Orissa has an abundance of perfectly conceived temples built
in the high Kalinga style, including the Konark Sun Temple,
a World Heritage Site, and the Jagannath in Puri - the massive
stone chariots there giving us the word "juggernaut". It also
has many tribes, still largely forest dwellers. During weekly
markets, dressed in traditional costume and jewellery, they
come to sell their produce. This rewarding trip involves long
but fascinating drives and accommodation in basic hotels in
the tribal regions. We also take in the absorbing character of
Kolkata. The tour is designed for arrival on a Wednesday, so
that visits to tribal towns coincide with their weekly markets.
Days 1 to 3 Kolkata
Arrive into Kolkata, stay at the Fairlawn Hotel or The Grand; visit the sights including Daniels' collection at the Victoria Memorial, Kumartully where durga idols are made, Tagore's home at Jorasanko; enjoy traditional food in a thali at Aaheli, take a boat from Belur Math to Dakhineshwar, join local cooking session, visit Trincas for some golden oldies....
Days 4 & 5 Dhenkanal
Early morning train to Bhubaneshwar, drive to Dhenkanal for two nights at the Palace. Visit Joranda Ashram and the weavers at Nuapatna working on ikat (tie & dye) process for generations.
Days 6 & 7 Bhitarkanika
Drive to Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary visiting Ratnagiri & Udaigiri en route, excavated Buddhist Sites of 10th Cent- ury AD. Stay two nights at the Bhitarkanika Village Retreat. Explore the sanctuary by boat to spot the giant salt water crocodile basking on the banks. Enjoy a nature walk with a chance to see spotted deer, wild boar, monitor lizard, migratory birds and many rare species.
Days 8 & 9 Bhubaneshwar
Drive to Bhubaneshwar visiting Lalitgiri en route; stay at The Crown Hotel or The Trident for two nights. Visit the 11th century Lingaraj Temple and the Khandagiri & Udaigiri Jain Caves, dating back from 3rd to 1st century BC.
Day 10 Konark
Drive to Konarki via Heerapur Chaushathi Yogini Temple, the 3rd Century BC Dhauli Rock Edicts and Pipli applique village, stay at Nature Camp Retreat.
Day 11 Puri
Visit the Sun Temple at Konark, then drive to Puri visiting the artisan villages of Dandasahi and Raghurajpur. Stay at the Fort Mahodadhi Palace or the Mayfair Hotel for the night. In the afternoon watch the sand art demon- strations on the beach.
Day 12 Gopalpur on Sea
Visit the Jagannath Temple from outside, as entry is restricted; drive to Chilika Lake to cross by ferry to Gopalpur, you can spot dolphins and migratory birds. Stay at Swosti Palm Resort.
Days 13 & 14 Rayagada (Day 13 should be a MONDAY)
Drive to Rayagada visiting the weekly market of Langia Sauras at Puttasingh. Sauras are known for their peculiar cloth with long tail at the back; the women use the biggest wooden plates in their ear lobes. Stay at Sai International for two nights. On the next day visit the tattoo faced Kutia Kondh villages in Kotgarh & Tumudibandh area.
Days 15 & 16 Similiguda
Visit Dongariya Kondh weekly market in the morning. Drive to Similiguda and stay at hotel Lemon Castle for two nights. Next morning visit of the weekly market of Bonda, Gadhaba and Didayee groups. Bondo or Bonda are considered the most primitive of all the tribes of South Odisha. Covered with beads the women still believe that covering the body with cloth is a curse to their family and village.
Day 17 Vishakhapatanam
Visit Paraja villages and their weekly market. These are very colourful and hard working tribals who work on the fields, roads and grow a variety of vegetables. They are relatively well to do compared to other tribal groups. Drive on to Vishakhapatanam for overnight stay at Hotel Green Bay Park or the Taj Gateway.
Day 18 Return
Transfer to Vishakhapatnam Airport for your onward flight.
Price indication: $2500 to $3300 per person for a private tour for two.