Discover Odisha’s rich natural and cultural heritage. From majestic mangroves and verdant forests to regal palaces, ancient ruins and intricate handicrafts. Meet local village communities continuing centuries of traditional craftsmanship. Soak up traditional cultures and awe-inspiring temples. Cruise along perennial rivers, walk ancient tracks and meet the people that abide seasons of change aligned with the natural world.
Duration: 9 Days
Route: Bhubaneswar - Bhitarkanika - Dhenkanal - Satkosia - Puri - Konark
Accommodation: Hotel (5 nights), Forest Bungalow (3 nights).
Transport: Private A/C vehicle, cycle rickshaws, mechanised boats (Bhitarkanika&Satkosia) and foot.
Meals:2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunch, 2 Diner. Please allow approx. €10 per day for additional meals.
Activities: Bhubaneswar Heritage Walk, Bhitarkanika National Park Entry & Activities,Buddhist Ruins Entry,Mahima Rituals, Satkosia Gorge and Wildlife Sanctuary Entry & Activities, Local Craft Village Visits (2),River Rafting and UNESCO World Heritage Sun Temple @ Konark.
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 from Bhubaneswar.
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
Bhitarkanika National Park: Delve deep into the mysterious mangrove forests ofBhitarkanika 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!
Days 4 - 5
Dhenkanal: Wander through ancient Buddhist ruins and immerse yourself in the regal trimming of the historic Dhenkanal palace. Join the saffron clad Mahima Babas at their hilltop ashram. Take part in their rituals and enjoy a communal meal on palm leaf plates. Meet a local community of metal craftsmen and watch their traditional brass casting magic.
Satkosia Gorge and Wildlife Sanctuary: Buckle up and enjoy the ride through pristine forest. Camp at the base ofSatkosia Gorge and drink the awe-inspiring views. Cruise along the River Mahanadi at sunset and soak up the tranquil silence.
Puri: Set out early on a forest walk with local eco-experts to help you identify native flora and fauna. After breakfast head to Puri via a traditional weaving village. Watch intricate handloom saris take shape before your eyes. Meet the weavers responsible for maintain textile traditions that span centuries; witness living heritage!
Puri: Enjoy the morningRiver Rafting on a gentle stream surrounded by lush rural landscape. Following the natural curvature we’ll arrive at our picnic spot with a view of the ocean beyond. After a bite to eat we’ll explore theUNESCO World Heritage Sun Temple at Konark. Conceived as a giant solar chariot, this is one of India’s most sublime monuments.
Depart: You are free to depart at any time today or stay and extra night and enjoy the seaside ambiance.
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 : Nature & Culture journey you will be directly benefiting forest guides in Bhitarkanika and Satkosia, local craftsmen and women in rural villages and supporting eco-friendly ways to explore our waterways. Here’s how:
- Ecotourism in Satkosia
- Satkosiais the first National Park in Odisha to adopt eco-tourism practises. Part of the eco-development of the Park is to provide alternative livelihoods to local communities, thereby reducing their dependency on the forest. Utilising their knowledge of the forest, local villagers have been trained in ecotourism. They will accompany your Jungle Walk, point out interesting features along the route and share their experiences with you.
- Support WeavingCommunities
- After agriculture, traditional handloom weaving is the second largest trade in Odisha. Unfortunately the influx of cheaper synthetic cloth is undermining the livelihoods of weaving communities throughout Odisha. This rich textile tradition of meticulous techniques and intricate detail belies the fragility of the artisans. Grass Routes encourages you to purchase directly from local weavers. Not only can you encourage a refined tradition, but also give confidence to a struggling weaving community and walk away with a beautiful sari!
- River Rafting @ Konark
- Explore rural river ways the 100% natural way! Grass Routes promotes water journeys without engines; a test pilot series we hope to replicate in other destinations in Odisha. Fully supported crew to train, demonstrate and guide you through gentle water ways. A fantastic way to experience rural landscapes with a zero carbon footprint!
Although the highlights of this trip are Odisha’s rich cultural heritage you’ll begin and finish in two dynamic bustling Indian cities.
Delight in medieval towns where the past is very much part of today.