Location : Eastern part of India
Capital City : Bhuvaneshwar
Major Attractions : Jagannath temple, Beaches, Konark Sun Temple
Mostly Visited For : Rath Yatra, Konark Dance Festival
Konark Sun Temple In Orissa - A Poetry In Stone
If you want to relish a completely different holiday sitting in the cradle of a culture that traces its origin quite a hundred centuries back, but still competes with metropolitans to snatch the apple of modernity, come to the eastern shores of India. A sprawl of 500 km along the Bay of Bengal, Orrisa offers a splendid amalgamation of rural tranquility with boisterous modern adroitness for a fun-filled vacation. Kissed by the pearly waters of the Bay of Bengal and crowned by the heavily forested hills of the Eastern Ghats, the heart of Indian culture promises an out-of-the-world experience to every traveller. It is a land that still caresses the bygone Indian culture and tradition, long forgotten by modern men. Tourists come and they fall in love with Orissa. And there are many reasons to do so.. It has long known the gaiety of the famous Rath Yatra. It reflects in the sensuous 'mudras' of Odissi dance, in the space-dyed warps and wefts of intricate 'ikat' weaves, in the mindblowing applique work of Pipli, the vibrant tribal culture that amazes every tourist, the precious wetland treasures and an endless Buddhist trail..what more do you want for a holiday?
Odissi Dance During The Dance Festival At Konark
The capital of the state of Orissa and also of the ancient kingdom Kalinga, a melting pot of the present and the past, Bhubaneswar's bustling modernity reverberates with echoes of the past. Long before you reach Bhubaneswar, you will be greeted by three monumental spires that dominate the Oriya skyline - Lingaraj Temple, white-domed Peace Pagoda of Dhauli Hill and the pink temple of Mahavir Jina on the Khandagiri Hill - an unsurpassable signature of secularity. Truly called the Temple City, the sacred land of Bhubaneswar (Lord of the Universe) is peppered with numerous temples that provide an impressive record of Kalinga style of architecture from inception to maturity, representing 1000 years of spiritual heritage. Remember to visit the four storey Orrisa State Museum to see an overwhelming collection of traditional dresses, ancient weapons, stuffed animals, musical instruments and hand looms and handicrafts of rural Orissa.
The abode of Lord Jagannath needs little introduction to a Hindu devotee. Nor to the traveller or reveller, for Puri is the most popular sea-side town of eastern India. The 12th century Jagannath temple with its highest spire is also famous for its humoungus kitchen, the largest of its kind in the world. To appreciate its scale, imagine this: 6000 temple servitors are engaged directly in the lord's service here, the temple kitchen feeds 10,000 people daily (and some 25,000 on festival days)! Just the place for a perfect holiday amidst colourful festivals round the year, Puri is famous for its celebrated annual festival of chariots, the world famous Jagannath Rath Yatra. Held in the beginning of monsoon, it has been attracting pilgrims and tourists from all over the world for centuries. Needless to say, the atmosphere is electric, both divine ecstasy and eternal solemness reigning together as the mundane world of pilgrims makes way for the buisness of heaven with the chariot.
Spend your holiday evenings on the sun-kissed and sea-drenched beachfront of Puri, doubtless the most bustling in the state, full of souvenir stalls, bathers, fishermen and pilgrims taking a holy dip. It seems as if the whole of India has clustered on the golden sands. You can also enjoy a grand stay in any of the luxurious beach resorts that bedeck the sands of Puri Beach. The beach is also famous for exquisite sand arts that are an amazement to see. If lucky, you can even spot a professional artist indulged in making exotic sand arts right in front of your eyes. You can also see children and amateur artists trying their hands in this activity while sitting on the shore, enjoying "Jhaalmoori", 'chats' and ice creams. One can also find dancing monkeys, fortune tellers and mobile vendors selling fragrance sticks, toys and items made up of sea shells.
The epitome of Orissan architecture and sculpture, the
Konark Sun temple was built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva.
Praised as a poetry in stone, the Sun Temple portraying the golden chariot
of the sun god with 12 wheels drawn by 7 horses, is now a World Heritage
Site. Though much of the temple is in ruins, enough still remains to
impress any tourist with the glory of Orissa's distinctive temple
architecture. Take a leisure walk around the temple and you will be
overwhelmed to see scenes of love and war, trade and court transactions,
hunting, catching elephants, sages, childbirth, amorous dalliances,
dancers and mythical figures, all vying for attention on the panels and
niches of this immortal work of art frozen for a moment on the shores of
Plan your vacation trip during the first week of December, and you can be a part of the world famous Dance Festival, a joint effort by Orrisa Dance Academy and Eastern Zonal Cultural Center, Kolkata to bolster Indian classical art in the global market. The mindblowing dance extravaganza calls for eminent dance performers from all corners of the world and is a breathtaking sight of Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Chau and resurrection of ancient dance forms like "Abhinaya Chandrika"- an opulent jubilee that will surely leave you mesmerised.
Orissa's classical dance form, the Odissi is a magnificent expression of art that entices every tourist. The most extravagant dance performance is carried out in front of Lord Jagannath, as an expression of the dancer's total obeisance to the Lord - a poetic embellishment of grace and visual delight. This ancient dance form that traces its origin to 1st century BC was originally a temple dance form, that later, under the patronage of kings evolved as a fantastic record of art. Enjoy beholding the ambrosial damsels, creating magic with statuesque 'mudras' with a mesmerising euphony of 'basuri' (flute) and 'mridangam' in the backdrop.
Orissa Tribes Participating In The Chaiti Ghonda Dance Form
The wonder of Orissa is the subliminal integration of her exotic past with her contemporary present, creating a rural bossom that emerges from the womb of a constant factor called change. Still a relatively rural culture, Orissa's urbanisation has not broken its linkages with the richness and complexity of its traditional heritage. There are around 62 tribal groups, each with a distinct identity. With a memorable visit to the tribal villages, you can experience a completely different life untouched by modernity. See the jaw-dropping 'Chhow' and the 'Chaiti Ghonda' dance forms that has become an integral feature of their lifestyle. The renowned 'patachitra' is a forgotten art, now revived by the tourism department, and tourists can see this fascinating art form being created at the Raghurajpur artist's village, near Puri.
Bhubaneswar's Biju Patnaik Airport (3 km) is the only
airhead in the state of Orissa, linked by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways
flights to Kolkata (55 minutes), Delhi (1 hr 55 min), Chennai (1 hr 40
min), Mumbai (3 hr 10 min), Vishakhapatnam and Hyderabad. The new terminal
has good facilities and pre-paid taxi facilities is also available right
outside the airport. There is also a tourism information counter at the
airport and details of hotel accommodation are available.
If you are planninmg to come Orissa by rails, you have a lot of options to avail. The capital, Bhubaneswar is an important station on the South Eastern Railway's main line from Kolkata to Chennai. There are convenient rail links to Bhubaneswar from all major metros and from Puri. From Kolkata (Howrah Station), one can get into Dhauli Express (7.5 hours), Puri Express and Jagannath Express, which pass through Bhubaneswar. Puri is about 2.5 hours away. The general condition of roads to most places of interest in Orissa is quite good. The highway to Cuttack has been improved recently. For Barkul, Rambha on Chilka Lake and on to Gopalpur-on-sea, the journey is mostly along the NH. The roads to Puri and Konark are too in Good condition and fuel is easily available on these routes.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Orissa
Orrisa - A True Heart of Enchantments
Bhubaneshwar - The Temple City
Puri - Abode of The Lord of The Universe
A Magic of Light And Shade At Konark Sun Temple
See How They Flirt With The Water
Glorious Golden Triangles (I & II)
Beauty of Madhya Pradesh