Things to Do in Orissa

Mostly famous for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples, Orissa is a beautiful Indian state on the Bay of Bengal. Orissa boasts of a traveler’s paradise being a home to a plethora of tourist attractions that include temples and sanctuaries, beaches and waterfalls, hot springs and lakes, wildlife that is visually intriguing, crafts that are vibrant and the numerous enthralling festivals. Orissa has got it all for mesmerizing the inquisitive tourist. Offering a visual feast, Orissa is a land of paradoxes and boasts of natural bounties lend by blu-hued hills of the Eastern Ghats and rural tranquility. The most popular cities for tourism in Orissa are Bhubaneshwar, Konark and Puri, each one of them exuding rich cultural legacy in the form of brilliant architectural landmarks. Fondly called by tourists as a land of myriad marvels, there are innumerable places and things to do in Orissa that can provide an experience to remember for a lifetime. Visit the historic caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri known for their impeccable sculptures or lose yourself to placid thoughts with a stroll along the pristine Chandrabhaga Beach. History buffs will cherish a visit to the beautiful Konark Sun temple while devotees can seek blessings at the famous Jagannath Temple.

Those who love birdwatching, Chilika Lake could be an ideal place to visit in Orissa whereas shoppers can find their love at Pipli in Orissa. Nandankan Zoological Park, Bhitar Kanika Wetland and Simlipal National Park are apt places for wildlife enthusiasts in Orissa. To learn about real Orissa, it is advisable to take a tribal tour and explore the true facet of tribal life in India. When in Bhubaneshwar, visit the Lingaraj Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, Brahmeshwar Temple and Dhauli. Some of the popular waterfalls in Orissa are Barehipani Waterfall, Putudi Falls, Khandadhar Falls and Harishankar Falls that will give you an interesting perspective of nature. Here is a quick view on some spectacular things to do in Orissa, which you can partake in on your vacation here.

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Shree Jagannath Temple

It was built in the 12th century by the ruler of the Ganga Dynasty. The most famous festival of Ratha−Yatra is held here. The main deities worshipped here are Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. The temple serves as a mysterious historical structure built millennia ago. People visit Odisha to gain blessings of Lord Jagannath.

The temple is built on a raised platform in the heart of the city. Enclosed with walls about seven metres high. It is believed that birds do not fly over Jagannath temple because there is Garuda, which scares the birds away, and there is no bird in the region that can fly higher than the Jagannath Temple. There are also rules of visiting the temple, and foreigners and non-Hindu are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum. Those born Hindu are the only ones allowed inside the temple.

Location: Bhanumati Way, Puri, Odisha 752002.

Timings: Open 24 hours.

Chilika Lake

The most abundant saltwater lake and coastal lagoon in India. Located 44kms from Puri. It is the most significant ground for migratory birds. It is flooded with all species of birds like; heroines, sea eagles, jacana, Flamingoes, and gray lay geese. This makes the lake a delight for bird watchers. It is also the home of the largest breeding colonies of flamingos.

It is one of the supportive ecosystems in the name Chilika lake Sanctuary. It also houses Irrawaddy dolphins that differ from the other dolphins with their color and dorsal fin.  The best time to visit Chilika lake is from November to February as it is the season for migratory birds, and one gets more exceptional views of the lake. It is merely one of the places to see in Puri.

Chilka Lake is spread over Khurda, Ganjam and Puri districts of Odisha.

Talasari Beach
A pristine escape from the chaotic life of cities, Talasari Beach is located in Baleswar district of Odisha. The spectacular beach greets you the river banks of Subarnarekha river which finally flows into the Bay of Bengal. Here, you can witness some of the most untouched beaches which will enchant you with palm trees, coconut trees and cashew trees adorning the coastline.

One of the best tourist places in Orissa, the beach is flocked by many fishermen and has stayed away from the tourist map. If you like doing photography in the calm waters, this beach will offer many opportunities to get some Insta-worthy snaps.

For a superb experience, a boat ride or a quick swim will help you forget all the worries of life. After an adventure, you can look forward to enjoying seafood like crabs and fish in the nearby restaurants which are procured from the fresh produce.

Highlights: Seafood, beaches, boating etc.

Best Time to Visit: October to December.
Located in Southern Odisha, Gopalpur is a prominent coastal town of Gopalpur by the coast of Bay of Bengal. It attracts a number of tourists throughout the year to enjoy a slice of serene life. It was a popular trading centre during the British reign and still known as a vibrant hub for commercial activities.

It is a haven for religious travellers and has many popular places to visit in Orissa like Maa Tara Tarini Hill Shrine, Bala Kumari Temple and Sri Sri Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Pitha. For the lovers of sand and sun, there is the Sonepur Beach, Aryapalli Beach and the Gopalpur Beach for the visitors. To take a break in the middle of a plethora of wildlife, the city has the Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary and Bankeswari.

Highlights: Religious tourism, beaches, fishing etc.

Best Time to Visit: October to April.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the most popular tourist places in Orissa, Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is found on the gorgeous banks of River Mahanadi. This sanctuary is renowned for the presence of gharial which is a species of crocodile along with many other animals like tigers, pangolins, leopards, spotted deer, rhesus, macaques etc.

There is Gharwale sanctuary here which has made a name to be a preservation centre for gharials along with the Tikarpada Crocodile Sanctuary which is well-known for its landscape of forests and wildlife.

Adventure lovers here can look forward to many amazing activities like river rafting, trekking, fish angling, boating etc. A tranquil escape from the buzz of cities, tourists here can also enjoy camping after taking permission from the forest department.

Highlights: Nature, photography, wildlife spotting, trekking, camping etc.

Best time to visit: December to April.
Simlipal National Park
Sprawling over an area of 2700 square kilometres, Simlipal National Park is a wonderful respite for all nature lovers. It was once famous as a hunting ground and known to be bestowed with a rich diversity of forests, waterfalls and rivers.

The biodiversity in this national park is breathtaking and makes it a paradise for all nature lovers. It is blessed with more than 1000 species of colorful plants and offers a serene getaway for everyone.

The presence of the beautiful Barehipani Falls and Joranda Falls makes it a blessing for all the adventure seekers in Simlipal National Park. Moreover, wildlife lovers will be excited to see a number of elusive creatures roaming around like elephant, langur, python, crested serpent eagle, grey hornbill etc.

Highlights: Nature, waterfall, birdwatching, wildlife etc.

Best time to visit: November to Mid-June.
Known to leave you spellbound with its splendid applique work in items like handbags, dress materials, cushion covers etc, Pipli is one of the best places to see in Orissa for art lovers. The city was established in the 10th century AD under the rule of Somavamsi dynasty.

It is believed that it was established by the King of Puri by engaging craftsmen in Jagannath temple of Puri. One of the popular events that is held in this city is the annual Ratha Yatra where you can see the pipli work used to decorate the chariots of Lord Jagannath.

The applique work here is known around the world and predominantly created by Muslim artisans. If you are a shopping lover, you will love to shop for many items like wall hangings, lanterns, bags, pouches, bedspreads etc as a souvenir.

Highlights: Shopping for applique work and handicraft items.

Best Time to Visit: January to April and July to December.
A popular town in Odisha, Daringbadi is well known for its beaches and temples. The city is believed to be named after Daring Saheb, a British official who was in charge of this region. Perched at an elevation of 3000 feet, it is sometimes called the Kashmir of Odisha.

The tranquil hill station lets you enjoy a quiet stay with your loved ones admiring a splendid landscape of trees and valleys. Blessed with stunning flora and fauna; this hill station is a great escape for all the nature lovers. With many colourful meadows, waterfalls and rolling hills, this hill station will help you take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Some of the popular places to see in Daringbadi are Madubanda and Badangia waterfalls, Hill View Park, Doluri river, Butterfly Garden, Belghar Sanctuary, Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Rushikulya river. Tourists here can enjoy varied experiences that include trekking, camping and picnicking.

Highlights: Nature, photography, camping, trekking etc.

Best time to Visit: Throughout the year.

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