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Home | Orissa Travel Guide

Orissa Travel Guide
Each morning the sun breaks over the Konark temple, bringing to life one of the most beautiful states of India- Orissa. The Sun Temple, also known as the black pagoda, was constructed in the 13th century AD. It was conceived as a celestial chariot of the Sun God, drawn on 12 pairs of elaborately ornated wheels, driven by seven spirited horses. 

The temple, in its exceptional sense of proportion and its near perfect execution of postures of the icons, reflects the aesthetic and architectural vision of the people of the land. Blessed with the creativity of thousands of artists who have given expression to the miles of unspoilt coastline, lakes, ancient monuments, temples through their artisanship, Orissa is a land of plenty. 

Sun Temple, KonarkThe beauty of Orissa unravels like a story through its monuments, landscape and the history. Kalinga, as Orissa was known in ancient times, remained unconquered till King Ashoka captured this state. Shattered by the bloodshed, he denounced the world to follow the path of Buddhism. Today, a sense of calmness and peace winds through the air, like the notes of a flute, filling one with joy. 

Orissa has preserved its past in about 500 exquisitely carved temples and monuments. Pilgrims looking for peace and happiness throng Bhubaneshwar and Puri. The annual rath yatra has for years attracted devotees from India and abroad. Konark or the Black Pagoda, with its gorgeous Sun temple, is famous for the beautiful and quite explicit erotic imagery. Lake Chilika is an attraction not only to the tourists but also to the migratory birds. This lake is a treasure house of aquatic flora and fauna. 

Odissi, the dance tradition with its origins in Orissa is well known for its beauty, elegance and grace. The intricate mime and rhythm blend giving birth to numerous graceful expressions. 

The fabulous handicrafts and paintings add colour to simple life style of people in Orissa. The most popular crafts Patta-Chitra and palm-leaf etching serve as souvenirs from the state. The silver filigree and Applique are distinct art forms of great detail holding the onlooker in awe. The artists of Orissa still live and work in remote tribal habitations, small villages, and traditional pilgrimage towns throughout the state. It is in these little nooks and corners of the state that traditions thrives and flourishes to its full extent.

Places to visit: 

Puri - Other than the attraction of its glorious beach, this city by the sea is a major pilgrim centre in India. Adi Shankara founded one of the Peethas here. Puri’s beach, a major draw, is ideal for swimming and surfing.

Jagannath temple - The temple has contributed the word ‘Juggernaut’ to the English language. The fame of Puri is mainly due to this 12th century temple. The annual Rath Yatra is a considerable tourist attraction. Within its precincts are the smaller temples of Vimala, Lakshmi, Vishnu and of innumerable gods and goddesses.

Sun Temple - The Temple Chariot at Konarak of the Sun God (Black Pagoda is a 13th century architectural marvel. Designed as a celestial chariot of the Sun God, it sits on twelve pairs of wheels and is ‘drawn’ by seven horses. The main sanctum is in ruins, but the Dance Hall and Audience Hall are intact. This legendary temple has sculptures of great beauty, covering all aspects of life.
Mumkteshwar Temple, Puri
Mukteswara Temple - was built in the 10th century. It is well known for its stone arch at the entrance and is richly sculpted. With tales from the Panchatantra carved on it, the temple is a magnificent example of Orissan architecture.

Rock-Cut Caves - are also seen on the hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri which are about 8 km from Bhubaneswar. The double-storeyed Rani Gumpha (Queen’s Cave) is the largest cave with ornate carvings.

Chilka Lake - is the country’s largest inland lake. One of the many rocky islands inside the lake is Kalijai, with a temple for Goddess Kalijai. A Naval Training Centre is also situated here. Dotted with islands, it is rich in aquatic fauna and is a bird watcher’s paradise when migratory birds arrive in winter. Sunset and Sunrise are memorable experiences here. Boating and fishing facilities are also on offer. One can view the dolphins cavorting at Chilka mouth near Satpara. The Sakhi Gopal temple with a life-size image of Lord Krishna and the Artists' Village, Raghurajpur, are also nearby.

Simlipal National Park - is to the north-east of the state. Threre are tigers, elephants and various species of deer here. The scenery is beautiful and varied with hills, waterfalls and stretches of undisturbed forest. The Simlipal National Park is also a part of Project Tiger.

Chandipur - 16 km away on the coast is a beach resort where the beach extends 5 km at low tide and the sea can be very shallow. It is beautiful spot and is a favourite among picknickers, especially from the surrounding states.

Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary : This 130 sq. km forest has wild elephants, leopards, bisons, black panthers and many more species of animals and birds. There are watch-towers for visitors for viewing the animals. The sanctuary is 48 km east of Sambalpur on N. H. No. 6.
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