We pick up the story of overlanding Odisha on the Hero Xtreme 160R from Debrigarh. In this leg, we explore Odisha’s wild west
Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Nitin Suryavanshi and Tally Talwar
In retrospect, I have a lot of fond memories from the time we spent in Odisha. The state simply had so much to offer in terms of scenery, culture and experience that there never was a dull moment throughout the whole trip. Exploring is always fun and, as a motorcyclist, it is most fun for me when I have a reliable pair of wheels for company. For this trip, Hero MotoCorp’s Xtreme 160R ticked all the right boxes for us because it had a capable engine, impeccable road manners and the best dealer network in the country. Furthermore, having experienced the motorcycle’s prowess as an overlander, we believe that the Xtreme is fully capable of unlocking the magic of two-wheeled exploring for a wider spectrum of riders.
We pick up the action from Daringbadi, where we spent a day riding on some rough roads and trails in pursuit of picturesque, hidden locations. On the broken roads and off it, the Xtreme 160R blazed through it all. Its telescopic fork and monoshock worked in perfect unison to keep me comfortable in the saddle and thoroughly enjoy exploring Daringbadi’s diversity. The following day, we left that hidden gem of Odisha and zipped along state highways towards the Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary. On the way, we made a quick stop at the Leaning Temple of Huma, one of the only two temples of its kind in the world. To this day, the debate stands as to whether the temple was built with an inclination or if it assumed that pose over the years. With the temple behind me, the next stop was Hirakud Dam and what a ride that was! Hirakud is the longest major earthen dam in the country and has also created the largest artificial lake in India as well, but what excited me most about it was the road that ran along its length (4.8 km). Riding along that stretch with the calm reservoir on one side and turbulent running water on the other was just magical and the Xtreme’s comfortable saddle was a perfect place to take it all in from. The Xtreme 160R’s stellar highway performance allowed me to cruise comfortably at triple-digit speeds without being annoyed by errant vibrations and I made it to the dam in time for a wonderful sunset. Then, we carried on to the Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary and called it a night.
The following day, we had to swap the motorcycle for an SUV to venture into the Debrigarh forest. It was an interesting change of pace and we sat back and absorbed everything the forest had to offer. Amazing as it was, to be honest, I missed the freedom of two wheels.
The next time I was back on the Xtreme, the dense foliage of Debrigarh was disappearing in the mirrors as we headed towards Bargarh. We had heard about the skilled ikat weavers in the area and decided to check out their craft in person. These artisans use a complicated tie-dye system to create some extremely intricate saris. I was astounded at their sense of geometry and pattern and was further left at a loss for words when they proudly displayed their finished products. Seeing that, I could not help but wonder how far motorcycle design had come since its early days. Today, Hero’s design team at the Centre of Innovation and Technology are equipped with the cutting-edge of technology when it comes to designing new products and the Xtreme 160R is testimony to this prowess.
After hitting the sack in Sambalpur that night, we set off for the Satkosia Tiger Reserve hoping to catch a glimpse of some reptilian wildlife. At Tikarpada, we experienced a change in perspective when we had to swap the motorcycle for a boat to spot some crocodiles in their natural habitat. It was both exciting and scary at the same time to see those massive reptiles floating on the water so close to our boat.
If you thought this was exciting, there is more where that came from. We went on to check out the iconic Konark Sun Temple and more. However, I am running out of pages right now, so, I will keep that bit for the next issue. See ya then!
On this epic trip across Odisha, we were joined by popular biker and motorcycle racer, Kalyani Potekar. While my version of the ride is spread across these pages, Kalyani’s version is available on her Instagram page. Here is what she had to say about Leg Two.
What do you like best about Odisha’s food?
I loved the variety in sea food. The prawns were my favourite.
Do you think the Hero Xtreme 160R is a good motorcycle for touring?
Yes. If you are willing to explore and take unknown routes, then the Xtreme 160R is a good choice.
What is your favourite memory from Leg Two?
The boat ride to spot crocodiles at Satkosia was thrilling since I did not know from where the crocodiles would surface.
Also read: Hero Xtreme 160R in Odisha part one