Special Interest Tour

Special Interest Tour

Paddy Sowing, Culinary, Yoga, Culture , Textile , art and craft

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Our Special Interest Tour

Tour S/04: 04 nights Paddy Sowing and the monsoon magic

Paddy sowing is the focal point of Himalayan village lifestyles. It is the beginning of the cycle to provide the family requirements of rice – the staple diet of the Nepali and the Lepcha people. Preparations begin as soon as the monsoon rains start. Terraced paddy fields, hewn by generations out of steep mountain sides are manually cleaned free of weeds and mud dykes and water channels rebuilt laboriously, to get them ready for flooding. As the rains flood the paddies, young men with pairs of oxen plough the flooded paddies, whilst the older generation of men folks level the ploughed paddies wielding hand held wooden leveling tools. This is followed by the women sowing the rice seedlings in regimented unison, singing whilst they sow.. Another group of women work in the family kitchen preparing a feast for the time when the days sowing is done. Whole families work together, mustering additional numbers from the community on a cooperative basis. It is hard work but the ambience is that of a community picnic.

This tour is set up to enable visitors to witness the entire ritual of paddy sowing and to participate to the extent desired

Day 01. Kalimpong to Samthar

Your tour starts from Kalimpong.

A Car with driver and guide will pick you up from your designated hotel at Kalimpong at 0800 hrs in the morning. Drive to Samthar . It is a scenic journey through the Himalayan foot hills with its isolated hamlets, Buddhist monasteries, river valleys and forests. You can opt for one or two short treks enroute. Arriving at Samthar you will be met by members of the host family and walk down 15 -20 minutes to the Nepali or lepcha family home stay . Dinner and overnight.

Day 02 Explore samthar Valley

Awake to the breathtaking panorama of the snows, that Samthar offers as the sun rises – Khangchenganga group of peaks, Simvo, Siniolchu, Lama Anden, Chomoyomo, and Paunhari, and the passes of Chola, Natula, and Jalepla, leading into Tibet will be there every morning to see from your cottage ( weather permitting) . Today you will take a walking tour of the village visting families in their homes and fields. visit the Awake & Shine primary School. In the evening a session of Nepali and Hindi songs and Bhajans ( devotional songs), as you join the family ” puja” ( prayers) invoking blessings for the paddy crop. . Overnight at the home stay

Day 03: Paddy sowing

Walk down to the paddy terraces and watch the men working at preparing the terraces for flooding. You will see and may participate in the operation of scrapping and weeding, rebuilding dykes and water channels, as also getting the seedling ready for transplanting. Overnight at the home stay.

Day 04: Paddy Sowing

Get up early to join the women folk as they make preparations for the sowing feast. Latter join the family and community members for the actual sowing of the paddy terraces, followed by the sowing feast in the late afternoon.
In the evening singing and dancing with the local folks. Overnight at the home stay

Day 05 Depart Samthar Valley

Choose one of the following options:-

Option 01: Drive to Siliguri or Bagdogra in 4.30 hrs
Option 02: Trek down to Teesta Valley Dam in 03 hrs, and drive to Darjeeling ( 2.30 hrs) / Siliguri ( 02 hrs) / Kal;impong ( 01 hr)
Option 3: Drive to Kalimpong in 3.30 hrs. TOUR ENDS.

Textiles, art and crafts in Odisha

Includes the Bastar Tribal region of Chhattisgarh

Designed as a panorama of Odisha, with focus on its fascinating tribal culture, and crafts.We will explore the tribal belt of Odisha and the Bastar region of neighboring Chhattisgarh.

It is a chance to peep into tribal life styles to get an insight to their daily life. Discover how these simple folks sustain themselves through. agriculture, collection of forest produce, hunting , cattle rearing, fishing, and handicrafts. Get a feel of the colourful weekly haat markets, where the tribes come to barter and purchase items of daily use. See the skills that go into making the handicraft products – handmade textiles, beaded jewellery, pottery, metal work, bamboo and grass products. Meet people, decorated with facial and hand tattoos, layers of beads covering bare breasts, piles of aluminum necklaces and a multitude of earrings.

As you visit their habitat, you will glimpse a well organized society, respectful of their age old traditions, living in lush green, forest covered hills. The simple charm and skills of these exotic tribal people is indeed bewitching. You will sense happiness and good cheer. They deserve your respectful behaviour.

The tour also includes an exploration of Odisha’s gems – the centuries old temples, visits to the abode of skilled and talented craftsmen and painters, and the fascinating Chilka lagoon, with its gathering of birds.

Day 01 : Arrive Bhubaneswar and explore the temples of Bhubaneshwar.

Fly in to Bhubaneswar by a morning flight. Transfer to hotel.

Take our half day tour of temples.

Bhubaneswar, nicknamed India’s temple city is a living museum of medieval temple architecture. The city’s holy centre lies around Bindu Sagar; where 50 add stone temples remain from the legendary 7000 temples.
Your guided tour begins with visit to the Muketwar temple. Dating back to the 9th century, it is the most ornate temple in Odissa. The intricate carvings show a mix of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain styles. Non Hindus are allowed inside.

The 11th century, 55 meter high, Lingaraj temple is. set in a compound studded with 32 big and small temples. The granite block representing Tribuveneshwar- (Lord of three worlds), is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang. Non Hindus are not allowed inside but can view from a viewing platform.

The 8th Century, Vaital temple is dedicated to Chamunda. It was the centre of tantric worship, bloody human sacrifice, and eroticism. Open to non Hindus. The.Rajarani temple, dates back to the 11th century. It has beautiful carvings. In particular eight dikpals, ( guardians) which protect the temple. The temple is surrounded by a lovely garden.

Overnight at your hotel at Bhubaneswar.

Day 02: Bhubaneshwar- Pipli- Hirapur- Dhauli- Konark

After breakfast visit the Museum of tribal Art and artefacts.

Drive to Konark. On the way visiting Pippli appliqué craft village which is famous for its brilliant appliqué craft. This is known for its folk character and vitality. With an artist’s eye, the Pipli tailors deftly stich motifs of elephants,peacocks and flowers on a cloth background, to form harmonious and colourful patterns. Crudely effective, this traditional patchwork art -originally done on canopies for temple decorations has been adapted to suit modern living- gay beach and garden umbrellas, lamp shades, bed covers, bags and similar items of everyday use. Wall hangings, parasols, canopies, lamp shades and more adorn the main street of this small town.

Next drive to Balakati, to visit the village of bell metal workers. Continue to Heerapur to see the unique sixty four yogini temple. It is one of only four such temples in India. Finallygo to Dauli for viewing Ashok’s edict carved on a rock, dating back to 260 BC, and visiting the Peace stupa built by Japanese monks.

Upon arrival at Konark check in at a beach resort.
In the evening visit the 13th Century iconic sun Temple at Konark and see the illuminations, after sunset. A UNESCO world heritage site. The Sun Temple stands alone on the wind swept sand dunes of the Bay of Bengal fringed with palm and casuarinas plantations,Fashioned in the form of a giant cosmic chariot of the sun god Surya, drawn by seven spirited horses. The Temple was positioned so that the dawn rays of the sun would illuminate the temple sanctuary interior. The temple is profusely sculptured with exquisite figures and figurines. The base and walls present a chronicle in stone of Kalinga life. This includes erotic scenes. It really is a stunning master piece of the 13th century Kalingan style of art and is one of the unrivalled marvels that the age has produced.
Overnight at your beach resort.

Day 03: Konark- Raghurajpur-Puri- Konark

Sunrise visit to Konark Sun temple and also witness traditional fishing boats riding the waves and sailing out to sea, at a fishing village

After breakfast drive to Raghurajpur , the Artist village. Thereafter visit Puri the holy city. Explore the by lanes and crafts of Puri by taking a green rider rikshaw tour. Return to your beach resort for overnight.

Day 04: Konark- Puri- Chilka lake cruise- Taptapani

After breakfast drive to Chilika Lake at Satapada, 102 kms in 2 hrs. The Chilka Lake is Asia’s largest brackish lagoon covering 600 sq kms in Apr/May to 11000 sq kms during the monsoons. It is separated from the sea by a 60 kms long sand bar. Chilka lake is an important habitat and breeding ground for both resident and migratory and aquatic birds, most notably flamingos. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent.

Migratory birds arrive in October from as far away as Siberia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Himalayas and generally stay until March. A millon plus winter migrants make the lake their home every year. The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is classified as a Bird Sanctuary. Chilka has been designated as a Ramsar site, under the International convention which provides for the conservation and good use of wetlands. Today, the lake is home to many endangered plants and animals. The lake hosts diverse range of aquatic life, including 225 species of fish and the Irrawaddy dolphin The ecosystem of the lake provides livelihood for many thousands of fisher-folk.

We will take a 38 Kms boat cruise from Satrapada jetty to Barkul across the lake. Thereafter drive to 136 Kms in 3.30 hrs to Tapta Pani hot springs, to stay at a hotel amidst the lush green forests. Enjoy bathing in the hot sulphur springs.

Day 05: Tapta pani- Rayaguda

After breakfast visit Chandragiri Tibetan settlement. This is where Tibetan refugees where settled when the Chinese took over Tibet. Visit monastery and Carpet making workshop. Continue to Rayaguda. Scenic drive through forests. 125 Kms in 3 hrs. Overnight at hotel at Rayaguda.

Day 06: Excursion and hiking to Desia Kondh and Dunguria Kondh tribal villages

Morning: Short drive to Dukum Region to visit Desia Kondh villages. Hike to tribal jewellary making village. In the afternoon hike to Niyamgiri hills to visit the hamlets of Dunguria Kondh tribes. interact with the people.

The Kondhs were famous in history for their Meriah ( human) Sacrifice. They are of Dravidian origin. They speak Kui language. The Kondhs practice elaborate birth, marriage and death rituals. Kondh’s life is full of festivities. Their weapon is bow and arrow by which they defend themselves from wild animals.

The uncompromising Dongria Kondh inhabit the Niyamgiri hills subsisting on shifting cultivation supplemented by foraging, hunting & gathering. Women are held in high esteem in the Dongria society, They work harder, than their male counterpart in sowing, weeding, and harvesting, keeping the home fires burning, bringing up children, and marketing produce.

No wonder the Dongria woman demand a steep bride price regardless of whether the marriage is by elopement, or negotiation. Dongria society caters for segregation of adolescent boys and girls to meet and find their partners.. Their dormitory system teaches social taboos, myths, stories and riddles.

Return to Rayaguda for overnight at hotel.

Wednesday/ Day 07 : Rayagada – Chatikona hat- Desia Eco Resort

Tribal haat market Desai Kondh and Dongariya Kondh.
After early breakfast drive of Chatikona to witness the Dongariya Kondh, and Desia Kondh Tribal market. Thereafter return to Rayagada, and continue to Desia Eco Resort located in the Bantalabii Village, Near Matamput, Macchakund.

Desia is a responsible tourism project set up with the objective to focus on the rich cultural Heritage of the region amongst travelers who believe in Responsible Travel and at the same time to inspire the local community to preserve their culture and environment. It is a unique rural retreat built and decorated by the local community using local skills with modern conveniences. Overnight at Desia Eco Resort.

Thursday/ Day 06 : Desia Eco Resort: day trip to Onkadelli hat

Haat market of Bonda,Gadaba & Didayee tribes.

The Bonda are one of the most primitive tribes and they are termed as the wildest, rudest and possibly the most interesting tribe. They call themselves Remo and speak a very difficult Austro-Asiatic language. Fiercely independent and aggressive, they live in hill forests and practice shifting cultivation, and use a barter system for exchange of commodities.

Bonda women are known for their bare breast nudity, with countless colorful beads looped around their head and neck providing some cover. Their clothing consists simply of a tiny skirt. It is customary for them to mary younger men in the hope that will have someone to care for them in their old age.

The Gaddava are of Austric origin. They are animist and their language is Gutab. They are one of the early settlers of this country and trace their origin to the time of Ramayana..The Gaddava are fond of music and famed for their traditional ‘dhemsa’ dance. They are ever ready to celebrate. Their society bestows equal rights for men and women. Gaddava women are distinguished by their facial tattoos and heavy neck rings that can only be removed by a blacksmith.

Their kinship bonds are strong, providing for the appointment of a ‘god brother’ to cater for a second line of defense in moments of crisis. Gaddavas depend on agriculture supplemented by cattle rearing, collection of forest produce, hunting and fishing. Although they domesticate local varieties of cow and buffalo, the Gaddava do not milk them in the belief it reduces their strength. Their language ‘Gutab’ belongs to the Munda linguistic family.

After early breakfast, drive to Onukudeli to visit the most colorful tribal market of Bonda, Gadaba & Didayee tribes.
Then drive back to Desia Eco Resort and visit to nearby tribal village. Join in with the community for the Demsa tribal dance.
Overnight at Desia Eco Resort.

Friday/ Day 07 : Desia Eco Resort – Kunduli- Chandoori Sai

Tribal haat, Paroja and Mali tribes
The Parajas have a number of totemistic sects like Bagh-tiger, bokda-goat, netam-dog, pandki-dove and so on. Harming or eating the totem animal is forbidden. Instead such animals should be respected. Traditionally they relied on shifting cultivation, however today the Paroja’s depend on static wet cultivation Agriculture is the mainstay of the Parojas economy supplemented by forest produce, wage earning, and animal husbandry. Their language is Parij, but many of them now speak Oriya fluently

After breakfast Full day visit of Kunduli-Nandapur area to witness the weeky tribal market and villages of Paraja and Mali tribes.
Drive to Chandoori Sai, a eco Guest House for overnight.

Saturday /Day 08: Chandoori Sai – Kotapad-Jagdalpur

Drive to Jeypore and continue to Jagdalpur- the Bastar region of neighbouring Chhattisgarh State. Enroute visit weaving village of Kotapad The weavers are using clay, and plant roots to make natural dyes. You will see the live weaving.

Overnight at Eco Resort near Jagdalpur Bastar; the tribal region in Chhattisgarh, is blessed with scenic beauty comprising forests, waterfalls, wildlife, ancient temples, tribal dances and music. The major tribes of the Bastar region are the Gond, Maria, Bhatra ,Muriya, Halba, Dhuruva – each . withs its own distinct life style, costumes, eating habits, customs and traditions, colourful festivals and arts and crafts.

The Gonds form the largest tribal group in Chhattisgarh. Major sub-castes of Gonds in the Bastar are the Maria, Muria and Dorla. The Gonds are predominantly Hindus and like to live in groups in small villages. The main language of the Gonds is Gondi but about half of Gond populations also speak Indo-Aryan dialects including Hindi. The Gonds are traditionally agriculturalists and some practice shifting cultivation even today. Other major activities of Gonds include collecting forest produce, fishing, hunting, and forging metal goods. Gonds are skilled at the use of medicinal plants.
Gonds are also known for practicing social hierarchy system like Hindus.

They prefer marriages within the blood relations mostly according to Hindu rites and customs.. Divorces, remarriages, widow marriages, marriages with the wives of the brothers and between brothers and sisters are common. The Gonds practice the Ghotul system for marriages where the prospective couples stay in specially built huts and interact with each other including free sex. Divorces and remarriages are common but adultery is strictly prohibited.

Sunday / Day 09: Jagdalpur

Explore surroundings of Jagdalpur. In the morning visit a ‘haat’ (weekly market). Latter visit ‘the herbal museum, and the art and craft museum. In the afternoon drive to the famous ‘Chitrakote Falls’, the great horseshoe like waterfall on the Indravati River. Overnight at your Eco Resort.

Monday /Day 10: Jagdalpur –Kondagaon- Maria bison head tribal village

Drive to Kondagaon region to stay in the guest house of a Local volunteer organization who are working for the tribal community. See the well known Bastar Terracotta work, and visit the Naganur handicraft village. In the evening walk to a Bisonhorn Maria tribal village. Witness the Maria tribe bison horn dance.

The BisonHorn Marias tribes are a sub-castes of the Gond tribe.. They like to live in isolation into interiors of forests They speak a dialect of Gondi – an unwritten language of the Dravidian family. They practice shifting cultivation and collect forest produce for survival. They do not plough the earth, as it would mean inflicting pain on her body. Pointed wood pieces are used for piercing the earth for sowing and stone implements are used for harvesting produce. The Gotul system for marriges is practiced.
Overnight at a basic Guest house.

Monday/ Day 11: Kondagaon- Kankar

Drive to Kankar. Enroute in the morning, visit the Dhokra bell metal worker village at Kumarapara. In the afternoon visit a Deer Horn Muria tribal village. Enjoy the tribal lunch and their dance.

Murias, are a also a sub-castes of the Gonds, The Murias live in the plains and are comparatively more civilized than the primitive Marias. But their primary activities are similar to other Gond sub-castes and they survive on agriculture and collection of minor forest produces.

Murias have several totems and several gods of villages and tribal sub-groups They are highly superstitious and strongly believe in sorcery practices. Unlike Hindus, there is no functional division of castes in the society and they have their own socio-legal hierarchy of tribal administration.

They are fond of traditional Mahua intoxicating drinks, and even use Mahua concoctions in place of medicines for curing ailments. They also practice the Ghotul System.
Overnight stay at farm house of the royal Kankar family.

Tuesday/ Day 12: Kanker-Rajim-Raipur

Drive to Rajim known as Prayag in Chhatisgarh. It is home to various temples along the river confluence. Enroute enjoy the drive through the scenic Keshkal hills.
Continue to Raipur– the capital city of Chhattisgarh.
Overnight at hotel in Raipur.

Wednesday / Day 13: Raipur- Bharmadeo (Kawardha region)

Drive to Bharmadeo to visit tribal villages of Baiga and Gond tribes and the ancient temple at Bharmadeo.
Overnight stay at Bharamdeo Jungle Retreat.

Thursday / Day 14: Bharmadeo- Raipur

Drive to Raipur airport to board your departure flight. TOUR ENDS.

Tour Odisha/03: 12 days Textiles and crafts Tour.

Includes Temples, beaches, and nature

The distinctive hand-woven textiles of Odisha in unusual patterns and vibrant colours have supported a thriving cottage industry employing thousands. Odisha is famous for its silk ikkat weaves created by an intricate process called the “bandha” in which warp and weft threads are tie-dyed to produce the pattern on the loom while weaving. Typical design motifs include rows of birds and animals, fish, seashells, rudraksh beads and temple spires.

Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Nuapatna produce a striking range in Tassar silk with a brilliance, glaze and texture that is unmatched. The rare silk fabric produced at Nuapatna embellished with verses from the Gitagovinda is used to dress the idols at the Jagannath Temple. The Berhampuri Pata are heavy silk sarees with narrow borders, generally woven without any intricate motifs.

The Saktapar sari, from the weaving looms of Sambalpur, Bargarh and Sonepur are identifiable by the double ikkat checker board pattern (passapalli) and brocade border. The Bomkai cotton saris have been influenced by tribal art, and are embroidered with temple spire patterns on the border.

The other typical varieties of Odisha saris, in silk and cotton, include the glossy Khanduas having elaborate designs, the rich red jotai ikat with rows of stylized trees and temple spires on the borders, the unbleached cotton kotpad from Koraput, offset by a vibrant red dyed border, the Taraballi and the Bichitrapuri.

Most of the handloom textiles of Odisha (Orissa) are woven in bright and strong colors. Vegetable dyed textiles have given way to chemical dyes, and the former command a premium.
Odisha’s traditional appliqué art is used to make handicrafts and furnishings. Predominantly used colours are red, white, black, green and yellow. Pipli, is the most famous center known for this colourful craft, creating umbrellas, canopies, fans and lampshades. Applique art has been inspired by religion, and continue to offer shade to Lord Jagannath.

This tour is designed to enable the exploration of weaving skills, art, and crafts in villages located in all parts of the state. However we have woven into your itinerary, the gems of Odisha;s heritage- the ancient temples of Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark, and the unique Mahima Ashram. This tour also offers a chance to glimpse the breathtaking beauty of the Satkosia Gorge, the mind boggling Hirakund dam, the amazing Chilka lagoon, the beaches of Gopalpur-on-sea and Puri.

Day 01 : Arrive Bhubaneshwar by morning flight from Kolkata or Delhi

Reception on arrival at Bhubaneswar airport and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon take a half day temple tour of Bhubaneswar- nicknamed India’s temple city. This is a living museum of medieval temple architecture. Fifty odd stone temples remain from the legendary 7000 temples.

Visit the 9th Century Muketwar temple. It is the most ornate temple in Odissa. The intricate carvings show a mix of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain styles. Non Hindus are allowed inside.
The 11th century, 55 meter high, Lingaraj temple is set in a compound studded with 32 big and small temples. The granite block representing Tribuveneshwar- (Lord of three worlds), is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang. Non Hindus are not allowed inside but can view from a viewing platform.

The 8th Century, Vaital temple is dedicated to Chamunda. It was the centre of tantric worship, bloody human sacrifice, and eroticism. It is open to non Hindus.
The Rajarani temple, dates back to the 11th century. It has beautiful carvings. In particular eight dikpals, ( guardians) which protect the temple. The temple is surrounded by a lovely garden, and is open to non Hindus.

In the evening Odishi dance can be arranged on request. Overnight at Bhubaneswar.

Day 02: Bhubaneswar- Naupatna weaving village- Sadeibarini Dokra casting village- Joranda Mahima cult ashram- Dhenekal

Morning after early breakfast leave for Nuapatna group of villages which are well known for its silk ikat sarees. Only two communities, the Mehers and the Patras, know the secrets of ikat dying.

Continue to Sadeibarini (Dokra Casting village).

Latter visit the Joranda Mahima Ashram – headquarters of the Mahima Dharma a unique cult. who believe that everyone has same rights to pray to the Supreme Lord, and that there should be no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste or colour. Also they are against any form of Idol worship. You can tour the temple and see the monks praying for peace in the world.

Overnight Dhenkanal palace – A heritage palace offering a homestay with the erstwhile Maharajah.

Day 03: Dhenkanal – Sambalpur

Morning after breakfast drive 219 kms to Sambalpur. On the way visit the Leaning Temple at Huma. Check into hotel.
In the afternoon take an excursion to Hirakud Dam. Marvel at the World’s longest dam, It drains a bind boggling area of 1,33,090 sq kms – more than twice the size of Sri Lanka.

Construction material used for this huge dam is deemed sufficient to make a road 8 metres wide and pave it from Kashmir to the tip of south India, and from Punjab in Western India to Assam in the North East. The reservoir formed by the dam is the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 Sq Kms, and a shore line over 640 Kms.
Overnight at hotel in Sambalpur.

Sambalpur is the hub of the textile weavers and power-looms. The famous Sambalpuri Saree is a traditional hand woven saree, The Bandha kala- the Tie-dye art is known as Sambalpuri Ikkat. Bandha can be defined as “A length of systematically arranged yarn, dyed according to a preconceived design in such a manner so as to enable a weaver to portray the design when the yarn is converted to a fabric through the process of weaving”. The unique feature of this form of designing is that the designs are reflected almost identically on both side of the fabric.

Day 04 : Sambalpur- Atibara- Barapali- Sambalpur

After breakfast visit to Barapali and Atabira to visit handloom and power-loom centers, making bed covers, dress materials, cotton tie & dye sarees, silk Sambalpuri silk sarees, coarse cotton sarees and more.

Day 05: Sambalpur- Sonepur– Satkosia Gorge wildlife sanctuary
After breakfast drive 85 kms to Sonepur

Sonepur is known for its rich cultural heritage, arts and crafts, textiles (Silk Bomkai sarees and dress materials, Ikkat cotton sarees and furnishings) Terracotta, of sonepur, brass metal work and Philigri craft of Tarva and Binka, Stone carving of Ullunda and Paddy crafts of Dunguripali have also gained a reputation.

We will visit sericulture farms and textile villages and other craft persons enroute.
Next we will drive 121 kms to Satkosia Gorge Wild life Sanctuary.

Satkosia Gorge Wild life Sanctuary is spread astride the scenic 22 Kms long breathtaking gorge of the mighty Mahanadi river, with its diverse flora and fauna. It is one of the most beautiful natural spots in the country. The sanctuary hosts 38 species of mammals, which include gharial crocodiles, leopards, elephants, spotted deer, giant squirrels, and Tigers.
Overnight at Forest Lodge.

Day 06: Satkosia Gorge

A day to explore the sanctuary. Take a nature walk or a game drive. Take a boat ride and see the breathtaking scenery of the Gorge and crocodiles basking in the sun. Overnight at the Forest Lodge.

Day 07: Satkosia- Banigochha- Nayagarh- Ranapur- Olasingha- Gopalpur on sea

After early breakfast, drive 150 Kms to Ranapur and Olassinga textile villages.
Continue another 130 kms to Gopalpur-on-sea. Overnight at Hotel Mayfair Palm beach resort.

Day 08: Gopalpur- on – Sea

Morning Visit Some Textile Villages in Berhampur Area. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon at leisure on the beach. Overnight at May fair Palm beach resort.

Day 09 : Gopalpur – Chilika Lake – Puri (200 kms)

After breakfast drive to Chilika Lake at Barkul. 70 kms in 1.30 hrs. The Chilka Lake is Asia’s largest brackish lagoon covering 600 sq kms in Apr/May to 11000 sq kms during the monsoons. It is separated from the sea by a 60 kms long sand bar.

Chilka lake is an important habitat and breeding ground for both resident and migratory and aquatic birds, most notably flamingos. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent. A million plus winter migrants make the lake their home every year. The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is classified as a Bird Sanctuary. Designated as a Ramsar site, under the International convention, it is providing for the conservation of wetlands. The lake is home to many endangered plants and animals.

The lake hosts diverse range of aquatic life, including 225 species of fish and the Irrawaddy dolphin The eco-system of the lake provides livelihood for many thousands of fisher-folk.
We will take a boat cruise from Barkul to Satapada jetty across the lake. The 38 Kms cruise will take us via the Nalabana migratory bird’s sanctuary & Goddess Kalijai temple, to Satapada on the Northern Shore. Therafter drive to Puri. 48 kms in one hour. Overnight at your resort hotel- The Toshali sands at Puri or hotel of choice.

Day 10 : Puri – Raghurajpur- Konark- Pipli- Bhubaneshwar
Puri, the city by the sea, is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage places.

We will visit the Jagannath Temple, which is one of the four dhams of India (holiest Hindu pilgrimage places). Built in 1198, it is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Lord of the universe, who is an incarnation of Vishnu. The temple employs 6000 men to carry out the temple functions. It is estimated that 20,000 people, classified as god’s attendants are dependent on their livelihood on the temple. Non Hindus cannot enter, but can watch from a view point, atop the temple library.

Next we drive along the the 35 kms scenic coastal road to Konark to visit the 13 th Century iconic sun Temple -. A UNESCO world heritage site.

The temple standing in splendid isolation on the wind swept sand dunes of the Bay of Bengal, is a breath taking monument. Fashioned in the form of a giant cosmic chariot of the sun god Surya, drawn by seven spirited horses. the Temple has been positioned so that the dawn rays of the sun illuminate the temple sanctuary interior. The temple is profusely sculptured with exquisite figures and figurines. The base and walls present a chronicle in stone of Kalinga life. This includes erotic scenes. It really is a stunning master piece of the 13th century art and is one of the unrivalled marvels that the age has produced.

Return to Puri, in time for lunch at your hotel. The afternoon is free to spend time at the exclusive beach, or explore the ancient town on cycle rikshaws.
Overnight at your resort hotel- Toshali sands or hotel of choice.

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Tour Odisha/03: 12 days Textiles and crafts Tour.

Includes Temples, beaches, and nature

The distinctive hand-woven textiles of Odisha in unusual patterns and vibrant colours have supported a thriving cottage industry employing thousands. Odisha is famous for its silk ikkat weaves created by an intricate process called the “bandha” in which warp and weft threads are tie-dyed to produce the pattern on the loom while weaving. Typical design motifs include rows of birds and animals, fish, seashells, rudraksh beads and temple spires.
Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Nuapatna produce a striking range in Tassar silk with a brilliance, glaze and texture that is unmatched. The rare silk fabric produced at Nuapatna embellished with verses from the Gitagovinda is used to dress the idols at the Jagannath Temple. The Berhampuri Pata are heavy silk sarees with narrow borders, generally woven without any intricate motifs.
The Saktapar sari, from the weaving looms of Sambalpur, Bargarh and Sonepur are identifiable by the double ikkat checker board pattern (passapalli) and brocade border. The Bomkai cotton saris have been influenced by tribal art, and are embroidered with temple spire patterns on the border.
The other typical varieties of Odisha saris, in silk and cotton, include the glossy Khanduas having elaborate designs, the rich red jotai ikat with rows of stylized trees and temple spires on the borders, the unbleached cotton kotpad from Koraput, offset by a vibrant red dyed border, the Taraballi and the Bichitrapuri.
Most of the handloom textiles of Odisha (Orissa) are woven in bright and strong colors. Vegetable dyed textiles have given way to chemical dyes, and the former command a premium.
Odisha’s traditional appliqué art is used to make handicrafts and furnishings. Predominantly used colours are red, white, black, green and yellow. Pipli, is the most famous center known for this colourful craft, creating umbrellas, canopies, fans and lampshades. Applique art has been inspired by religion, and continue to offer shade to Lord Jagannath.
This tour is designed to enable the exploration of weaving skills, art, and crafts in villages located in all parts of the state. However we have woven into your itinerary, the gems of Odisha;s heritage- the ancient temples of Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark, and the unique Mahima Ashram. This tour also offers a chance to glimpse the breathtaking beauty of the Satkosia Gorge, the mind boggling Hirakund dam, the amazing Chilka lagoon, the beaches of Gopalpur-on-sea and Puri.
Day 01 : Arrive Bhubaneshwar by morning flight from Kolkata or Delhi

Reception on arrival at Bhubaneswar airport and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon take a half day temple tour of Bhubaneswar- nicknamed India’s temple city. This is a living museum of medieval temple architecture. Fifty odd stone temples remain from the legendary 7000 temples.
Visit the 9th Century Muketwar temple. It is the most ornate temple in Odissa. The intricate carvings show a mix of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain styles. Non Hindus are allowed inside.
The 11th century, 55 meter high, Lingaraj temple is set in a compound studded with 32 big and small temples. The granite block representing Tribuveneshwar- (Lord of three worlds), is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang. Non Hindus are not allowed inside but can view from a viewing platform.
The 8th Century, Vaital temple is dedicated to Chamunda. It was the centre of tantric worship, bloody human sacrifice, and eroticism. It is open to non Hindus.
The Rajarani temple, dates back to the 11th century. It has beautiful carvings. In particular eight dikpals, ( guardians) which protect the temple. The temple is surrounded by a lovely garden, and is open to non Hindus.
In the evening Odishi dance can be arranged on request. Overnight at Bhubaneswar.
Day 02: Bhubaneswar- Naupatna weaving village- Sadeibarini Dokra casting village- Joranda Mahima cult ashram- Dhenekal

Morning after early breakfast leave for Nuapatna group of villages which are well known for its silk ikat sarees. Only two communities, the Mehers and the Patras, know the secrets of ikat dying.
Continue to Sadeibarini (Dokra Casting village).
Latter visit the Joranda Mahima Ashram – headquarters of the Mahima Dharma a unique cult. who believe that everyone has same rights to pray to the Supreme Lord, and that there should be no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste or colour. Also they are against any form of Idol worship. You can tour the temple and see the monks praying for peace in the world.
Overnight Dhenkanal palace – A heritage palace offering a homestay with the erstwhile Maharajah.
Day 03: Dhenkanal – Sambalpur
Morning after breakfast drive 219 kms to Sambalpur. On the way visit the Leaning Temple at Huma. Check into hotel.
In the afternoon take an excursion to Hirakud Dam. Marvel at the World’s longest dam, It drains a bind boggling area of 1,33,090 sq kms – more than twice the size of Sri Lanka.

Construction material used for this huge dam is deemed sufficient to make a road 8 metres wide and pave it from Kashmir to the tip of south India, and from Punjab in Western India to Assam in the North East. The reservoir formed by the dam is the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 Sq Kms, and a shore line over 640 Kms.
Overnight at hotel in Sambalpur.
Sambalpur is the hub of the textile weavers and power-looms. The famous Sambalpuri Saree is a traditional hand woven saree, The Bandha kala- the Tie-dye art is known as Sambalpuri Ikkat. Bandha can be defined as “A length of systematically arranged yarn, dyed according to a preconceived design in such a manner so as to enable a weaver to portray the design when the yarn is converted to a fabric through the process of weaving”. The unique feature of this form of designing is that the designs are reflected almost identically on both side of the fabric.
Day 04 : Sambalpur- Atibara- Barapali- Sambalpur

After breakfast visit to Barapali and Atabira to visit handloom and power-loom centers, making bed covers, dress materials, cotton tie & dye sarees, silk Sambalpuri silk sarees, coarse cotton sarees and more.
Day 05: Sambalpur- Sonepur– Satkosia Gorge wildlife sanctuary
After breakfast drive 85 kms to Sonepur

Sonepur is known for its rich cultural heritage, arts and crafts, textiles (Silk Bomkai sarees and dress materials, Ikkat cotton sarees and furnishings)
Terracotta, of sonepur, brass metal work and Philigri craft of Tarva and Binka, Stone carving of Ullunda and Paddy crafts of Dunguripali have also gained a reputation.
We will visit sericulture farms and textile villages and other craft persons enroute.
Next we will drive 121 kms to Satkosia Gorge Wild life Sanctuary.
Satkosia Gorge Wild life Sanctuary is spread astride the scenic 22 Kms long breathtaking gorge of the mighty Mahanadi river, with its diverse flora and fauna. It is one of the most beautiful natural spots in the country. The sanctuary hosts 38 species of mammals, which include gharial crocodiles, leopards, elephants, spotted deer, giant squirrels, and Tigers.
Overnight at Forest Lodge.
Day 06: Satkosia Gorge

A day to explore the sanctuary. Take a nature walk or a game drive. Take a boat ride and see the breathtaking scenery of the Gorge and crocodiles basking in the sun. Overnight at the Forest Lodge.
Day 07: Satkosia- Banigochha- Nayagarh- Ranapur- Olasingha- Gopalpur on sea

After early breakfast, drive 150 Kms to Ranapur and Olassinga textile villages.
Continue another 130 kms to Gopalpur-on-sea. Overnight at Hotel Mayfair Palm beach resort.
Day 08: Gopalpur- on – Sea

Morning Visit Some Textile Villages in Berhampur Area. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon at leisure on the beach. Overnight at May fair Palm beach resort.
Day 09 : Gopalpur – Chilika Lake – Puri (200 kms)
After breakfast drive to Chilika Lake at Barkul. 70 kms in 1.30 hrs. The Chilka Lake is Asia’s largest brackish lagoon covering 600 sq kms in Apr/May to 11000 sq kms during the monsoons. It is separated from the sea by a 60 kms long sand bar.

Chilka lake is an important habitat and breeding ground for both resident and migratory and aquatic birds, most notably flamingos. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent. A million plus winter migrants make the lake their home every year. The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is classified as a Bird Sanctuary. Designated as a Ramsar site, under the International convention, it is providing for the conservation of wetlands. The lake is home to many endangered plants and animals.

The lake hosts diverse range of aquatic life, including 225 species of fish and the Irrawaddy dolphin The eco-system of the lake provides livelihood for many thousands of fisher-folk.
We will take a boat cruise from Barkul to Satapada jetty across the lake. The 38 Kms cruise will take us via the Nalabana migratory bird’s sanctuary & Goddess Kalijai temple, to Satapada on the Northern Shore. Therafter drive to Puri. 48 kms in one hour. Overnight at your resort hotel- The Toshali sands at Puri or hotel of choice.
Day 10 : Puri – Raghurajpur- Konark- Pipli- Bhubaneshwar
Puri, the city by the sea, is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage places.

We will visit the Jagannath Temple, which is one of the four dhams of India (holiest Hindu pilgrimage places). Built in 1198, it is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Lord of the universe, who is an incarnation of Vishnu. The temple employs 6000 men to carry out the temple functions. It is estimated that 20,000 people, classified as god’s attendants are dependent on their livelihood on the temple. Non Hindus cannot enter, but can watch from a view point, atop the temple library.
Next we drive along the the 35 kms scenic coastal road to Konark to visit the 13 th Century iconic sun Temple -. A UNESCO world heritage site.
The temple standing in splendid isolation on the wind swept sand dunes of the Bay of Bengal, is a breath taking monument. Fashioned in the form of a giant cosmic chariot of the sun god Surya, drawn by seven spirited horses. the Temple has been positioned so that the dawn rays of the sun illuminate the temple sanctuary interior. The temple is profusely sculptured with exquisite figures and figurines. The base and walls present a chronicle in stone of Kalinga life. This includes erotic scenes. It really is a stunning master piece of the 13th century art and is one of the unrivalled marvels that the age has produced.
Return to Puri, in time for lunch at your hotel. The afternoon is free to spend time at the exclusive beach, or explore the ancient town on cycle rikshaws.
Overnight at your resort hotel- Toshali sands or hotel of choice.

Day 11: Puri- Raghurajpur- Pipli- Balakati- Dauli- Bhubaneswar

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and drive to Bhubaneswar. On the way visiting Raghurajpur the heritage craft village, Pippli applique village, Balakati Bell Metal crafts, Hirapur 64 yogini temple, and Bhuddist edicts atDhauli.

Raghurajpur – the artisan heritage village, known for its master Pattachitra painters and Gotipua dancers. This is an art form which dates back to 5 BC

It is a visual manifestations of thousands of years of Orissan culture, these paintings embody the religious spirit of the land and reflect traditions which are still living through the creative imagination and the disciplined skill of generations of craftsmen. Themes are mostly religious and are derived from myths and legends of the past. The village is also home to crafts like Tussar paintings, palm leaf engravings, stone and wood carvings, wooden and papier mache toys, and masks.

Continue to Pipli, which is famous for its brilliant appliqué craft. This is known for its folk character and vitality.

With an artist’s eye, the Pipli tailors deftly stich motifs of elephants,peacocks and flowers on a cloth background, to form harmonious and colourful patterns. Crudely effective, this traditional patchwork art -originally done on canopies for temple decorations has been adapted to suit modern living- gay beach and garden umbrellas, lamp shades, bed covers, bags and similar items of everyday use. Wall hangings, parasols, canopies, lamp shades and more adorn the main street of this small town.

Next drive to Balakati, to see the village of bell metal workers, followed by a visit to Heerapur for the unique sixty four yogini temple. It is one of only four such temples in india. Continue to Dauli for viewing Ashok’s edict carved on a rock, dating back to 260 BC, and visiting the Peace stupa built by Japanese monks.

After lunch at a restaurant in Bhubaneshwar, You can fly out the same evening on flights departing for Delhi and Kolkata after 1800 hrs. We will transfer you to the airport at the appropriate time, or, you can stay overnight overnight at a hotel in Bhubaneshwar.

Day 12: Departure

After breakfast, Transfer to airport to board your departure flight.

Crafts & Culture of the North East

Many of our clients have been asking for compact regional tours for North East India. We have designed four exotic regional tours spanning all the North East States. Each tour covers 3-4 states as per geographical convenience in less than 3 weeks. A memorable experience is assured.

Tour ReferenceTour designation
NE 5116 days Meghalaya, Kaziranga, Majuli and Nagaland
NE 5216 days Meghalaya, Tawang and Kaziranga
NE 5317 days Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland
NE 5417 days Crafts & Culture of the North East

Tour NE 51: 16 days Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland

Day 01- 06: Shillong and Cherrapunjee ( Meghalaya)

Fly in to Guwahati and drive up the enchanting mountains of Meghalaya
to visit the Charming “Raj” hill station of shillong; Look at fascinating bazaars, gardens, lakes and waterfalls. Venture out to the countryside for breathtaking views, nature at its pristine best, green forests, with exotic flora, gurgling mountain streams, thundering waterfalls, deep gorges and caves, and the unique living root bridges. Experience staying at atmospheric hotels and a traditional Khasi thatch and bamboo house.

Day 07-08: Kaziranga National Park ( Assam)

From Shillong drive 337 Kms; first down the mountains and then through the wide Brahmaputra Valley to the The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park . This is a fabulous mosaic of grasslands, forests, and pools backed by misty hills.

The Park has more than 70% of the world’s one-horned rhino population, 70% of the world population of the Eastern Swamp Deer and 75% of the world’s wild Asiatic water buffalo. It has a significant population of the Asian Elephant. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, wild Indian Elephants, Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured.

There are plenty of Tigers around – but there is only a 25 percent chance of spotting one. The park is rich in avifauna with more than 450 species of birds, 18 of them are globally threatened species.

The varied terrain provides habitat for wetland, grassland, and woodland species The Bengal Florican is the main attraction. You will have one full day to explore the park taking an Elephant safari early morning followed by two jeep safaris. We will conclude the Tour on Day 16, when you drive 240 kms to Guwahati in 4.30 hrs.

Day 09-11 Jorhat Tea Garden and Majauli Island ( Assam)
Continue your tour along the Assam Valley to Jorhat, to explore a tea garden and stay at a heritage tea bungalow. Thereafter cross the mighty Brahmaputra river by ferry boat to reach Majauli famous as the world’s largest river Island, and for its 22 satras – Hindu Vaishnava monasteries. These are also centres for the arts. At the satras, Lord Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the epic Mahabharata, with music and poetry. Visit a Satra. Look at the various activities like mask, making, boat building and more.

Explore local villages and meet Mhishing, Deori, Chutias and Sonoalkachari tribals. Witness wet land agriculture, fishing, weaving and pottery making. Explore the shoreline for water birds, and watch the breathtaking sunset on the great river. Stay at a Mishing tribal abode hosted by the local community.

Day 12-16 Nagaland

Re-cross the river by ferry and drive through tea gardens and deep forests to Dimapur – the commercial hub of Nagaland. Nagaland is a land of picture post card landscapes, lush and verdant flora, peopled by 15 major tribes, who have hundreds of years of tradition as warriors and head hunters, who were converted from animist to good christens.
The Nagas are a fun loving, hospitable and deeply religious people, having a tradition of handicrafts, folklore, dances and music. Here traditional folk songs, eulogizing ancestors, and brave deeds, poetic love songs, gospel songs and modern pop tunes go hand in hand.

For four days you will travel in the Northern parts of Nagaland and explore Angami tribal villages of Khonoma, Touphema, and Jakama for gaining insight into Naga lifestyles, agricultural practices, crafts, song and dance. Stay with the local community, and interact with them. Take a short tour of Kohima- the capital city.

Explore the fascinating local bazaar, and the handicraft emporium. It is also a chance to visit the Second world war cemetery and the historical tennis court; where the Japanese invasion of India was halted in a bloody battle during World War 2. Finally drive back to Dimapur to board your departure flight to Kolkata.

Throughout the tour you will be accompanied by a English speaking guide, and travel in your own car. You will experience staying in atmospheric hotels, tribal homes, and a wild life resort.- all have been tried and short listed by us for their atmosphere, hospitality and service. You will get varied cuisine both Indian and Local with Western style breakfasts. 

Tour NE 52: 16 days Meghalaya, Tawang, and Kaziranga

Day 01- 06: Shillong and Cherrapunjee ( Meghalaya)

Fly in to Guwahati and drive up the enchanting mountains of Meghalaya
to visit the Charming “Raj” hill station of shillong; Look at fascinating bazaars, gardens, lakes and waterfalls. Venture out to the countryside for breathtaking views, nature at its pristine best, green forests, with exotic flora, gurgling mountain streams, thundering waterfalls, deep gorges and caves, and the unique living root bridges. Experience staying at atmospheric hotels and a traditional Khasi thatch and bamboo house.

Day 07- 14: Tawang, Dirang, and Bomdila

On Day 07 drive 280 kms from Shillong to Tezpur via Guwahati in 6-7 hrs, for overnight transit halt. On Day 08 start on your 7 days trip to Tawang The highway which connects Tezpur to Tawang , encounters three ridges, Of these the most formidable is the Sela Ridge rising up to 4900 Meters, which is crossed by the highway via the Sela pass at 4267 Meters, to reach Tawang, 3048 m, on Day 10.

The 376 kms fascinating journey will take three days with a sightseeing halt at Dirang. As you drive on this mind boggling road see the entire range of flora from sub tropical to arctic, marvel at the great views, explore the picture postcard Dirang valley, and the rugged Se la pass; which was once the battle ground between India and China.

At picturesque Tawang, Visit the 7 th century Tawang monastery– the largest Buddhist monastery in India, and the The Urgelling Monastery , which is the birth place of the Sixth Dalai Lama. Explore the Monpa Villages and meet the charming Monpa people. Visit an Ani Gompa – Buddhist Nunery. Take a drive towards the Indo –Tibetan border to visit the over 4000 m high PTSO and Shungetsar lakes, and take in the landscape of the Himalayan uplands.

On the return journey on Day 13, we will drive back 210 kms to Bomdila, visiting the Indo- Chinese War memorial and to do some sightseeing at Bomdila; where we will look at the Rabgyaling Gontse Gompa and the Thupchob Gatseling Gompa. After a night halt, drive 265 kms to Kaziranga NP via Tezpur in 5-6 hrs

Arriving at Kaziranga NP by evening of Day 14, we will check into a wildlife Resort. The World Heritage Kaziranga National Park is a fabulous mosaic of grasslands, forests, and pools backed by misty hills. The Park has more than 70% of the world’s one-horned rhino population, 70% of the world population of the Eastern Swamp Deer and 75% of the world’s wild Asiatic water buffalo.

It has a significant population of the Asian Elephant. Close encounters with the Great Indian one horned Rhino, wild Indian Elephants, Swamp Deer, Asiatic Water buffalo, and a host of animals are assured. There are plenty of Tigers around – but there is only a 25 percent chance of spotting one. The park is rich in avifauna with more than 450 species of birds, 18 of them are globally threatened species.

The varied terrain provides habitat for wetland, grassland, and woodland species The Bengal Florican is the main attraction. You will have one full day to explore the park taking an Elephant safari early morning followed by two jeep safaris. We will conclude the Tour on Day 16, when you drive 240 kms to Guwahati in 4.30 hrs.

Throughout the tour you will be accompanied by a English speaking guide, and travel in your own car. You will experience staying in atmospheric hotels, tribal homes, and a wild life resort.- all have been tried and short listed by us for their atmosphere, hospitality and service. You will get varied cuisine both Indian and Local with Western style breakfasts

NE 53: 17 days Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland

Day 01 to 06: Tripura

Fly into Agartala, from Delhi, Kolkata or Guwahati, to this tiny isolated state with its tranquil and pollution free countryside, its lush green hills, with bio- diverse flora and fauna, verdant valleys and scenic lakes.

Tripura has several diverse ethno-linguistic groups, which has given rise to a composite culture. The dominant cultures are Bengali, Tripuris, Manipuri, Reang, with smattering of fourteen more tribes.

At Agratala you get to visit the Ujjayanta Palace, the State Museum, and explore the handicraft bazaar with its exquisite bamboo and cane products and weaves.

Next drive on a 200 kms circuit with an overnight stay at the enchanting NeerMahal Palace in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake. Visit Kamala Sagar, Kalyan Sagar and Rudrasagar lakes, and Udaipur- the temple town famous for the Tripura Sundri Temple dating back to 1501. Also explore wildlife and nature at Sepahijala Wild Life Park, and Tepania Eco Park.

The rare spectacled monkey, 150 species of residential birds, botanical gardens, rubber and coffee plantations, orchidarium, and a cactus house, are on view.

On Day 04, the second leg of your Tripura tour will take you on a 170 kms drive to visit the fascinating rock cut at Unakoti Hill, believed to date back to the 8th century. While the rock carvings, murals with their primitive beauty form the chief attraction, natural beauty including mountain scenery and waterfalls are an added bonus.

On day 05 you travel 95 Kms to reach Vangmun, in the scenic Jampui Hills, inhabited by Mizo and Reang tribes. explore the tribal villages, and their orange orchards, do some soft trekking, and view great sunrise and sunsets.

Fly into Agartala, from Delhi, Kolkata or Guwahati, to this tiny isolated state with its tranquil and pollution free countryside, its lush green hills, with bio- diverse flora and fauna, verdant valleys and scenic lakes .

Tripura has several diverse ethno-linguistic groups, which has given rise to a composite culture. The dominant cultures are Bengali, Tripuris, Manipuri, Reang, with smattering of fourteen more tribes.

At Agratala you get to visit the Ujjayanta Palace, the State Museum, and explore the handicraft bazaar with its exquisite bamboo and cane products and weaves.

Next drive on a 200 kms circuit with an overnight stay at the enchanting NeerMahal Palace in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake. Visit Kamala Sagar, Kalyan Sagar and Rudrasagar lakes, and Udaipur- the temple town famous for the Tripura Sundri Temple dating back to 1501. Also explore wildlife and nature at Sepahijala Wild Life Park, and Tepania Eco Park.

The rare spectacled monkey, 150 species of residential birds, botanical gardens, rubber and coffee plantations, orchidarium, and a cactus house, are on view.

On Day 04, the second leg of your Tripura tour will take you on a 170 kms drive to visit the fascinating rock cut at Unakoti Hill, believed to date back to the 8th century. While the rock carvings, murals with their primitive beauty form the chief attraction, natural beauty including mountain scenery and waterfalls are an added bonus.

On day 05 you travel 95 Kms to reach Vangmun, in the scenic Jampui Hills, inhabited by Mizo and Reang tribes. explore the tribal villages, and their orange orchards, do some soft trekking, and view great sunrise and sunsets.

Day 07- 10: Mizoram

On Day 07 we will drive 153 kms along a lonely road through forested hills to Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, which is situated at a altitude of 1300 m. The town is the political, cultural and religious centre of the Mizos. It stands somewhat precariously on a razor like ridge, like a huge citadel. Take in the unique atmosphere, and meet the friendly people.

Over a period of three days you get to explore the countryside, driving along a 210 kms circuit. Visit the idyllic town of Thenzawl; to witness the weaving skills of the Mizos, walk to the 750 feet high Vantawng waterfalls. Drive to Sailsuk Village to explore the rural lifestyles by taking a soft trek . Visit Hmnuifang mountain covered with virgin forest, abounding in varieties of flora and fauna.

Continue the drive to Reiek mountain, where a typical Mizo village has been recreated to show case Mizo heritage which was lost during two decades of insurgency. Visit Zo Khua (model Mizo Village), Zopar ((Floriculture Farm) and walk upto Reiek mountain top (Reiek Tlang) for panoramic views.

Day 11-13: Manipur

From Reiek drive for 02 hrs to Lengpui Airport, which serves Mizoram. Take a 40 minutes flight to Tulihal Airport, in the Imphal ( Manipur) Valley.

Manipur, is a little Shangarila, endowed by nature’s bounty. The oval shaped valley is surrounded by blue green hills, with its rivers and lakes, exotic blooms, and diverse flora. It is rich in art and culture. The people of Manipur Valley are primarily Meitei, whearas Nagas, Kuki, and Mizos, inhabit the surrounding hills. These are the people whose folklore, myths and legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms and handicrafts will fascinate you.

Our two and a half day tour to Manipur is packed with sights, and experiences to remember. In Imphal, you will visit the atmospheric Khwairamband Bazaar – manned by 3,000 or more “Imas” or mothers, it is a wanderers delight, selling an amazing variety of goods. The Khonghampat Orchidarium covers 200 acres and houses over 110 rare varieties of orchids. Shree Shree Govindajee Temple is a historic Vaishnavite centre.

Twin domes, a paved courtyard, and a large raised congregation hall form a perfect backdrop for priests who descend the steps, to accept offerings from devotees in the courtyard. The serene and well maintained Imperial War Graves World War 2, cemetery commemorates the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the World War II, whilst the Kangla Fort , once the centre of Manipur’s power till 1891, is regarded as the historical embodiment of Manipur rulers and has an emotional place in the heart and mind of the people of Manipur.

On a day trip visit the battlefield sites of World War 2. Most visitors are not aware that Manipur was the gateway for the Japanese invasion of India from Burma. The invading force included the Indian National Army (INA), lead by Subhash Chander Bose.

The INA Museum at Moirang is located, at a historic site where the INA first planted its flag on Indian soil in 1944. You will also visit Red Hill where the British- Indian Army halted the Japanese advance into the Manipur Valley after a fierce battle during World War II, which was the decisive turning point of the war in the India- Burma Theatre.

War Veterans constructed the India Peace Memorial, also called the Japanese war memorial which honours the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives fighting the battle for Imphal.

Close by is one of the most enchanting attraction of Manipur – the lovely Lotak Lake, occupying an area of 287 sq kms. It is also called the Floating lake, due to the floating Phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition), which are cultivated. 116 species of birds and 425 specicies of animals have been recorded around the lake.

The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a unique park located on the largest floating phumdi in the lake. This is the natural habitat of the endangered Brow-antlered deer ( Cervus eldi eldi), which was once thought to be extinct.

You will drive 26 Kms into the countryside to visit Andro – the living heritage village. This is an example of the age-old cultures and traditions of Manipur. The community still preserve age old community customs and traditions. For example the traditional rituals and norms relating to the process of pot making.

Moreover, the community maintains a pollution free ecosystem. Andro is also home to the Cultural Heritage exhibition. In this Mini Complex, are exhibited all kinds of things that relate to the material cultures of different ethnic groups of Manipur along with their own styles of traditional houses.

Day 14-17: Nagaland

Nagaland. is a land of picture post card landscapes, lush and verdant flora, peopled by 15 major tribes, who have hundreds of years of tradition as warriors and head hunters. Originally Animists, they have been converted to good Christians.

The Nagas are a fun loving, hospitable and deeply religious people, having a tradition of handicrafts, folklore, dances and music. Here traditional folk songs, eulogizing ancestors, and brave deeds, poetic love songs, gospel songs and modern pop tunes go hand in hand.

For four days you will travel in the Northern parts of Nagaland and explore Angami tribal villages of Khonoma, and Mezoma for gaining insight into Naga lifestyles, agricultural practices, crafts, song and dance. Stay with the local community, and interact with them. Take a tour of Kohima- the capital city. Explore the fascinating local bazaar, and the handicraft emporium. It is also a chance to visit the Second World War cemetery and the historical tennis court; where the Japanese thrust was halted in a bloody battle during World War 2. Finally drive back to Dimapur to board your departure flight to Kolkata.
Throughout the tour you will be accompanied by a English speaking guide, and travel in your own car. You will experience staying in atmospheric hotels, tribal homes, and a wild life resort.- all have been tried and short listed by us for their atmosphere, hospitality and service. You will get varied cuisine both Indian and Local with Western style breakfasts

Tour NE/54: 17 days Crafts & Culture of the North East

Featuring: Assam, Nagaland and Manipur

Day 01-02: Guwahati- Temples, Muga Silk weavers, bazaars and the mighty Brahmaputra River

The Assamese Capital City is the gateway to the Northeast. It sprawls on the Southern bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River, whose northern shore is invisible due to the vastness of the channel.

It features an interesting bazaar, which is the main market of the North East States. We will visit ; the Kamakaya temple: a fine example of Assamese architecture, the temple is known for its power and enrichment. It is also a wonderful viewpoint. Saulkuchi is a silk weaving centre famous for its golden coloured Muga silk, and Hajo with is a unique pilgrimage centre, which is revered by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhist.The Haigrive Madhev temple is said to be 6000 years old.

Day 03- 04 : Jorhat Tea gardens and Colonial bungalows

Drive 335 kms to Jorhat ,along the wide Brahmaputra Valley, which provides an insight to life styles in rural Assam. Jorhat is famous for its tea gardens. We will stay 02 nights at one of the Heritage bungalows in a tea garden to relive the days of the British “Raj” tea planter. Explore a tea garden and factory and the local villages.

Day 05-07 Majuli: The unique river Island, with Hindu monasteries, tribal culture and crafts

Majauli is famous as the world’s largest river Island. But it is really more interesting for its 22 satras – Hindu Vaishnava monastries that are also centres for the arts. At the satras in Majauli, Lord Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the Mahabharata, with music and poetry. Our fascinating 2 days tour to Majauli begins with a ferry crossing through the Brahmaputra river.

At Majuli We will see Mhishing, Deori, Chutias and Sonoalkachari tribals,. We will Explore the island , spend time at a Satra (Hindu Vaishnava monastery), and visit tribal villages. See locals engaged in wet-land agriculture, fishing, weaving and pottery making Explore the shoreline in a country boat for water birds, and watch the breathtaking sunset on the great river. Overnight stays will be at a Mishing tribal abode hosted by the local community.

Day 08- 13: Nagaland: Tribal culture and crafts

On Day 8 we will cross the river by ferry and drive to Dimapur the commercial hub and gateway to Nagaland.

Nagaland. is a land of picture post card landscapes, lush and verdant flora, peopled by 15 major tribes, who have hundreds of years of tradition as warriors and head hunters. Originally Animists, they have been converted to good Christians.

The Nagas are a fun loving, hospitable and deeply religious people, having a tradition of handicrafts, folklore, dances and music. Here traditional folk songs, eulogizing ancestors, and brave deeds, poetic love songs, gospel songs and modern pop tunes go hand in hand.
For 5 days you will explore Nagaland’s culture and crafts around Dimapur and Kohima

At Dimapur: staying two nights at a country resort, we will visit a craft clusters at Dimapur, Diezephe and Thahekhu, to see artisans at work doing wood carving, bamboo craft , weaving, and hand embroidery.

From Dimapur we will drive to Kohima – the state capital, located at an altitude of 1444 m. It has an amazing diversity in dress, customs, language and traditions of 15 major tribes.

The state museum provides an over view of tribal lifestyles, The handloom and handicraft emporium has a fine collection of saleable tribal shawls, hand bags, wood carvings, sarongs, cane and bamboo handicrafts, and ready wear garments of traditional weaves The rare Blyth’s Trogopan, and other fauna., are on view at the Zoological Park.

We will take a tour visiting local market where many insects and variety of food products that the Nagas call ‘delicacies’ are sold, take a look at the state museum , Zoological park and the handloom emporium. Later visit the Second World War Cemetery and memorial where the famous ‘Tennis Court’ battle took place, which many historians have called the ‘ bloodiest battle’. It was here that the Japanese invasion of India was halted.

A 2 day trip into the countryside will take us to Mezoma and Khonoma, villages with an opportunity to do some short treks, and gain insight into Naga lifestyles, agricultural practices, crafts, song and dance. Staying and interacting with the local community, you will also be able to visit local artisans in their homes and see them at work with Bamboo, cane, and textiles. We will be meeting master craftsmen who have won national awards. A cultural evening will be arranged.

Day 14-17: Manipur Valley – Ancient culture , art and crafts

On Day 14 we will drive From Khonoma, to the Manipur Valley in 5 hrs

Manipur, is a little Shangarila, endowed by nature’s bounty. The oval shaped valley is surrounded by blue green hills, with its rivers and lakes, exotic blooms, and diverse flora. It is rich in art and culture. The people of Manipur Valley are primarily Meitei, whearas Nagas, Kuki, and Mizos, inhabit the surrounding hills. These are the people whose folklore, myths and legends, dances, indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms and handicrafts will fascinate you.

Our two and a half day tour to Manipur is packed with sights, and experiences to remember. In Imphal, you will visit the atmospheric Khwairamband Bazaar – manned by 3,000 or more “Imas” or mothers. It is a wanderers delight, selling an amazing variety of goods.

The Khonghampat Orchidarium covers 200 acres and houses over 110 rare varieties of orchids,. Shree Shree Govindajee Temple is a historic Vaishnavite centre. Twin domes, a paved courtyard, and a large raised congregation hall form a perfect backdrop for priests who descend the steps, to accept offerings from devotees in the courtyard.

The serene and well maintained Imperial War Graves World War 2, cemetery commemorates the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the World War II, whilst the Kangla Fort , once the centre of Manipur’s power till 1891, is regarded as the historical embodiment of Manipur rulers and has an emotional place in the heart and mind of the people of Manipur.

We have also woven into the tour visits to several craft clusters in and around Kohima to see craftpersons at work on clay pottery, terracotta, bamboo and cane, metal, waeaving, hand embroidery , grass, reed, leaf, and fibre.

Most visitors are not aware that Manipur was the gateway for the Japanese invasion of India from Burma. The invading force included the Indian National Army (INA), lead by Subhash Chander Bose.

We will visit the battlefield sites of World War 2. The INA Museum at Moirang is located, at a historic site where the INA first planted its flag on Indian soil in 1944. Red Hill is the terrain feature, where the British- Indian Army halted the Japanese advance into the Manipur Valley after a fierce battle during World War II. Along with the battle of Kohima this was the decisive turning point of the war in the India- Burma Theatre. War Veterans constructed the India Peace Memorial, also called the Japanese war memorial which honours the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives fighting the battle for Imphal.

Close by is one of the most enchanting attraction of Manipur – the lovely Lotak Lake, occupying an area of 287 sq kms. It is also called the Floating lake, due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition), which are cultivated. 116 species of birds and 425 species of animals have been recorded around the lake.

The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a unique park located on the largest floating phumdi in the lake. This is the natural habitat of the endangered Brow-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi) which was once thought to be extinct.

We will drive 26 Kms into the countryside to visit Andro – the living heritage village. This is an example of the age-old cultures and traditions of Manipur. The community still preserve age old community customs and traditions. For example the traditional rituals and norms relating to the process of pot making. Moreover, the community maintains a pollution free ecosystem. Andro is also home to the Cultural Heritage exhibition. In this Mini Complex, are exhibited all kinds of things that relate to the material cultures of different ethnic groups of Manipur along with their own styles of traditional houses.
On Day 17, we will bid you good bye as you take your departure flight form Imphal to Kolkata.

Throughout the tour you will be accompanied by a English speaking guide, and travel in your own car. You will experience staying in atmospheric hotels, tribal homes, and a wild life resort.- all have been tried and short listed by us for their atmosphere, hospitality and service. You will get varied cuisine both Indian and Local with Western style breakfasts.

 

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