Type of Journey
Subscribe to newsletter and stay updated
Read about our travel expeditions, new destinations, new pictures, latest trip schedules
It is difficult to imagine the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar, without temples. Why shouldn’t it be? There was a time when this land bore about 2000 temples. And so it has been rightly called the City of Temples in India. It features the architecture of the Kalinga period and has a 3000 years old rich historical background. It is one of the three cities (the other two are Puri and Konark) of Eastern India that together are called the Golden Triangle for tourism. Temples and their architecture are the primary attractions but the city is also having parks, museums, lakes, caves, and many more amusements.
This enduring city is said to be Lord Shiva’s seat, locally referred to as Lingaraj. The magnificence of Lingaraj temple Bhubaneshwar justifies this belief. This old temple will stun you with its stone engravings. The other temples that you must see are Mukteshwar, Rajkarni, ISKON, Yogini, and many more.
If anybody has ever led you to believe that Bhubaneswar only has temples and so you did not visit it, well, let us change that. While in Bhubaneshwar, you cannot miss the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. It has different places satisfying different demands. The wilderness lovers can visit Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary. Places like Odisha State Museum and Old Town are apt for historical artifacts lovers. Moreover, enjoy the calm nature of places like Bindu Sagar Lake, Biju Patnaik Park, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Park, Forest Park, Gandhi Park, and so on.
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneshwar
How to reach: by air/road/train
Famous for: Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves
Best time to visit: October to March
WHAT TO SEE
Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves, Tribal Museum
Bhubaneshwar, designed by Otto Konigsberger, a German Architect, in 1946, became Odisha’s capital in 1949. Its name comes from the term Tribhuaneshwar, the lord of three worlds. It is Lord Shiva who is said to be Tribhaneshwar, and so the city has been named after him. According to Mahabharata, Bhubaneshwar was a part of the Chedi kingdom. The city, however, has ample of Buddhist and Jain heritage as well.
This ancient city is undoubtedly rich in culture. The grandest festival being Rakuna Rath Yatra that begins from theLingaraja Temple Bhubaneshwar. It celebrates several other annual festivals like Mukteswar Dance Festival, Rajarani Music Festival, Toshali Crafts Mela, and Adivasi Mela (Tribal fair).
Places of Interest
Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves: Udaygiri and Khandagiri are a display of the past through carvings. Though King Kharavela had them built, it was Andrew Sterling who discovered the caves in the year 1858. The carvings of the cave are related to historical events and mythological figures. The one that stands out among all is the carving of the Kalinga war. It showcases women and children fighting against the army of Ashoka the Great. Today there are only 33 of the original 117 caves.
The prominent caves of Udaygiri are Hathi Gumpha, Rani Gumpha, Ganesh Gumpha, and Vyaghara Gumpha. Those under Khandagiri are Barabhuji Gumpha, Trushala Gumpha, and Ambika Gumpha.
Tribal Museum: The Tribal Museum is also called the ‘Museum of Art and Artifacts’ and the ‘Tribal Research Institute Museum.’ This museum collects and displays information related to the culture and history of the tribals in Odisha. There are about 60 groups of Tribes that still reside there. Other than this, it has a library and zoo within.
Lingaraj Temple:TheLingaraj Temple Bhubaneswar is Odisha’s largest and oldest temple. This temple is stone made and has engravings all over it. The details of the carving are so minute that they take time if you start noticing them. Its architecture is an art. Devoted to Lord Shiva, this temple is a landmark of the city.
Parsurameswar Temple:The temple is devoted to worshiping Lord Shiva like theLingaraj Temple Bhubaneswar. The exact year of building this temple is uncertain. The archaeologists believe it was around the 8th century AD. Its architectural structure is Negara. The splendid carvings on this temple are of various legends related to Hindu Mythology.
Mukteswar Temple:Like theLingaraj temple Bhubaneswar of Odisha, the deity of this temple as well is Lord Shiva. Its architecture is called the gem of Indian history. But, it is the gate of the temple, Torona, that steals all the limelight. The arching of this gate is like no other in India. No spot in the city is better for getting a picture of yourself than this door.
Rajarani Temple:The temple gets its name from the red and yellow stones that have taken an amber, called rajarania. Though the engravings on the temple show that it was for Lord Shiva, there are no deities that preside. Its unique feature is the tower rising with more diminutive downsized towers merging with it, signifying the human soul endeavoring until it finds the endless god-like soul.
Konark Sun Temple: As the name suggests, it is dedicated to worshiping Lord Sun unlike the Lingaraj temple Bhubaneswar and other temples of Odisha. It was earlier 227 feet in length and it was the King Narasimha Deva who built it. Today, it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage destinations. It is a spellbinding example of ancient architecture.
Pipli: Pipli is a village of Odisha famous throughout the world for its applique work. The recent movie Sui Dhaga also features its works. Other than applique, the stone craft and Pattachitra are the specialties of this village. You can go here to shop and learn more about these craft forms.
Raghurajpur: Raghurajpur is famous for its Pattachitra art. The art form draws its subject from Hindu mythology. Almost all the villagers make a living through this art. This village is perfect for collecting souvenirs when visiting Odisha. The village also earns its fame due to being the origin place of the dance forms like Guru KelucharanMohapatra and Gotipua dance.
Dhauli: Dhauli is the village in which stands the Dhauli Shanti Stupa. It marks the peace that the people attained through the Kalinga War. Two Buddha Sanghas – Japan and Kalinga together had it built in the year 1972. Witness the memory of the war that turned Ashoka into a peace-loving King through this Stupa, in Dhauli.]
Puri: Lord Jagannatha and Puri go almost synonymously. The city has temples like Alrnath, Loknath, Jabeswara, and so on. The additional part that should make this city a choice for you is its beach. The blue waves of the ocean, orange sunlight, sand, and coconut water, sounds like perfect vacations.
Where to Stay
There are overwhelming options when it comes to hotels in Bhubaneshwar. A good hotel is an essential ingredient in the recipe for a memorable trip. The two noteworthy hotels to stay in Bhubaneshwar areMayfair LagoonandTrident Hotel. Both of them are 5-star hotels and have a reputation for providing excellent services to their guests.