Flanked by the Bay of Bengal to its east, the state of Odisha lies in the quiet and serene part of Eastern India. Home to a number of Hindu temples, stunning beaches and tribals, Odisha’s tourism takes you back in time and makes you fall in love with its simplistic beauty.
Yes, it’s not a popular destination by any chance, but that’s what makes it India’s ‘best kept secret’.
But it’s capital city Bhubaneswar, where we’re about to take you, is no less than a cultural ancient wonder. It houses more than a 100 temples, most of which are intricately carved, and each has a story to tell. Deriving its name from ‘Tribhubaneswar’, which literally means the Lord of the Three Worlds (Tribhuban), the present-day Bhubaneswar is often called a temple city. However, we promise you it’s much more than that.
Although modern in its appeal, the history of city can be traced to the 3rd century BC and even earlier. But apart from its architectural and infrastructural splendor, the place is endowed with vibrant streets, brilliant street food and ever-more friendlier people.
How To Reach Bhubaneswar:
By Flight: Bhubaneswar’s Biju Patnaik International Airport is around 6 km away from the city centre and is well-connected to the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, with direct flights available. Once you reach the airport, local transport is available to take you around.
By Train: Bhubaneswar Railway Station is the main railhead connecting the city to several other cities of India. From the station, you can take private cabs or taxis to reach anywhere in the city.
By Road: Bhubaneswar enjoys good connectivity with other parts of the country through national highways and roads. The city’s major bus station is located at Baramunda, from where regular bus services can be availed to travel to other parts of Odisha too.
Best Time To Visit: The city welcomes you with open arms throughout the year. However, we recommend travelling between November and February as the weather is pleasant and the period makes for a ‘perfect’ wintery holiday.
2-Day Itinerary To Bhubaneswar
While one can plan a longer trip and visit all the main attractions in the State of Odisha, the city of Bhubaneswar can be easily completed within a day or 2. We recommend ‘slow travel’ to this city and hence will be covering the major tourist spots within 2 days.
Khandagiri and Udaygiri Caves: These caves are so beautiful and peaceful that you need to kick start your first day from here. Located about 7 km from the city, these caves will take you back in time and engulf you in their mystery. Built somewhere around the 2nd century BC by King Kharavela of the Meghavahana dynasty, there are a total of 18 caves in the Udaygiri hill and 15 in the Khandagiri hill that need to be explored. Each of them is extraordinarily carved, with references taken from mythology and history.
The caves are out-of-this world if you make it there early in the morning. The cool air and breathtaking scenery will bring a wave of calmness and peace. You can even meditate here if you want like we did!
Breakfast Time: After you explore the caves, drive to any local breakfast place and indulge in the local kukni bara/biri bara. It is delicious and makes for a perfect breakfast dish.
Lingaraja Temple: Standing at 180 ft tall, this temple strikes awe and beauty among all tourists. Built during the 11th century AD, it is considered as an architectural masterpiece because of its exquisite carvings and impressive craftsmanship. The temple carvings are beautiful and depict chores of daily life. Just outside the temple, a raised platform has been created where one can get a view of the entire temple complex and trust us, it is breathtaking. You can also take amazing photographs from there!
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THE AERIAL BEAUTY OF LINGARAJ TEMPLE. #Repost @flyhigh_india (@get_repost) ・・・ Bhubaneswar has a unique position among the cities of India. A temple town with series of ancient sandstone temples, heritage ponds and water tanks, its wealth of monuments is testament to an ancient continuous architectural and historical heritage covering over 2,000 years from the 3rdcentury BC to the 15th century AD representing most of the important dynastic changes over the period. Bhubaneswar is dubbed the “Temple City” – a nom-de-plume earned because of the 700 temples which once stood here. It still boasts of a cluster of magnificent temples, constituting virtually a complete record of Kalinga architecture almost from its nascence to its culmination. Ekamra Kshetra comprises the area of the old city of Bhubaneswar that forms the centre of this temple architecture and is considered a Hindu holy city. #lingarajatemple #hindutemple🙏🏻 #shiva #vishnu#11thcentury ce 🌟❤️#bhubaneswar #odisha #india #droneshot #dronestagram #djipanthom #djimavic #dji #djiphantom3professional #flying #instagram #beautiful ❤️#oldtemple #flyhigh #india #abhi ❤👌🏻…#discoverodishatemples
Cycle Around The City: Cycling around the city is a fun way to understand the city at your pace and take in the local culture and food as much as possible. Also, it is very affordable and a convenient option to travel around city.
Since Bhubaneswar is one of the chosen smart cities of India, you will find a lot of ‘smart’ options here. Among these is Mo Cycles, which is Bhubaneswar’s first Public Bike Share (PBS) system, which has a fleet of over 2000 cycles. To use them, one needs to download the ‘Mo Cycles’ app from Playstore and scan the cycle’s QR code. Only then will the cycles be unlocked. You can travel from one station and return the cycle to any other station in the system. This way you can see pretty much the whole city, making it such a sustainable option.
Anantbasudev Temple: Built during the 13th Century AD, this beautiful temple is the only temple in the whole of Bhubaneswar dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was built by Queen Chandrika Devi, who was a big devotee of the God. But what makes this temple extremely special is the ‘Bhoga Mandap’, where once can see how prasad is cooked on a large-scale in earthern pots. Apparently, once food is cooked in these pots and served, these pots are broken. And every time they cook, new earthern pots are used, which is so interesting!
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From The Temple Kitchen – Bhog cooked in the kitchen of Anant Basudev Temple, the famous food temple of Bhubaneswar/Odisha. #thali #bananaleaf #templefood #prashad #prashadam #prasadam #bhubaneswar #templekitchen #bhubaneswarbuzz #bhubaneswardiaries #odisha #odishagram #odishatourism #odishaclicks #odishadiaries #bhog #anantbasudev #anantbasudevtemple #anantvasudevtemple #incredibleindia #food #foodie #foodporn #vegetarian #foodblogger #foodlover #foodphotography #foodgasm #foodstagram #india
And of course, you can take partake in the prasad too, which will be served to you in a banana leaf and will consist of some of the most delicious local food items.
Stop For Some Gupchup: A visit to any city of India is incomplete without tasting its own version of ‘pani puri’. In Odisha, pani puri is called ‘gupchup’. A popular street food again, it is not spicy, but is refreshingly tangy.
Lake Bindusagar: Another major attraction of Bhubaneswar is the Bindusagar Lake. This 1300 ft long and 700 ft wide lake often makes for the hub of all activities for the people of Bhubaneswar. It is here where a lot of temple festivities take place too. One can get some beautiful pictures here! One can also go to the beautiful garden of Ekamra Van, which is situated on the western banks of the lake.
Since it is your second and last day in the city, so you need to take it easy!
Odiya Thali: After a nice morning nap, head to the city for some brunch. You can ask around and find out which places serve the Odia Thali because when in Odisha, you NEED to have the grand Odia thali. It is simple, but oh-so fulfilling. Some of the dishes in the thali you need to try include dalma, baigan bhaja, dahi pachedi, etc.
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Spend The Evening At The Caves: Always remember, if you’re travelling to a new place, you have to catch the sunset. And believe us, the caves are among the most beautiful places to catch the glorious sun set and honestly make the best way to end your trip to this beautiful city!
We really hope that Bhubaneswar, which is a city full of cultural and ancient heritage, makes it your bucket list this year post-lockdown of course! After all it is a best-kept secret of our Incredible India!