Odisha Temples & Sundarbans Delta
Witness the culture that fused European philosophies with Indian tradition in Kolkata. Then fly to Bhubaneshwar to explore the Hindu collection of temples and see some of India’s most intricate historical stone carvings and architecture that fused elegantly to create perfect harmony. And Buddhist structures at Dhaulagiri, Udaygiri, Khandagiri, Ratnagiri & Lalitagiri. Stay at a beach resort in Puri and visit Chilika Lake the paradise for migratory birds. Fly back to Kolkata and explore Sundarban’s world’s largest coastal mangrove forest by cruising in a buffer zone. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile, invertebrate species, salt-water crocodile & the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Day 1: Arrive in Kolkata
On arrival at Kolkata airport assistance and transfer to hotel (hotel check-in/ out time 1200hrs afternoon early check-in subject to rooms availability).
Located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly, The city served as the capital in India during the British Raj until 1911. Referred to as the Cultural Capital of India, The City of Processions, & the “City of Joy”, Kolkata has been home to luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose, Mother Teresa, Satyajit Ray, Satyendranath Bose, Swami Vivekananda & many others. A vibrant city with a distinct socio-political culture, Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist & trade union movements. Overnight at the hotel. (Hotel: The Peerless Inn or similar)
Day 2: Kolkata (B)
Breakfast at the hotel city tour of Kolkata. Visit Fort William built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India, Extends over an area of 70.9 hectares on the eastern banks of the River Hooghly one of the most enduring Raj-era edifices. Victoria Memorial the immaculate white memorial bounded by verdant greenery and broad roads is dedicated to Queen Victoria. Inside the memorial, there is a museum where you can see the dresses of the queen as well as the different kinds of weapons used during that era. Netaji Bhawan a building maintained as a memorial and research center to the life of the Indian nationalist “Netaji” Subhas Chandra Bose. The house, built by Bose’s father in 1909, is owned and managed by the Netaji Research Bureau and includes a museum, archives, and library. Howrah Bridge one of the most popular bridges of India also known as the gateway of Kolkata. Built on the river Hooghly it is one of the major Kolkata attractions and people from different parts of the country come here especially to witness this amazingly structured bridge. Dakshineswar Kali Temple one of the major pilgrimage centers in the city that are dedicated to Goddess Kali. Located on the bank of River Hoogly, the temple compound maintains a large courtyard with rooms along the boundary walls, twelve shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, a bathing ghat on the river, and a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. Overnight at the hotel. (Hotel: The Peerless Inn or similar)
Day 3: Kolkata – Bhubaneswar (B)
Breakfast at hotel, transfer to airport to board flight for Bhubaneshwar.
Bhubaneswar, the temple city of India was once the capital of ancient Kalinga. These temples are unique in themselves, not only in their architectural beauty but also in the wonderful sculptures. These temples epitomize a comprehensive history of the Orissan style of temple architecture from its very inception to perfection spreading almost to 2000 years from 3rd century BC to 16th Century AD.
Later city tour visiting Lord Shiva Lingaraja Temple, the 11th-century temple described as “truest fusion of dream & reality.” A rare masterpiece, the temple has been rated one of the finest examples of a purely Hindu temple. Every inch of the 55 m-high Lingaraja temple is covered with elaborate carvings. Sculpture & architecture fused elegantly to create perfect harmony. Mukteshwara Temple, built in the 7th-8th century AD is one of the most ornate temples in Bhubaneswar. The intricate carvings of the deities stand testimony to the influence of Hindu, Buddha & Jain style of architecture. The carvings on the roof are especially striking. Parashurameshwara Temple, a small but richly decorated shrine of Shiva that was built in the 7th century. It is one of the best examples of the Orissa style of temple architecture. Overnight at the hotel. (Hotel: Fortune Park Sishmo or similar)
Remarks: Domestic flight from Kolkata to Bhubaneswar is not included.
Day 4: Bhubaneswar – Excursion to Lalitgiri – Ratnagiri – Udaigiri & Khandgiri (B)
Breakfast at hotel, full-day excursion to visit Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri & Udaigiri famous for Jain & Buddhist Monasteries. Lalitgiri, earliest Buddhist Complex dating back to the 1st century AD. The majestic ruins of the huge brick monastery, the remains of the chaitya hall, a number of votive Stupas & a renovated stone stupa at the apex of a small rugged sandstone hill dominate the rural greenery around. Next visit Ratnagiri, famous for many significant Buddhist sculptures scattered around in the hill range. The excavations have revealed the relation of this place with the Gupta Dynasty, dates back to 6th Century AD. The huge monastery showing that Buddhism spread through these areas in the later part, especially due to the influence of the great King Ashoka.
Later Udaigiri & Khandgiri caves, largest Buddhist Complex in Orissa. These hills provide some solid examples of the Jain & Buddhist art of the 2nd Century BC. There are monasteries, Chaitya & Stupas that represent a vibrant culture that flourished in these hills. Overnight at the hotel. (Hotel: Fortune Park Sishmo or similar)
Day 5: Bhubaneswar – Puri (B)
Breakfast at hotel drives to Puri via visiting Dhauli, where Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great renounced bloody warfare & embraced the teachings of Buddha after victory over the kingdom of Kalinga. Visit Peace Pagoda known as Shanti Stupa built in early 1970 by the Japanese. Also, visit 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 & fairness.
Next drive to visit Konark temple Chariot of the Sun God, built by King Langula Narasimha Deva in the 13 century AD in the Golden era of Orissan art. This crowning piece of Orissan architecture & sculpture is sheer poetry on stone. Overnight at the hotel. (Hotel: The Hans Coco Palms or similar)
Day 6: Puri – Chilika Lake (B)
Breakfast at hotel excursion to visit Chilika Lake a brackish water lagoon, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km. It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent & home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals. It sustains more than 150,000 fisherfolk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands. The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea, and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and Southeast Asia, Ladakh, and the Himalayas come here. A pleasant boat ride amidst the colorful migratory birds and the quaint water.
After sightseeing drives back to Puri and rests time free and easy to relax on the beach. Overnight at the hotel. (Hotel: The Hans Coco Palms or similar)
Day 7: Puri – Bhubaneswar flight to Kolkata – Sunderban National Park (B)
Breakfast at hotel transfer to Bhubaneswar airport to board flight for Kolkata. On arrival at Kolkata, airport assistance and direct proceed to Sunderban National Park till Sonakhali/ Godhkhali jetty. From here motorboat transfer to your lodge/ resort. Sunderban the natural abode of the famous Royal Bengal Tigers and numerous crocodiles, snakes, and deer. This forest with entwining rivers is one of the last strongholds of the wild world. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Overnight at hotel/ resort. (Hotel: Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge or similar)
Remarks: Domestic flight from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata is not included.
Day 8: Sunderban National Park (B)
After breakfast, cruise with the vessel along the creeks and take a village tour. Meet the fishermen, the Honey Collectors as well as the woodcutters and share their experiences of the Jungle. Next, visit the Sudhanyakhali watchtower, most of the Royal Bengal Tigers are sighted from this tower. Overnight at a hotel/ resort or in a boat anchored in the middle of the river. (Hotel: Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge or similar)
Day 9: Sunderban NP – Kolkata (B)
Breakfast at hotel motorboat transfer to Sonakhali/ Godhkhali jetty. From here drive to Kolkata, direct transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Specification: Odisha Temples & Sundarbans Delta
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