Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years. The new Bhubaneswar with its modern buildings and extensive infrastructure perfectly complements its historic surroundings. With facilities to cater to every type of visitor, Bhubaneswar makes an ideal tourist destination.
Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail and road to the rest of India. The modern Biju Patnaik airport is being extended to receive wide bodied aircraft, and one may well see international charters landing here soon.
Bhubaneswar can be visited round the year, but the ideal time, especially for visitors from colder climes, would be from October to March.
Silver filigree, Stone and Wood carving, Patta paintings, Tie and Dye textiles, bamboo basketry, brass and bell metal work, horn work, and many other famous handicrafts of Orissa can be selected as souvenirs from the local markets. Purchases can be made from Utkalika (run by the Department of Handicrafts) or at the many privately run shops.
|Fairs and Festivals of the region||Place||Period|
|Shiva Ratri||Bhubaneswar, Atri||February - March|
|RamanavamiOdagaon,||Bhubaneswar||March - April|
|Jhamuyatra||Kakatpur||April - May|
|Anla Navami||Sakshigopal||October - November|
|Khandagiri Mela||Khandagiri||January - February|
Baya Baba Matha
Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir
BDA Nicco Park
Surrounded by paddy fields, the Dhauli hill brings back memories of the historic 'Kalinga war' which was fought around here. It is here that Ashoka, the terrible, was transformed into Ashoka, the compassionate and championed the cause of Buddhism. On the foot of the hill one can see the Rock Edicts of Ashoka and the forepart of a skillfully sculpted elephant hewn out of a huge rock. Dhauli has gained prominence due to the establishment of a Buddhist Peace Pagoda, popularly known as Shanti Stupa, built in the early seventies by the Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. An old temple of Lord Dhavaleswar, reconstructed in 1972, also stands on the hill-top.Sisupalgarh
Just two km from the famed Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar lie the ruins of Sisupalgarh. Dating back to the third or fourth century BC, these ruins show that even at that early date there was a well fortified city here, and establish the fact that the Orissan civilization has very ancient roots.Hirapur (15 km)
Hirapur has the 11th century Hypaethral temple of sixty four Yoginis. It is second of its kind in Orissa and one of four such unique temples in India. For more information on the Yogini temple,Atri (42 km)
Situated amidst greenery and famous for the hot sulphur water spring, Atri, 42 km. from Bhubaneswar and 14 km. from Khurda, is also a holy place with the shrine of Hatakeswar. A bath in the spring water is reputed to cure skin diseases apart from being a pleasant experience.Nandankanan
Picturesquely carved out of the Chandaka forest, Nandankanan is a Biological Park where animals are kept in their natural habitat. A centrally located lake divides the Zoo from the Botanical Gardens. Tigers, Lions, Clouded Leopards, Black Panthers, European Brown Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Gharials, Rosy Pelican, Grey Pelican, Indian Python, King Cobra, etc. are among the attractions of the zoo, which is famous for its White Tigers. The exotic Botanical Garden on the other side of the zoo preserves varieties of indigenous plants. Regular bus services are available to reach the place.Khandagiri & Udaigiri
To the west of Bhubaneswar are the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udaygiri (c. first century BC), the next major Orissan historical monument after Ashoka's rock-cut edict.
The rocks of the Khandagiri and Udaygiri hills were carved and tunneled, to create this multi-storied ancient apartment residence for Jain monks. They were the work of the first known Orissan ruler, King Kharavela, and probably begun in the first century BC. Kharavela was a king of the Mahameghavahana dynasty, who is known for expansion of the Kalinga empire and his installation of public improvements, such as canal systems. His queen was evidently quite a patron of the arts, and probably had much to do with the impressive sculptural decoration of the caves.
As you approach the site, Khandagiri, with its 15 caves will be on the left. Udaygiri will be on the right. The 18 caves of Udaygiri include the famous Hathi Gupha ('Elephant Cave') with its famous inscription of Kharavela. From the inscription, we learn much about Kharavela's military exploits, and also that his royal city had gate towers, bathing and drinking tanks, and was the scene of formally organized music and dance performances, as well as sporting and social events. The city, says the inscription, "was made to dance with joy". Kharavela was evidently a skilled musician, and it seems as if he created a remarkable center of the arts.
The famous Rani Gupha ('Queen's Cave'), also on Udaygiri, has upper and lower stories, a spacious courtyard, and elaborate sculptural friezes. The carvings show popular legends, historical scenes, and religious functions, as well as many dancers. The style seems quite well-developed, and of a singular grace and liveliness.
The Ganesha Gumpha, which is reached by a walkway from the lower storey of the Rani Gumpha, is isolated, and perhaps for this reason, better preserved. Its two dwelling-spaces with verandah in front are reached by a short staircase from the courtyard.
All of the caves are small, and follow the natural configurations of the 'living rock'. The sculpture throughout exhibits a strong, lively folk element, which has been executed with a sure and confident hand. Already, the spaces are filled with animal, human, and divine personages and decorative details, showing at an early stage the love of the Orissan artist for richly elaborated scenes.