Known for its amazing natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Odisha is one of the best secrets India has ever preserved. If you are a nature lover, a unique adventure awaits you on the cusp of Odisha.
If one plans to visit Odisha might want to list a few places in their bucket list. Below 10 places are a must-visit.
If one is interested in historical artifacts and historical places, Odisha does have something interesting to offer.
Although there are way too many historical places with really unique legends behind them, below are my top 2 preferences.
1. Konark Sun Temple.
Konark Sun temple was built in the 13th-century C.E, dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun).
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Konark Sun Temple is famous for its unique architecture.
Its geometrical patterns and carved wheels used to serve as ‘sundials’. Due to its dark color, the temple was called Black Pagoda, and ancient sailors used it as a navigational landmark.
The height of the Sun Temple at Konark is estimated to be around 227 feet, making it one of the tallest temples ever built in the country.
The temple was designed as a chariot of Sun God driven by twenty four beautifully carved wheels and pulled by seven horses.
The Konark Dance Festival is held on December 1-5 every year. It is one of the prestigious classical dance festivals of India.
It is conducted in the backdrop of the temple under the sky in an open-air theatrical style. Leaving the audience mesmerized in its glorious days.
Chandrabagha Mela– Held in the month of January every year, sees thousands of devotees taking a dip in the sea and praying to Sun God.
2. Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves
Khandagiri and Udayagiri are two adjoining hills that complement each other. These caves were formerly called Kattaka Caves or Cuttack cave.
Udayagiri means “Sunrise Hill” and has 18 caves while Khandagiri means ‘Broken Hills” and has 15 caves. The archeological survey of India has listed Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves in the list of “Must See” Indian Heritage.
Rani Gumpha (Cave of the Queen) is the largest (double storeyed) and most popular cave and among the caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri.
Other well-known caves of Udayagiri are Hathi-gumpha and Ganesha-gumpha. Whereas in Khandagiri, the Ananta cave depicts carved figures of women, elephants, athletes, and geese carrying flowers.
What’s better than a hill station to escape from the mundane city life? Due to its uniqueness, this particular hilly region of Odisha becomes one of the major tourist destinations on the list.
Daringbadi is a picturesque hill town situated in the Kandhamal district of Odisha. It has earned the title of ‘Kashmir of Odisha’ for being cold and exciting.
Dotted with pine forests and waterfalls, this hill station of Phulbani is a popular holiday destination of the state.
Daringbadi Nature Camp & Belghar Nature Camp offer accommodation options for travelers coming to this part of Odisha.
Feel the refreshing cool breeze as you trek along the hilly trails of the surreal landscape sprawling through the jungle.
At Daringbadi, experience the first snowfall of the season when the temperature drops below 5°C and dense fog can be experienced for a few hours in the morning.
This hill is surrounded by beautiful valleys & plateaus, where coffee & pepper cultivation can be found in the forms of beautiful huge gardens.
The south-eastern state of Odisha is home to a variety of flora and fauna. With nearly one-third of the state under forest cover, and 18 sanctuaries, including two national parks, Odisha offers a wide choice by way of wildlife reserves.
From which the most attractive wildlife conservations are Bhitarkanika National Park, Simlipal National Park, and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, Satkosia Tiger reserve, and Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary.
Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary located within the close vicinity of the Bhitarkanika National Park is Odisha’s only Turtle Sanctuary.
A place where one can spot Olive Ridley Turtles. Bhitarkanika National Park offers wonderful biodiversity coupled with beautiful terrain and a mangrove-dominated ecosystem.
This national park is home to a large variety of wildlife—right from saltwater crocodiles to king cobra and deer, the plethora of fauna is fascinating.
Yet, narrowing down the list to the most amusing conservations, that are Simlipal National Park and Satkosia Tiger reserve.
4. Simlipal National Park
It is part of the Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve. It is the 7th largest national park in India.
The park is home to Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, deers, peacock,s and many other species of flora and fauna.
Simlipal has always been high up on the tourist’s itineraries especially the foreign tourists due to its mesmerizing beauty and heritage, which includes some of the beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani Falls.
It is one of the best places for nature lovers to explore the exciting sceneries and serene spots in and around the area.
5. Satkosia Tiger Reserve
Satkosia Tiger Reserve is located in the Angul district of Odisha, and was once a part of Abhaya Aranya (Unending Forest range) which connected Odisha to Central India. It is a picturesque place, with rivers, green hills, and a dense forest.
There are a number of trekking routes through the hills during which wildlife spotting can also be possible.
Boating or swimming in the deep blue water of Gorge in Mahanadi river, or sunbathing in its banks are good leisure activities for the vacation here.
Birding is another activity to do here; amazed by the number of various species of birds that migrate from the west during winters, take rest in Satkosia before moving to Chilika.
Although Chilika falls under the category of lakes, it is also considered as one of the major wildlife conservations.
Its serene beauty gets enhanced by the migrated birds that flock towards the east during winters. The wildlife conservation movement of Chilika is called Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary.
Chilika Lake is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world.
The lagoon is located on the east coast of India (Odisha that is), at the mouth of the Daya River, which flows into the Bay of Bengal.
Chilika Lake is spread over Khurda, Ganjam and Puri districts of Odisha. An impressive array of bird life, both native and migrant, makes Chilika one of the best places in India for bird-watching, splashing around in the water and quiet relaxation.
Islands at Chilika
The lake has numerous islands. The six major islands are Parikud, Phulbari, Berahpura, Nuapara, Nalbana, and Tampara.
There is a famous temple named Kalijai Temple located on an island is considered to be the abode of the Goddess Kalijai.
This is a temple with a unique history and is located at a hill which is surrounded by blue water bears. Local people of Chilika refer to the goddess as the reigning deity of the lagoon.
Odisha has a dozen waterfalls constituted in various parts of this sacred land.
Among which 8 prominent ones can be found in any list. The biggest of which being Khandadhar Falls, located in Sundergarh district of Odisha.
Albeit Barehipani Falls being the tallest, due to its breakdown in the middle it splits into a two tiered waterfall. Therefore, Khandadhar is considered the biggest fall of Odisha.
7. Khandadhar Fall
Khandadhar waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the state. When the crystal cold water of the running river falls from such a height and hits the uneven rock bottom, it creates a smokey scenario. Due to its biodiversity, it is a natural habitat for various species of flora and fauna.
Odisha has a long coastline of about 480 km. Starting from Chandipur beach which is located on the shore of Bay of Bengal to the Gopalpur Beach towards the south.
Albeit Gopalpur sea beach being one of the cleanest beaches of Odisha, Golden sea beach Puri is rather the one with maximum tourist visits.
That is because it is located in Puri, which is already filled with various tourist destinations; like Konark Sun Temple, The Jagannath temple, Marine drive, etc.
Not only that but also because Puri is right next to Bhubaneshwar which is a transit city.
It also has various archeological destinations like Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, Lokanath temple, etc.
8. Golden Sea Beach, Puri.
Golden beach Puri is a sight to behold with the tidal waves in their full glory.
Besides, being beautiful with golden sand it is also relatively safer than other beaches in Odisha. This beautiful beach of Odisha has been rewarded as a Blue Flag Beach and officially ranked as INDIA(S) CLEANEST BEACH.
Occasionally, various paid water sports are also organised, which attracts more people to the beach. Sunset in the Golden beach-Puri is the perfect sight to be at.
9. Chandipur Beach
Now that we are talking about beaches, how is it even possible to not talk about this unique beach of Odisha.
A visit to the mesmerizing Chandipur beach is a not to miss experience. Chandipur beach is located in Balasore district of Odisha.
Chandipur sea beach is located on the shore of Bay of Bengal. This beach is unique in a way that the water recedes up to 5 kilometers during the ebb and flow of the tide is quite shallow, giving the marina a ‘mirage’ effect which extends to the horizon and delves into it.
Twice every day the sea comes in and goes out along our shores.
At a point it might sound ridiculous to consider DAMS in a must see list, but not for Odisha. Within the serene beauty of Sambalpur, lies Asia’s longest dam- Hirakud Dam, behind which extends a lake, Hirakud Reservoir.
10. Hirakud Dam
The Hirakud Dam regulates the flow of the Mahanadi River and produces electricity through several hydroelectric plants.
The Dam is a significant source of power generation for the country. Along with power generation, the largest artificial lake in Asia also provides irrigation to the region.
It was the first major multipurpose river valley project after India’s Independence in 1947.
It is one of the most visited tourist spots, constructed across the Mahanadi river between the Gandhi Minar in North and the Nehru Minar in the South, which connects these two hills.
Take a stroll on the pavement of this dam, while the water surrounds you from both sides.
It is impossible to define the beauty of Odisha minimizing into a list of only 10 places. Odisha has a lot of hidden serenity of nature to offer.
The above mentioned are just a few of the places that are most visited by a vast number of tourists every year.
One who desires to explore more of nature, might need a longer list and a whole year worth vacation at Odisha.