have been provided accommodation in the ORH of Ranchi Division. The ORH is next to the famous BNR Hotel of the erstwhile SE Railway; the hotel is now called the BNR Chanakya. I intend to dine at the BNR Hotel tomorrow.