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The state of Orissa can be split into four distinct regions and they are West Odisha, Coastal Odisha, Central Odisha, and South Odisha. The shoreline of Orissa is quite extensive (around 480 km). There are many temples in Orissa and all of them were constructed in the Indo Aryan Nagara architectural pattern and the aspects characterize this particular territory in India. People come to visit the Jagannath Temple (Puri), Lingaraj Temple (Bhubaneswar), and Sun Temple (Konark) in large numbers. The seashores, meandering rivers, sparkling lakes, roaring waterfalls, and Eastern Ghats Mountain Range make Orissa truly special. The rock-cut sculptures, exotic handicrafts, textiles and applique work are quite popular among tourists. This is the state where you will find a blend of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain traditions. The most famous tourist attractions in the state of Orissa are as follows:
Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state, is a prime tourist attraction in the state. It is dubbed as the Temple City of the East. The expressions Bhuban refers to world and Iswar refers to God and it is famous for its architectural wonders that were built centuries ago. The city is perhaps one of its kind in the globe which permits visitors to get a genuine impression about the various phases of Hindu spiritual architecture. Bhubaneswar rightly features a blend of the glorious past with the contemporary. You will find themes related to monarchs, priests, religious devotees, attendants, aristocrats, loving couples, ethereal dancers, wild creatures and birds, and pictures from Hindu epics and myths.
Puri is the abode of Lord Jagannath and the location for the famous Ratha Yatra carnival. It is also one of the most famous beach resorts lying beside the Bay of Bengal. Puri is a place which can be visited round the year. Places to see in and around Puri include Sonar Gauranga Temple, Daria Hanuman Temple, Shri Jagannath Mandir, Indradyumna Reservoir, Gundicha Char, Chandan/Narendra Tank, Swargadwar, Loknath Temple, Sakshigopal Temple and the seashore.
The distance of Udaygiri Khandagiri from Bhubaneswar is around 7 km. It was set up by Kharavela, the third emperor of the Mahameghabahana Empire of Kalinga, during 1st-2nd century BC. The place was set up for the Jain preachers and houses outstanding instances of cave art. Don’t miss to visit Queen’s Cave or Ranigumpha and Hathigumpha or elephant’s cave in Udaygiri featuring two levels, wide patios, and very finely decorated frescoes that bear testimony to the classiness of the architectural patterns accomplished during the 1st century BC.
Cuttack is the hometown of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the famous freedom fighter. Also known as Silver City, Cuttack was the erstwhile capital of the state. It is known across the world for its silver filigree work and has a history spanning more than ten centuries. Visiting Bhubaneswar, Konark, Paradip, Puri and other tourist draws in the state is convenient from Cuttack due to its location.
While you are coming from Bhubaneswar and traveling on the Puri-Konark Highway, you will find the Dhauli Hill on the riverbanks of Daya. You will find the stone edict of Asoka (3rd century BC) which is bordered by the gentle foliage of paddy grounds. This edict commemorates the bloody battle which made Asoka a different person altogether. A peace pagoda was constructed in association with the Kalinga-Japanese Buddhist Sangha on the hill facing the edict and it is an outstanding contemporary landmark.
Konark is a pleasant seaside resort in Orissa which is also famous for its majestic Sun Temple. It was constructed in the 13th century and houses a massive visual representation of the chariot of the Sun which features 24 wheels and seven horses, depicting the segments of time. Don’t forget to visit the Natya Mandir, which is possibly the only relic of the magnificent mandirs of the state. This is a perfect instance of the architectural brilliance that was evident during the 13th century. There were 22 temples at one time but you will only find two of them now, and they are the Narasimhadeva and Vaishnadevi Mayadevi Temple. The delicate sculptures on the walls and chariot are noteworthy and unparalleled.
This is a famous botanical garden cum zoo in the capital city. Nandankanan Zoological Park covers a total area of 400 hectares and was set up in 1960. The zoo houses approximately 1,660 creatures comprising 120 species, including 54 varieties of birds, 42 varieties of mammals, as well as 24 varieties of reptiles. You will get to see white tigers and other endangered creatures like crocodilians, Asiatic lion, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, mouse deer and Indian pangolin.
It lies in the Kendrapara district and covers an area of 672 km2. It is a part of the wetland which also consists of the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The national park houses the imperiled saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Indian python, white crocodile, black ibis, king cobra, darters and various other varieties of flora and fauna. The wildlife sanctuary was set up in 1975 and the national park was carved out of it in 1998.
Gopalpur-on-sea or simply Gopalpur is a serene and captivating beach resort beside the Bay of Bengal. It forms a part of the Ganjam district and is a perfect location for surfing almost round the year. The picturesque seashore will definitely make you delighted.
It is a popular hill station and is dubbed as the Kashmir of Orissa. Lying in the Kandhmal district, Daringbadi has an elevation of 915 meters. You will definitely enjoy the picturesque valleys, pine forests and coffee orchards in this area. It is a perfect site for a summer holiday among the tourists. Belghar Sanctuary, Doluri River, Putudi Waterfalls, and Kotagarh Sanctuary are top tourist draws in and around the place.
Chandipur falls on the Howrah-Madras itinerary of the South Eastern Railways. The distance from Baleshwar or Balasore is 16 km. The seashore in Chandipur is famous and is a perfect location for a beach holiday.
Simlipal lies in the heart of Mayurbhanj district of Orissa and it is also the northernmost district of the state. The place houses Simlipal National Park, a famous wildlife reserve in the country. The wildlife refuge encompasses a huge woodland of 2,750 sq km. The diversity in geographical features and flora and fauna of the reserve is simply remarkable. It is also one of the oldest and most famous tiger reserves that belong to Project Tiger. You can see leopard, tiger, bison, elephants, hedgehog, sambar deer, flying squirrel, pangolin, hornbill, hill myna, and python.
This famous water body covers a total area of more than 1,100 sq km which makes it the biggest saltwater lake in India. Birdwatchers will particularly love this place since it draws a considerable number of migratory birds round the year. The flora and fauna of the lake are quite diverse and you will find plenty of algae and bushes in it. Other than these, you will get the opportunity to see prawns, fishes, spotted deer, blackbucks, jackals, foxes, jungle cat, hyena, rats, hares, as well as pachyura. There are a number of islands including Nalabana, Kalijai, Breakfast and Honeymoon Island. You can visit these islands, cruise on the lake, or go for short trips.
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