Odisha, the land of stately embodiments and architectural grandeur caressed by the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, beckons you. Visit, discover, and experience the utmost compelling and irresistible offerings in store to enliven the passion.
Renowned world over for its extraordinary spectacles, Odisha - the ancient kingdom of the valiant Kalinga - is located along the Bay of Bengal on the eastern coast of India. This exotic state dotted across the length and breadth by manifold charms, is cocooned between the Eastern Ghats (range of hills) on the west and the Bay of Bengal on the east. The state proudly possesses a rich legacy and a truly magnificent cultural heritage. Both the people of Odisha and the language of the state are fondly called Odia. Odisha is gifted with all forms of arts which are enormously appreciated by domestic and international audience. Odisha can be divided into four distinct tracts – the Coastal Plains, the Eastern Ghats, the Northern Plateau and the Central Hilly Region. The northern plateau and the forest areas of central Odisha are home to several tribal groups.
Odisha is among the most colorful and culturally rich states of India. It is widely known for its fascinating cultural heritage, amazing temples and monuments, and spectacular architecture. Odisha tourism rides the wave of tourism progression in India with enthralling natural resources and cultural embodiments. Tourism in Odisha has many hues and flavors. Bhubaneswar the capital city is known for the elegant temples that dazzles its landscape. The classical dance form Odissi – one of the oldest in the country- is a dilettante’s delight and has connoisseurs across the globe. Contemporary Odisha has a rich and enchanting cultural heritage as a result of the assimilation of three great religious traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The indigenous culture of the Adivasis (tribes) is an integral part of the modern cultural expressions of Odisha.
The State has some of the most vibrant forms of music and dance. Odisha also has a marvelous tradition of folk and tribal dances such as the martial ‘Chhau’ of Mayurbhang, Chaiti Ghoda, and Danda Nata. Odisha casts a spell by playing host to some of the exhilarating events of India such as the Konark Dance Festival, Puri Rath Yatra, Beach Festival at Puri and much, much more.The list is exhaustive with splendid variety. Events have been for a longtime a big draw for tourists in Odisha.
Odisha Tourism Department devised a soulful campaign to entice tourists to the exquisite destinations in the state. The campaign that worked magic pan India and abroad under the banner Scenic Serene Sublime is instrumental in carving a niche image for the state. The avenues pepped up for tourists’ enjoyment in the heritage sites are aplenty. There are invigorating ethnic shows, cultural evenings, sound and light shows, craft melas, and food plazas that amuse the visitors.
Odisha dots a prominent place in the tourism map of India owing to its throbbing cultural assets. The state is rich in cultural diversity and showcases events ranging from community events to promotional events. Festivals of Odisha have a distinct charm and woo hordes of tourists. The State’s arts and crafts offer visitors indelible experiences of its cultural artefacts, remarkably manifested in its Patta paintings, silver filigree, Ikat silks, and stone carvings. Raghurajpur is an idyllic rural tourism destination (configures as a designated rural tourism site accredited by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India) and along with another picturesque village Pipli, brings alive the old world ecstasies and traditions on to an exciting canvas. The three beautiful temple towns Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Konark, which are the pride of the state, form an alluring triangle to inspire the tourists.
Odisha is a land with a plethora of indoor and outdoor festivals at various scales. In Odisha, festivals are the most potent cultural symbols of the people that reflect their ecstatic spirit, venerable rituals, riveting customs, beliefs, and traditional outlook.
The list of well-known festivals promoted with the pro-active support of the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Odisha configure among others: Car Festival, Konark Dance Festival, Puri Beach Festival, Toshali National Crafts Mela, Gopalpur Beach Festival, Chandipur Beach Festival, Kharavela Mahotsav, DhanuYatra (Bargarh), Bali Yatra, Kalinga Mahotsav, Adivasi Mela (Tribal Festival), Sarkosia Festival, Buddha Mahotsav, Sand Arts Festival, Rajarani Music Festival, Mukteswara Dance Festival, Sambalpur Parab (Tribal Festival) at Korapur, Mondei at Navarangpur, to name a few. These festivals are so captivating as to overwhelm the tourists due to the sheer beauty, colour, magnitude, and mass movement of the people. The Government of Odisha also facilitates the grand special festivals such as the International Sand Arts Festival at Puri and Chandrabhaga to highlight the importance of native flavors.
Odisha’s landscape is quite hypnotic for visitors who love nature, sprawling grasslands, dense forests, and rousing wildlife, where a few days of tranquility and serenity is what Odisha offers in its National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries. The nature trails are a visual treat. Ecotourism is gaining traction in the nature-based tourist spots, National Parks, and Wildlife Sanctuaries. Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lake in Asia lies Southeast of Puri, encircled by majestic hills. It spreads over a vast 1100 square kilometers and a narrow inlet connects it to the Bay of Bengal. It is a sanctuary for resident and migratory avian species of a wide variety. Water transport by boats has been arranged to take tourists crossing to Satapada Island where dolphins can be spotted sizzling around at the entrance to the sea. Bhitarkanika National Park has large mangrove forests and supports a large variety of birdlife including storks, egrets, six species of kingfishers, white ibis, and migratory ducks from Siberia. The neighboring Gahirmatha coastal region is where the giant Olive Ridley Turtles flock in by thousands each year all the way from the Pacific to lay eggs on the beach. Hot sulphur springs at Atri (about 40 kilometers from Bhubaneswar), Taptapani (50 kilometers from Berhampur), Deulajhari and Tarabela believed to have medicinal properties, enraptures the tourists.
Set up in the year 1980, the North Simlipal National Park is spread over 845.70 sq. km. in Mayurbhanj district. The verdant valleys and extensive hill ranges offer stupendous vistas. The vast forest is nourished by many rivers, perennial brooks, and waterfalls. Simlipal is famous for its elephants. Other faunal species found here are tiger, leopard, monkey, langur, wild boar, sloth bear, wolf, gaur, chital, mouse deer, chausingha, flying squirrel, crocodile, hyena and jackal. In addition, 281 avian species have been identified in the park which includes migratory birds. Hornbills and lull myna are profoundly attractive. October to May is the peak season for visiting Simlipal. Many eco-friendly cottages have been provided in the park at different locations at Chahala, Nawana, Joranda and Jashipur. Private accommodation is also available at Baripada and Jashipur.
Handicrafts of Odisha have an enamouring quality. The most popular arts and crafts of Odisha are handloom weaving including Tussar, a fine light silk, Ikat, Bomkai, and Sambalpuri (saris), Tarkashi (delicate silver filigree work), Patachitra, applique work, stone carvings, brass and bell metal work, and hone work. A visit to Raghurajpur Crafts Village near Puri, where Patachitra and stone carvings have been made for generations in every home is a rewarding experience for tourists.
History buffs, heritage enthusiasts, and art lovers are exposed to a grand treatise in the three museums in Bhubaneswar: the Odisha State Museum, the Handicrafts Museum, and the Tribal Research Museum which are rich repositories of sculptures, coins, copper plates, armoury objects, rare palm leaf manuscripts, lithic and bronze age implements, paintings, tradition folk and music instruments and similar objects. Other places of historical eminence near Bhubaneswar are Udaigiri and Khandagiri Caves, Ashokan Edicts at Dhauli, Nandankanan Zoo, Barunai, Hirapur, and Arti.
So come and brace yourself to be overwhelmed by Odisha!