Travelling to Orissa (Odisha) is exciting and fun, while experiencing a fresh breath of air to fill our mind and soul with happiness and satisfaction. This state is famously known for its pristine beaches, religious temples, monuments, art, craft, fairs and festivals. The enriching culture and natural resource are truly an attraction of this place. Puri Jagannath temple, Konark Sun temple, Puri beach, Chilka lake, Bhitarkanika National Park, etc., are the main attractive spots to target during your visit.
An Overview of the State
Odisha is the official name of this state (on and from November 2011) and was earlier known as Orissa. It is said that the origin of this state is from the famous kingdom of Kalinga. It is situated in the eastern coastal region of India touching the Bay of Bengal. Mother Nature has bestowed a number of sea beaches on different region of this state. Apart from the beaches and temples, this land has rivers, waterfalls, lakes and a protected wildlife.
The three main segregated regions are the coastal, northwestern and southern region. The eastern part of the state includes the sea beaches, while the western part is the home of hills and forests. The western belt is the abode of a variety of tribal groups. The western and northern region occupies a part of the Chota Nagpur plateau. Along with thirty districts, the population of this place is witnessing a sharp increase, as compared to a few decades back. The current population is over 42 million. Bhubaneswar is the capital and largest city of this state. The other important cities are Cuttack, Puri, Rourkela, Balassore, Brahmapur and Sambhalpur amongst many others.
People and Culture
This culturally rich state has a wide historical background, which came from the historical kingdom of Kalinga. The heritage of this place is its temples, monuments, music, art, craft, dance, handicraft, tribal life and jewellery.
The people are religious bound and follows tradition, yet being modern. The two main languages spoken here are English (official) and Oriya (regional). Nevertheless, few other colloquial linguistic terms are Hindi, Santhali and Bengali. Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism religion are mainly followed here.
Odisha is the home to thousands of tribal sects. Over 60 tribal communities have been residing in this state since ages. Each group follows their own culture and tradition in their daily lives. Their means of earning are agriculture and handicraft work. They mostly speak the Munda and Dravidian language.
Tropical monsoon climate dominates the state of Odisha. Scorching summers hit the state from the beginning of March and ends towards the end of June. Monsoon downpour is the highest between July to October. A brief period of cool and pleasant weather is experienced from October till mid-February.
Bhubaneswar is a temple city and a must visit place in the state. The Lingaraja Mandir is the largest in Orissa. Exploring the caves here will be interesting for the adventurous people. Udaigiri host a number of such caves like Ranigumpha and many others. Sunrise over Udaigiri (Sunrise Hill) will be a treat for your eyes. The Jagannath temple in Puri is a famous site and visited by lakhs of Hindu devotees. Other places of interest are the beautiful Chilka Lake (a brackish water lake), the craft village in Rashurajpur, etc. The Sun Temple of Konark is another attractive spot in the state. It is one of the oldest temples in India and was constructed in the 13th century. The massive wheels should not be missed here.
The three wonderful beaches to hit the waves drench in the water and walk down the shores are the Puri beach, Chandipur beach and Gopalpur Beach. Other beaches like Chandrabagha, Balighaim Paradeep, Ramachandi, etc., can also be visited to witness the serene beauty of nature.
If you are interested in watching the bird and animal life, then you need to visit the Bhitar Kanika National Park, Bird & Dolphin Sanctuary at Chilka, Simpipal National Park, Tikarpada's Gharial Sanctuary, Nanadan Kanan Wildlife Sanctuary, and many other sanctuaries in Kuldiha, Hadagarh, Kotagarh, Chandaka, etc. For enjoying scenic beauty of nature, you can head to the city of Sunabeda and Darigbadi.
The art and craft lovers can visit Pipli to get some unique stuff from there. Also, a trip to the tribal villages will be a fascinating experience. The weekly tribal markets can give you some of the exclusive materials of handicrafts and pottery.
Festivals & Fairs
Ratha Yatra, Konark Dance festival, Bali Yatra, Puri Beach festival, Chandan Yatra, Dol (Holi) and Durga Puja are the main festivals celebrated in the state. Apart from these, the local tribal festivals and fairs are also celebrated on various occasions.
Art & Craft
The music and dance of Orissa is world famous. The Odissi music is a classical form of singing with special type of ragas. The Odissi dance is a true example of classical culture in this state. The Chhau is an exclusive and old dance form. Jatra, a type of drama with music, acting, singing and dance is a special cultural act of Odisha.
Visiting Odisha must include a shopping activity to pick up the traditional art and craft work of paintings (patta chitra), sand art, palm leaf painting, wood carving, pottery, silver filigree, stone carving, etc. Odissi handloom is also very popular with unique range of cotton and tussar silk materials. Ladies will have a reason to shop some beautiful Sambhalpuri, ikkat and kataki sarees.
A variety of attractions of the state of Orissa are good enough to welcome travelers from India and across the world. You can reach here by air (flight), road, railway or by the sea. Move out of your busy life and head to the land of fresh air and beauty.
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