After a long tiring work-week when you decide to take a longish break and set out to find unexplored destinations in India, do let your mind plan a escape to Orissa. Usually the first city that comes to mind when talking about this state is Jagannath Puri because of its sacred stature and importance in religious landscape of India. However, if you do make up your mind to visit Puri and are also planning to explore a few nearby spots, here’s the exact list you should be looking for.
Located on the western side of the state capital of Bhubaneshwar and on the banks of Bay of Bengal, Puri is known to be the one of Holiest places for Hindus. The Jagannath Temple and The annual Chariot festival are the most important attractions of this place. Lord Jagannath reside here with brother Balaram and sister Subhadra. This temple town is also full of beautiful beaches, historically rich culture, heritage spots and shopping places filled with all sorts of traditional items to bring back home. A number of competitively priced Puri Hotels offer best-value when booked online.
Post your religious stint with Puri, you can move to other places near the city in order to explore the untouched aspects of Orissa:
- Bhubaneswar – Getting around in the Capital of Orissa does not take much time due to promising infrastructure and well-laid roads. Government-run town buses ply throughout the city which is an affordable travel option. Bhubaneswar is a religious center for Hindus and Buddhists and has many excellent examples of Oriya architecture in the old part of the city. The city is home to the world-famous ‘Lingaraj Temple’, which has often been described as “the truest fusion of dream and reality”. Apart from this, there is Bindu Sarovar, a large lake near Lingaraj Temple that keeps a drop of every Holy river in it. The twin Hills, Khandagiri and Udayagiri serve the site of an ancient Jain monastery. Historically significant sites like Dhauli Giri and Odisha State Museum are also worth a visit along with Nandankanan Zoo, Mukteshwar Temple and Rajrani Temple.With some of the best hotels in Bhubaneswar, tourists can stay in comfort and complete their pilgrimage.
- Ratnagiri – It is located in the South Western part of Maharashtra, Ratnagiri is surrounded by the beautiful Sahyadri Hills. The place is known for its Konkani culture and cuisine and also for Alphonso mangoes. It’s the birth place of the great freedome fighter Lokmanya Tilak. There are a number of tourist attractions in and around this region including the Parashuram Temple, Pavas and caves of Chiplun, Khed, Dabhol, Sangameshwar, Gauhani Velgaum and Vade Padel. You can travel using a taxi to Ratnagiri from Bhubaneswar. Visit this place to enjoy the Sand and Surf along with other historical attributes.
- Cuttack – One of the oldest cities in Odisha, Cuttack is also called the ‘Millenium City’, owing to its history of about 1,000 years. It is also the birthplace of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, the renowned freedom fighter. The tourist attractions here include Temple of Kataka Chandi (the locals here strongly believe Maa Katak Chandi as the Living Goddess), Kadam Rasool (the famous mosque with origins tracing back to the 18th century), Mahanadi Cruise (this one of its kind river cruise service enables people to experience the ethereal beauty of Mahanadi and its surroundings through the trip on the water), Barabati Fort (among the structural remains within, the arched gateway and a mosque of Fath Khan are interesting) and Deer Park (perfect place for nature lovers).
- Digha – This seaside resort town in West Bengal promises a ‘magical’ experience. The beaches will leave you rejuvenated at their mere sight. Top attractions include – New Digha Beach, Shankarpur Beach, Temple of Chandaneshwar, Talsari Beach and Marine Aquarium and Research Center.
- Mandarmani – This sea beach has is fast becoming popular as Digha is getting over-crowded. Located at about 190 Kms away from Kolkata, this beach is home to a lot of water sports like paragliding, sea boat, sea scooter etc.