Puri, Konark along with capital city of Bhubaneswar form the three vertices of Golden Triangle of Odisha tourism circuit. During your Odisha golden triangle tour, you will visit the rich cultural heritage, temple architecture of Odisha, famous temples, sea beaches and natural wonders.
Places to Visit in Puri
1. Lord Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath temple is one of the most renowned places of interest that is enjoying the honor of being one of the ‘char dhams’ (sacred places), along with Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Badrinath, that every Hindu intend to visit. The Jagannath Temple, Puri was built in the 12 th century A. D by Chodaganga Deva. The sculptural richness and plasticity of the typical Odishan style of temple architecture has made it one of the most maginficent monuments of the country.
2. Gundicha Temple
The second most popular shrine in the holy city of Puri after the Jagannath temple is the Gundicha temple, which is located on the northeastern side of the Jagannath temple.
Gundicha Temple is one of the most famous temples in the city of Puri. This temple is said to be the dwelling place of aunt of Lord Krishna. The origin of the temple can be traced back to the 16th century. It is during the Rath Yatra, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are seated on ornately decorated chariots and taken to the Gundicha Mandir. The deities stay there for a period of seven days and thereafter, come back to the Srimandir in a similar procession on the day of the Bahuda Yatra.
3. Puri Beach
Puri sea beach is the best in India. In Puri to take sea bath is a pleasure and enjoyable experience. The beach is very wide and exposed and there’s not a scrap of shade to be found. Puri offers the tourist the rare opportunity of witnessing the colourful sunrise and the Sunset. Puri sea beach is the right place to spend and enjoy morning and evening. Thousands of people from different part of India and world spend their morning and evening at Puri sea beach each and everyday.
4. Chilika Lake
The most famed lagoon of India situated in Odisha near the Bay of Bengal is home to endangered species like the Irrawaddy dolphin, Barkudia insularis, a limbless lizard, White bellied sea eagle and Ospreys. It is a Ramsar site and is regarded as an eco-system of international importance. A bird sanctuary is also present within the lagoon on Nalaban island.
Chilika is home to countless migratory birds during winter season. Foreign visitors like the flamingoes visit Chilika as they come from far away distances such as Rann of Kutch and Iran.
Places to Visit in Konark
1. Sun Temple
One of the most splendid architectural marvels of the world is the Sun temple at Konark. It is a world heritage site and attracts tourists from all over the globe. This temple was built by King Langula Narasimha Dev of Ganga dynasty to worship the Sun deity. The temple basically represents a grand chariot with twenty-four wheels being drawn by seven magnificent horses.
2. Chandrabhaga Beach
The Chandrabhaga beach is considered to be one of the most attractive beach in Odisha and it is also an ideal place to enjoy the intricate creations of nature. The solitude and natural panorama that this beach offers is beyond description.
3. Pipili Applique Village
Pipili is famous for its beautiful applique handicrafts popularly known as Pipili Chandua. It lies in the intersection where the Konark road branches from the Bhubaneswar-Puri road.
Places to Visit in Puri
1. Lingaraj Temple
The Lingaraj Temple is a masterpiece and the culmination of the revolution of temple architecture in Odisha. The presiding deity is the Swayambhu Linga, Hari-Hara Linga, which is half Siva and half Vishnu. Dedicated to Trivbhuvaneswar (a form of Shiva) or the Lord of the Three Worlds, this temple is a prime example of Indian architecture, in its mature and fully developed state. Its present form dates back to the 11 th century, although several parts of it are over 1400 years old. The sandstone carvings are the most notable feature of this temple. The granite block representing the Linga is said to be bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana). Almost all the Hindu gods and goddesses are represented in this temple. More than 50 smaller temples and shrines crowd the enclosure. This temple is closed to non-Hindus, however a viewing platform allows visitors to see over the wall.
2. Nandankanan Zoological Park
The Nandankanan zoological park, established in 1960, nestled amongst the unruffled extension of Chandaka forests in Bhubaneswar, is a major tourist attraction of Odisha. As a zoo it is home to more than 1200 mammals, birds and reptiles. It is also a captive breeding, a rare feat, for Gharials. It has also a collection of ten white tigers which are not linked to Rewa tigers (Madhya Pradesh).
For tourists it has added attractions in the form of Lion Safari, White Tiger Safari and an aquarium. It is host to endangered species like Manipuri deer, Lion-tailed macaque, Himalayan Black bear and Sloth bear.
3. Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves
Odisha is well known for the ancient caves Udaygiri (meaning the hill of the sunrise) and Khandagiri. Udaygiri caves are approximately 135 ft high and Khandagiri caves are 118 ft high. The caves are reminiscent of influence of Buddhism and Jainism in Odisha. The origin of the rock cut caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri dates back to the 2nd century B.C.
The caves on the Khandagiri, can be reached either by the walking from the road, or cutting directly across from Hathi Gumpha via steps that drop down from cave 17. The latter route brings you out at caves 1 and 2, known as the “Parrot Caves” for the carvings of birds on their doorway-arches. Cave 2, excavated in the 1st century B.C, islarger and more interesting. One can find some faint lines in Brahmini script in one of the caves, which are supposed to be 2000 years old. The Ananta Gumpha or Snake Cave has a decoration in the shape of a serpent at the entrance. It contains the best of the sculpture on Khandagiri hill. The best place to wind up a visit to Khandagiri is the modern Jain Temple at the top of the hill.
Udaigiri caves occupy a fairly compact area around the south of the hill. Cave 1, the Queen’s Cave, is tucked away around the corner. The best sculpture can be seen on the pillars, arches and to the rear of the courtyard, and across the back wall of the upper storey. A long annulet shows rampaging elephants, panicking monkeys, sword fights and the abduction of a women. These carvings seem to illustrate the life of Kalinga’s King Kharavela.
4. Odisha State Museum
Odisha State Museum is a worthy place to visit for students and history lovers. It was founded by two famous historians named Professor N.C. Banerjee and Professor Ghanshyam Dash of Ravenshaw College in the year 1932. The museum’s amazing collection of coins and plates of copper, stone inscriptions, sculptures, rare manuscripts on palm leaves, age-old bronze tools and traditional musical instruments are must to see.
The Epigraphy Gallery of the museum contains rare epigraphic records. One can find beautiful miniature painting, patta paintings, brassware, stone sculptures and very well known silver filigree work of Odisha in the Handicraft Museum.
5. Pathani Samanta Planetarium
The Pathani Samanta Planetarium was established for creating awareness about astronomy, astrophysics and space science. It carries on some interesting activities like night sky viewing, audio visual programs and poster shows etc. It also displays various astronomical devices.
The Planetarium encourages people who does research in the field of astronomical science and also provide them financial help for carrying out their researches. The planetarium has a well facilitated library containing books on science and technology.
6. Rajarani Temple
Rajarani temple is one of the most renowned temples in Bhubaneswar. It is made from the wonderful red and gold sand stone, which is locally known as Rajarani and this is what gives the temple its name of ‘Raja Rani’. Its unconventional name is perhaps derived from the history of its origins. It is believed that king Udayata Keshari built this temple to honuor the wish of his mother. Rajarani temple of Bhubaneshwar is dedicated to Lord Brahma. The origin of this temple can be dated back to 11 century.
The pillars of the temple are decorated superbly. Although there are images of gods and goddesses but there is no deity in the temple. Rajarani temple is an elegant example of great art and architecture. The sensuous beauty of the female from and the sweetness of flowers and fruits are enhanced by the artist’s dexterous skill.
The highlight of the temple is the fine sculptures of dikpalas or guardians of the eight directions carved around the shrine. The sculptural images adorning its facade and interiors are simply outstanding. Females are portrayed in different postures,like holding the child in their arms, holding mirror in their hand, etc. Rajarani temple has also been ornamented with marvelous artistic sculptural carvings and stands enclosed within a beautiful garden.
7. Mukteswar Temple
Mukteswar temple was built in 10th century. The temple is decorated with very fine and beautiful carvings by Viswakarma Moharana sculptors. The art work done inside the temple is really admirable. There is a tank within the temple premises which is used by devotees. There is a popular belief that tossing coin inside the tank will make wish come true and cure diseases. The red sandstone wall of the temple is craved with figures or lean holy men and women covered with jewels. Another interesting thing about this temple is its curved-top entrance which dates back to 900 AD. The entrance is built in the style of Buddhist architecture. The temple is well maintained and large number of devotees visit to pay homage to the deities on auspicious days. Parsurameswar temple and Kedareswar temple are close to this temple.
8. Dhauli Giri
Situated near the banks of river Daya near Bhubaneswar, Dhauli is known to have been the silent witness of one of the most flaming wars in annals of Indian history. In 261 B.C the famous Kalinga war is said to have taken place here. The war occurred as Asoka, one of the most valiant emperors of ancient India desired to include Kalinga into his empire. But Kalinga dared to defy the mighty emperor. What ensued was a war that left millions dead on the battlefield. Legend has it that the river Daya turned red as blood of countless warriors spilled on it during the war. Ashoka’s rock edicts are still present here and they depict the teachings of the emperor. Also a Buddhist stupa, known as Shanti Stupa, is located here and it has been constructed by monks from Japan.
9. Ekamra Kanan Botanical Garden
Ekamra Kanan is the biggest botanical garden and park in Bhubaneswar established in 1985. It is spread over more than 500 acres of land. The park area is covered with a large green lawn and a three-kilometer long walkway. It is full of large trees everywhere. Inside the park, there are areas developed as flower gardens of different varieties. The park also contains a playground and lawn at its center with several swings, slides, and climbing structures.
10. BDA City Centre (formerly BDA Nicco Park)
The entertainment park is a co-venture of the Nicco Group and the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and serves as a highly fun and entertainment center for people of all age groups. Spread over 25 acres of land, the park offers games, rides and a lighted water fountain. The park also offers a mini golf course and a food park – a multi-cuisine cafeteria that offers seat and eat facility.
11. Ocean World Water Park
Ocean World Water Park is situated in Kurang Sasan near Cuttack. It is the one and only of its kind in the State. It is in operation since April, 2008. It is a complete family entertainment and amusement spot, founded by three NRIs. This park is planned similar to the Water Kingdom in Mumbai and Aquatica in Kolkata.
The best time to visit this place is in between the months of March and July. It is an ideal spot to chill out in the hot summer season. There is a food court present in the premises of the water park for visitors. The location of the water park is very convenient to tourist visiting the Konark-Jayadev Peetha belt.
12. Regional Museum of Natural History
The Regional Museum of Natural History was established in the year 2004 with the motive to create awareness about the environment and promoting conservation education among the general public and students. The museum exhibits plants, animals and vibrant geology of Odisha, North East region and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. One of the prominent attractions of the museum is the huge skeleton of Baleen Whale, which is supposed to be largest for any museum in India.
13. Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts
The Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts is home to a rich collection of artifacts, crafts and art objects belonging to different tribes living in the different parts of the state. The museum exhibits dresses and ornaments, hunting and agricultural equipment, personal belongings, musical instruments, photographs, arts of the tribes etc. The museum courtyard has the replicas of the traditional houses, shrines and places of worship of different tribes.
14. Regional Science Park
The park aims at popularizing science, technology and mathematics with the help of models and demonstrations that make the subject interesting and engaging. At present, there are three galleries. The gallery dedicated to Mathematics offers lessons on probability, graphs and statistics, law of average, toss a coin, clocks, algebra and many more. Similarly, the Popular Science Gallery offers with all details on planets, life, chemical reactions and physics. The Motion Gallery exhibits features on cosmological motion, motion inside our body, wave motion, motion of subatomic particles, laws of motion, illusory motion, mechanics of motion, time and motion & many more.
Apart from the exhibits, it also offers additional fun to the children by way of sky observation, demonstrations on galaxy, 3D film shows, quizzes and magic shows.
15. Ekamra Haat
Ekamra Haat is situated in the heart of Bhubaneswar city with a span of 5 acres of land. It is a popular place for sprawling and purchasing handicraft and handloom products. The shops in Ekamra Haat displays various crafts like stone carving work, wood carving work, applique, pattachitra, cane & bamboo work, dhokra, bell metal, terracotta work, palm leaf engraving, and art textiles such as Bandha sarees from Sambalpur & Nuaptana.
Not only a place for arts and crafts but Ekamra Haat is also a popular entertainment spot. Programs like fancy shows, musical shows and talent shows are being organised on the stage of Ekamra Haat.