|Photo credit: Odisha Tourism|
Odisha, formerly known as Orissa is a culturally enriching state in the eastern part of India. It is blessed with a long list of temples, beaches, museums, biosphere reserves, wildlife, national parks, sanctuaries, and many other tourist attractions that make the land a must visit place in the country. The state has a host of amazing architectural wonders such as temples and forts, apart from serene lakes, sun kissed beaches and much more. Some of the top notch places and attractions which are a must visit in Odisha are below.
1. Lord Jagannath Temple – As per Hindu mythology, the temple completes the Char Dhams circle and is among the highly celebrated and visited pilgrimage centres situated in Puri. This temple boasts of rich and unique medieval Indian history and heritage in the form of its architectural work, which indeed gives an insight into the artwork and the religiousness that has been associated with it. Located along the eastern coast of the country, the temple is reckoned to be a part of the Char Dham circle that needs to be always visited in the clockwise direction. A lot of tourists come to visit the temple every year and seek the blessings of the deity, Lord Vishnu, to have good times ahead.
2. Konark Sun Temple – Featured in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, it is indeed a must visit site, and definitely worth exploring. Constructed in the form of a chariot that resembles the God Surya and having 12 wheels, the entrance of the temple faces east so that the first rays of the sun enters the sanctum. The details of the temple’s architecture are so intricate and interesting that one might want to take up majors in Indian history and architecture after visiting this temple.
3. Chilika Lake – It is the country’s biggest brackish saltwater lagoon that gives nature lovers and enthusiasts an opportunity to check out a plethora of migratory birds flying in from far off destinations which includes remote parts of Russia, Caspian Sea, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, and even Middle East and Central Asia. The topographies and beautiful landscapes of the lake further accentuate the charm of the place. Another attraction here are the rare Irrawaddy dolphins that can be spotted in the lake.
4. Raghurajpur Artist Village – It doesn’t matter whether you are an art lover or not, but this village is indeed a must to visit for all. The passion of the locals here is exceptional and there are different varieties of artwork available here that includes the Tassar Silk, Pattachitra – a cloth based scroll painting, stonework, palm leaf paintings, and many more. These can be used to adorn and embellish your homes and work spaces, and they come with quality craftsmanship of the locals.
5. Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri – The caves are situated in Jajpur district in Odisha, and are known for its richness related to Buddhism and Jainism. One can find Buddhist artefacts, stupas, shrines and even monasteries here which would leave you mesmerized and in awe. Also, the surroundings are filled with thick forests and ideal to enjoy some peaceful and harmonious moments.
6. Nandankanan Zoological Park – The Garden of Heavens as this place is referred, is an amazing zoological park and stays true to its name. The park is run with a lot of care and attention. The wide range of animals that you can see here comprises of mouse deer, crocodiles, reptiles like turtles, lizards and pythons, and many more rare species.
7. Chandrabagha Beach – The destination is sometimes referred as the place of rising sun in India. Situated at a distance of about 30 kms from Konark Sun Temple, it is indeed a must visit stop, and a great place to spend memorable time with your loved ones. It is one of the best places in the state from where one can return with lovely memories and frames.
8. Tribes – When in Odisha one should definitely include a visit to the tribal areas to understand the culture and heritage of the tribes who live with with full zeal, enthusiasm, simplicity and modesty. Some of the places where you can visit the tribes include Jeypore, Nandapur, Kunduli, Rayagada etc.
9. Lingaraj Temple – Dating back to the 11th century, it is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bhubhaneshwar, the capital city of Odisha. Dedicated to lord Shiva, the red sandstone temple is 54 m high and was constructed by King Jajati Keshari of Soma Vansha dynasty. The interesting history of the temple is the belief that the Shiv lingam was self originated and it is bathed daily with milk, water and bhang. The main sanctum here in the temple is surrounded by many other smaller shrines.
10. Gopalpur beach – As compared to other beaches, it is less commercialized, but is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and stunning places to visit in the state. An ideal place for peace seekers and couples, the beach boasts of serene surroundings. It also offers water sports activities such as wind surfing, rowing, paddle boat, water scooter, scuba diving, etc. The other prime attraction at the beach is the Gopalpur beach festival that is held here annually.
Apart from these, there are many other attractions in Odisha which include wildlife, beaches, waterfalls, temples etc. Places to include in the itinerary depend totally on one’s interest, preference and convenience while planning an Odisha tour. One could get in touch with one of the top notch Odisha tour travel agent- Best Choice Holiday to help create an itinerary for Odisha tour. Let them know about the preferences and destinations you would like to cover in the itinerary along with the budget and time constraints, to help them curate a memorable holiday for you.
P.S.: This post is in collaboration with Best Choice Holiday