Odisha is a culturally rich state of eastern India and is surrounded by its glorious history. Its well said that this ancient state is the best-kept secret of India. This coastal state consists of marvelous architectural wonders of forts & temples, natural bodies, beaches, etc. Here is a list of top tourist destinations of Odisha that are well present within a radius of 200 kilometers from the capital city Bhubaneswar.
These spots are divided into four categories:
- Caves and Stone Monuments
- Lakes and Beaches
- Zoo and National Parks
1. Lingaraj Temple
Located inside the premises of the city this temple is one of the finest place to see in Bhubaneswar. This Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the oldest temples in the city. The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The other attraction of the temple is the Bindusagar Lake, located on the north side of the temple.
2. Shree Jagannath Temple
This famous Puri sightseeing located on the eastern coast of Odisha is around 80 km away from the center of Bhubaneswar. This sacred temple is only open to Hindus. This holy temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or chariot festival which is one of the biggest festivals of Odisha. It’s also the best tourist place near Bhubaneswar. This temple is the pride of Odisha Tourism. This is one of the most crowded tourist spot in Puri.
3. Konark Sun Temple
Konark’s Sun Temple is one of the most beautiful monuments of India. Dedicated to the Sun God, the temple is in the shape of a gigantic chariot. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. This is one of the best tourist places near Puri.
CAVES & STONE MONUMENTS
1. Khandagiri and Udaygiri Caves
These caves are situated on two adjacent hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. These have a number of finely and ornately carved caves built during the 1st century BCE. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out as residential blocks for Jaina monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri means “Sunrise Hill” and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves. Udaygiri is the most popular tourist spot in Bhubaneswar and the pride of Bhubaneswar tourism. While Khandagiri is a great picnic spot in Bhubaneswar.
Dhauli, the famous Bhubaneswar sightseeing is located on the banks of the river Daya, 8 km south of Bhubaneswar. Dhauli hill is presumed to be the area where the Kalinga War was fought. It is well known for the famous Shanti Stupa or the Peace Pagoda which was built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in 1972.
3. Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri
Lalitagiri – present around 80km to the north of Bhubaneswar, Lalitagiri is a major Buddhist complex in the Indian state of Odisha comprising major stupas, ‘esoteric’ Buddha images, and monasteries.
Ratnagiri – This hill is situated in between the Brahmani and Birupa rivers in the Jajpur district. This was once a major Buddhist monastery in modern Odisha. The Buddhist monuments were constructed from the 5th century CE onwards, with the last work in the 13th century, and the peak period of work done between about the 7th to 10th centuries.
LAKES & BEACHES
1. Chilika Lake
This tourist destination is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the largest brackish water lagoon in the world. This lake offers a diversified display of migratory birds ranging from white-bellied sea eagles to flamingos, and from golden plovers to sandpiper. The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals and is an ecosystem with large fishery resources. This place plays a lead role in promoting tourism in Odisha.
2. Puri Sea Beach
Golden sea beach, the most popular tourist place in puri is located at the shore of the Bay of Bengal. This is one of the most popular tourist destination in the state. The beach hosts sand art displays. And was awarded the prestigious ‘Blue Flag’ tag on October 11, 2020, by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark. This is one of the best places to visit near Bhubaneswar.
3. Paradeep Beach
Located 125 Km from the capital city of Odisha, Paradip is one of the most important commercial ports of the country and a popular tourist place near Bhubaneswar. One can see fascinatingly huge ships and other marine activities at this beautiful confluence of estuaries of Paradeep, Mahanadi, and the Bay of Bengal.
4. Gopalpur Beach
In Southern Odisha, this beach is present around 15kms away from the city of Brahmapur. It attracts a number of tourists throughout the year to enjoy a slice of a serene life. It was a popular trading center during the British reign and still known as a vibrant hub for commercial activities.
ZOO AND NATIONAL PARKS
1. Nandankanan Zoo
This visiting place in Bhubaneswar was established in 1960. This zoo is present on the outskirts of the city. Nandankanan is the first zoo in India to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. Also the first zoo in India with a white tiger safari. Also considered as the best tourist spot in BBSR. It contains a botanical garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. This is the most amazing place to visit in Bhubaneswar.
2. Similipal National Park
Similipal National Park is a national park and a tiger reserve in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha covering 2,750 sq.km area. It is the 7th largest national park in India. The park is home to the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, gaur, and chausingha. Along with some of the beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani Falls. This protected area is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009.
3. Bhitarkanika National Park
Present 150kms away from the city of Bhubaneswar, Bhitarkanika is the largest national park of Kendrapara district in Odisha. It hosts many mangrove species and is the second-largest mangrove ecosystem in India. The national park is home to Saltwater crocodile, Indian python, king cobra, black ibis, darters, and many other species of flora and fauna.
4. Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary spreads across 795.52 square kilometers and is a habitat of tigers, leopards, gaurs, sambal, spotted deers, four-horned antelopes, sloths, gharial, and many others. It is located on the banks of River Mahanadi, about 140 km from Bhubaneswar. One can also take part in various adventure sports here like river rafting, trekking, fish angling, boating, etc.
The actual list of tourist places in Odisha is enormous and will require proper planning and time to view them. But these locations are not only famous for their enchanting beauty but are also most suitable for a single-day trip (from BBSR) to free up your mind. And If you are desiring to spend some time in these spots, don’t wait, pack up your bags, plan your journey, and move on a ride.