A sea that recedes daily at low tide and allows you to literally walk on its bed at Chandipur. A 14 mile gorge and wildlife sanctuary on the mighty Mahanadi river at Satkosia. Buddhist remains from the 6th century BC at Ratnagiri. Or Raghurajpur village, where every household is involved in creating exquisite arts & crafts. That’s Orissa for starters (now known as Odisha).
Hills, forests, lakes, islands, wildlife, tribals, hot springs – Orissa has it all. A veritable treasure house of temples & traditions, language & literature, art & architecture. One of the best known examples of temple architecture, the magnificent 10th century Konark Sun Temple, also a World Heritage monument, is designed as a celestial chariot of the Sun God, pulled by seven straining horses. As the sun rises over the ocean, it casts its first rays in the sanctum sanctorum.
Often called ‘Cathedral City,’ the state capital is home to 600 temples, built over hundreds of years. The annual chariot festival of Lord Jagannath, involving pulling of the massive chariots by hordes of devotees is, in fact the origin of the word ‘juggernaut.’ Home to Odissi, believed to be the oldest dance from in the country, Orissa also boasts of Nandankanan, the white tiger reserve. Visit Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in the continent or go spotting Irrawady dolphins and exotic migratory birds in the pear-shaped lagoon. Further, the state is known for its Patachitra folk paintings, handloom weaving, soapstone & wood carvings and temple towns of Konark, Puri, Bhubhaneshwar .
Some of the most exotic beaches in the country are located on its 500 km coastline. Steeped in history, the state also narrates one of the best-known tales in the nation’s history – of Emperor Ashoka’s change of heart, following the Kalinga war, and conversion of Buddhism. Lose yourself in the vast natural reserves of lakes (Kanjia, Anshupa, Barehipani, Badaghagara, Khan Dadhar, Sanaghagara, Koilighugar); islands (Beacon, Breakfast, Honeymoon, Birds); sanctuaries (Balimela, Baisipalli, Balukhandm Chandaka); or hot springs (Atri, Deulajhari, Taptapani, Tarabalo).
State capital: Bhubhaneshwar
Places of interest: Konark Temple, Nandakanan Reserve, Udayagiri & Khandagiri caves, Puri beach, Chilika lake, temples (Lingaraja, Parasuramesvara, Musteswar, Raja Rani, Vaital), Satapada lake, Dhauri, Gopalpur-on-sea beach, Konark-Puri marine drive.
By air: linked by air
By rail: linked by rail
By road: well-connected
Official website: www.odishatourism.gov.in