Designed to be a huge chariot for the Sun God Surya, the intricately carved Sun Temple was constructed in the 13th century. It stands 30 meters high on 12 massive wheels. Erotic carvings similar to those on the Khajuraho temples are a renowned feature.
The capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar is most famous for its temples (there are over 700, mostly devoted to Lord Shiva) including the largest temple in the state -- the Lingraj Mandir. The motley collection of caves cut into the hillside on the outskirts of the city is another popular attraction. They were once home to Jain aesthetics. The most interesting ones can be found at Udayagiri (Sunrise Hill). The complex is open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. If you're interested in natural medicine, the ethereal Ekamravan garden of medicinal plants is notable and well worth visiting.
Puri is located on the beach, but don't go there expecting a beach paradise. Fine white sands, roar of the breakers rolling in from the Bay of Bengal and countless devotees flocking the place for a purification dip are the synonyms to the Puri Beach. The beach has continued to be a sacred venue for an endless number of pilgrims coming to pay homage to Lord Jagannath. The imposing Jagannath Temple is only open to Hindus, but the roofs nearby buildings offer decent views (for a small fee). Puri is also a good place to organize tribal tours and day trips.
Odisha is a state in that's renowned for its handicrafts. There are two villages between Puri and Bhubaneswar that you can visit where the residents are all artisans. They are interesting places to interact with the artisans, see demonstrations, and of course buy their beautiful handicrafts.
If you want to spend time amongst nature, head to the remarkable Chilika Lake. Asia's largest brackish water (a combination of sea and fresh water) lagoon is an ecological wonder spanning around 1,000 square kilometers. It's full of wildlife, particularly fish and migratory birds from far off lands. There are even dolphins! The Lake also has a number of islands. Grassroutes Journeys offers eco-friendly Chilika Lake camping trips and birdwatching cruises. Also check out Mangalajodi Ecotourism.
There are more than 60 tribal communities in Odisha. These ancient people with mystical ancient ways dwell in Odisha's remote, deep forests and hilly interiors. Most of them are in the southwest part of the state. Visiting the tribes can be a fascinating experience, but you'll need to go on an organized tour. Some tribal areas are quite inaccessible and require permits, and language is also a barrier. Heritage Tours are professional and knowledgeable. Also try community-based Grass Routes Journeys in Puri. During a tribal tour of Odisha, you'll get to mix with the local tribal people and learn their lifestyles. Tours run for at least five nights/six days, due to the amount of travel involved. Or, travel independently and stay at boutique Chandoori Sai Guest House in the heart of tribal Odisha.
You could be forgiven for not knowing about the sacred Buddhist sites in Odisha (Odisha). After all, they've only been excavated relatively recently and are largely unexplored. The sites consist of a series of monasteries, temples, shrines, stupas, and beautiful sculptures of Buddhist images. Their rural setting, amongst fertile hills and paddy fields, is both picturesque and peaceful.
Casuarina trees, sand dunes, and a tide that receeds out for miles all make Chandipur Beach special. This little known beach is the place to come if you want a tranquil beach getaway. Of course, if you're looking for crystal clear water and golden sand, there are better beaches in India. However, this one is unique! It's also very safe. Chandipur Beach is readily accessible by train from Bhubaneswar, and also Kolkata in West Bengal.
Located in the estuarial region of Brahmani-Baitarani, in the north-eastern place of Kendrapara district of Odisha (Orissa), the sanctuary covers an area of 672 square kilometers of mangrove forests and wetland.
Apart from the Mangroves, another rarity that the sanctuary has to its account is the inhibition of its ecosystem by the Giant Salt Water Crocodiles and numerous varieties of other animal species. It is because of these specialties only that a vast expanse of forest around 145 square kilometers has been officially declared as the Bhitarkanika National Park. This park including mangrove forests, creeks, estuaries, rivers, accumulated land, backwater and mud flats is very significant for the ecological, biological and geomorphologic background of Odisha (Orissa).
A small village enveloped in a blaze of color, 15 km South of Bhubaneswar, on the highway to Puri, is home of applique work. The craft originated to serve temples, providing intricately stitched colored awnings and covers for deities and hangings for festival days, details on the craft.
One of the prominent Odisha attractions, Mahendragiri is situated in the Parlakhemundi area of Gajapati district. Placed at an altitude of 5000 feet above the sea level, Mahendragiri offers a breathtaking view of the picturesque surrounding regions.
Exotic mountain ranges, lush evergreen forests, the swift flowing rivulet of Mahendra Tanaya and the pleasant weather represent the beautiful place of Mahendragiri. Far from the hustle bustle of the maddening crowd of the cities, the serene and calm surrounding of Mahendragiri relieves the tourists from the stress and strains of daily mundane life.
Former capital of Odisha and now its business capital, Cuttack, is also one of the ancient cities of the state. Ancient monuments apart, Cuttack has a wide range of tourist attractions as it is home to picturesque destinations and pilgrim centers. It is famous for handicrafts too.Puri is located on the beach, but don't go there expecting a beach paradise. Fine white sands, roar of the breakers rolling in from the Bay of Bengal and countless devotees flocking the place for a purification dip are the synonyms to the Puri Beach. The beach has continued to be a sacred venue for an endless number of pilgrims coming to pay homage to Lord Jagannath. The imposing Jagannath Temple is only open to Hindus, but the roofs nearby buildings offer decent views (for a small fee). Puri is also a good place to organize tribal tours and day trips.