Touted as India's best kept secret, Odisha is a land of spiritual experiences, untamed natural beauty, intricate art and architecture, unique cuisines, timeless beaches, serene hill stations and diverse flora and fauna. Odisha also occupies a distinctive place in the ethnographic map of India for having the largest variety of primitive tribal communities in the country. Our Odisha Tribal Tour will take you across the Eastern Ghats, into the hinterland of Odisha for a tryst with its different indigenous and primitive tribes including the Bondas, Gadabbas, Paraja's and the Kondhas. We will allow you a peek into Odisha's primordial heart, its colourful culture passed down through art, dance, myths and music. You will see how as opposed to their urban counterparts, the tribal communities are protecting nature and its bounty and honouring and respecting their women community. You will also visit the Odishan golden triangle constituting of the capital city Bhubaneswar, the beach city Puri and the mystical Sun temple in Konark. +-You will traverse the land of Odisha to visit numerous local villages, ancient temples and craft centres. Our Odisha Tribal Tour provides an eclectic mix of Cultural tourism, Tribal tourism and Nature tourism thereby making you fall in love with this beautiful place.
DAY 1 -- Arrive in the Temple City of India, Bhubaneswar
You will get a warm welcome at the Biju Patnaik Interntional Airport in Bhubaneswar by our travel counsellor who will then assist you in your Hotel transfer and check in.Bhubaneswar literally means 'Lord of the Universe' which is reflected in the large number of temples and the religious zeal in its local population. The Old Town of this ancient city once boasted of more than 2000 shrines, even today hundreds of grand temples and stunning architecture from centuries ago dot the cityscape making Bhubaneswar an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. This historic city is presently a flourishing centre for business rapidly moving towards globalisation. The city's colourful history beautifully intertwines with its religious significance and progressive present making it a popular tourist destination.
DAY 2 -- Explore the temples of Bhubaneswar
After breakfast, you will leave for a tour of the ancient temple sites of Bhubaneswar. You will first visit the famed Lingraj Temple of Lord Shiva built in 11th century. The biggest temple in Bhubaneswar, its edifice is a magnificent example of Odissi style of architecture with intricately designed stone vaults and beautiful sculptures carved on the spire. The serene Bindusagar Lake lying north of Lingaraja Temple is a popular tourist attraction as well.
You will also visit the 10th century Mukteshwar temple which is a testimony to the popularity of Kalinga School of Temple Architecture. It has intricate carvings and sculptures depicting the various Panchatantra tales. Take a tour of the renowned Rajarani temple which gets its name from the beautiful red and gold sandstone (locally known as raja rani) used in its construction. Some other remarkable temples that you can visit include the Brahmeswavara temple, Siddeswara temple and Kedar Gauri temple. You can walk around the local temple market and interact with the indigenous community to get insights into their traditions and culture.
Lose yourself in the aesthetically designed botanical garden of Ekamra Kanan situated on the banks of Bindusagar Lake. Nestled in the epicenter of heritage sites in Bhubaneswar, the garden has been created by the craftsmen from a local heritage crafts village and houses a variety of plants with spiritual and medicinal significance.
You will then visit the ancient Udaigiri and Khandgiri caves whose construction was started by the first known Odissi ruler king Kharavela in 1st century BC. These caves were carved and tunneled, to create multi-storied apartment residences for Jain monks. Walk around these caves to see beautifully carved inscriptions and figures. In the afternoon, you will go to Kala Bhoomi, a textile and crafts museum that celebrates the work of local Odissi artisans by displaying their handicrafts, traditional textiles, paintings, metal work and wood carvings amongst other things.
DAY 3 -- Arrive in the holy town of Jagannath Puri
After breakfast, you will drive one and half hours to reach Puri. En route you will stop to visit the 64 Yogini Temple of Hirapur and the appliqu centre of Pipli. On the outskirts of Bhubaneswar is the small circular yogini temple dating back to the 9th century. This hypaethral (open to the sky) temple dedicated to yoginis (female goddesses) was famous for black magic or tantric practices in ancient times.Pipli also known as Orissa's appliqu capital showcases the essence of Oriya culture in bright colourful splashes. Here, you can feast your eyes on vivid awnings, canopies, umbrellas, shoulder and handbags etc. which are also available for shopping.
On your arrival in Puri, you will be assisted in your hotel check-in. Believed to be the resting place of Lord Shiva, the remarkable history and religious heritage of Puri date back to the 3rd century BC. Here, the golden sand beaches of Bay of Bengal have attracted both foreign tourists and pilgrims for ages. You are sure to encounter the charming sight of the local fishermen, with their catamarans and wide brimmed cane hats on the beaches.
One of the Char Dhams, Puri is amongst the holiest pilgrimage places in India, with its religious importance revolving around the renowned Jagannath Mandir and its famous Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival). Later in the afternoon, you will visit the 12th century Jagannath Temple dedicated to Jagannath --"The Lord of the Universe." This magnificent temple allures devotees from all over the world. Bada Danda, the road which leads up to the temple is believed to be the path to Nirvana. This is where the chariots roll down in the famous annual Rath Yatra that draws tumultuous crowds.
DAY 4 -- Day excursion to the Sun Temple in Konark
After a leisurely breakfast you will proceed to visit a heritage crafts village Raghurajpur and its nearby pottery village. The economic, social and cultural life of these villages revolves around arts and handicrafts. On your walk around the village you will see the men painting and the women preparing the canvases and the pigments in houses with beautifully painted murals. You will be free to wander around, interact with the friendly artisans, watch them work and even buy their pieces which include Pattachitra or traditional cloth paintings, palm leaf engravings, stone carvings and wooden toys.
You will also have the unforgettable experience of enjoying the delicious local lunch while witnessing the centuries old Gotipua dance. Executed by a group of boys who are dressed as females, the beautiful dances are inspired by the life of Radha & Krishna.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Sun Temple of Konark, the famous third link of the Odishan Golden Triangle. Conceived as an enormous chariot of the Sun God hauled by seven spectacularly carved horses, the Sun temple boasts of having one of the most magnificent temple architectures in the world. This 13th century UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by drifting sands just three kms from the sea. Later, you can also visit a local Fisherman's village and interact with the society to know more about their culture. Return to Puri for overnight stay at your hotel.
DAY 5 -- Arrive in Daringbadi, Kashmir of Odisha
After breakfast, you will drive 6-7 hours to reach Daringbadi, en route visiting a few traditional Orissa villages to meet the indigenous population, scour their local markets and see their temples to have a better understanding of the local culture. On arrival you will be assisted with your check in at Daringbadi Nature Camp.
After the temples and beaches of Orissa, you will finally visit the stunning hill station Daringbadi blessed with thick pine forests, beautiful waterfalls and rivers, as well as splendid valley's and plateau's further embellished with serene coffee and pepper plantations. Located 3000 ft. above sea level, replete with natural beauty and diverse flora and fauna, Daringbadi is the perfect place to rejuvenate youself. It is named after a British officer named Daring Saheb who was in charge of the place during colonial rule.
DAY 6 -- Interact with the Kondha Tribe of Daringbadi
Early morning, you will visit a local coffee plantation. Prepare yourself to be entranced by a majestic sunrise accompanied by the pervading smell of coffee. Spend a refreshing morning enjoying the lush greens, chirping birds and the cool breeze surrounding you. Later, you can drive through pine forests to Daringbadi hill top to get a bird's eye view of the stunning vistas of Daringbadi.
You will take a walking tour of the traditional villages near Daringbadi, meet one of the most ancient tribes of India - the Kutia Kondhas who have been living in this place for a very long time. The name Kondh translates as "mountaineer" and the Kondhas are found in almost all districts of Orissa but mostly concentrated in large numbers in Phulbani, Koraput and Ganjam districts. This tribe is famous for its Meriah or Human sacrifice. You will get deeper knowledge of its rich heritage, unique cuisine as well as the festivities which occur during the time of sowing and harvesting when you will attend a feast here, accompanied by joyous singing and dancing by the village women and boys. Later you can return to your Nature Camp for overnight stay.
DAY 7 -- Arrive in Rayagada
After breakfast, you will drive 5-6 hours to reach Rayagada, en route visiting the lively and colourful weekly tribal market held at Kotgarh and the nearby village of Bissamcuttak by the Kutia Kondh tribe. You will be introduced to the highly ornamented and colorfully dressed Kutia Kondhs of Phulbani District, who bring their produce and wares ranging from chillies, local fruits, vegetables, dried fish and spices to beautiful bronze animal sculptures. Their women believe in making distinctive floral and geometrical tattoos on their face and hands depending upon which clan they belong to. This is done so that they can be recognised by their dead ancestors and each other in the spirit world.
On reaching Rayagada, you will be assisted with your hotel check in. Rayagada has a rich history and a culture which has mingled with the local tribal culture to become unique in its own way. It has many historical places and is known for its cuisine, crafts and handmade products. Rayagada offers dense forests, green meadows, waterfalls, historical monuments and a peek into the lifestyle of its colourful ethnic and tribal populations.
DAY 8 -- Explore the weekly Dongriya Kondha market
After breakfast you will visit the weekly Wednesday market of the Dongriya Kondha's held at Chatikona. The Dongariya Kondhas are one of the few original ethnic tribal groups of Orissa who have retained their culture and tradition till date. Interestingly, female family members of the Dongria's are considered assets because of their contribution inside and outside the household and the women are at par with the male members in everything from constructing a house to cultivation. Due to this, in the Dongria culture the bride price is paid to her parents when she gets married instead of the other way round as is the norm in the rest of India.
During the weekly market, the Dongariya Kondhas trek from their villages on the hill down to Chatikona with forest produce to sell or barter with non-tribals. Later, you will drive 5-6 hours to reach Jeypore where you will be assisted with your hotel check in by our travel representative.
DAY 9 -- Interact with ethnic groups in Onukudelli near Jeypore
Jeypore is home to Odisha's vast tribal population. A real treasure trove for nature lovers, it offers its visitors a firsthand experience of meeting and interacting with its ancient tribes. After breakfast, you will drive 3-4 hours to visit the weekly Thursday market of the Bonda tribe at Onkudelli. You will also spend some time at the gorgeous Duduma waterfall and enjoy the spectacular view of the mountains and valleys from there.
You will visit the home of around 6000 members of the famed Bonda Tribe--one of the most fascinating population of the country. The Bonda's live in remote hills and keep themselves isolated. Also, they grow rice by shifting cultivation. The Bonda women are noticeably stunning with chunks of beaded necklaces that cover their upper body, striking brass and silver necklaces and their shaved heads decorated with colourful beads. In Bonda society, the women enjoy an honoured position as they are the primary workers and providers of food for the community. Bonda girls largely marry boys who are at least five to ten years younger than them. In contrast with many other populations in India, the number of women among the Bondas greatly exceeds the number of men.
You will also get to visit another ethnic tribal group called the Gadabbas. They are distinct as both men and women tie their long hair with linseed oil and decorate it with forestry flowers and different ornaments. Later, you will return to your hotel in Jeypore to spend the night.
DAY 10 -- Visit the ornate Simhachalam Temple
After breakfast you will visit the Paraja tribe which assembles at Kunduli every Friday. The Parajas are divided into different sub-groups namely - Sodia, Jadia and Parenga; each of which seems to be a separate ethnic group. They all are known to have a number of totemistic septs like Bagh (tiger), Bokda (goat), Netam (dog), Pandki (dove) etc. These animals are highly respected and harming or eating them is forbidden. The tribe also worships various gods and goddesses residing in the hills and forests.
You will drive 5-6 hours to Vishakapatnam en route visiting a typical Andhra village and its temples. You will then stop at the 11th century Simhachalam (hill of the lion) Temple near Vishakapatanam. This ornate shrine is dedicated to Lord Narasimha - an incarnation of Vishnu. Perched atop a hill, the temples detailed carvings and design is visible from a distance. It is a treasure of traditional Vaishnavite culture and its artwork has elements of similarity with the Sun temple in Konark. Interestingly, the statue of the deity appears in its true form only for 12 hours every year on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, otherwise covered with sandalwood paste. Millions of devotees from round the world visit Simhachalam Temple every year.
On arrival at Vishakapatnam, you will be provided assistance with your hotel check in.
DAY 11 -- Departure from Vishakapatnam
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