Fondly called the ‘City of Temples’, Bhubaneswar is a major attraction for tourists. Housing many shrines, the architecture, grandeur, and magnificence that you get to see is immense. Along with Konark and Puri, Bhubaneswar makes the golden triangle in the state of Odisha. It is also famous for its applique works, food, and festivals, which are celebrated around the year. This city is most known for hosting the Car Festival, Ratha Jatra which amasses flocks of devotees from in and around Odisha.
The term Bhubaneswar is derived from the word Tribhubaneswara that translates to the Lord of Three World i.e. Lord Shiva. It is now a trending city bustling with reflections of religious fervour. It receives tourists from all over the world for a number of reasons. With the diversity of heritage and sacred cultural landscapes, it is a beautiful culmination of modern and historic beauty. It is now an emerging and fastest developing city in India. Odia is the official language spoken in the state of eight lakh residents. Odisha Tourism is denoted by the tagline of ‘Serene.Scenic.Sublime.’
Of the endless list of temples present in the state, one of the most recognized ones is Mukteswara Temple. It was constructed in the 10-century AD and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is known to be one of the first temples built by the Somavamsi Dynasty. With the great pious beliefs of the worshippers, this temple has been revered since time immemorial.
The carvings and sculptural details of the temple are quite detailed and exceptional. It is also given the nickname of “Gem of Odisha”. It is a perfect example that displays specimens of ancient as well as modern forms of architecture. With a height of approximately 35-feet, it is one of the most visited religious sites in the city. The major highlight of this temple is the brilliance of the temple’s Torana (translates to a gate in Odia). It is an arched masterpiece inspired and influenced by Buddhism. This captivating gateway has minutely carved pillars with embedded strings of beads.
Insider Tip- Don’t forget to make a wish in this holy temple Bhubaneswar as it is believed that none of your wishes goes unfulfilled once asked in this temple. Also, avoid visiting in the late evening hours as it gets crowded.
Nandankanan is a zoo-cum-botanical garden. It ranks as one of the biggest botanical gardens in India, area wise. It is also known to be a famous tourist spot in the city. This zoo came into limelight when it officially became the first zoo in the country to enter the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2009. The word ‘Nandankanan’ literally translates to the “garden of heavens” in the regional tongue.
It is spread over an area of 4.3 square kilometers and houses a massive range of fauna. Located amidst the greenery of Chandaka Forest, it is filled with fascinating scenery. Some of the commonly seen animals include crocodiles, langur, pangolins, lion-tailed macaque, blackbucks, and deer. At present, there is a large population of reptiles, nocturnal species, and birds as well. The most popular Captive Gharial Crocodile is bred here. It is one of its first kind in the country. Also, it is credited for having Rosella, Storks, and Patas monkeys. In the zoo, one can see the rarest of Orangutan and Munia, a species that has become endangered as of now.
Insider Tip- Because of its serene settings, you can take this up for an ideal picnic destination. It has, in fact, gained recognition for hosting a platform for a picnic for locals as well as tourists. You may wish to go for a joy train ride. Do not miss the White Tiger Safari in this zoological park. Further, you can shed some extra time to watch the ‘Adopt-an-Animal’ program that helps the audience raise awareness and money for zoo animals.
These caves are more than just caves, in other words, a grand treat to your eyes. They are ancient caves cut out from rocks, inspired by Jainism style of architecture. It closely represents the heritage of Odisha. They are often clubbed as ‘twin hills’ mainly due to the resemblance and proximity in space. They are situated in Udayagiri and Khandagiri because of its location. Both these caves happen to face each other across the road. It was created in the first century BC by Jain monks.
There is a total tally of 33 caves on both sides, of which 15 are on Khandagiri Hills and 18 on Udaygiri Hills. If you are here, drop by the Rani Gumpha and the Hathi Gumpha. These caves display musical instruments, dancing women, and massive historical notes. One can also see carved chronicles of King Kharavela. The architectural marvel of this monastery is a scene to behold. Many columns and terraces support it on the top.
Insider Tip- To see an aerial view of Bhubaneswar, hop on to the summit of Khandagiri Hills. The scene that it offers is absolutely phenomenal. Do pay a visit to Ananta Gumpha and Navamuni Gumpha. You will also find sculptures depicting the nine Tirthankaras. Kindly plan this tour before sunset as you might miss out on the intricate details of this marvelous architecture.
This museum is one of the top-notch places to see in Bhubaneswar. It is well-known for harboring a wide collection of manuscripts on palm leaves. It is one of its kind in the state. It also showcases preserved archaeological treasures from many sites. If you want to learn about the history of Bhubaneshwar and Odisha, make sure to visit this museum. Apart from rare manuscripts, you will find an extensive variety of artifacts and arts. As of now, it is maintained by the Archaeological Department of India.
There are numerous sections for you to begin with, some of which include Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, Armoury, Mining and Geology, Natural History, Art and Craft, Contemporary Art, Patta Painting, Anthropology, and Palm Leaf Manuscripts. Eleven of these sections are divided into the four-storied building. Ancient coins, copper plates, archaeological findings, stone inscriptions can also be seen. Even a few priceless collections of Buddhist and Jain artefacts have found a place here.
Insider Tip – Do swing by the palm leaf gallery. You will find collections dating back to the 12-century. It also has a weapon and armour section that is dedicated to Late Utkal Gaurava Madhusudan Das. He was a renowned Odia poet and social reformer. His life history is a part of the curriculum in secondary schools. Ensure visiting in the morning hours except for Mondays. Odisha’s famous pattachitra is available here. Do not forget to see it.
Yet another tourist attraction in the divine city of Bhubaneswar is the Bindu Sagar Lake which is counted as one of the best lakes in India. It is colloquially called as Bindu Sarovar. It is a sacred lake surrounded by aplenty temples. On the north, it has Lingaraja Temple, Mohini Temple in the south and to the east, it has Ananta Vasudeva Temple. It is also known as Ocean Drop Tank and is deemed to be the largest water body in the city. History claims that it was firstly created by Lord Shiva. People believe that taking a dip in these holy waters will wash you off your sins.
The lake is 750-feet wide and 1350-feet in length. It has numerous mini islands in the middle. It is deeply revered by all Odias. People worship it just like an idol of God. They offer flowers and have a full-fledged darshan. All the rituals related to Lord Lingaraja take place on the banks of this lake. During Ashokashtami, the deity from Lingaraja Temple is taken to this lake for a ceremonial bath.
Insider Tip – If you are fortunate enough, come pay a visit during the car festival. The festivity and energy all around will soak up every ounce of your boredom. Since it is a temple city, be prepared to unleash your religious side a little. It is an emerging picnic destination these days.
Take a sneak peek into history by visiting this place. It is a popular historic tourist attraction in Bhubaneswar. Residing on the banks of River Daya, these hills have important historical moments attached to them. It is mostly known for the staging area of the Kalinga war. It is where Ashoka converted his beliefs from Chandashoka to Dharmashoka. River Daya is said to have turned red with blood after all the bloodshed. The aftermath of this war changed him completely and resulted in him embracing a new style of philosophy.
It is an amazing tourist attraction and a must-visit place in the state. You cannot afford to miss out of this place, once you are here. Enveloped in a beautiful calm environment you can see Buddhist stupas carved and installed in the premises. From atop the stairs, you can get a glance of the city. The view that you get from the top cannot be put in words. After the war, the Mauryan Emperor constructed a number of pillars and chiatyas in these hills. It is also called as ‘Peace Pagoda’.
Insider Tip- Allot a full day to visit these hills. Avoid visiting in post afternoon hours. You will find many food stalls and shops to buy historic showpieces. If you like photography, swing by to create your portfolio.
Dedicated to the former Chief Minister of the State, Biju Patnaik, the statue of the political figure can be found in the middle of the park. He was a reformer who started the BJD (Biju Janta Dal), the political body in Odisha. He won the title of ‘Bhoomi Putra’- the highest Indonesian award.
Spread across 23 acres the park is now a hub for the fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park boasts of three different types of jogging tracks – clay, tiled, and concrete. Three water bodies, manicured lawns, and different types of plants and trees make this park a popular spot for hanging out.
Insider Tip – If you are not running out of time, drop by for a few hours. Try boating in one of the water bodies or pack up food and have a picnic. The busiest times in the park are during the mornings and evenings.
When you are here, do try Dahi Bara Aludam, a local cuisine which is all-time favorite street food. You will find many malls in the capital, providing you an opportunity to add shopping to your list of activities. If you have some more time in your hands you can also take a quick getaway and visit the holy city of Puri. Bhubaneswar is a city that will welcome you at whichever season of the year, with open arms. So what’s the wait, book your tickets right away and explore the many places to visit in Bhubaneswar.
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