Formerly known as Orissa, Odisha is home to many ancient Hindu temples and historical monuments. Located on the eastern coast of India with a coastline of 480 km, Odisha is blessed with beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, rich flora and fauna, and exquisite temples. It is a traveler’s delight. With our Odisha travel guide, you can get detailed information about this exotic state, which is among the popular tourist destinations.
A tour to Odisha will surely add some unforgettable memories to the repertoire of the avid globetrotter. The state has some of the most magnificent cities that rightly speak of their rich cultural past. It is a major tourist destination and ropes in a large number of tourists every year by the sheer dint of its unrivaled natural and manmade beauty. Every city of this glorious state has still kept alive its affluent and vibrant culture.
If you are planning for the Odisha tour do not miss out on the colorful and lively festivals, which provide glimpses of the rich cultural heritage of the state. The dance, music, and vibrant bazaars of Odisha adds charm to the enchanting beauty of this beautiful state. The past glory of this state is experienced through the imposing forts and palaces. One of such cities in Odisha is Puri that is popular all over the world for its historic antiquities and sacred shrines.
Through this travel guide of Odisha, explore the famous places to visit, things to do, and adventure activities at Odisha beaches, pilgrimage, culture, wildlife, and shopping. During the tour, get a peek into the tribal culture and also gather information about the tourist places and accommodation facilities.
Languages spoken in Odisha
Odia (Oriya) is the main official language of Odisha. Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Telugu are some of the majorly spoken languages in Odisha.
Where is Odisha located?
Odisha is located in the eastern part of India and is bordered by the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal to the north and northeast. It is bounded by the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to the south and Chhattisgarh to the west. Odisha has a coastline of 480 km along the Bay of Bengal.
Why visit Odisha?
Odisha is an incredible state, which offers extraordinary experiences during the journey of history, heritage, and architectural wonders. This state is home to architectural wonders and some of the world-renowned temples such as Jagannath Temple, Sun Temple, and Lingaraja Temple. Odissi dance, Sambalpuri Sarees, Pattachitra Paintings, and tribal villages are some of the prime attractions of the state, which fascinates a large number of tourists to the state. Here we have jotted down some of the popular places to visit in Odisha, which will help you to explore the state like a local.
Temples and Monuments in Odisha
Odisha is home to many temples, holy places, and architectural wonders. It has a rich religious and cultural heritage. Odisha is also home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and several religious sites that depict the glorious bygone era. Some of the popular temples and monuments of Odisha are:
- Lingaraj Temple
- Jagannath Puri Temple
- Sun Temple
- Brahmeshwar Temple
- Mukteswar Temple.
- Parasurameswara Temple.
- Rajarani Temple.
- Vaital Deul Temple.
- Barabati Fort
Buddhist Sites in Odisha
Odisha has a strong Buddhist influence and there are plenty of Buddhist religious sites including monasteries, caves, and historical ruins of Buddhist remains. The amazing Buddhist monuments of Odisha that stand as testimony of deeply rooted Buddhism in the state are:
- Shanti Stupa
- Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves
Beaches in Odisha
Golden beaches of Odisha have something for every traveler. Home to some of the best beaches of the country’s east coast, Odisha shares the coastal front with the Bay of Bengal. The surreal beauty of coastlines leaves everyone spellbound. Some of the best beaches in Odisha are:
- Chandipur Beach
- Puri Beach
- Ramchandi Beach
- Astaranga Beach
- Aryapalli Beach
- Paradeep Beach
- Beleswar Beach
- Talasari Beach
- Pati Sonapur Beach
- Balaramgadi Beach
- Chandrabhaga Beach
Wildlife in Odisha
Home to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries including bird sanctuaries, Odisha is a must-visit destination for the wildlife lover. These places house leopards, tigers, gaurs, barking deer, sloth bears, elephants, and langurs as well as rhesus monkeys. Here is the list of some of the popular national parks of Odisha where you can spot the exotic species of wildlife.
- Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
- Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Satkosia Tiger Reserve
- Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bhitarkanika National Park
Tribes in Odisha
Odisha is known for its diversity as it is home to 62 tribes. These tribes mainly survive on farming, fishing, agriculture, and hunting. There are several tribal museums in Odisha where you can get glimpses of the culture and traditions of their lives. Some of the renowned tribes of Odisha are:
Lakes and Waterfalls in Odisha
Blessed with the natural beauty and diverse landscape, Odisha is home to some perennial waterfalls and lakes. There are several natural wonders that unruffled in the lap of bountiful nature. The lakes and waterfalls are magnificent picnic spots and tourist attractions. Some of the popular lakes and waterfalls in Odisha are:
- Chilika Lake
- Ansupa Lake
- Hirakud Dam
- Pata Lake
- Indravati Dam
- Kanjia Lake
- Kolab Dam
- Duduma Waterfall
- Barehipani Waterfall
- Handibhanga Waterfall
- Khandadhar Waterfall
- Harishankar Waterfall
- Khanduala Waterfall
Fairs and Festivals in Odisha
Popular for sacred places and religious diversity, Odisha is home to many fairs and festivals ranging from dance and music festivals to tribal festivals. During the Odisha trip, attend fairs and festivals to get glimpses of rich culture and traditions. Here are some of the famous fairs and festivals celebrated in Odisha.
- Rath Yatra
- Durga Puja
- Chandan Yatra
- Konark Dance Festival
- Kalinga Mahotsav
- Puri Beach Festival
- Taratarini Mela
- Kedu Festival
- Adivasi Mela
How to reach Odisha?
Odisha is well-connected and accessible by tourists from all over the world by air, road, and rail. Here is detailed information about how to reach Odisha.
The most convenient way to reach Odisha is by air. Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneshwar is the prime airport of the state. It has good connectivity with major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Raipur.
The state is also connected with the major cities and states by railway network. The prominent railhead in Odisha lies in Bhubaneshwar from where there are regular trains that connect you to Kolkata, Puri, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Tirupati, and Trivandrum via Express and Super Express trains.
With national and state highways, Odisha is easily accessible by the nearest towns and cities. You have access to local buses and comfortable Volvos to travel to and from Odisha. You can also hire a car or a taxi or board the government or private buses to reach Odisha.
How to get around in Odisha
To travel within Odisha you can board government-run buses or private buses. Odisha State Board Transportation Corporation runs buses across 45 cities such as Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Cuttack, Balasore, Konark, and Gopalpur. You can also board a shared taxi or hire a private cab to travel within the state. There are several local trains and express train runs for different cities of the state.
Best time to visit Odisha
The winter season is the best time to visit Odisha. From October to February, the state experiences a soothing and pleasant climate, which makes the sightseeing and outdoor activities comfortable. However, you can travel to the state throughout the year. Odisha experiences a tropical wet-dry climate. Here is detailed information about the ideal time to visit Odisha.
Winter (October to February)
The pleasant and tranquil weather makes winter the best season to visit Odisha. In winters, the temperature ranges between 16⁰ C and 24⁰ C. This time of the year is about festivals and celebrations. The main highlight of the winter season is Durga Pooja and another festival that is celebrated here with great zeal is Konark Dance Festival. This is the perfect time to get glimpses of the rich cultural heritage of Odisha by attending the festivals and spending some time with the locals.
Monsoon Season (June to August)
The temperature hovers around 25⁰ C and 32⁰ C in the monsoon season. The beauty of the state flourishes and thrives in the rainy season. From June to August, the days remain humid and the nights experience cool and pleasant weather. Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is the highlight of this season. It is the biggest and the grandest festival of Odisha that is celebrated in this season. People from all over the world visit Puri to attend this festival and seek blessings from Lord Jagannath.
Summer Season (March to May)
The month of March marks the beginning of the summer season until May. The weather remains sunny this season. The scorching heat of the summer season makes sightseeing difficult during the daytime. It is advisable to go for outdoor activities in the evening as the weather becomes pleasant. There are plenty of festivals celebrated in this season, which attracts a large number of tourists. Some of the popular festivals are Pana Sankranti, Chaitra Parba (celebrated by Santals who are the largest Adivasi groups of Odisha), and Bhubaneswar Car Festival. Read More...
Popular Tourist Places in Odisha
Odisha is a state with a glorious history, rich cultural heritage, and breathtaking landscapes. Inhabited by tribal people, Odisha is home to myriad wonders. The beautiful beaches, ancient temples, bounty of nature and wildlife, and exquisite monuments of Odisha make the sightseeing memorable. Some of the popular tourist places in Orissa are Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Konark, Cuttack, Baripada, Gopalpur, Chandipur, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Chilika Lake, Hirakud Dam, and Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
Things to do in Odisha
Serene beaches, glistening lakes, ancient temples, and historical monuments add charm to the natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes of Odisha. There are plenty of things to do in Odisha which make the vacations memorable. From pilgrimage to wildlife adventure and from enjoying the watersports to indulge in thrilling activities there is a lot to do. You can marvel at the exquisite art and architecture of the monuments, soak in the divine aura of the holy shrines, witness the wildlife diversity, and spend time with locals to learn their culture during the Odisha trip.
How many days are enough for the Odisha trip?
8 to 10 days are enough for Odisha's trip and to explore the enchanting beauty of this majestic place. However, the time span for the Odisha tour also depends on your pace and the places you wish to explore.
Average Odisha trip costs
The average cost of an Odisha trip is INR 17,000 to INR 21,000 per person for one week. However, it also depends on the type of traveling, accommodations, and activities in which you are involved.
Accommodation in Orissa
Odisha houses a good number of accommodation options for tourists. There is a wide range of comfortable stays in the states such as resorts, hotels, guesthouses, and lodges. Some of the best places to stay in Odisha are:
- Mayfair Lagoon, Bhubaneshwar
- Trident, Bhubaneshwar
- Sterling, Puri
- Hotel Prabhupada, Puri
- The Blue Lagoon Hotel Premium, Cuttack
- Hotel Pal Heights, Cuttack
- Lotus Resort, Konark
- Swosti Chilika Resort, Chilika
- Mayfair Rourkela
Places to eat in Odisha
Odisha is famous for its scenic beauty, intriguing tribal culture, and architectural marvels. Besides this, this majestic state is also popular for its appetizing cuisines, which are known for lesser spices but are high on flavor. In Odisha, the scrumptious cuisines get served on Sal leaf plates. There are a variety of places where you can savor mouth watering food. Here are some of the places to eat in Odisha where you can satiate your taste buds with gastronomical delights.
- Odissi Restaurant, Brahmapur – Pokhalo, Macha Beasara, Chingudi Kosa, Kheeri
- Dalma Restaurant, Bhubaneshwar – Mutton Thali, Crab Thali, Chhatu Rai, Hilsa Machha Jhola, Chhena Jhili
- Bawarchi, Cuttack – Aloo Potala Rasa, Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Dahibara Dum Aloo
- Barabati Restaurant, Cuttack – Chungdi Malai, Macha Ghanta Fish Fry, Prawn Kassa,
- Aquarium, Puri – Pakhala Bhata, Pilaf, Santula, Seafood, Thai Food, Chinese, Continental, Odisha Rasgulla
Shopping in Odisha
Odisha is popular for its handicraft and handloom products, stone sculptures, and tribal artifacts. This state is one of the few places where stone sculpting is still practicing. You can buy different types of souvenirs from Odisha such as Palm leaf paintings, clothes with Patta Chitra paintings, Pipli works on bags, wooden masks, tribal jewelry, and Sarees. Some of the popular places for shopping in Odisha are:
- Orissa Modern Art Gallery, Bhubaneshwar
- Station Square, Bhubaneshwar
- Priyadarshini Handloom, Puri
- Chandan Bazaar, Puri
- Jhola Sahi, Cuttack
- Tulsipur, Cuttack
- Balasore Bazaar, Balasore
Useful Tips for a trip to Odisha
- The winter season is the peak tourist season in Odisha. It is advisable to book your tickets and accommodation well in advance to save yourself from the last-minute hassle.
- Pack both warm and cool clothes as well as sunscreen and some glasses if you are traveling in winters.
- In the monsoon season, carry a light jacket and a windcheater since it may rain at any given time of the day.
- Odisha is renowned for its temples and pilgrimage sites. Cover your head and wear decent clothes while visiting the religious place.
- Make sure you will respect the local culture.
- If possible, then attend festivals to learn about the rich culture and spend some time with locals to learn the folklores.