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Tourist Places To Visit In Bhubaneswar
One of the oldest cities of India, the history of Bhubaneswar stretches back over 2000 years where it held the distinction of being the capital of ancient Kalinga. Retaining its place of glory and importance, Bhubaneswar today is the capital of the state of Orissa (Odisha). Apart from its obvious political significance, Bhubaneswar is an important pilgrimage centre and the home to over 500 of India’s finest temples which has earned it the nomenclature of ‘City of Temples.’ These temples not only form the core around which the religious life of the city revolves but they are of tremendous archaeological and historical significance. A trip to this ancient city of India will find any traveler lost in the pages of history. Here the past and the present co-exist peacefully to create a fine balance between modernity and antiquity.
So if you were in Bhubhaneshwar and could only do so much, what would be the top tourist places you would visit? Read on to find out!
Udayagiri and Khandagiri
Some of the finest specimens of rock cut architecture are found in the twin hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri. These ornately carved out caves were built for Jain monks and date back to 2nd century BC. Udayagiri has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves. Several ancient inscriptions from the period have been found here, the most important being the Hathigumpha Inscription.
The caves remain open from 10.00am to 5.00pm. An entry fee of Rs. 10 is charged for Indian nationals while the fee for foreigners is Rs.100.00.
The Kalinga style of architecture which developed in Orissa is nowhere better manifested than the Lingaraj Temple dating back to 1000 A.D, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built of sandstone and laterite, it is the grandest, most fascinating and undoubtedly the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. An architectural splendour, the Lingaraj Temple is one of the most visited monuments in the city.
The temple remains open to public from 6.00am till 9.00pm. Entry is free. Visitors of non-Hindu origin are not allowed entry into the temple.
A symbol of perfection, beauty and grace is the Rajarani Temple, considered by many as a masterpiece. Many refer to it as a ‘Love Temple’ owing to the erotic carvings on the walls of the temple. The temple has no presiding deity. It remains open from sunrise to sunset.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Mukteswar Temple is the Gem of Orissa. The exquisite carvings and sculptures that adorn the temple are spellbinding and charming. The temple is essential in any study of the development of Hindu temples in Orissa. It marks the culmination of all earlier artistic initiatives and stylistic developments of temple architecture in the state.
The Parasurameswara Temple is one of the oldest surviving temples of Bhubaneswar and comparatively smaller. Some of the earliest tendencies of temple architecture of Orissa are manifested in this temple. Though small it is not devoid of the ornamental carvings. The Lingam of Lord Shiva worshipped here is believed to be one of the oldest and dates back to 2nd or 1st century B.C.
Vaital Deul Temple
An 8th century construction, Vaital Deul is the epitome of grace and charm. The delicate carvings of figurines and strong tantric influences on the temple make Vaital Deul an interesting study. The temple remains open from morning till late in the night.
Located on the banks of River Daya, Dhauli is presumed to be the spot where the famous Kalinga War was fought. It is here that driven by the horrors of the war King Asoka renounced war and embraced Buddhism. It has emerged as an important Buddhist pilgrimage centre in the country. On top of the hill a Shanti Stupa or a white peace pagoda was constructed by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in the 1970s.
Nandankanan Zoological Park
This 990 acre zoo and botanical garden is a major tourist attraction in Bhubaneswar. Nandankanan or ‘The Garden of Heavens’ lies in the vicinity of the Kanjia Lake and Chandaka forest. It is home to 120 different species of animals including mammals, reptiles and birds. It is extremely popular for its white tigers. The zoo houses aquaria, a reptile park and orchid house.
The zoo remains open from 7.30am to 5.30pm from April to September. From October to March it remains open from 8.00am till 5.00pm. The zoo remains closed on Mondays. Entry fee for Indians is Rs. 10.00 and Rs. 100.00 for foreign nationals. An additional fee of Rs. 5.00 is charged for still cameras and Rs.10.00 for video.
Orissa State Museum
The Orissa State Museum is a treasure trove of archaeological findings which include Buddhist and Jain sculptures, coins and inscriptions from ancient Kalinga, jewellery, folk musical instruments, weapons and tools.
Open between 10.00am and 5.00pm, the museum remains closed on Mondays. An adult ticket costs Rs.5.00.
Located a mere 15 kilometres from Bhubaneswar Pipli is a small village that should not be given a miss. It is engulfed in a riot of colours owing to the colourful appliqué work that the village specialises in.
65 km from the city centre of Bhubaneswar lies the Ramachandi Beach. It is the place where Kushabhadra River meets the Bay of Bengal, making this beach very special geographically and culturally. It is a fairly secluded beach where mostly tourists and honeymooning couples from Konark flock for a nice evening. The new Marine Drive Road has made travelling easy to Ramachandi. College students are also found in hordes here during vacations and long weekends. With its silvery sand and stretches of indigo water, Ramachandi Beach is clear and pretty, perfect for sunrises and sunsets.
A relic, a temple, a place of worship, a historic site — the Brahmeshwara Temple is a lot of things wrapped into one. The 11th Century architecture of this temple is typically Oriyan. You will also find four smaller temples around the main one, just as pretty but miniature. Brahmeshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is home to Shiv-Parvati’s idols along with a shivlingam. The carvings on walls and ceilings are also very beautiful. And along with devotees, many tourists also find their way to this temple.
Kedar Gauri Temple
Kedar-Gauri is another temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. It is considered one of the Asthasambhu Temples in the subcontinent. There are some legends that say the temple is not built in the honour of the god and goddess but a couple by the same names. However, amid all that legend and lore, Kedar Gauri Temple attracts a lot of attention for its yearly processions of Shiv-Parvati’s marriage that goes from Lingaraja to this temple.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
How can you be in Bhubaneswar, Orissa and not check out its natural endowments? Spreading over land of almost 800 sq. km, Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is all lush and beautiful with the Mahanadi flowing through its bosom. You get to see local flora and fauna as well as the Satkosia gorge here. There are leopards, gaurs, antelopes, gharials and spotted deer roaming here, as well as the elusive tigers. There is also a special Gharial Sanctuary where these crocs are bred and given a home to increase their population.
Located close to Bhubaneswar, the Hirakud Dam of Sambalpur is worth a visit for all tourists. It is very long, as long as 56 km, built over the mighty Mahanadi. The banks of this dam are perfect for a stroll or a picnic or to just sit and take photos. Nature comes alive all around and you get to enjoy the light breeze blowing the sweet smells of Mahanadi waters to you. If you don’t want to sit then there is also a 21 km long drive built around the dam so you can take your car for a spin! Birdwatchers, take note, this is also the right place for you to admire the local avifauna.
Museum of Tribal Arts & Artefacts
Museum of Tribal Arts & Artefacts is home to Oriyan culture and tribal way of life. The history of the Oriyan people is conserved here in the form of jewellery, costumes, pots, accessories, farming tools, weapons and other artefacts. They are all classified according to the tribes they belong to as there are around 62 identified tribes in Orissa. If you are a history, sociology or anthropology buff then this is the place for you.
The Bindu Sarovara is a holy reservoir near the famous Lingaraj Temple. It is also called Bindu Sagar and is believed to be so sacred because it contains waters from all the holy rivers and lakes of the country. Hence many temples are also built around this sarovar. You can club your visit to Bindu with the temples around, and make a holy day of it!
Ananta Vasudev Temple
Ananta Vasudev was built by Rani Chandrika back in the 13th Century. That makes this temple 700 years old. It is a beautiful Vaishnav hub, with sculptures that are intricately carved and tell of the dynasties and eras gone by. Ananta Vasudev Temple, as the name suggests, is dedicated to the almighty deity of Hinduism — Lord Krishna and hence is one of the most prominent in the Vaishnav sect of Orissa.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Park
Home to beautiful flower beds, benches, gardens and play area for children, the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Park is perfect for a day out with the family. You can also enjoy the quietness that many parts of this park preserves. There are special mediation centres and spaces where locals come to practise yoga. The park is one of its kind in Bhubaneswar, made in the memory of India’s valiant freedom hero — Netaji.
Esplanade One is a mall in the Rasulgarh area of the city, giving you the full blown shopping and lifestyle experience. From brands to boutiques, gaming zones to food courts and multiplexes, Esplanade One is just completely urban in its experience. You get easy parking space and can enjoy the whole day just shopping and chilling in the air-con mall.
ISKCON — International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is a community of Krishna devotees from around the world with their patent white marble temples and vegetarian restaurants in most cities of India. The ISKCON Temple in Bhubaneswar is as old as 30 years and is by many, considered as an alternative place of worship if you can’t visit the Jagannath Puri Mandir in Puri. Because Lord Jagannath is only a swaroop of Lord Krishna. Foreigners especially, find this ISKCON temple a great option as they are not allowed in Jagannath Puri.