1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Entertainment in the capital city also includes some fascinating festivals. The ten-day Ekamra Utsav, the Mukteswar Dance festival – a programme of Odissi dance and music held against the backdrop of Mukteswar temple, the Kalinga Mahotsava – a festival of martial dances held at Dhauli, Rajarani Music Festival, held against the backdrop of the Rajarani Temple, the Konark Festival, held in an open air auditorium against the backdrop of the Sun temple are to name a few. Besides this, handloom and handicrafts exhibitions, book fairs, and flower shows add colours to the festival.