Odisha has been a preferred destination from ancient days for people who have an interest in spirituality, religion, culture, art and natural beauty. Ancient and medieval architecture, pristine sea beaches, the classical dance Odissi and ethnic dance forms like Chhau, Ghumuraand Sambalpuri and a variety of festivals. Odisha has kept the religion ofBuddhism alive. Research suggests about evidences of Gautama Buddha‘s birth in Odisha. Rock-edicts that have challenged time stand huge and over-powering by the banks of the Daya River. The torch of Buddhism is still ablaze in the sublime triangle at Udayagiri, Lalitgirias well as Ratnagiri, on the banks of river Birupa. Precious fragments of a glorious past come alive in the shape of stupas, rock-cut caves, rock-edicts, excavated monasteries, viharas, chaityas and sacred relics in caskets and the Rock-edicts of Ashoka.
Odisha is famous for the world famousJagannath Temple (Puri), UNESCO World Heritage Site Konark Sun Templeand The Leaning Temple of Huma. Out of total 4 Chausathi Yogini temples all over India, 2 are in Odisha, in Hirapurand Ranipur Jharial. Famous Oriya Sanskrit Poet Jayadeva, who wrote famous Gita Govinda, a poem of divine love between Lord Krishna and Radhawith other Gopis, dedicated to Lord Jagannatha, was born here in Kenduli Sasan village near Khurda.
Rajarani Temple(name derived from the sandstone in which it is made), is an architectural marvel like Khajuraho located in Bhubaneswar (The Temple City of India), containing more than 500 ancient temples. Lord Lingaraja Temple(a 12th-century AD temple), Kedaragauri Temple, Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Brahmeswara Temple are some of the many magnificent Temples in the capital. Bhubaneswar has State Museum, Regional Museum of Natural History (having one of the two eggs of an extict species in the world), Botanical Garden, Jain centres like Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Dhauli White Pagoda where Chandashoka became Dharmashoka.
Odisha is the home for various tribal communities who have contributed uniquely to the multicultural and multilingual character of the state. Their handicrafts, different dance forms, jungle products and their unique life style blended with their healing practices have got world wide attention. The well-known Ratha-Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri and Sitalsasthi Carnival of Lord Shiva in Sambalpur are must see for anyone who want to see a glimpse of the art and culture of Odisha at one place.
The Indian Revolutionary saying “Give me Blood, I will give you Freedom”,Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was born inCuttack, whose House (Janakinath Bhavan) is now a museum, well equipped to provide details of his life-history. The medieval capital, Cuttack has a treasure to share with you, theBarabati fort (witnessing Gangas, Marathas and British), the silver filigree works, Katak Chandi Temple, Barabati Stadium, Qadam-I-Rasul and Dhabaleswar temple (having longest rope-bridge in India succeeded by Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh). Eastern Ghats’ highest peak, Mahendragiri, where Lord Parshuram is still in meditation, according to Ramayana andMahabharata is in Gajapati district.
Cuttack Barabati Fort Majestic Entrance
Rajarani Temple at Bhubaneswar
Shrikhetra Puri Jagannath Temple, abode of Lord of Universe
Sites/Cities/Places of Interest :
1. Bhubaneswar – Lingaraj Temple,Rajarani Temple, Dhauligiri, Khandagiri and Udaygiri, Nandankanan Zoological Park.
2. Cuttack – Barabati Fort, Katak Chandi Temple, Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udaygiri,Dhabaleswar Temple.
3. Puri – Jagannath Temple, Chilika Lake, Konark Temple and Beach.
4. Sambalpur – Samaleswari Temple,Hirakud Dam.
5. Berhampur – Gopalpur-on-Sea,Taptapani, Taratarini.
6. Bhitarkanika Sanctuary
7. Similipal Biosphere Reserve
8. Dhenkanal – Kapilas, Saptasajya
9. Balasore – Chandipur-on-sea, Chandbali, Chandaneswar, Panchlingeswar, Aradi (Lord Akhandalamani).
The Matrimandir, a golden metallic sphere in Auroville
The Union Territory of Puducherrycomprises four coastal regions viz. Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Pondicherry is the Capital of this Union Territory and one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Pondicherry has been described byNational Geographic as “a glowing highlight of subcontinental sojourn”. The city has many beautiful colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues, which, combined with the systematic town planning and the well-planned French-style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambiance.
The Harmandir Sahib
(also known as the Golden Temple) is the gurdwara of worship of Sikhs.
The state of Punjab is renowned for its cuisine, culture and history. Punjab has a vast public transportation and communication network. Some of the main cities in Punjab are Amritsar,Jalandhar, Patiala, Nabha and Ludhiana.Nabha is known for the combines made here while Patiala is known for the historical forts. Punjab also has a richSikh religious history. Tourism in Punjab is principally suited for the tourists interested in culture, ancient civilisation, spirituality and epic history. Some of the villages in Punjab are also a must see for the person who wants to see the true Punjab, with their beautiful traditional Indian homes, farms and temples, this is a must see for any visitor that goes to India. Lonely Planet Bluelist 2008 has voted the Harmandir Sahib as one of the world’s best spiritual sites with over 100,000 pilgrims and tourists visiting on a daily basis. Since Amritsar is a big tourist spot, a lot of five star hotels are getting attracted to open up properties here. Hotel Ista has become very popular with nonresident Indian (NRI) community. New properties by Radisson and Taj are coming up in this city.