Tranquil temples set beside pristine beaches, coastal food, tribal culture, traditional arts and handicraft – TS writer Swastika Dash invites you to enjoy the bounties of her hometown and its surroundings.
Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar:
This 11th-century Lord Shiva shrine stands tall with intricately carved stonework in the old town of Bhubaneswar. . A must-visit for the pious as well as art enthusiasts.
This ancient Hindu temple is famous for its ornately carved archway. Dating back to the 10th century, the Mukteswar temple is a popular spot to relax – head to the surrounding gardens, sit back and marvel at the stonework.
Jagannath Temple is the star attraction in Puri, but you can chill out at the beach too. (Tip from the locals: Head towards the outskirts of the city for a crowd free stretch of sand). Do not miss Ananda Bazaar – the food villa inside the temple. Gajaa, is a must-try Odiya sweet-delicacy. You can also sample the food of the gods – Abhadha (Cooked rice). Read more here.
Chilika is the largest salt-water lake in Asia and a haven for migratory birds. You can relax on a boat ride and say hello to the winged-visitors from Siberia. (Locals Tip: The Crab curry at Balugaon is not to be missed.)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also known as the Black Pagoda. The ruins used to be a temple and the intricate stonework and workmanship can still amaze you. Don’t forget to take a walk at the peaceful Konark Beach, nearby.
One of the oldest Zoological parks in the country is home to many exotic animals, as well as a lake. Must-go if you are travelling with kids – they’ll love the boat and toy train rides.
The twin mountains, Khandagiri and Udayagiri are divided by four-lane road. Home to a few 2600 year old caves, the mountains feature stone engravings in Bramhi language from King Kharavela’s time. Enjoy a beautiful view of the temple city from the edge of the mountains.
Shanti Stupa lives up to its name and stands on the banks of River Gaya, away from the city crowds. The dazzling white peace pagoda was built on the top of a hill in the 70s, by Buddhist groups from Japan.
It’s time for some souvenir hunting after all that sightseeing. Ekamra Haat is filled with Odisha’s handloom and handicraft products. The gallery also hosts several craft workshops. You can meet the artisans and enjoy Odishi dance festivals too. Do not miss the yummy Gupchup and Dahibaraa Aludumm stalls