December 2016. 7 spirited women. One journey. 7 stories woven together to create one common chapter. Destination Daringbadi.
Flashback. June 2016. It was a time when I was experiencing or should I say, learning to cope with the circumstances of staying alone. I will talk about my experiences about that phase some other time. So here I was, summer of '16, at Kolkata, randomly searching around, when I chanced upon this Facebook travellers' group. What was special about this group? It was exclusively for women. I found it pretty interesting. I never really gave it a thought as to where this would lead me to, but after joining a couple of meetings, I realised here was my chance to follow what I have never had the chance to do earlier - to travel and see new places, take my camera around and showcase moments. Not to mention the camaraderie that we shared within the group put me in a zone comfortable enough to move out (literally!) of my current comfort zone.
So, in December, we took that much needed off from work (many of us hold regular jobs) and 7 of us set out to Daringbadi - a hill station is Odisha. This was our first overnight trip.
I researched a bit about the place before starting out. Daringibadi is a hill station in Odisha - a state of eastern India. It is widely known as "Kashmir of Odisha", situated at a height of 915 m in Kandhmal district. The place has pine jungles, coffee gardens and beautiful valleys. Daringbadi is set in a beautiful spot surrounded by thick rain forests with wild animals, and is a popular summer resort. As per locals, during the British rule, there was a Briton named Daring Saheb (as the locals would call him) who had discovered this place and named it followed by his own name as Daringbadi (der-ing-baa-di), "badi" means village. Some officers pronounced it as Daringbadi (Daa-ring-baa-di), so it turned into Daa-ring-baa-di from Der-ing-baa-di.
As per our itinerary, we boarded Yeshwantpur Express from Howrah station in the evening of 8th December and reached Behrampur early the next morning at around 6:30 am. The resort where we had done our bookings in picked us up from the station. On the way, we stopped by the Rushikulya river. After a 4 hour drive though plains and then hilly terrains, we reached Deers Eco Home, that was going to be our haven for the next couple of days. Check in was smooth and soon we were served with a sumptuos brunch of Puri and aloo ki sabzi. The resort has just the basic facilities - I was a bit concerned about the absence of geysers, knowing that the days are cold. I heaved a sigh of relief when we were told hot water can be arranged. And arranged it was. We had guessed that the place was not that well developed, so being mentally prepared from earlier on helped us to not to expect the luxury hotel feel here. Having said that, I would add that the service rendered to ensure comfort to tourists is praiseworthy, not to forget mentioning the good homely food. You will easily get rice or chapati with dal, some fried veggies, fish, chicken, mutton or eggs - whatever and however you like. And when I had the company of 6 sprightly women, what more could I possibly want?