Orissa Tourist Places and Travel Attractions

Orissa, the land of great Hindu and Jain temples, of Hindu culture and colorful festivals for the fervent faithful, is slowly stepping out of its historic past into a more exciting present. Industrial leviathan’s today sprout from the earth as part of a landscape which once was dotted only with beautifully sculptured buildings.

It lies along the Bay of Bengal, the eastern seaboard of India. In ancient days Orissa was known as ‘Kalinga’. Kalinga was conquered by the great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 286 B.C. The massive destruction that followed the bloody battle at Kalinga struck Ashoka with remorse and he decided to foreswear violence. He converted to Buddhism and later assisted in spreading Buddhism to other parts of the world. In the 2nd century B.C., Kalinga become a powerful country under the rule of the third Chedi King – Kharaveda. During his reign, Jainism rose to important as faith of the people while Buddhism declined. During this period the monastery caves were created. After Kharavela’s death, many more rulers invaded Orissa and contributed to the cultural and religious growth of the state.

Today, it has emerged as one of the India’s best cultural centres. Its cultural heritage – the magnificent old temples – lands uniqueness to the state. Orissa has three main centres of attaction – the capital Bhubaneshwar, the city of Puri and the city of Konark. The old temples of Bhubaneshwar, the long sandy beach of Puri and the Sun temple at Konark form an attractive triangle for tourists.

Orissa is predominantly rural and its economy is largely dependent on agriculture. However, the city is extremely mineral rich and is a big exporter of iron ore. The citizens of Orissa, known as Oriyas are very friendly and hospitable. The atmosphere of the state is generally relaxed. Travelling to different culturally important areas of Orissa is a very relaxed and rewarding experience.

When to visit: October to mid-March

Airports: Bhubaneshwar, Raurkela

Places of Interest

Balangir: Temples

Baripada: Ancient Forts, Temples, Tribal.

Brahmapur: Handicrafts, Handloom silks.

Baudh: Temples, Buddhist period excavations.

Bhubaneshwar: A Temple city (over 500 temples), Museums.

Nandankanan Sanctuary: Modern Zoological Park, Season – November to February.

Chandpur: Beach, Chilika Lake: Island dotted lake, Holiday (winter) resort, Boating, Fishing, Duck shooting, and Birdlife.

Cuttack: Handicrafts, gateway to Tribal Territories, Fort, Muslim shrine, State’s major commertial centre.

Deogarh: Pradhanpat waterfalls.

Hirakund: Dam site with holiday facilities, fishing.

Jajpur: Temples, Pilgrim centre.

Jeypore: Old Palaces, Antiques, Tribal, Handicrafts.

Koraput: Forests, Tribal villages, Pilgrim centre.

Joshipur: Entry to Simlipal.

Kopilas: Temples, Hindu pilgrim centre.

Kendujhargarh: Hill station.

Konarka: Temples with exquisite carvings, the 13th century ‘Black Pagoda’ is one of the marvels of India, Beaches, Archaeological Museums.

Paradwip: Largest Port in India.

Phulabani: Tribal area, Picnic spot.

Puri: One of the four most holy places of pilgrimage in India, Temples, excellent Beaches, Handicrafts.

Ranipur-Jharial: Temple ruins.

Ratnagiri: Buddhist sculpture, Excavations, also neighboring Lalitgiri and Udayagiri peaks for more of the same.

Raurkela: Steel plant, Maidina Dam and Khandadhari waterfalls are nearby, Picnic spots, Parks.

Sambalpur: Temples, Sambalpuri Textiles, Handicrafts.

Simlipal: National Wildlife Park, Waterfalls, Season – October to June.

Sonepur: Temples, Handlooms silks.

Tatapani: Hot springs, Spa, Picnic spot.

Tikarpara: Crocodile Sanctuary.

Ushakothi: Gorges, Wildlife Sanctuary.

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