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Odisha Tourism

Odisha is a coastal state situated in the eastern part of India. Attractions such as a long and pristine coastline, palm-fringed beaches, ancient monuments, majestic temples, glittering rivers, lofty mountains, placid lakes, wildlife reserves, and vibrant art and culture, makes the state a traveler’s paradise.

The tourism industry in Odisha is one of the major contributors to the economy. According to the Official Website of Odisha Tourism Department, the state witnessed an inflow of 15,208,540 domestic and 110,818 foreign tourists in the year 2018. Odisha offers excellent accommodation options for tourists including resorts, luxury and budget hotels.

Odisha Tourism Quick Info

Capital Bhubaneswar
Official Language Odia
Area 155,707 square kilometer
Main Cities Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Puri, Rourkela, Brahmapur, Balasore, Baripada
Status State
Official Tourism Website http://www.odishatourism.gov.in
Major Railheads Bhubaneswar, Khurda Road Junction, Puri, Cuttack Junction, Sambalpur Junction, Brahmapur, Jharsuguda Junction, Titlagarh Junction, Rourkela Junction, Ambodala
Airport Biju Patnaik International Airport (Bhubaneswar), Veer Surendra Sai Airport (Jharsuguda Airport), Savitri Jindal Airport

History of Odisha

The discovery of prehistoric Acheulian tools in Odisha indicates that the region had human settlements dating back to the Lower Paleolithic era. It later became a part of the Kalinga kingdom. In the 3rd century BCE, Kalinga was conquered by Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya dynasty in the historic Kalinga War. After Ashoka’s rule, the kingdom was dominated by many other emperors and monarchs, including Samudragupta of Gupta dynasty, Shashanka of Gauda kingdom, and Harshavardhana of Vardhana dynasty.

Rulers from Somavamsi dynasty, Eastern Ganga dynasty, Gajapati dynasty, and other Hindu powers continued to rule the kingdom till it came under the control of the Sultanate of Bengal. The region was later integrated into the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. In 1803, the region was ceded to the East India Company. The British rulers formed the Bihar and Orissa Province in 1912 and declared Orissa a separate province in 1936. After India’s independence, 27 princely states aligned with the Orissa province. Orissa was renamed Odisha in 2011.  

Geography & Climate

Odisha remains bounded by four states: Jharkhand stands on its north, Andhra Pradesh on the south, West Bengal in the northeast, and Chhattisgarh on the northwest and west sides. The mighty Bay of Bengal bounds it on the eastern side. Mountain ranges cover a major part of the state. The state also has plateaus, islands, and rolling uplands. Mahanadi, Brahmani, Subarnarekha, Baitarani, Budhabalanga, and Rushikulya are the major rivers in the state.

The state has a tropical climate and remains warm almost throughout the year. Winters are pleasant in most parts of the state. The best time to visit Odisha is between November and February.  

Places to Visit in Odisha

  • Beaches: Chandrabhaga, Puri, Gopalpur, Talasari, Paradeep, Pati Sonapur, Konark, Chandipur, Ramchandi, Astaranga, Balramgadi
  • Temples: Puri Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Lingaraja Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Raja Rani Temple, The Leaning Temple of Huma, Ram Mandir, Dhabaleswar Temple, Chausathi Jogini
  • Historic Places and Monuments: Udayagiri-Khandagiri Caves, Barabati Fort, Churangarh Fort, Asoka rock inscriptions at Jaugada, Athara Nala, Vikramkhol Rock Inscriptions, Dhauli White Pagoda
  • Buddhist Sites: Pushpagiri, Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri, Chandragiri, Dhauligiri
  • Lakes: Chilika lake, Indravati Dam, Ansupa Lake, Hirakud Dam, Pata lake, Kolab Dam,
  • Wildlife Reserves and Zoological Parks: Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Nandankanan Zoological Park.
  • Waterfalls: Barehipani, Khandadhar, Badaghagara, Sanaghagara, Joranda Falls, Duduma
  • Hot Springs: Atri, Taptapani, Deulajhari, Tarabalo  
  • Museums: Odisha State Museum, Regional Museum of Natural History Bhubaneswar, Tribal Research Institute Museum, Odisha Crafts Museum, Archaeological Museum, Odisha State Maritime Museum

Cuisine of Orissa

The flavorful Odia cuisine makes less use of oil and spices. Rice is the staple dish of this cuisine. Food is cooked in mustard oil and yogurt is often used to flavor the dishes. Pakhala, Khichidi, Pulao, Chungdi Malai, Macha Ghanta, Dalma, Santula, Aloo Potala Rasa, Kadali Manja Rai, Besara, Dahi Macha, and Kankada Jhola are some of the mouth-watering items of this cuisine. Sweet treats like Pahala Rasagola, Chhena Poda, Rasabali, and Kheersagar make for tempting bites.

Shopping in Odisha

While in Odisha, you can find a lot of places to shop, including shopping malls and local markets. When it comes to things to buy in Odisha, you can make your pick from a host of vibrant handicrafts and other items, such as:

  • Jewelry with fine silver filigree work known as Tarakasi
  • Exotic handwoven fabrics
  • Sand sculpture
  • Patta Chitra
  • Appliqued wall hangings
  • Sambalpuri saree
  • Tussar paintings
  • Palm leaf engravings
  • Seashell handicrafts

Things to Do in Odisha

  • Pay your obeisance at the famous Jagannath Temple
  • Go bird and dolphin watching at Chilika Lake
  • Enjoy safari at Nandankanan Zoological Park
  • Explore the majestic beauty of Konark Sun Temple
  • Watch stunning sunrise and sunsets at the Odisha beaches
  • Visit the nesting sites of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
  • Go camping near a waterfall
  • Enjoy surfing at the Ramchandi beach

How to Reach Odisha

By Air:

The international airport in Bhubaneswar has regular flights that connect the state to several national and international destinations. These include Indian cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ranchi, etc., and international destinations like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

By Rail:

The East Coast Railway, South East Central Railway, and South Eastern Railway link Odisha to various parts of India through daily and weekly trains. The state has major railway junctions or stations including Bhubaneswar, Puri, Khurda, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Brahmapur, and Rourkela, to name a few. Superfast trains like Rajdhani Express, Jan Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express, and Sampark Kranti Express connect Odisha to other major cities.     

By Road:

Odisha has a well connected road network, thanks to the many national highways that pass through it. Some of the major national highways in the state are NH 5, 6, 23, 42, and 43. Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) is the state-run bus service that links Odisha to the neighboring states such as West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh. Private bus services also ply in and around the state. Tourists can also avail taxis to commute in and around the Odisha.

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