Odisha (formerly known as Orissa) is perhaps the only state in the country-that combines rich natural bounty with a colorful cultural heritage. The land abounds in places that attract tourists of all profiles. Having a glorious history and a culture evolved over time bearing the imprints of the rich lifestyle of the people, Odisha is a natural choice of tourists who gets variegated experiences from its diverse tourism destinations.
Religion which is deeply embedded in the culture of the land has defined the lifestyles of the people and conditioned their ways of life. The impact of religion on the living of the people is well marked in the Art, literature, sculpture and architecture of the land. Odisha from day of the yore- has excelled in building temples -and the architecture reflects the aesthetic craftsmanship of the people of the state. The majestic Lord Jagannath temple at Puri has been a major tourist destination for the people of the country. Puri – which is a scared pilgrim site of the Hindus and one of the four cardinal places of worship, is also home to one of the four ancient monasteries that Adi shankaracharya established. Apart from its religious significance, Puri also draws tourists in large number for her golden beaches that lie alongside the turquoise waters of the Bay of the Bengal. Apart from affording magnificent views of sunrise and sunset, the sea at Puri also invites aqua sports enthusiasts to romance with her impish waves.
A tour to Puri is generally not complete without a trip to adjoining sites that are equally irresistible to tourists for their unique charms and sublime features. Sun Temple of Konark, an architectural wonder and a marvel in stone- attracts tourists from across the globe for its intricate works in stone. The temple, also known as the Black Pagoda bewitches tourists for its poetic rendition of brilliant craftsmanship in stone. The beach at Chandrabhaga and the temple of Ramchandi lying close to Konark also attract tourists.
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, also known as the temple city is another attraction for tourists. Thousands years old temples scattered over the old township provide a surreal experience to tourists who are taken on a trip down to history on seeing the different styles of sculptures that reflects the excellent craftsmanship of the people of ancient Odisha. The Lingaraj temple , the Rajarani temple and many others in Bhubaneswar bear the signature of the highest standards of architectural finesse. Dhauli, adjacent to the main city is a place where history had turned its sides. Witness to a bloody war with the neighboring Magadh(modern day Bihar), Dhauli saw the transformation of warmonger emperor Ashoka into one of the philanthropic Buddhists missionaries. It is a must see site for tourists who have an interest in historic events.
The rock cut caves at Khandagiri and Udayagiri are places of tremendous interest for Buddhist and Jain pilgrims. Some of the oldest rock edicts are found in the caves that narrates the social lives of people those days.
Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia is a big attraction for eco tourists’. Lakhs of migratory birds alight on Chilika during winter providing a splendid view to the tourists. The tourists can enjoy boating on the vast calm waters while watching the views around.
The Diamond triangle, a Buddhist circuit connecting the excavated Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri draws tourists from across the globe. The monasteries, stupas and artifact discovered at the site attest to flourishing Buddhists centers in this part of the world.