One of the most priceless gems of India that stays away from the glitz and glamour of the modern world, Odisha takes you on some off beaten tracks. With numerous architectural wonders and charismatic heritage sites, the state offers a wholesome holiday experience to the travellers seeking some moments of peace. The unspoiled beauty of Odisha is far from imagination and makes it a must visit destination on the map of India.
People of Odisha still preserve the originality of their cultures which makes them stand out of the herd. They come from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. The artistic skill of the Oriya artists is extremely popular and can be seen in murals, cloth and palm leaf paintings. Odisha also holds a wonderful architecture and sculpture, which make the state a beautiful masterpiece. The locals are deeply rooted to their local dance and music. Odissi is the local dance form of the state. There are also numerous theatrical performances like Pala, Daskathia, etc. depicting the interest of the people of Odisha in theatre. Though Oriya is the main language spoken in this state, many people also use Munda and Dravidian languages.
From Asia's largest brackish water of Lake Chilika to planet’s second largest mangrove forest at Bhitarkanika - Odisha is home to numerous blessings good enough to make nature lovers fall in love. It is a hub of ecotourism that lets you come close to nature. Visit Daringbadi, Odisha's very own Kashmir. Located at an altitude of 3000 ft, this is the only place in the state that experiences snowfall during peak winter months. Chilika Lake is another treasure trove of the state known for being Asia’s largest brackish water lake. Spreading over 1000 sq km, this lake is a paradise for bird watching, fishing and boating. The state also houses numerous wildlife parks that are known for being home to various wildlife animals apart from pristine flora.
In addition to this, the state is also known for featuring some of the most beautiful beaches that create a stir among travellers. Chandrabhaga Beach and Chandipur Beach are two highly renowned beaches of Odisha visited by honeymooners seeking some moments of solitude.
Odisha is a great destination to explore the wildlife. Visit Bhetnoi to spot herds of the endangered black bucks or explore Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary, known for housing cheetals, elephant herds, and Malabar. The Similipal Biosphere in Mayurbhanj district is also a must visit attraction for the lovers of wildlife. With a reserve forest area of over 2750 sq km, the Sanctuary is rich in biodiversity with Royal Bengal Tigers, 304 species of birds and plants. To spot from giant elephants living happily in their natural habitat visit the Chandaka-Dampara Sanctuary. Tourists can hop on one of the three watch towers here to explore the beautiful bird’s eye view.
Apart from this, Odisha also houses around 100-odd endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins that can be spotted at Satapada. Hire a boatman and relish a ride on the blue expanse of Chilika Lake to eye the beautiful Dolphins.
Thanks to the diverse topography, Odisha brings to you numerous adventure activities. Partake in angling at Chilka Lake or explore kayaking and canoeing at Dhabaleshwar and Barkul. The beaches of Odisha are best to surfing. The state hosts India’s first surfing festival that welcomes travellers from all over the country. Apart from this, trekking lovers can explore the Mahendragiri Trek, Gandhamardan Trek, and Nilagiri Trek to get an out of the world experience.
Odisha is home to plenty of religious destinations where serenity melts into spirituality. Jagannath temple is the most famous temple built in the twelfth century. The temple attracts the devotees of Lord Krishna and is counted among the Char Dham - four of the holiest pilgrimage sites of Hindu religion. Sun Temple, situated in Konark, is another renowned destination constructed in the shape of a huge chariot. There are many legends associated with this temple, making it an awe-inspiring retreat for humankind. Lingaraja Temple and Mukteshwara Temple of Bhubaneshwar are popular among the believers of Lord Shiva and house several lingams which are worshipped by all.
The locals markets of the state are well stocked with textiles and saris. Handloom weaving is the most common craft here in which the artists create magic with tussar, a variety of raw silk, silk and cotton. Also, do not miss a chance to bag Tarkasi, patachitra folk paintings, appliqu? work, stone carvings and brass artefacts that make the street markets of Odisha look vibrant.
Hot and spicy are two perfect adjectives to describe the food of Odisha. Vegetarians can relish 'dalna'- lentils cooked with vegetables. Other traditional gastronomic delights such as saga bhaja (fried spinach), kukuda tarkari (chicken cooked in gravy), chingudi tarkari (prawn curry) and khajuri khata are also must try dishes. Badi chura is another famous dish of Odisha cooked with chopped onions mixed in fermented black gram.
Rath Yatra at Puri is the biggest event in Odisha attended by thousands of devotees from all the parts of India. Other important festivals that draw streams of travellers to this culturally rich land are Kalinga Mahotsava, Durga Puja Odisha, Konark Dance Festival and Puri Beach Festival. All these festivities outline the cultures of the state in the most beautiful manner, making an everlasting impact on the travellers.
The best time to visit Odisha is from November to February, when the state remains drenched in the local festivals. This is also the coolest season of the state when sightseeing becomes much more fun. Summer season runs from April to June and can become hot for outdoor activities. Monsoon (July to September) is also not a favourable time to plan holidays to Odisha as the state experiences heavy rainfall. Whereas, post monsoon (October to December) the state again transforms into a blissful destination.
The only airport of Odisha is located in Bhubaneshwar which caters to domestic flights. The airport is well connected with Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad through frequent flights.
Also, Bhubaneshwar and Behrampore are the two railheads here accessible from Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. The state also enjoys connection with all the parts of the country through National highways and State highways.
Buses, mini buses, trains and cars are best ways to travel within the state. A meter gauge train line connects Bhubaneshwar and Puri.
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