"The temple city of India, cultural Kolkata and the Konarak sun temple, India just has so much to give!"
Mysterious Odisha is a relic of bygone times. A significant number of this fascinating state’s population continue to inhabit traditional dwellings, hidden away in the deep forests and secluded hills of remote areas. For many of the inhabitants of Odisha’s tribal villages, life has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. The region is therefore of great interest to anthropologists, sociologists and, increasingly, tourists. Learn more about traditional ways of life, culture and customs as you visit isolated villages and temples, and gain a contrasting insight into modern life in India as you explore its cultural capital, Kolkata.
Begin with a visit to Bhubaneswar, the city of temples, where it is thought that as many as 1,000 temples existed at one point in time. Delve deep into the rural heart of the state and meet some of its tribal inhabitants. People are bound to the forests, utilising natural resources through hunting, gathering and fishing. Interact with villagers, and watch as different groups trade fruit, livestock and other goods at the weekly local market. As well as quenching your thirst for culture, get spiritual with trips to some spectacular and beautifully designed temples, before returning to bustling and vibrant Kolkata. Take in the sights, smells and sounds of this pulsating city and get a flavour of its rich cultural heritage.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Kolkata: Receive a traditional ‘swagat’ (welcome) as you arrive in Kolkata’s international airport, before transferring to your hotel. Kolkata is East India’s main commercial and intellectual centre, and is the country’s cultural capital. The city has gained wide audiences for its music, fine art, dance, literature and theatre, and holds a richly colourful cultural heritage.
Kolkata – Bhubaneswar: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha. The city is known as the ‘Temple City of the East’, and has numerous sights to discover and explore. Visit the unique Bhubaneswar Lingraj Temple, the oldest in the state, and admire its excellent architecture. Later, explore the holy Bindu Sarovar and Kedareshwar Temple before retiring to your hotel.
Bhubaneswar – Lalitagiri – Khandagiri – Udayagiri – Bhubaneswar: After an early breakfast, depart for your excursion to the awesome Lalitagiri, Khandagiri and Udayagiri. Learn more about the lifestyle and the craftsmanship of the people of Lalitagiri before visiting the twin hill caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri. Return to your hotel in the evening.
Bhubaneswar – Gopalpur: Today you’ll drive towards the dazzling town of Gopalpur, where you’ll have some time to enjoy the beach and explore the beautiful temple devoted to Lord Krishna. Stay overnight in a hotel.
Gopalpur – Raygada: Visit tribal villages and interact with their inhabitants to learn more about their unique ways of life, customs and traditions. Upon your arrival in scenic Raygada, visit the elephant-shaped rock of Hathipathar. In the evening, go to the Kutia Kondh Tribe Market to end the day’s exploration.
Raygada: Embrace the serene and soothing ambience of Raygada as you wake, before departing for a full day of sightseeing. Visit picturesque Minajhola, followed by the beautiful tribal village of Padampur, popular for its fantastic Manikeshwar Shiv Temple. Interact with local people to gain an insight into their life and culture.
Raygada – Jeypore: Take a morning drive to the naturally beautiful Jeypore, with picturesque lakes and rolling hills in abundance. Check in to your hotel and relax for a while, before taking an excursion to the ancient Kali and Neelkantheswara temples. If there’s time, you might also go on an optional excursion to Jeypore Fort.
Jeypore – Onukudelli – Jeypore: Visit the picture-perfect Onukudelli, an isolated village with lush woods, rich flora and fauna and a number of tribal societies. Explore the interesting markets of the Bonda, Gadaba and Didayee tribes, before returning to your hotel in Jeypore.
Jeypore – Taptapani: Travelling through beautiful mountain roads, you’ll visit tribal communities as you return to the plains. Upon your arrival at Taptapani you’ll check in to your hotel before enjoying a free day.
Taptapani – Chilka Lake – Puri: Relax around the hot water spring at Taptapani before making your way to Puri. Stop at some typical South Odishan villages and Chilka Lake, the largest brackish water lagoon in India, en route. Continue to the spiritual city of Puri, a holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus, and discover its sacred temples and beautiful beaches.
Puri – Konarak - Puri: Visit Puri’s famous Jagannath temple in the morning. One of the four Dhams (places of sacred pilgrimage), be aware that non-Hindus will not be permitted entry inside the temple. In the afternoon, take an excursion to Konarak, famed for its Sun Temple that was built during the ‘golden era’ of Odishan art and architecture. Return to Puri in the early evening and enjoy your last evening on the beach.
Puri – Bhubaneswar: Spend the morning relaxing on the beach before returning to Bhubaneswar in the afternoon. Explore the city at your own pace in the evening.
Bhubaneswar – Kolkata: Take a transfer to the airport for your flight to Kolkata, where you’ll indulge in some last-minute sightseeing. Visit the grand Victoria Memorial, a stunning white-marble building that houses many rare and unique antiques. Continue to the first Episcopal Church of the Orient built in an Indo-Gothic style, the serene Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the lush green Botanical Garden.
Departure: Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person (on a double sharing basis)
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to speak to the operator directly about this tour's departure dates, availability and costs
- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.