The states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh in the eastern part of India are always less explored. Many tourist knows only Konark Sun Temple, Jagannath Puri Temple in Odisha and Tirupati Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh. There are many more places which are beautiful and unexplored. Today, I am going to write about one of the state of Eastern India, Odisha. Most probably, you have heard the name of the state only during rainy season that is due to cyclones. So, let's get started and explore this place.
In Feb, 2017 we did a trip to northern part of India to Uttarakhand. We explored Haridwar, Rishikesh and did a snow trek. We were planning for short trip of 1 week to somewhere in India. Me and my friend were searching for places and planning for trip. After lot of searching, we decided to go to Odisha and Kolkata. Places were decided, dates were fixed, flights were booked. The wait was only for date to arrive.
The D-Day arrived. I started my journey from Pune in the night and having connecting flight to Bhubaneshwar from Hyderabad. I met my friend at Hyderabad airport who was on this trip with me. I reached Hyderabad airport around 2 AM and our flight to Bhubaneshwar was at 7 AM. So, we have dinner, explored the airport. Hyderabad airport is one of the busiest airport of India. We boarded the flight in the morning and reached Bhubaneshwar around 8.30 AM. Our first place for the day was "Chilika Lake". Chilika/Chilka lake is known as "Bird Paradise of Asia" where many birds comes in the winter season.
The bird sanctuary in Chilika Lake (Asia's largest brackish water lake) and the tiger reserve and waterfalls in Simlipal National Park are integral parts of eco-tourism in Odisha. The national park is made of multiple islands and there are multiple ways from where you can enter. Boats are available to explore the islands. Boating rates are fixed based on number of islands you want to visit and it is run of state tourism board.
You might have already know that I travel using public transport only. I don't like to spend much on transportation unless there are no options available than hiring vehicle. So, after reaching Bhubaneshwar Airport, we were searching for Bus Depot from where we were supposed to get our bus. We took the cab to reach bus depot. He dropped us to outer part of the city and told us that from here you will get the bus. We tried searching for bus depot but no luck. There were some private buses coming out of open ground. We tried to check with local people but everybody was saying you will get bus from here itself.
We saw some people were standing and waiting for the bus. We asked to them about bus to Chilika Lake, they asked us to wait at same place. After around 2 hours of wait, we boarded private bus. The driver told us that he will drop us near Chilika lake, we didn't know where exactly bus was going. The condition of the bus was worst, we won't recommend you to take any private bus from Bhubaneshwar to Chilika Lake. After about 2 hours of journey we reached the destination. Driver dropped us on the highway and told us to take auto for Chilika Lake. We walked till Chilika lake but got disappointed. as there were no birds.
We were little early there, as per local people birds come there in late December or January. You can still do island hoping and boating. The food recommended by most of the people is "Crabs". On the way to Chilika lake, you will find many restaurants for lunch. Go to any of the restaurant as prices are same. There is restaurant and guest house available which is run by state tourism board. After lunch, we explored Chilika lake, captured some photos and decided to travel back. Our next stop was "Puri". One can go to Chilika lake from Puri also. There is small village called "Satapada". It is very well connected by daily buses from Puri. Also, Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) operates day tours from Puri to Satapada. If you are going from Bhubaneshwar, I recommend to use State Transport buses instead of private buses.
We started our journey to Puri. We were searching for best way to travel as we were no interested in travelling by bus again. There was one railway station Balugaon around 8 KM from Chilika Lake where few trains stops. So, we started searching for trains timings and how we can reach to Puri. We found one route where we can take train from Balugaon till Khurda Road Junction and from there to Puri. Journey from Balugaon to Khurda Road would take around one hour and from Khurda Road to Puri another one and half hour.
Our train to Khurda road was on time but train to Puri was delayed by around 3 hours. Due to this, we reached Puri at 10 in the night. We didn't had booking for hotel so after reaching Puri we started searching for hotel. After that we had dinner and went for good night sleep. Next morning, we woke up early and went to visit Jagannath Puri temple, one of the famous place in India.
Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri
The Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath, a form of Vishnu. The Puri temple is famous for its annual Ratha yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. This is one of the must place when you are in Odisha. Puri beach is also famous and must visit destination to spend your day. After visiting Jagannath Temple, we went to visit "Raghurajpur".
It is a village in Puri distrcit around 14 KM from Puri. The village is heritage crafts village famous for "Pattachitra." The pattachitra paintings are made over a piece of cloth known as Patta or a dried palm leaf, which is first painted with a mixture of chalk and gum. Over the prepared surface, colorful and intricate pictures of various Gods, Goddesses, and mythological scenes with ornamentation of flowers, trees and animals are then painted.
Apart from that, the village is also home to crafts like Tussar paintings, palm leaf engravings, stone and wood carvings, wooden, cow dung and paper mach toys, and masks. After spending few hours in the village, we started our journey to the world heritage site, Sun Temple, Konark.
Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple (Surya Mandira) is a 13th-century CE Sun temple at Konark about 35 KM northeast from Puri. Dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya, what remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone.
We hired a two wheeler to explore the Puri, Raghurajpur and Konark. Two wheelers are easily available for rent in Puri. It is available near on Jagannath Temple Road or Beach road. After visiting Konark temple, we attended Annual Dance Festival in Konark. Then we went to Konark beach to view some of fine sand arts in ongoing International Sand Art Festival.
After that, we drove back to our hotel and had good night sleep. Next day, we took morning train to Bhubaneshwar, met our colleagues and spent some quality time in the city. Bhubaneshwar is not busy city like other Indian cities but still there are places where you can spend your evening. We had dinner and traveled to railway station to catch our train to another unique state to West Bengal.
Other Attractions in Odisha
Satkosia Sands Resort (Badmul)
Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves
Please do not litter anywhere. Explore beauty of wonder and enjoy it.
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