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Orissa or Odisha is an Indian state that lies in the eastern side of India. Derived from the ancient Prakrit word, ‘Odda Visaya’, the state in 2011 was named Odisha from Orissa. It is surrounded by the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh. There are numerous attraction spots in Orissa such as various beaches, temples, waterfalls and much more. A state with a great historical past has not only numerous historical wonders but also has many wildlife and a magnanimous ecosystem that is said to be beyond phenomenal. Some of these wonders reside in the top cities and towns of Odisha. Check them down below! 

1. Bhubaneshwar

The capital city of the state of Orissa, Bhubaneshwar is frequently referred to as the temple city of India as it is home to a large number of the temples. Some of them include the Lingaraj Temple, Temples of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, which are visited by a flock of tourists around the world. The city has been in existence since 2300 years ago where it was regarded as the capital of the Kalinga Kingdom. Earlier it was not known as Bhubaneswar but as Sisupalgarh. It was in the year 1946 that the city of Bhubaneswar was designed under the British colonial period by the German architect Otto Königsberger. In 1947 Bhubhneshwar became independent just like the rest of the country.  

How to Reach?

Air

To reach Bhubaneshwar by air, the Biju Patnaik International Airport connects to all major domestic terminals.

Rail

To travel by train to Bhubaneshwar you will have to get down on the Bhubaneswar railway station. It is marked as one of the main and busiest stations of India.

Road

If you plan to take a bus to Bhubaneswar then you can take the city’s buses which are operated interstate. These buses frequently run from West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

 

 

 

Places to Visit in Bhubaneshwar

Lingaraj Temple 

The ancient Lingaraj Temple is one of the largest and famous temples of Bhubaneswar. It is dedicated to the great Lord Shiva. Built-in the 7th century by King Jajati Keshari, the temple is marked extremely auspicious because it is said that the Linga appeared there naturally. 

Parasurameswara Temple

The Parasurameswara Temple was constructed in 650 A.D. that showcases the Oriyan style of architecture. It is majorly known for having around a thousand lingas. Some beautiful carvings of  Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.  

Bindu Sagar

The Bindu Sarovar or Bindu Sagar is a water tank in the city of Bhubaneshwar that is believed to be sacred by Hindus. It is surrounded by several temples and is believed to contain drops from all holy rivers of India.

 

 

 

 

2. Puri

The spiritual capital of Odisha is surrounded by some of the most exquisite temples, shrines, ashrams and much more. The city is one of the four major dhams of Hinduism. This means that no pilgrimage tour would be complete without visiting the Puri temple, which is considered as one of the most prestigious destinations. One of the major highlights here is the Rath yatra. The yatra is hosted every year and marks the journey of Lord Krishan from Gokul to Mathura. Three huge chariots carry the idols of Jagannath, his brother Balbadra, and his sister Subhadra. They have further pulled along from the Jagannath temple to the temple of Gundicha Mandir.

How to Reach?

Air

Biju Patnaik International Airport is the nearest airport for Puri.

Rail

Puri easily connects to major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Okha, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc. Some of the known trains are Kolkata (Howrah) Puri Howrah Express, Jagannath Express; New Delhi; Purushottam Express.

Road

The Gundicha Temple bus stand provides service to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack every 10-15 minutes. There are direct buses for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam too.

 

 

 

Places to Visit in Puri

Shree Jagannath Temple Puri

Built-in the 11th century by the ruler of the Ganga Dynasty, King Indradyumna, the Jagannath Puri temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. It is considered a zone of the most prestigious sites for Hindus.  

Markandeswara Temple

Built-in the 13th century, the Markandeswara temple is one of the most stunning temples of puri. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. The temple has been adorned with great architectural brilliance.

Puri Beach

Puri Beach is one of the best places to visit while touring Puri. Many devotees choose to visit the beach to dip into its waters to wash away their sins and pay their respects to Lord Jagannath.

 

 

 

 

3. Cuttack

Cuttack is marked as one of the oldest districts of Odisha. It is popularly known for its internationally acclaimed artists, the silver filigree. The city exudes a rich ancient history and a bit of modernisation, that has now successfully made itself a part of the top places to visit in Odisha. Cuttack is currently the second-largest city and was also the former capital of Odisha. The city has been famous for its display of local handicrafts. A vibrant city, Cuttack is ideal to witness during the month of January when it hosts the Durga Puja and the Kite festival.

How to Reach?

Air

The nearest to reach Cuttack is the Biju Patnaik Airport. It is well-connected to all domestic terminals.

Rail

The nearest station to reach Cuttack by train is the Cuttack Junction railway station. It is well connected to major parts of the cities.

Road

The Odisha State Road Transports Corporation frequently runs busses interstate from Cuttack. These run from many neighbouring states of West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

 

 

 

 

 

Places to Visit in Cuttack

Bhitarkanika National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bhitarkanika National Park and Wildlife sanctuary is one of the most popular places to visit in Cuttack. The sanctuary stretches up to an area of 650 sq. km that is surrounded by bundles of vegetation, trees, shrubs, streams of rivers and more. The Bhitarkanika National Park and Wildlife sanctuary is home to some of the rarest species such as Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, Asian OpenBill, Black Ibis, Egrets, and Darters.

Barabati Fort

The Barabati fort in Cuttack is a fourteenth-century fort that was built during the Ganga dynasty. Located near the river Mahanadi, the fort offers stunning views of the city of Cuttack. The fort features nine storeys that helped in safeguarding and preparing against the enemies.

Lalitgiri

The district of Cuttack remains a prestigious Buddhist heritage site that is said to be etched years ago in the 1st century AD. An essential part of the site is Lalitgiri. The diamond triangle of Orissa contains three major ancient sites, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri. In 1937, it received the status of a protected monument. The place has numerous stupas, monasteries, and Buddha images for tourists to witness.

Dhabaleshwar

One of the most famous places to visit for both tourists and locals is the Dhabaleshwar island. The island lies on the edge of the river Mahanadi. It also is popular for hosting a temple of Lord Shiva that attracts many visitors. To reach the temple you will have to climb a flight of a hundred stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Sambalpur 

Located in the western region of Odisha is the biggest city, Sambalpur. Also known to be the oldest, Sambalpur has an extremely rich cultural and historical background. In the year 1849, the last ruler of Sambalpur died leaving no heir. Therefore, it was seized by the Britishers under the Doctrine of Lapse. Declared as a municipality in the year 1883, the spot witnessed numerous freedom struggles of India. A vivid and strong presence of tribes can be seen in Sambalpur. The festivities that contain joy, celebration, colourful attires, singing and dancing is an experience one should surely attain whenever touring around the district. Not only this, but you will also be able to spot some stunning saris made with great craftsmanship that contain Bandhakala.

How to Reach?

Air

The nearest airport for Sambalpur is the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur. From there, Sambalpur is 262 kilometres away. Hence you will have to hire a cab or taxi to further reach the city. 

Train

Sambalpur is well-connected to major cities in India like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam. To reach there via train you can get down at the Sambalpur Junction railway station.

Road

The Odisha State Road Transport Corporation runs many interstate city buses from Sambalpur to many neighbouring states. Hence, you can choose to board a bus and head to Odisha. 

 

 

 

 

Places to Visit in Sambalpur 

Hirakud Dam

The Hirakud Dam is one of the longest dams in the world. Known to be the first valley project of India, the dam provides irrigation facilities and hydroelectricity to the nearby spots. The dam is also home to many unique birds. Some of the birds that you’ll easily be able to spot include the pochards, red-crested pochards and great crested grebes. Hence, if you are an admirer of the birds you should definitely visit the Hirakud dam.

Leaning Temple of Huma

The leaning temple of Lord Shiva is another popular place to visit in Sambalpur. It is the one of only two leaning temples in the world. Located in the Huma village, the temple is dedicated to Lord Bimaleshwar. Not many know the reason behind its inclined structure. Many believe that it is inclined naturally while others believe it to be a planned part of the structure.

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

The Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a large number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and many more. Located in the  Hirakud reservoir, the sanctuary stretches up to an area of 353.81 sq km. Established in 1930, the entire vicinity covers the Lohara and Debrigarh Reserve forests.

 

 

 

 

5. Konark

Located in the district of Puri is the small town of Konark in Odisha. The name Konârka is derived from the Sanskrit word Kona that means angle and Arka that means sun. The name is about the temple which has been dedicated to the Sun god Surya. Konark, also known as Konarak, Konarka, Kanarek, is majorly famous for the Sun Temple. The Sun temple is also known as the Black Pagoda was etched in the thirteenth century by  Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty. It is marked as one of the most remarkable temples of India which is included in the golden triangle of Odisha, alongside the Sri Jagannath Temple and Lingaraj Temple of Puri and Bhubaneswar.  

How to Reach?

Air

The nearest airport to Konark is the Biju Patnaik International airport. The airport is around 1 hr 38 mins away from the town of Konark.

Rail

The Puri Railway station is the nearest railway station to Konark. The town is 52 kilometres away, hence you will have to board a can or taxi.

Road

The Odisha State Road Transport Corporation runs many interstate buses regularly to Konark via the NH 316 highway.

 

 

 

 

 

Places to Visit in Konark

Sun Temple

The Sun Temple is located on the eastern shores of Odisha that showcases a brilliant example of art and architecture. Built-in the thirteenth century, the temple has been dedicated to God Surya and has been built like a massive chariot. Built by King Narasimha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, the Sun Temple has twelve pairs of twelve carved wheels that are being drawn by seven horses. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Konark temple attracts many tourists from across the world. 

Konark Beach

The Konark also known as the Chandrabhaga Beach is known to be one of the best beaches of India. Located merely a few kilometres away from the popular Sun temple of Konark, the beach is not just for relaxing away, but once it was marked to be the spot that cured lepers. The beach has also been given the Blue flag, that is only given to environmentally-friendly clean beaches.

Konark Museum

Established in 1968, the Konark museum is located near the Konark temple. The museum is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and has four galleries that showcase 260 different fallen architectural pieces and sculptures. A visit to the Konark museum helps you in gaining more knowledge about the architecture and history of Odisha.