The land of the Odisha in rich with culture, arts,and religious values. It is the cultural heritage of India that holds many secrets. It houses some of the extraordinary talents of art and the craftsmanship. Odisha is a place blessed with the wonders of nature from the lush green lands to the most amazing silver beach on the east coast of India to either enjoy the waves or admire the beauty of nature. Odisha is also rich in diverse wildlife which attracts many adventurers to visit this place. Odisha is sanctified holy land in the Hindu religion where people believe that they receive moksha(salvation) and unite with the God. Every year during the time of the spring and summer festivals are organised in Odisha with enhances the beauty of the states. These festivals bring out the cultural heritage of the state.
Destinasia lists the must visit place in Odisha that you certainly enjoy and have a memorable trip.
Konark Temple – One of the heritage symbol of India, Sun Temple of Konark, commonly known as Konark situated in the east of Odisha is one of the prominent tourist attraction. The massive temple is dedicated to Hindu god Surya. The term Konark is derived from two words “Kona”, which means “corner” and “Arka” means “Sun”. The three sides of the temple are positioned in such a way that it catches sun rays at morning, noon and evening. The temple is designed in the shape of an enormous chariot with seven horses and seven wheels carrying God Surya.
The temple is built by Narasimhadeva King, ruler of Ganga dynasty in the middle of 13th century. It took around 12 years to complete the temple with the help of more than 1200 artisans. Three different kinds of stones were used in the construction “Khondalite”, “Chlorite” and “Laterite” . The monument has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984. Also known as “Black Pagoda” because it was used as a navigation by ancient sailors.
Every year a Music and dance festival is co-organized by odisha tourism at Konark Natya Mandap. Started in the year of 1986, is a platform for classical dancers in India and International to showcase for India’s cultural depth. National and international artistes participate and perform Odissi, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and other forms of classical, tribal and folk dances.
Sri Jagannath Temple- A Significant Hindu temple devoted to Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu, situated on the east coast of India, Puri. This pilgrimage temple is one of the great four “Chaar Dham” pilgrimage site in India.
It is said that the imperial temple of Lord Sri Jagannath have been built by king of Ganga dynasty, Angangabhima III. Lord Jagannath (Lord vishnu), Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are worshipped in the temple. Well known for ‘RATH JATRA” festival in which the three deities are placed in their respective Rath’s (chariots) and moved to ‘Gundicha Ghar” about 03-04kms from the Jagannath temple. On the ninth day Ulta Rath (Return of Chariots) festival is celebrated in which the deities are brought back to the Jagannath temple area. Being a sacred place for Hindu’s, entry to the temple is restricted only to hindu’s.
Chilka lake - One of the largest brackish water lagoon spread over Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of odisha. Chilka is known as the one of the most essential wetlands in India because of the home of different birds. Visitors can enjoy a astonishing view of more than 150 species of migrated birds flying from Siberia, Iran and Central Asia few of them are sea eagles, golden plovers, flamingos, pelicans, ospreys etc. during peak season (Nov. to Feb.)
The lake is also designated as the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Blessed with a large fishery resources, more than 150 villages are situated on the shores and islands depends on the resource of Chilka. Another major attraction at chilka is Dolphins which are often spotted at Satpada Island.
Nandankanan Zoological Park – Nandankanan, literally means “Garden Of Heavens” Zoological park is a 900 acre large zoo in india. The zoo is built right inside the forest set which gives astonishing views to its visitors. Established in 1960, the very first Indian zoo to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. Situated 15kms from the capital Bhubaneshwar, Nandankanan has a large inventory of animals to attract the visitors specially kids.
The foremost objectives of Nandankanan Zoological park are conservation of wildlife, and to educate people by connecting them to wildlife. Apart from Zoo Nandankakan also has Animal conservation programmes for endangered species which Includes breeding programme for white-back vultures, breeding of white tigers and gharials and conservation of the Indian pangolins. The zoo is home of near about 1700 animals.
Nandankanan also has a state botanical garden spread over approx. 180 acres, also known as a lover’s paradise one can witness the changing colours of the season here. It also provide green enthusiasts a unforgettable experiences.
Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves – Located at a distance of around 6 kms from the Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar, Udayagiri caves are adjacent to Khandagiri carved caves built during 2nd century by king Kharvela.
Total count of caves at udayagiri is 18 while at Khandagiri its 15. All caves are having opening towards the common open space. Visitors will also find attractive stone carving of animals and flowers at the entrances. During the reign of king Kharvela, Brahmi script were in use, many such inscriptions are found here at the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. Some of the caves are double storied, Ranigumpha, the largest among all other is a marvel also it has some great Indian ancient sculptures. These caves depict the beautiful era of Jains. These set were used by jain monks for their residence. Ganesh gumpha, the most important caves in udayagiri has two big stone carved elephants carrying garland. Stone carved Lord Ganesha appears at the back of the cave. It can be a perfect destination for history lovers and children’s as it will take back the tourists in ancient time.
Bhitarkanika National Park – Derived from odiya words “Bhitar” and “Kanika” which means “Interior beauty”. Spread’s over around 700 sq. km. Bhitarkanika is a land of turtles, birds, crocodiles and Mangroves. One can enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of mangrove forests in bhitarkanika located in Kadrapara district. The National park is also a home for endangered species like Salt water crocodile, Indian python, King Cobra and Black Ibis. The area is reserved for the betterment of bio-diversity, flora and fauna.
Bhitarkanika is considered to be the 2nd largest mangrove forest in india having more than 62 species. Different varieties of kingfisher found in Bhitarkanika is eye-catching for the tourist’s. There are few boat trips are available in Bhitarkanika which is truly amazing. Gahirmatha Beach, next to the Bhitarkanika is the largest breeding area for Olive Ridley Turtles. Jungle resort available inside the Bhitarkanika park offers breathtaking views of the lush green forests which is very unique and exotic holiday experience for the tourist.
Lingaraj Temple – Bhubaneshwar also known as the city of temples which are very important architectural standpoints for India. The lingaraja Temple is considered to be the largest among all these is an outstanding specimen of India’s ancient history. Built during 10th century by Somavanshi king Yayati is the one of the oldest temples in Odisha. A prominent holy Hindu temple dedicated to “Lord Shiva”. The temple is being maintained by Trust board and Archaeological Survey of India. Being dedicated to Lord Shiva, Shivaratri is the main festival celebrated here. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and where you can see the lots of craft are made all over the walls.
Dhauli Peace Pagoda - The Peace Pagoda of Dhauli is the Shanti stupa located built on top of Dhaulagiri hills on the banks of river Daya. This place is the battle ground of Kalinga War, fought between Mauryan Emprire under Asoka and state of Kalinga .Built by Japanese Buddhist Sangha (Society), white in colour gives a message of peace. The reason behind calling the stupa as peace pagoda is that Emperor Ashoka had surrendered his weapons after the Kalinga battle and adopted Buddhism and non-violence. The rock edicts found on the foothill of Dhauli reflect King Asoka's concern for peace, kindness and compassion for the mankind and animals.