Orissa is a land of temples and it is said that there are more number
of temples in Orissa than the rest of the country put together.
Orissa's temple architecture flamed into glorious consecration of
the self to the godhead, in a heady display of extravagant expression
through some of the most exotic delineation of religious architecture
in the world. From the towering heights of the Lingaraj temple to
the windswept ruins of Konark anchored in the white sands, the marvels,
sheer extravaganza of poetry in the stone, stun the mind. Orissa's
temple architecture holds a magnetic appeal that lies in its indigenous
Shree Jagannath Temple
The celebrated Temple of Lord Jagannath now existent at Puri was
Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in 12th century A.D. The wooden
images of Jagannath Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed in that
temple. The management of the temple continued under the Hindu rulers
till 1558, when the State of Orissa was conquered by the Afghan
Nawab of Bengal and the temple was attacked by the Afgan General
Kalapahad. Then, an independent Khurda kingdom was established
by Ramachandra Deb, who assumed the management of the temple. He
consecrated the temple and reinstalled the deities. Raja Mansingh,
a General of the Mughal King Akbar, defeated the Afghans and annexed
Orissa in to the Mughal dominion. It remained under the Mughals
till 1751 A.D. Till 1760, the temple continued under the Khurda
Raja, who was paying tribute to Mughals and Marhattas. Marhattas
took up direct management of the temple till 1803. The Britishers
annexed Orissa into British empire in 1803 and allowed Puri Raja
to manage the temple. The position continued till 1947.
The Sun Temple
Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Orissan temple architecture
and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture
in the world. It is 36km from Puri and 64km from Bhubaneswar. It
was constructed in the mid-13th century, but little is known about
its early history. Konark was an important port from early times
and was known to the geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD. Just
why this amazing structure was built here is a mystery. A popular
legend relates that Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted
by leprosy brought about by his father's curse on him. After 12
years of penance, he was cured by the sun god Surya and it is in
his honour that he built this temple. Scholars however feel that
Raja Narsimhadeva I of the Ganga dynasty built it in 13th century
AD to celebrate his victory over the Muslims. The temple fell into
disuse after it was desecrated by one of the envoys of Mughal Emperor
Jahangir in the 17th century. Today it is located 3km from the sea,
but originally the ocean came almost up to its base. Until fairly
recent times, in fact, the temple was close enough to the shore
to be used as a navigational point by European sailors, who referred
to it as the 'Black Pagoda'.
Dedicated to Tribhuvaneshwar (a form of Shiva) or the Lord of the
Three Worlds, this temple is a prime example of Indian architecture,
in its most mature and fully developed state. Its present form dates
back to the 11th century, although parts of it are over 1400 years
old. The presiding deity, here, is the Swayambhu Linga - half Shiva,
half Vishnu, a unique feature of the temple. The granite block representing
the Linga is said to be bathed daily with water, milk and bhang
(marijuana) Almost all the Hindu gods and goddesses are represented
in this temple, mirroring the inherent element of harmony within
the religion. More than 50 smaller temples and shrines crowd the
enclosure. This temple is closed to non-Hindus, however a viewing
platform allows visitors to see over the wall.
Situated on an island in the Mahanadi River, about 10 kms. from
Badamba in Cuttack District, the Simhanath temple (c. 9th century)
is interesting for its images of Shaiva, Shakta, and Vaishnava cults
of Hinduism. The jagmohana (porch) appears to be influenced by the
Vaital Deul temple in Bhubaneswar.
The Simhanath temple combines older features with new and energetic
experiments. This can be seen in such things as the elongation of
the Paga images which crown the niches, and in the addition of a
third terrace to the roof of the jagmohana.
The famous Madhava temple(13th century) is located on the eastern
bank of the Prachi River, about 6 kms. from Niali (Cuttack District).
The area between Niali and Madhava appears to have been the principal
centre of the Madhava (four-armed Vishnu) cult in Orissa, made famous
in Sri Jayadeva's Gita Govinda. The temple is also sometimes referred
to as "Durgamadhava" because of the presence of a small
Durga image next to Madhava within the sanctum. This joint worship
of Durga and Madhava is unique to Orissan Vaishnavism, and is yet
another testament of the great Orissan process of synthesis. Madhava
is a temple in active worship, and, in fact, draws a large number
of pilgrims from all over Orissa.
The long coastal belt of Orissa offers some of the finest white
sand beaches in the world. The Puri beach is the main venue for
countless pilgrims, and makes one of the major religiously sacred
beach side spots of India. The seaside beach resort of Chandipur
is another favourite seaside holiday hideout among beach lovers.
Gopalpur-On-Sea, an ancient seaport, is one of the most beautiful
and unspoiled beaches one should definitely visit, when taking touring
Gopalpur On Sea
This place is considered to be a favourite spot lying on the Bay
of Bengal for sea and water sport lovers. Have a nice walk or a
jog in early morning hours on this golden beach of Orissa India,
which is also an ideal place to swim or laze around.
Chandipur is another famous beach resort of Orissa situated 16-kms
away from Balasore, providing a memorable experience to the visitors
along its shores. It is a unique sea beach where seawater recedes
about 5-kms during low tide and advances to the shoreline again
during high tide, each day.
Konark is the world famous site of the most exquisite Sun temple
one can ever come across. While visiting this religiously
and historically famous site, do check out the lovely bliss and
serenity of its beach.
Paradeep is a major seaport of India's trade activities with a fine
sea beach that offers evergreen forests, a huge estuary of the Mahanadi
with islands and creeks, a good marine drive and beach. Known as
'Tulasi Kshetra' it is also famous for its temple site of Lord Baladeva.
Puri is one of the three major spots of the Orissa Golden Triangle
and one of the four major holy places in India. Located on the shores
of Bay of Bengal, it has one of the finest beaches in the world.
8 km from Puri, this is a casuarina-fringed beach with a Sea Turtle
Research Centre situated nearby. Love the tranquility of the beach
side! Then this is the place that can surely turn a casual trip
into an unforgettable vacation along the coastline of Orissa.
Situated about 42 km from Bhubaneswar, Atri is best known for its
hot sulphur springs and the famous Shrine Lord Hatakeswar temple.
The waters of the spring remain at a constant 55 degrees-Centigrade
(131 degrees) and are believed to have medicinal properties. Tourists
can enjoy steam bath in the Bathing Complex, located close to the
spring. The winding highway leading to Atri is lined with neem (margosa),
banyan, and peepul trees, and passes through scenic rural countryside
making even the drive here a delightful experience.
Deulajhari Hot Spring
90 km from Angul, near Athamalik, are the famed hot springs of Deulajhari.
The hot spring seems to flow from the bottom of a Shiva Linga, and
is channelised to 36 ponds on the outskirts of the Shiva temple.
Believed to contain medicinal properties, a bath in the spring has
religious importance too.
Taptapani Hot Spring
The bubbling hot spring of Taptapani lies deep in the forests and
high on a hill around 50 km from Berhampur. The waters, believed
to have medicinal properties, are also piped directly into the bathrooms
of the Pantha Niwas (tourist bungalow). The beauty of the rolling
tribal inhabited hills is an added bonus.
Barehipani & Joranda Falls
These picturesque falls (Barehipani - 399 metres and Joranda - 150
metres) situated inthe
core area of Simlipal National Park are perfectly complementary
to their surroundings and are a beautiful bonus to the visitors
of the sanctuary.
The Badaghagra falls
The Badaghagra falls (about 60 metres) situated around 10 km from
Keonjhar is amongst the most popular picnic sites in the region.
One look at the beauty and serenity of the place is enough to understand
why visitors make a beeline for it!
The Sanaghagra falls
The Sanaghagra falls (about 30 metres) situated around 5 km from
Keonjhar is one of the most popular picnic sites in the region.
One look at the beauty and serenity of the place is enough to understand
why visitors make a beeline for this place.
On the southern slope of the Gandhamardan hills, around 81 km from
Balangir, stands Harishankar, a place of pilgrimage, famous for
its uncommon scenic charms and the presence of Hari and Shankar,
the dual deities of the Vaishnav and Shaivite sects of Hinduism.
A perennial stream gushes forth onto its granite bed to form cascades
at different stages, the last fall providing a natural water slide
to bathers! As a cool resort in the lap of nature, Harishankar is
a panacea for the heat in the summer
One of the prettiest districts on the tourist circuit is the Sundargarh
region. Located amidst its lush forests is Orissa's most famous
waterfall, the Khandadhar fall (about 244 metres). The beauty of
this place makes it a site not to be missed.
This little known picnic spot of Orissa located 110 km from Rourkela
is also considered as a mini hill-station. The view from the lookout
point with its rolling hills and dense forests for as far as the
eye can see, has fascinated all visitors, and remains a lifelong
Dhamra Scenic Spot
On the confluence of the rivers Vaitarini and Brhamini where they
meet the Bay of Bengal, Dhamra naturally has a special appeal for
all tourists. It is located 40 km from Chandbali, approachable by
boat and motor launch from there. It is 160 kms from Balasore.
Barunei Scenic Spot
A scenic spot 32 km from Bhubaneswar, Barunai attracts thousands
of visitors, all round the year, who are drawn to it by shadowy
mango groves, the perrenial spring called 'Swarga Ganga' , and the
temple of Barunai, the presiding deity set on top of the hill.
Dairingbadi Scenic Spot
Nicknamed as "Kashmir of Orissa", Dairingbadi is probably
the only place in Orissa to have experienced snowfall. This extremely
pretty place is located around 135 kms from Phulbani, and is an
attractive tourist destination throughout the year.
Darjeeng Scenic Spot
51 kms from Rourkela, on the banks of the river Bramhini, is another
of Orissa's beautiful picnic spots. The presence of the picturesque
Deodhar Gorge about 2 kms from Darjeeng is an added attraction.
Saptasajya Scenic Spot
A place of scenic beauty, Saptasajya is situated at a distance of
11 kms from Dhenkanal. The place is ideal for picnic and relaxation.
As legends would have it, the Pandavas spent some days of their
incognito life in these hills. The Saptarishi temple and the temple
of Raghunath attract a large number of persons on the Ramnavami
day which falls in March-April. A small spring flowing close by
enhances the beauty of the place.
Information on Tours & Travel excursion of Orissa - India