A perpetual shadow of paragon- Daringbari, Odisha | Milaap

A perpetual shadow of paragon- Daringbari, Odisha

After two years of planning and failing, I finally managed to accomplish my Daringbari trip. Daringbari is a pacific hill station of Odisha that attracts people mostly during summers to avoid the scorching heat of the sun and hide under the lustrous green mountains. My seatmate for the night bus was an interesting woman who was getting back home after her retirement party. There is a sense of pain when you are relieved of duties you comply to for such a long period of time. “When you have them you complain, and now I miss them already”, she says. I didn’t mind her endless queries about me for the long night passed juggling between advice and excuses. When morning hit the road, the bus was practically empty. Taking pity on me the conductor asked me to join him in the front seat and be vivified with the golden glory of rising sun. Over the next hour, we shared many stories on traveling and the driver was kind enough to stop the bus thrice for me to jump out, click shots of sunrise. The simplicity of these men is a perfect match for the unparalleled splendor of the parallel roads.


To cut on cost I opted for an NGO named Jagruti to freshen up and Joseph, the caretaker, served me with my all-time favorite Vada. Then came in my new traveling partners: Divyaraj, a young boy who was studying in college and Dikshit his younger brother, a 7th standard student. Divaraj was so lanky that I doubted he could ride the auto through the partial roads of Daringbari and I am glad he proved otherwise. Our first stop was the Coffee Plantation. The appearance of the façade is that of a forest, long and short trees. My brother helped me segregate the coffee trees and feel the aroma of the coffee beans. Penetrating into the interiors allowed me to witness how the beans are carefully dried under the sun for marketing purpose. Mr. Bhaskar Pradhan has been guarding this coffee fort for many decades. “We don’t get to taste our own produce”, the hilarity in the statement had much sarcasm. The laborer being denied the fruits of his labor!





The Doluri river was as dry as my expectation of bringing some fresh coffee home. Divaraj says that this river overflows after a heavy shower in monsoons. It was hard to imagine but I’d rather not debate with a native fella. The pine forest surrounding the river keeps it alluring even at this grubby state. It is almost like one segment of nature trying to protect the reputation of the other. When you measure the height of these slender barks, the greenery of their apex on the canvas of a clear sky forms a surreal painting.



Daringbari ushers the air of a tribal setup from a mile’s distance. The tiny A-shaped huts backed by mammoth mountains, the colorful churches which are smaller than an RCC living hall and constant cool breeze battling the rays of the sun. A 14kms long ride on an auto makes you observe the particulars a little deeper than needed. We stopped at one point to see the depth of the valley primarily because few other cars were also stopping there. An unknown traveler once must have made this spot famous enough to be a part of a regular tourist site. Few photographers were trying their hand at capturing the telescopic view. I just stood there staring at the trivialness of man-made road against the majesty of the mountains.





After much effort (I despise stairs!) we reached the Midubanga Waterfalls. “Even I can account for the steady dehydration of this falls”, says Divyaraj. The noise of the tourists surpassed the rhythm of plunging water so I trekked higher through boulders and discovered a baby Midubanga falls, away from the crowd. Let’s fall like a falls, that which is graceful even while falling is a statement I could now relate to. Riding 11kms further, brother took me to an Emu farm which is just about a decade old. Nadin Saheb has been there since its birth and has quietly noticed the depletion of emus from 65 to 18. That disparity is the ensue of our desire to have exotic meat. He was humble enough to trust me and handed over an emu’s egg. A green colored egg with white spots on it which grows larger with respect to its size. The “Lover’s point”, 5kms from the farm, has no connection to its name, it should be baptized as “Natures point”.  A halcyon stream of water, with natural benches of stones. A perfect place for a poet to dangle the feet in the cool fluid and get lost in the world of gloomy words.


Post lunch, I matched up to the “Hill View Point” where on one side there is a watch-tower presenting an extravagant view of Daringbari in its entirety, and on the other, a garden filled with roses, medicinal plants and butterflies. This is a place specially built for the tourists to come and enjoy their holidays. Nature's camp is organized with tents that are clothed walls having all modern amenities. Amidst the trendy spectrum, the Tribal Museum acts like an introvert child lacking attention. With no one around, I felt like a Historian lost in the weaponry, music, and jewelry of ancient tribes that once thrived in these hills.


My last resort was Silent Valley which bestowed upon the gradual change in silhouette- a purple sky just bright enough to locate the outline of the mountains and then vanish. Between the stunning elegance of nightfall and departure of the day, I could never decide which out-weighs the other. A strange mood of melancholy imparted to me as I saw the flock of birds flying back home. It reminded me that this journey ends here but only for another to commence.