Chennai to Kolkata Overland

Chennai to Kolkata Overland

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Description

Travel to India’s west, a place of divine beaches, remote landscapes and unique cities. Embark on an Overland adventure from chaotic Chennai to cultured Kolkata, a fascinating and memorable tour of India’s unforgettable settings. While there are many places to visit in Chennai and Kolkata, rural India is equally rewarding, with remote tribes and holy towns providing a long list of essential experiences. So come soak up the sun, cities and surprises of this unique land, and get ready for the Overland tour of a lifetime.

Trip Name
Chennai to Kolkata Overland
Last Updated
2018-12-10
Days
14
Capacity
22
Highlights
  • The Odisha Tribal Regions, which shelters 62 vulnerable tribes, is rarely visited by tourists. Trek out to this secluded area and learn about the tribes living in the jungles. 
  • Travel along the old pilgrim route to Puri and spend two days exploring this holy city by cycle-rickshaw.

Itinerary

Our itineraries are developed and published with the best of intentions, however travel in more remote areas of the world is unpredictable – borders can close, there can be extreme adverse weather, strikes or maybe mechanical issues that affect the running of your trip, but equally due to the nature of our trips we can often spontaneously include a local festival or event into the itinerary. This being said, the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a priority for Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources: • The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice • Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers • Leaders reports from off the road • Local contacts we have built up over many years of experience. TRAVEL ADVICE & WARNINGS Dragoman follows the British Foreign Office Travel advice when deciding where and where we are unable to travel. We will base our decisions on itineraries and alterations to published routes based on their advice rather than the advice of other governments. However, we recommend you check the latest travel advisories from your own government for the country you are travelling to before you book and prior to departure. If there are any travel warnings present for the region you will travel to, as well as considering whether you are happy to travel despite the warning you must also check to ensure that it is not invalidating your travel insurance. Here are a few useful addresses: UK - www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice Australia - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ New Zealand - http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/ United States - https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html Canada - http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/menu-eng.asp We also recommend that you check out the UK Travel Aware website before you travel at https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/. This website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up-to-date country information to help you plan a safe trip. We will advise you of any significant changes in advice before travel or whilst you are overseas. INCLUDED ITINERARIES Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not necessarily be refunded; this is something you will need to check with your leader. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This list is designed to be a helpful guide as to what is commonly available in each location, and is neither an exhaustive list, a guarantee that the activity is available, or an endorsement or recommendation. Please note that certain activities may not be available on your particular visit if they are overbooked, underbooked, out of season, or for any other reason - the list of activities is made according to our latest information and in the best faith, but please be aware that things may change between our last visit and your arrival. Please also note that it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, and it is recommended to give yourself extra time in your joining or ending city if you would like to participate in some optional activities there. Prices listed are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated - again, these prices are displayed according to our latest information and in the best faith, but prices do fluctuate due to exchange rates, season, numbers of participants, and simple increases from the operator - any prices listed are a guide only and certainly cannot be guaranteed. Optional activities are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Dragoman nor included in the price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Dragoman. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or optional activity form for some optional activities.

Day 1 - Chennai
Border Information: If you are joining in Chennai, you will most likely enter India in Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA). Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Chennai. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Chennai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Chennai. In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable modern hotel. *Important note* - if you are joining the trip in Chennai, please make sure that you send us a scan of your Indian visa as soon as you have obtained it. If you plan to take the e-visa option, please make sure you arrange this well in advance and send us a copy of your receipt as soon as possible. If we do not receive this in advance, then we will not have enough time to get your permits for the Odisha Region and you will not be able to visit this area. Hotel for the night: Hotel Pandian Hotel Pandian 15 Kenneth Lane Egmore Chennai 600 008 India Tel - +91 44 2819 1010 Activity Approximate Cost Overnight stay in Chennai Included in Kitty Visit the many historic temples, mosques, and churches of Chennai Free Visit the Fort St. George, the site of the East India Company's first trading station in 1640, and the first British fort in India INR 100 Visit the Chennai Government Museum, and its incredible selection of antiquities including Roman artefacts and coins from all eras of India's past INR 250 About Chennai: Chennai (previously known as Madras) was the site of the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639, and is now the fourth largest city in India. The town grew up around the Fort St. George and along Mount Road, and some interesting historic buildings can be seen here. It's true that it is busy, noisy and often extremely hot, but in many ways it is a surprisingly efficient and orderly place. The Government Museum is worth a visit if you're interested in the history of the city, and its 13km-long Marina Beach is the country's longest urban beach. You might prefer to just wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere, exploring the many temples and bustling local markets.
Day 2 - Tirupati, Tirumala
Today we start our journey with a drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Sri Venkateswara holy temple in the nearby town of Tirumala. In Tirupati we will stay in a friendly local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). Activity Approximate Cost Visit the Sri Venkatesvara Tirumalai Temple Included in Kitty About Tirupati: In the very south of Andhra Pradesh state is the small town of Tirupati. Thousands of pilgrims flock here every day to visit the Sri Venkateswara Temple, which sits above the city on the sacred mountain of Tirumala. Sri Venkateswara is belived by Hindus to be an incarnation of the deity Vishnu, and is said to have appeared here to save mankind during an appearance of the devil-god Kali. The temple is visited by an astonishing 30-40 million pilgrims per year (around 50,000-100,000 people a day and more on special festivals), making it the most-visited holy site in the world and the richest in terms of visitor donations.
Day 3 - Vijayawada
Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India. This is real off-the-beatentrack overlanding, and we will arrive in the small city of Vijayawada this evening. In Vijayawada we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours
Day 4 - Visakhapatnam
Today we continue our journey and drive through the back roads of Andra Pradesh. Our final destination tonight is the costal town of Visakhapatnam. In Visakhapatnam we will stay in a local hotel on the sea front. Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours
Day 5-9 - Odisha Tribal Area
Today we will begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions, which we will comprehensively visit over the next 6 days. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below: On the first day we will have an early start from Visakhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself. In Goudaguda we will stay in a local guesthouse which has been styled on local tribal houses. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. On the following day we will have a full-day guided walk through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mahali and Kondh tribal villages. We will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night. On the next day we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We will then travel through the hills to the village of Muniguda, our destination for tonight. On arrival we will be welcomed by the New Hope Charitable Trust (a local NGO helping to uplift the poor and disadvantaged), and in the afternoon we will have a cooking demonstration and spend some time with the children and the elderly people of the New Hope Trust. In Muniguda we will stay in basic rooms in the grounds of the charitable trust. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. On the following day we will drive to a small village called Taptapani, where on arrival we will visit the temple hot springs. In Taptapani we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours. On the next day we will drive to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have a free afternoon to independently explore the town on arrival. In Gopalpur we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Visit the Monday market in the indigenous melting pot of Goudaguda, soaking up the incredible atmosphere as the locals barter and trade their produce Included in Kitty Head out for a full day hike around the Goudaguda region, visiting nearby villages of the Kondha, Mahali and Paroja tribal people Included in Kitty Explore the rarely-visited Wednesday Market in Chakitona, the main weekly market for the Desia and Dongria villagers from the area Included in Kitty See a fascinating local cooking demonstration and learn about the incredible work of the New Hope Community Centre in the rural village of Muniguda Included in Kitty Bathe in the natural hot springs with the local villagers at the small temple of Taptapani Included in Kitty About Odisha Tribal Area: The hinterlands of Odisha are home to more than 60 different tribal communities, all with their own distinct indigenous culture and traditions. Perhaps one of the most fascinating tribes are the 'Bondas', fiercelyindependent people of Tibeto-Burmese origin. The women of this tribe wear many silver necklaces from their shoulders up to their chin and prefer to take younger husbands, so that they will have someone to earn a livelihood for them in their old age. The Paraja tribe are also particularly interesting because of the numerous deities that they worship, who are all said to live in the hills and forests. They also love dance and music, and their celebrations are also accommopanied by a lot of singing and dancing. This is a remote region which is difficult to visit as a single traveller, and exactly the kind of place where overlanding comes into its own.
Day 10-12 - Puri
Today our tour of the Odisha tribal areas comes to an end and we drive on to the small town of Puri. Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, and has a wonderful long sandy beach. On arrival we will explore the old pilgrim route by cycle-rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours. We will spend 3 nights in Puri. On the first full day here, we will take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake on bamboo-pole-driven canoes. There may also be the opportunity to visit the Usthi Children's Foundation in the town. On the second full day, we will begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple. In Puri we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Activity Approximate Cost 3 nights to relax in the lovely coastal town of Puri Included in Kitty Educational visit to the Usthi Foundation rural project for children either in Puri or Kolkata USD 10 Explore the religious sites of Puri by cyclerickshaw, including the Jagannath Temple, one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India Included in Kitty Explore the ruins of the 13th-century Sun Temple of Konark near to Puri, shaped like a colossal chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels Included in Kitty Take a cycle ride through the stunning backroads and villages near Puri, to visit the artisan village of Raghurajpur and see the fantastic array of handicrafts traditionally manufactured there Included in Kitty About Puri: Puri is one of the oldest cities in the eastern part of India and an important destination for Hindu pilgrims - it is considered by Hindus to be one of the holiest places in India and is the eastern point on the revered Char Dham circuit of pilgrimage sites (along with Rameswaram in the south, Dwarka in the west, and Badrinath in the north). It is considered highly sacred to complete the Char Dham circuit, and the centrepiece of this pigrimage in Puri is the huge Jagannath Temple, an enormous complex which is home to more than 5000 priests and aides. Unfortunately unless you are Hindu you will not be able to enter the temple's interior, but even from the outside it's worth a visit, and you can't help but be impressed by the sheer scale of the building. Puri is also the gateway to the incredible 13th Century Konark Sun Temple, elaborately built by the Eastern Ganga Dynasty in the shape of a gigantic chariot to honor the Hindu sun deity Surya. The town is also popular with local Indian holidaymakers because of it's long sandy beach and pleasant waterfront, which makes it a good spot to kick back and relax and recharge your batteries.
Day 13 - Kolkata
Today we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have free time today and tomorrow to independently explore this remarkable city, or take an optional photographic tour. In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel. Estimated Journey Time (by train) - 7-8 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Experience a local train ride from Puri to Kolkata Included in Kitty About Kolkata: Kolkata was originally a British settlement, built by the East India Company in the 17th Century during their trading and colonising expansion along the boast of Bengal - it also became the capital of the British colonial government until 1911 when this was moved to Delhi. The city is now India's third largest, and is regarded by many as the country's intellectual and cultural capital. At first you are assaulted by the noise and chaos of this bustling metropolis, but take the time to explore and you'll discover some impressive colonial architecture, some of the best restaurants in India and a thriving arts scene. Bengali theatre, dance, poetry, art, music and film are all showcased here, and there's usually plenty to choose from on at the city's many venues. An interesting relic of the colonial era is the Victoria Memorial - a beautiful domed white marble edifice set in tranquil gardens, the monument was built to vcommemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. Kolkata is also home to the Sister's of Charity Motherhouse, the mission where Mother Teresa did much of her work. Finally, if all the hustle and bustle is getting too much for you, you can explore the vast green fields of the Maidan or take refuge in the beautiful botanic gardens along the banks of the Hooghly River.
Day 14 - Kolkata
Border Information: If finishing your trip in Kolkata, you will most likely exit India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kolkata. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. Activity Approximate Cost Overland through West Bengal across the Gangetic plains Free 2 nights to explore Kolkata, India's most enigmatic and bewildering city INR 200 Visit the Eden Gardens, the most famous and iconic cricket stadium in India Free See the famous Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly River, thought to be the busiest bridge in the world with 150,000 pedestrians and 100,000 vehicles crossing every day Free Discover the incredible array of art and historical artefacts on display at the Indian Museum in Kolkata, the largest and oldest museum in India INR 200 Head out on a fantastic photographic tour of Kolkata, exploring the hidden gems, back streets, and photogenic spots of the city with a superb local guide INR 2000 Explore the vast fields and parks of the Maidan (the 'lungs of Kolkata') and observe daily life away from the chaos of the city Free Visit and support the Usthi Foundation's school and farm for impoverished children in Kolkata, and see the amazing work they do (if available) USD 10 See the huge white marble Victoria Memorial, built in the early 20th century by the British Viceroy of India and a grandiose reminder of Kolkata's colonial past INR 200 Visit the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Centre, a museum illustrating the life and work of the famous and controversial missionary Free

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
27-12-201809-01-2019AUD $ 2,479-
31-01-201913-02-2019AUD $ 2,245-
07-03-201920-03-2019AUD $ 2,544-
28-03-201910-04-2019AUD $ 2,544-
31-10-201913-11-2019AUD $ 2,499-
28-11-201911-12-2019AUD $ 2,499-
19-12-201901-01-2020AUD $ 2,499-
06-02-202019-02-2020AUD $ 2,509-
05-03-202018-03-2020AUD $ 2,509-
26-03-202008-04-2020AUD $ 2,509-

Accommodation

Hotels,Guesthouses

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle,Train

Map