Odisha – Previously known as Orissa is a state in the eastern part of India. It is famous as the soul of incredible India when it comes to tourism. Odisha has a rich heritage and culture and its history dates back to the famous Ramayan era. Be it the epic “Kalinga War” where Emperor Ashoka Transformed from “Chandashoka” to “Dharmashoka” or the world-famous temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri, Odisha has everything for a traveler’s liking. Odisha is home to more than 1000 ancient temples and 11 beautiful beaches. Full of natural beauty and surprises at every corner, it has some of the most ancient Buddhist sites dating back to 5th Century BC along with enchanting hills and mesmerizing waterfalls.
Here we bring you a list of 5 must-visit places in Odisha in 2021
1. Puri, the heritage capital of Odisha
Puri needs no introduction to travelers around the world. Home to Lord Shri Jagannath, it is considered as the most important tourist spot in Odisha. Moreover, it is a must-visit place for followers of Hinduism as it is one of the “Char Dhams” as per Hindu mythology. It lies in the shore of the mighty Bay of Bengal and the Puri sea beach is one of the most sought tourist attractions of the state.
The Puri Jagannath temple was built towards the end of the 10th Century and is the main attraction of this district in Odisha. Not only this temple is the center of spiritual belief of people following Hinduism, but it also has an age-old interesting history. This temple was raided several times by the Muslim rulers mostly to plunder the wealth of this temple. The other place of interest after the temple is undoubtedly the beautiful and serene beach of Puri. This beach sees millions of footfalls round the year not only from India but also from around the world.
2. Dhauli Shanti Stupa, Bhubaneswar
Dhauli Shanti Stupa, otherwise famous as the peace pagoda is located in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. It lies at a distance of about the 7 Kms from Bhubaneswar on the banks of river Daya. This site is famous for being the witness to the bloodiest war that Odisha has ever seen. This war had such an impact on emperor Ashoka that he gave up violence forever and followed Buddhism and made sure to enlighten the entire world with the word of peace. It is said that the color of the river Daya changed to red with the blood of the deceased soldiers of this war. A large number of followers of Buddhism visit this place round the year. However, the existing, beautiful Stupa was built in the year 1972 in collaboration with Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha and the Japan Buddha Sangha. This place has become a major center of devotion and worship for followers of Buddhism.
3. Similipal National Park
Located in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, this is not only one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries of Odisha, but also India. Similipal is famous for being the home to the majestic Royal Bengal tigers and Asiatic elephants. This national park is one of the most amazing nature reserves in India with deep forests, grassy meadows, and stunning waterfalls. Along with the tigers and elephants, several other wildlife species like the Indian Bison, Chausingha, Leopards, etc are also found here. Another major attraction of this place is the primitive forest-dwelling tribes here. People with interest in tribal culture will find this as an added attraction to learn more about the secret life of tribal groups.
The tourism department of Odisha has developed this place as an eco-tourism site and nature camps have been set amidst the forest as an accommodation option for tourists. This gives the tourist an opportunity to stay close to nature and enjoy the thrill of the wilderness of this Jungle. These sites are managed by local people. Hence one can experience the best of local Odiya cuisine at these nature camps in Odisha. The best time to visit this place is winters when this place is at the top of its natural beauty.
4. Daringbadi, the Kashmir of Odisha
Daringbadi, famous as the “Kashmir of Odisha” is yet another must-visit place in Odisha. This is a small hill station in the Kandhamal district of Odisha and is the only place that experiences snowfall in winters. It is Really Hard to describe the beauty of this place. Thick pine forests, amazing wildlife, beautiful hill slopes covered with coffee, black pepper, and turmeric gardens are the major attractions of this place. Other than this, some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing waterfalls are located here. This place is a perfect combination of Cultural, Nature, and Tribal tourism. Daringbadi houses one of the most primitive tribal group that is the “Kutia Kondhas” and is one of the best places to peep into the secret life of Tribal groups.
This is again one of the most sought eco-tourism sites in Odisha. Eco cottages in true tribal style have been set here as an accommodation option for visiting tourists. Being a hilly area, there are beautiful trekking trails all around. Hence do not miss the opportunity to trek around and enjoy the beauty of nature. One can also visit some of the most beautiful waterfalls here, namely the Daringbadi waterfall, the Putudi waterfall, the Dadubaba waterfall, and the Ludu waterfall.
With this, we conclude the list of top tourist sites in Odisha. Thanks for reading.