Classic, timeless Odisha, thriving traditional cultures topped with tranquil natural beauty. Stand in awe at India’s earliest and most majestic temples. Delight in medieval towns where the past is very much part of today. Traverse palm fringed paddies and tap into the simple pleasures of rural India. Cruise along tranquil Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest salt lake lagoon and camp under a sparkling starlit sky. Meet extraordinary everyday people and learn the secret behind their enduring smiles!
Duration: 6 Days
Route: Bhubaneshwar - Puri (via Konark) - Chilika Lake - Puri
Accommodation: Hotel (4 nights), Tent Camp (1 night).
Transport: Private transport, cycle rickshaws, local ferry, bullock cart, pole boat.
Meals: 1 Breakfast, 2 Lunches, 1 Diner. Please allow approx. €10 per day for additional meals.
Activities: Bhubaneswar Temple Sightseeing, Puri Old City Tour by Cycle Rickshaw, Heritage Painting Village Visit, UNESCO World Heritage Konark Sun Temple Entry, Temple Dancing Village Visit, Chilika Lake Camping
Support: Passionate Local Leader throughout
Arrival/Departure: Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha is well connected to the rest of India by Domestic Airlines and the Indian Railway network. Puri is only a 3 hour drive to the Airport at Bhubaneswar.
Arrive Bhubaneswar: Bhubaneswar, the lively capital of Odisha since the ancient ‘Kalinga’ empire boasts settlement stretching back 2000 years. Explore animated medieval temples and broad tree lined avenues to unearth the spirit behind the city.
Days 2 - 3
Puri: Marvel at ambitiously conceived, intricately carved ancient temples. Soak up the traditional cultures of Puri, wander through the old city, stroll along the beach and pick up local souvenirs at the lively night market. Meet village craftsmen skilled in the hereditary craft of traditional painting. Behold the famous UNESCO World Heritage site at Konark. Conceived as a giant solar chariot, this is one of India’s most sublime monuments.
Chilika Lake: Unwind on the tranquil waters of Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. Spot rare migratory birds & playful dolphins. Bask in the tropical sun, feast on fresh seafood and camp under the stars.
Puri: Glide through serene sun-kissed waters and return to the mainland. Traverse lush countryside and experience life in a charming rural village. Savour home cooked cuisine and delight in an extraordinary traditional dance performance.
Depart Puri: You are free to depart or stay on and enjoy the relaxed ambience.
How this trip makes a difference:
- Grass Routes journeys in Odisha promote distinct native culture in partnership with local communities. We encourage local people living on the fringes of society to participate in tourism initiatives, empowering them to become part of a wider community of travellers keen to learn and share experiences.
- Our responsible tourism initiatives highlight local conservation groups and societies keen on preserving their rich cultural heritage. Engaging local communities to endorse existing traditional knowledge and skills. Assuring them a dignified livelihood and reinforcing the value of their unique culture.
- In choosing the Odisha Highlights journey you will be directly benefiting rickshaw pullers in Puri, village conservationists on Chilika Lake and a long lineage of artisans keep their traditions alive. Here’s how:
- Cycle Rickshaws in Puri
- In Puri, we take a short tour using a team of dedicated cycle rickshaw drivers. Being a cycle rickshaw driver is fraught with much insecurity and harassment... from the municipal authorities to the average passenger haggling over the last five rupees! We handpick our support crew by recognizing committed workers and encouraging their services. This tour provides a basic framework for cycle rickshaw drivers to provide their service with dignity.
- Heritage Craft @ Raghurajpur
- The painters of Raghurajpur comprise a long lineage of artists specialising in a unique painting style known as ‘patachitra’. Despite faded patronage, artists continue to maintain valuable traditions and technique relying solely on their craft for the families’ income. Grass Routes encourages you to purchase directly from local artists. Not only can you encourage a unique local art form, but also give confidence to a struggling artisan community and walk away with a beautiful painting to boot!
- Conservation on Chilika Lake
- On Chilika Lake, you’ll be steered on vast tranquil waters by traditional fishermen. Who better to navigate the tidal waters and shifting sandbanks than a community who have depended on the lake for centuries? Learn from their intrinsically close connect to nature through stories and shared experiences. Chilika’s fragile eco-system is no longer able to support the thousands of villagers who depend on the waters for their livelihoods. Our Chilika Camp provides a supplementary income and sustainable alternative for for traditional fisherfolk. Our conservation efforts extend to awareness programs in villages and ‘Clean Up’ drives to maintain safe and pristine beaches.
Odisha Nature and Culture
Discover Odisha’s rich natural and cultural heritage.
Although the highlights of this trip are Odisha’s rich cultural heritage you’ll begin and finish in two dynamic bustling Indian cities.