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Although not typically on the list of high profile destinations, Orissa is truly one of the gems of India. Blessed with approximately 500 km of coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Orissa offers visitors a peaceful and serene backdrop for both relaxing and exploring alike. The region has a history spanning 5,000 years with various indigenous peoples inhabiting the area since prehistoric times. Numerous temples dot the landscape and lush green forests host a wide variety of flora and fauna. Abundant rivers flow through the region offering picturesque waterfalls amidst the rolling hills and valleys. Bhubaneshwar, its most prominent city, is well known as the “City of Temples” for it boasts an abundance of sacred sites both within the city limits and beyond into the nearby countryside. Puri is a gem of a coastal town on the Bay of Bengal and is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in all of India, mainly due to the JagannathMandir temple. The monuments and religious sanctity of the area, along with the reverent way of life of the local people, plainly illustrates why Puri is the cultural heart of Orissa. Having enjoyed an exciting heyday in the 1970s, Puri has mellowed to a more relaxed destination for those seeking an out-of-the-way rest. Gopalpur-On-Sea hosts a very famous beach on the coast of the Bay of Bengal and remains a popular destination for rest and relaxation amid the coconut groves and gentle rolling sand dunes. Once a prominent trading port during the days of the British East India Company, Gopalpur has reverted to being a quiet and relaxed place with a distinct charm all of its own. Well steeped in tribal history and a present rural village population, Orissa is one of the better destinations to experience the more secluded parts of India’s culture.
Bhubaneswar is the capital of Orissa state , it has had more than thousands of temples the city got the title “Temple city of India”. The city has a rich and storied history dating back over 3000 years, making this one of the great religious centers of Orissa since early medieval days. Three places of Orissa Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark is created triangle forms of “swarna Tribhuja”, the Diamond Triangle, one of the most visited destinations in East India.
Lingaraj Temple: The biggest temple of all at Bhubaneswar, it is located within a spacious compound wall of dark rusty red rock and represents the culmination of the Kalinga type of architecture. The Hindu temple is dedicated to Harihara, another name for Shiva, and is one of the oldest temples of Bhubaneswar. The temple courtyard lay more than one hundred fifty smaller shrines, on the massive walls of temple plentifully decorated with beautiful sculptures.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: Carved into immense rock faces, these form of construction are natural and artificial caves, it is gives historical and religious importance. The Caves are located just outside the Bhubaneshwar city approximately 10 Kms on two closest hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri are believed to be carved out as residential blocks for Jain monks. Visitors will enjoy the notable carvings of the Rani Gumpha (Queen’s Cave), the BaghGumpha (Tiger Cave) and the HatiGumpha (Elephant Cave).
Dhauli Giri: Looking down from Bhubaneshwar, one will see onto the plains that bore witness to the gruesome war waged on Kalinga by emperor Ashoka, Here stand the rock edicts, or carved inscriptions, of Dhauli.
This pearl of a coastal town on the Bay of Bengal is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in all of India, mainly due to the JagannathMandir temple. The monuments and religious sanctity of the city , dating back to the 4th century BCE, along with the historic way of life of the local people, plainly illustrates why Puri is the cultural heart of Orissa. In addition the beautiful and best beach for swimming in Puri in India, their beaches are located geographically point so that both on the sunset and in the morning during the sunrise can be viewed from the beach. Although having seen a dizzying heyday in the 1970s, Puri has mellowed to a more relaxed destination for those seeking an out-of-the-way rest.
Jagannath Temple: Temple is Dedicated to Jagannath “Lord of the Universe”, this temple is an key pilgrimage destination for many Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu, it is part of the pilgrimages that each Hindu is expected to make in one’s lifetime. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple or its grounds but it can be viewed at a distance from the adjacent Raghunandan Library, which in itself is a spectacular old building.
Ratha Yatra: The Jagannath Temple is famous for its annual RathYatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities of the temple are removed from their sacred shrines and hauled through the town on huge and elaborately decorated carts. As part of RathYatra, the idols of Lord Puri Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain they keep there for nine days. The idols then return to PuriJagannath Temple in a journey known as BahudaYatra. For non-Hindus, attending this festival would be the only opportunity to see the sacred idols.