Orissa Tribal Coincides With Konark Dance Festival
Orissa boasts of a long and rich cultural heritage and the finest pieces of Architecture. It has the third largest concentration of tribes, forming about one fourth of its total population, mostly inhabiting the jungles and hilly regions. Most of the tribal communities have a fairly high degree of performing and primitive arts, rich music and dance which punctuate their individual and community lives. The tribes here are named after the Cobra and the Tiger. Their culture is characterized by worship of stone deities, rice cultivation on terraced and shifting fields, domestication of cattle for slaughter and sacrifice, the art of weaving and the erection of megaliths. Tribes here are endogamous, they treat everyone from their entire area as one big family. They decorate their bodies with tattoo marks, they profusely use ornaments like bangles, anklets, earrings and huge necklaces. Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar, the Jagannath Temple of Puri above all the world renowned world heritage Sun Temple at Konark is the epitome of temple architecture and sculpture
Day 1: Arrival in Calcutta,
meet & transfer to Hotel Peerless Inn.
Day 2: Calcutta (B,L,D)
The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. Kolkatta was then subsequently anglicized into Calcutta. Today the city has reverted to its original name.
After breakfast, we depart at 9 am and begin with a two hour walking tour called Heritage Walk of Dalhousie Square, now a World Heritage Site. The walk takes place in the morning so that you can leisurely take in the architecture and history of the city’s many unique and spectacular buildings without any traffic on the roads. We begin at The Flower Market on the River Hoogly – where it really “all” began. The walk then starts at the site of the terrible ‘Black Hole,’ takes you past the famous Writer’s Building, the former HQ of the infamous East India Company, around the square to, among others, the magnificent Governor’s House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum. The whole experience takes you back to the 18th and 19th century when the British ruled the entire subcontinent from Calcutta – at that time the most fashionable city in the world after London.
After the walk, we will go to Indian Coffee House on College Ave (a lively local area) for a short break and from here to Kumartoli village, the home of the kumars or potters who make the life size deities that are worshipped throughout the year at festivals and pujas. The village is a unique open-air workshop where gods and goddesses are molded by hand, traditionally using dust from the thresholds of nearby brothels. Kali, the patron goddess of Calcutta, is usually seen in her bloodthirsty form, garlanded with skulls. A variety of artisans set up along Chitpur Road: makers of traditional perfumes, embroidered tunic sellers, purveyors of wigs, a row of musical instrument shops (at N. N. Mondal’s, Yehudi Menuhin got his violin repaired in 1952) and Chinese shoemakers.
We shall stop for lunch at the Ivory Restaurant.
After lunch, we visit Sishu Bhavan, one of Mother Theresa’s many homes for the underprivileged and Victoria Memorial another landmark in the city that marks the British reign in India. A combination of Italian renaissance and Mughal architecture, the white marble architecture was the British attempt to replicate the Taj Mahal and is a monument to Queen Victoria and a museum dedicated to the Raj. Afterwards we go to Kalighat temple, the main Kali temple (Durga) in Calcutta, for evening ceremony. Kali temple is located on the banks of the river Hooghly (Bhagirathi). The temple in its present form is only about 200 years old, built in 1809 on the site of a much older temple, although it has been referred in Mansar Bhasan in the 15th century, and in Kavi Kankan Chandi of the 17th century.
Kali is regarded as one of the principal deities of Bengal. There are other temples to Kali -Sahasrabhuja Kali, Sarvamangala, Tarasundari and Simhavaahini. Kali is alternately regarded as the destroyer or liberator and is depicted in a fearful form. Despite the terrifying visage, she is considered to deliver bliss to worshippers. The Kalighat temple is considered one of the 52 Shakti Peethams of India, where the various parts of Sati’s body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva’s Rudra Tandava. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot of Shakti or Sati fell. The temple attracts thousands of devotees throughout the year.
Legend has it that a devotee discovered a luminescent ray of light coming from the Bhagirathi riverbed, and upon investigating its source came upon a piece of stone carved in the form of a human toe. He also found a Syayambhu Lingam of Nakuleshwar Bhairav nearby, and started worshipping Kali in the midst of a thick jungle. This shrine grew to its present form over a period of time, thanks in particular to the Sabarna Roy Chowdhury family of Bengal. This family is also said to have built the Chitreswari Kali temple at Chitpur. It is believed that there was a pathway through the jungle between Chitpur and Kalighat, and this pathway is said to have become the Chitpur road of Calcutta.
Kalighat is also associated with the worship offered to Kali by a Dasanami Monk named Chowranga Giri, and the Chowringee area of Calcutta is said to have been named after him.
Return to the hotel for dinner at the Aaheli restaurant, one of the best in Calcutta.
Day 3: Fly Calcutta- Bhubaneswar / Mayfair Lagoon (B,D)
Independent morning. Transfer to airport for flight 6E512 depart 1135 / arrive 1245 to Bhubaneswar, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Orissa.
Traveling through the state of Orissa is a blend of art, architecture and ancient cultures. Bhubaneswar, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Orissa, has some stunning temples clustered around the Bindusagar Tank. Of the original 7000, only 500 remain dating from the 7th to the 11th centuries.
Of these the two most outstanding are the 11th century Lingaraja Temple that represents the peak of Orissa art and the late 10th century beautifully decorated Muktesvara temple that 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.
On arrival transfer to hotel for check in and immediately depart to visit the three great temples of Shiva: Mukteswara, Parusurameshwara and Lingaraj.
Visitors are permitted to go inside Mukteswara and Parusurameshwara; however non Hindus are not allowed inside Lingaraj Temple. Though we are not allowed to enter Lingaraj Temple, the government has built a raised platform next to the temple for foreigners to view the ceremony and look inside the temple. Attend evening ceremony, starting at approx 630 pm, at one of these temples TBA.Traveling through the state of.
Day 4: Bhubaneswar / Mayfair Lagoon (B,L,D)
This morning we shall visit the Museum of Man and the Orissa State Museum. (Mon closed)
Lunch at the Odisha Hotel. Actually this is a restaurant, the only one serving authentic Orissa cuisine. Local cuisine of any section should form an important part of that tour. In addition to finger licking vegetarian delicacies. You must add to it shrimps, lobsters, special fish, chicken or meat (goat) all cooked in traditional Orissan style.
Afterwards, we will go to a Baia Korakhai shop. Kora khai is a traditional food of Odisha. It is also one of the Chapana Bhoga (56 sweet delicacies) of Lord Jagannath. Bhubaneswar is famous for this preparation. (They are not making it every day. It will be determined on the spot and arrange the sightseeing during that time.).
Even if for some reason the few shops that prepare and sell this offering are not preparing it during our visit in Bhubaneswar, it is quite interesting to visit these shops in the bazaar while walking through the old allies around the main temple. These alleys house the Pandas (priests) of the various temples. We will probably be the only westerners here. No other tour company has yet to incorporate this. A short walk will be very fulfilling.
This afternoon we shall enjoy an excursion to visit the villages of Dhauli (the rock edicts of Ashok).
Dhauli village where the Kalinga warlord Ashok renounced bloody warfare and embraced the teachings of Buddha. We visit the Peace Pagoda known as the Shanti Stupa built in early 1970 by Japanese Buddhas. 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.
Return to Bhubaneswar for overnight.
Day 5: Bhubanswar – Puri / Mayfair Heritage (B,L,D)
Drive to Puri, enroute visit Hirapur ( 64 yogini temple), Pipli ( the appliqué work village ) and Konark Temple.
64 yogini temple dating to the early ninth century. It is hypaethral (open to the sky), and belongs to a genre of architecture completely apart from the major Orissan School. Although it seems that temples of this type existed throughout India at one time, today only four remain. Two of them are in Orissa; the shrine at Hirapur, and one in the far western reaches of the state, at Ranipur-Jharial.
Pipili famous all over the world for its applique work & the most well known for its handicraft. The Craft involves embroidering and stitching of small pieces of colored cloth with flowers, animals, village scene and traditional designs on to a larger base cloth. The cloth used for patch as well as base is cotton with different color combinations. The usual appliqué patchwork items are Garden Umbrellas, Wallets, Wall Hanging, lampshades, Pouches & Bags.
In Konark, we visit the Konark Temple – Chariot of The Sun God and UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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 God rises from the lap of the blue ocean close by and casts his 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. As you approach the water, you will see rising from the golden sandy beach, one of the country’s most vivid archeological treasures — The Sun Temple. For a millennium, this temple has been a beacon to sailors at sea. European soldiers referred to this edifice as the Black Pagoda to distinguish Konark’s temple from the whitewashed Jagannath Temple in Puri. Despite the fact that the building now lies in ruins, the structure retains much of its former magnificence.
We continue to Puri Continue to Puri – 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. Supporting the theory that Buddhism prevailed in this area, the 12th century Jaganath Temple, dedicated to the Lord of the Universe, and the main attraction in Puri, was believed to have originally been a stupa. The extraordinary form Jagannath takes in this temple is said to be the unfinished work of the craftsman god, Vishvakarna. Angry with Vishnu, he left his portrayal of the god incomplete. The Jagannath Temple contributed the word ‘Juggernaut’ to the English language.
Day 6: Puri (B,L,D)
Today morning we will visit Panda’s Akara in Puri. Pandas are local Priests in Puri. They have their club houses called Akharas. These priests go to their respective clubs to unwind. They are famous for their wrestling skills, though they indulge is dances, music and merry making. An exclusive but engrossing experience.
Next we visit Puri Temple and afternoon excursion to the artisan village Raghurajpur specializes in pattrachitrs – the art of painting vivid colors on palm leaves. You will also see the ancient art of palm leaf etching used to illustrate manuscripts in the 16th century. It was this technique that helped shape the Oriya script to its present rounded form.
We shall enjoy spending some time in late afternoon in Ramchandi village – one of the largest fishing tribal villages. Thousands of fishing boats, tons of fish, variety of fish, fishermen and women, fish market, what a sight.
Day 7: Puri – Chilka – Gopalpur / Mayfair Gopalpur (B,L,D)
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 spreads over 1,100 sq km and 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, Greyleg Geese, Purple Moorhen, Jacana, herons and flamingos are among the many species that 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 harbor approximately 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. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is home to India’s second largest pachyderm population, so the chances of seeing herds of elephants are quite good, especially during the dry season. Sunset and sunrise are memorable experiences here.
A private boat ride on the lake to view the avian life and Kalijai Temple, abode of the presiding deity of the lake, located on the tiny island.
After lunch, 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. Tonight marks our last night of comfort before embarking on the rugged journey through the tribal areas.
Day 8, Mon: Gopalpur on Sea -Rayagada (280 km) / Hotel Sai International. (B,L,D)
Drive to Rayagada visiting Padmanavpur Textile village, Taptapani hot Sulpher spring. If intersted we can visit Jirang Tibetan Monastery. Overnight at Rayagada.
Day 9, Tue: Rayagada – Kothgarh – Rayagada (180 km) (Market Day – Tuesday ) Sai International (B,L,D)
The excursion today takes us to the Kothgarh tribal area. The most numerous, they speak Kuvi, a language derived from the Dravidian strain of Southern India. Human sacrifice has now been replaced with animal sacrifice, offering the 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. Return to Rayagada for overnight.
Day 10, Wed: Rayagada-Jeypore (240km) (Dongariya Kondh Market Day – Wednesday) / Hello Jeypore (BLD)
The drive today takes us through Chatikona to visit Dongariya Kondh market. Jeypore is the commercial nerve center of Rayagada District. Endowed with waterfalls and forests thronged with colorful wildlife, has all the facilities to serve as a base for visiting places of interest in this area.
Day 11, Thu: Jeypore – Onukudelli – Jeypore (180 km) (Weekly Market Day – Thursday) (B,L,D)
The area we visit today is the home of the estimated 6,000 members of the fierce Bondas (naked people) of Tibetan-Burmese origin. They live in the remote hills and keep themselves isolated. They grow rice by shifting cultivation and keep domesticated cows and goats. The Bondas may only be seen when they come to trade at the local market, and we have timed our visit to coincide with the weekly market. The Bonda women are identifiable by their bead necklaces, striking brass and silver necklets and their shaved heads decorated with plaits of palmyra leaves. We will also visit the colorful Godabas, a Munda tribe who speak in the Austro-Asiatic dialect. Overnight in Jeypore.
Day 12, Fri: Jeypore – Jagdalpur /Naman Bastar (Market Day – Fri at Kunduli ) (B,L,D)
Enroute to Jagdalpur, we visit Kunduli Market and Kotapada textile village famous for vegetable dye. Maharaja Kumar Harihar Bhanj Deo of the former ruling family of Bastar is not only an excellent artist and a practicing lawyer in the capital Jagdalpur, he is also an authority on the turbulent history of Bastar State with a keen regard for the natural wonders of his region. He offers a personal guide to Royal Jagdalpur, the Palace grounds, the Anthropological Museum, and a variety of local wildlife and tribal tours in South Bastar, from the base of the Bastar Royal Farm Guest House. Close by on the Indravati River are the Chitrakot Falls, Bastar’s own ‘mini-Niagara.’ This area is home to the bison-horn Maria Gonds, named for their fine dancing headdresses as well as famed for their spectacular dance.
Day 13, Sat: Jagdalpur (B,L,D)
An early breakfast allows time for a visit to the rich forests of the Kanker Valley National Park, the enchanting Tirathgarh waterfall and the extraordinary stalactite and stalagmite caves. Kanger retains the original feel of the mighty forests that once covered this entire region. You will picnic in the natural habitat of Leopard, Tiger, Sambhar, Bison and the Bastar Hill Myna. Here too are forest tribal people in their natural habitat. There will be time also to explore some of Jagdalpur’s unique handicrafts before dinner at the hotel with your royal guides.
Day 14, Sun: Jagdalpur – Kankar (Weekly Market – Sunday ) / Kankar Palace (160 km, 4 hrs drive) (B,L,D)
Drive to Kanker visiting Maria & Muria tribes. Enroute visit of Kondagaon Dokra Metal work village and Sathi NGO famous for terracotta work. Conditions permitting, a barbecue is served under the stars in authentic Bastar style. You will be entertained by a performance of the tribal people in Kankar Palace.
Day 15, Mon: Kanker – Maria tribal village visit (B,L,D)
After breakfast at the Palace, the Bastar tribal experience begins. South of Kanker you and your royal guide climb the forested Keshkal Ghat that marks the border of Bastar 500m above the plain. You will encounter the special nature of North Bastar with a visit to a colorful weekly market. This is a great opportunity to meet the local people.you will be served a picnic lunch in the deep green Sal forests.
Day 16, Tue: Kanker – Raipur – Calcutta – Depart (B,L)
Drive to Raipur (140 km / 3hours), enroute we pass several handicraft centers for those last-minute souvenirs of your Bastar experience, evening connect flight 6E252 dep. 1705 / arr. 1820 to Calcutta, On arrival transfer to hotel near airport for wash and change; late night transfer to International airport..