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Tourist Places To Visit In Orissa
A treasure trove of exquisite handicrafts and traditional art forms, a confluence of myriad cultures, the land of ancient temples and monuments, home to sixty two tribes - Orissa is one of the most fascinating and intriguing destinations of India. Be it the sacred Puri Jagannath Temple, the erotic sculptures of Konark Sun Temple, the pristine beaches and sanctuaries, the brilliant Pipli appliqué work or the classical Odissi music and dance form, there is no end to exploring and unraveling the mysteries of Orissa. Here are the 6 top tourist places to visit in Orissa for your next trip.
This ‘Temple City of India’ is the capital of Orissa. Countless temples define the landscape of this old city which account for Bhubaneswar’s status as an important Hindu pilgrimage site. The Kalinga style of architecture which flourished in Orissa is perhaps nowhere better manifested than in the temples of Bhubaneswar which include the likes of Lingaraj Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Parasuramewar Temple, and Rajarani Temple. Apart from temples there are the Jain rock cut caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri dating back to 2nd century BC. The extremely popular Nandankanan Zoological Park and Botanical Garden also located in Bhubaneswar forms one of its major tourist attractions.
The abode of Lord Jagannath constitutes one of the four Dhams or celebrated pilgrimage sites of India. Apart from its obvious religious importance, the Jagannath Temple is an awe-inspiring architectural splendour set in a sprawling complex area of 400,000 square feet. Puri is also a coastal city which has its shores washed by the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the most popular sea side destinations of eastern India.
This 13th century creation is a breathtaking specimen of artistic brilliance. It marks the culmination of the Kalinga style of architecture. Rightly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Konark temple is dedicated to the Sun God and is designed in the shape of a chariot with twelve pairs of giant wheels drawn by seven horses. The sculptures and carvings on the temple are mesmerising.
Here the sea mixes with the 1100 square kilometre inland Lake Chilka to form the largest brackish water lake in Asia. Abounding with a variety of prawns, crabs and fish, the lake encloses a huge area of marshes, islands and lowlands. Lake Chilka is also home to a large number of migratory birds making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.
With a fairly long coastline Orissa has some lovely beaches to offer its tourists apart from Puri. Quiet and less congested than Puri, the beaches of Gopalpur, Chandipur and Chandrabhaga offer a much needed retreat from the chaos of everyday life.
With one-third of the state covered by forests, Orissa boasts of as many as 18 sanctuaries including two national parks. The more popular among these are Bhitarkanika National Park, Chandaka Sanctuary, Nalabana or Chilka Sanctuary, Simlipal Tiger Reserve, Satakosia or Tikarapara Sanctuary and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary – the world’s largest known nesting grounds for the Olive Ridley Turtle.
Colourful, vibrant and teeming with life, Orissa is a traveller’s delight and a dream destination. An Indian holiday remains incomplete without a flavour of Orissa.
Cuttack is a beautiful city come alive from another era, almost like a vintage piece of land. This city of Orissa is a business centre as well as home to temples, ancient forts, some amazing museums and lakes. What's more amazing in Cuttack is the cluster of islands off its bay. You must visit the Fort of Barabati, Ansupa Lake, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and Mahanadi Barrage. If you are a fan of temples and ancient architecture then don't miss the Bhattarika Temple. While you may enjoy sightseeing here, the shopping is great too. Pick up local handicrafts from the markets and you have great decor for your home.
One of Orissa's largest city, Rourkela is renowned because of the steel plant that put it on the map of India. The city is for all intents and purposes, an industrial city, and has shown tremendous growth in the last few decades. But this growth has not come at the cost of Rourkela's ancient heritage - parks, temples, waterfalls etc. You can enjoy a visit to Rourkela and tour places like Nehru Traffic Park, Hanuman Vatika, Veda Vyas Temple, Vaishno Devi, Khandadhar and Badaghagra Falls, as well as Pitamahal Dam.
Chandipur and Gopalpur
While Chandipur has a lovely sea resort vibe to it, the city also has charming beaches, a few temples and amazing seafood. Chandipur's highlight is its 'disappearing sea' which is due to the extreme high tides and low tides. Visit the Chandipur Beach and witness this for yourself as in a few minutes, the sea goes 5 km away. People love to collect the bounty left by the sea then - shells, oysters, crabs etc.
Gopalpur is a port town and is kissed by the Bay of Bengal. A town again famous for its beaches and seaside activities, Gopalpur is a place to relax. Mainly the town is a beach-hopping paradise as you go from one to the other - Gopalpur Sea Beach, Gopalpur Beach, Dhabaleshwar Beach and Haripur Sea Beach.
You may be familiar with this town thanks to a critically acclaimed Bollywood movie called 'Pipli Live.' This is a small town in Orissa and has a tremendous handicrafts market. The locals are adept at appliqué work and most tourists mainly flock here to witness the art and buy some pieces for back home. There might not be much else to do here than roam the town, but shopping is one big highlight. Visit the Bazars and haggle your way through some stunning handicrafts.
The victory city, Jeypore is one of the oldest inhabited places in Orissa. It has been lived in since 16th Century AD and was ruled by the Suryavanshi Dynasty. The change of dynasties and cultures has left its echo in the architecture of Jeypore’s monuments and temples and ruins. The Eastern Ghats populated with thick trees and misty valleys add to the ancient charm. You can visit waterfalls, limestone caves, bridges and palaces. Some of the most famous ones include Patraput Bridge, Gupteswar Caves, Raj Mahal etc. Visit the Shakti Waterfalls, stroll through Kolab Botanical Garden and enjoy a cultural winter in midst of nature.
Paradeep, as the name suggests, is a port. One of the oldest in the region. Its 17th century sea port is still up and running, ensconced in a harbour which is just too beautiful. The town is famous for its beaches, frothy waterfalls and dense jungles that hide ancient forts. For Orissa locals this is their beach getaway. If you are a marine enthusiast or love ships then this long coastline and harbour are a delight for you. Huge ships come and go, cargo boxes line the sheds, the water laps as sun shines bright. Famous places to visit in Paradeep are Gahirmatha Beach, Bhitarkanika National Park, Paradeep Beach and Jhankad Temple.
Barbil, also known as the storehouse of Iron in India, is the Iron City. Perched by the bank of Karo River, Barbil stores large amounts of manganese as well. But aside from these, the town is also known for its waterfalls and rock shelters, dams and forests. Trek to the Sanaghagara Waterfall, or visit Badaghagara Waterfall. There is also Murga Mahadev Waterfall to spread a picnic blanket beside. Do also visit Kanjhari Dam when here.
Brahmapur, also called Behrampur by some, is named after Brahmaji — the creator of the world. It is a city of Orissa that has a rare throwback rooting in Sanskrit literature. Silk rearing is also largely practised here. With such an old-world charm, silk shops and local jewellery, Brahmapur is perfect for a little weekend tour. Visit Taratarini temple, Potagarh, Sidhi Binayak pitha, Gopalpur beach etc and gorge on local Odisha food.
Located on the banks of River Mahanadi, Sambalpur houses some of the oldest standing structures in the country. Some of them date back to 4th Century. From Koshala to Somvanshiya, Sarbapriya to Marathas, many empires ruled here. The landscape is just as rich as its history, with free flowing streams jumping down into waterfalls, thick forests ripe with tribals, and temples dedicated to unique deities. You can visit Hirakud Dam, the longest earthen dam in the world. It is also Asia’s largest manmade lake and home to many exotic avifauna and flora. Pay your respects at Leaning Temple of Huma and don’t miss out on Oriya delicacies like Basi Bhat, Bhat Pakhala, Jhuri Bhaja and Kukra Jhol.
Another town of beaches and temples, Daringbadi is named after a British officer by the name of Daring. The unique feature of this town is the fact that it is elevated and lush green, giving it the title of Kashmir of Orissa. This is the place where you can find peace. With beautiful flora and fauna, rolling hills and meadows, waterfalls and gardens and wildlife parks, Daringbadi is perfect for a quiet vacation. Some of the best places to visit here are Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Madubanda waterfalls, Doluri river, Hill View Park, Butterfly Garden, and Belghar Sanctuary.
Home to Tussar fabrics and Tiger Reserves, Baripada is an ancient city that is located on the eastern bank of River Budhabalanga. It is also called Dwitiya Srikhetra. You can visit markets and shop for this city’s renowned fabrics, pick up textiles and readymade Indian apparels, and eat to your heart’s content. Explore Simlipal Nature Park for its waterfalls and wildlife, pray at Goddess Kichakeswari temple, and enjoy festivals like Chhau in April and Rath Yatra in July-August.