Not many other states in India offer the variety of Odisha, a land of paddy fields and golden beaches, ornate temples, wildlife reserves, history and tribal people on the eastern coast. Most first time visitors to India put the triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur top of the wish-list but Odisha is definitely a rewarding choice for any subsequent trips to discover a fascinating area a little more off the beaten path.
The state’s major attractions are its monuments, especially the sandstone temples around Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark, site of the stupendous Konark Sun Temple, built in the 13th century and dedicated to the Sun God. The pristine coastline stretches over 480 kilometres along the Bay of Bengal between Ganjam and Balasore and with the beaches that are the annual nesting grounds for hundreds of thousands of endangered olive ridley sea turtles (also known as Pacific ridley sea turtles.)
For wildlife enthusiasts, the state is also home to elephants, tigers, antelope, leopards, deer, monkeys, a huge variety of birds plus rare fresh water dolphins in Chilika Lake. The evergreen Odishan forests are home to wild with a collection to view at the Orchid House in the Nandakanan Park.
Odisha is the homeland of 67 tribal communities who despite external pressures strive to retain their uniqueness, expressed in a rich artistic heritage with arts and crafts traditions passed down through families working in art, pottery and textiles. Each region has its own speciality including silver filigree, painted and tie-dyed cloth, terracotta work, stone and wood carving and papier mache masks.
On the eastern coast of India, Odisha (formerly Orissa) is accessible by international airlines through the nearest gateway city of Kolkata. Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar is connected by domestic airlines and railways to the rest of India.
===> Explore local itineraries via the RELATED links below.
Bhubaneswar: An Itinerary of Ancient Temples and Other Special Places to Visit — Discover Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, mixing ancient and modern and with some 600 temples, 50 of them around Bindu Sagar, a lake at the spiritual centre of the old city.
Odisha’s Historic Tradition of Arts and Crafts — whole communities specialise in time-honoured creative skills, producing textiles, carving in stone and wood, silver filigree, sand painting.
Must-See Astounding Monuments of Odisha — from temples to monasteries, the architectural wonders of Odisha offer some of India’s most astonishing historic monuments.
Spying Odishan Wildlife in Diverse Habitats — some of the world’s most elusive and endangered species call Odisha, India, home. Glimpse them in the natural surroundings of the sanctuaries, parks, rivers, lakes and coastal environments.
Ancient India: Odishan Tribal Cultures — Odisha is home toIndia’s largest numbers of hill tribes, who cling to their colourful and vibrant culture.
Odisha by the Sea: Golden Shores and Coastal Pleasures — Odisha’s lengthy coastline has a mix of fishing villages and beaches, night markets on the sands at Puri and the prospect of delicious seafood cooked in the Odia style.
Orissa has a tropical climate.
March to May is the time of high temperatures 27º to 49ºC and the monsoon strikes after that until September. So much like the rest of the country, the best time to go is October to March. January is the driest month and the coolest along with December when temperatures can sink to single figures. High inland areas can receive frost.
Domestic airlines serve the capital Bhubaneswar through its Biju Patnaik Airport.
The major cities of Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Gopalpur and Jeypore are served by rail.
For the visitor on tour the best way is to hire a car and driver. This can be done through a travel company or your hotel. Try the driver out for a day trip or two before committing yourself to a lengthy tour.