On your arrival in Kolkata also called as Calcutta, you will be transferred to your hotel. You have a free day or enjoy an optional tour of Kolkata. Kolkata is an important commercial and cultural point in East India. In the 17th century, the Nawab of Bengal granted the East India Company a trading license.
Victoria Memorial is one of India's most beautiful monuments built between 1906 and 1921 in white marble. The memorial was the inspiration of Lord Curzon, who in 1901, felt that his lately departed Queen Empress, required a suitable monument in her memory. It houses paintings, manuscripts, and other objects of historic value in its Museum and Art Gallery (Closed on Mondays & National Holidays). A drive past Howrah Bridge, Dalhousie Square, Fort Williams, Secretariat Building and Old Court House Street is quite interesting. The Dalhousie Square is surrounded by some of Kolkata's most enduring Raj-era monuments like the magnificent GPO, the regal Raj Bhawan, the Town Hall, the St. John's Church and the Gothic style Writer's Building. In terms of heritage, no other city square is as rich as Dalhousie Square. Overnight is in Kolkata.
Today you will be transferred to Kolkata airport in time for your Bhubaneswar flight. On your arrival in Bhubaneswar you will be transferred to your hotel. Holiday package for Orissa starts from here. In your afternoon city tour of Bhubaneshwar, you will visit as many places as possible. Bhubaneshwar is the capital of Odisha and has a history of over 3,000 years. Bhubaneswar gets its name from Tribhubaneswar, meaning the Shiva who is the Lord of the Three World and was mentioned during the Kalinga War where Emperor Ashoka was shocked with the brutalities of war and shifted to Buddhism. Bhubaneswar due to the Oriya cinema industry is called as dubbed Ollywood. The world famous Odissi classical dance originated from this place. Odissi is the oldest classical dance forms of India and can be traced to the ancient temples. Bhubaneswar known as the Temple City of India had over a thousand temples and some of the important temples are Lingered Temple, Muktesvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Ananta Vasudeva Temple.
If you have time, you could opt for an optional tour of Khandagiri & Udayagiri caves. Carved into cave-like chambers in the hill is a Jain temple with inscriptions from the 2nd century BC giving an account of that era. Edicts of Emperor Ashoka, from 272 to 236 BC are carved in rock 8 km away. Most of the temples built between 7th and 11th century are of Lord Shiva. Ananta Vasudeva Temple and Bindusagar Tank are one of the few Vishnu temples. A tour of Bhubaneshwar Konark Puri is known as the Golden Triangle Tour of East India. The festivals celebrated here are the Ratha Yatra, Durga Puja, Diwali, Shivaratri, Ganesh Puja, Nuakhai and Saraswati Puja, Eid and Christmas. The State Museum houses artifacts, weapons and local arts and crafts. A visit to the Nandankanan Zoological Park is quite interesting. The botanical garden has a good collection of exotic and regional fauna. Bhubaneshwar is a base for excursions to the tribal areas.
This morning you will be driven from Bhubaneswar to Balliguda. On the way, you will be stopping at a few villages and bazaars. Odisha earlier known as Orissa has many tribes or "Adivasis". Kondhas the largest tribe numbering about a million people are based in and around Rayagada, Koraput, Balangir and Boudh. The Santal tribe lives in Mayurbhanj and has a population about half a million. The Saura live in Ganjan and Puri districts and number about 300000. The Bonda population is quite few in number and lives in the Malkangiri district. The Kisan tribe lives in Sundergarh, Sambalpur and Keonjhar. The Toppo tribe lives in Kutra Village. Overnight is in Balliguda.
Today you will be transferred from Balliguda to Rayagada. Enroute you will be stopping at the Kutia Kondh and Dongariya Kondh villages. Drive to Rayagada enroute visiting Tumudibandh, Belghar to see the Kutia Kondh tribe and their villages. The Kondhs are divided into Kutia or hill Kondhs and Raj Kondhs who live on the plains speak Kui language and are traditionally hunters. Kondhs are the largest group in Odisha and respect nature. Kondhs use medicinal plants and cook food with oil from sal and mahua seeds. The Kondhs were in-famous for buying human victims and sacrificing them. The women are identified by the tattoos worn on their faces and hands. These identifying marks ensure that they will recognize each other in the spirit world. Visit a hamlet of the Kondh, where women adorn themselves with hairpins, ornaments, ear and nose rings and tattoos. Overnight is in Rayagadha.
This morning you will driven from Rayagada to Chatikona to see the tribal market of the Dhongria Kondh tribes. The Kondhs are of a Dravidian origin and practice elaborate birth, marriage and death rituals and love music, dancing and known for their festivities. In the Dhongria tribe a dowry is paid to the family of the women as they do all the work of the household as well as harvesting and marketing of the produce. Dongrias practice polygamy: marriages are outside the clan and they acquire a mate by force or elopement or negotiation. Dongrias practice tattooing and the male and female members use ear neck and rings made of brass or iron. Dongria have Hindu as well as their own gods and give most important ones are the Earth God and Niyamgiri Hill God. Continue to Jeypore. Overnight is in Jeypore.
Today you will be taken to the Bonda tribes and Gadaba tribes. The Bonds are one of the ancient primitive tribes of India and have not changed their way of living much. The women in the Bonda tribe are given importance and play a vital role in the society as they are the main workers. Normally the women have shorn heads, semi clad and have their body covered with colorful beads. They also wear rings around their necks and bangles on their arms. The women dominate the men at their home and marry younger men. There are more women than men in this tribe. Gadabas are a large tribe living in permanent villages, they are involved in cultivation and are into Shamanistic rituals. Their dance is known as Dhimsa. Overnight is in Jeypore.
This morning you will have an excursion to Kunduli and later return to Jeypore. Kundli is an interesting market where you could see the different tribes including Paraja. Here you could trade in bangles, cattle tribal jewelry, etc. The Parajas were known for their hunting skills and unique traditions. The looks of the Parajas is different from the rest of the tribes. The Parajas do not have the aborigine looks and the skin color is from fair to black. The Parajas worship various gods and goddesses residing in hills or forests. The Parajas believe that when you want something, you have to return something too. This is the reason that when they visit a temple, at times they sacrifice animals, mostly fowls. Marriage with-in the clan is prohibited. During wedding Parajas resort to dance and music. Overnight is in Jeypore.
This morning you will be transferred from Kunduli to Tatapani visiting the Kondh Tribes and the market at Laxmipur Village. The Kondhs are horticulturist and produce bananas, pine apple, orange, etc and also are good agriculturists and grow turmeric, ginger, mustard, etc. For better yields they celebrate Maria or Kedu festival in February/March. Kondhs are good craftsmen and produce various handicrafts and embroidered shawls. The men put on a cloth 16 ft in length and one ft in width. Kondhs women love ornaments and use hair pins, ear rings, nose rings, etc. Liquor is used by people of all ages and both by males as well as females as food for self as well as to satisfy the deities. The Konds believe in deities and ghosts and give importance to oracles. The earth goddess Dharani is considered the highest of all deities. Overnight is at Tatapani.
This full day of yours is spent with excursions to Chandragiri and Mohana area to see the Saora tribes. Saoras are an important community and also called Lanjia Souras as they wear a loin cloth hanging from behind which looks like a tail. Normally the families are nuclear and marriages take place by force, elopement or by negotiations. The family revolves around the females who are hardworking and help in household chores as well as harvesting. Dance and music are a part of the lifestyle of this tribe. They have a shamanic culture where a shaman, serves as an intermediary between the two worlds. The Saoras are highly religious and believe in deities and spirits. Overnight is in Tatapani.
This morning you will be driven from Tatapani to Puri visiting enroute Chilka Lake where you will enjoy a short boat ride. Chilka Lake is the largest coastal lagoon and wintering ground for migratory birds in India. There are about 160 species of birds which come here from Himalayas as well as Russia, Mongolia, Central and Southeast Asia travelling at times up to 12000 km. The lake is large fishery resource and supports thousands of fishermen from the nearby villages. The lake is a home to many species of plants and also to animals. It supports a number of species of amphibians and reptiles. The rare Irrawaddy Dolphins have been spotted here. Chilka is the second largest coastal lagoon in the World. Overnight is in Puri.
This morning you will be taken to the Konark which is famous for its Sun Temple of 13the century also called the Black Pagoda as it was built in black granite. The name Konark comes from the Sanskrit words Kona (angle) and Arka (Sun) and is dedicated to Surya the Sun God. The Temple is designed as a huge chariot of the Surya with twelve pairs of wheels, some of them 3 meters wide and pulled by seven horses. The temple which is in ruins is a World Heritage Site. Konark is home to the Konark Dance Festival devoted to the classical Indian dance forms, including Odissi. After the visit of Konark, you will return to Puri. This afternoon you will have a Puri city tour. Puri is one of the holiest places for Hindus and has many names like Jagannath Puri, Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Purusottama Puri, Neelachala, Neeladri, etc. Every Hindu would like to make a pilgrimage tour to four temples towns at least once in his life and Puri is one of them and the other three are Badrinath, Dwarika and Rameshwaram. Puri has one of the four Mathas (Hindu monastery) established by Adi Shankaracharya. The others are at Jyotirmath, Sringeri and Dwarika. The Jagannath Temple is closed for non-Hindus. Overnight is in Puri.
Your full day will be spent visiting the Ajanta Caves. The Ajanta sight-seeing takes you to the Buddhist Chaityas and Viharas with carvings and fantastic wall paintings. The paintings show Buddha’s life and rituals of the Mahayana Buddhism period. The Mural paintings prove that the ancient Indians had mastered a fluent style, dealing with large groups of people and were painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into a wet plaster. The paintings show in detail the life of a wealthy court. The ceilings are painted with detailed decorative motifs and some of them represent the Jataka tales showing the previous lives of Buddha as a ruler. Ajanta Caves are closed on Mondays. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Aurangabad.
This morning will take you to the Dhauli Ashoka Rock Edicts. It is said that Ashoka fought the Kalinga war at the Dhauli hills and the major edicts of Ashoka are engraved here. Seeing the Daya River turning red due to the blood of the soldiers and feeling the pain and horror of the war, Ashoka made Dhauli an important place for Buddhist activities by building chaityas, stupas and pillars. He explained Dandaniti and expressed his concern for the welfare of the world. There is also an ancient temple of Shiva here. Later you will be transferred to the airport in time for your Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata flight. On your arrival in Kolkata, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight is in Kolkata.
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