Odisha was formerly known as Orissa .The term “Odisha” is derived from the ancient prakrit word “Odda Visaya” (also “Udra Bibhasha” or “Odra Bibhasha”). It is one of the 29 states of India. Odia is the official and most widely spoken language.Odisha- the land of paddy fields and palm-fringed silver beaches, temples, rivers, waterfalls and tribal people, is filled with major tourist attractions such as the temples of Bhubaneswar and Puri, miles of clean beaches and the magnificent Sun Temple of Konark.Odisha, the state with a glorious history, is filled with nature and adventure. Also known as the soul of India, Odisha is a place where you can relax on the beaches, visit the famous temples and explore the beauty and bounty of nature and wildlife. You can also find various monuments which gloriously stand to remind you of the history of the land. Visit the soul state of India and come back with a bag full of memories that will remain etched in your mind for a long time.
So here goes my experience on witnessing some of the beautiful places and nature’s astonishing work during my visit to Odisha
Puri is a city in the state of Odisha in eastern India. It is also known as Sri Jagannatha Dhama after the 12th-century Jagannatha Temple located in the city. It is one of the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for Hindus. The Jagannatha Temple at Puri is one of the major Hindu temples built in the Kalinga style of architecture. The temple tower, with a spire, rises to a height of 58 metres (190 ft), and a flag is unfurled above it, fixed over a wheel (chakra).
There are four entry gates in four cardinal directions of the temple, each gate located at the central part of the walls. These gates are: the eastern gate called the Singhadwara (Lions Gate), the southern gate known as Ashwa Dwara (Horse Gate), the western gate i.e.,Vyaghra Dwara (Tigers Gate) or the Khanja Gate, and the northern gate the Hathi Dwara or (elephant gate). These four gates symbolize the four fundamental principles of Dharma (right conduct), Jnana (knowledge), Vairagya (renunciation) and Aishwarya (prosperity)
The Lion Gate (Singhadwara) is the main gate to the temple, which is guarded by two guardian deities Jaya and Vijaya. The main gate is ascended through 22 steps known as Baisi Pahaca,. After entering the temple, on the left side, there is a large kitchen which is called as “the biggest hotel of the world”. The triads of images in the temple are of Jagannatha, personifying Lord Krishna, Balabhadra, His older brother, and Subhadra, His younger sister. The images are made of neem wood in an unfinished form. The stumps of wood which form the images of the brothers have human arms, while that of Subhadra does not have any arms. The heads are large, painted and non-carved. The faces are marked with distinctive large circular eyes. Its prasad is known as Khaja.
Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha, India. It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the World, The festival commemorates Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (aunt’s home) near Balagandi Chaka, Puri. As part of Ratha Yatra, the deities of Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days Lord Jagannatha’s chariot is called Nandighosa The chariot of Lord Balarama, called the Taladhwaja, The chariot of Subhadra, known as Dwarpadalana.
2. Chandipur-where the sea vanishes
Chandipur is a beach resort situated in the Baleswar district of Odisha. It lies at a distance of 16 km from the Baleswar Railway Station, and the sea here is one of a kind. The famous Missile Testing Launch Pad is also located here and missiles like Agni, Prithvi, Akash and Shaurya are seen here. Chandipur is famous for beaches and wildlife Chandipur Beach tops the list of places of attractions in Chandipur. This mystical beach is one of the wonders of nature.
The amazing phenomenon of the water receding the beach within a few minutes and again flooding the beach in another couple of minutes is worth experiencing. This happens twice a day due to the high and low tides occurring during a certain interval of time. During low tide, the water recedes away whereas during high tide it again returns. The sand dunes and the green Casuarina trees present on the beach add to the captivating scenic beauty of the Chandipur Beach. The red crabs and horse-shoe crabs have made their dwellings in the beach.
The Chandipur coast has attained global popularity for its ‘Vanishing Sea’ phenomenon. Here one can literally see the sea disappear (read recede) by almost 5 to 6 kilometers everyday during low tide and then comes back at high tide. This rare event occurs twice a day. Relaxing on a tranquil patch of sand and watching the sea recede and advance with the tides is a delightful experience.
The name Konark derives from the combination of the Sanskrit words Kona (corner or angle) and Arka (the sun The Konark Sun Temple was built from stone in the form of a giant ornamented chariot dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. In Hindu Vedic iconography Surya is represented as rising in the east and traveling rapidly across the sky in a chariot drawn by seven horses.
Konark Temple was designed in the form of a gorgeously decorated chariot mounted on 24 wheels , each about 10 feet in diameter, and drawn by 7 mighty horses .The konark temple even in its present ruined state is still a wonder to the whole world. Great poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: “here the language of stone surpasses the language of man.” King Narasimhadeva I, the great ruler of the Ganga dynasty had built this temple, with the help of 1200 artisans within a period of 12 years (1243-1255 A.D.). Since the ruler used to worship the Sun, the temple was considered as a chariot for the Sun God
The Sun Temple of Konark was built around 13th century and took 12 years to build and required 12000 artisans. The temple is not only famous for its mammoth structure and beautiful architecture but also for the stories that lives in the folklore for ages. One of the stories that describe the completion of the construction of the temple is the story of a 12 year old kid Dharmapada who sacrificed his life to save twelve thousand artisans. A young boy who achieved the ultimate glory by completing the greatest temple ever built, sacrificed his life to save the life of others. After hundreds of years, the Sun Temple is ruined but Dharmapada still be alive in the legend and in the ambitions of every artisan of Odisha.
4. Chandragiri-Jirang Monastery-the Tibet of Odisha
It’s a small town located in the hills of Chandragiri, in the Gajapati district of Odisha about 270 kms from the capital Bhubaneswar. It’s one of the settlements of the Tibetan refugees in India. The Tibetans call this place Phuntsokling (“Land of Happiness and Plenty”). South Asia’s largest Buddhist monastery is situated here – the Padma Sambhava Maha Vihara monastery. It is known as Padmasambhava Mahavihara monastery and was inaugurated by Dalai Lama.
It is complete with the main temple complex, residential buildings, a canteen and lush gardens. It is 70 feet (21 m) and five stories high, and is built on 10 acres of land. It features a 23 feet high Buddha statue and a 17 feet Buddha Padmasambhava. Around 200 monks are resident in the monastery, which is named after Acharya Padmasambhava (who was born in Oddiyana), who is believed to have spread Buddhism to Tibet in the 7th Century.
This is a school for Tibetan studies and there are students staying and reading different courses here. The five-storey monastery has a huge meditation shrine hall and other small temples, institute and hostels inside the well spread-out complex. There is an old temple located at left side of main entrance of the temple.
Buddhist temple is very attractive with beautiful paintings on the wall. All around the temple there are well maintained gardens. This four storied temple have a big prayer hall at ground floor.
Experience the simple yet holistic lifestyle of 200 Tibetan monks residing in the monastery!
Be a captive of its calm & pleasant surroundings
5 Rushikulya River
The Rushikulya River is one of the major rivers in the state of Odisha and covers entire catchment area in the districts of Kandhamaland Ganjam of Odisha. The Rushikulya originates at an elevation of about 1000 meters from Daringbadi hills of the Ghats range. The place from where the river originates, In 1993, biologists from the Odisha Forest Department and the Wildlife Institute of India learned that large scale nesting of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles was taking place near the mouth of the Rushikulya River. This area is the location of one of the largest mass nesting sites of olive ridley sea turtles in India. The villages near the mouth are Pali Bandha, Puruna Bandha, Gokhara Kuda and Kantia Pada, where one can find the nesting sites of the olive ridley turtles.
Millions of baby turtles are emerging from their sandy nests and striking out to try their might against the currents of the Bay of Bengal; and at the same time, thousands of adult female turtles are coming to their home beach to nest.
The eastern coast of India houses some of the largest hatcheries for the olive ridley, a small turtle that circumnavigates the globe in the tropical belt. Females of the species nest together in large numbers at mass nesting sites. The Gahirmatha, Devi and Rushikulya beaches in Odisha are famed for two remarkable events: thousands of female turtles coming in to nest, in February, followed by millions of hatchlings heading out into the sea after exactly 49 days in April. This April, the Rushikulya beach is witness to both events occurring simultaneously.
As the tiny hatchlings, less than 20 grams in weight and a couple of inches in length were heading out to the sea, a rare wave of female turtles started wading on to the beach starting from the night of April 17 until April 21. The forest department estimates 36,000 nesting during the second mass nesting event for 2018, following up on the regular first round of nesting between February 21 and 26. According to reports, this rare event was restricted to Rushikulya and not seen in Gahirmatha, Devi or other beaches.
6. Daringbadi-the Kashmir of Odisha
Daringbadi, which is an unexplored hill station and is known ‘the Kashmir of Odisha’, owing its beauty to its prolific vegetation and relaxing water bodies in the form of lakes, rivers and waterfalls
Set amidst coffee plantations, echoing valleys, pine forests and wonderful meadows, Daringbadi is a summer retreat for everyone who is looking forward to spending their summers amidst equanimity and collectedness. It is located in the Kandhamal district and is surrounded by dense rich forests of Odisha. It is said to have been named after Daring Saheb, who was the British in charge of this region.It has become one of the sought-after destinations to retire to, especially during the summers, due to the presence of gardens, forests, hills, waterfalls and streams.
There are a lot of interesting spots in and around Daringbadi which will certainly excite you. The major places which you shouldn’t miss in Daringbadi even by mistake include Madubanda and Badangia waterfalls, Hill View Park, Doluri river, Butterfly Garden, Belghar Sanctuary, Kotgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Rushikulya river. The presence of colourful meadows makes this place a suitable spot for picnic lovers too. You can also go trekking and camping atop its towering hills and in the beautiful forests respectively. It ‘san exceptional beauty which has everything under its arms to surprise its visitors
Bhitarkanika National Park is the core area of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary located in the north-east region of Kendrapara district in the state of Odisha in eastern India. It is famous for its wide and dense mangrove forest and crocodile reserve. We were able to see almost 25-30 crocodiles. It’s a feast for the eyes while boating in Bhitarkanika Sanctuary. The relaxed crocodiles, the greenery at the river bank are a treat to watch.
It has become the largest habitat of the endangered estuarine crocodiles in India with a record number of their nesting sites spotted in it. The national park is home to saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Indian python, King cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
It hosts a large number of mangrove species, and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India. In 2006, Guinness World Records accepted claims of a 7.1 m (23 ft 4 in), 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) male saltwater crocodile living within Bhitarkanika National Park. A 24 ft long croc has been sighted at the Bhitarkanika National Park during the ongoing annual crocodile census. The population of the saltwater or estuarine crocodile has increased in the water bodies of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika. Last year, they had sighted 1,698 crocodiles. Forest officials also sighted 12 albino crocodiles during the reptile census.
“Gori, the 44-year-old albino crocodile of Bhitarkanika, resides in a pen in the park.
8. Chilika Lake
Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km2. It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals. The lake is of estuarine character in an ephemeral environment. Chilika Lake is a shallow bar-built estuary with large areas of mudflats.
The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is the flagship species of Chilika Lake. Chilika is home to the only known population of Irrawaddy dolphins in India and one of only two lagoons in the world that are home to this species. Some Irrawaddy dolphins used to be sighted only along the inlet channel and in a limited portion of the central sector of the lake. After the opening of the new mouth at Satapada in 2000, they are now well distributed in the central and the southern sector of the lake. The number of dolphins sighted has varied from 50 to 170.The Irrawaddy dolphins have a seemingly mutualistic relationship of co-operative fishing with the traditional fishermen. Fishermen recall when they would call out to the dolphins, to drive fish into their nets
Castnet fishing with the help of Irrawaddy dolphins in upper reaches of the Ayeyawady River has been well documented. Nalaban Island is within the Lagoon and is the core area of the Ramsar designated wetlands. It was declared a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act in 1973. It is the heart of the park where one can seen thousands of birds descending during the migratory season. The island disappears during monsoon season due to inundation, and post-monsoon, the island emerges again.
The vast lake harbours 225 species of fish, a wide variety of phytoplankton, algae and aquatic plants, and also supports over 350 species of non-aquatic plants. The other areas where high concentrations of birds are recorded are Gerasara, Parikud Island, and the western shores of the Northern sector.
Satkosia Tiger Reserve is a tiger reserve located in the Angul district of Odisha, India covering an area of 988.30 km².It is located where the Mahanadi River passes through a 22 km long gorge in the Eastern Ghats mountains. The tiger reserve is located in the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests ecoregion. The major plant communities are mixed deciduous forests including Sal (Shorea robusta), and riverine forest Satkosia is famous for the tiger reserve of Leopard. It provides a healthy climate for tiger.
Other animals are also lives in this forest such as Elephant, Gau, Sambar, spotted deer, mouse, deer, Nilgai, crocodile, turtle, Snakes and so many types of birds. So the help of the Odisha government these animals are leave in the forest freely.
So the sanctuary looks very beautiful. The natural beauty of the forest is looking very nice. It is a good and big sanctuary in Odisha.This is also the home of crocodile like Gharial and Mugger crocodile. A crocodile research centre is also here. It is inaugurated by Odisha government in the year of 1974. Booting system also available in Satkosia sanctuary, so tourist can go through the forest by boat and they can see the Elephant, dolphins etc other animals.