World Tourism Day: Explore Odisha’s best kept secrets
From lush-green forests, multifarious wildlife, sprawling lakes and breathtaking beaches to exotic handicrafts, flamboyant festivals, rich cultures, diverse tribes, scintillating music and art and scores of temples that illustrate architectural splendour, Odisha has it all.
Bhubaneswar: From lush-green forests, multifarious wildlife, sprawling lakes and breathtaking beaches to exotic handicrafts, flamboyant festivals, rich cultures, diverse tribes, scintillating music and art and scores of temples that illustrate architectural splendour, Odisha has it all.
Odisha, home to over 4.5 crore people, has long been known by tourists across the globe as the ‘Land of Lord Jagannath,’ due to the Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri. However, this state flaunts innumerous other marvels- architectural, cultural and natural.
Stressing on this year’s World Tourism Day theme ‘Rethinking Tourism,’ here are excerpts on some incredible tourist points for wanderlusts to explore on their next visit to Odisha:
- The Golden Triangle of Jagannath, Lingaraj and Sun Temples: This golden triangle has its vertices on Puri, Bhubaneswar and Konark, respectively. Every year, scores of tourists assemble for visit to these temples. Here, visitors may find a chronological development of temple architecture over centuries beginning with the Bharateswar, Lakshmaneswar, and Shatrughneswar group of temples to the great Lingaraj.
- Mini- temple towns: Sambalpur and Sonepur towns on the western part of Odisha are together known as the mini-temple towns. The temples in these areas demonstrate a different style of architecture that flourished during the Chouhan rules in the area.
- Yogini Shrines: Two out of four of Yogini shrines of India, are in Odisha; one at Hirapur near Bhubaneswar and another at Raipur Jharial in Balangir. Moreover, there Indralath brick temple and Pataleswar brick temple of Buddhikomna.
- Rock-cut caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri: These caves give a quick window view to the obscure history of Odisha. Then there is double-storeyed Ranigumpha in Udayagiri. At Dhaulagiri, there are rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka. The peace pagoda Of Dhualagiri attracts a lot of Buddhist tourists.
- Nrusimhanath Plateau, Bargarh: Chinese traveler Hieun T’Sang had described this as Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li which may be the Parimalagiri Buddha Vihar. Then there are pictographic sites of Vikram-khol in Sambalpur, Yogi Math and Gudahandi in Kalahandi that narrate pre-historic tales.
- Kantilo Nilamadhab: This historical place in Nayagarh flaunts spectacular flora and fauna of Odisha. The state has more than 20 sanctuaries.
- Nandankanan Zoological Park: This 20 kms stretch of biosphere reserve carved out of Chandaka forests near Bhubaneswar has made more than one world records. Recently, the zoological park welcomed white tiger cubs that were born to non-white parents here. Another record was set here in breeding Gharials in captivity.
- Crocodile Sanctuaries at Kendrapara’s Bhitarkanika National Park and Tikarpara’s Mahanadi gorge is a must-visit for wild-life lovers.
- Gahirmatha welcomes millions of Olive Ridley turtles twice every year in their egg-laying seasons.
- Chilika Lake: The largest brakish water lake in Asia is paradise for birds. Dancing dolphins add to the magnificence of it.
- Waterfalls: The perennial and and precipitous waterfalls at a number of places like Bhimkund, Sitakund situated inside the Simlipal National Park, Bagra, Duduma, Harishankar, Nrusimhanath, Pradhanpat, Khandadhar, Berehipani, Joranda, Ghagra falls etc, against enthralling hills are simply visual treats that lift up the spirits of tired travelers.
- Hot sulphur spring at Atri, Taptapani, Deulajhari and Tarabalo are most refreshing during winters. People take dip at these places to get rid of certain skill ailments.
- Sea beaches: Beaches in Odisha stretch over 400 kms from Chandaneswar to Gopalpur. Chandipur beach of Balasore has a uniqueness of its own as the water here recedes about five kilometers and proceeds rhythmically twice a day, which is a sight to be seen. Talasari beach is famous for red crabs.
- Fairs and festivals: Odisha calendars more festivals than number of months in a year. Apart from the grant Ratha Jatra at Puri, the state hosts several other festivals including Dhanu Yatra at Bargarh, Sitalsasthi at Sambalpur, Nila Parva at Chandaneswar, Joranda Mela at Dhenkanal, Chhou dance at Baripada, Jhamu Jatra, Chadaka Jatra at Chandaneswar, Konark Festival etc.
- Sambalpuri Textiles of western Odisha, Applique works of Pipili, the Horn and Soap stone works of Puri, Pattachitra of Raghurajpur and the Silver Filigree of Cuttack are worth possessing souvenirs for the near and dear ones at home.
So, next time you visit Odisha, you know which place you must pay a visit. Happy World Tourism day!