Explore Eastern India
The Jewel in the Crown: Kolkata - Spend four days exploring this exciting metropolis
(4 days beginning and ending in Kolkata) - Open dates
Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Beal. It is also the commercial capital of East India, located on the east bank of the Hooghly River. The city of Kolkata is the third most populous metropolitan area in India and the thirteenth most populous urban area in the world. The city is also classified as the eighth largest urban agglomeration in the world.
Kolkata was the capital of India during British rule. The city's documented history, however, begins with the arrival of the English East India Company in 1690, when the Company was consolidating its trade business in Bengal. Job Charnock, an administrator with the company, was traditionally credited as the founder of the city. A 2003 High Court order states that the city should not have a specific founder. While the city's name was always pronounced "Kolkata" in the local Bengali language, its official English name was changed from "Calcutta" to "Kolkata" in 2001, reflecting the Bengali pronunciation.
The Indian Museum houses exceptional remains including Buddha’s relics and Bharhut railings from the monumental Shunga period stupa near Khajuraho in north central India. The stupa had long been ruined and these components were rescued from the site. Their polished red sandstone is carved in low relief with nature-spirits, ceremonial processions, and stories of the Buddha's previous lives.
Places of Interest: St. John’s Church; Dalhousie Square, Jain Temple, Bowbazar, Indian Museum, Kolkata, Asiatic Society, Dakshineshwar Temple, Belur Math, The Marble Palace; Home of Tagore, Kumartuli (Potter village), Victoria, Memorial, Flower Market.
The Weaver's Tale: Orissa - Visit Bhubaneshwar, Dhauli, Konarak, Udayagiri, Khandagiri, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri
(4 days beginning and ending in Bhubaneshwar) - Open dates
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is popularly known as the "Temple City of India" and is also an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Bhubaneswar's first mention was during the Kalinga War, which took place near Dhauli (now in the south of the city) in the 3rd century BCE. The great Kalinga war transformed ‘Emperor Ashoka’ to ‘Dharma-Ashoka' and brought about remarkable changes in the history of Buddhism with the erection of monasteris, stupas, viharas and mahaviharas and other relics. Buddhist sculptures are found in Dhauli and the Diamond Triangle of Udayagiri, Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri.
Places of Interest: Orissa State Museum, The Hindu Temples of Bhubaneswar, The diamond triangle - Udayagiri, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Dhauli, Chausath Yogini temple, Konarak (Sun temple at Konarak), Udayagiri, Khandagiri.
The Story Unfolds: Andhra Pradesh -Explore ancient Buddhist sites in Amravati, Nagarjunkonda and visit the old palaces, forts and tombs of the Nizam's of Hyderabad
(7 days beginning in Vijayawada and ending in Hyderabad) - Open dates
Vijayawada (2 nights)
Literally meaning "Land of Victory", Vijayawada is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the banks of the sacred Krishna River, at the foot of the Indrakiladri Hills. The region's business capital, Vijayawada is an agricultural and industrial transportation hub.
Amravati in an important Buddhist site and is one of the four renowned Buddhist centers of learning in the country. Emperor Ashoka laid the foundation of the Great Stupa at Amravati. A miniature model of the stupa and some of the original panels have been preserved in a museum at the site. Several statues and freezes relate Jataka stories.
The Undavalli Caves were carved into the solid sandstone at the hillside in the 4th to 5th centuries CE. There are several caves and the best known largest one has four storeys with a huge reclining statue sculpted from a single block of granite. The Undavalli caves are an example of how many Buddhist artifacts and stupas in Andhra were converted into Hindu temples and deities. It was originally a Jain cave resembling the architecture of Udayagiri and Khandgiri and the first level of the cave is a carved vihara and includes Buddhist art work
Nagarjunasagar (1 night)
Nagarjuna Sagar, located at a distance of 150km from Hyderabad, is one of the most prominent Buddhist centres and attractive tourist spots in Andhra Pradesh. Known in ancient days as Vijayapuri, Nagarjunasagar takes its present name from Nagarjuna, one of the most revered Buddhist monks, who governed the sangha for nearly 60 years around the turn of the 2nd century CE. It is also a place of immense archaeological significance & excavations which reveal Nagarjunasagar as a centre for the propagation of Buddhist teachings in South India.
One of the early river valley civilizations took birth here. Enthused by the peaceful environs of this place, Buddhists made this land a great hub of learning, setting up one of the four major Viharas here. Further down in history, one of the first Hindu kingdoms of South India, Ikshvakus, made this city their capital. Once Vijayapuri, today Nagarjunasagar, this hoary land of antiquity and enlightenment now boasts of the world's tallest masonry dam, the Nagarjuna Sagar. It was built on the Krishna River at Nagarjuna Sagar between Guntur district of Andhra Pradeshstate and Nalgonda district of Telangana state, India.
Places of Interest: Anupu (Monastery and University complex; temple; open air theatre), Relocated buildings on Nagarjunakonda (Mahachaitya); Bodhisri Chaitya; Burial site, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Buddhavana.
Hyderabad (3 nights)
Hyderabad is the common capital of the south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is situated along the banks of the Musi River. Established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad remained under the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly a century before the Mughals captured the region. In 1724, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, also known as the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Hyderabad State ultimately became a princely state during British rule, and remained so for 150 years, with the city serving as its capital. The city continued as capital of a new Hyderabad State after joining the Indian Union in 1948 and before attaining its current status as the focal point of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. In 2014, Andhra Pradesh state was bifurcated and the city became the capital and part of the newly formed Telangana state, sharing the status of joint capital along with the Andhra Pradesh for the period of ten years from then.
Places of Interest: Golconda Fort, Tombs, Charminar, Laad Bazaar, Salar Jang Museum.
ITINERARIES: Open dates