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Home India Holiday Guide Orissa Holidays

Orissa Tourism Information


Orissa was once famous for its majestic battle elephants. But life in Orissa revolved around temples, and that the Oriyas lived lives free of strife, is evident from the fact that the state has few forts or fortified palaces to its credit, indicative of centuries of peace and harmony.

Most of the state's attractions are close to each other, and convenient access is provided out of the state capital, bhubaneswar. 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.

Places to Visit

Bhubaneswar
The ancient capital of the Kalinga empire, and now the capital of Orissa, Bhubaneswar's history goes back over 2000 years. "bhubaneswar" means the "abode of God" or "master of the universe" and it was also, once known as the 'Cathedral of the East', on account of the large number of shrines. At one time, the Bindu Sagar tank was bordered by over 7000 temples. Of these, 500 still survive, all built in the extravagant Oriya style. It is of these temples, that the great poet, Rabindranath Tagore had once said - 'At all places where the eye rests, and also at places where the eye does not rest, the busy chisel of the artist has worked incessantly. The abode of god has been enveloped by a variety of figures depicting the good and the evil, the great as well as the insignificant, the daily occurences of human life....'

Puri
One of the four holiest places in India, Puri is washed by the sea, and embraced by causarina - fringed beaches. It is said that one obtains 'moksha' from the cycle of birth and rebirth, if one stays here for three days and nights. Puri is the hallowed seat of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe), Subhadra and Balabhadra. One of the four holy dhams of Hinduism, Puri is possibly one of the very few religious sites which combines the outdoor pleasures of sea and divine beaches with the religious sentiments of 'darshan'.

A place, known by many names over the centuries - Nilgiri, Niladri, Nilachal, Purushottam, Sankhakshetra, Srikshetra, Jagannath Dham, Jagannath Puri - Puri is dominated by two great forces, one created by God, and the other by man.
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Konark
The crowning glory of Oriya temple architecture, the 13th century Sun temple also known as ' the Black Pagoda', comes with a baggage of centuries - old myths and legends. Legends say that Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father's curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built this temple.

The Sun Temple
Built by Raja Narsimhadeva of the Ganga dynasty, in the 13th century AD, the temple is a pageant of human grandeur, in its perception, and in the execution of even the finest details. It resembles a colossal chariot, with 24 wheels, pulled by seven straining horses, and has a three-tiered pyramidal roof topped off by a fine spire. The Sun - God's chariot, also represents the seven days of the week, and the 24 hours of the day, in its concept. The temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with impressive sculptures. Every aspect of life is represented here, and the erotic imagery, depicts the sublimation of human love manifested in countless forms. Scenes from court, civic life and war are also done with great precision.