East India Explorer
East India Explorer offers travellers a journey through the mangrove forests of Sunderbans and heritage sites of Orissa. Here, you enjoy the bustle and colonial character of Kolkata, undertake boat safaris in the mangroves of Sunderbans, marvel at the heritage sites of Udayagiri and Konark before relaxing by the Puri beach.
East India Explorer Highlights
- Exploring the colonial heritage of Kolkata
- Cruise through mangrove forests of Sunderbans
- Interact with villagers of Sunderbans that co-exist with man eating tigers
- Undertake boat safaris for a chance to sight migratory birds and alligators
- Explore Buddhist heritage sites of Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri – Khandgiri
- Visit 11th century temples of Bhubaneswar and Sun Temple at Konark (UNESCO)
- Take a day excursion to the massive Chilika Lake and enjoy birding
- Spend a couple of days by the beaches of Puri
- Accommodation in a double / twin room (meals as per above table)
- Boating in Chilika Lake
- Activities and Entertainment during Cruise
- English speaking Guide in Kolkata (Half day – Day 5) and Bhubaneswar (Full Day – Day 7)
- All transfers, sightseeing and visits as per programme using AC Toyota Innova
- All currently applicable taxes
- Kolkata-Bhubaneswar-Kolkata Airfare
- Entrance fees at monuments mentioned in the itinerary
- Expenses of personal nature such as gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, liquor etc.
- India visa charges
- Travel insurance
Expert Travel Opinion
Experiential Travellers – You may extend the trip by a couple of days to visit Koraput area in South Odisha to explore Tribal heritage of Odisha.
Bird Watchers – You may extend the trip by a couple of days for a stay overlooking Chilika Lake for some exclusive bird watching.
Day 01 - Kolkata
Arrival at Kolkata
Arrive at Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, one of the 4 metros of India and a popular arrival point for international travellers visiting East India. Kolkata is a port city, the erstwhile capital of British East India Company and the most important city commercially during the days of the British Raj. Upon arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Most international arrivals are late evening leaving little time for exploration. Arrive at the hotel in Kolkata for an overnight stay.
Day 02 - Sunderban Cruise
Embark on the Sunderban Cruise
In the morning, transfer to the cruise jetty for the Sunderbans Cruise. Sunderbans is a mangrove forest area in West Bengal (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), renowned for its man-eating tigers that co-exist with villagers here. The area is a prime bird watching site (a Ramsar Site of ecological importance) and a one of its kind experience for all travellers. Embark on the cruiser at 11 AM for a safety and tour briefing. Thereafter, the cruiser sails along the beautiful Ganges towards the South, passing various heritage sites along the way to reach Namkhana, a small fishing hamlet and a gateway to Sunderbans. In the evening, you will enjoy a cultural dance program by the local artists followed by dinner.
Day 03 - Sunderban Cruise
Cruise through Sunderban Mangroves. Visit Mangrove villages.
This morning, you cruise through the mangroves and visit the crocodile project on Bhagabatpur island, a hatchery and sanctuary to the biggest estuarine crocodiles in the world. This is also a good birding opportunity for a wide range of migratory and local birds of this region. You return to the vessel for lunch. After lunch, you visit a typical Sunderban village "Bali" for an interaction with the villagers. You will experience farming, paddy husking, honey packing, fishing and various occupations of the region. In the evening, you will be entertained with folk dances by the local artists.
Day 04 - Sunderban Cruise
Early this morning, at 5.30 AM, you wake up to a scenic sunrise. Today, you will experience the rich biodiversity of the Sunderban Tiger Reserve. You visit Sudhanyakhali (watch tower), Sajnekhali interpretation centre, Dobanke (Deer Rehabilitation Center) and cruise through the small creeks along the mangrove forests for sighting alligators and birds. You take small boats into mangrove swamps for closer sightings. Later in the evening, you sail to Kolkata passing through Haldia, Diamond Harbour, Raichak, etc. In the evening, you have an option to participate in a talk show on Sunderbans and watch wildlife films before dinner.
Day 05 - Kolkata
Kolkata arrival for Disembarkation. Explore Kolkata.
You arrive at Kolkata by the morning and disembark from the cruise vessel after breakfast. Thereafter, you are transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, you explore Kolkata to visit the most significant monuments of the colonial era such as the Victoria Memorial (dated 1921, built in the memory of Queen Victoria and now a museum), St. Pauls Cathedral (dated 1847 - example of Gothic architecture) and St. John's Church (dated 1787). You also visit the Mother House (home of Mother Teresa and now a memorial) and drive across the bridge on river Hooghly. Return to your hotel in Kolkata by the evening. Rest of the evening is for you to explore Kolkata on your own.
Expert Tip: Kolkata is home to a wide range of restaurants that serve authentic Chinese (in Chinatown), ethnic Bengali and cuisine from all over the globe. These can be explored on your own later in the evening.
Day 06 - Bhubaneswar
Take a flight to Bhubaneswar. Visit the heritage sites of Bhubaneswar.
Today, you take a morning flight to Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha and a heritage destination, home to 10th-11th century temples. Here, you will be met by a driver with a car who will accompany you till the end of your trip. In the afternoon, you visit the 11th Century Linga Raja Temple, a Lord Shiva temple and one of the oldest Hindu temples in Odisha. The temple complex is large, having a 180 ft central tower and represents a fine example of Kalinga architecture. Thereafter, you visit Raja Rani Temple, an 11th century Hindu temple, representing Pancharatha style of architecture and renowned for its erotic carvings. Rest of the evening is for you to explore Bhubaneswar on your own.
Expert Tip: Bhubaneswar is home to some renowned ethnic cuisine restaurants featuring local Oriya cuisine and Bengali cuisine. You may opt to dine at one of these restaurants in the evening.
Day 07 - Bhubaneswar
Excursion to Buddhist heritage triangle of Udayagiri - Khandgiri, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri
Today, you undertake an excursion (80 kms - 2 hours) to the Buddhist heritage sites of Udayagiri-Khandgiri, Lalitgiri and Ratnagiri (all located within 15 km radius of each other), popularly known as the Buddhist heritage triangle of Odisha. Ratnagiri is home to excavations and remains of the Buddhist establishment of Ratnagiri (dating 5th century CE). Udayagiri and Khandgiri caves (dated 2nd century BCE) were residential blocks of the monks. Lalitgiri was once a major centre where tantric Buddhism was practiced. You spend a few hours at these heritage sites and return to Bhubaneswar by the evening. Rest of the evening is for you to explore Bhubaneswar on your own.
Expert Tip: You may make a stopover enroute at Nandankanan Zoological Park, home to rare White Tigers.
Day 08 - Puri
Explore Bhubaneswar and Konark before proceeding to Puri
Today, you proceed to Puri, a beach getaway 60 kms south of Bhubaneswar. En-route, you visit Konark Sun Temple, a 13th century temple and one of the UNESCO heritage sites. The temple is dedicated to Surya (Sun worshipped as Lord Surya), and is characterised by a 100 ft chariot carved out of stone and having fine carvings. The temple is a fine example of Odisha style Hindu temple architecture. After spending some time at Konark Temple, you travel to Puri (35 kms from Konark) and arrive at a beach resort. Rest of the day is for you to relax by the beach and/or explore Puri on your own.
Day 09 - Puri
Chilika Lake Excursion
Today, you undertake an excursion to Chilika Lake (50 kms), a brackish water lagoon, the second largest in the world (spread over 1100 sq km). The lake is a prime bird watching site, recognised by the Ramsar convention as a wetland of international importance. You take a boat ride in Chilika Lake for bird watching and a glimpse of the village / fishing community of the area before returning to the hotel by the afternoon. Rest of the day is for you to relax by the beach or explore Puri on your own.
Day 10 - Bhubaneswar
Travel to Bhubaneswar for departure
Today, you travel to Bhubaneswar (60 kms - 1.5 hours) for a flight to Kolkata for your onward international departure.
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