Tribal of Orissa has a rich cultural heritage and tradition that goes back thousands of years. If it is known for Ashoka and his empire, its Odissi dance, and its wonderful arts and crafts, Orissa is also known for its tribes, numbering the largest in India. There are 62 tribes in this region alone. The largest tribes are the Gonds, the Oram, Santal, and Munda. Each tribe has a distinctive culture and way of life, closely aligned with nature. The lesser tribes like the Loharas, Mohali, and Koya are known for their crafts like basket weaving. They lead a simple life and it comes as a refreshing change for city people to get to know how the tribes live. You can get this wonderful experience in Namaste India’s tribal tour of Orissa spread over 10 days 9 nights. A typical itinerary for the 10 days 9 nights Namaste India tribal tour of Orissa:
Day 01: Arrive in Bhubaneshwar
Our tour guide welcomes you on your arrival and escorts you to your hotel where you can settle in and refresh yourself. Explore the neighborhood in the evening.
Day 02: Bhubaneshwar – Muniguda
Breakfast on the regional favorite and set out to visit Mundiguda where the local Bondo and Didayi tribes congregate in the weekly market. The Bondos are from the Bondo hills and love to wear colorful dresses with ornamentation like brass and aluminum collars and bead necklaces. The Didayis are from the same region but have slightly different customs and languages. Stroll through the market and buy crafts produced by these two tribes. The tour guide organizes a photoshoot with the tribals and then we proceed to Gupteswara to visit the Dhuruba tribes in their village. You squat alongside the tribes, carry on a conversation in sign language, perhaps partake of the local drink, and then return to your hotel for a night’s rest.
Day 03: Bhubhaneshwar – Machhakund
Breakfast over you boards the coach along with other group members for the drive to Machhakund. This is in Koraput district and is home to the Barogadaba tribe. This tribe is more advanced than the other tribes and their culture is also different. We take a tour through the village, sit down for a conversation, and if you are lucky you might be offered Mahua liquor, the tribe’s favorite. Just buy some crafts and it will make them very happy.
Day 04: Rayagada
After our visit to the Barogadaba village, we proceed to Rayagada. On the way, the group stops at Niyamgiri Hill to visit the village of the Dongariya Kondhs who are rather primitive and still live the way they used to do centuries ago. Descended from the Proto Australoids, the Kondhs (or Gonds) are aggressive hunters as well as warriors. Traversing their village is like going back hundreds of years in time and it is an education to watch their natural way of life.
Day 05: Chatikana Market – Gopalpur
Today you start by visiting the Chatikana market where local tribes congregate to sell their craftwork and also their productivity. After that, you will visit a Dongariya village to observe firsthand the lifestyle of this tribe. In the afternoon the group sets out to visit Gopalpur, one of the finest beach destinations of Orissa. The 270 km drive takes about 6 hours and on arrival, you check into your room for a well-earned rest.
Day 06: Gopalpur – Puri – Chilika Lagoon
It is going to be a busy day as you start with breakfast and then proceed to Puri after spending some time at the beach to watch how tribal fisherman catch fish. The first stop on the 200 km drive to Puri is the Kalijai temple island in Chilika Lake, a large backish water lagoon, home to hundreds of birds and aquatic life. Arrive in Puri and check into your room for the night.
Day 07: Konark – Raghurajpur / Khasposak, Puri
The first thing to do today after breakfast is to head towards Konark and admire the magnificent Sun Temple. It is afternoon and time to visit Raghurajpur or Khasposak, famous for being home to tribes that excel in the art of pattachitra paintings. After that, we return to Puri and visit the world-famous Jagannath Temple from where the annual rath yatra starts each year. Then we stroll through the market area and get a feel for how locals live. Stay the night in comfortable rooms.
Day 08: Bhubaneshwar – Dhauli Stupa and Pipili
After breakfast, the group boards a coach for the return journey to Bhubhaneshwar in the concluding stages of the tribal tour of Orissa. On the way, we stop at Pipili village and then Dhauli, famous for the Ashoka edicts and the more modern Peace Pagoda and stupa. After that, we reach Bhubhaneshwar where we spend some time visiting a few famous temples such as Mukteswar, Vaital Deul, Parsurameswar, and Rajarani. These temples are renowned for the fabulous carving and beautiful sculpture that will leave you awestruck.
Day 09: Hirapur Yogini Temple – Udayagiri Caves
Today we leave for Hirapur, about 15 km away, and visit the famous Yogini temple with its beautiful sculptures. The village is home to tribes that excel in metalworking. This trip includes a visit to the tribal museum and a show by local snake charmers. After that, we go on to the famed Udayagiri caves before returning to Bhubhaneshwar for the night.
Day 10: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast and our guide helps you with the onward travel to the airport or railway station for the return journey home.