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India Circuit between Chennai and Kolkata

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  • Tirupati
  • Chennai
  • Kolkata
  • Puri
  • Odisha Tribal Area
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Vijayawada

Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. This is one of the most original and unique Indian trips we offer, one which deviates far from the usual tourist trail to visit the remote hill tribes of Odisha. Starting in bustling Chennai, you'll overland through Andra Pradesh to visit the Sri Venkatesvara Tirumalai temple, the most visited place of worship anywhere in the world, before heading to the plains and into the tribal areas of Odisha. Here, you'll meet many different people with their own distinct cultures and traditions as we explore this remarkable area, culminating in a stay in the coastal town of Puri. Here you'll take a bike tour around some of the local villages and visit the 13th-century Konark Sun Temple before hitting the busy streets of Kolkata. In Kolkata you'll experience Indian life like no other - the thronging crowds, tuk-tuks beeping their horns as they negotiate the hectic streets - all sights, sounds and smells you'll never forget. Join Dragoman on this wonderful and unforgettable overlanding experience!

  • 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.

    Freely explore the beaches of Chennai, including the 12km-long Marina Beach, the longest urban beach in the world

    Visit the many historic temples, mosques, and churches of Chennai - Cost: INR
    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 - Cost: 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 - Cost: INR 250

  • Day 2 Tirupati

    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!).

    Visit the chaotic Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala along with 10,000 devoted pilgrims, one of the holiest temples dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu

  • 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-beaten-track 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 to 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.

    Visit the Monday market in the indigenous melting pot of Goudaguda, soaking up the incredible atmosphere as the locals barter and trade their produce
    Head out for a full day hike around the Goudaguda region, visiting nearby villages of the Kondha, Mahali and Paroja tribal people
    Explore the rarely-visited Wednesday Market in Chakitona, the main weekly market for the Desia and Dongria villagers from the area
    See a fascinating local cooking demonstration and learn about the incredible work of the New Hope Community Centre in the rural village of Muniguda
    Bathe in the natural hot springs with the local villagers at the small temple of Taptapani

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Overland vehicle and trains