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6 Top 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.