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Orissa

Travel Guide Asia India Orissa

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Introduction

Orissa, the lush green state, girdled by the Bay of Bengal, has seen some of the best fusion of traditional Indian art in its many temples and monuments, and has been able to preserve much of it, in an environment natural to its wonder and attractions. It was in Orissa, that Buddhism found some of its strongest exposure, and cult following. However, it was Hindu art that dominated the landscape, eventually, and resulted in the profusion of temple traditions, that have endured till now. Most of the state's attractions are close to each other, and convenient access is provided out of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. The capital itself is an intriguing amalgam of the old and the new, an emerging modern Indian city, that is steeped in the roots of the traditions of its glorious past, without being overwhelmed by it.

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Geography

Orissa, located in the eastern coast of India is a state with immense potential in natural resources. It is located between 17.49'N and 22.34'N latitudes and between 81.27'E and 87.29'E longitudes. The state is touched by the Bay of Bengal on the east; Madhya Pradesh on the west and Andhra Pradesh on the south. It has a coast line of about 500 kms. It spreads over an area of 155,707 square kilometres.

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Cities

  • Bhubaneswar - The state capital
  • Brahmapur (formerly Berhampore) - also known as Silk City
  • Cuttack - old capital of Orissa
  • Koraput
  • Kuruma
  • Paradip - a port city
  • Puri - a popular tourist destination in the state
  • Rourkela
  • Sambalpur

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Sights and Activities

Taptapani

  • Location: Ganjam district, 50 km from Berhampur, Orissa.
  • How To Reach: From Berhampur buses and private rental car are available. Also one can take bus or taxi from Gopalpur on sea.
  • Where To Stay: There are few lodges here.
  • When To Go: October to March.
  • Famous For: Hot sulphur spring

Taptapani literally means hot water. The place is renowned for its round the year hot water spring, also popularly known as spa village among travelers. Nestled between the Eastern Ghats, the place is surrounded by cluster of hills and thick forests. Taptapani is specially popular among pilgrims who consider the spring as a sacred place and are believed that bathing in the spring can cure infertility. The boiling sulfurous water bubbles out of a cleft in the mountainside and is pipped into a small pool, where little rocks smeared with vermilion and hibiscus petals mark the presence of the living deities believed to reside in the water. The place welcome tourists of all category throughout the year.

Gopalpur On Sea

The most pristine beach of Orissa, Gopalpur is for those who want to spend their holidays in a calm and serene atmosphere. The beach is located about 60 kilometres from Taptapani. It is different from other beaches of India. So if you are a conventional beach lover, you might not find it interesting but it is uncrowded and relatively clean. A great place for a stroll and a paddle, you can do yachting or simply relax and watch the fishing boats come and go. Do not forget to visit the lighthouse. Climb through the spiral staircase to the top is rewarding where you can have a full view of coastal area.

Tribal Heritage

Tribals of Orissa still hold the archaism. Taptapani is the place you can sneak into the tribal life of Orissa. The tribal population stays in the hills and forests interiors in a mysterious way. They are source of interest for anthropologists and sociologists but also to numerous travelers who are entertained by tribal dances, their crafts and music in midst of wild ambiance. Their economy mainly depends upon agriculture, basket weaving and tool making. Most of them are expert hunters and worship various god and goddess.

Chandragiri

It is a unique Tibetan village inside the heart of Orissa, located 35 kilometres from Taptapani. During the Chinese aggression of Tibet in 1959, a major portion of Tibetan took refuge in this part of the world. The landscape is not different from other part of Orissa but the ambiance is. There are small cottages and a monastery adored the place. the main bus top is Lobersing where there is a small market that sells Tibetan wall mats, carpets, handicrafts and leather goods made by cooperative society factory.

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Events and Festivals

  • Bali Yatra
  • Chaita Parva
  • Kalinga Mahotsav
  • Konark Festival
  • Parab Tribal Festival
  • Puri Beach Festival
  • Puri Rath Yatra

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Weather

Orissa enjoys a tropical monsoon type of climate like most other parts of the country. Its annual average rainfall is about 200cm. The three main seasons are summer (mid-Feb to mid-June), rainy season (mid-June to mid-October) and winter (mid-October to mid-Feb).

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Getting There

By Plane

Bhubaneswar is the only civil airport in the state. It is well connected by regular flights to different parts of the country.

By Train

Bhubaneswar and Puri are the major railway junctions for Orissa. There is an extensive railway network connecting Orissa to the other parts of the country.

By Car

The National Highways 5, 6, 23, 42, and 43 pass through Orissa. The good road network connects well with the other parts of the country as well as different places within the state.

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Getting Around

  • Taxis or hired cars are available in important cities and towns.
  • Private rickshaws cost less than regular taxis but you will have to squash up with whoever else gets inside.

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Eat

Eat the rasagullas from the dhabas or the little snack stores set in freeways, it comes in yellow white and brown color and are very delicious. Taste chena pod, another traditional sweet-meat from Orissa. If you enjoy spicy food and used to Indian cuisine, you can try out the local Oriya cuisin made out of sea food (like fish, tiger prawns and crab curry prepared with exotic spices). Its a foodie's paradise.

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Drink

Green coconut. Hard drinks are available in most towns. And never forget to drink the sugarcane juice. Its awesome in Orissa

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Sleep

There are several good hotels in Bhubaneswar, such as Trident Hilton, Hotel Mayfair, and Hotel Swosti Plaza. You can also get decent accommodation at the [OTDC] hotels all over the state in tourist locations. In the smaller towns, try and stay in the Forest Bungalows or Inspection Bungalows, mostly run for government officials on tour, but provided to others when vacant.

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This is version 12. Last edited at 17:36 on Jun 14, 10 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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