Odisha is mainly known for its rich culture and the enormous number of ancient temples. The temples of Odisha conform to the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture, with distinctive features specific to this region. The best known of these are the Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar, Jagannath Temple, Puri and the Konark Sun Temple. The temples of Odisha exhibit a majestic grandeur. An Oriya temple (deula) usually consists of a sanctum, one or several front porches (Jagamohana) usually with pyramidal roofs, a dancing hall (nata mandira) and a hall of offerings (bhog mandira).
Scenic, Serene, Sublime. Located on the eastern coast of India, Odisha is a unique combination of beautiful locations, exotic cultures and warm & friendly people. With a 480 kilometer long coastline, towering mountains, serene lakes and frolicking rivers, Odisha has something for everyone.
We welcome you to sample it’s charms and we are sure, that like most of our guests, you too will choose to come back again and again!
One of the four celebrated religious centers of India, Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath needs no introduction. According to tradition Puri was once a thickly wooded hill inhabited by the Sabaras (Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian tribes of the Austric linguistic family). The sunny beach at Puri is one of the finest in the world. Watching the sunrise in a symphony of colours is a wonderful experience. It is one of the most popular sea-side resorts where visitors from any part of the globe can comfortably relax.
The Temple of Lord Jagannath built during the 12th century A.D. by Chodaganga Deva dominates the landscape for kilometers around. Being the tallest temple (65 metres) in Orissa, it is one of the most magnificent pieces of monuments of India. In front of the main gate stands a 16 sided monolithic pillar (11 metres high), called Aruna Stambha which formally stood in front of the Sun Temple and was brought to Puri during the 18th century A.D. Some of the other important temples are Gundicha, Lokanath, Sunaragauranga, Daria Mahabir and Tota Gopinatt. There are also a number of holy tanks like Narendra, Markandeya, Sweta Ganga and Indradyumna. There are many Monasteries locally known as Mathas also of touristic interest.
Fairs and Festivals of the region : Puri offers a plethora of colourful fairs and festivals round the year. However the Ratha Yatra or Car Festival, Puri Beach Festival, Ganesh Puja, and Jhulana Jatra are among the more widely celebrated ones.
Satapara, a retreat in nature on Chilika Lake, has been thrown open to visitors. Its location near the confluence of the Lake with the Bay of Bengal, and proximity to Puri (52 km), makes it an ideal spot to enjoy Chilika. The thrilling sight of dolphins round the year and abundance of migratory and resident birds in winter make it a preferred place for a vacation with nature.
Queen of natural beauty, Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia covering an area of over 1,100 sq. km is a great attraction for the tourists for fishing, bird watching and boating. In winter Chilika aflutters with thousands of indigenous and migratory birds of many varieties from far and near – even from the distant Siberia. The fabulous beauty of Chilika which has inspired poets to sing its glory and which can be best enjoyed from Balugaon, Barkul, Rambha and Satpada must be seen to be believed. One can also have a glimpse of the lake from the moving trains and vehicles on the road near these places. The atmosphere is just serene and undisturbed amidst the blue expanse of water on one side and an evergreen range of hills on the other. Dotted with a host of islands with romantic names, a cruise in Chilika will be a life-long memory.
The Island of Kalijai is famous as a center of religious worship due to the temple of Goddess Kalijai where a big fair is held on the occasion of Makara Sankranti that falls in January every year. The Island of Nalabana, 8 km in circumference occupies a unique place in the vast expanse of Chilika Lake as it happens to be the central point for the migratory birds. One can view the dolphins at Chilika mouth near Satpara.
Surrounded by paddy fields, the Dhauli hill brings back memories of the historic ‘Kalinga war’ which was fought around here. It is here that Ashoka, the terrible, was transformed into Ashoka, the compassionate and championed the cause of Buddhism. On the foot of the hill one can see the Rock Edicts of Ashoka and the forepart of a skillfully sculpted elephant hewn out of a huge rock. Dhauli has gained prominence due to the establishment of a Buddhist Peace Pagoda, popularly known as Shanti Stupa, built in the early seventies by the Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. An old temple of Lord Dhavaleswar, reconstructed in 1972, also stands on the hill-top.
Picturesquely carved out of the Chandaka forest, Nandankanan is a Biological Park where animals are kept in their natural habitat. A centrally located lake divides the Zoo from the Botanical Gardens. Tigers, Lions, Clouded Leopards, Black Panthers, European Brown Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Gharials, Rosy Pelican, Grey Pelican, Indian Python, King Cobra, etc. are among the attractions of the zoo, which is famous for its White Tigers. The exotic Botanical Garden on the other side of the zoo preserves varieties of indigenous plants. Regular bus services are available to reach the place.
The magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Orissan temple architecture, and one of the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. The poet Rabindranath Tagore said of Konark that ‘here the language of stone surpasses the language of man’, and it is true that the experience of Konark is impossible to translate into words.
The massive structure, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendour surrounded by drifting sand. Today it is located two kilometers 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’.
The loftiest peak of Kapilas range enshrines the temple of Loard Shiva ‘Chandrasekhar’ at a height of about 457 mtrs. approachable by a flight of 1351 steps and a ghat road. Identified with “Kailas’, the legendary abode of Lord Shiva, the hill has several caves, shrines and the ruins of a medieval fort which are regularly visited by pilgrims. The Deer park and Science Park are other attraction of the place.
Thick and green forests, extensive grassy lands and meadows, cloud kissing peaks, precipitous and sparkling waterfalls, meandering rivers, roaring tigers and trumpeting tuskers, fleeing deer and flying squirrels, talking myna and dancing peacocks et al make Similipal a dreamland of Nature in the wilderness and an irresistible destination.
Covering a vast are of 2750 sq. km out of which 303 sq. km from the core area, thick biosphere reserve is a sanctuary and one of the Tiger Projects and National parks of India. With wide range of rain falls and edaphic variations, range from dry deciduous to moist green forests, it is suitable to different species of flora and fauna. About 1076 species of mammals, 29 types of reptiles and 231 species of birds are the proud possession of this plateau.
Average mean elevation of Similipal is 900 meters. Tall and luxuriant Sal Trees in large numbers stand like sentries. The handsome peaks of Khairiburu (1178 meters), Meghasani (1158 meters) and others welcome like smiling receptionists from the emerald heights. Sweet scented Champak flowers freshen the air. The richly hued orchids on the green foliage are soothing to the eyes. In the midst of the dense forests, the summer stands humbled and the sun gets lost.
Several rivers like Budhabalanga, Khairi, salandi, Palpala, etc. originate from the hills and meander through the forest like veins and arteries in the body. many of them have formed cascading rapids and foaming falls before leaving for the plains. The panoramic view of the waterfalls at Barehipani (400 meters) and Joranda(150 meters) are simply enchanting of fish, is found in abundance in most of the rivers.
The silence of Similipal is occasionally broken by the chirping of the birds to an avian delight.
The dense forest and riverine system serve as an excellent home to some of the most beautiful creatures of the World. To stay with them, even for a while, is a thrilling experience. Herds of elephants majestically walking across the roads and rivulets could be a regular sight. While you are moving on the hilly tracts, predators like Tiger and Leopards might be obliviously lulling under the shade with their own thoughts. If lucky, you could spot them there, or else see them around the saltlicks at places like Chahala. Forget the apprehensive dear at Similipal is at its natural best.