Press Familiarization Trip to Abu Dhabi and India
Sponsored and hosted by

Etihad Airways, and India Tourism Toronto
Nov 17 – Dec 01, 2006

Next morning, the 26th - on the plane and off to Bhubneshwar. On arrival at the airport we received a garland greeting and there was a nice sign welcoming us. We then were delivered to our hotel, the Trident Hilton. They wanted us to see as much as we could in this short time so jam packed us with many wonderful sights including these ancient temples like Rajarani, Mukteswar and Parsurameswar as well as Lingaraj – some dating as far back at 7 AD. These temples were amazing and so worth seeing for their design and the fact that they are so unique. Back at our hotel. I took a picture of the lobby – the bells were so beautiful and carry with them a lot of history I am sure. We had dinner with the local tour operators and saw some local dancing at the Hotel Swosti Plaza which was just a short drive away from our hotel. After a good nights sleep, we were up again to have breakfast then drive to Konark. On the way we stopped at this beautiful little park to see these inscriptions in rock from 272 BC and a front half of an elephant also carved into rock - the peace pagoda in white and gold stand as an impressive backdrop to this site. After this visit we also stopped at another temple, this one very different. On the suburbs of Orissa, 20 km south-east of the city, in the middle of paddy fields lies this ninth century temple. Another significant feature of this shrine is that it has no roof. It assumes an important place in the cultural history since it is the second of its kind in Orissa and one of such four temples in India. It is called the Yogini temple and is a female goddess temple. Continuing on our journey we stopped in a small village where I was able to take some wonderful pictures of men and women carrying rice on their heads. I also picked up a basket that was made by the man in the picture – you can see the finished one and the lady demonstrated how this basket works. You put rice in it to sort and clean. This little village of Pipli has all kinds of appliqué lampshades, clothes and bags and was fun to shop in and the people there were very warm and friendly. We also stopped to get pictures of the oxen…which were plentiful but sometimes hard to get a picture of. This time we stopped on the road to get a shot of a small herd moving and then saw a couple in the field working. They keep muzzles on them when working so they don’t stop to eat along the way. Our next stop was to the Sun Temple in Konark. This temple was built in the 13th century and is a world heritage site and museum. This temple is shaped like a huge chariot on wheels and was beautiful. Then on to the Toshali Sands Hotel for lunch where their little gardens were full of marigolds.

We were in three vehicles and our vehicle had to stop for a train. While we waited we saw these school children getting off the train in their uniforms and people getting on with all kinds of stuff. We then arrived at Raghurajpur to a crowd of people waiting for us and enjoyed some special folk dancing before touring the village. This was a unique traditional Gotipua dance. Gotipua means single boy in Oriya and these boys are housed and schooled and taught the form of dance while living with their Guru for at least six years. Then it was on the road again and to the Hotel Mayfair for refreshments on the beach. Some took time to just relax while others had foot massages…a really nice break for us. Then we were off to Puri for the Beach Festival featuring some wonderful music and dinner at the Hotel Hans Coco-Palms before heading back to our hotel and bed.

November 28th after breakfast we visited the Edaygiri caves…fascinating to see these caves dating from the 1st and 2nd century with carvings so exquisite. Getting to the top was no small feat either…just look at the incline. A visit to the Tribal Heritage Museum was our next stop before lunch then we left for the airport to board our flight to Chennai and the Hotel Residency. Chennai is the second oldest city at 2000 years after Kolkata and the fourth largest in India at 8 million people. There are 130 engineering colleges alone in Chennai and while most are Hindu there is also a population of around 20 percent who are Christian.








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