We had a girls day out to Chattikona on Sunday. Munna bhaina dropped us off there and we had a great time in the waterslide. Hours of fun later, Subhashini didi managed a nasty laceration (thanks Rini for the 2 stitches!) and so we had lunch (launch as they say here – chicken biriyani and gulab jamuns from the canteen) and waited patiently for Munna and the Max. Bsnl decided to also take a break on Sunday, but after hours of trying every single phone in bissamcuttak, we finally managed to get through to Johnny, via the hostel, and ask for the jeep to pick us up. Just as we were walking down to the Bissamcuttack railway station, Prabhakar arrived in the max. We dropped off a sleepy Amos, and hit casualty, home, hostel and then chapel.
Chattikona means “ant hole” and many things have changed since my last visit here in 2006. With the Ranchi-Vishakapatnam NH coming up, there is dust everywhere along the way, huge chunks of the hills have been excavated and blasted for rock, and there are lorries, road rollers and trucks all over the place (Amos learnt some pretty good tongue twisters!). The temple at Chattikona has become huge, and there was a bus load of men visiting. A couple of jeep and sumos also landed up later. The first time I came to Chattikona, we were the only people around for miles! The waterfall has been diverted a bit, apparently to make it more ‘tourist friendly’. Not sure how that works.
Some things are still amazing – the Niyamgiris all around, the fields and villages along the way, the Bissamcuttack railway station and level crossing (and no, I have not yet gotten off here, Muniguda continues to be our station of choice. There’s not really much choice, since all the trains that matter stop only here!), the waterfall and rocks, the leaf plates for lunch, and of course the fun of being with a great bunch of friends. Chattikona will always be a special place!