Orissa, or Odisha, is known for its rich history and culture. Located on the on the eastern coast of India along the Bay of Bengal it is perhaps most famous for its temples and national parks. However, there are also lots of other places to visit in Orissa.
This culturally rich state was once part of the historical kingdom of Kalinga. Now, its fascinating trial culture, diverse wildlife, historic sites, and delicious food make it a truly unique place to visit.
How to reach Orissa
Orissa is well connected to all the other Indian states.
The airport at Bhubaneshwar, the capital of the state, which is called the Bhubaneswar Biju Patnaik Airport (BBPA), is well connected to all major Indian cities. The airport also recently started taking international flights.
By Rail and Road
Many major rail and road routes between Chennai and Kolkata pass through Orissa with stops along the way at both Bhubaneshwar and Puri. There are also excellent connections with Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
Places to visit in Orissa
From famous natural places and historical sites, there are lots of places to visit in Bihar. Here are some of the most popular.
- Bhitarkanika National Park — this group of islands in northeastern Odisha is India’s second-largest mangrove region. It offers not just great beaches but also exciting trekking trails through forests teeming with wildlife. Here you can find crocodiles, Olive Ridley Turtles, gharials, pythons, and many varieties of birds.
- Chilka Lake — this massive lake is the largest salt-water lagoon in Asia. It is an important habitat and breeding ground for many birds and is also home to sea turtles and dolphins.
- Simlipal National Park — a massive wildlife sanctuary in Northern Orissa, it is home to lush forests, picturesque peaks, amazing waterfalls, leopards, bears, tigers and elephants.
- Daringbadi — called the “The Kashmir of Odisha,” this is the only hill station in the state. With pine groves, coffee gardens and beautiful valleys, it is a perfect getaway.
- Nandan Kanan — this botanical garden, zoo and sanctuary is located near the Chandaka forest.
- Konark Sun Temple — originally built by Sultan Mahmud Begada, this UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Panchmahal district is dotted with forts, palaces, mosques, tombs and temples.
- Jagganath Temple, Puri — this massive temple was built to Jagannath, an incarnation of Vishnu in 1198. The temple is surrounded by walls and closed to non-Hindus.
- Bhubaneswar — dubbed the ‘Temple City’, it is associated with the ancient kingdom of Krishna and is full of fascinating temples. Check out the Lingaraj Mandir and the Mukteshwar Mandir.
- Udayagiri — these two Buddhist monastery complexes near Bhubaneshwar date back to the 10th century. Don’t miss the pyramid-shaped brick stupa with images of the Buddha carved on all four sides.
- Museum of Tribal Arts & Artefacts — filled with interactive displays, this museum explores Odisha’s 62 tribes. Exhibits include traditional clothes, jewellery, weapons, and musical instruments.
Interesting facts about the state
- Arts and Crafts: Orissa is known for its handicrafts. Some of the most well known are – the handspun Sambalpuri and Kataki sarees; silver filigree work from in Cuttack; traditional Pattachitra painting on palm-leaf or raw silk, and the various tribal works.
- Local food: Orissa has many delicious foods such as Mudhi, Dalma, Besara, Rasagullas, and more.
- Festivals: The people of Orissa celebrate many colourful festivals throughout the year. The most famous is the Rath Yatra of Puri held between June and July. There is also the beach festival of Puri, the
The best time to visit the state is during the winter (October to March), as the weather can get very harsh during the hot summers.