Orissa is one of the most astounding tourist places in India which allures vacationer from across the globe. The place with its ancient culture, sacred temples, blue hills, verdant valleys, lush booming forests and eye-catching beaches, create a magnetic effect amongst the traveler. The tranquil sea shores of Orissa, has been the most earnest destination for many travelers from India and abroad over the years.
Orissa is positioned in the eastern coast of India. It is located between 17° 49' north to 22°0 34' North Latitude & 81° 29' east to 87° 29' East Longitude. The state lengthens geographically to an area of 1, 55,707 Sq. Km. A total land of 58136 sq. km. is covered under forest. The coastline of Orissa is 480 km.
Orissa slices its border with four neighboring states. - Bihar in the north, Andhra Pradesh from the south, Madhya Pradesh from the western side, Bay of Bengal in the east and with West Bengal from the north-eastern side. In 1936 this place stamped out of Bihar.
The historical places, prehistoric temples, virgin seashores, monuments, lakes, wildlife sanctuaries, handicrafts, colorful fairs and festivals of Orissa has given this ordinary state an extra ordinary identity.
Orissa is admired by the devotees for the sacred temples which are here. This holy place has a paramount touch in its architecture as it is said that the pattern of the temples has is from the King Asoka's Kalinga representation of architecture.
Orissa is a very popular Hindu pilgrim destination and many myths are associated with its religious sanctuaries. Temples like the Jagannath Temple, Sun Temple, Lingraja Temple etc. are the most popular places where worshipers gather throughout the year.
Jagannath Temple: The most famous and one of the most hallowed pilgrimage of India is Jagannath Temple, where the lord of the universe Vishnu is being worshiped by the disciples. Jagannath Temple is located in the shoreline township of Puri. This temple was constructed in and aroind 12th century AD by Chodaganga, the king of the eastern Ganga empire.
This temple is 65m high, encompassing an area of 10.7 acres. The vicinity of Jagannath temple is together with two rectangular walls. The external part of the temple is called Meghanada Prachira, 200m (665 ft) by 192m (640 ft), where the inner enclosure is called Kurmabedha, 126m (420 ft) by 95m (315 ft). Other than this, there are thirty different smaller shrines, which encircle the main temple. There are about 36 conservative communities (Chatisha Niyaga), which render a defined inherited service to the divine being. More than 6,000 devoted priests are there in the temple for the service of the Lord. The holy festival Rath Yatra is celebrated in this temple every year with great vigor and devotion.
Sun Temple: Other than Jagannath temple, there is another religious place with greater significance and that is the Sun Temple of Konarak. In Hindu scriptures, Surya is considered as one of the significant holy being in India since Vedic period as described in the Rig Veda. Thus, this shrine has a greater value with its mythology and masterpiece of design and craftsmanship. It shaped like a large chariot of seven horses with twelve wheels, carrying the god Surya crossways to the heaven.
The Sun Temple at Konark was built in 13th century AD by the king Narsimhadeva, with an Oriya architectural touch. It is believed that after killing the demon Gyasur, Lord Vishnu placed his belongings at several places to tribute his victory. Lord Vishnu kept his Conch at Puri, Disc in Bhubaneshwar and Mace in Jajapur; and finally placed his lotus at Konark.
There are a few smaller places of worship situated in the neighborhood of the Sun Temple like the Siva lingas of Chitreswara, Rameswar, Tribeniswar and Utpaleswar etc.
The Lingraja Temple: The Lingaraj temple constructed during the 7th century is another popular destination for the Hindu devotees and is known for its excellent architecture and creativity.
Bhubaneswar: Bhubaneswar is the capital city which is also widely known as the â€œTemple City of Indiaâ€. Bhubaneswar, the abode of Tribhubaneswar or Lord Lingaraj is a significant Hindu shrine. Almost 500 magnificent temples stand as the evidence of the brilliance of the prosperous monarchy which emerged here years back. This holy pilgrimage has some other temples like Brahmeshwar Temple , Mukteswar Temple, Parasurameswar Temple, Rajarani Temple and each of them holds some historical importance for the state Orissa.
Orissa is not only an adobe of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, it is also popularly known for its Buddhist representations. The largest Buddhist monastery of Orissa is situated on the hills namely Khandagiri and Udaigiri which is located at an 8 km distance from Bhunbaneswar. Lalitagiri, Rantagiri, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda are some famous tourist places which represent the presence of Buddhist culture in Orissa.
Cuttack: Cuttack is one of the oldest cities of Orissa, and also the former capital of the state. Cuttack is the administrative headquarter of the state and is physically located at a convenient place which makes the movement of the tourists much easier.
Beaches & Lakes: Along with the historical places, Orissa is also blessed with approximately 500 km long shoreline. The place has some of the most stunning beaches like Balighai Beach, Ramachandi Beach, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Astarang Beach, Chandipur beach, Paradeep Beach etc. Amongst them the most alluring beach is located at Puri which attracts large number of nature lovers.
There are a number few lakes located at different parts of Orissa which hold the aesthetic beauty of the state. Chilika, Asia's largest briny water lake, is one of them. Chilka is the home for a number of migratory birds which are unarguably a delightful experience especially for the nature lovers. At the same time Chilka is considered to be one of the few places in India where one can see dolphins.
The forest area plays as host to a wide variety of ecosystem, counting the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. The scenic hills and lush valleys contain a number of spectacular streams and cascading waterfalls which are centers of attraction for the visitors who love to enjoy their solitude amidst nature. The Nandankanan Zoological Park is a must se place in Orissa. This wild life park houses a large number of wild animals like crocodiles, mouse deer, rattles and panthers etc.
Orissa is very well connected with the rest of India through rail, road and air. The internal transport of the state is also very well managed.
By Air: The Biju Patnaik Airport is the only airport of Orissa located at the capital city, Bhubaneswar. Regular airline services are available from this airport which connects this state to many major states and cities of India.
By Rail: One can find direct railway connectivity from Kolkata, Madras, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Trivandrum and Thirupati to Bhubaneswar on a daily basis.
By Road: The intra and interstate roadway connectivity is very smooth in Orissa; hence, this state is easily reachable from all neighboring states.
Other than visiting the pilgrim places in Bhubansawar and Puri tourists can enjoy the vibrant and buoyant beaches also. Just imagine a long drive on the sea coast or a slow walk beside the sea shore! The Puri beach is the hottest destination for sun bathing, water sports and a number of beach sports.
During daytime, you can go to the local shopping malls to purchase fashionable products. It will be a marvelous experience to do window shopping in the market. On the other hand, you can watch the cultural programs by visiting the cultural centers, theater halls/movie halls which are also found in the state. You will be glad to hear that Orissa tourist department has taken new plans to upgrade the state in unique way. Visitors will feel comfy and ecstatic to visit the cultural hubs in different parts of Orissa.
Situated on a coastal area, Orissa is blessed with natural beauties and architectural magnificence. People all corners of the globe come here to enjoy their vacations almost throughout the year. But the peak season for visiting Orissa can be the months between October and March. This is the period when the climatic condition of Orissa remains just perfect and in favor for tourism and visiting purpose
This is the season when many migratory birds to reach this state, nature boosts with greeneries all around and therefore, it is the apt time for eco tourism also. Those who are more interested for a holy trip they can book their ticket for Orissa during June or July when the famous Ratha Yatra is being held.
The history of Orissa can be described into three phases; ancient Oriya history, medieval history and the modern history of Orissa. According to the ancient history, Orissa was known as Kalinga and the civilization had its own unique cultures and traditions. The history stresses on the war that took place between the king of Kaliga and the emperor Ashoka. Ashoka was greatly moved by the sight of the naive people who lost their dear ones in the conflict between the two rulers. The Kalinga war impacted Ashoka to a great extent and he adopted Buddhism in order to spread peace and harmony all across. Durig the medieval period, Orissa was highly motivated by Tantrism which is a tribal style of worshiping. Orissa played an important role in the Indian Independence Movement and many of the inhabitants sacrificed their lives for their motherland.
Orissa observes three major seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. The maximum temperature recorded in summer is between 35-40° C and the minimum ranges between 12-14° C. The weather remains moderately warm during winter also except a few places which experiences temperature between 3-4° C. This state observes an average rainfall of around 150 cm during monsoon.