I am in Koraput which is in South West Orissa. This region seems to be missed by the independent traveler in that I have seen only one large group and a family group in the four days I have been here. I am staying in Koraput and perhaps most independent travelers stay in Jeypore. Also, the important markets are on Thursday and Friday so people may time the transportation to those days. However, I only found out this information upon arrival here. The information other than about Ankadeli is not available in the 2010 Lonely Planet guide book.
The Sunday Koraput market is very interesting, only 1 or 2 tribal groups, very mellow. During the week many of the local villages are selling produce in town so it is always possible to see the local cultural groups.
Monday’s Kakiriguma market is similar to Koraput market with respect to tribes. It is 40 kilometers from Koraput and accessible by public transit. I also visited Subai, market, but it is a very small local market.
The big markets are Thursday Ankadeli (Onkadelli) and Friday Kundli market which have a wider range of participants including the Bonda tribal group. Onkadelli is 65 kilometers from Jeypore and Kundli is closer to Jeypore.
The tourist office/hotel as noted in the LP is only a tourist office. The hotel does not exist and the tourist office has no services. They suggested I go to Jeypore.
Before catching the bus to Jeypore I stopped for breakfast at the Raj Residency Hotel (a short walk from the tourist office). The rooms are the best value I have had in India. For 450 rupees (single basic room) 650 (double basic room), includes TV, full bathroom, clean, clean, clean, and free Wi-Fi. The restaurant is also good value and has a large variety of good food at reasonable prices and it also serves alcohol.
I never did get to Jeypore. I asked the hotel about a driver and was referred to the one local agency M/sGrace Tours and Travels who offers the typical complicated pricing system for a car a driver. My experience was fine and he used the consistent India price scheme. The driver spoke only a little English, but was connected with mobile so any questions were referred to the agency owner during the course of the day. The overall daily price (depending on mileage) will range from 30-40 dollars per day.
Koraput has a several temple guest houses which will suit a wide range of budgets. The temple guest houses usually have simple vegetarian meals available (Thali, Puri). Other restaurants in the village serve basic south Indian food (Dosa, Idly) for reasonable prices.
So why am I here for 7 days and nights? First, I did not have information about days of the local markets other than the Thursday one. And secondly, when I was organizing train tickets the only spaces available for the next week were December 3, and return on December 9, so I will miss the second big market day. I had planned on doing a day trip to the next town of Jeypore, but it has been raining for the last two days and there is nothing so significant to see in Jeypore which would require spending a day in the rain. It seems the entire south area of India; especially Tamil Nadu is experiencing rain. I have a train booked for December 15 so I hope the rains stops and the train is able to operate. On Thursday I have a car and driver organized to visit the Onkadelli market and some local villages in the area. My train leaves at 6:30 at night so I need to be back in time to catch the train.
So I have books to read, Wi-Fi when the electricity is working (when it rains the electricity is intermittent), and CNN India.
Upon arrival in Bhubaneswar I plan to spend 3 nights in Puri which is a very mellow beach side village, close to the Konark temple. I plan to visit the Konark temple one day and other than that just enjoy my final days in India.