Eastern India Tours:Orissa,Assam,Meghalaya,Tripura,Sikkim ,Arunanchal pradesh,Nagaland,west Bengal ,Bihar,& Manipur are some of the most beautiful states in the eastern and North eastern sector of India. Orissa –kalinga or Utkala of ancient times– is an experience that is as sublime as it is aesthetically innervating .sorrounded in mystery for decades,it has slowly started unveiling its secrets to the outside world.For centuries now,the orissan golden triangle of Bhubaneswar -Puri-Konark has retained a vantage point on India’s pilgrimage circuit,since the jagannath temple comprises one of the four Dhams (holy places) for the hindus.But in recent times a significant momentum has been building up to explore the inner reaches of the state.Temples,sanctuaries,beaches and water falls ,hot springs and glorious lakes,wildlife life that is visually fascinating ,crafts that are colourful and vibrant and the numerous festivals that can take on a “jaggernaut” like momentum………orissa has them all and much more for U.
Calcutta, three hundred years old traces its history to the landing of Robert clive on the banks of the river Hoogly beside three villages.It was from here that the ental british raj was launched in India.Calcutta ,the capital of west bengal is the major entry point to the eastern and north eastern states of India.
If Delhi is the elegant capital of the nation, and bombay its major industrial city, then calcutta ranks as the intellectual capital .Poets, thinkers, and film directors of international renown hail from this city where avant garde plays and art exhibitions go on show practically every day of the year.Calcutta was the first headquarters of the east India company, and some of its best known monuments were built by the British trading house.However the city , has within its 300 years ‘history, hosted other communities both from other parts of India as well as abroad—chinese,Armenians,jews—all of whom have left their imprint pockets of calcutta. Sightseeing in this fascinating city includes Raj bhavan, the residense of the Governer of Bengal, Victoria Memorial, the city’s landmark, botanical Gardens, which are notable for the oldest banyan tree and orchid house;Armenian church;Marble palace, one family;s collection of memorabilia; and the birla planetarium. Darjiling , the state’s most popular hill resort, is a slice of England ,2134 metres above the sea level.Sorrounded by tea gardens growing the prized leaf known as Darjiling , the little town faces some of the Himalaya’s highest peaks.Darjiling is an abrupt variation from the low lands of west Bengal.Budhism ,being a major faith here, Darjiling and the nearby town of Kalimpong, have , between them , several budhist monasteries,chiefly of the yellow Hat sect.The largest of the states in the north east of India is Assam whose capital , Guwahati, has an inspired location on the bank of the river Brahmaputra.Amidst Assam’s verdant lushness are two important game sanctuaries, Manas and Kaziranga, both best known for their population of one horned indian rhinoceros, a species that faced extinction.Much of the rest of the state is devoted to tea plantation which yield the strong Assam leaf popular all over the world.
Meghalaya is one of the country’s newest states with its capital at shillong.For long a summer retreat of the British, the beautifully kept golf course and several english country cottages testify to another influence besides the local one.Beautiful lakes and falls , hillside cottages, a large university, and the popular bara bazzar are quaint aspects of this town.Tripura, quite off the beaten track, is a store house of tribal crafts and culture as well as music and dancing.In the centre of this patch of intense greenery is the capital ,Agartala, where gracious buildings were once the palaces of Tripura’s royal family.
Tucked away in the foothills of the himalayas, sikkim is a himalayan wonderland with its lovely views and exotic orchids, and its forest -trails.A virtual Shangri-la overlooked by Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, Sikkim is attractive equally for the sightseer, the adventure sports enthusiast and those interested in Budhism and Tibetology.Budhism is the predominant religion here, with many fine old monasteries rich with frescoes, religious paintings on silk and statues of Budha’s various incarnations.In Gangtok, the delightfully quaint capital, are pagoda like roofs of many buildings and the presence of crimsoned robed monks in the bazaars.The institute of Tibetology, the only one of its kind in the world, was set up by the erstwhile ruler to promote research on mahayana Budhism, and on the language and traditions of Tibet.Lower down the hill is the famed orchid sanctuary where 500 species of orchids indegenous to sikkim are cultivated.Sikkim offers several treks that lead through pine forests, through picturesque valleys, monasteries, and to mountain lakes.It is also the base for mounaineering expeditions and th erivers Teesta and Rangeet offer excellent river rafting.
Of all Indian state Bihar is the one most intimately linked to the Budha’s life., rejulting in a trail of pilgrimages which have come to be known as the Budhist circuit of India.The very name Bihar is derived from the word “VIHARA” which means budhist monastery.
The budhist trail begins at the capital city , Patna, where a noteworthy museums contains a collection of Hindu and budhist sculptures.The Khuda baksh oriental library has rare muslim manuscripts including some from the university of Cordoba in spain.40 kms away, Vaishali was the site for the second budhist council as the presence of ruins testify. 90 kms south of patna is Nalanda which translate as ‘ the place that confers the lotus ‘ (of spiritual knowledge).A monastic university flourished here from the 5th to the 11th century.It is said to have contained nine million books , with 200 teachers to impart knowledge to 10000 students who came from all over the budhist world.Lord Budha himself taught here and Hieun Tsang , the seventh century chinese traveller, was a student .Ongoing excavations have uncovered temples, monasteries, and lecture halls.Rajgir, ‘the royal palace’12 km south , was the venue for the first Budhist Council.The Budha spent 5 years at rajgiri after having attained enlightenment, and many of the remains at rajgir commemorate various incidents, the hill of Gridhrakuta being perhaps the most important, as this is where the Budha delivered most of his sermons.
Bodhgaya is the place where Lord Budha attained enlightenment, with the mahabodhi temple marking the precise location.(For those interested in Budhist circuits , it may be worthwhile to note that Sarnath , in Uttar pradesh , close to Varanasi, is an important part of the circuit, and has been beautifully developed. Besides the excavated sites a museum here houses several budhist Icons , among them the Ashok’s lion, india’s national emblem) A short flight from calcutta by air in the bay of Bengal is Port blair, capital of the Andaman Islands. Though travel is restricted here, those islands open to tourism , with their lovely beaches and coral beds, are a traveller’s delight.On port blair, the cellular jail and anthropological museum merit a visit.Excursions can be taken by motor lunch to the islands of wandoor and Jolly Buoy and to the bird sanctuary at chiriyatapoo Please see our itinerary section before planning your trip