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Top 5 Must See Tourist Places in Orissa, India
Orissa or Odisha, India
Orissa or Odisha is a State known for its rich heritage and there are a number of not-to-be missed attractions in Orissa that makes it one of the much sought-after tourist destinations in India. Apart from the natural charm, Orissa boasts of a number of religious sites that are closely related with Hindusm, Buddhism and Jainism. The incredible architectures of Jagannath temple, Lingraja temple and Mukteshwar temple and the splendorous Sun temple can create a lasting impact on the visitor.
Odisha is indeed a picturesque State with its gorgeous rivers, captivating Konark and Puri beaches, awe-inspiring temples, serene Chilka lakes, the boisterous Brahmani and Mahanadi rivers, alluring Bagra, Hathipathar and Duduma waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries. With so much to offer, it is no wonder that tourists flock to Orissa in such large numbers throughout the year. This is not to speak of the Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Udaigiri and Khandgiri Caves, Barabati Fort and Nine Planets' Shrine that are some renowned tourist sites. Orissa shares its borders with Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
Lingaraja Bhubaneshwar Temple
Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa, is situated in its eastern side and is home to many majestic temples and shrines. Bhubaneswar, fondly referred to as the Temple City of India, is a classic example how harmoniously age-old customs and traditions can co-exist with modern developments. Bhubaneshwar has several well-known religious shrines like Lingaraj Temple, Rajarani Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Brahma Temple and Parasumeswar Temple that draw a host of devotees from far and wide. Bhubaneshwar is an architecturally well planned city and boasts of luxuriant gardens and parks including Biju Patanaik Park, Gandhi Park, Cactus Garden, Forest Park and I. G. Park.
Bhubaneshwar also has several modern parks that offer the local citizens and tourists to explore the scientific world. For instance one can visit the Science Park, Info City, Pathani Samanta Planetarium, BDA Nicco Park and Fortune Tower.
Puri, known as the sacred abode of Lord Jagannath, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in entire India. It is situated on the eastern side of Orissa and lies about 60 km away from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. Puri is also known for its salubrious beaches and many holy shrines. Countless devotees swarm at the fine white sands to have a purification dip at the Bay of Bengal. The Puri beach has now become a favorite haunt of both Indian and foreign beach lovers. Located at a mere distance of 35 kms from the Sun Temple and 65 kms from Bhubaneshwar, the beach is an exciting place for a holiday maker.
Sun Temple, Konark, Orissa
Konark Sun Temple
One of the most astounding monuments of great religious significance and a true masterpiece of ancient architecture is the Sun Temple at Konark. The temple presents a magnificent view and it is designed in the shape of a gigantic chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels, riding the sky carrying the Sun God. Etymologically speaking, the name of Konark temple is a compound word - Kona meaning corner and Arka meaning the Sun.
Devotees believe that the Sun god is the supreme Lord of the Universe and the prime object of life-giving energy, the unfailing healer of diseases and a great benefactor of human desires. There are several smaller shrines in and around the Sun Temple. Besides the numerous temples and religious sites, the other major attraction of Konark is the Konark Beach, arguably one of the most enchanting beaches of India.
Lying on the eastern coast of Orissa and near the holy city of Puri, Chilka Lake is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions of Orissa. The source of the lake is the Mahanadi River, which drains into it. The Lake is a paradise for bird watchers and countless domestic and migrating birds dwell beside the Lake making the Lake picturesque to view. Chilka Lake is adored by many for its exotic splendor and is one of the largest lakes in entire Asia stretching over an area of 1,100 sq km. It is a scenic picnic spot and offers tremendous scope for boating, fishing and bird watching. The Lake has diverse ecological aspects with a variety of aquatic fauna and flora. Dotted with numerous islands, the lake offers an exceptionally beautiful panorama to the spectators.
Other chief attractions of Orissa
Udaigiri is a tourist of great significance as it is one among the three cities forming the Buddhist triangle in India. The city is home to Buddhist remnants including the monasteries of Madhavapura Mahavihara and many excavated Buddhist figurines. Ratnagiri is another notable Buddhist site that should not be missed. Situated on a knoll, the place looks enchanting bounded by brooks on all sides. It offers a splendid view of two large excavated monasteries. Dhauli Hills is of great historical significance as emperor Ashoka renounced war and embraced Buddhism here. The Lingaraja Shrine here is one of the most enchanting shrines and is devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple is festooned with enticing sculptures, stamped with spires.
Orissa is indeed an alluring land of sea, sand, splendid architecture, scenic lakes and fabulous temples along the long coastal stretch of the Bay of Bengal. This state attracts tourists from both India and abroad at all times of the year. The natural splendor of this land with affluent culture and heritage is simply incredible. No tour of India can be deemed complete without a few days’ sojourn in Orissa.