Note: This is just a suggested itinerary indicative of what could be possible. We tailor holidays for your specific needs. Contact us if you want modifications so that we could tailor a holiday to suit your need for an unforgettable India tour.
Arrival at Kolkata International Airport, meeting assistance by our representative who will welcome you and will provide transfer to the hotel. Upon reaching your hotel, you will be handed over the travel documents with a complete briefing of tour by the representative. Check-in and proceed to your room. Overnight stay at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed for a full day city tour visiting Dalhousie Square (Covering Raj Bhavan, St. John's Church, High Court, GPO, Town Hall, Writer's Building and other important colonial buildings), Flower Market, Howrah Bridge, Kumhartoli (The Potter's Village), Marble Palace, Indian Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral Church & Victoria Memorial.
The Heritage tour will give insight in to the historical aspect of old Calcutta. This square has many old historic buildings, to name a few - Silver Mint (1824-31) built in Greek style is presently in a dilapidated condition, The Writers Building - designed by Thomas Lyon as a trading house for East India Company in 1780 has 57 sets of identical windows on 3 storeys built like a barrack inside. The Old Mission Church, built by Swedish missionary Johann Kiernander was consecrated in 1770, General Post Office designed by Walter Granville in 1868 has a white dome and Corinthian pillars, The Raj Bhawan, once a residence of British Governors-General and Viceroys, it is now the home of Governor of West Bengal, next to it is the most important Gothic building of Kolkata - the Calcutta High Court, built in 1872.
The Pareshnath Jain Temple is an ornate Digambar Jain temple built in central Indian Style in 1867 by a jeweller. The interior is richly decorated in European baroque and Italianate styles with mirrors and Venetian glass mosaics. The gardens have formal geometric flower beds.
Belur Math was founded in 1899 by Swami Vivekanand, a disciple of Saint Ramakrishna. It is presently the international headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission and preaches the unity of all religions. Symbolizing the belief of ""Math"" (monastery) it has Hindu, Christian and Islamic style of architecture.
Visit to the Ninth oldest regular Museum of the world, Indian Museum, Kolkata. It was established in the year 1814 at the Asiatic Society and was transferred to the present site in 1878. It has over sixty galleries of Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Botany sections, spreading over 10000 sq. feet area. Many rare specimens both Indian and Trans - Indian origin relating to Humanities and Natural Science are preserved and displayed in the galleries of these sections. It has a collection of more than 50,000 coins of Gold, Silver and other metals. It also has a mummy in its Egyptian section.
In the afternoon visit the Victoria Memorial - a gift by Lord Curzon to Queen Victoria in honor of her commemoration and as a symbol of her Indian Empire. It has been designed in Italian Renaissance-Mughal style and built in White Marble in 1921 and has many galleries with over 3000 exhibits. At the entrance it has an impressive 'weather vane' in form of a 5mt tall bronze figure of Victory, weighing over 3 tons. Overnight stay at hotel.
Arrive Bhubaneshwar, assistance and transfer to Hotel. Bhubaneshwar is the capital of the ancient kingdom of Odisha (Orissa), and is famous as the temple city of India. Travel through Odisha (Orissa) is a mÃ©lange of art, architecture and long-established customs. City tour of Bhubaneswar, which has some stunning temples clustered around the Bindusagar Tank. Of the original 7000 only 500 remain dating from the 7th century to the 11th century AD. Of these the most outstanding is the 11th century Lingaraja Temple, which celebrates the zenith of Odisha (Orissa) art; and the late 10th century beautifully decorated Muktesvara Temple, which marks the end of the phase of temple building in Odisha (Orissa).
The 55-mt-high Lingaraja Temple is a rare masterpiece depicting the high point of Orissan architecture of the 10th-11th century. Described as /""the truest fusion of dream and reality,/"" every inch of its surface is covered with elaborate carvings of gods, goddesses, dryads, nymphs and fairies. The temple can be seen from miles away and the sculpture and architecture here fuse elegantly to create a perfect harmony. It is believed that all pilgrims, who wish to go to the Jagannath temple at Puri, must first offer worship at the Lingaraja temple. The temple has two added structuresâ€”the Natya Mandir (dance hall) and the Bhoga Mandap (offering platform). It is important to note that non-Hindus are not allowed inside the Lingaraja Temple.
Rajarani Temple - The Rajarani Temple (AD 1100), set amongst picturesque paddy fields, derives its name from the stone known as the Rajarani. It was built earlier in comparison to the impressive Lingaraja, but what sets apart this relatively small temple is its celebration of the feminine form. Here women are portrayed in a stunning variety of amorous poses and moods reminding one of the temples of Khajuraho.
Mukteshwar Temple - Perhaps the most ornate temple in Bhubaneswar, the Mukteshwar Temple (7thâ€“8th century AD) has intricate carvings of deities that show the amalgamation of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain styles of architecture. The carvings on the roof, especially the bho motifs of the grinning lion and the monkey, are quite striking. There is a well to the south of the temple in which childless women toss a coin to wish for a child.
Brahmeshwara Temple - The Brahmeshwara Temple (AD 1050) is situated around a kilometre east of the main road of the city. It stands in a courtyard flanked by four smaller temples and a Shivling. Besides, there are other minor shrines in every corner of the courtyard. Two interesting images are found inside this temple: a well-oiled image of Lakshmi, covered in cloth, and a miniature image of Nataraja sitting on a bull and playing a veena.
Outside the city limits are the Udayagiri and Khandgiri caves, harking back to the time of Jain and Buddhist occupation of this region in the 2nd century BC. The Jain caves are among the earliest in India and all the caves were built or excavated during the 150 years before Christ. In contrast to the stark decor of the Jain caves, the Buddhist caves are decorated with excellent friezes and sculptures.
Overnight stay at hotel.
On the drive to Konark (75km), we will stop at Dhauli where the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka renounced violence and embraced the teachings of Buddha. We visit the Peace Pagoda known as Shanti Stupa built in early 1970s by the Japanese. We also stop at two ancient rock edicts, today eclipsed by the presence of the Pagoda. Dating from 260BC they outline Ashoka's detailed instructions to his administrators to rule with gentleness and fairness. Our next stop is the colourful village of Pipili where we can see Orissan handicrafts, the speciality being the famous applique work.
Visit to the Chariot of the Sun God temple, built by King Langula Narasimha Deva in the 13th century AD during the golden era of Orissan art. This temple, among the crowning works of Orissan architecture and sculpture, is sheer poetry in stone. Every day the Sun God rises from the horizon, across the shimmering blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, and casts the warmth and luminosity of his revitalizing rays on the sanctum sanctorum, circling the temple during the course of the day, illuminating the three brilliant images of the sun - in the morning, at mid-day and in the evening, as day makes way for the night. As you approach the water, you will see rising from the golden sandy beach, one of the country's most vivid archaeological treasures - the Surya Mandir (Sun Temple). For a millennium, this temple served as a beacon to the ancient and medieval mariners. Despite the fact that the Black Pagoda, as it was referred to by European soldiers who wanted to distinguish Konark from the whitewashed Jagannath Temple in Puri, lies in ruins, the structure is magnificent. Afternoon drive to Puri takes about 2hrs. Overnight stay at hotel
Puri is one of the four principal holy abodes in India, as well as a popular beach resort. It offers the rare experience of watching both the sunset and sunrise from the same beach. Pre-Dravidian and pre-Aryan history relates that a tooth of Buddha was temporarily enshrined in Puri before being moved to Sri Lanka. Supporting the theory that Buddhism prevailed in this area, the Jagannath Temple, dedicated to the Lord of the Universe, and the main attraction in Puri, was believed to have originally been a stupa (pagoda). The extraordinary form, Jagannath takes in this temple, is said to be the unfinished work of the craftsman god, Vishvakarma. Angry at Vishnu, he left his interpretation of the 'Lord of the Universe' incomplete. Overnight stay at hotel.
The drive to Chilika Lake takes us through picturesque countryside and charming villages. Chilika lies in the heart of coastal Odisha (Orissa). Spread over 1,100 sq km, this is the country's largest lake. Dotted with islands, Chilika has a rich variety of aquatic life and is a bird watcher's paradise, particularly when migratory birds arrive in winter. Sunset and sunrise are memorable experiences here. Overnight stay at Guest House.
Rising early we visit the lake to view the avian life and the Kalijai Temple, abode of the presiding deity of the lake, located on a tiny island. In winter the lake attracts migratory bird from Iran, Central Asia, and as far as Siberia. We will also be able to watch the fishermen at work, who come here in search of prawns, mackerel and crabs. After breakfast we drive to Gopalpur-on-Sea, an ancient seaport not often visited by tourists. Sand dunes, groves of coconut palm and casuarinas separate the small town from the beach. Overnight stay at hotel.
Morning, relax at the hotel; afternoon drive to Taptapani (150km). Luxuriate in the small hot springs in this peaceful village: water from the hot sulphur springs, discovered here in a forest setting, is channeled to a pool for bathing. There is a shrine of goddess Kandhi inside the original pool, which is believed to cure infertility. You may also like to visit Chandragiri, 36 kms away, where a community of Tibetan refugees resides, and supports itself by weaving carpets. Overnight stay at Inspection Bungalow.
Odisha (Orissa) has the third highest concentration of tribes in India, and because of the remoteness of the area where they live these tribes are untouched by modern ways of life. Each has a distinct language and pattern of social and religious customs. Though economically challenged and a very low rate of literacy, the tribal groups have highly developed artistic skills as seen in their body paintings, ornaments, weaving and wall paintings. Music and dance also are an integral part of their ceremonies and seasonal festivals. During the next few days we will be visiting some of these tribal settlements. On the 220km drive today we will stop at the villages of the Saoras, a major tribe who live in hilly areas. In contrast to other tribes who live in clans, the Saoras live in extended families descended from a common ancestor. The village is administered by a headman assisted by a religious leader and village shamans (medicine men), who are able to communicate with deceased ancestors. The walls of the mud houses are decorated with remarkable paintings and traditional designs. Monday is the market day for this tribe so we will have time to wander through the tribal market. Overnight stay at hotel.
The excursion today takes us to the Kothgarh tribal area (180km). The inhabitants speak Kuvi - a language derived from the Dravidian strain of Southern India. Human sacrifice has now been replaced with animal sacrifice, offering sacrificial blood to their supreme goddess, represented by a piece of wood or stone, to ensure fertility of the soil. The members of this tribe still use bows and arrows to protect themselves from wild animals. Tuesday is the market day. Return to Rayagada. Overnight stay at hotel.
Drive to Jeypore through Chatikona, visiting a few Dongariya Kondh villages en route. Overnight stay at hotel.
The area we visit today is the home of the approximately 6000 members of fierce Bondas (naked people) of Tibetan-Burmese origin. They live in remote hills and keep themselves isolated. Bondas grow rice by shifting cultivation and domesticate cows and goats and can only be seen when they come to trade at the local market. Therefore, we must time our visit to coincide with the weekly market-day on Thursday. The Bonda women are conspicuous with their bead necklaces, striking brass and silver necklets, and their shaved heads decorated with plaits of Palmyra leaves. We will also visit the colourful Gadabas, a Munda tribe who speak in an Austro-Asiatic dialect. Overnight stay at Inspection Bungalow in Machkund near Onukudelli.
A day excursion to Gupteswar (140km) to visit the caves, which are believed to have been the refuge of Lord Rama during his fourteen years of exile, and the place where he worshiped Shiva. On the way we will visit a few Dhuruba villages. Return to Jeypore. Overnight stay at hotel.
Today we leave hotel early in the morning at 0600hr and drive to Vishakhapatnam and straightaway transfer to airport for flight to Delhi. Late night transfer to the International airport.