One India’s best cultural centers Orissa presents a vibrant open-air museum where the lingering mists of its ancient past mingle easily with the sunlight of its dynamic present. Today, Orissa’s cultural heritage emerges as an almost sublime synthesis of harmony and stimulating creativity. The very stone speak of its unique history, its magnificent old temple of its maritime activities with far – off lands, its magnificent old temples and shrines reverberate with the spiritual energy that permeates the very fabric of everyday life among her people.
Orissa, the land of Oriyas, was known as Kalinga in ancient days. In 286 BC Ashoka, the Mauryan Emperor, had sent a powerful army to conquer Kalinga which offered stubborn resistance. Kalinga was subdued but the carnage, which followed, struck Ashoka with remorse. After the death of Ashoka, Kalinga regained its independence. In the 2 nd century BC it become a powerful country under Kharavela.With the death of Kharavela, Orissa passed into obscurity. In the 4 th century AD Samudragupta invaded Orissa and overcame the resistance offered by five of its kings. Later Orissa came under the sway of king Sasanka.After Sasanka’s death, Harsha Vardhan, King of Ujjain conquered Orissa.
The period from 7 th to 13 th century AD was the most creative one for Orissa when it because the hub of statecraft, commerce, art and architecture and development of important pilgrim centers under royal patronage. Orissa had its own independent dynasty of rulers in the 7 th century AD. In 795 AD Mahasivagupta Yagati II ascended the throne and with him began the most brilliant epoch in the history of Orissa.He united Kalinga, Kangda, Utkal and Koshala in the imperial tradition of Kharavela.From 14 th century Orissa was ruled successively by 5 Muslim kings till 1572 when Akbar annexed it into Mughal empire. After the decline of the Mughal empire the Marathas occupied Orissa.They continued to hold it till the British took over in 1803.
At a Glance
Area: 1,55,707 Sq.km; Capital: Bhubaneshwar; Language:Oriya; Airport: Bhubaneshwar is connected by air with Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai and Hyderabad; Popular Places: Bhubaneshwar, Konarak, Puri, Cuttack.
The dynamic topographical variations of Orissa offer the more intrepid visitors an excellent opportunity to enjoy their diversity and thereby take back stimulating memories of a great vacation. The virgin beaches, the limpid waters of the lake, the gushing rivers energetically merging with the sunlit sea, the deep forest cover and the incredible wild life are a joy to the nature reveler and the adventure.
Bhubaneshwar stands in a region, which harbours a rich historical and cultural heritage. Many civilizations flourished on this rich soil, tangible remains of some are still visible in and around the city. A temple city, it literally means ‘The abode of the terrestrial lord’. It is believed that at one time, the city boasted 7000 temples of which only 500 remain today.
Places of Interest
(1) Lingaraja Temple (2) Parsurameshwara Temple (3) Mukteshwara Temple (4) Rajarani Temple (5) Vaital Temple (6) Brameshwar (7) Bhaskareshwar Temple (8) Jagannath Temple (9) Khandgiri (10) Udayagiri.
How to Reach: Bhubaneshwar is connected by air with New Delhi, Calcutta, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Chenni.You can travel by rail to Howrah, Chennai, Huwahati, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Rourkela, Puri and Mumbai.
Hotel Accommodations: The Oberoi, The Kenilworth, Hotel Swosti, Hotel Sishmo, Hotel Keshri, Hotel Kalinga Ashok, Hotel Siddharth, and Safari International.
The epic in stone, this temple was built on the sea front with water lashing its walls but now the sea has receded and the temple is a little away from the beach. The temple stands upon its enormous 24 intricately carved wheels. The walls of this magnificent ruin have exquisite sculptures covering many aspects of life. This temple was once the Black Pagoda to maritime visitors to Orissa in ancient times. Today the temple is protected by UNESCO as a World heritage site.
Places of Interest
(1) Ramachandi (2) Baleshwar (3) Balaghai (4) Kuruma (5) Kakatapur (6) Chaurasi (7) Konarak Beach (8) Pipli.
How to Reach: Nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar (65 km). Nearest railhead is Bhubaneshwar.
Hotel Accommodations: Yatri Niwas, Panthanivas, Travellers Lodge and Inspection Bungalow.
Puri, the hallowed seat of the Hindu religion, is one of the four Dhams of India, home of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra.Puri is also a cultural capital of Orissa.Adi Shankaracharya had established one of the four ‘Maths’ here. Puri, famous for its golden beaches, is ideal for swimming and surfing.
Places of Interest
(1) Jagannath Temple: Life in Puri revolves around the temple of Lords Jagannath.The temple of the Lord of Universe was built in the 12 th century during the reign of King Chodaganga Deva to commemorate the shifting of his capital from south to central Orissa.
How to Reach: Nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar (60 km). Puri is well linked by super fast trains to Kolkata.
Hotel Accommodations:O. T.D.C., Hotel Neelachal, Hotel Holiday Resort, Hotel Vijoy International, HotelToshali Sands, Puri Konarak, Hotel Hans Coco, Hotel May Fair, Puri Hotel, Sagarika Hotel, Hotel Subhadra.
Cuttack was the capital of Orissa in the medieval times. The city lies surrounded by the Kathajuri Rivers and the Mahanadi.The ancient stone embankment on the Kathajuri river, built in the 11 th century by a king of the Kesari dynasty to protect the town from floods, is an engineering marvel. About 65 kilometers away are the Ratangiri, Lalitgiri and Udaigiri caves wherein in ancient times a Buddhist center of learning was flourished.
Places of Interest
1) Lalitgiri (2) Ratangiri (3) Udayagiri (4) Lingudi.
How to Reach: Nearest airport- Bhubaneshwar 110 km. You can travel by rail to Agra, Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Gaya, Chennai, Puri, Thiruvanathapuram, Varanasi, Visakhapatnam and Mumbai.
Hotel Accommodations : Hotel Lords, Hotel Ashoka, Hotel Akbari, Hotel Sagar, and Hotel Ananda.