Places of Interest


    The monuments in Orissa generally mean the Temples in particular. Temples from 6th to 14th century AD dominate the skyline of Orissa. While Jagannath Temple at Puri and Sun Temple at Konark have remained all time favourites with the visitors still there are some 500 and odd temples here with Lingaraj, Mukteswar, Rajarani, Vaital temples being some major attraction.


    The magnificent 192 ft. high 12th century AD temple at Puri with its enshrined deities Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra and the unique Rath Yatra associated with the deities attract millions of people.


    The sun temple at Konark, is a poetry in stone and a World Heritage Monument is often described as the grandest achievement of the Eastern school of architecture. This 13th century AD architectural marvel in stone designed as a Chariot of the Sun God with 12 giant wheels fixed on either side, whirled by seven horses is the translation of a Rig Vedic allegory in stone.


    This 11th century AD and 180 ft. Gigantic edifice in Bhubaneswar is an eloquent monument where every flange of every stone is ornate with floral and geometric decoration.


    The 34 ft. High small Mukteswar temple standing gracefully with an elegant arch in front belonging to the 10th-11th century AD is recognised as one of the most beautiful work of art in India.


    The 11th century AD superb temple with magnificent work of art is unparallel in the history of plastic art in Orissa.


    Vaital, as one of the most important temples with elongated and vaulted roof, unlike others are Chamunda as its presiding deity, the sculptures of the temple show a strange amalgamation of Shaktism, Saivism and Mahayana Buddhism.


    Buddhism in Orissa is as old as the religion itself. The Kalinga War in 261 BC, the conversion of Ashoka and the visit of Hieun Tsang speak about the glorius state of Buddhism of Orissa. It was from here that Buddhism was exported to Sri Lanka, and far-off countries in South-East Asia.


    Excavations at Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri-Udayagiri, situated at a distance of about 5kms from one another and 160 kms from Puri, unearthed large monasteries, big stupas, large number of votive stupas and terracotta seals. Just round the corner of these sites stands Langudi Hill on the right bank of the riverKelua. Excavations unearthed here a cluster of rock cut votive stupas, two unique Buddha images and Panchadyhani Buddha with their female counterparts. The Museum of the Archaeological Survey of India at Ratnagiri with over a thousand artefacts and sculptures of the area provide a glimpse of the state of Buddhism in Orissa during 6th-7th century AD. Two inscribed images of a king found here are identified by some historians as that of Emperor Ashoka.


    It was here in 261 BC, Ashoka won against Kalinga and then transformed to become a zealous Buddhist. It was here Emperor Ashoka engraved the rock edicts proclaiming his policy of good governance and Dharma for the benefit of his subjects by thus proclaiming his change of heart. As a remembrance to this epoch making event, a Peace Pagoda has been constructed here on the Hill top by the Japanese Buddhists.


    Chilika Lake

    Spread over an area of 1100 sq kms, Asia's largest brackish water lagoon, Chilika has the unique distinction of having the second largest congregation of migratory birds in the world. Chilika's Nalabana bird sanctuary is definitely an ornithologist's delight as well as a visual treat for any visitor who can find the sanctuary alive with raucous cries of birds. Beside the birds, Chilika has been home for the endangered Irrawadi Dolphins and several species of fish, crabs, prawns and reptiles. A visit to the mouth, the place where Chilika Lagoon joins the sea, can be a captivating experience.


    For visitors desirous of visiting tigers in their dens, elephants in wild, birds in lake, crocodiles and reptiles in the swamp filled with mangrove forest, giant tortoise rookery in the sand of the confluences, Orissa can be the ultimate destination.


    Spread over an area of 2750 sq. km., Simlipal National Park with the tiger reserve offers spectacular view of nature. Dense forest, rugged hilly terrain, majestically roaming wild animals, elephants, tigers and birds, gorgeous waterfalls and rivers, sky touching mountain peaks, tropical trees and exotic colored multi shelled orchids can keep any visitor spell bound. The park remains open for visitors from November 10th to June 15th and the permission to visit the reserve should be obtained from the Conservator of forest, National Park, Jashipur or from Range Officer at the entry point there.


    Pristine isolated beach of Gahirmatha, tens of thousands of giant turtles, exotic birds, fearsome crocodiles variety of Kingfishers, narrow creeks that meander past deltaic islands, mangrove forest, nature trails inside the dense forest, wildlife and not a soul around, is what Bhitarkanika is.


    Established in 1979, Nandankanan, has remained the only biological park with more than 67 varieties of mammals including lions and white tigers, 20 species of reptiles and 82 species of birds. There are however quite a few other sanctuaries which preserve the most colour wildlife of Orissa.


    Steeped in the mystery that surrounds their own traditional ways, the tribes of Orissa continue to be a source of interest not only to social anthropologists and sociologists but for the lay visitor coming to the state. With sixty-two distinct tribal groups constituting 25 percent of the total population, occupying nearly one-third of the habitable area, the tribes of Orissa are the most colourful people. The most important are the Kandhas, Bondas, Koyas, Sauras, Gadabas, Gondas, Ho, Santhalas, Mundas and Juangas. Each tribe has its own music, dance and rich socio-cultural traits. Most of the tribals live in the forest areas of Kandhamal, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanja and Keonjhar. The Tribal Museum in Bhubaneswar provides a glimpse into the life style and culture of different tribal communities.


    Cross cultural influences, diverse religious faiths, customs and traditions of the indigenous people have moulded the art forms and the artisans in Orissa. The heritage villages of Raghurajpur with 103 households engaged in traditional Pata painting and a sizable population of Pipili engaged in appliqué works prove the colourful artistic imagination of the artists of Orissa. Apart from the Pata painting the appliqué work, artisans of Orissa produce wonder in Textiles, Silver filigree, Stone, Lacquer, Horn, Bronze and Wood.

  • 6. BEACHES

    The long coastline of Orissa stretching over 482 km. Is dotted with some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches of the world. The surf and the golden sand of Puri, the clean sand and blue water of Chandrabhaga, the confluence and the serene atmosphere of Ramachandi, the virgin and unexplored beaches of Beleswar and Balighai, the creepered sand dunes with melted golden coloured beach of Chandipur, the sparkling water and white sand of Talsari, the pristine beach in the midst of a cluster of coconut and palm trees of Gopalpur, the colourful beach of Astaranga, the serene atmosphere of Aryapalli and Pati-Sonapur and the treasure house for study of rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtle of Gahirmatha beach can take away any visitor to ecstasy.