Raise your hands and ears if a sculpted chariot-shaped Hindu monument (Konark Sun Temple), an ancient cave with ornate rock carvings (Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves), springs to mind when you think of popular tourist places in Odisha. Moreover, some of you might be picturing a wetland lagoon (Chilika Lake )with many bird species, kid-friendly picnic spots (Nandankanan Zoological Park), century-old museums, art & culture centers. Hats off if you even think about its stunning coastline, as one of them is a popular beach and a sacred site for pilgrims. Scroll on to get under the skin of Odisha like a local native.
What if I tell you that you can trace the best transformative travel experiences in Eastern India? All you need to do is bookmark Odisha on your travel bucket list. This Eastern Indian state is surrounded by Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal. Even more, Odisha is well connected with the entire India. From foreigners to Indian tourists, everyone gets drawn to the tourist places in Odisha. Wondering why? Well, Odisha allows tourists to encapsulate the joy of experiential travel at its best.
What’s Special About Odisha Tourist Attractions?
Firstly, the most famous aspect of Odisha tourism is its temples. Jagannath Temple in Puri is one of the four Dhams of India. Even more, the Sun Temple of Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Secondly, Odisha has an approximately 450 km coastline forming golden sandy beaches. Thirdly, dozens of tribal villages are scattered around Odisha to learn and grow to a whole new level. Indeed, Odisha in India is one of the best places to foster physical, emotional, intellectual, social, or spiritual connections.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Odisha to Manifest Transformative Travel Experiences
Stop sweating as we break down the 10 places to visit in Odisha that will help you score Experiential travel:
1. Golden Beach in Puri
After seeking blessing from Lord Jagannath, plan a trip to the newly crowned Blue Flag tag beach. Yes! Golden Beach in Puri is one of the best tourist places in Odisha for many other reasons. Firstly, golden Beach sand is magnificently golden in color. Secondly, there are attentive lifeguards available for the rescue. Thirdly, there are beach shacks that serve toothsome seafood. Furthermore, there is a Lighthouse also which remains open from 4 PM – 6 PM only!
Camel and horse rides are the highlight for kids and adults alike to enjoy along the golden sands. An added bonus, jet skiing, boat rides, and photography seasons are fondly enjoyed at Golden Beach (Puri Beach).
- Best Time to Visit: November to February, March to April (in the evening)
- Visiting Hours: 6 AM – 7 PM (approx.)
- Nearby Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport from 211 km (approx.)
- Closest Railway Station: Balasore Railway Station, 15 km (approx.)
- Best Time to Visit: November to February (Peak Season), early summer
- Ideal Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
2. Chandipur Beach
Ever witnessed the seawater periodically disappear in front of your eyes for a while and then get back to its normal state? If not, then you should experience this strange phenomenon in Chandipur town near Balasore Village. Visit Chandipur Beach to bask under the canopy of casuarina trees amidst the lush coastal vegetation. Coming to the strange phenomenon, Chandipur Beach is India’s hide-and-seek beach where seawater recedes twice a day.
When you are at Chandipur Beach, witness the horseshoe crabs and red crabs that are rare to find anywhere else. Moreover, sunrise and sunset at Chandipur Beach invite couples, and thus, it is one of the best places in Odisha for couples. Also, a part of the beach is under the DRDO research umbrella. More surprisingly, the reserved part of the Chandipur Beach was the launchpad of the Agni, Prithvi, ballistic missiles.
Best Time to Visit: November to February, March to April (in the evening)
Visiting Hours: 6 AM – 7 PM (approx.)
Key Attractions Around the Beach: Souvenir shops, beach shacks
Ideal Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
This coastal city on the banks of the Mahanadi River has an assortment of temples, each of which features a distinctive architectural style. But most importantly, the Jagannath Temple in the city is a pious Hindu pilgrimage site as it constitutes one of the four Char Dhams Yatra. Legends of the temple say that it has been in existence since the Mahabharatha era. Mythologically, Puri is known to be the final resting place of Lord Vishnu.
Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport from 59 km away from City Center
Closest Railway Station: Puri Railway Station, 1 km away from City Centre
Nearby Towns: Bhubaneshwar (58 km), Cuttack (82 km), Rourkela (390 km)
Best Time to Visit: November to February (Peak Season), early summer
Ideal Duration: 2 days (approx.)
Moreover, the annual Chariot Festival (Rath Yatra is the highlight). Temples of Puri display excellent craftsmanship in the form of Kalinga, Deula architecture. Even more, some temples of Puri celebrate the annual festival concerning their reigning deity. If you are coming from Bhubneswar, it is supposed to cover a distance of approximately 60 kilometers.
Must-Visit Attractions in Puri
Sri Jagannath Temple: Get enamored with the excellent carvings, and it is a fine specimen of the Kalinga style of architecture. Seek blessing from Lord Vishnu between 5 AM – 1 PM & 6 PM – 12 AM.
Sudarshan Craft Museum: Show your penchant for the art at this museum between 8 AM – 12 PM & 2 PM – 8 PM, except on Saturdays & Sundays. Additionally, the entry fee for Indians is ₹ 5 (approx.) per person, whereas foreigners have to pay around ₹ 50 (approx.) per person.
Narendra Tank/Narendra Pokhari: Between 6 AM – 9 PM, pay a visit to the surroundings of the small and big temple the tank.
Touted as the capital town of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar is also famous for its temples. Additionally, Konark, Bhubaneshwar, and Puri form the Golden Triangle Odisha. Hence, Bhubaneshwar is a major tourist place in Odisha. The majority of the ancient temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the top attractions of Bhubaneswar is the 10th-century Lingaraja Temple. Also, this city of Odisha was amongst the first planned cities of India, along with Chandigarh and Jamshedpur.
- Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport from 5 km away from City Center
- Closest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar Railway Station, 1.5 km away from City Centre
- Nearby Towns: Puri (61 km), Cuttack (16 km), Vizag (439 km)
- Best Time to Visit: November to February (Peak Season)
- Ideal Duration: 2 days (approx.)
In addition, Bhubaneswar was designed by the German architect Otto Konigsberg. For this reason, there is no shortage of luxury staying options, eating options, and shopping options in the town. In the bygone era, the Kalinga Dynasty was the ruler of Bhubaneshwar. Later on, several dynasties ruled Bhubaneswar, including Marathas, Mughals, Satavahanas, Guptas. Hence, Bhubaneshwar is a complete package of historical sightseeings under one roof! On January travel, participate in Ekamra Utsav to bowl over the cultural heritage of Odisha.
Soul-Stirring Attractions in Bhubaneshwar
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: Explore the two ancient Jain rock-cut caves in Udayagiri and Khandagiri hills. Cave entry is distinct for Indians (₹ 15) and foreigners (₹ 200) approximately 9 AM – 5 PM, every day!
Regional Museum Natural History: Get amazed with the vibrant geology of Odisha between 10 AM – 5 PM without any entry, except Monday when it is closed.
Nandankanan Zoological Park: Spot the rare white tigers except for Monday between 8 AM – 5 PM for just ₹ 40 for adults, ₹ 10 for children, ₹ 100 for foreigners.
Konark is one of three popular attractions of the Golden Triangle Odisha tourist circuit. Lying 61 kilometers (approx.) from Bhubaneshwar, Konark is famous for its 13th century Sun Temple, dedicated to Sun God. As a result, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Sun Temple. A visit to this sacred coastal town will reward visitors with the stunning sunrise over the beach.
- Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport from 62 km (approx.) away
- Closest Railway Station: Puri Junction Railway Station, 35 km (approx.) away
- Nearby Towns: Bhubaneswar (62 km), Ratnapura (111 km), Puri (36 km)
- Best Time to Visit: October to March (Peak Season)
- Ideal Duration: 1 day (approx.)
Konark is the best place to go in Odisha in December as the Konark Dance and Music Festival bills itself as a popular cultural fiesta. If you wanna visit one of the popular places of Indian heritage, bookmark Konark without second thoughts. Attend the celebration that happens at the backdrop of the Sun Temple.
Top Attractions in Konark
Konark Sun Temple: Get amazed with the profound carvings of the Nat Mandapa’ or Dancing Hall and 24 Chariot Wheels. Enter into the temple from 9 AM – 5 PM every day. The entry fee is supposed to be distinct for Indians (₹ 30) and foreigners (₹ 500). Consequently, the guide charges are around ₹ 200 (approx.) for a few minutes.
Konark Museum: Explore the 4 galleries of Konark Museum to sneak-peek into ancient sculptures, paintings, manuscripts of Sun Temple. Entry timings and days are from 10 AM – 5 PM, except Friday for just ₹ 5 (approx.) per person.
Chandrabhaga Beach: Enjoy surfing, sunbathing, and sunset at Chandrabhaga Beach. If traveling in January/February, attend the Magha Saptami Mela to pray to the Sun God.
Cuttack is also amongst the Golden Triangle Tourist attractions of Odisha. But most importantly, it is known as the millennium city of Odisha. Also, Cuttack is crowned with the title of Silver City because of its history of 1,000 years of silver filigree works. This second-largest city of Odisha is nestled at the junction of Kathajodi and Mahanadi Rivers.
- Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport from 30 km (approx.) away
- Closest Railway Station: Cuttack Junction Railway Station, 2 km (approx.) away
- Nearby Towns: Raipur (449 km), Ranchi (325 km), Puri (31 km)
- Best Time to Visit: November to February (Peak Season)
- Ideal Duration: 2 days (approx.)
Annually, thousands of tourists throng to Cuttack to attend Bali Yatra conducted in November. In addition, the Kite Festival during Makar Sankranti in January is the major pull of Cuttack Tourism. Not to mention, but Cuttack is a famous place in Odisha for shopaholic souls. Ladies, don’t forget to shop your heart out for the wonderful silk and cotton fabrics.
Must-Visit Attractions of Cuttack
Barabati Fort: Dive deep into the historical reminiscence of Barabati Fort
Kataki Chandi Temple: Admire the Gajapati Dynasty architecture at Cuttack Chandi Temple
Kadam Rasul Mosque: Feel your jaws dropped when you admire the Indo-Persian architecture
7. Simlipal National Park
Put on your binoculars to uncover the elusive flora and fauna at Simlipal National Park in Northern Odisha. This foremost wildlife sanctuary of Odisha is one of the best places for winter travel for wildlife encounters on guided safaris. Simlipal National Park sprawls over 2,750 sq KM and features shorter trekking trails. Alternatively, migratory bird watching in Simlipal National Park is one of the mesmerizing experiences for nature lovers.
- Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport from 195 km (approx.) away
- Closest Railway Station: Baripada Junction Railway Station, 106 km (approx.) away
- Nearby Towns: Kolkata (328 km), Balasore (110 km), Puri (246 km)
- Opening Months: November till mid-June
- Visiting Hours: 9 PM – 5 PM (approx.)
The USP of this place is the majestic Royal Bengal Tigers and other wildlife creatures. Moreover, Joranda, Baharepani waterfalls are located within the vicinity of the Simlipal National Park. An added bonus is the small tribal villages bordering the forest reserve. Go there to cultural and tribal tours with the guides.
Nearest Airport: Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, 166 km (approx.) away
Closest Railway Station: Rourkela Junction Railway Station, 2 km (approx.) away
Nearby Towns: Ranchi (168 km), Jharkhand (211 km), Kolkata (476 km)
Best Time to Visit: Winters, early summer, post-monsoon
Ideal Duration: 2 days (approx.)
One of the developed towns of Odisha, Rourkela, is synonymous with the commercial capital of this Eastern Indian State. It was 1955 when Rourkela rose into prominence as a public sector steel plant. Since then, Rourkela has managed to become the leading iron and steel manufacturing base. Upon looking from the touristy lens, you will find shopping malls, swanky restaurants, lush green gardens, and parks for couples and kids.
Must-Visit Attractions in Rourkela
Hanuman Vatika: Bow down at the 75 feet tall statue of Lord Hanuman at Hanuman Vatika.
Mata Vaishno Devi Mandir: As the name suggests, this temple is the replica of the bigger one in Jammu.
Indira Gandhi Park: Enjoy a toy train ride, boating at Indira Gandhi Park.
That’s it, fellow tourists! Which of these tourist places to visit in Odisha caught your attention and why? We would like to hear from you!
9. Jagannath Temple in Puri District
Jagannath Temple is dedicated to Lord Odisha – Lord Krishna (main deity) and Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. Most importantly, Jagannath Temple is one of the Bada Char Dhams of India and hence, one of the must-visit places in Odisha’s Puri district. Unlike the other temples, Jagannath Temple’s main deities’ statues are carved and sculpted from wood. The temple authority replaces the deities made from wood every year as a ritual. You must visit Jagannath Temple during the annual famous Rath Yatra Chariot Festival held in June/July.
When you enter Jagannath Temple through any of its four gates, witness the 65 m high spire that dominates Puri’s skyline. At the same time, only Hindu devotees are allowed to enter the temple. The classic duel style of Kalinga architecture is impressive and is a crowd puller (but remember, the temple is no photography zone). Surprise to many, there are around 24 different festivals held at the Jagannath Temple that are celebrated by local people and tourists alike with full fervor. If you have time in hand, make sure to visit each of the small (sub) shrines scattered around the temple’s main complex.
Temples Four Chambers: Bada Deula, Jagamohan, Nata Mandir, Bhoga Mandap
4 Gates of the Temple: Lion Gate, Elephant Gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate
Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik Airport, 58 kilometers (approx.)
Closest Railway Station: Puri Junction Railway Station, 3 kilometers (approx.)
Best Time to Visit: June/July for Rath Yatra Festival or any time of the year
Ideal Duration: 2-3 hours (approx.)
10. Gopalpur in Ganjam District
Wanna have a slice of Goa in Odisha? You can if you choose to visit the seaside town of Gopalpur at the cusp of the Bay of Bengal on the southern boundary lines of Odisha. If you are looking to manifest some sunshine and relaxation with your beloved one, Gopalpur is one of the best places in Odisha for couples. The catch of Gopalpur is its beaches that become the famous nesting sites of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Even more, the sand is sand-nationally golden, and water is azure.
Also called the erstwhile commercial hub of Odisha, Gopalpur is a natural place in Odisha drenched into history. Literary of yore, Gopalpur beacons the remnant of the colonial past as East India Company fondly uses this site as a trading center. Thanks to its proximity with Andhra Pradesh, which still helps the trade unit to facilitate the trade. Consequently, the nearby town of Berhampur (15 km) is perfect for shopping for handmade pickles and silk textiles on a day trip. From hot springs to religious shrines, attractions to visit in Gopalpur are more than beaches.
People Also Ask Questions About Tourist Places to Visit in Odisha
Q. Which tourist place in Odisha has wetland lagoons with many bird species? +-
Ans: Chilika Lake in the Puri district has wetland lagoons, and many migratory birds flock to the place in winters, including Asian Openbill Stork, Little Cormorants, Little Egret.
Q. What are some popular destinations in Odisha to visit with family? +-
Ans: Odisha has various temples, beaches, and museums that are great to visit with family. Accordingly, Puri Beach (Golden Beach), Raghurajpur Craft Village, and Cuttack are popular places to visit in Odisha with family.
Q. Can you name some famous places to visit in Odisha during winters? +-
Ans: Almost every tourist place in Odisha is great to visit in winters because November to February is the peak tourism season with cool temperatures compared to summer (March to May). Coastal towns like Puri to the capital town Bhubaneswar, take your pick accordingly.
Q. What are some historical places to visit in Odisha? +-
Ans: Temples in Odisha speak of their historical significance. Accordingly, Konark Sun Temple, Lingaraja Temple, Lord Jagannath Temple, Dhauli Giri Hills, Barabati Fort are popular historical attractions to visit in Odisha.
Q. What are some best natural places in Odisha to visit? +-
Ans: Chilika Lake, Simlipal National Park, are some of the best natural places to visit in Odisha.
Tell Me More About Odisha Tourism That I Had No Clue About
Odisha is called the ‘Soul of Incredible India.’ For now, Puri’s Golden Beach has received the prestigious Blue Flag Certification. Moreover, there are five more beaches Odisha Government is planning to label with Blue Flag Certification. 450+ km (approx.) The coastline along the Bay of Bengal is the region known as ‘Utkala,’ which is a spell in India’s national anthem.
The Eastern state of India, Odisha, houses tribal people like Kondh tribes, Santal, Bonda, Bumia, etc. As a result, each tribal community has its own customs and traditions, folk dance, music. Also, Odisha is divided into two parts; the Northeastern region and the Southeastern region. The principal attractions of the former ones are Puri, Konark, Cuttack.
Most importantly, Odisha people boast a rich and distinctive cultural heritage. The coastal plains of the state have a good concentration of religious and historical monuments. Although the Puri is a well-acclaimed Hindu religious site, their hype of ancient rock-cut caves and ornate temples of Bhubaneswar must not be ignored.
Best Time to Visit Odisha
The best time to travel to Odisha is either during winters (October to February) or early summers (March to April) – when it is salubrious and dry. Odisha in peak summer months (March to May) is uncomfortably hot. While the monsoon generally hits in June’s mind until the end of September. Moreover, visitors to Odisha can witness the festive fervor throughout the year.
A few of the famous festivals of Odisha include Makar Mela in mid-January on a tiny island in Chilika Lake. Also, Northern Odisha in mid-April enjoys the Chaitra Parba festival. Moreover, the grandest of Odisha festivals, Rath Yatra, is carried out in June/July from Jagannath temple to Gundicha Mandir in Puri.