ODISHA AT A GLANCE
Land of paddy fields and palm fringed silver beaches, temples, rivers, waterfalls and tribal people, Odisha's major attractions are the temples of Bhubaneshwar and Puri, miles of clean silver beaches and the magnificent Sun Temple of Konark.
Odisha, the state with a glorious history, is a state of nature and adventure. Inhabited by tribal people and not so developed state of Odisha must be visited to experience the myriad wonders of this beautiful state. Also known as the soul of India, Odisha is a place where you can relax on beaches, visit the famous temples and explore the beauty and bounty of nature and wildlife. You can also find various monuments which gloriously stand to remind you of the history of the state. Odisha's art and culture, fairs and festivals, dances and music are a treat for the tourists who love to see colours and wish to enjoy life to the fullest. Visit the soul state of India and come back with a bag full of memories, the beauty and simplicity will remain etched in your mind.
HOW TO REACH
Nearest Airport - Biju Patnaik Airportit connects the state to Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai & more.
Nearest Railway Station - Bhubaneswar Railway Station
Road Routes – National Highway 5, 6, 23, 42 43.
PLACES TO VISIT
One of the four must-visit pilgrimage sites for Hindus (Char-Dham), Puri is a beach city with its most famous attraction as the Jagannath temple.
Known as the resting place of Lord Shiva, Puri in the state of Orissa is situated alongside the coast of Bay of Bengal. This town is home to one of the most sacred temples in Hindu mythology, the Jagannath Temple. The majestic history and heritage of Puri date back to the 3rd century B. C. Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar complete the Golden Triangle of Orissa, with their religious significance and cultural heritage being the centres of tourism in this state. There are a lot of places near Puri that one must visit, like the Chilika lake, Puri beach, Gundicha Ghar and the very famous Sun temple of Konark. Puri is soon turning into an industrial hub with major manufacturing companies coming here. The Rath Yatra(chariot festival) which takes place during the month of June-July should not be missed if you are planning to visit during this time.
Bhubaneswar, the temple city of India, once known for its architecture and grand temples, is presently a thriving centre for commerce and business.
Bhubaneshwar is an ancient city replete with beautiful historic temples which attract pilgrims and tourists from all over the country. The name of the city literally means Lord of the Universe, rightly reflected in the number of temples here and the religious fervor of its locals. This is now a bustling city where the history is beautifully intertwined with its modern and progressive present. Bhubaneshwar being the centre for religious tourism has a number of majestic temples built centuries ago which have still retained their original over all these years. Among them the Lingaraj temple and the Parasurameswara temple are must-visits and attract tourists for all parts of the country.
Konark, in the state of Orissa is renowned world over for the Sun Temple which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Annual dance festival and its beautiful sandy beaches.
Konark's Sun Temple is an architectural marvel and is one of the most beautiful monuments of India. The Annual Dance Festival is a five day-long cultural extravaganza which invites unique dancing talent from all over the country. This festival is a grand celebration of our country's rich cultural and artistic legacy, an event to truly rejoice the various dance forms that our country has invented. The celebrations happen with the backdrop of the Sun temple, adding grandeur and magnificence to the whole program. Besides this, Konark also hosts the Sun Festival, where devotees offer prayers to the Sun God by taking dips in the sea. The Dance Festival also hosts a Handicrafts Mela where one can buy unique and exquisitely handcrafted pieces which beautifully reflect the Oriya art form.
Referred to as the cultural capital of Orissa, Cuttack is a commercial city with plenty of impressive tourist attractions.
Cuttack is the second largest city in Orissa and is the centre of all commercial activities and the local handicrafts of this state are displayed and traded in this very city. The inflow and outflow of the rare artefacts which so beautifully define the quintessential Oriyan form of art takes place from this very city. Cuttack is always buzzing with cultural activities and plays host to a variety of festivals like the Baliyatra, which commemorates the ancient trade links the countries like Java, Bali and Sumatra and the Kite Festival which is held in the month of January. Cuttack is a highly-planned city and has a number of tourist attractions which will make a person's trip here a memorable one.
At a distance of 248km from Kolkata and 256km from Bhubaneshwar, Baripada is a city, recognised by its beautiful culture and an essence of purity in nature. Its Rath Yatra is considered the biggest and oldest after Puri and thus Baripada is also known as Dwitiya Srikhetra (Second Puri)
It is host to the world famous Car Festival (Rathyatra) which allows only women to pull the Rath of Maa Subhadra and gathers huge crowds. One also finds here temples, known to be one of the oldest in Odisha and which see devotees coming from all over with a stong sense of faith and devotion. An event is organised here, during the mid of April that celebrates the best talents of Chhau, a world renowned dance form, indigenous to the region. Baripada is also known for its Bangripori "tusser" fabric, that can be found anywhere in its local markets. Also, do not miss the Simlipal Nature Park which has a tiger reserve, sparkling waterfalls, numerous species of animals and birds, Semul or red silk cotton trees and countless other things to leave you awestruck.
In the southern coastline of Odisha just 15 km from the city of Behrampur is located a quaint, tiny town of Gopalpur which was a sea port, bustling with trade and commerce, in the Colonial Era.
What was once a bustling port city before being deserted, is today, one of the best beaches in the eastern coastline of the country. It is know for being an offbeat destination and a place for relaxation. The sea port remains though largely in ruins, the British have gone too but what remains is one of India's most loved beaches. The Gopalpur-on-sea is considered to be one of India's most beautiful beaches largely due to its remoteness, its peace and its offbeat crowd. The beaches are sparkling gold which along with the azure water of the Bay of Bengal providing a perfect place to relax and immerse yourself in nature. Besides the beach, the food is also pretty great in the town with many shanties providing tongue tickling sea food. Gopalpur is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after beaches in the country, with more and more people becoming aware of its beauty.
Sambalpur is the gateway to the western zone of Orissa. It abounds in prolific rivers, lavish hills, lush green forests and affluent wildlife. It is a beautiful amalgamation of modernity and culture. Holding a significant historical importance, the place also has a flourishing textile and handloom industry popular for its unique patterns and style. In addition to that, Sambalpur has a flourishing tribal life with exclusive exquisite folk songs-dances and culture. Sambalpur got its name from Devi Samaleswari who is the main goddess of the region. One can also visit wildlife parks here to enjoy the beauty of nature that Sambalpur has in plenty. The area is known for the world famous Hirakud Dam which is the main attraction for the tourists here.
There are also several temples holding great significance, with people coming from all over with a strong sense of faith and the holy deity bestowing happiness and wealth upon the devotees. Sambalpur is the biggest city of western Odisha and is famous for the number of freedom fights that took place here which make this place historically important too.
Located in Baleswar district of Odisha and at a distance of 10 Km from Digha, the Talasari beach is pristine, serene and has been bestowed with spectacular panorama.
There are secret beaches, beaches which are beyond the reach of contamination, beaches that refresh our senses and Talasari is one such place. This virgin beach has sand dunes, calmer waves amid several palm trees, coconut trees, cashew trees known to be the last beach on the north eastern coast of India. Talasari gets its name from Tala (rhythm) and Sari (row)- the rhythm formed by a well arrayed lush green belt and golden sands with an occasional red fleck (thanks to the red crabs ambling around) meeting the enormous sea, which is almost melodious. Being a fisherman's paradise, Talasari doesn't experience much tourist rush. There is a concrete structure where fishermen trap their fishes and sell them in a fish market near the beach where you can also find cooked chicken, crabs and fish. You can simply walk across the river bed or enjoy boat rides and high tides the high tides here. Apart from being a sea beach, Talasari also is a river bank of Subornorekha river which flows to merge into the Bay of Bengal.
Surrounded by hills and rivers, the city of Rourkela is located in the state of Odisha. Popularly called as the 'Steel City of Odisha' and Ispat Nagar, it is one of the first cities of the country to become commercialized for steel production. Rourkela?s natural positioning in the lap of nature makes it an offbeat tourist location for the people of nearby areas.
Rich in naturally occurring minerals, Rourkela has also been blessed with a variety of relief features and natural tourist destinations. Falling in the Sundergarh district of Odisha, Rourkela is considered as a stopover destination, before visiting the other popular destinations nearby. It also holds great religious significance due to its prominence in epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
The Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary spreads across 795.52 square kilometers and does not fail to enthrall its visitors with its overwhelming beauty, lush green surrounding, the ever cherished rambling of River Mahanadi besides the very
famous Satkosia gorge and large variety of species of wild animals, birds and plants.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is a habitat of tigers, leopards, gaurs, simbal, spotted deers, four horned antelopes, sloths, gharial and many others. The Gharial Sanctuary undertakes the process of breeding of the Gharial to increase their numbers and give them the right atmosphere and treatment.
While you are here, you get a chance to caress the untainted form of nature, the luxuriant greenery leaves your soul enchanted and the existence of the wild animals around leaves your soul enthralled. Sometimes thunderous and sometimes calm river Mahanadi renders the opportunity for fish angling, or to motor-boat or river rafting across it. You can choose to trek or camp in the sanctuary as well. This a perfect destination for the lovers of nature, wildlife and adventure.
Jeypore, also spelled Jayepore, is a large city in the state of Odisha and is famous for its fresh water lakes, waterfalls and valleys. Jeypore is home to about 62 affiliated communities such as Gond, Dhruba, Paraja, Koya.
Situated at the southern boundary of Odisha, Jeypore is connected with Andhra Pradesh in south. The city has its own historic significance and is the second largest city after Berhampur of south Odisha. Locally pronounced as 'Joypur' and the literal meaning of Jayepore is 'City of Victory'. Visiting Jayepore is a welcome break for tourists who want to take a break from the city life.
Dhauli is a small town 8 Km away south of Bhubaneswar, located on the bank of river Daya and holds great significance for the followers of lord Buddha. Dhauli is said to be the witness of the reform of Ashoka's character.
This is the area which is believed to the land for the Kalinga War in the 3rd century B.C. between the Mauryan Empire led by Great Ashoka and Kalinga kingdom. The war was so intense that it is said that Daya's water had turned red with the bloodshed because of the massacre. This also led to significant change in the beliefs of King Ashoka and he eventually adopted Buddhism. His responses to this war were recorded in forms of Ashoka edicts, which are essentially rock structures with inscriptions on them. Dhauli has several major Ashoka edicts and it is now an important centre for Buddhism in India. Ashoka built several Stupas, Chaityas, Pillars around the town and did his best to create a peaceful society by helping others post war. Dhauli has a beautiful Peace Pagoda which attracts thousands of tourists every year. Besides Buddhists, Hindus also visit Dhauli to visit some of the ancient temples of great reverence situated in this beautiful town. There are also other attractions in Dhauli like rock cut caves, Sadharma vihar monastery, which would definitely make your visit worth the time.
Simlipal national park
A beautiful and scenic town in Orissa in the area of Marurbhan is Simlipal which once used to be a hunting ground for the rulers of Marurbhanj. The area today has the largest wildlife sanctuaries of India and is also considered as one of the main tiger project in India. The area of Simlipal is enriched with dense forests, striking meadows, startling waterfalls and beautiful rivers. Simlipal reserve is blessed with great bio-diversity and huge varieties of faunas with the environment of cool breeze emerging out of the dense forests. The lushly atmosphere of Simlipal makes it the perfect location for forest camping.
Simplipal Reserve is the safest paradise for a large variety of wildlife creatures which include Leopard, Gaur, Elephant, Langur, Barking and Spotted Deer, Sloth Bear Mongoose, Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Turtle, Monitor Lizard, Python, Sambar, Pangolin, Crocodile and Four horned Antelope. Around 230 species of birds like the Grey Hornbill, Indian Pied Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Trogon, Red Jungle Fowl, Hill Mynah, Peafowl, Alexandrine Parakeet, and Crested Serpent Eagle can be seen here. Also known as Simlipal Elephant Reserve, it is a complete ecosystem with forest vegetation along with the adjoining Santhal tribal settlements.
Chilika Lake, Puri
The Chilika Lake, which is a paradise on Earth for bird watchers and nature lovers, is the largest internal salt water pond that can be found in Asia. The pear-shaped lake is dotted with a few small islands and has fisheries and salt pans around its shore. This island is nestled in the heart of coastal Odisha and extends from Puri district in the north to Ganjan district in the south, and is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a 60 kilometres long narrow strip of sand-flats and marshy islands.
The Chilika Lake also houses the most accommodating ecosystems in the world, which means that a wide assortment of flora and fauna can be spotted here. The lake offers a flamboyant display of a myriad of avian charms in all diverse hues and colours, ranging from the white-bellied sea eagles to flamingos, and from golden plovers to sand pipers.
The dynamic variety of birds: both native and migratory ones, is not the only marvel at display here. The enthralling lake also offers scenic views of sunrise and sunset and a host of other options to choose from. Attractions such as the Bird Island, Breakfast Island and Honeymoon Island are also frequented by tourists who visit the Chilika Lake. The lake also boasts of being one of the only two sites in the world where the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins can be spotted. The decent and affordable lodges available here are an added cherry on this already delightful cake. Visit this bewitching lake to spend a day in nature's company and experience tranquillity like never before.