Odisha – Travel Guide
Odisha is an Indian state is located on the eastern coast of India. This state borders West Bengal to the north-east, Jharkhand to the north, Chattisgarh to the west and Andhra Pradesh to the south. It also boasts a coastline of 485 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal. Odisha is the 8th largest state of India in terms of area, 11th largest state in terms of population and houses the 3rd largest population of Scheduled Tribes in India. It ranks 16th in terms of economy with ₹4.16 lakh crore in gross domestic product and has a per capita GDP of ₹93,000. It stands 23rd in the Human Development Index. Let’s take a look at the Odisha travel guide.
This region is referred to as Kalinga about which is mentioned in ancient texts like Mahabharata. The Kalinga War was fought by Ashoka around 260 BC which is believed to transform the Mauryan ruler to a pacifist. It is believed that monasteries of Udayagiri were built by the emperor Kharavela during 150 BCE.
The state got its new name in 2010 from Orissa to Odisha. The name of the native language has also been changed from Oriya to Odia.
Shri Naveen Pattnaik is the present Chief Minister of Odisha. Bhubaneswar is the capital of this state.
FORMATION OF ODISHA (travel guide)
The British invaded the southern coast of Odisha in the 1760s and made it a part of Madras Presidency. The Northern and Western parts of Odisha were made a part of the Bengal Presidency.
Utkal Sammilani was found in 1903. They demanded the unification of Odia-speaking regions into a single state. Bihar and Odisha provinces were carved out from the Bengal Presidency on 1st April 1912. On 1 April 1936, the state of Odisha was carved out from Bihar. 1st April being the foundation state of Odisha is celebrated as Utkal Diwas every year. About 27 to 28 princely states joined Odisha post Independence.
CLIMATE (travel guide)
Odisha has a hot and humid climate throughout the year in the coastal districts. It also experiences chilling winters in the western and northern parts where temperatures drop as low as 1 to 2 degrees. It also receives moderate to high rainfall thus forming a suitable habitat for some plant species.
Odisha extends from the Surbanarekha river in the north to the Rishikuliya river in the south. Mahanadi River is the main river in this state. Coastal plains lie in the eastern part of this state. Chilika Lake is a part of this coastal plains. Odisha gets its water supply from about 6 rivers. The majority of this state is covered in mountain ranges, plateaus and rolling uplands having lower elevation than the plateaus. Deomali is the highest point of Odisha at 1672 meters followed by Sinkaram (1620 meters) and Golikoda (1617 meters).
CULTURE AND HERITAGE
Odisha is the land of temples. It has become a center of unique attraction for the tourists and research scholars. This is because of the concentration of the largest number of temples all over the state.
Odia painting has three main categories, the Patachitra or the cloth painting. The Bhitichitra or the murals and the Pothichitra or the palm leaf engraving. The paintings are as antique as the architecture and sculpture.
MUSIC AND DANCE
Odissi is the indigenous dance form of Odisha which originated in the Devadasi cult. Musical instruments like the bamboo flute, shehnai, tabla, sitar, and tanpura, etc accompany Odissi. The theme of this dance is mostly religious and revolves around Krishna. Odissi is believed to be the oldest surviving dance form in India based on historical evidence.
Traditional music can be heard playing mostly in rural areas, dhabas, motels which owe its existence to the cultural traditions. Thanks to the native people, the traditional songs and music haven’t lost their existence even in modern times.
Odisha has a culinary tradition that is spanning centuries. Chhenapoda, which was invented in the 20th century has become the delicacy of Odisha after Pahala rasagola which is known to the world. Other common delicacies found in Odisha are Dalma and pakhala.
Odisha has also hosted many national and international tournaments recently. Barabati Stadium in Cuttack has hosted a few international T20, ODI, and test matches recently. Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar hosted International Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018. Kalinga Institue of Industrial Technology (KIIT), hosted the Khelo India National Games Tournament recently in February 2020 in which students from different colleges and universities had participated. Bhubaneswar is the Sports Capital of India.
PLACES TO VISIT IN BHUBANESWAR (TRAVEL GUIDE)
LINGARAJ TEMPLE (TRAVEL GUIDE)
Lingaraj Temple is an ancient temple situated in the old town of Bhubaneswar. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is because the Linga here is the phallic form of Lord Shiva. It is believed to have appeared on its own. This temple is easily reachable using local transport. However, only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple.
The Lingaraj Temple is especially famous for its Mahashivratri celebrations. The whole sanctum is decorated with flowers, lanterns, and lights. One can witness a huge crowd of devotees assembling at the entrance of this temple starting from 4 a.m. till 8 p.m. to have a view of the linga.
PARASURAMESWARA TEMPLE (TRAVEL GUIDE)
This temple is situated near Ravi Talkies Square in Bhubaneswar. This temple is a unique specimen of the Odian style of architecture. It was constructed in the 7th Century. The presence of one thousand lingas in the north-west corner of the complex is the unique feature of this temple. Besides this, this temple is also adorned with beautiful carvings. These cravings include Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Parvati. One can easily reach here using public transport.
SHREE RAM MANDIR (TRAVEL GUIDE)
This temple is located in the heart of the city. It is famous for its Ram Navami celebrations. One can easily reach here using public transport.
NANDAN KANAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK (TRAVEL GUIDE)
Situated around 15 kilometers from the center of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. This place serves as a tourist attraction to both Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. This place is mainly famous for the white tiger. Also one can see other endangered animals such as Asiatic Lions, crocodiles, etc. Boating in Nandankanan is another attraction. One can easily reach here using public transport. It is also the first zoo in India to successfully breed pangolins.
UDAYAGIRI AND KHANDAGIRI CAVES (TRAVEL GUIDE)
Situated in the south-western part of Bhubaneswar, it is one of the ancient sites in Bhubaneswar. The summit offers a picturesque view of the city of Bhubaneswar. The caves present here are a good point for photography. This attracts tourists of all age groups to visit here. Also one can’t forget the presence of monkeys here so do not mess with them. The recent addition of gardens and waterfalls have added to the beauty of this place.
ODISHA STATE MUSEUM
It is a large museum with natural historical exhibits, artifacts and a library. It has a collection of animal models, bones, etc. A place where one can enjoy learning about our pasts.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN BHUBANESWAR
- Rajarani Temple.
- Mukteshwara Temple.
- Pathani Samanta Planetarium.
- Brahmeswara Temple.
- Chausathi Joghi Temple.
- ISKCON Temple.
- Regional Science Centre.
- Nicco Park.
and many more…
PLACES TO VISIT OUTSIDE BHUBANESWAR
Puri is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. It is famous for its magnificent sea beach (Balighai Beach) and the 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple. Rathyatra is the famous festival of Puri. About 300,000 devotees come to Puri to attend the Rathyatra festival which usually falls in July. The Temple is also one of the Hindu pilgrimage sites. About 10,000 people every day are fed by the kitchen of this temple. Only Hindus and Indians can enter into the temple. The Garden House of Jagannath or The Gundicha temple is about a kilometer from Jagannath Temple.
Besides the above two, khaja is one of the famous delicacies of Puri. The best time to visit Puri is from November to February because of the pleasant weather here. There is also a district museum and a library in Puri.
Konark is famous for the 13th century Sun Temple. It opens around 8 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. The light and sound show displayed here has attracted a lot of tourists. It starts at around 7:30 p.m. and ends around 8:15 p.m. The Sun Temple is open to all the tourists unlike the Jagannath Temple of Puri.
Sun Temple Museum houses many artifacts of the temple. The Archaeological Survey maintains and runs this museum.
Konark is also famous for the Chandrabhaga beach which is one of the cleanest and beautiful beaches of Odisha.
This temple lies on the Puri Konark Marine Drive road. Kusabhadra River flows behind this temple and merges with the Bay of Bengal. Tourists on their way to Konark, take a halt at this temple to enjoy the view.
It is a brackish water lagoon in Odisha and the largest coastal lagoon in India. Here, migratory birds come from as far as the Caspian Sea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc. They also come from remote areas like Ladakh and Himalayas come to breed here. This lake is also famous for the dolphins. Tourists visit this lake from two spots which are: Rambha and Satpada.
One of the most popular activities at Chilika is boating. This Lake can be visited throughout the year. However, the best time to visit is from November to February. Especially, it is the season for migratory birds, therefore, making it even more exciting to explore this lake during these months.
ATTRACTIONS IN CHILIKA
This island is in the heart of the lagoon. Thousands of migratory birds descend here after completing their long flight. Thousands of tourists visit this island to have a bird-watch.
This temple is famous for the Goddess Kalijai. Local inhabitants pray here for their safe journey in the lake.
Another birds’ paradise which has become a center of tourist attraction. It’s a good place for those who love clicking varied wildlife. More birds descend here during winters thus giving a captivating shot!
This is the ultimate place to watch dolphins. Lucky ones get to watch them during their boat ride.
BIRDS’ ISLAND AND BREAKFAST ISLAND
This island is from the other islands because of the abundance of herbs, shrubs, creepers, and trees. One can also see a hillock of huge exposed hanging rocks. The granite rocks are parts of the Eastern Ghats. More number of birds descend here during winters.
It is accessible from the Rambha Bay. This was a picnic hub for the Britishers. The waters around the island are very pristine and clear along with the ambiance which is perfect to enjoy your day here.