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Orissa Tourism And Travel Guide
16° C / 60.8° F
October to February
5 to 7 Days
Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneshwar
Bhubaneshwar Railway Station
Orissa is a rich, diverse state situated along the shores of Bay of Bengal in eastern India. An ancient tribal region that has developed its vibrant and flourishing culture into booming tourism for the state, Orissa displays a swanky array of attractions that range from ancient temples, wildlife sanctuaries, beautiful beaches and a friendly local population.
With a history that dates back to almost two millennia, Orissa has been known by different names at different times – Kalinga, Kongada, Utkala and Odrdesha. With a diverse terrain that ranges from river valleys to coastal plains and even grassy hillsides, Orissa boasts a plethora of attractions worthy of every globetrotting individual’s visit. Here is a comprehensive travel guide to help you plan out your next trip to Orissa.
How to Reach
The Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshawar is the only international airport in Orissa. It also has domestic terminals with a number of regularly operating domestic flights that connect Orissa to all major cities in the country.
All major cities in Orissa have railway stations, but the most important railhead in the state is the Bhubaneshwar Railway Station located in the capital. Trains like the Konarak Express, Rajdhani Express and the Coromandal Express connect Orissa to all major destinations in the country.
A wide network of roads connect Orissa to all cities within the state and to the rest of the country through National and State Highways. Public and private transportation is easily available from everywhere to reach your destination anywhere in Orissa. National Highways 5, 6, 23, 42, and 43 make Orissa accessible from all neighboring states.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Winter (October - February):
Winters are the most ideal season to visit Orissa, when the balmy climate is at its pleasant best with temperatures in the range of 10ᴼC-25ᴼC. The skies are clear and precipitation is minimal, making it the perfect time for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Winters are also the time when the migratory birds visit this part of the country; an exciting opportunity for bird watchers who decide to take a trip during these months.
The summer months may not be the best time to visit Orissa, where the blistering heat can get unbearable during the daytime with temperatures that can reach a maximum of 45ᴼC. However, important festivals like Chandan Yatra, Mahabisuva Sakranti and Rath Yatra are also celebrated during these months; a significant time for the tourists who visit to witness the celebration of these festivals.
Monsoon (July - September):
Monsoons are not an ideal time to visit Orissa, which receives heavy rainfall from July to September that averages around 150 cm annually. Being situated along the coastal regions, Orissa also witnesses cyclones and tornadoes during this season, with occasional flooding of the major rivers in the state as well.
Things to Do
Visit the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves:
This partially manmade and partially natural cave complex is a fine example of Jain rock-cut structure in the country, and a prime landmark of Orissa. It once served as a residential site for Jain monks who also used it for meditation purposes; however, today it is one of the most highly visited tourist spots in the state for its archaeological significance and its impressive sculptures, carvings and Brahmi inscriptions.
Explore the Temples:
With hundreds of temples spread across different cities in Orissa, the state proves its rich religious significance to thousands of devotees who visit each year. The Jagannath Temple is one of the oldest and the most important shrine in the state, along with the Konark Sun Temple, Rajarani Temple and the Lingaraj Temple being some of the most impressive structures worth checking out among the numerous others.
Bird Watching & Wildlife Exploration:
Migratory birds visiting the region of the famous Chilika Lake attracts hundreds of bird watchers each year, which has become a large contributor to ecotourism in Orissa. The lake is also a great place to go boating with family and friends, where the occasional dolphin can be spotted across the deep end of the lake. Other areas to explore the diverse wildlife of Orissa are the Bhitarkanika Wetland and the Nandankanan Zoological Park.
Watch Sunset at Beaches:
Orissa’s prime location along the Bay of Bengal means there are vast stretches of pristine beaches all along its shore, which are some of the state’s best assets. The Chandrabhaga Beach, Puri Beach and the Chandipur Beach are some of the most famous beaches here, which are best enjoyed at dusk when the fading light of the sunset magnifies the beauty of the shores. The Chandrabhaga Beach is also known for the Chandrabhaga Mela that is celebrated annually with a lot of gusto.
The ancient heritage of Orissa, which is still evident in its traditions and customs, can also be witnessed in its numerous festivals that are celebrated with a lot of grandeur each year. The festival of Rath Yatra witnesses a giant chariot holding the statues of Lord Jagannath and other deities, which is decorated with flowers and vibrant clothing and driven around the city by the devotees.
The Konark Dance Festival is one of the most awaited celebrations in Orissa, especially for dance and music enthusiasts. The Sun Temple forms the backdrop of this festival where dancers from all over participate with different forms of classical dance. Other festivals worth being a part of are the Chandan Yatra, Devasana Purnima, Bali Yatra and Makar Sakranti.
Where to Shop
Orissa is well famed for its craftsmanship where tourists visit from all over the country to purchase its handmade goods. The two most famous regions in this regard are Pipli and Raghurajpur.
The village of Pipli is known for the craft of appliqué work that is further designed into outfits, handbags, wall hangings etc. The handicraft village of Raghurajpur displays the artistic side to the communities in Orissa through the art of Pattachitra. Other artworks like wood and stone carvings, palm leaf inscriptions and mural paintings also deserve a place on your list of souvenir shopping.