Welcome to India! Upon arrival into Kolkata, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.
The city of Kolkata’s name is derived from the Bengali term Kolkata, the name of one of three villages that predated the arrival of the British, in the area where the city eventually was to be established. Located on the east bank of River Hooghly, Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is also the commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India’s oldest port as well as its sole major riverine port. The city’s documented history begins with the arrival of the English East India Company in 1690, when the Company was consolodating its trade business in Bengal. Under the East India Company and later under the British Raj, Kolkata served as the capital of India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. The people of Kolkata tend to have a special appreciation for art and literature; its tradition of welcoming new talent has made it a ‘city of furious creative energy’. For these reasons, Kolkata has often been dubbed as the Cultural Capital of India or the Literary Capital of India.
Today you will have walking tour of Calcutta :
The British had sought to build 'the second city of the Empire' right here and it is this 'building' that we'll show you in the course of our walk through the 'European' areas of what was once the capital of the British Empire in India. There are major plans on to beautify and restore this heritage site with its rich and varied architectural styles. One of our most popular walks this serves as the perfect introduction to British Calcutta and gives you a sneak peek into what went into the making of the Colonial Capital of India. So prepare to whet your appetite for all things Raj.
Departure for Talasari. The name Talasari is derived from the words Tala (palm tree) and Sari / Sarani (meaning row), referring to the many palm trees that surround the area. Located in the district of Balasore, the unique beach of Talasari will bewitch you. Its coasts, much quieter than the neighboring beaches, can only be reached by passing through the Backwaters! You may even have the pleasure of seeing many red crabs on the beach. Talasari is one of the least visited beaches in the region.
Enjoy beautiful sunset over the white sand beach of Talasari.
This new morning to visit the fishing village of the region and interact with the local communities. With any luck, you will have the opportunity to see them at work repairing their ships.
You will then take the road in the direction of Chandipur, where the tidal phenomenon of receding beach. The Chandipur Sea has the particularity of retreating for 5 kilometers. This tidal game occurs twice a day and is a particularly incredible phenomenon to watch! Adding to it, a peaceful atmosphere, lonely sand dunes, and the gentle sound of the waves… wonderful moments to experience! visit Remuna, and its Khirachora Gopinatha temple. Remuna is a small town located 9km east of Balasore.
Departure for Aul Palace. Along the way, visit small artisan villages, as well as the Chandaneswar temple. You will also be able to experience typical rural villages of Orissa, and chat with the villagers, in order to better understand their unique way of life.
In the afternoon you will arrive in Aul. Time to explore the city and its Palace, located not far from the small town of Aul, and spreading over a land of nearly 16 hectares. You can observe the structures known as Rajbati, Ranimahal, Ghodashala, Bhandar, Udya, Pramoda Udyan, Debalaya, Devi Mandir among others. Nearby is the Baitarani River, and its serene atmosphere, as well as the Dharanidhar Bhuyan, a famous burial place commemorating those who fought for freedom.
Today a full day excursion to Bhitarkanika NP; Delve deep into the mysterious mangrove forests of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park; a unique ecosystem designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. Glide through the extensive network of creeks and rivers. Gaze the diverse bird and wildlife and keep you hands out of the water, the saltwater crocodile bites!
Today, we will leave for the Bhubaneshwar. On the route, we visit the Golden triangle of Orissa. These three hills and their surroundings together form an incredible Buddhist complex. The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen T'sang founded there the seat of a flourishing Buddhist university: Puspagiri. Large ruins of brick pagodas, portals of carved stones and esoteric Buddhist images, testifying to its former glory, have been restored. We will visit Ratnagiri, nestled on the banks of the Birup River, and about 100km from Bhubaneshwar, Ratnigiri contains some very beautiful Buddhist antiquities. Created in the 6th century AD, it would seem that Buddhism was taught in these places until the 12th century. The museum of Ratnagiri also deserves a detour. We then go to the Lalitgiri. It is one of the oldest Buddhist complexes, dating back to the 1st century. Thereafter, we go to Udaygiri, one of the largest Buddhist complexes in Orissa, and well known for its bell-shaped stupa, representing the Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism).
We will reach late evening in Bhubneshwar
This day will allow us to follow the footsteps of the Jains. Religious centre of Tribhubaneswar or "Lord Lingaraj", Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage center. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the old city, which used to be around 2000. While the modern city is buzzing, its landscape awakens curiosity, between the bell towers of the Lingaraja Temple, the white dome of Peace Pagoda on the hill of Dhauli and the pink hues of Mahariva Jina. Together they embody the advent of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism through the different periods of Orissa's history. Among these 600 temples, the Lingaraj temple, dedicated to Shiva, and one of the most refined and imposing temples of Bhubaneswar. Non-Hindus can not enter it, but can observe it from an outside platform. We will also have the opportunity to visit the Rajarani temple built of pink and gold sandstone, one of the most recognized in the city. The Mukteshwar Temple is one of the most remarkable temples in Bhubaneswar and its architectural style is close to that used to build the Kalinga School of Temple Architecture. We can also explore the Parashurameswar temple, built in the year 650 AD. Small, but richly decorated, the Parashurameswar Temple, Shiva Shrine, has many statues of couples, animals and floral motifs.
After delicious breakfast, we head towards Pipli. On the way, we stop by in the small villages along the road. Pipli, for example, center of applied arts, which transmits the essence of the arts of Odisha. This will be the occasion to bring back some typical souvenirs of our trip to India to our relatives. Infact, the village is also famous for its handbags and other traditional objects. This mix of colors is a feast for the eyes. Pipli, capital of the arts of Odisha, looks brightly in the storefronts.
Thereafter, we resume our journey to Konark, one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture in the world. The Sun Temple of Konark was conceived as a massive tank dedicated to carrying the God of the Sun in the sky by the power of seven magnificently sculpted horses. It was originally much closer to the sea and was used as a navigation point by European sailors, who nicknamed the temple the "Black Pagoda". This architectural wonder of the 13th century has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will also have the opportunity during this day trip to India to visit the ASI Museum in Konark, as well as the local fishing village.
After the visit, we will head towards Puri. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Rest of the evening is free to explore the beach during sunset.
Today, we visit the Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri. This temple is one of the most sacred of India, it is a high place of pilgrimage. According to legend, the most extraordinary form Jagannath takes is that of the unfinished work of the god Vswakarma, who in anger did not finish his portrait of Lord Vishnu. A mythical place not to be missed during a trip to India in the region. Attention: Non Hindus are not allowed inside the Jagannath Temple, but can see this one from the platform of the Raghunathan library. On Sunday, this platform is closed, but the temple can be seen from another platform outside the temple.
After the visit of the temple, we head to Chilka Lake to observe the Dolphins. This vast lake on the east coast of Orissa boasts magnificent islands, flamingos floundering in shallow waters and birds that come from as far away as the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea, and other parts Mongolia, Central and Southeast Asia. And this is only a glimpse of what Chilika Lake can offer. Extending over 1,100 square kilometers, and covering three districts of Orissa, the place is a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers. The best time to visit the lake is Winter as it is the time that birds choose to migrate to the Island. Optional: Boat ride on the lake to see the dolphins.
Late afternoon, we will visit Raghurajpur, a charming village not far from Puri. The artisan activities of Raghurajpur contribute to the reputation of the village throughout the country. There are about 100 homes and 300 craftsmen in the village. We can walk around, admire the magnificent frescoes painted on the walls, interact with craftsmen, see them in action and of course, shop, the opportunity to bring back authentic souvenirs. Optional: During our visit in Raghurajpur enjoy a unique Gotipua dance, a typical folk dance. It is a form of dance originating in this village. It is performed by young boys who transform into feminine and graceful dancers. Acrobatic postures and movements are inspired by the life of Radha and Krishna and other mythological narratives
Early morning transfer to Bhubneshwar airport, then onto flight to Calcutta. According to return flight timings transfer to Calcutta International airport.