Pilgrimage Tourism in Odisha
Odisha is a home to a large number of temples. This holy place is flocked round the year by the pilgrims. The best known of these are the Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneshwar, Jagannath Temple at Puri and the Sun Temple at Konark. Odisha is also referred to as the seat of Lord Jagannath at times. These temples constitute the major part of the pilgrimage tourism in Odisha. Puri is the site of the famous Jagannath temple and one of the world's most spectacular devotional processions, the Rath Yatra. The Jagannath temple of Puri is one of the most sacred pilgrimage centres in India. Built approximately in the 12th century, this temple is one of the most revered of all temples of Lord Vishnu in eastern India. Konark Temple has the ruins of Odisha's most ambitious medieval temple. Pilgrims from all across the globe come here to offer their prayers. The Sun temple of Konark is of great religious significance. The sanctity of Konark dates back to the mythical times and is flooded by devotees throughout the year. Bhubaneswar in Odisha is a home to many famous temples that are major tourist attraction. The important temples in Bhubaneswar are the Lingaraja temple, the Rajarani temple and the Mukteshwara temple among others. Odisha is also well known as a Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destination. In the north east part of Cuttack there are Buddhist relics and ruins at the three hilltop complexes of Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. These caves are visited by thousands of Buddhist pilgrims throughout the year. A place sacred to all, the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, Odisha is a much venerated pilgrimage spot for devotees.
Nature Tourism in Odisha
Odisha is the perfect spot to get drenched in the nature’s endowments. Wildlife, lush green forests and zoological parks are scattered throughout the state. Wild life in Odisha is an integral part of its tourism. The Simlipal National Park, the centre of Mayurbhanj district in the North-Eastern part of Odisha is surrounded by deciduous trees and sal forests. Characterised by thick wooden slopes, ridges, lavish grassland and striking waterfalls; the park is situated amidst scenic hills. It provides a safe refuge to the leopards, elephant, langur, flying squirrel, porcupine, barking and spotted deer, sloth bear mongoose, malabar pied hornbill, Indian trogon, red jungle fowl, hill mynah and tigers.
Nandan Kanan National Park in Odisha is a picturesque park and offers an exceptional prospect to its flora and fauna to thrive in their most natural environment. Offering an array of services like boating, white tiger and lion safaris, a night-time animal house, reptile park, aerial ropeway and cable car; the park is a perfect hang out for people having a penchant for wildlife. The Chilka wildlife sanctuary is located in the south west part of Puri is one of the most visited wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. This wildlife sanctuary is home to various migratory and local birds such as flamingo, wigeon, pintail, spotbilled pelican, barheaded goose, open-billed stork, spoonbill, white bellied sea Eagle, brahminy kite, brahimny duck, shoveller and ibis. Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most distinguished sanctuaries in Odisha. It is well known for its crocodiles and turtles. The sanctuary has a dense mangrove forest which is dwelling place for a number of endangered and migratory birds.
The Indira Gandhi Park in Odisha features stunning gardens full of exceptional varieties of flowers, eye-catching grass meadow, doll museum, a mini zoo and an aquarium. The gardens comprise Japanese garden, rose garden and a fountain garden. The zoo has a train which goes around the park. It is an important tourist spot. Housing a significant number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, the state has established itself to be a pleasurable shelter to the nature lovers.
Leisure Tourism in Odisha
The landscape of Odisha is varied. Consequently, it will require a fair amount of time to unearth the hidden treasures of the state. Ideally the sea beaches are unrivalled, as far as enjoying leisure is concerned. The clear blue beaches in Odisha are a tourist’s dream come true. Baleshwar beach of Odisha is an interesting place where the tourist can spend some quality time. Chandipur in Odisha is a peaceful sea side resort where the sea recedes and proceeds five kilometres everyday. The Konark Beach is rated one of the finest beaches in the world. The sunrise at this beach is a feast for the eyes and an ideal spot for sun-bathing. It is an upcoming tourist hub. One of the most pristine beaches of Odisha is the Gopalpur on sea. Once a buzzing seaport, Gopalpur offers its guests a slice of serenity in environs that are favourable to introspection and hospitality. Chilka Lake in Odisha is noted for its long coastline, beaches and natural scenery and is the largest brackish water lake in Asia.
Odisha is one of the most favoured tourist destinations in India. The most magnificent and stunning monument of Odisha is the Barabati Fort located to the northwest of Cuttack city. It is an important tourist destination. The remnants of the fort include its moat, gate, and the earthen mound of the nine-storied palace. Odisha State Museum is one of the best maintained museums in the country which displays wide-ranging objects of ancient origin. The exhibits consist of a rich collection of Buddhist and Jain sculptures, coins, and painted palm-leaf manuscripts etc. There are also compilations of ethnic art, conventional jewellery and musical apparatus. Tourists visit the museums to get a feel of the cultural heritage of the place.
Tourists will find no problems whatsoever in arriving at this South-East Indian state. Odisha is well connected by air, road and railways. The airport is located at Bhubaneshwar and is called the Biju Patnaik International Airport. Major public and private airlines operate regular flights to and from the city. The flights plying from here are well connected with almost all the major Indian cities, such as, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Nagpur and others. Airports in Odisha have the best of facilities and services for the travellers who arrive over there. Bhubaneshwar is the main railway station in Odisha. With the help of Indian Railways the state has regular trains for Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi and other cities. Apart from Bhubaneshwar there are several other Railway Stations in Odisha. The roads within the state are in good condition and transportations are also easily available. As a result the tourists will have no trouble in travelling in and around the state. Buses are the best way to travel. Regular government and ever-expanding private services cover all the main routes and most of the more remote stretches. Odisha has an extensive road network system which makes it effortlessly reachable from any part of the country.