Places Visited: Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Chilika Lake, Rayagada, Jeypore, Hyderabad
This is a route for India connoisseurs, or newbies to the country who want to sidestep the popular circuits in favor of a road less traveled. And what a varied and compelling road it is: fabulous medieval temples, ancient Buddhist sites, a world-class bird reserve, vibrant traditional crafts villages, surf-lashed beaches on the Bay of Bengal, and encounters with minority people in remote forest districts, all feature in the space of a fortnight. The tour is book-ended by stays in two mega cities with very different atmospheres: Kolkata, the former British capital on the Ganges where Raj-era buildings form the backdrop to old-world temples and markets; and Hyderabad, whose historic monuments rise from the fringes of a dynamic, modern metropolis.
Infrastructure, in terms of road conditions, accommodation and communications in parts of Odisha is limited and basic in nature but the experiential value of the region far outweighs the transient loss in creature comforts.