You arrive in Delhi by International flight SU-535 at 0330 hrs. After a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our representative would assist you at the airport and to our hotel for check-in. After breakfast we will go on a guided tour of Delhi at 1100 hrs, beginning with a morning sightseeing trip to Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat followed by the drive around India Gate and President's House. In the afternoon visits to Humayun's Tomb, Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar, Mahavir Ahinsa Sthal and Chhatarpur temple. Overnight stay. (Breakfast)
Day 2:Delhi - Bhubaneswar (Flt. At IC-877 / 1145 - 1345 hrs)
Morning post breakfast on time transfer to airport to board the flight for Bhubaneswar. Upon arrival assistance and check-in hotel.
Bhubaneswar 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. Of these the most outstanding is the 11th century Lingaraja Temple which represents the peak of Orissa art and the late 10th century and beautifully decorated Muktesvara temple which belongs to the end of the phase of temple building. Close to the Mukteswara Temple is the Parsurameswara Temple, a small but richly decorated shrine of Shiva that was built in the 7th century. It is one of the best preserved. It has sculptures featuring amorous couples, animals and floral motifs. In the evening we visit the great temples of Lord Shiva: The Lingraj Temple and Parusurameshwara Temple. Overnight stay at hotel. (Breakfast)
Early morning post breakfast we will leave for Full day excursion to Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri & Udaigiri (Jain & Buddhist Monasteries).
Outside the city limits are the Lalitgiri, Udayagiri and Khandgiri caves which date from the 2nd century, during the time of Jain and Buddhist occupation of this region. The Jain caves are among the earliest in India and all the caves were built 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. In the evening drive back to Bhubaneswar for overnight stay at hotel. (Breakfast)
Morning post breakfast we drive to Puri, en-route visiting Dhauli and Pipli villages, then visit Konark (Sun Temple).
Dhauli is where Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great, renounced bloody warfare and embraced the teachings of Buddha after victory over kingdom of Kalinga. We visit the Peace Pagoda known as the Shanti Stupa built in early 1970 by Japanese. We also stop at two ancient rock edicts, today eclipsed by the presence of the Pagoda. Dating from 260 BC they outline Ashoka's detailed instructions to his administrators to rule with gentleness and fairness. The sculpted elephant atop the edict signifies the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism after his Kalinga victory. Our next stop is the colorful village of Pipili where we can see Orissan Handicrafts, the specialty is appliqu work.
Afternoon drive to Konark (45 km). In Konark, visit to the Temple - Chariot of The Sun God, built by King Langula Narasimha Deva in the thirteenth century A.D. in the golden era of Orissan art. This crowning piece of Orissan architecture and sculpture is sheer poetry in stone. Everyday the Sun rises from the lap of the blue ocean close by and casts its first gentle rays on the sanctum sanctorum and then circles the temple during the course of the day, illuminating the three magnificent images of the morning Sun, the mid-day sun and the setting sun. Return to Puri for overnight. (Breakfast)
February Attraction : Performance of the Annual Dance Festival which is held by the stunning ruins of the Sun Temple. Renowned exponents of Indian classical dance forms participate at this festival. Return to Puri for overnight.
Day 5:Puri - Raghurajapur - Puri (15 km / 30 mins one way)
Morning post breakfast we visit the famous Jagannath temple in Puri. Afterwards, excursion to Raghurajpur village.
Puri, the popular beach resort, and one of the four holy abodes in India. Pre-Dravidian and pre-Aryan history relates that a tooth of Buddha was temporarily enshrined in Puri before being moved to Sri Lanka. The extraordinary form Jagannath takes in this famous temple is said to be the unfinished work of the craftsman God, Vishvakarma. This 12th century temple is known for its Annual Rath Yatra or Car Festival.
The artisan village Raghurajpur near Puri which specializes in pattrachitra-- an art using vivid colours painted on palm leaves. You will also see the ancient art of palm leaf etching which, in the 16th century, was used to illustrate manuscripts. It was this technique which helped shape the Oriya script to its present rounded form. Overnight stay in Puri. (Breakfast)
Day 6:Puri - Chilka Lake - (150 km) - Gopalpur -On-Sea (200 km/ 5 hrs)
Drive to Gopalpur en-route visiting Chilika Lake, famous for bird sanctuary. The drive to Chilka Lake takes us through scenic countryside and attractive villages. Chilka lies in the heart of coastal Orissa. The pear-shaped lake, spread over 1,100 sq km, is Asia's largest inland salt-water lagoon. It is dotted with small islands and has an impressive array of bird life, both native and migrant. White bellied sea eagles, greylag geese, purple moorhen, jacana, herons and flamingos are among the many species which make the lake a bird watcher's delight. Chilka, in fact, is home to one of the world's largest breeding colonies of flamingos. Other than the birds, Chilka's shores are home to blackbuck, spotted deer, golden jackals and hyenas, and the lake is rich in aquatic life- its waters harbour around 160 species of fish, crustaceans and other marine creatures, including the famous Chilka dolphin. Prawn, crab and mackerel fishing are an important source of livelihood for the local people, and hundreds of small fishing boats set sail each morning to bring in the day's catch from the lake.
Afterwards we will drive to Gopalpur on Sea, an ancient sea port not often visited by tourists. Sand dunes, groves of coconut palm and casuarinas separate the small town from the beach. Upon arrival check-in hotel for overnight stay. (Breakfast)
Day 7:Gopalpur -On-Sea - Rayagada (210 km / 5-6 hrs)
Morning at leisure. Post lunch drive to Rayagada and reach there in the evening. We are now in the tribal belt of Orissa. Orissa has the third highest concentration of tribals in India and because of the remoteness of the areas where they live, the tribes are untouched by modern times. 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. Overnight stay in Rayagada. (B, L, D)
Day 8:Rayagada - Saora Tribal Villages - Rayagada (45 km / 1.5 hrs)
Morning drive visiting the Saora tribal villages. Today we will stop at the villages of the Langia 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 who is assisted by a religious leader and village shamans, or medicine men, who are able to communicate with deceased ancestors. The walls of the mud houses are decorated with remarkable paintings and traditional designs known as IKONS. Saura are one of the oldest known tribes of Orissa. They are doing shifting cultivation. The ceremonies and festivals of the Saoras are the occasions when the social bonds are cemented. The Saoras also practice both sorority and levirate forms of marri