The trouble with Orissa is that while we know it’s more than the sum of its popular parts — Puri-Konarak-Chilika — we don’t quite know where and how to look for the whole. Which is why the well-curated itineraries by Grass Routes Journeys seem like a good place to begin. From the built heritage of Khandagiri to the wild reaches of the Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary; the communities of metal craftsmen in Dhenkanal to the colourful haats of the Paroja and Bonda people — each trip blends the familiar with the unfamiliar to paint a more rounded picture of this ancient land. Straying beyond borders to neighbouring Bengal or Andhra Pradesh, wherever ties of history or culture are apparent, the tours bring unseen Orissa into relief.
Trips cost anything between Rs 25,000 per person on twin-sharing basis for 5N/6D and Rs 95,000 for 12N/13D. The outfit also offers shorter day-long rural bicycle tours, beach camps, cookery classes and opportunities for volunteering — from Rs 1,000–10,000 per person. For group departure dates and other details, see grassroutesjourneys.com