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Chilika Lake

Queen of natural beauty, Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia covering an area of over 1,100 sq. km is a great attraction for the tourists for fishing, bird watching and boating. In winter Chilika is a flutter with thousands of indigenous and migratory birds of many varieties from far and near - even from the distant Siberia.

How to reach

Chilika is around 100 kms from Bhubaneswar by road and train.

Best time to visit

October to June.

Places of tourist interest in Chilika

Kalijai Island
Honeymoon Island
Breakfast Island
Birds Island
Nalabana (Island of Reeds)

Parikud Island, etc. are some of the important and interesting spots inside the lake.

The Island of Kalijai is famous as a center of religious worship due to the temple of Goddess Kalijai where a big fair is held on the occasion of Makara Sankranti that falls in January every year. The Island of Nalabana, 8 km in circumference occupies a unique place in the vast expanse of Chilika Lake as it happens to be the central point for the migratory birds. One can view dolphins in their natural habitat at the mouth of Chilika near Satpada.

Places of interest around Chilika

Narayani (22 km)

Goddess Narayani adorns the valley hill-top which is girdled by a stream. It is an ideal picnic spot.

Nirmaljhara (11 km)

Nirmaljhara has earned its name as an ideal place for picnic as well as pilgrimage. A stream that emerges out from the feet of a Vishnu image enhances the importance and sanctity of the place.

Banpur (42 km)

Famous for the time honoured temple of Goddess Bhagabati, Banpur has earned celebrity as a center of religious activities. Once it was the capital of Sailodvaba dynasty, responsible for the construction of the early group of temples in Bhubaneswar. The large number of Buddhist images discovered at Banpur relate the place to the Vajrayan cult of Buddhism. The temple of "Dakshya Prajapati" is a fine specimen of extraordinary artistic excellence of Orissan art. Banpur is 8 km from Balugaon, 42 km from Rambha and 104 km from Bhubaneswar.

Sun Temple at Konark

Konark is 65 km from Bhubaneswar and 25 km from Puri by road. The magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Orissan temple architecture, and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. The poet Rabindranath Tagore said of Konark that 'here the language of stone surpasses the language of man', and it is true that the experience of Konark is impossible to translate into words. The massive structure, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendour surrounded by drifting sand. Today it is located two kilometers from the sea, but originally the ocean came almost up to its base. Until fairly recent times, in fact, the temple was close enough to the shore to be used as a navigational point by European sailors, who referred to it as the 'Black Pagoda'. Built by King Narasimhadeva in the thirteenth century, the entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot, carrying the sun god, Surya, across the heavens. So the image of the sun god traversing the heavens in his divine chariot, drawn by seven horses, is an ancient one. The idea of building an entire temple in the shape of a chariot, however, is not only an ancient one, and, indeed, was a breathtakingly creative concept. Equally breathtaking was the scale of the temple which even today, in its ruined state, makes one gasp at first sight. Construction of the huge edifice is said to have taken 12 years revenues of the kingdom.

The main tower, which is now collapsed, originally followed the same general form as the towers of the Lingaraja and Jagannath temples. Its height, however, exceeded both of them, soaring to 227 feet. The jagmohana (porch) structure itself exceeded 120 feet in height. Both tower and porch are built on high platforms, around which are the 24 giant stone wheels of the chariot. The wheels are exquisite, and in themselves provide eloquent testimony to the genius of Orissa's sculptural tradition.

At the base of the collapsed tower were three subsidiary shrines, which had steps leading to the Surya images. The third major component of the temple complex was the detached natamandira (hall of dance), which remains in front of the temple. Of the 22 subsidiary temples which once stood within the enclosure, two remain (to the west of the tower): the Vaishnava Temple and the Mayadevi Temple. At either side of the main temple are colossal figures of royal elephants and royal horses.

In any case, the temple which Narasimhadeva left us is a chronicle in stone of the religious, military, social, and domestic aspects of his thirteenth century royal world. Every inch of the remaining portions of the temple is covered with sculpture of an unsurpassed beauty and grace, in tableaux and freestanding pieces ranging from the monumental to the miniature. Close by is one of the most attractive beaches of the world - the Chandrabhaga beach.

Fairs and Festivals of the region

Fairs / Festivals Place Period
Chandrabhaga Mela
(Magha Saptami) Chandrabhaga beach February
Konark Dance Festival Konark 1 - 5 December
Konark Music and Dance Festival Konark January - February

Places of interest around Konark

Kuruma (8 km)

8 km from the world famous Sun Temple of Konark, Kuruma is a small village. Recent excavations here have brought to light the reminiscence of some ancient Buddhist antiquities like the image of Buddha seated in Bhumisparsa Mudra along with the image of Heruka, and a 17 metres long brick wall (brick size: 22 cm X 17 cm). Scholars are of opinion that this was one of the sites containing Buddhist stupas described by Hiuen T'sang. The place is approachable by jeep.

Chaurasi (14 km)

14 km from Kakatpur and 30 km from Konark one can visit the shrines of Amareswar, Laxminarayan and Barahi at Chaurasi. Barahi is the Mother Goddess with the face of a boar. Pot-bellied, she holds a fish in one hand and a cup in the other. The deity belongs to 9th century A.D. and is worshipped according to tantric practices.

Ramachandi (7 km)

On the confluence of the river Kushabhadra and the Bay of Bengal, Ramachandi, the presiding deity of the Konark region is worshipped here with reverence. On the Marine Drive, the place is ideal for week-end picnic.

Astranga (35 km)

Right on the sea-shore, it is 91 km from Puri and 10 km from Kakatpur. Astaranga presents a panoramic view especially during sunset on a multi-coloured horizon as if to justify the literal meaning of its name. It is a centre of salt production and fishing.