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Download Tribes and Temples of India Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Bhubaneshwar
There are no planned activities today but if you have the energy to explore on your own you can take a Heritage Walk of Old quarter including some of East India's earliest temples, medieval streets & a holy water tank. There will be a group meeting and welcome dinner this evening. Overnight in Bhubaneswar.
Day 2: Puri - Sun Temple in Konark
Today we travel along country back-roads to reach the UNESCO World Heritage Sun Temple in Konark. Conceived as a giant chariot this is one of ancient India's architectural marvels. We then skirt the coastal Marine Drive to the pilgrimage city of Puri. In the afternoon, we explore Puri by cycle rickshaw. Overnight in Puri.
Day 3: Gopalpur - Chilika Lake
We have a very early start to our day with a visit to Asia's largest salt water lagoon; Chilika Lake. Enjoy a quite boat cruise as you search for bird life along the banks of the lake. We finish our boat journey at the former colonial town of Gopalpur on the Sea. Once a prominent trading port for the Dutch, this little fishing village is now a popular beach destination for the world. We explore the port and meet the fisherman as they bring in their catch of the day. Relax before our next days journey inland to the remote regions of the tribal areas. Overnight in Gopalpur.
Day 4: Muniguda
Today we have another early start as we have a long day of driving as we leave the coast and head for the rolling hills of the Eastern Ghats. Adivasis, or literally "original inhabitants" are the indigenous population of India. Nestled in the remote hills, they constitute 25% of Orissa's population - the most populous Adivasi region of all India. Approximately 400 tribal villages compromise 62 diverse ethnicities and although co-dependent, fiercely guard their own distinct traditions. We learn about the cotton trade as we drive through these cotton fields before arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight in Muniguda.
Day 5: Muniguda, New Hope NGO Community
Today is a special day as we have a full day of learning the life this community we are staying in. The New Hope community, which is a non profit organization, looks after the sick, orphans and the elderly for this remote region. We will meet the children and sit with the elders to learn about their life as well as a possible visit to their local markets. Meet the friendly and fascinating people in this village in this remote region. Learn about their culture and customs that are still practiced today and find out what the future holds for these children and the families that depend on this community. Truly immerse yourself into how people really live with in the community so far from cities. Overnight in Muniguda.
Day 6: Chandoori Sai, Market visit of the Dongria Kondh Community
We say good bye to our gracious hosts at New Hope community and drive to the Chatikona Market in hopes to see the Dongria Kondh people. This is a weekly market for the Dongria Kondh community descend the hills to trade local produce once a week. A healthy balance maintained between co-dependency and individual identity is most apparent during these occasions. We explore this market and after lunch, we continue onto Chandoori Sai where we will arrive to our guesthouse in the late evening. Overnight in Chandoori Sai.
Day 7: Chandoori Sai, Onukadelli Market - Paraja and Gaddava Tribes
Today is an exciting day as we rise before the sun to journey 3 hours to the colourful Onukadelli Market. Here we hope to see Indi's most ancient indigenous communities; the Bonda Tribe. The Bonda people are also seldom seen with in the markets and surrounding areas due to the remoteness of their villages. We will see the Paraja & Gaddava people and possible other tribes. Soak up the festive atmosphere and try your luck in the ancient art of bartering. Explore a typical Gaddava village, learn about their fields and homes and enjoy a traditional Dhemsa tribal dance. Depending on the days events we will learn about the communities in Chandoori Sai and will walk through the local village, famous throughout the region for their hand-crafted terracotta pots. You can even try your hand at the clay wheel. Overnight in Chandoori Sai.
Day 8: Vishakhapatnam
Today we travel Vishakhapatnam stopping in the early morning to visit the Mali Tribe village in the Jeypore district, before our arrival into Vishakhapatnam. Today is a long travel day so upon arrival you will have a free evening to relax before our early flight the next day. Overnight in Vishakhapatnam.
Day 9: Fly to Chenni, Drive to Mahabali Puram, Arjuna's Penance
We fly from Vishakhapatnam to Chenni where we will then travel to Mahabali Puram. Chennai is the state capital of Tamil Nadu and is the fourth largest city in India. We visit the National Museum to learn more about this region. After lunch, we have a scenic drive to Mahabalipuram (also known as Mamallapuram) once a flourishing port of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram. Upon arrival we visit the Arjuna's Penance, also known as the Descent of the Ganges which has been designated as a World Heritage Site. Overnight in Mahabali Puram.
Day 10: Mahabali Puram Sightseeing
We explore Mahabali Puram with a visit to the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, originally constructed around the 7th century and which contains shrines dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. We continue onto the Five Rathas (Pancha Pandava Rathas dating from the 7th century and ending with the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Varaha Cave Temple. Overnight in Mahabali Puram.
Day 11: Pondicherry - Sri Aurobindo Ashram
This morning we drive to Pondicherry to explore this ancient city, which was prosperous as early as the 1st century. Legend has it that Sage Agastya built his Ashram here and Pondicherry became a Vedic center. The French became the rulers of this small place in 1816, ruling until it became a part of India ˘We walk through the French streets before we visit the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and The Sri Vedapureeswarar Temple. Overnight in Pondicherry.
Day 12: Thanjavur - Brihadeewarar Temple
We journey to Tanjore (Thanjavur) where we visit the grandest temple in all of South India. The World Heritage listed Brihadeeswarar Temple is noted for its superb religious, historical and artistic associations. The dome of the Temple was made from a single piece of granite and weighs approximately 80 tonnes. The sanctum of the temple houses a 13ft high lingam that has a circumference of 23ft.
Day 13: Tiruchirapalli - Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple; Madurai-Meenakshi Temple
We depart early this morning for Tiruchirapalli (also called Trichy), situated on the banks of the river Cauvery, Tiruchirapalli is the Chola Centre from the Sangam Age. The Nayaks of Madurai built the town and the Fort, which played a vital role in the Carnatic War in the 18th Century. It is now a pilgrim and business center. On arrival, we visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is dedicated to Vishnu and dates from the 10th century, and also pay a visit to the Cavery River Ghats.
Day 14: Periyar National Park
We start off this morning with a visit to the Menakshi Temple before we drive to Periyar National Park. After lunch, there will be time to relax and enjoy the surrounding area.
Day 15: Periyar: Boat Journey and Spice Garden
This morning we will enjoy a morning boat ride on Lake Periyar in hopes to see elephants, sambar deer, black monkey, . We will also visit the Spice Gardens to see pepper, coffee, cardamon, vanilla, and clove growing and learn about how it is all harvested and processed. Today there will be sometime to relax after a busy couple of weeks. Relax, go for a walk or enjoy a soothing Ayurvedic massage which is the ancient Indian lifestyle. Overnight in Periyar.
Day 16: Kumarakom
Descend the hills to Kumarakom. The ancient village and plantation homes, called Tharawads, have been painstakingly transported and reconstructed using ancient carpentry methods. Set around the lake and the irrigation canals, they retain their original charm with thick doors, intricate window carvings and terra cotta tile floors. Traditionally, Keralites bathed in the rivers and in rural areas many people still do, however our cottages feature bathrooms, some located in an inner courtyard so you can shower al fresco under a starlit sky in complete privacy.
Day 17: Backwaters of Kerala Homestay
We journey into the true Kerala where we meet a few local families and see how life is lived on this canal system. One of the many memorable experiences one can have in the backwaters of Kerala is without a doubt a Homestay. These homes away from homes, allows you to live with a family in their culture and lifestyle to truly learn how life is lived in this lush region. Hear the history of the family and how they settled here while immersing yourself in a different way of life for a bit. We will explore on foot these little villages and life on the canals and have a chance to talk to the locals that will welcome us in with a smile. The group may be divided into 2 or 3 homestays that are close by to experience the true felling of the family experience. Overnight in a local Homestays.
Day 18: Houseboat on the canals of Kerala
We will rise with the family to great the day on the canals. A canoe awaits us for our leisure ride through the small inlets of the back waters of Kerala before embarking on our overnight journey on a traditional rice barge.
Day 19: Kochi (Cochin)
We disembark from our houseboat this morning in Alleppey and travel on to Cochin.
Day 20: Kochi (Cochin)
This morning we visit the synagogue; the center for the Jewish community - which can be traced back to the exodus from Palestine 2000 years ago. The magnificent structure was built in 1568. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, copper plates of inestimable historical worth containing the privileges granted to Jews by the Cochin Maharajas, and the exquisite Chinese hand painted tiles are artifacts of great interest at the synagogue.
Day 21: Kochi (Cochin)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
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