Orissa | Odisha – The Land Of Temples
Travel to Orissa, an ideal amalgamation of Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu cultures, in order to experience the beauty of the state. Spend your holidays in Orissa touring the vast landscape of the state. Formerly known as the Kalinga, Orissa is a kind place for devotees. Bringing together the ethnic world, Orissa is an enticing state to be in. Rich and vibrant culture which is echoed by the colorful and lively people, festivals and dance and music and the bazaars that are held in the city, also its past glory is experienced through the impressive forts and palaces. Orissa travel in order to explore the fascinating tourist attractions of the state.
Orissa, the lush green state, girdled by the Bay of Bengal, has seen some of the best fusion of traditional Indian art in its many temples and monuments and has been able to preserve much of it, in an environment natural to its wonder and attractions. It was in Orissa, that Buddhism found some of its strongest exposure and cult following. However, it was Hindu art that dominated the landscape, eventually, and resulted in the profusion of temple traditions, that have endured till now. Most of the state’s attractions are close to each other, and convenient access is provided out of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. The capital itself is an intriguing amalgam of the old and the new, an emerging modern Indian city, that is steeped in the roots of the traditions of its glorious past, without being overwhelmed by it.
Fast Facts :
Area: 155,707 sq km
Population: 34.2 million
Languages spoken: Oriya, Bengali, Hindi, English, etc.
Best Time to visit: November to March
Major Cities: Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Konark
State Emblem: Warrior and the Horse sculpture from the Konark Sun Temple
State Song: Bande Utkala Janani (I Adore Thee, O Mother Utkala!)
State Animal: Sambar deer (Cervus unicolor)
State Bird: Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis)
State Reptile: Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
State Tree: Indian fig tree (Ficus racemosa)
State Flower: Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca)
Also Read: Utkal Diwas
Tourist Attractions :
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the “Temple City of India“. Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or ‘Lord Lingaraj‘, Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage center. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of the Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years.
The temple has contributed the word ‘Juggernaut’ to the English language. The fame of Puri is mainly due to this 12th-century temple. The annual Rath Yatra is a considerable tourist attraction. Within its precincts are the smaller temples of Vimala, Lakshmi, Vishnu, and of innumerable gods and goddesses.
The Rajarani temple, dating back to the eleventh century, is set in open paddy fields, and the entire structure exudes grace and elegance. The name of the temple has been the subject of much debate. The most likely explanation is that the name is related to the lovely red-and-gold sandstone used in its construction, a stone that is known locally as raja rani.
Other than the attraction of its glorious beach, Puri by the sea is a major pilgrim center in India. Adi Shankara founded one of the Peethas here. Puri’s beach, a major draw, is ideal for swimming and surfing.
Also read: Odissi Dance
The Sun Temple or the Konark Temple is an extant example of Indian devotion to the Sun-the God of all gods, the very source of life itself. Built as an architectural marvel in the 13th century, here a colossal image of the chariot of the sun, drawn by seven horses and 24 wheels symbolizes the divisions of time. The Sun Temple of Narasimhadeva is a depiction in stone of the life of those times – Royal, Social, Religious, and Military. The sun temple according to the world-famous poet Rabindranath Tagore, “The language of stone, defeats the language of Man.”
Mukteswara Temple was built in the 10th century. It is well known for its stone arch at the entrance and is richly sculpted. With tales from the Panchatantra carved on it, the temple is a magnificent example of Orissan architecture.
Getting There :
- By Air: Bhubaneswar is the only civil airport in the state. It is well connected by regular flights to different parts of the country.
- By Rail: Bhubaneswar and Puri are the major railway junctions for Orissa. There is an extensive railway network connecting Orissa to the other parts of the country.
- By Road: The National Highways 5, 6, 23, 42, and 43 passes through Orissa. The good road network connects well with the other parts of the country as well as different places within the state.