The culture tour of Orissa is a classical tour that not only introduces you to the spiritual and historical icons that the state has but also takes you to depth of the innate culture that defines Orissa; i.e. the people of Orissa, the customs followed by them, the food eaten by them and the artistic genius that they are born with.
The cultural tour beautifully showcases the cultural gems of Orissa; a land of legends and exoticism falling along the eastern coastal belt of the country and cradled amid the Eastern Ghats. The unique blend of religion and aesthetics that the state features manifests itself in the rural artistry of the craftsmen of Orissa who dwell in the various crafts villages in the state. Embark on this 8 Days / 7 Nights Cultural tour of Orissa to learn in depth about the state’s culture.
Orissa Cultural Tour Itinerary
Day 1 :Arrival Bhubaneshwar
Upon your arrival at the Bhubaneshwar airport/railway station, you’ll be greeted by our tour representative who then escorts you to your pre-booked hotel. Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa is dotted with many iconic monuments, temples and natural attractions and has a history dating back to the 3rd century BC. After finishing up with hotel check-in, we set out for a short city tour of Bhubaneshwar. The places we visit in the course of this tour are Udayagiri-Khandagiri caves, Lingaraj temple, Kedar Gauri Temple. Sai Baba Temple. Udayagiri-Khandagiri caves are beautiful rock cut caves located atop a hillock. These caves are said to have been carved out by Jain hermits many centuries back. The ascetics used these caves as their dwelling place. The walls of these caves are adorned with amazing ancient art, inscriptions and sculptures. The Lingaraj temple that we visit next is a historic site and one of the most revered Lord Shiva temples in Orissa belonging to Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed by Yayati Kesari and enshrines an 8 inch lingam of Lord Shiva. Our next site of visit, the Kedar Gouri Temple is one among the 8 holy Astasambhu Lord Shiva temples. This temple was built by King Lalatendu Kesari. According to popular belief, couples who offer puja here get blessed with eternal bliss in their amorous relationship. The Sai Baba Temple that we visit next is a serene temple with a marvelous architecture and is dedicated to Lord Sai Baba. Post sightseeing we return back to hotel for dinner and night stay.
Day 2 :Bhubaneshwar – Lalitgiri – Ratnagiri – Cuttack
Next morning post breakfast we depart for Cuttack en route Lalitgiri & Ratnagiri; the two most notable Buddhist excavation sites in Orissa. The relics in the form of stupas, sculptures, caskets and monasteries found in these locations date back to the 3rd Century BC and unfold awe-inspiring Buddhist treasures bequeathed for the posterity. After few hours at Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri, we head straight to Cuttack, the Cultural Capital of the state of Orissa. On reaching Cuttack we check into the hotel and later proceed to visit the Barabati fort and Cuttack Chandi Mata temple; two important tourist landmarks of Cuttack. The nine-storied palace within the Barabati fort is now in total ruins but it throws forth intriguing shadows of the past inspiring a sense of awe in us. The temple of Ma Cuttack Chandi belongs to the presiding deity of the city of Cuttack who is a four-armed goddess revered by the locals as the ‘living goddess’. Post Cuttack sightseeing we return to hotel for dinner and night stay.
Day 3 :Cuttack – Konark – Puri
Post breakfast we proceed to visit the Konark Sun Temple post which we head for Puri, both a religious destination as well as a popular seaside of Orissa. The magnificent sun temple of Konark is a 13th-century old monument that brilliantly presents the best form of religious architecture as well as Orissa temple architecture. The Sun Temple is a temple of Surya Dev or Sun God and is known as ‘Black Pagoda’ too. The temple replicates Suryadev’s colossal chariot in shape and structure. King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty is said to have built this Sun Temple around 1250 AD. This temple is a UNESCO accredited world heritage site. The brilliant engineering skills of the artisans who had crafted the architecture of this temple are indeed unbelievable. After the Konark Sun temple visit, we drive down straight to Puri. Puri is known worldwide and countrywide for its famous Jagannath temple; one of the Chardhams of the All India Chardham Pilgrimage circuit. There are several other revered temples in the town of Puri. Also, Puri being a coastal town has a beautiful beach which is quite popular among tourists and honeymooners. On reaching Puri we check into hotel and later proceed to pay our tribute at the holy Jagannath Temple and the Gundicha Temple. The former is an abode of Lord Jagannath or ‘Lord of the Universe’ who is but a manifestation of Lord Vishnu while the latter is said to be the abode of Lord Jagannath’s aunt; Mata Gundicha. After finishing darshan at the two most significant temples of Puri, we make our way to the scenic golden beach of Puri where we spend some idle hours lazing in the sand and enjoying the mesmerizing views of the setting sun at the distant horizon. Back to hotel for dinner and night stay.
Day 4 :Puri – Satpara – Chilka – Puri
Next day post breakfast we make an excursion to Satpara; Chilka. Chilka is Asia’s largest salt water lagoon and is one of the most thriving ecosystems of the country offering shelter to thousands of exotic migratory birds and aquatic animals like turtles, Irrawaddy Dolphins etc. Explore the sprawling 1100sqkm of the lake on a speed boat and keep your binoculars ready with you so that you never miss the sight of a single bird or dolphin. Once done with the Chilka excursion, we return to Puri. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 5 :Puri – Khordha – Gopalpur
Next day post breakfast we hit the road for Gopalpur en route Khordha. At Khordha we halt for some time to pay a visit to the hot springs of Atri that have temperatures around 55-degree centigrade and that smell distinctly of Sulfur. These waters are said to come with immense healing powers. An artificial water pond has been built by the State’s Tourism Department to hold the waters of the Atri spring and allow tourists to take a rejuvenating bath in it. After spending a couple of hours at the spring, we head straight to Gopalpur; a sleepy little hamlet and a charming beach town far away from the din and clamor of some of the popular cities of the state such as Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Puri etc. On reaching Gopalpur, we check into the hotel and later proceed to visit some of the notable tourist attractions of Gopalpur like Maa Tara Tarini Temple and Rushikulya Turtle Island. The former is a hilltop shrine of Adi Shakti and is an abode of twin goddesses; Ma Tara and Maa Tarini. This is a temple of the Tantric spiritual cult and one has to climb a flight of 1000 steps in order to reach this shrine of Maa Tara Tarini. The latter site that we visit is a turtle farm and a unique nesting hub for the exotic Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. After this short sightseeing trip of Gopalpur, we will spend some time at the serene beach of Gopalpur which is indeed an idyllic beach flanked with Casuarina and Coconut groves. Overnight at the hotel in Gopalpur
Day 6 :Gopalpur – Taptapani – Gopalpur
Post breakfast we make an excursion to Taptapani. Taptapani is a hilltop destination located amid verdant green rain swept forests with cloud crowned rolling green hills surrounding it. Taptapani is famed enough for its hot sulfur spring that has waters of temperature ranging between 30-degree Centigrade and 40-degree Centigrade. The waters of the Spring are said to come with healing properties and may be used for treating various sorts of aches & pains as well as skin disease. The waters of the spring collect in a pond where you could bathe just like the way the locals do. After exploring Taptapani, we’ll visit the nearby deer park if time permits. Take as many pictures as you want of those humble spotted creatures before driving our way back to Gopalpur. Overnight at the hotel at Gopalpur
Day 7 :Gopalpur – Bhubaneshwar
Next day we drive back to Bhubaneshwar in the morning post breakfast. On reaching, we check into the hotel and later in the day proceed to visit the Nandankanan Zoological Park and botanical garden well known countrywide and worldwide for its rare tiger species of White Tigers. The zoo spreads across an area of about 400 hectares and lies within the dense Chandaka forest belt. The zoo offers shelter to nearly 67 rare animal species and its botanical garden exhibits a wide range of exotic flora. Apart from tigers, you could catch sight of many other animals at the zoo such as Asiatic lions, Ghariyals, Monkeys, Exotic reptiles and more. The animals are offered the best care and maintained in a like-natural environment at the zoo. We’ll enjoy an adventurous jungle safari at the zoo. Post zoo visit we return to hotel. The evening is left free for you to enjoy at leisure. You may go shopping around the city of Bhubaneshwar. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8 :Bhubaneshwar Departure
Post breakfast, you’ll be dropped at Bhubaneshwar airport/railway station where our tour representative bids you adieu as you proceed for your onward journey back home with lots of happy memories of this amazing cultural tour of Orissa.