Odisha is known for its rich heritage, lush greenery, verdant natural beauty, pristine beaches, a wide array of temples representing almost every ancient Indian religion and stupendous architecture that are not just masterpieces in themselves but also speak of the architectural brilliance of the time they were built.
The following itinerary is a 10-day discovering Odisha tour that reflects a rich legacy built over centuries and spanning across religions, races, cultures and empires. October to March is one of the best times to visit the state.
Day 1: Bhubaneswar
Where to stay in Bhubaneswar:
Hotel Pushpak (68 Budha Nagar, Bhubaneswar 751006, India)
Mayfair Lagoon (8-B, Bhubaneswar 751013, India)
Trident, Bhubaneswar (CB-1 Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar 751 013, India)
Hotel Grand Central (Old Station Road | Just off the Railway Station (exit, platform No 4), Bhubaneswar 751006, India)
We start our journey with the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar. It is well connected by road, rail and air with most major cities of India. Using Rome2Rio you can explore different options of how to get to Bhubaneshwar from Delhi or Mumbai.
Also known as the ‘temple city’, Bhubaneswar is dotted with more than 2000 temples. Some of the interesting and important places to visit include:
Lingraj Temple: Built in the 11 century AD this is essentially a quintessentially representation of the architectural excellence in Odisha. Dedicated to Lord Shiva this temple structure dominates the Bhubaneswar landscape.
Mukteshwara Temple: This is another famous temple in Bhubaneswar which was built in 950 AD. This temple is a brilliant manifestation of the gradual transition of the Kalinga School of architecture from its early phase to the later one.
Kalinga Stadium, Pathani Samanta Planetarium and the Science Park are among the other key attractions that you should include in your day’s itinerary.
In the evening you might want to spend some time in Boyanika (PPL Ln, Ekamra Vihar, Kharabela Nagar, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha 751001, India) and buy typical Odisha Handicraft.
Day 2: Bhubaneswar
Not just Bhubaneswar but the places surrounding this city are also soaking deep in history and cultural heritage. Hire a cab or avail the tourist bus services to visit some marquee remnants of the Buddhist and Jain architecture.
- Dhaulagiri: The red soil of the Dhauli hills are not just reminders of the gory Kalinga War but also the transformation that Emperor Ashoka went through after the destruction brought forth by the war. The Buddhist Peace Pagoda or the Shanti Stupa is the biggest attraction.
- Khandagiri: Situated 7 kms west of Bhubaneshwar, the twin hills of Khnadagiri are known for their rock carvings. Created as the residence of Jain monks, these are among the first monuments built by King Kharavela, the first known ruler of Odisha.
Udaygiri: Opposite the 15 caves of Khandagiri, you have the Udaygiri caves with its 18 caves. The Rani Gumpha is the most famous one.
Rest through the evening and prepare for an action packed morning.
Day 3: Puri
One of the state’s major railway hub, it is just 60 kms from Bhubaneswar and well connected by road. You have regular bus services throughout the day. Take the earliest one possible and target reaching Puri by mid-morning.
Tip: You can find detailed bus and train routes and prices of how to get from Bhubaneswar to Puri on Rome2Rio.
Where to stay in Puri:
Victoria Club Hotel (Sea Beach, Puri 752001, India)
Pramod Convention & Beach Resort (CT Road | in front of RTO Office, Puri 752002, India)
Z Hotel (Z Hotel,Chacrateertha Road, Puri 752002, India)
Mayfair Heritage (Chakratirtha Road, Puri 752002, India -Formerly Mayfair Beach Resort)
Obviously the biggest attraction is the Jagannath Temple built in 12th century AD. One of the state’s most magnificent temple structures, it is dedicated to Lord Jagannath.
Visit the beach and lose yourself in the splendor of the mighty Bay Of Bengal.
You can spend the evening shopping for good bargains. The most popular handicrafts of the region include soapstone, sea-shells, pattachitras and wood carvings.
Day 4: Puri
Not just the main Puri beach but there is a plethora of beautiful beaches close to Puri. Some key attractions that you can visit on your second day in Puri include:
Balighai: About 8 kms from Puri, the pristine beach here is the biggest attraction for tourists
Raghurajpur: This village is known for its world famous Pattachitras and talapattachitras. This is also the birth place of famous Odissi dancer, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra
Day 5: Konark
Proceed to Konark from Puri. Situated about 35 kms from Puri you need to hire a taxi or take a tourist bus frequenting this world famous chariot shaped temple of Lord Surya or the Sun. The journey is through a picturesque stretch by the sea dotted with casuarinas (evergreen shrubs and trees growing to 100 feet tall).
The temple, the majestic Chariot of Sun God is known for the splendor of the rock carving on its walls. It is an epitome of the architectural brilliance of the Kalinga School.
Day 6: Chandrabhaga and Cuttack
Situated close to the Konark Temple, the Chandrabhaga beach is known for its golden sand, green casuarinas and the pristine ambience. It is just the ideal getaway to relax your tired bones and reenergize yourself in entirety.
Start your onward journey for Cuttack after lunch. The trip is about an hour and really depends of the traffic and weather how long it is going to take to travel the distance of 80 kms (50 miles) from Konark.
Cuttack is the former capital of Orissa and it is among the oldest cities in area and still an important administration hub.
Day 7: Cuttack
Cuttack is a beautiful amalgamation centre of cultures, religion and times and well represented in the attractions offered by the city.
Barabati Stadium: A famous sports hub, it has hosted many national and international events
Barabati Fort: The ruins of the old Ganga Dynasty rulers who built the fort and of major archaeological importance.
Netaji’s birthplace: One of the most famous residents of the city, Netaji’s ancestral house, Janakinath Bhawan has been converted into a museum with interesting artifacts on display
Ravenshaw College: One of the most famous colleges across Odisha, it is known for both its architectural splendor and academic glory.
Cuttack is about 30 kms from Bhubaneshwar so in the evening, head back to Bhubaneshwar.
Day 8: Chilka
About 100 kms from Bhubaneshwar, it is the largest brackish water lake in entire Asia. Thousands of migratory birds throng this lake in the winter months and its natural beauty leaves most tourists stunned.
Go for a cruise to the famous Kalijai Island where you can visit the temple of Goddess Kali. The island is about 29 acres in area full of greenery. The temple was built by kings of Parikhud as the Goddess Kali is their main deity. Parikhud, just across Chilika Lake, was a small, isolated but a powerful kingdom which ruled over lake waters till Independence of India.
This island can be approached easily from the side of Barkul town as it is just 12 kilometers (9 miles) inside the lake. It is a renowned pilgrim center in Odisha. Various kinds of boats are available, mostly run by Odisha Tourism but community-run boats are also available.
One thing to keep in mind – drinking water facilities are not available on the island so one has to carry water bottles.
Day 9: Gopalpur on Sea
This is the next stop, about 40 kms further south into the sea. Gopalpur is one of Odisha’s most famous beach resorts and the deep blue waters have charmed a million eyes. Sand sculptures, delectable sea delights and the ruins of the erstwhile port activities remain the main attraction.
Where to stay in Gopalpur on Sea:
Mayfair Palm Beach Resort (Gopalpur-On-Sea | District — Ganjam, Gopalpur On Sea 761 002, India)
Swosti Palm Resort (Gopalpur-On-Sea, Gopalpur On Sea, India)
Hotel Green Park (Beach Road Gopalpur on sea, Gopalpur On Sea 761002, India)
Day 10: Back To Bhubaneshwar
Now, it is time to wrap up the journey and start the 190 kms long stretch to Bhubaneshwar. If you reach Bhubaneshwar on time and have the energy to explore more, don’t miss out Pipli, about 30 kms away. It is one of the state’s handicraft hubs.
Have you been to Odisha? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.