The east of India is an area often neglected by travelers from outside the country, yet it contains some real gems to explore and is a fascinating destination for religious studies tours in India. The 13th century Sun Temple at Konark is built like a chariot with huge stone wheels, representing the movement of the sun god Surya across the skies. Nearby is Puri, home to the great Jagganath Temple, where the famous chariot festival takes place, and Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, is a pulsating mix of the old Raj, ancient and modern India. This tour takes you off the tourist trail and around some of the best sights this fascinating region has to offer.
Depart from your home country for Kolkata.
Arrive in Kolkata and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in hotel
City tour of Kolkata’s rich colonial heritage including the Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Today’s tour takes you to the Ramakrishna Math, from where Ramakrishna’s famous disciple Vivekananda spread his message of Vedanta across the globe, Kalighat, the main shrine of the bloodthirsty goddess Kali, not for the faint-hearted, and the hospice of Mother Teresa.
Fly to Bhubaneswar, the “Temple city of India”, with more temples than any other city in the entire country. Overnight in hotel in Bhubaneswar.
Today head out for a tour of just a few of the city’s 500 temples, and the spectacular ancient Jain and Buddhist cave temples, carved out of the rock in the hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri. This is a very interesting day for those on academic religious studies tours in India. Overnight in hotel in Bhubaneswar.
Visit the magnificent Jagannath Temple. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra or Chariot Festival when the three main temple deities are hauled on huge embellished chariots thought the crowded streets of devotees. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, but there is a viewing tower from which you can see inside.
Morning tour of Puri to explore its bazaars, sculpture workshops and beach.
Morning drive to seaside Gopalpur for a couple of relaxing days at the Swosti Palm Beach Resort.
Time to unwind, stroll on the popular beach or simply relaxing in the hotel grounds. Overnight in Gopalpur.
Morning for relaxation followed by afternoon drive to Bhubaneswar. Overnight at hotel Bhubaneswar.
Early morning flight to Kolkata with free time to explore this fascinating city.
Early morning transfer to airport for international departure.