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Jagannath Temple

The Jagannath Temple (Odia: ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ ମନ୍ଦିର) of Puri is a sacred Vaishnava temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Odia: ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ)and located on the eastern coast of India, at Puri in the state of Odisha.

The temple is an important pilgrimage destination and is particularly visited by devotees of Supreme lord Sri Krishna and is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages that anyone is expected to make in one's lifetime.[1]

The Jagannath temple was built in the 12th century during the era of the Eastern Ganga dynasty's King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, a dynasty known for also building the Sun temple of Konark and several major Shaivism temples.[2]

The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervour.[3] Even though the icons of most Hindu deities that are worshiped are made out of stone or metal, the image of Jagannath is wooden. Every twelve or nineteen years these wooden figures are ceremoniously replaced by using sacred trees, that have to be carved as an exact replica.[4]

The temple is sacred to all Hindus and especially the Vaishnava traditions and saints Adi Shankaracharya , Ramananda & Ramanuja were closely associated with the temple. Ramanuja also established the Emar Matha near this temple. The Govardhan Mutt which is the seat of one of the four Shankaracharyas is also located here. It is also of particular significance to the followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity, Jagannath, and lived in Puri for many years.[citation needed]

Puri Beach

Situated in the Bay of Bengal, the beach at Puri gives a spectacular sight of the sunrise and sunset. One can also take a holy dip or swim in the sea, stroll around the sandy beach or engage oneself into any other activity.

The best time to visit the beach in Puri is in the month of November when the Puri Beach Festival is organized. During the festival, the beach glows throughout day and night.

One must participate in this beach festival at Puri as it gives an insight into the lifestyle, culture and artistic skills of the local people. Moreover, one also gets the chance to pamper their taste buds with mouth-watering local cuisines. The visitor can also shop the local crafts work.

Cuttack

Former capital of Orissa and now its business capital, Cuttack, is also one of the ancient cities of the state. Ancient monuments apart, Cuttack has a wide range of tourist attractions as it is home to picturesque destinations and pilgrim centers. It is famous for handicrafts too. Here are the leading attractions in Cuttack.

  • Barabati Fort
  • Stone Revetment of Cuttack
  • Mahanadi Barrage
  • Netaji Birth Place Museum
  • Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Singanatha Temple
  • Dhabaleswar Island
  • Qadam-I-Rasool
  • Bhattarika Temple
  • Gurudwara Daatan Sahib
  • Odisha Maritime Museum
  • Ansupa Lake

Sambalpur

Sambalpur, the land rich in culture and natural beauty, is one of the most important tourist destinations in Orissa. Gateway to western Orissa, the land has some of the best gifts of nature thanks to the lush forests and picturesque waterfalls. Given below are the top tourist places to visit in Sambalpur.

  • Hirakud Dam
  • Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Cattle Island
  • Badarama Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khalasuni Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiplima
  • Huma
  • Pradhanpat
  • Vikramkhol
  • Bells Galore
  • Hatibari
  • Nrusimhanath
  • Samaleswari Temple

Rourkela

Rourkela, the second largest city in Orissa, is immediately recalled at the mention of steel plants. Home to largest steel plants in India, the place gives you an insight into its rich cultural past through some of its wonderful tourist destinations. Here are the top places to visit in Rourkela.

  • Vedavyas Temple
  • Green Park
  • Vaishno Devi Temple
  • Badaghagra Falls
  • Khandadhar Falls
  • Ushakothi
  • Darjeeng
  • Nehru Traffic Park
  • Ghogar
  • Mandira Dam
  • Pitamahal Dam
  • Barehipani Falls
  • Joranda Falls

Pipli

Pipili (also known as Pipli) is a town and a NAC under jurisdiction of Puri district in the Indian state of Odisha. It is famous for designing beautiful Applique handicrafts. It is a town of artisans famous for their colourful fabrics.

Similipal Tiger Reserve

Similipal Tiger Reserve has been in existence since 1956. The reserve got nation wide attention after being selected as one amongst the 9 reserves for implementation of the 1st phase of project tiger. The project recognized the tigers being the predators and the indicator species thus making them one of the crucial elements of an ecosystem and of the most significant factor to balance a food chain.

The project tiger campaign has been instrumental in keeping the tiger population of the reserve stable. In the initial years of its implementation there were only 30 tigers left in the forests of Simlipal but after the launch of project tiger the figure has risen to 95. The habitat and the prey for these wilds have also improved since then with the movements of the poachers being almost curtailed. The reserve today serves as home for half of the tiger population of the state. These royal wilds now roam in their natural habitat with a sense of belonging.

The leopards, sambhars, langurs, deer, gaur (Indian bison), elephants, antelopes, chitals, chevrotains, wild dog, wild boar, sloth bears, monkeys, hyenas and porcupines are the other commonly sited species in the jungles of Simlipal.

Apart from this, 230 species of birds chirp in the forests of Simlipal, which includes red jungle fowl, hill myna, peafowl, alexandrine parakeet, crested serpent eagle, gray hornbill, Indian pied hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and Indian trogon.

The Bhitarkanika National Park

The land of lush green mangroves, migrating birds and turtles, the menacing estuarine crocodiles, meandering water courses, tranquil surrounding intercepted by the chirping of birds and the ever embracing nature, entrails visitors from near and far off places to flock these unique places of tourist importance. Scientists, Scholars, Nature Lovers and Tourists have abundant food for thought and exploration. Bhitarkanika represents one of the finest creations ever. The wetland is represented by as many as 3 protected Areas, namely “The Bhitarkanika National Park”, “The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary” and “The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary”.

Bhitarkanika is a unique habitat of Mangrove Forests criss-crossed with numerous creeks and mud flats located in Kendrapara district of Orissa. One of the largest Mangrove Eco systems in India, Bhitarkanika is home to diverse flora and fauna. Bhitarkanika located between 86’-45” To 87’17” East longitude and 20’-17” to 20’-47” North latitude in the estuary of Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra & Mahanadi river systems, has unique attraction and a boast of nature’s most picturesque sites. The unique bio-diversity attracts visitors to the nature’s lap.

Bhitarkanika National Park is a prime habitat of leopard cat, fishing cat, jungle cat, hyena, wild boar, spotted deer, sambar, porcupine, dolphin, salt water crocodile including partially white crocodile, python, king cobra, water monitor lizards, terrapin, marine turtle, kingfisher, wood pecker, hornbill, bar headed geese, brahminy duck, pintail, white bellied sea eagle, tern, sea gull, waders and a large variety of resident and migratory birds.

Entry Points
Khola and Gupti are the two main entry points to enter the most sought-after destination, Bhitarkanika National Park. Visitors should take entry permit from the Forest Check Gate at Khola and Gupti.

Both Forest Department’s and private boats are available at both the places.
Private boats are also available at JAYANAGAR & CHANDABALI.

Paradeep

Location of Paradeep or Paradip, as it is also called, is in itself beautiful. In the confluence of river Mahanadi and Bay of Bengal, the land stuns you with its amazing views. Be it the sunrise or the sunset, you would not want to miss a moment of it. Here are the leading attractions in Paradeep.

  • Paradip Port
  • Gahirmatha Beach
  • Gahirmatha Sanctuary
  • Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Paradip Port
  • Light House
  • Udayagiri and Ratnagiri Caves
  • Boat Safari
  • Jhankad
  • Marine Aquarium
  • Baladeva Temple
  • Hanuman Temple
  • Jagannath Temple

Kataka Chandi Temple

Kataka Chandi Temple is also known as the Cuttack Temple and is dedicated to the Hindu Deity Chandika. The temple is a marvelous example of the Gajpati dynasty architecture and is located at the banks of the Mahanadi River. The best time to visit the temple is during the festivals of Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Dussehra. The temple is managed by the priests of the Utkala Brahmins and contains the idol of the goddess with was dug up by the Priest of the Gajpati Kingdom.

Konark Sun Temple

An Architecture Marvel of Eastern India and A symbol of India's heritage, Konark Sun Temple, commonly known as Konark is situated in the eastern state of Odisha (earlier known as Orissa), India and is one of the eminent tourist attractions. Konark houses a massive temple dedicated to the Sun God. The word 'Konark' is a combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means 'Corner' and 'Arka' means 'Sun', so when combines it becomes 'Sun of the Corner'. Konark Sun Temple is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri and is dedicated to Sun God. There are three images of the Sun God at three different sides of the temple, positioned in proper direction to catch the rays of the sun at morning, noon and evening.

Chilika Lake

Asia's largest brackish water lagoon with water spread ranging from 1165 sq km m the rainy season to 906 sq km in the dry season is nestled in the heart of the coastal Odisha (Orissa). It extends from Bhusandpur in Puri district in the North to Rambha-Malud in Ganjan district in the South, separated from the Bay of Bengal by a 60 km long narrow strip of marshy islands and sand-flats.

Chilika is recognized as one of the most important wetlands in the world because it is home to a phenomenal variety of birds. Chilika Lake offers visitors a spectacular display of its colorful avian charms in a thousand different hues presented by over 160 species in the peak season between November and February. The lake and its reed islands teem with nesting birds-white bellied sea eagles, ospreys, golden plovers, sand pipers, flamingos, pelicans, shovellers, gulls, include migratory ones flying great distances from Iran, Central Asia and Siberia.

Gopalpur on Sea

Serene Environment, immense sailing opportunities and loads of fun and frolic awaits you at one of the most pristine beaches of Odisha (Orissa) namely Gopalpur on Sea. Located at a mere distance of 16 kms from Berhampur, this humming seaport can be a real retreat to the sea worshippers. Despite the crumbling walls and pillars of the jetty, that are a witness to a past glory of commercial activity; the beach offers peaceful ambience conducive to introspection and conviviality.

16 km from Berhampur, the Gopalpur-on-sea is a popular beautiful sandy beach. Clusters of coconut and palm trees, white sand dunes overgrown with casuarinas plantation separate the beach from the blue waters of the sea.

The beach with its golden sand of the blue sea has its own sleepy charm. The beach is a very quite and comparatively clean place to swim and sun bathe, but take precautions because of treacherous undercurrents. Watching Gopalpur's endless empty shoreline getting swarmed with fishermen with their hand-nets full of catch is interesting and enjoyable to while away time in the stunning stillness. Whether it is the rising Sun over the azure waters or the rhythmic lapping of waves shimmering in the bright moonlight, it is an enduring experience. The old lighthouse open to visitors each afternoon, but for a very short duration, offers good views.