10 places in Odisha that you must see

10 places in Odisha that you must see

KEONJHAR
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.

 

CHANDIPUR
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.

 

PURI
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.

 

CHILIKA
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.

 

BUDDHIST TRIANGLE
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
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.

DEBRIGARH
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.

900 KM OF SOUTHERN ODISHA

“Green is the colour of your kind,greatness of the mind assists the eye….”
It was one of our tyrannical night shifts in our company with thousand of mechanical parameters creating heavy traffic in our brain when me and my juniour colleague Sambit decided to use our double off according to the shift rota in an epic 900 km road trip across Southern Odisha. So we started of in the afternoon of 17.07.2017 from our NTPC township in Talcher kaniha and that was our first district which is Angul to start with.

Scenic view in Angul Cuttack Highway.

We crossed the busiest industrial hub of Odisha within an hour with numerous chimneys that followed us as we then entered the dense elephants forest of Dhenkanal.

Dhenkanal Forest

We decided to have our lunch in the Yuvraj Dhaba which was the worst experience in my life.The roadside Dhabas along the highway was very unhygienic and dirty with an equally dirty place to sit and have lunch.But due to our previous night shifts taht already made us hungry we quickly finished off with our lunch and by evening reached the capital city of Bhubaneshwar. My juniour colleague was in search of buying a new Nikon camera which we decided to use in our epic trip.I was amazed to see his commitment towards travelling as he strictly maintained his decision of buying a brand new camera for this trip.After buying his camera we started our journey towards Rambha Panthanivas in Chilka Lake. Well Panthanivas are state government guest houses provided in every tourist fanatic places in Odisha. Their campus is well maintained with rooms being provided approximately for Rs 1600 in almost every places.This is a terrific step taken by the government of Odisha to promote tourism. Panthanivas has well maintained restaurant and clean rooms.The Panthanivas at Rambha which is village in Ganjam district situated on the banks of Chilka lake amidst breathtaking scenery.

 

There are boating facilities which can be availed by the tourists to visit different islands in the chilka lake.Visit this place in the months of januray and february when numerous species of migratory birds do arrive here to have their feast and festival in the largest brackish water lake of India.

View from Panthanivas Rambha.

Gopalpur Beach.

It was already half past 8:30 so we decided to have our dinner on the highway.This time too without any options we went for Dhabas as Sambit advised me that this is his hometown district which has very good hygienic dhabas as food joints.And he was true .We had dinner in one of his uncle’s dhaba and the way they prepared the food and cleanliness of the place mesmerised me.The first major thing by which a dhaba can attract tourists is its cleanliness and I must say his uncle strictly followed that.He provided us with delectable dishes of mutton curry and fired liver of goats.After dinner it was already 9:30 so we rushed our car towards Gopalpur sea beach which is a known place of Sambit since his engineering 4 years was from this coastal town.To our amazement when we reached Gopalpur it was 10:30 and there were empty streets with stray dogs barking .Every hotels main entrance was closed and the Panthanivas in Gopalpur had no rooms vacant for us.We thought of sleeping inside the car but fortunately right at the beach front a hotel named Sea horse lightened up their balcony in the main entrance.We quickly went inside but to our misfortune we saw  all their staffs sleeping on the ground and with no manager to ask for enquiries .We noticed a boy half awake so we shook him up to enquire about any vacant room in the hotel.Unfortunately he disagreed to give us a room without the permission of the “anonymous” manager.The manager was nowhere to find so we urged this boy for a vacant room.He agreed to give us a room for Rs 900 per night, only on the conditions of leaving it by next day 7 morning.So at last we dint have to sleep inside the car and we were surprised to get a beachfront balcony room.This hotel is in the best location in Gopalpur as it is right in front of the beach with the rolling waves footsteps apart.

View from the hotel

But I would advice other travellers to book the hotels in Gopalpur in advance to avoid a panic night.Next day we woke up early and left the room as promised and proceeded our road trip towards Daringbadi,which is considered as the highest point of Odisha. It was monsson time in India so we precisely chose this time of the year to experience the ultimate greenery of rural Odisha.

In Gajapati District.

We were gifted with a perfect weather with the sky remaining cloudy with little drizzle as subtle effects.The Green road side views started after an hour drive from Gopalpur and the first district we arrived today was Gajapati district.I was astonished by the countryside beauty of this district.The hills were green ,refreshed with clean grasses of the monsoon .There were tribal people grazing their buffaloes and cows and arranging their harvest in the green fields of rural odisha.

I mean everything around me was only green which is soothing for any traveller imbibing the pristine scenery from nature.

We arrived at Bhanjanagar where we visited the Sorada dam and Biju Pattanaik park.This place will also look like a lakeland countryside due to the huge reservoir of the dam.The roads were gradually gaining height meandering its way into the Eastern Ghats of Odisha.

Sorada Dam reservoir.

I must say that the government of odisha has provided excellent roadways in this rural areas that really inspires every passionate road trippers to explore the soul of India.By afterrnoon we reached the Udayagiri and Daringbadi forest range which made me spellbound due to its unique scenery.

Entrance to Udayagiri and Daringbadi forest range.

The road became narrow with the soil turning red in colour,and the hills transformed itself into small hills with rocks and boulders scattered over the ground.Sometimes there was a single piece of mammoth size rock forcing itself high into the sky.The fields were mostly with rice plantations and palm trees that turned our visions into that of a running kid traveller.

Scenic view as we enter deep into the forest.

As we proceeded ,the forest became denser and we arrived into a 16 km Ghat road known as Kalinga Ghati. The roads were narrow with steep elevations at each curves providing precarious hair pin bends.The traffic was almost zero with no signs of human activity.The forest became denser as we reached higher grounds with numerous elephant crossing boards falling on the way.

Dense forest before the ghat road.

With all such thrilling situations i drove my car as fast I could as i was afraid of any adventure with wild elephants.After nearly 45 minutes of a thrilling drive finally we saw outskirts of village and we knew we were near to our destination.

Few kms before Daringbadi.

We arrived in the Eco Home stay in Daringbadi at 14:00 hours in the afternoon.I must say the hospitable nature and warm welcome of the people in this hotel really made me happy,I would definitely refer Eco Home stay to my friends for a perfect warm rural experience in Daringbadi. The cook prepared for us excellent dishes which helped us to finish off our hunger after a 5 hour long road trip.In Eco Homestay they charge Rs 1500 per day for a room which have good facilities and rooms are very clean.

Eco Home Stay In Daringbadi


The 4G communications were working excellent in the hill station and from one of the notifications we found out that it was the day of the final clashes between India And Pakistan champions trophy final.So after few hours of sleep we started of our evening with the match which unfortunately India faced a humiliating defeat.Sad with the outcome of the match we were in no mood for a party.But fortunately God bestowed to us a lovely night monsoon shower .To experience a monsoon shower in a rural village is a different experience in its own way.The weather in Daringbadi is mild and you may need a blanket at night.The winters are chilling at such a height in Odisha which is 900 metres above sea level.

Daringbadi Valley view as we enter the hill station.

Next morning we woke up early and after having a delightful breakfast of puri sabzi we proceeded for an ultimate exposure to the rural culture of the Kondh tribes.The kondh tribes are one of the oldest living tribes in India .Their way of farming,ploughing the field,their attire and artworks from the local bark of trees transported our mind to a different world of rural India.

Artwork by the Kondh tribes .Notice the sculptures are made of bronze and the dark colour is formed from the juice of a bark from the local trees in Daringbadi.

Farmers engaged in ploughing the fertile plains.

Beside the pine trees plantation  the women of the villages were ploughing their farmlands and their men were engaged in grazing the herds of cows.The pine forest was a paradise to watch.

Pine forest with termite homes.

There were termite homes and long trails inside the pine forests which will give us an experience like that of most hill stations in North of India. Daringbadi also has a coffee plantation int the town which is also worth for a visit.There is a short diversion from the town towards the coffee plantation where we can find a splendid avenue of Pine trees and forests.

Pine trees avenue before the coffee plantation.

After two hours of excursion in the rural side of Daringbadi we came back to our guest house and bid goodbye to the exceptional tourist friendly staffs of Eco tourism Guest house. We started our journey back towards Angul ,but this time through the dense forests of Phulbani. Phulbani is the district headquarter of Kandhamal District which is also home to the heritage Kondh Tribals. On the way there were numerous view points of the valley which were blooming with chlorophylls due to the last night downpour.

Phulbani Forest.

The paddy fields and huts of straw added to the splendour beauty in the road trip.The forests were mostly of Teak wood trees which were standing tall to provide a green wall along the highways.I must say the roadways are very smooth and concrete enough to give a comfortable experience of driving.One must be careful while driving through the villages as there will be numerous animals and small children playing carelessly on the road.The entire road trip was in Vijayawada Ranchi highway amidst deep forest which also had leopards settlements as mentioned in the boards,so if you are lucky you may have a chance for leopard sightseeing.The area is extremely remote and rich in deciduous forests which are home to sloth bears,leopards and elephants.

Picturesque view from the road of the Eastern Ghat valley.

Phulbani is well connected by road from Angul And Bhramapur. A road trip throgh this remote villages is very comfortable due to the excellent conditions of the roads,soothing weather and pollution free wind.

As we enter Phulbani

Gradually following the signboards and asking the locals we arrived in the Boudh district and the forests began to disappear and give way to Industrialization hubs.We had a homely lunch on a roadside unnamed restaurant and then proceeded our journey towards the industrial corridor of Sambalpur-Angul. There was a long bridge over Mahanadi as we were leaving Boudh district was similar to the bridges over Mahanadi in Cuttack.

Bridge over Mahanadi River in Boudh district

But there is a subtle and major difference.The forward vision is marked with mountain lines,the river bed is less polluted than the civilised society in the cities and the traffics are much less which gave us ample oppurunities to have photosessions on the bridge.But similar to every places where this mighty lifeline of odisha flows ,the river has dried up to a great extent.The construction of dams has lead to the devastation of the rivers and its high time to realize now that if nature retaliates we will have nowhere to go except this Earth which is a tiny speck in the whole cosmic arena.

Dried up river bed of Mahanadi River.

Gradually I increased the speed of my car for the journey as now the traffic and pollution arrived ,so instead of more imaginations, we transformed ourselves to practical engineers and reached our destination by evening.Visit Green Odisha once in the monsoons and I am sure you will be blown away by its picturesque beauty. Odisha is a lesser known treasure of our country which is not only rich in minerals that adds to the financial resources of our country but also a tourist friendly destination of India that truly speaks about the soul of our country.Visit Odisha and discover the unexplored gems for all travel enthusiasts in this world.