'Who goes to Odisha, wahan to sirf gaon hain,’ my best friend remarked several years ago. Probably you had a similar thought on reading about this trip. And that is where everyone is shortsighted. It is easier accepted that people outside Odisha do not know about what is in the state. Yes, Odisha takes pride in its village culture, but is also a hub of education (IIT, IIM and AIIMS all three have made their presence), has several growing and potential near future metro cities and is rich in history, culture and heritage. Remember Emperor Ashoka? After winning all of India, he was forced to relinquish power and pride right here in Odisha!
I thought I would give 5 reasons but as I started writing I realized there is more awesomeness there. So, here are 10 reasons why you must join us for this weeklong trip to Odisha:
1. It’s going to be an enriching trip
The trip is a mixed bag of sorts- heritage, culture, natural beauty, wildlife and adventure. You will get to know why a 12 year old kid committed suicide when the Konark temple was completed and how the Puri temple deities go through a body-change every 13-19 years (huge mystery there); you will witness the Eastern coast’s waves which are perfect for surfing, even better than Goa; you will sit in a small boat and go 10 kms into the Chilika lake in search of the dolphins and migratory birds; you will also go on a night hike to a beach to spot the largest nesting site of the Olive Ridley turtles- it's the only place in the world that sees them in such huge numbers. From adrenaline pumping to a peaceful beach escapade, this trip has it all.
2. We will see the state like no one does
It won’t be wrong to say that the people of Odisha are one of the most lethargic you would ever meet (count me in that category during the holidays :P ), and probably that’s why the state’s tourism potential still remains mostly untapped. But then that’s the advantage we are tapping on to in this trip- we will see and explore the state like it hasn’t been done before and we will do things no travel agency will ever take the pain of including in their itinerary.
3. We will see some gorgeous sights of natural beauty
As we drive through the coast of Odisha, we are going to see some amazing sites of natural beauty and wildlife- Dolphins in the middle of Chilika Lake, Olive Ridley Turtles nesting in the beach at midnight, the place where the first ever white tiger was bred over 30 years ago and white tigers of course. We will also be driving through one of the most beautiful coastal roads in India. Well, all this in a state which suffered the most devastating cyclone 17 years ago, the worst in recorded history of the country.
4. We are going to see, learn and get inspired
We are going to learn sculpting first-hand from a 77 year old Padma Shri awardee, watch professional sand artists at work (and try our hands at a sand castle on the beach), go to a village of 120 families where every single person is an artist and we will see and learn the tribal way of life in the forest villages of Odisha. There is so much talent in the state and we have so much to learn!
5. Odisha is rich in heritage
There is huge history and heritage in the state and we will see that too. You can’t go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower right? So we will cover the tourist circuit of Bhubaneswar, Konark and Puri- but that’s just the beginning of the trip. Odisha has way more to offer than the usually covered tourist circuit and we are going to explore that too.
6. We are going to have some unique adventures
And there is adventure of course. What’s the fun without it? In the Chilika lake, a 999 step climb to reach a hill top for some beautiful views and of course a night beach hike. How about an adventurous little game right inside the world famous Puri Jagannath Temple without it getting us evicted from the premises? Do I sense an adrenaline rush?
7. We are going to meet some like-minded travelers
The trip will have a group of 12-15 people from across the country. Each one will come with their own set of expectations and understandings. Some might be friends, couples, siblings, but most will be meeting each other for the first time. Age is no barrier, but what I definitely hope is that everyone who joins this trip will be young at heart with a love for travelling. And people with a love for traveling are usually good people.
Everyone’s going to come with a story and at the end of 8 days, perhaps, go back a little richer- not just with beautiful sights, but with some great memories with the fellow ‘stranger’ trippers too. Most of the last year I have travelled with absolute strangers- some of them are my very good friends today. It’s always amazing to meet someone new and get to know them.
8. We have an itinerary, but will stick to it only as much as we want to
Lie down on the sand and let the twinkling stars dazzle you. Go on a walk to the nearby place you have heard so much about. You will have ample of ‘me’ time. Take the opportunity to make new friends and party with them or simply sit by the beach and see the waves crashing. Just remember to have fun. Traveling is as much about the people we meet as about the places we go to.
9. The cost of the trip is unbeatable and the best on offer
With the activities on offer, the places we are covering and the experience you will get, the cost of the trip is unbeatable. Due to the lack of awareness of places, there is not much competition among hotels and so the few good ones tend to have monopoly and offer average rooms at exorbitant prices. The government hotels are sadly in a very bad state, although they are located in some of the most scenic locations. I have managed to get some great properties (Two of which are next to the beach) at considerably lower costs thanks to my personal connections there and hence, the major cost has been considerably reduced.
Still the cost looks high? How about you pay a visit to any of the travel sites, check their exorbitant packages and then get back to this trip as the best deal you can get? Don’t miss the early bird discount though!
10. You are getting me as a host and dost
You are getting me as your indispensable host, dost and guide who is there with the group right from the moment you arrive at the airport until you bid farewell from there. You don’t have to worry about anything at all once you meet me at the airport. I will be there with you in the minibus we take, in all the hotels we stay and at all the places we visit as your go to person in case of any issue or query 24x7. (Except the morning loo time :P ) Let’s get to know each other, sing some songs and play games, chase some waves or simply lie at the beach staring at the starry sky and thinking about life. The idea is to make it an unforgettable and cherished holiday for you.
Although I have lived in Delhi and Mumbai for the majority of the last decade, Odisha is my homestate and I have literally grown up listening to some absolutely amazing stories about the history and culture of the state. Nothing better than listening to some magical anecdotes right from a local’s mouth right?
If these reasons look compelling enough to you or even make the slightest of sense, come and let’s go Roadtripping on Odisha’s Coast and explore it like it hasn’t been done before!
Group size: 11-15 people
Trip cost: Rs.19,900 (without flights)
Early bird discounted price (valid till 31st January): Rs. 18,900
Bookings will be on first come first serve basis and will remain open till 10th February or until the seats get filled (whichever is earlier).
- Airport/Station Transfers
- Hotel accommodation on twin sharing for 7 nights
- All breakfasts
- Transportation in tempo traveler as per itinerary
- Entry fees to all places mentioned in the itinerary
- White tiger safari charges at Nandankanan
- Boating charges at Chilika Lake
- Government taxes, service charge etc.
- Your indispensable host and dost- me and my treasure-trove of information and pathetic PJs.
- Lunches and Dinners
- Watersports charges
- Flights/Train tickets to/from Bhubaneswar to home city
- Personal expenses
- Tips for guides/drivers, temple donations etc.
- Anything not included in ‘Inclusions’
Ask me for the detailed day-to-day itinerary. Or if you have any other queries, just:
1. Leave a comment here
2. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Whatsapp me on 9810534589
Contact me on the event page on fb here and invite your friends to join in.
Note: I don't own any of the photos in this post. They have all been taken from various Odisha tourism sites.