Orissa, now known as Odisha, is an ancient land with a rich history. Monuments that reflect amazing architecture compete with the limitless beauty of the land to attract tourists from all parts of the world. The ancient temples are more than an association with religious beliefs; their architectural splendor reflects the skills possessed by the artisans of the land in the bygone era.
1. Jagannath Temple – Puri
The ancient temple of Lord Jagannatha is a famous sacred Hindu temple,located on the eastern coast Puri, Odisha. Shree Jagannath temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra and one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham sites.
2. Sun Temple, Konark
Located on the coast line of Eastern end of Indian Subcontinent, Sun Temple was built in the 13th Century by King Narasingha Deva I to celebrate his victory over Muslim rulers. This temple is the most famous historical place in Odisha. Sun Temple is truly an epitome of marvel which is believed to be the chariot of Surya Dev, the Sun God. At the base of this iconic temple, seven horses are carved that apparently represents days of the week and 24 wheels depicting each hour of the day. The temple is positioned in a way that sunlight illumines the interior throughout the day.
3. Puri Beach
Step aside Goa, we have a new favourite here! Puri beach is famous for being long and quiet. However, one may find many hotels, resorts and shops along with its coast and tourist buying street food and articles made of jute and shells! It is one of the most popular beaches in Puri, best part being it is not the only one in the city so one has a lot to explore.
Daringbadi is an ideal summer resort of the state situated at an altitude of 3000 ft above sea level. The place is also known as ‘Kashmir of Odisha’ because of its astonishing beauty. This is the only place in the state where winter season has beautiful snowfall. The hill station is located in Kandhmal district of the state. The place is gifted with coffee gardens, pine forests and beautiful valleys.
The exact beauty of the entire place can be enjoyed by reaching the top of this hill station. The main places to visit here are the beautiful waterfalls of Doluri river, Putudi Waterfalls, black pepper and turmeric gardens and Belghar Sanctuary. The main pilgrim place to visit here is Samaleswari temple. The majority population here is Christians and there are about 200 churches here. Travellers can taste delicious local food like ‘Bara’ available in the snack shops here.
At a distance of 248km from Kolkata and 256km from Bhubaneshwar, Baripada is a city, recognised by its beautiful culture and an essence of purity in nature. Its Rath Yatra is considered the biggest and oldest after Puri and thus Baripada is also known as Dwitiya Srikhetra (Second Puri)
It is host to the world famous Car Festival (Rathyatra) which allows only women to pull the Rath of Maa Subhadra and gathers huge crowds. One also finds here temples, known to be one of the oldest in Odisha and which see devotees coming from all over with a stong sense of faith and devotion.
Former capital of Orissa and now it’s business capital, Cuttack, is also one of the ancient cities of the state. Ancient monuments apart, Cuttack has a wide range of tourist attractions as it is home to picturesque destinations and pilgrim centers. It is famous for handicrafts and cuisines too.
Bargarh is one of the less popular tourist destinations of Odisha. However, the amazing century-old temples and the surrounding scenic beauty makes it a must-visit destination. The place has a mythological significance as Gandhamadan Parvat, which finds a mention in the Hindu epic of Ramayana, is located here.
8. Chilika Lake Dolphins
The most famous and the largest coastal lagoon of India and the second largest lagoon in the World. Chilika Lake is the brackish water lagoon and home of migratory birds and rare and endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins.
Satapada is known as the Dolphin Sanctuary, located near to Puri. Other lakes of Orissa includes Ansupa Lake a freshwater lake in Cuttack, Kanjia lake and Chilika Lake.
9. Chandipur Beach
The unique beach of Chandipur is also known as the disappearing sea because the water recedes from 1 to 4 kilometers during the ebb tide. Chandipur Beach a suitable picnic spot and the beach supports bio-diversity of Horseshoe crab.
10. Barehipani Falls
Barehipani Falls is the second tallest waterfall in Odisha and one amongst the higher waterfalls in India. The waterfall is a two tiered waterfall located in the core area of Simlipal National Park along with Joranda Falls near by.
Once a bustling port city today this is one of the best beaches in Eastern India. This is the tourist place you head to when you want to relax and do nothing. The Gopalpur Beach is a beautiful beach whose beauty increases due to its remoteness, the lack of huge crowds there and the consequent peace and silence. The seafood here is also worth tasting as numerous shacks along the beach provide lip-smacking delights. The best time to visit this place is between the months of September and February. The sights worth visiting here are the Gopalpur Lighthouse and Chilika Lake.
12. Lingaraj Temple
Lingraj Temple, located in the capital of Odisha, was constructed in the 11th Century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and built with red sandstone.It is the classical representation of the ravishing Kalingan Architecture. There is a granite block inside the temple representing Lord Thribhubaneswar, the god of three worlds, which is bathed with milk, water, and bhang every day. The temple is equallyamong non-Hindus and Hindu foreigners.
Udayagiri, said to be the Sunrise Hill, is 85 kilometers away from Bhubaneswar. Splendid views of these caves make it hit in the list of top 10 places to visit in Odisha. There are around 32 caves found on these two hills named, Udayagiri Hills and Khandagri Hills. You can see beautiful sculptures and inscriptions carved inside these caves that depict the belief of Jainism and Buddhism in India. Being so close to Bhubaneswar, it turns easier for people to reach this place.
14. Nandankanan Zoo
It is one of the oldest zoos in India and downs across an area of 400 hectares. It is located in Chandaka Forest and has lots of variety of land and water animals along with a botanical garden too! There’s no dearth of thrilling experiences here as one walks the trail of the zoo and experiences wildlife like never before.
Mahendragiri is a hill station located in the Gajapati district of the state. The place is located at an elevation of about 4,925 ft above sea level. This is a place of great scenic beauty. The place is surrounded on three sides by hills and thick forests. The surrounding forest inhabits a large number of peacocks, flying squirrels, elephants, spotted deer and even leopards and talking mynahs.
The top of the hill offers most enchanting view of the surrounding area. The majestic beauty of the mountain, the blue sea at a distance and the crystal clear waters of the sacred Mahendratanaya, attracts travelers from all parts.