Day 1: Bhubaneswar
On arrival at Bhubaneswar airport transfer to hotel. Later visit Lingaraja Temple, the 11th century temple described as fusion of dream & reality, a rare masterpiece, and one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple. Every inch of the 55 m-high Lingaraja temple is covered with elaborate carvings. Sculpture & architecture fused elegantly to create a perfect harmony. Mukteshwara Temple, build in 7th-8th century AD, one of the most ornate temples in Bhubaneswar. The intricate carvings of the deities stand testimony to the influence of Hindu, Buddha & Jain style of architecture. The carvings on the roof are specially striking. Parashurameshwara Temple, a small but richly decorated shrine of Shiva that was built in the 7th century. It is one of the best examples of the Orissa style of temple architecture.
Also visit Dhauli, where Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great renounced bloody warfare & embraced the teachings of Buddha after victory over kingdom of Kalinga. Visit Peace Pagoda known as Shanti Stupa built in early 1970 by Japanese. Also visit two ancient rock edicts, today eclipsed by the presence of the Pagoda dating from 260 BC they outline Ashoka`s detailed instructions to his administrators to rule with gentleness & fairness. Udaigiri & Khandgiri caves, largest Buddhist Complex in Orissa. These hills provide some solid examples of Jain & Buddhist art of the 2nd Century BC. There are monasteries, Chaitya & Stupas that represent a vibrant culture that flourished in these hills. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Bhubaneswar - Bhitaraknika (160kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bhitarakanika National Park, enroute visit Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri & Udaigiri famous for Jain & Buddhist Monasteries. Lalitgiri, earliest Buddhist Complex dating back to the 1st century AD. The majestic ruins of the huge brick monastery, the remains of the chaitya hall, a number of votive Stupas & a renovated stone stupa at the apex of a small rugged sandstone hill dominate the rural greenery around. Next visit Ratnagiri, famous for many significant Buddhist sculptures scattered around in the hill range. The excavations have revealed the relation of this place with the Gupta Dynasty, dates back to 6th Century AD. The huge monastery showing that Buddhism spread through these areas in the later part, especially due to the influence of the great King Ashoka. Further drive and check in at hotels. Dinner and o/n at hotel.
Day 3: Bhitaraknika - Puri (240kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is sprawls over 650 sq. kms and boasts of rich marine vegetation, salt tolerant varieties of trees and plants, rivers and creeks. Home to some of the rarest species in the world both flora and fauna, the sanctuary is mainly known for its species of reptiles especially crocodiles, however, it also attracts a plethora of migrant species like Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, Asian Open Bill, Black Ibis, Egrets, and Darters etc. In the winter (which is the ideal migrating season for avifauna species), you can find as many as 215 species of migratory birds. The highlight of the wildlife sanctuary is the rare white crocodile that can grow up to 23 feet. Another attraction of the region are the sprawling mangrove trees making it the second largest mangrove forest in India. There are several entrances available for the park, the most popular one of which is boating from Khola to Dangmal. This entrance allows you to walk through the dense forests and experience the rich ecosystem in all its glory.
Explore Bhitarkanika the breeding ground for Olive Ridley turtles. Boat safari in Mangrove forest, enjoy the serpentine creeks, watch out for birds, particularly different varieties of Kingfisher. Keep looking for estuarine crocodiles basking in the sun. Also visit Bagagahan Bird Sanctuary, climb to watch tower, look for Pelican & different varieties of Storks.
Later drive to Puri check in andovernight at hotel.
Day 4: Puri
Breakfast at hotel. Full day excursion to visit The Konark Sun Temple, a 13th century Temple in the form of the chariot with 24 wheels, heavily decorated with symbolic stone carvings and led by a team of six horses. It was constructed from oxidizing weathered ferruginous-coloured sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site as a cultural property under categories (i). Pipili the applique work village & Raghurajpur artisan village. Further visit, Ramchandi temple & Chandrabhaga beach. Also visit world famous lord Jagannath temple (non - Hindus are not allowed to enter inside the main temple sanctum). Rest time to relax on the beach. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Puri
Breakfast at hotel. Excursion to visit Chilika Lake the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world after the New Caledonian barrier reef. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent & home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals. A pleasant boat ride amidst the colorful migratory birds and the quaint water. Drive back to Puri & rest time free for personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Puri - Bhubaneshwar (65km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bhubaneshwar airport and drop off to airport to board flight for onward destination.
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