Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, 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 Odishan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of more than 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.
Local Sightseeing –
Explore the age-old heritage of this ‘Temple City’ by visiting the beautiful temple like Lingaraj, Rajarani, Mukteswar, Bharateswar, Brahma, Brahmeswar,Chandana, Chitrakarini, Daiteswar, Dwarabasini, Gosagareswar, Kainchi, Kedareswar, Kotitirtheswar, Laxmaneswar, Makarewswar, Markandeswar, Mohini, Papanasini, Parsurameswar, Rameswar, Satrughaneswar, Subarneswar, Swarnajaleswar,Taleswar, Tirtheswar. Uttareswar, Vaital, Vimaleswar / Gaurisankar and Anantavasudev.
Sisupalgarh is located close to the famous Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar. It is a historic place with the ruins of a fortified city strewn all over the area. Historians claim that this city dates back to the third or fourth century BC. Sisupalgarh is a reminder of the rich heritage civilization of Odisha.
On the other hand, modern temples include Baya Baba Matha, Ram Mandir, Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir & ISKCON Temple.
If you happen to be a nature lover there are verdant parks for you to relax like the IG Park, Ekamra Kanan, Biju Patanaik Park, Buddha Jayanti Park,IMFA Park, Kharavela Park, S.P. Mukherjee Park and Subhas Bose Park.
Other Urban Landmarks for you to explore in Bhubaneswar –
Pathani Samanta Planetarium
BDA City Center (Formerly BDA Nicco Park)
Natural History Museum
Bhubaneswar offers several options for interesting Excursion Tours, which are both educative and entertaining. Some of the excursion points are given below:
* Distance from Bhubaneswar
Dhauli (8 km)* –
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.
Hirapur (15 km)* –
Hirapur has the 11th century Hypaethral Temple of 64 Yogini. It is second of its kind in Odisha (the other one is at Ranipur Jharial) and one of four such unique temples in India.
Atri Hot Spring (42 km)* –
Situated amidst greenery and famous for the hot sulphur water spring, Atri, 42 km. from Bhubaneswar and 12 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 (20 km)* –
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 sanctuary.
Tarabalo Hot Spring (75 km)* –
In the Nayagarh district, Tarabalo is famous for a cluster of hot springs dotted over an area of 8 acres. Located 75 km from Bhubaneswar, it makes a delightful spot for excursions.
Khandagiri and Udaygiri (8 km)* –
The twin hills of Kumargiri and Kumarigiri known as Khandagiri and Udaygiri contain varieties of rock-cut caves, built mainly for the Jain monks around 1st – 2nd century B.C. The thirteen years lithic record of Emperor Kharavela engraved in Hatigumpha (elephant cave) is a magnificent specimen of Pali records so far found in India.
As you approach the site, Khandagiri, with its 15 caves will be on the left. Udayagiri will be on the right. The 18 caves of Udayagiri include the famous Hathi Gumpha (‘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 Gumpha (‘Queen’s Cave’), also on Udayagiri, 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 accessible 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.
Banapur (110 Km)* –
Famous for the time-honoured temple of Goddess Bhagabati, Banapur 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 at Bhubaneswar. The large number of Buddist 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 Odishan art. Banpur is connected by bus services from Bhubaneswar. Accommodation facilities are also available at Balugaon and Barkul, 11 Km away. One may also see the Salia Dam at a distance of 15 Km.
Barunei (32 Km)* –
As a scenic spot, 4 Km away from Khurdha, Barunei attracts thousands of visitors round the year. Barunei, the presiding deity of the place adorns the hilltop. The shadowy mango groves with a perennial spring called SWARGA GANGA”, Ganges of the Heaven, provide a pleasant atmosphere for the picnickers. Bus services are available up to Khurdha and Barunei stop on NH – 5 . One can hire taxies or Autorickshaws to reach the place.
Bhusandapur (65 km)* –
On way to Balugaon along National Highway No. 5 from Bhubaneswar, one can visit the shrine of Ugratara at Bhusandapur. The image of a four-armed chamunda worshipped as Ugratara is believed to be the tutelary deity of the Gajapati Kings of Odisha. It is a lovely picnic spot under a cool mango grove by the side of a hillock and a gurgling stream. This place is connected by a good motorable road.
Gadamanatri (54 Km)* –
31 Kms from Khurda, the place is famous for the abode of Goddes Ramachandi, situated on a hillock in the shape of a huge stone of 60 feet high. Gadamanatri is connected by a good motorable road. Ramanavami is the festival here which is observed for 7 days.
Kenduli (25 Km)* –
Famous for the birthplace of Saint Poet Jayadev, the composer of Geeta Govinda in Sanskrit. Kenduli is 25 Km from Bhubaneswaar via Phul-Nakhara and Kantapada. There are clutters of shines in this village like Mukteswar, Mahadev, Ambika, Jageswar, Nrusimha and Radha Madhav was worshipped in different temple. Jayadeva Jayanti is the biggest festival observed on Akshya Tritiya day which falls in April every year.
Rameswar (52 Km)* –
This place is an ideal stop on NH No.5 for any tourist. It is also a scenic spot. Economical and comfortable accommodation also available here. This place is 25 Km away from khurda, the dist headquater Regular frequent bus services are available to this place. Tourist can also visit the nearest tourist spots like Barunei(25 Km), Kaipadar(14 Km), Gadamanitir(24 Km) and Ugratara(10Km).
Mundiapada (81 Kms) –
51 Km from Khurda and 11 Km from Bolagada it is a scenic spot. The temple of Rama, Laxman, Sita and Hanuman on the top of the fill called Mandangiri is a great attraction for the tourist. The hill is about thousand feet high approachable by 700 steps. The Kartik Festival is observed here in the month of kartik (Oct-Nov) which is continued for the whole month of Kartik. A great congregation takes place during this period. Regular bus services are available up to Bolagada (11 Km). The Mundipada Ashram here accommodates 20 person which is a Yatri type accommodation.
Salia Dam – Berbera (118 Kms) –
One-way to Berbera Forest comes the Salia Dam near the village Panas Diha to the west of Banpur. The scenic beauty of this place with the dam attracts the group picnickers round the year. About 12 km from Salia Dam, Berbera is a deep forest of 300 Sq Km. It is rich with Sal, Teak and other associated species. Bisons, Gaurs, King Cobras, Barking Deer, Giant Squirrels etc. are found in the Jungles of Berbera. Barbera Forest is an unpeel beauty of nature richly endowed with bounties of flora and fauna. Regular bus services are available up to Banpur. Salia and Barbera is approachable by jeep from Banpur, 20 Kms from Balugaon and 26 Km form Barkul. Accommodation facilities are available at both the places.
Kosalasuni Thakurani Pitha (72 Kms) –
The place is famous for the Goddes Kosalasuri. She is belived to be stow fruition of desires of the devotees. The place attracts the Groups in large number. 42 Km from Khurda and 15 Km from Sunakhala, bus service is available up to Arikoma (2 Km) The Tarabalo Hot spring is only 13 Km from here. Visitors may avail the accommodation facility at Kalapather PWD IB at a distance of 6 Km.
How to Reach –
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.
By Air : Bhubaneshwar is directly linked by air to places like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata,Hyderabad etc. For details click here.
By Rail : Super fast trains connect Bhubaneswar to major cities of India such as Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi, Chennai,Hyderabad, Mumbai,Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad etc. For details click here.
By Road : Bhubaneswar is well linked to the rest of India by the National Highways(NH No.5) and by all weather inter and intra state roads.
Internal Transport – Taxies, Auto Rickshaws, Town Buses and Cycle Rickshaws .
Best time to visit Bhubaneshwar –
Bhubaneswar can be visited round the year, but the ideal time, especially for visitors from colder climes, would be from October to March.