On the east coast of the Bay of Bengal sits the state of Orissa, now known as Odisha. The state is known to sprawl across pages and pages of Indian history and culture. The lands here are rich in their contribution to give India some of the most revered sites in all of our country. It also lends a splash of colour through its intricate and interesting art work. Actually, with its elaborate handicrafts, aroma of local delicacies and an array of festivals as well, the state does make for quite a vibrant affair! Beyond this, it is also blessed with wildlife and an expanse of nature. Today, it remains as one of the underrated destinations to visit and explore in India but should you wish to do so, then we are already telling you some of the wonders you would not want to miss during your visit!
How to reach: With over 26 airports in the state and a strong railways network, reaching the state is not an issue, you can simply plan your route as per your preferred places of visit.
Best time to visit: October to March
Here is a look at some of the marvels held within Orissa’s treasure chest
Konark Sun Temple
nest time to visit: September to March
How to reach: You can fly down to Bhubaneswar airport and thereafter take a train to Puri. From Puri you can easily find a cab to take you directly till the temple.
Ticket Cost (if applicable): Rs.40 for Indians, Rs.600 for foreign nationals
Has your mind been amazed by looking at the pictures of the ancient and stunning Angkor Wat in Cambodia? Well, if visiting the Southeast Asian country is far for you then why not start satiating your curiosity for history and culture right at home! In the heart of Odisha stands the Konark Sun Temple mightier than ever. The town of Konark is named after two Sanskrit words, kona meaning corner and arka meaning Sun, because of how the town’s geographical standing makes the Sun rise and appear at a certain angle here. This is where you’ll find the grand 13th century temple. King Narsimha Deva I has the temple built in reverence of the Sun God. If your eyes start to observe the design, you will soon find yourself immersed in the world that they create as the temple is said to represent a massive chariot that the Sun God rode. This is signified even by the platform engraved with 24 wheels and the 7 horses. So, board your own chariot and go see it for yourself!
Bhitarkanika National Park
Best time to visit: October to June
How to reach: Fly down to Bhubaneswar airport, from there take a train till Bhadrak railway station. From this station you can take a taxi till Chandbali which is a river port that can directly lead you to the national park. Or if you wish to avoid the multiple modes of transportation, simply fly down to Bhubaneswar and then travel by road till Khola.
Ticket Cost (if applicable): Rs.40 per person per day (costs for boat, extra transportation and other are separate)
Whenever we talk about the king of the jungle, we think of the lion or the tiger but here in this national park that lays close to the Bay of Bengal the key attraction are the saltwater crocodiles. The park is an instrumental breeding ground for these crocodiles and people flock to see the ferocious creatures. Not only that, the park also happens to be the second largest mangrove ecosystem in all of India making it key to our wildlife. The dense presence of the trees also sees 215 species of birds, streams and more riches of biodiversity call this land their home.
Best time to visit: October to February
How to reach: Fly down to Bhubaneswar airport and then take a train till Bhadrak railway station. From the railway station you can find a taxi to take you to the Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ticket Cost (if applicable): If you’re a group between 1-9 people it costs Rs.1,000 per person, if you’re more than 10 people it costs Rs.200 per person
When in Bhitarkanika National Park, why not visit their neighbour too? Specially when the neighbour holds a wonder as mesmerizing as the olive ridley sea turtles! They are waiting for you to come and befriend them at this marine sanctuary. Want to know what’s so unique about them? Well, like you and me they to like to travel so much so that they end up in Orissa all the way from the South Pacific Ocean! They travel across waters, passing through Sri Lanka, meandering through the Indian Ocean to finally end up here. This is a journey that they make annually. And, you thought you loved to go for a swim?! 😉
Udayagiri And Khandagiri Caves
Best time to visit: November to March
How to reach: Fly down to Bhubaneswar airport
Ticket Cost (if applicable): Rs.15 for Indians and Rs.200 for foreign nationals
There’s something about caves right that takes our mind to all sorts of mysterious places? As if we find ourselves walking through pages of history with our intrigue? The temples atop the caves are carved with great detailing which showcases their Jain lineage to you dating back to the 1st century BC. From inscriptions on builders to those on the rulers, inscriptions of animals to the elements of nature, all can be found adorning these rocky walls. So, take your time to tread here and find out what the walls do have to say in this case!
Museum of Tribal Arts and Artefacts
Best time to visit: No particular season is necessary, simply visit during the museum hours between 10 am to 5pm.
How to reach: Land at Bhubaneswar airport and from a local bus to a private taxi any can take you till the museum.
Ticket Cost (if applicable): Free
Now this one is hardly a wonder of nature but rather a place of interest for those whose minds tend to wonder a lot! If some of the above suggestions have tickled your brain and you find yourself thinking about the history and culture behind Odisha, then what better place to quench your curious thirst than a museum? It houses knowledge of the tribal lives, lifestyles, their evolution and tons more.
So, if you are headed to Odisha then these are some places that may make your trip even better. Which one would you be most keen to visit?!