Odisha, the 9th largest state by area and 11th largest by population is located in Eastern India. Formerly named as Orissa, the state is surrounded by Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.
With more than 500 beautiful temples, Odisha is the pilgrims’ hub of eastern India.With fascinating natural beauty, long coast line, rich culture and history that dates back to hundreds of years, Odisha is the right vacation destination for those wanting to explore off-beat locations.Odisha Tour Packages
Be it food, wildlife, culture, religion or natural beauty, every city in Odisha has its affluent culture intact. Though the state is untouched by modernity, it has managed to bridge the gap between the past and present by staying close to its traditional and cultural roots. From the holy abode of Lord Jagganath to rock-cut caves to Odissi dance, everything about Odisha is truly mesmerising. Some of the major cities in Odisha are Bhubaneswar, Puri, Konark, Chhilka, Udayagiri, Rayagada, Jeypore, Malkangiri, Cuttack, Keonjhar, Balasore, Bhawanipatna, Pipli, Raghurajpur, Sambalpur, Satyabadi and Taptapani. One must go to Bhubaneswar for magnificent architectural splendours such as Lingaraja temple, Cuttack for Stone Revetment of Cuttack, Barabati Fort, Temple of Cuttack Chandi, and Quadam Rasool, Konark for Sun temple, Puri for ancient temples and exotic beaches, Taptapani for natural spring and Chilika lake for its unique ecosystem and different types of aquatic flora and fauna.
The ruins of Bara Bati Fort in Cuttack are the symbol of a glorious past. The remains of the nine-storied building and gate remind of the interesting history of the fort, which is situated on the banks of the Mahanadi river. Udaigiri and Khandgiri caves are located around 6km from Bhubaneswar. These are one of the earliest clusters of the Jain rock-cut shelter caves. The caves have inscriptions in Sanskrit.
Some of the religious places in Odisha are Gundicha Mandir (Puri), Lingaraj Mandir (Bhubaneswar), Jagannath Puri Temple and Sun Temple (Konark). Gundicha Mandir is a holy abode of Gundicha, who was the aunt of Lord Krishna. The annual nine days Rath Yatra is celebrated with great enthusiasm at the temple. Numerous tortoises can be seen moving freely in the temple. The Lingaraj Mandir in Bhubaneswar was constructed in the 10th century. The temple is built over 25,000 square feet of land. The tower of the temple has exquisite carvings and is 180 feet long. The Shivalingam in the temple is 8 inches in height and 8 feet in diameter. Jagannath Puri is one of the char dams in India, located in Puri. Constructed in the 11th century, Jagannath Puri was the holy abode of lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. The temple gets devotees throughout the year. Sun temple in Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to the Sun God. The temple is visited by a large number of tourists, and it is a magnificent example of architectural excellence. The design of the temple looks like the chariot of the Sun God. The chariot has 24 wheels 10 feet in diameter.
Besides architectural marvels and religious places, Odisha has several wonderful beaches. Puri beach is one of the popular beaches in the country, known for its white sand and roaring waves. Both devotees, as well as vacationers visit the beach, which is also the venue of the annual Beach festival held in the month of November. Clean sand and turquoise water make Konark beach one of the finest beaches in Odisha. The beach is 3kms from Sun temple. The natural surroundings of the beach make it an ideal destination for a beach vacation. Chandipur beach has natural beauty and is one of the best places to enjoy water sports. The water moves away up to 5km from the beach and comes back during high tide.
Most of the landscape of Odisha is covered by plateaus, which are the originating point of rivers that give birth to valleys and waterfalls. There are 13 main waterfalls in the state with heights ranging from 30 m to 250 m. The popular waterfalls are Badheipani, Khandadhar falls, Badaghagra, Devkund, Putudi, Phurli Charan and Joranda.
Odisha is slowly gaining traction for adventure activities. Tourists can enjoy jet-skiing and surfing on Puri beach. The state has a vast coastline, clear water and warm weather that makes it ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling. Odisha has varied wildlife and diverse topography consisting of hills, jungles, valleys and dense forests. The wildlife is a treat to watch. Nandan Kanan wildlife sanctuary, Chilika sanctuary, Kotagarh wildlife sanctuary, Olive Ridley Turtle bio-sphere, Simplipal National Park and Baisipalli wildlife sanctuary are must-visit options for wildlife enthusiasts.
Approximately 31.41 per cent of the total area of the state is covered by dense, medium-dense, open and scrub forests. More than 130 species of wild orchids are reported in Odisha, and 97 of them are found in the Mayurbhanj district. The Simlipal National Park is a protected wildlife reserve with 1078 species of plants, 55 mammals, 304 species of birds and 60 species of reptiles. Chilika Lake, the brackish water lagoon, gets visitor birds from places such as Lake Baikal, the Caspian Sea, Ladakh, Central Asia, Russia and the Himalayas.
The fairs and festivals in Odisha display a deep religious fervour and the celebrations are a delight to watch. Some of the popular fairs and festivals are Orissa Tribal Festival, Puri Beach Festival, Dhanu Yatra, Konark Dance Festival, Jagannath Rath Yatra, Bali Jatra, International Sand Art Festival and many others. Rice is the staple food of Orissa, and Odia cuisine is typically less spicy yet flavorful. Pahala rasgulla, a syrupy dessert, is famous across the world. Chhenapoda, another sweet dish, is a speciality of the state. Other traditional food include pakhala, chenna jhilli, aloo dum dahibara, mudhi mansa, dalmaa and santula.
Odisha is a hub of handlooms and handicrafts. The state has plenty to offer tourists who are fond of traditional crafts. Shop for Ikat fabric, traditionally woven fabrics, silver jewellery with Takashi work, palm leaf paintings, and traditionally made seashell crafts and metal crafts. Odisha experiences hot and humid weather in summer. It is, however, a good time to visit tourist attractions as evenings are pleasant and cool. Monsoon begins in June and ends in September, and the state witnesses heavy rainfall. Odisha also looks beautiful in winter. Between November to February is ideal for visiting the state.
Oriya is the official language of Orissa and is spoken by 84 per cent people in the state. Oriya is one of the oldest languages in the country. Besides it, Hindi and Bengali are other major languages spoken by the population in Odisha. Hindi is easily understood by the mass, and English is pretty restricted to the educated population. Odisha has one airport and all the major air carriers fly to and from the state. One can also take road and rail transport, as it is an affordable way to reach Odisha.
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