Venturing into Orissa's tribal heartland is a true off-the-beaten-track adventure, allowing you to meet people with social, cultural, and agricultural practices that have remained unchanged for centuries. Many of Orissa's tribal people are still hunter-gatherers, and are physically distinct from any other ethnic group on the subcontinent. Opportunities for travelers to interact with members of these unique societies are generally limited to weekly markets held at various tribal centers. Visitors with an especially strong interest in anthropology can arrange to spend a night or two in a traditional village, but expect plenty of walking -- and forget any modern conveniences. You may, however, want to consider the fact that you will be visiting one of India's poorest regions. Also check whether any of the spoils of your tourist venture are actually reaching these village folk. Visitors have reported that some tribal tours are exploitative, making a freak-show/spectacle of the poor. In Puri, your best option for a responsibly organized tribal tour is Heritage Tours; to ensure that a suitable trip is planned around your specific interests, e-mail the highly knowledgeable Bubu in advance (tel. 06752/22-3656 or 94-3702-3656; www.heritagetoursorissa.com). A typical tribal tour for two persons will cost in the vicinity of $70 to $100 per person per day, for a minimum of 6 or 7 days. The fee factors in the services of a guide, an Ambassador car and driver, food, and (ultra-basic) accommodations.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.