10 Reasons why Odisha should be your next holiday destination
Odisha may not be the first place that would come to mind when you are looking for vacation destinations. This, in fact, makes it the perfect place to go for your next vacation.
So, what do you perceive as some of the elements of a good vacation? Are sun-kissed beaches, wildlife adventures, historic monuments, delicious local cuisine and rich cultural heritage on your list? You’ll not only find all of this in Odisha but so much more. That’s right. This one location has the best of almost everything you’ll desire. Here are 10 reasons why an Odisha vacation should be on top of your bucket list:
Lose yourself in the temple town to find your way
The land of Odisha is said to be 2500 years old and said to have had over 2000 temples! Currently the city Bhubaneshwar alone has over 700 historical temples. You are likely to find run into ‘God’ more often than you think. Sometimes the experience can leave you mesmerized at the architecture. At other times, it can wake up the sentiments of spirituality. The Jaganath temple (which translates to Lord of the Universe) was built in the 11th century and holds a very important place as a pilgrimage destination for Hindus.
If you love the sun, sea and sand, Odisha has the perfect vacation spot panned out for you. Some beaches like the Puri beach sees a throng of visitors wanting to take a holy dip. Other beaches offer a quitter environment and more majestic views of the sunset. The Chandipur beach, for example, offers a hidden getaway for you to relax and enjoy a day or two during your visit. Here is some information on what to expect at Odisha beaches
The shopping paradise
Odisha’s villages are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship. From bags to lamps to decorative pieces, you’ll find the whole place steeped in tradition. The pieces aren’t too expensive and Odisha has tourist as well as bargain markets for you to pick from. Raghurajpur Crafts Village which lies 15 kms from Puri is home to over 100 craftsman who work hard to preserve the 900-year old craft called ‘patachitra’ – the art of painting on scroll cloth. From palm leaf engravings to paper mache toys, and even cow dung toys, there is a complete treasure trove out there.
Dolphin spotting isn’t an easy task but once you get to it, you’ll be totally taken by surprise on how much you love the activity. The beautiful Chilka lake is home to these exotic and playful mammals. The real beauty lies in waiting around to spot one. The calm blues of the water are known to inspire calm with their stillness. Know more about Chilka lake
Odisha’s nature and wildlife has so much variety that you’ll simple not know how to pick one over the other. The Gahirmatha beach is home to Olive Ridley turtles. The turtle sanctuary seesover 7 lakh turtles visit the beach during the nesting season. Odisha is also home to the famous NandanKanan national park known for its white tigers. The slightly lesser known Bhitarkanika national park hosts salt-tolerant species of trees. The wetlands and marshes are not only home to over 200 migratory species of birds but also giant alligators, king cobras and Indian pythons.
The Konark Temple
This temple deserves a special mention when discussing an Odisha vacation as it is among the masterpieces in world architecture. The temple is designed in the form of a chariot for the Sun God Surya that is mounted on 12 giant wheels. The erotic carvings are similar to Khajuraho and showcase a time where there were little or no barriers connecting the mind body and soul.
The Rath Yatra
The Jagannathrathyatra is one of the biggest events happening in Puri. Lakhs of devotees from around the world throng the temple during the event. Massive chariots are guided across the over crowded streets and the sight is one you’ll remember for life.
Another extension of a journey into a mystical world, many of Odisha’s popular Buddhist sites that have stupas and sculptures have been excavated recently to present a whole new world view on how Odisha has changed with times. Udayagiri and Lalitgiri are the popular sites for this
The delicious local cuisine
The food choice ratio is highly skewed in Odisha with only 6% being vegetarian. The rest of Odisha has the perfect mix of meat lovers. The Luchi, Chungdimalai, and MacchaGhanta are all tastefully prepared without going overboard on the spices.
If you are lucky, you may have a chance to witness a graceful Odissi dance performance during one of the dance festivals. It’s a sight like no other. Be sure to take back a piece of it with you.