Keonjhar is a north western district in ODISHA with rich greenery and forests. The district headquarter is Keonjhar town which is a 5 hours smooth journey by road from the capital of Odisha. A rural district with numerous unexplored tourist destinations Keonjhar is much underrated in terms of tourism knowledge in India.A place with numerous waterfalls,tall teakwood forests,fresco paintings,archaeological sights and beautiful countryside village roads;it offers a gigantic pool of tourism and culture for every enthusiast in travelling. Take the road from TALCHER ,the largest coal mining place in Asia ,and you will come across KANJIPANI GHAT .The ghat road is extremely green due to rich forest cover which provides an exclusive journey through clouds in winters.While the road trip from JAJPUR side will be mostly through villages and through elevated fields comprising of boulders potruding from the surface of the earth.The roads have hills on both sides which gives us a feeling like the Arizona in America. So keonjhar acts as a pilgrimage centre (Due to the Tarini Temple ),a hill station due to the Eastern Ghats,A historical place of prehistoric human settlements in Sitabinj forest,numerous waterfall parks,and amazing road trip experiences in the form of drive through harichandanpur and sitabinj forests. Places to visit:- sitabinj forests,khandahar waterfall,gundichaghai waterfall,tara tarini temple,badaghagra and sanghagra waterfall,kanjipani ghat,kanjihari dam.
A sea beach in BALESHWAR district which is famously known as the land where sea vanishes.A tidal sea beach where one can walk kilometeres into the sea it also houses the DRDO station for missile testing .The sea shore distance varies during the day and night due to high and low tides so visit in a full moon night when the tides are strong.Keep your eyes open to see numerous shells and horse shoe crab on the beach.Wake up in the morning and you can walk kilometres into the sea to see the splendid sunrise from the horizon.Adjacent to the beach is a preserved sanctuary for horse shoe crab ,and Panthanivas odisha is located just infront of the beach.
One of the most religious and vacation place in india ,it is mostly famous for its renowned LORD JAGANNATH temple which houses the world’s largest kitchen and an incarnation of vishnu,Puri is the most sought out place for bengalis. The beach is crowded with numerous tourists all the year around and puri offers great sea food and the frequent choice for a vacation for mostly the bengalis. People flock here all over the year to enjoy the bath under the mighty waves and to buy the odisha handloom clothes. Undoubtedly puri holds as the most famous destination for tourists in odisha.
KONARK TO PURI
Konark Sun Temple ia a temple of 13 the century that is dedicated to the sun god.Now a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE ,the temple is under renovation but much of it is still fresh to see the ancient craft and architecture of our ancient india. The carvings on the temple are a delight to watch with huge chariots surrounding the temple complex resembling that of the sun god.Do visit konark temple and then drive to puri via CHANDRABHAGA sea beach.The road to puri from konark goes all along the sea and that is why it is called as marine drive that gives a thrilling and exquisite experience of one of the most favoured road trip in this country..The chandrabaga sea beach is pure and clean like its history in mythology with a great view of sunset in the river mouth of kushabhadra and chandrabhaga river into the bay of bengal The road trip from konark to puri is undoubtedly one of the best in our country.
The largest brackish water lake in India and home to IRRAWADY dolphins it offers one of the largest aquarine bio diversities in our country.Do visit it in the months of winter where flamingoes and siberian ducks have their feast as a migrating ground.One can visit chilika from puri SATAPADA side and also from BEHRAMPUR side which is best in terms of picteresque beauty. A boat ride from RAMBHA in GANJAM district(behrampur) is what must be done to see chilka in its most serene form.Boat rides are also available from Satpada side to watch the flamingoes in NALABAN Sanctuary and the dolphins.The chilka lake was almost on the brink of extinction due to closure of the sea mouth from bay of bengal near puri that acts its only source of water from the tides of the sea.Due to extensive fishing through nets in the lake the dolphins were suffocating to death and its population was decreasing with time.Recently huge efforts have been made by the government for which they have been awarded by WWF to preserve one of the greatest biodiversities in the world.
RATNAGIRI,UDAYAGIRI AND LALITAGIRI are three excavation sites in JAJPUR district in odisha famous for having specimens of ancient buddhist civilizations.A three hour road trip from the capital this site provides an ideal historical and scenic weekend gateways from bhubaneshwar.The road trip is scenic as one can get as it crosses through green vegetated hills and countryside villages situated on the banks of Brahmini river.These excavation sites are situated in the hill top while the three villages are located nearby separated by few kilometres,with Ratnagiri being the prime excavation suite.Being recently discovered by the ASI the site contains numerous Stupas and seals of the Gupta era.Now the three buddhist ancient cities are being taken care of by OTDC with utmost care.
Sambalpur is the industrial capital of odisha that is associated of having the longest dam in the world.Mostly a developed industrial town with very clean roads and temples of which Samleshwari is the most famous temple.The best part of sambalpur is its route to debrigarh sanctuary that travels along the burla hirakund reservoir making it look a like of marine drive which adds for a scenic road trip.No tourists are allowed to enter the dam site but one can always take a scenic road drive along the dyke road before sunset.The road is wide and concrete which also provides us a long stretch of an artificial rocky beach along the dyke. Sambalpur is a well dveloped town with many restaurants which are very famous for providing Oriya delicacies.
One of the most serene forest in odisha lying in the banks of HIRAKUD DAM reservoir.Go in the afternoon and have your lunch in the tranquil NIRVANA rest house managed by OTDC .The rest house is 3.5 km from the main gate into the sanctuary for which a forest permit entry has to be issued from the entry gate.Online booking of the guest house automatically gives you the permit to enter the sanctuary but for entry of the car they charge 100 rs which you have to pay while entering the forest with the car.The guest house is ideally located on the banks of the reservoir .A lane is carved out from the campus for walking a approximately 2 metres inside the reservoir lake.The place is gifted with stunning views of the mountains and a panoramic view of the reservoir.One should effectively visit this place on a full moon light because due to darkness and no settlement inside the forest ,the water gives a memorable reflection of moonlight and colours of hue at sunset.On taking a right turn from the gate of the guest house one can go right 16 km inside forest where sighting of sambar,gaur,peacocks and wild monkeys are common.The ride is extremely adventurous as it pierces through deep forest in a muddy road ,the end of which stops in an ultimate photogenic location further down the reservoir lake.The nirvaana guest house may be costly accounting to 7500rs for two ,but that includes an awesome location,service ,evening snacks,dinner,breakfast and lunch.
SATKOSIA TIGER RESERVE
Tikarpada also known as Satkosia Tiger Reserve Sanctuary is a village situated 55 kms from Angul ,the coal and steel center of Odisha. The Mahanadi river flows in between the Eastern Ghats and forms the longest gorge in India.The 22km gorge separates the Phulbani and the Angul district to form one of the best habitat for Alligators and Crocodiles.According to the forest officials and the locals there are a total of 17 tigers in this sanctuary and numerous crocodiles of which some can grow upto 20 feet long.A nominal checking and permit is required at the entry gates of the sanctuary.Then one has to drive through thick dense forests for 30 kms to reach the banks of the gorge.The road is concrete and has numerous elephant crossing points ,passing through some extensive rural villages to give us the feeling of paddy fields,local ponds ,mudhouses and vast farming lands with the eastern ghats in the backdrop.There is a Crocodile research centre inside the sanctuary where turtles,crocodiles and alligators are kept for breeding.The adventure starts at this point when we take boat rides to see real crocodiles of the river as we enter and go down along the downstream of the river.There are plenty of crocodiles seen to be swimming and basking on the beaches which is a real adventure for any tourists.Camping facilities and Guesthouses are available to stay inside the sanctuary whcih even provide guides to do jungle trek night walks inside the forest to see wild animals.According to the employees the reserve and the forest officials even Elephants and Deers come in the vicinity of the campus of the guesthouses at night which is a dream wish for every adventurous travellers visiting this sanctuary.Besides the adventure one can have the real taste of village food by fishing in the river and cooking wild hens in Wooden burnt ovens.There is a small mudhouse at the entry of the gorge which provides us with delectable dishes of home cooked wild chicken and fresh fish meat from the river.The place is stunningly beautiful as the river forms a scenic water body in the backdrop of the Eastern Ghats which are covered with thick dense deciduous forests.
DARINGBADI AND PHULBANI
Daringbadi is a hill station in Kandhamal District of Odisha while Phulbani is the district headquarter of Kandhamal. Phulbani is located 65 miles from Daringbadi so both these forest hotspot destinations can be covered in a single road trip. Brahmapur is the nearest main town to visit both this places by car.Driving in a car is essential to visit this two places as they are less connected by rails but widely connected by good smooth highways.While coming from Brahmapur 25 kms before entering daringbadi a tourist will arrive in the Kalinga valley which provides a real jungle drive.The forest is rich in rubber and bamboo plantation and also provide medicinal plantsthe villagers.The Ghat road is narrow and steep passing through one of the densest forests in Odisha.So a tourist should be prepared for a real adventure Daringbadiis the highest point in Odisha.It is famously known as Kashmir of Odisha as in winters the temperature drops down to freezing point.The hill station is totally different than most parts of India due to its culture and topography. Daringbadi is a rural village where the ancient Kondh Tribals ,one of the oldest tribals of odisha ,live and engage in farming the rich fertile plains.Daringbadi is a village with rice cultivation,coffee gardens and pine forests,valley view points and oldest tribals .So one can imagine the scenic and geographic beauty of this hill station.with all the above combinations.There is a eco tourism resort in daringbadi which is very cheap compared to its serene location .Phulbani is also a tribal district in kandhamal that offers greenery and waterfalls to visit for the tourists.The drive from Daringbadi to Phulbani is one of the best road trips in this states as it passes through thick dense sal forests,leopard corridors,and waterfalls. Putudi and Urmagarh watrerfall are some famous big waterfalls to visit inside the forests of Phulbani.Eco tourism resorts are available in Phulbani to enjoy the flora and fauna of this rural green district.