Orissa, the land of ancient temples and monuments is one of the most fascinating and intriguing destinations of India. From its world heritage sites to the golden beaches and the amazing biodiversity, the state has so much to offer. Here are our favourite places to visit in Orissa.
Puri is one of the Char Dhams in India. The ancient temple of Lord Jagannatha is a famous sacred Hindu temple. The city welcomes millions of pilgrims around the year. Apart from its obvious religious importance, the Jagannath Temple is an awe-inspiring architectural splendor.
Puri is also known for its beautiful coastline dotted with sun-kissed beaches , making it a go-to place for a relaxing vacation by the sea. Watch the blue sky turn into a pale orange hue during sundown at the Puri Beach.
Chilika is a brackish water lake spread over three districts of Odisha. Situated near the Bay of Bengal, this lake is Asia’s largest salt water lagoon. The lake is a favourite of migratory birds and with more than 200 species flocking to it during the winters. It is truly a bird watching paradise.
The lake is also home to the Irrawaddy Dolphins. You can take a boat ride to say hello to these beauties. Towards the mouth of the lake, where it meets the sea, there is an uninhabited island known as the Crab Island, primarily because of an abundance of red crabs on its beach. The face of the island facing the sea has a beautiful white sand beach, with sand dunes on one side and a forest on the other. The best thing to do here is relax, soak in the beauty of nature, and live the moment.
The coast of Orissa in India is the largest mass nesting site for the Olive ridley in the world. If you are visiting Chilika Lake in Feb/March, you can see thousands of femal turtles emerging out of water to lay eggs on the beach at the mouth of Rushikulya River situated in the Ganjam district. A very interesting thing to note is that females return to the very same beach from where they first hatched; kind of returning back to their motherland.
Chandipur is famous for its vanishing sea. During the low tides, the sea recedes up to 5 km daily at low tide. This is the time when hundreds of red crabs crawl on its golden sands. The Casuarinas tree surrounding the beach and the white sand dunes add to the beauty of it.
Balaramgadi is a small fishing village located near the beach. Here, the Budhabalanga river flows into the Bay of Bengal. A major fishing harbour today, Balaramgadi at any moment of the day is full of large-sized fishing trawlers and small fishing boats anchored in the jetty. And if you are in the morning hours you find them unloading tons of fish from deep-sea fishing for auctions.
Konark, in the state of Orissa is renowned world over for the Sun Temple which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to the Sun God, this 13th century creation is a breathtaking specimen of artistic brilliance. The complex is in the shape of a gigantic chariot with great carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. The temple is immensely popular among the history and art lovers.
Along with the marvelous temples, the city has a serene beach which is known for the leisurely walks and observing the rising sun at the distant horizon.
Jeypore is a city in Odisha picturesquely set amidst hills. It is encompassed by hills of the Eastern Ghats and the more famous Araku hills on three sides and the western side opens up to Chattisgarh. The scenic waterfalls and amazing natural parks makes Jeypor one of the top places to visit in Orissa. Located on outskirts of the town, these waterfalls make for a great spot to click pictures, have a small family picnic or just relax and soak in gorgeous views. Some of the famous ones are the falls of Hathipathar, Duduma, Bagra and Shakti.
The wildlife enthusiasts are in for a treat as the area is in close proximity to several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Take a jungle safari through these parks or walk on unexplored trails and witness Odisha’s exciting flora and fauna.