Bhubaneswar is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Orissa. The city has a long history of 3,000 years and is today a centre of economic and religious importance. Historically Bhubaneswar has been known by different names such as Toshali, Kalinga Nagari, Nagar Kalinga, Ekamra Kanan, Ekamra Khetra and Mandira Malinya Nagari. The modern city of Bhubaneswar was designed by the German architect Otto Königsberger in 1946. It became the political capital of the state of Odisha in 1948, a year after India gained its independence from Britain.
Almost all the famous temples of Bhubaneswar are located here most of which were constructed in the 11th to 13th century period. Around 400 temples of varying sizes are located here. Do see Traffic Mahadev, a small temple which acts as a road divider.
The 10th or 11th-century Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar has been described as "the truest fusion of dream and reality." A rare masterpiece, the Lingaraja temple has been rated one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India by Ferguson, the noted art critic and historian. Every inch of the surface of the 55-metre-high Lingaraja temple is covered with elaborate carvings. Sculpture and architecture fused elegantly to create a perfect harmony. Foreigners are not permitted inside. However there is a viewing platform next to one of the boundary walls.
Bhubaneshwar has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. The average temperatures range between a minimum of around 10 °C in the winter to a maximum of 40 °C to 45 °C in summer. Sudden afternoon thunderstorms are common in April and May. The south-east monsoons appear in June. The average annual rainfall is 154 cm, most of which is recorded between June and October.
Biju Patnaik Airport also known as Bhubaneswar Airport is currently the only major domestic airport in Orissa. It is situated 3 kilometres south from the city. There are regular flights to many destinations across India from this airport. It has been learnt from the recent visit of the Honourable Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel that the Biju Patnaik, alias Bhubaneswar Airport would soon be upgraded to an international one, with all the benefits of an international airport, heightening the glory of the state and the country.
Bhubaneswar Railway Station(BBS) is one of the main stations in India. It is located in the city center and is connected to the major cities of the country such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Gwalior, Lucknow etc. by daily express and passenger trains. It is connected to Bhopal, Ujjain (near Indore) and Jaipur only by a weekly 8473/8474 Jodhpur - Puri Express from Jodhpur to Puri.
Bhubaneswar is connected to the rest of the country by National Highways- NH 5, NH 203.
The headquarters of the Orissa State Road Transport Corporation(OSRTC) are located in Bhubaneshwar. The Bhubaneswar Bus Station is situated at Barmunda, 8 kilometres from the city centre and OSRTC operates a regular fleet of buses connecting Bhubaneshwar to various cities in Orissa like Cuttack, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Jeypore, Rourkela and also connects it with the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chattisgarh.
Getting around in Bhubaneswar does not take much time, due to the perfect town planning and well laid roads. Travel within Bhubaneswar is cheap even by Indian standards.
Auto-rickshaw drivers in Bhubaneswar are courteous and helpful. Still, negotiate a rate with the driver beforehand, and make sure that the driver understood your destination. For the budget traveler, Bhubaneswar offers shared autos, where you can make journeys even for Rs. 5.
Bhubaneswar has no a suburban train network. Except for a couple of passenger trains to Naraj if you want to visit Nandankanan by train.
There are several taxi companies operating in Bhubaneswar. They charge by the distance. There is a minimum fare for first few kilometres and for every subsequent kilometre they charge in increments. Cabs are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places. Also, generally there is a special price ('tour package') if you can bargain for it. Foreign nationals are advised to carry local currency.
Town buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. You can buy bus tickets enroute.
An important feature of Orissa cuisine is that it is not very spicy. Rice and fish being the staple fare, one finds a great amount of cuisine centered around them. Maccha-besara,Aambila, Chenchada are a few of the non-veggie fare while Santula (boiled vegetables), Dalma, Potala Rasa etc are the food that are unique only to Orissa.
For those who don't care about calories, there are sweets like Chhena jilabi and Cheena poda, which can be found at any of the sweet shops. Poda Pitha, Kakara(usually made during festivals) are the other delicacies that one can also try.
At Bhubaneswar one can try Asli-Dhaba, Dalma, Venus Inn and Kalinga Cottage resturants to get a taste of the delectable Orissan cuisine. And for those who want to savor south Indian fare there is Hotel Priya.
Being a temple town, Bhubaneswar has a number of good eating places in addition to the ones listed with the major hotels. And here, you do find non vegetarian food, unlike other temple towns. Up north and still feel hunger pangs for the steaming hot South Indian idly's and vadas Then try out the South Indian Hotel, the cosy ambience, and the yummy food makes you come back here for more. Suruchi, at the Market Building is also a great place for South Indian food. Mayfair Lagoon is where you need to head if you are searching for a true international multi cuisine restaurant. You can also try the small shops which sell gol gappas and other local delicacies.
Not a place to really party! But you can still chill at the following places:
Bhubaneswar has developed as an information technology hub. Infosys, Satyam, TCS, and others have their facilities here. Many indigenous players are also in the fray. There are a few private agencies that are cropping up, and now it is also becoming an education hub. Apart from a lot of engineering colleges, some good B-schools are also there. XIM and IBS are the top two B-schools in Bhubaneswar.
The best bet would however be if you are a government worker, or at least a PSU employee. Mostly, your government quarter would be a 10-minute drive from the office. A 30-minute drive to office is considered a very long distance! These quarters are a blessing: there are enough playground and schools nearby. Both market for vegetables and grocery is literally at the doorstep, compared to other cities. One can both breathe clean, unpolluted air and drink pure, surplus water.
There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.
Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.
The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.
Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.
If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.
Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.
India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.
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