Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, we are 175kms from Bhubaneswar, in Berhampur. We are in the Southern part of Odisha and our today’s target location is Jeypore. It is near Koraput. Today, we won’t be able to reach Jeypore or Koraput, but will halt somewhere on the route. For your information, we stayed at Nandan International Hotel, which you can see there. We paid Rs 1850 tariff plus tax for a room on double occupancy basis. The infrastructure of this hotel is old, they haven’t upgraded with times but…. ….their hospitality and staff service is excellent. I was very impressed with the standards of hospitality and room service at this hotel. First of all, let us have breakfast. It is 8 am. There is a famous breakfast point just nearby, at a distance of 100 meters. Since we are in the heart of the city, we will walk to that point. We will continue our journey after breakfast. We’ve reached this area’s famous breakfast point, Samal Tiffin Centre, in Annapurna market. Brother, what do you have for breakfast? This is Upma! Yes Sir, this is Masala Upma! Masala Upma This is halwa (pudding) made of sooji (semolina). Sooji ka halwa! I can also see Idli-Sambar! You also have dosa? Yes, we have dosa! Please give me poori, with plain upma and masala upma! I will take sooji halwa as well in another five minutes! Upma on the poori! This is Masala Upma! Right next to Masala Upma is Aloo Dum (Steam-cooked potatoes)! Right here is the coconut chutney! Mint chutney! And this here is Ghughni (chickpea curry)! They were also serving Sambar with it but I refused. Really amazing, especially the style of serving food! First of all, I am going to taste plain upma! This upma has a strong flavour of curry leaves! Masala Upma! Masala upma has a mind-blowing taste! In masala upma, which I just had, they’ve used bread as the base! They told me it also has vegetables like…. Carrot, beetroot, pointed gourd, so I am enjoying those flavours in it as well. Impressive! Really impressive! Wow! Aloo dum! As I go on eating this breakfast, I am becoming more and more impressed with its quality. And there are multiple flavours at play here. For example, while eating masala upma, I will also take a bite of aloo dum… …and I enjoy one delicious flavour after another. If I add a bit of mint chutney to masala upma, that gives me a new taste! So, this is an amazing game of flavours on this plate! And wow! I have never had such a delicious breakfast platter in which…. … there are so many combinations on a single platter. Eating poori just with upma is a dry combination! To enjoy a better taste, we need to eat it with ghughni. These are 3 different tastes – poori, upma and ghughni! But to try these together is a delectable experience! Earlier, I was a bit skeptical about the flavours but now I have realised, it is nice! Wow! Let us go back in and get some halwa! By the way, there is sitting space inside the shop as well and I can see a lot of customers eating inside. While eating, I am observing that as the time approaches 8.30 am…. …the number of customers thronging the shop is also increasing. So this clearly indicates that this breakfast joint is very popular. If you look at it from afar, this looks like Gajar halwa (carrot pudding). But this is not gajar halwa, it is sooji halwa. You can see it also has kaju (cashew nuts) in it. This halwa possesses all those qualities, which should be in a tasty halwa. Especially in a sooji halwa! The only thing is that it is too sweet. If the sugar level is reduced a bit, this could be the perfect halwa. Very good taste! Since the usual texture and colour of sooji halwa is not like this, and it also doesn’t have carrot in it…. …that means it also has some food colour in it. What is your most favorite breakfast dish here? I like most of the things. You like everything here! We didn’t eat idli-bada! But this poori-upma and halwa was delicious! Very tasty! Everybody has his own choice! Yeah! Do you know which place is the food capital of Odisha? The answer is Berhampur. That is where we are right now. You can spend 1, 2 or 3 days depending upon how big of a foodie you are! We explored the local food here yesterday to our heart’s content. As for breakfast, you just saw how delicious it was! Berhampur is famous because of one more reason, it is also known as the “Silk City”. This city has an area known as Ganesh No. 1, 2 and 3. That is where we are going. That place is 2-3kms away. In that area, we will try and visit a unit…. ….to see how a sari is woven there. So, let us leave here and continue our journey further. We’ve reached Ganesh Nagar 2. Here, I’ve met this young man, Sai Kumar! Sai Kumar is also a blogger, he shoots videos and has his own YouTube channel. For the past 15-20 minutes, I am discussing this place with Sai. The main raw material used here is mulberry silk. And it is purely Telugu-speaking people who are doing the Sari-weaving work in this area. So, Sai can we go to somebody’s house to watch a unit. Yes, sir! It is nearby. Sir, Namaskar! My name is Harish! You work with silk? Yes sir! Can you speak and understand Hindi? Yes, I do! Alright! Sir, can we watch your unit? Yeah sure. It is inside the house! As I had told you, all the family members are involved in this task. This is one such couple. First of all, I would really like to thank you both. For taking out time for us and showing us your unit. Tell me one thing, I mean I am talking about you…. ….how long have you or others like you been doing this job? We’ve been in this occupation since our childhood. You mean your forefathers also did the same job? Yes! Each area has its own specialization task. Like this family, with which we are sitting right now, it specializes in weaving dhoti! If you go to some other unit, they might be specialists in weaving saris. Can I see this dhoti? See, this is dhoti! Really smooth Yes smooth! Ohh, you mean this is pure silk, it has no other textile mixed! It is pure silk fabric woven on a handloom. Speaking of handloom work, it is also important to ask how much time does this dhoti take to complete? It takes 5 days usually. 5 days! So, do you both work together during those 5 days or separately? So, two workers work together and weave this dhoti in 5 days’ time? That is a lot of hard work! He has told me one more good thing…. …that there are 3 co-operative societies here. The co-operative society provides them raw material. They work with the raw material and hand over the finished product to the co-operative society. The society, then, markets the product and also procures further raw material. About the new generation in your families…. ….like your daughter, son…. ….so, are they interested in carrying forward this legacy? No, they don’t. They don’t? Why? There is not enough money to be made in this profession. Moreover, the kids want to do other jobs. After completing their education, they get better earning opportunities outside the area, than here. That is a big challenge in the handloom sector. When I was in Benaras, I saw there that the number of handloom units has come down over the years. It can be said that those who like the handloom work as a customer….. …they are loyal buyers of handloom products. Yes they do! They may love to buy but they don’t pay enough. We earn Rs. 2000 after working hard for 5 days. That is not enough! Yes, this is a relevant fact that you’ve highlighted. After 5 days of hard work, done by two members of family,… ….you get just Rs. 2000. So that way…. …the money is not enough. Especially when compared to the present family expenditures. We saw the finished product. It is very good. Can we watch you weaving it on the loom once? Yes, I will show you. Watching this dhoti being made on the loom, it looks like the thread is running straight, like this. But when the dhoti is finished, the threads come together like this in the center. The dhoti is woven from either sides and it progresses to complete towards the centre. It is very fine work! If a wrong thread comes in somewhere, or there is a gap somewhere, the whole product will be spoiled. Yes, there would be a cut in between. You guys are doing a really tedious job. I would really like the customers in the future to recognise this hard work and…. …pay an appropriate price for this so that…. ….those workers who are doing this job, whose hard work goes into making these products,…. ….their work is recognised. That is all I can wish for. Okay Sir. We will take your leave now. My best wishes are with you. A big thank you! You gave us a lot of your time and showed us this procedure closely. Now, we will go to another unit close by and see how a sari is made on the handloom. You will show us. That would be great! Okay Ma’am. Thank you very much! We’ve come to another unit now. Tell me one thing. How long does it take to complete one sari on this handloom unit? It takes both of us 5 days. You both work on it to complete a sari in 5 days! Okay, so can we see a sari in progress at your unit. We weave a sari and hand over the finished product to the Society, as per requirements. Okay. You hand over the finished saris to the Society, as per the order placed. Okay. We will check out some saris at the Society office. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure meeting you. We’ve come to this Co-operative society. Let us go inside and check out some Silk Sari designs. The saris manufactured here are sold all over the country through wholesalers? Isn’t it? Tell me one thing about mulberry silk saris here. Can you show me some of the designs in the saris here? So, this is the traditional design of Odisha? Yes, it is. Silk is called ‘Patto’ in Oriya language. I’ve been hearing this word, Patto, a lot. Okay. Patto is also the Telugu word for silk! Great! Tell me something about the cost of these saris! Rs. 6000/- Both saris have the same price? Yes sir! Do some of the workers work on machines or not at all? Not at all! Alright. Only handloom! Only handloom! Half-white! Absolutely typical, traditional design! Absolutely traditional! Same price? This sari comes without material for blouse and it costs Rs. 6000/-. I want to ask you, just for my personal knowledge, that in bigger cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru,… ….when you sell such saris through your wholesalers,… …how much are such saris sold for? About Rs. 12,000/- Almost double? Yeah, of course, because the wholesaler and retailer gets added to the chain. To my viewers, I would say whenever you come here, to the society, you will notice the price difference, for sure! You can purchase handloom saris directly from here. Taptapani is about 50kms from here and beyond that is Rayagada. We will try to have our tonight halt in Rayagada because our total journey…. …from here to Rayagada is about 200kms. Correct! So, brother, we will take your leave now. Thank you very much for taking out time for us. Thanks for spending time with us. And Sai, thanks for taking out time for us. And showed us all of this. Okay then! Bye-bye! We’ve reached Digapahandi right now. In front of you, there is Padhi Hotel, quite a famous joint around here. We will have our lunch here. After that, we will continue our journey to Taptapani. This is an interesting thing. As soon as you walk in and sit…. …you will be shown dishes like this. How many dishes do you have in all? A total of 10 or 12. There are 10 to 12 dishes. You will be shown all of those and you can choose which ones you want to order. Ahhh, ummm, wow! What is this? Pakola! Parwal (pointed gourd) Sir! I will have this. Very good! I also want that one…..uhh… aloo bharta (Potatoes)! Chana masala (Chickpeas)! Yes, it is chana masala! Rice and dal is also here! The large thaal (plate), which had all the dishes on it…. …let me tell you what I picked from that. Aloo Potala Rasa (potatoes and pointed gourd curry)! It has potatoes, parwal (pointed gourd) and ‘rasa’ means curry. Chana Masala (chickpeas in a spicy gravy) is evident from the look of it. And this is called aloo-tamatar khatta (potatoes in a tangy tomato gravy). One thing I must tell you, when in Odisha, you must not miss eating mustard seeds in tempering because…. …you will find it in every dish. I have been noticing it repeatedly that every dish is tempered with mustard seeds. Potato with its skin on. Parwal has been fried before being cooked in the gravy. This vegetable is so popular in Odisha that you will see people eating and enjoying it in several restaurants. We are doing the same. While eating my meal, I have been noticing that…. ….the restaurant is brimming with customers. They don’t serve any dinner, only lunch is served. And going by the hustle & bustle around me, it would be safe to assume that this place is very popular…. …especially since it is 3 pm and way past lunch time. We are late, in any case. Now the chana masala. By God! I cannot express in words, how much I am enjoying the aloo-tamatar khatta. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Really exclusive! Guessing by their sourness, the tomatoes used in this dish are really different. This tartness of tomatoes is delicious! And what delicious taste with rice! I am impressed. I think I should order one more serving of this dish for myself. That is because I’ve enjoyed it so much! Really enjoyed! The best thing is this dish is light on stomach as well. Now, we are going to finish our food and then go to Taptapani. It is 25kms away from here. We will take about 45 minutes to reach Taptapani. We will join you again after reaching Taptapani. The road that we took from Berhampur to Taptapani is lovely! Open way, wide road and minimal traffic. Let me tell you the best thing about this journey. The dynamics of this journey are absolutely different. In the past 8 days, I haven’t seen a single such road anywhere else in Odisha. We’ve reached Taptapani. Let me pay obeisance at the temple first. Then we will go to the hot spring. There is a hot water spring on the backside of the temple complex. You can see it now. The goddess idol that you can see on the rock in the center…. ….belongs to Sri Sri Sri Kandhuni Devi! The water from the hot water spring is also diverted to this pool where devotees can take a dip. It is also believed that taking a dip in this spring water can cure your skin ailments, if any. Let us see how hot this spring water is and splash some of it onto us When I put my feet into this water, it doesn’t feel so hot. This, this water that is coming from the hot spring on the other side is definitely warmer. Rayagada is 150kms away from this place. It will take us 4.5 hours to reach there. But if we take too many breaks, we will reach there only by 10 or 10.30 pm tonight. We will try to take just one or two breaks. So that we can reach Rayagada by 8.30 pm. How beautiful! Though neither my driver nor I are sure whether this is a river or a dam catchment area. But this huge water body is beautiful to look at! The time is 5.10 o’clock in the evening. The sun is going to set in another 10-15 minutes. But it really feels good to stand here and observe! I can see hills in front of me. Though we have been travelling in Odisha for the past 7-8 days but…. ..but so far, I haven’t seen this environment or this type of scenic view. I did observe such an environment near Chilika Lake. But this environment is still much different to that one. Finally we’ve reached Rayagada. The time is 9 pm. In this whole journey, I’ve noticed that the road was quite wide. The overall journey was good, though there were patches of road, which were not so good. Nevertheless, we managed to cross those patches at the speed of 20-30kms per hour. In Rayagada, I can see a lot of hustle-bustle even at 9 pm. And this is a large-size town! The markets are still open. Now, let us book ourselves a hotel first. After that, we will think about what to do tomorrow. We’ve booked ourselves a room at Hotel Sai International. On double occupancy basis, we’ve had to pay Rs. 2450 room tariff, which includes…. …tomorrow’s breakfast. We will spend tonight as well as a couple of hours tomorrow at this town. After that we will go to Koraput, then on to Jeypore, where we will spend tomorrow night. We are in South Odisha right now. The dynamics of this region, its geography and landscape are totally different. We’ve started realizing it a little bit with each passing day because as we left Berhampur…. ….we started observing the scenic views on our way. The only thing is that we had to do 70% of today’s journey in the dark. So, we couldn’t enjoy that view. Anyways, we will meet soon! New episode, new journey! Tell us your views about this episode! We really enjoyed the local food here. That is it for now. Bye! Thanks for your time! In the next episode, you will see that we went to Chatikona to visit a tribal market. It is a matter of chance that we came across a Paryatan Parv (Tourism Event) going on at the market. Here, we also saw folk dances of Odisha and enjoyed a lot. After some local sightseeing in Rayagada, we left for Koraput. As we proceed on this journey of ours…. …I feel that we are watching different forms of Odisha and enjoying too! Like the tribal culture in South Odisha….. ….mountains & unexplored tourist destinations! I hope you must be enjoying the Odisha series. We will meet soon with a new journey…. That’s it for now. Thanks for your time!