The temple city of India; Bhubaneshwar is an ancient city, an ancient capital, one of the holiest pilgrimage centers, of course, and the modern capital of Orissa. Rightly called the temple city, it at one time boasted of around 10,000 temples, of which a few hundreds still stand as a testimony to the glorious past.
A gentle reminder of the grandeur and splendor, Bhubaneshwar has rapidly moved into the age of technology and modernization, evident in the numerous new high-rise buildings, plush shopping complexes, countless computer and IT training institutes and availability of every major international brand of consumer goods. .
Bhubaneshwar, which was the ancient capital of he Kalinga Empire, goes back over 2000 years. At one time, the Bindu Sagar tank had over 7000 temples around it. Of these, 500 still survive, all built in the extravagant Orissan style.
The Oriyans lead a relatively secluded and archaic mode of life, keeping their core culture intact and reinforcing age-old traditions. They have retained their rich and varied cultural heritage, maintaining their own unique identity and distinctiveness through dance, music, poetry and literature.
One of the finest forms of Indian classical dance, the dance form Oddisi, is evolved out of spiritual consciousness and forms an essential part of the ritualistic services in the important shrines of Orissa. Devotional in spirit, it is marked for its elaborate grace and lyrical charm.
Spicy, tangy and choc-a-bloc with flavour is the Oriyan cuisine for you ? liberal doses of coconut milk, tempered with fiery mustard seeds transform ordinary vegetables into delicacies! What tops it all is the wide array of seafood cooked in a variety of styles. All the top-end hotels have excellent restaurants serving gourmet selections.
The shops sell a variety of textiles in both silk and cotton with the exquisite ikat and bomkai work. Filigree silver jewellery, bidriware and appliqu? handicrafts from Pipli are easily available.
In the heart of Orissa, a part of the temple triangle of Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark. Situated 441 km from Calcutta, 69 km from Konark and 58 km from Puri.
IA connects the city to Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Raipur. Biju Patnaik Airport: 3 km from the city centre; is the only major airport in the entire state. Tel: 0674-535 743
Well connected to Calcutta, Puri, Chennai, Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Tirupati and Trivandrum. Railway Station: Located in the centre of the city, in the crowded Master Canteen Square. Tel: 0674-532 232.
Both deluxe and regular buses ply to Berhampur (174 km), Chilka (110 km), Cuttack (24 km), Konark (69 km), Puri (58 km), Paradip, Rourkela, Sambalpur and other places. Interstate bus services operate daily between Calcutta and Puri via Bhubaneswar and Tatanagar (Jamshedpur). Bus Stand: 5 km from the city centre.
The proximity to the coast ensures an equable climate throughout the year. The summer maximum and minimum temperatures are 40?C and 30?C, while the winter high and low are 21?C and 16?C.
Surrounded by high walls on four sides, the Lingaraja temple is one of the most famous temples in Orissa. It is one of the best and splendid examples of the architectural excellence, which the artists had attained, during the 11th century. To the north of the temple, is the Bindusagar Lake. This lake adds grace to Bhubaneshwar and is very attractive to, not only tourists, but is popular as a picnic spot among the locals too. The scenic beauty of this lake is enhanced by the stones, which have been laid along the embankments.
Just 20kms from the city of Bhubaneshwar, is a national park called Nandankanan or the Garden of Joy. This park is famous, for a variety of animals and reptiles and the White Tiger and Gharial breeding center. The main attractions include endangered species, like the gorilla, crocodiles and white tigers. The recently launched Lion Safari is an added attraction in the park. Boating facilities are available.
7 Kms from Bhubaneshwar, the 135ft high Udaygiri and 118ft high Khandagiri Hills have ancient caves. Built by Kharavela, around the 1st and 2nd century BC, for Jain monks, they are excellent examples of Jain cave art. The Buddhist caves of Udaygiri and Parasnath temple of Khandgiri, along with pink Jain temples, are worth a visit. These extremely delicate designs are a witness to the sophistication, of the architectural styles as early as the 1st century BC.
16 kms from the city, is this unique beach in Balsore, where sea water recedes about 5 kms during low tides and advances to the shore line again, during high-tide, each day. It is a sulphur spring, the water of which is channels into a pond for bathing and piped into bathrooms of OTDC's Pantha Nivas. At present, it is in the news as a testing site for ISRO and DRDO.
10 Kms from Bhubaneshwar, is located the Shanti Stupa on the Dhauligiri hills. The Peace Pagoda is surrounded by a gorgeous image of Lord Buddha. It is at this place, that after emerging victorious, in the Kalinga war, that King Ashoka got alienated from war. The foothills are covered by green paddy fields, which is very soothing for the mind.
Spread over 1,100 sq. km., Chilka is the country's largest inland lake. Dotted with islands, it has the richest variety of aquatic fauna and is a bird watchers paradise, when migratory birds arrive in winter. One can view the dolphins at Chilika mouth near Satpara. Sunset and Sunrise are memorable experiences here. Boating, water sports and fishing facilities, are available in this lake, which is rich in fish. Located at 100 kms from Bhubaneswar, National Highway No. 5 runs along the lake and touches Balugaon, Barkul and Rambha. Buses and Taxis are available from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri and Berhampur to Chilka. For cruising and visiting the islands, one can make use of the motor launches of the OTDC. Private boats are also available.
It is 185 km, from Bhubhaneshwar and takes about 4 hours to reach it, There are roadside shops for refreshments, but better facilities are available at Balugaon, 105 km from Bhubaneswar and Barkul, at 110 km. Petrol pumps are in plenty. Road condition all along is good, and repair facilities are available. The Oberoi Palm Beach is recommended for a break. Activities include boating in country craft, walks along the beach and visits to places on the Chilika Lake, which is a two-hour drive.
THE MUSEUM AND THE ART GALLERY - The museum has a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, and traditional and folk musical instruments. The art gallery has a splendid collection of stone.
Located in the center of the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa, Simlipal is a wildlife park with immense natural beauty. One of the Project Tiger areas in the country, the sanctuary has provided perfect refuge to many endangered species. The national park has a crocodile research project at Jashipur. There are a variety of wild orchids here and is a treasure house, of many exotic species of flora too.