Situated on the northeastern corner of Puri, Konark Sun Temple is a World Heritage site and one of the prime tourist attractions of Odisha. Pulled by a set of seven horses, four on the left side and three on the right, this massive temple is built in the form of a giant ornamented chariot of the Sun god. The word 'Konark' comes from the combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means corner and 'Arka' means the sun so the temple means 'Sun of the Corner.' This historical place in Odisha is understood to be a cosmic chariot of the sun god. There is also a dedicated archaeological museum inside the temple complex. The Konark Dance Festival is held every year usually in the month of February which attracts a lot of foreign and Indian tourists. The Sun Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to devotees of the Sun God.
Located in the sacred town of Puri, the Jagannath Temple or the pride of India was built in the 11th century by King Indradyumna. This glorious temple is the abode of Lord Jagannath who is a form of Lord Vishnu. It is the most revered pilgrimage site for Hindus and is included in the pious Char Dham Yatra with Badrinath, Dwarka and Rameshwaram. Apart from the main shrine that rises high, many minor temples within the complex will make you feel like you have entered God's home itself. The Puri Jagannath temple is a very sacred historical place in Odisha.
Known For : Dhauli Shanti Stupa Ashoka Rock Edicts Dhabaleswar and Bahirangeswar temple
Dhauli is a small town 8 Km away south of Bhubaneswar, located on the bank of river Daya and holds great significance for the followers of lord Buddha. Dhauli is said to be the witness of the reform of Ashoka's character.
Best Time: July to February
The Barbati Fort in Cuttack in Oddisa is a well known fort with carved gateway. It is about 8km away from the city. It is a 14th-century fort built during the Ganga dynasty. Situated on the river Mahanadi, the fort is a famous historical place in Odisha. The fort is situated at such a calculated place that it provides a beautiful and spectacular view of the modern Cuttack city. It is the earthen mound of the 9 storeyed palaces. The monument was built with fortification to protect from enemy attacks. In present days a nearby Barbati stadium is built for cultural and various sports events. There is also a temple dedicated to Katak Chandi. The fort brings charm to the city and depicts its glorious history.
Also known as Cuttack caves, Khandagiri Caves are artificial caves which date back to the 2nd century. This historical place in Odisha is quite a sight to see with all the beautifully carved inscriptions and figures. A large number of ancient temples with intricate carvings and a vast historical significance. If you want to relax and spend some quiet time amidst nature, a number of lush green parks are also located around Khandagiri Caves.
Located near the mesmerising River Narmada, Chausath Yogini Temple is a 10th-century ancient temple that resembles the temple in Khajuraho. It was built during the Kalachuri Kingdom. The presiding deity is Goddess Durga. The temple follows the Yogini culture in India with about 70 Yoginis residing in the temple.
The Brahmeshwara Temple is yet another relic of the brilliance of Oriyan style of architecture. Built in the 11th century, this temple is surrounded by four smaller shrines. The main shrine in this temple is that of a Shivalingam and there are also sculptures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati alongside. Famous for its beautiful historical carvings, it attracts a lot of pilgrims throughout the year.
A beautiful 13th century shrine, Ananta Vasudev Temple was built by Queen Chandrika. The presiding deity is Lord Krishna. The temple resembles the Lingaraj temple but the intricate carvings and Vaishnavite sculptures are no less a treat to the eyes and draw tourists in large numbers.
The Lingaraj Temple is a historical place in Odisha situated in the city of Bhubaneswar and is the largest one situated in the city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva as the name suggests, the temple was built in the 7th century by the King Jajati Keshari. It is highly revered because of the fact that the Linga here, which is the phallic form of Lord Shiva, is believed to have appeared naturally. It rises to a massive height of 8 inches above the floor level and is about 8 feet in diameter as well. Lingaraj Temple is located in the old part of Bhubaneswar Town and can be easily reached using local transport.
Known For : Hirakud Dam Shopping in Sambalpur Samaleswari Temple
Sambalpur is the gateway to the western zone of Orissa. It abounds in prolific rivers, lavish hills, lush green forests and affluent wildlife. There are also several temples holding great significance, with people coming from all over with a strong sense of faith and the holy deity bestowing happiness and wealth upon the devotees. The history of Sambalpur dates back to prehistoric times. It is mentioned in the book of Ptolemy and records of Xuanzang. Later in the 4th century, Samudragupta defeated King Mahendra of Koshala and Sambalpur fell in his territory. Over the decades, it was ruled by multiple dynasties, including the Paduvanti, Samavanti and the Chauhans before being annexed by the British in 1804.
Best Time: September to March
Situated a 104 km away from the Balangir town in south west Odisha, Ranipur Jharial is also known as Chausath Yogini temple. Here are 64 shrines of yoginis which are worshipped in a circular open vault. The site is considered pious and is worshipped by a combination of faiths that include Saivism, Budhism, Vaisnavism and Tantrism.
Harishankar Temple, also known as Sri Sri Harisankar Devasthana is a most revered Hindu temple as two gods- Vishnu and Shiva, are worshipped here together. Aside from being a site of religious importance, it also attracts a lot of tourists as the place is very peaceful. Just adjacent to the temple, there is a tranquil stream passing on the granite bed and a small waterfall that makes it a very scenic destination.
Nrusinghanath temple is situated near Paikmal, Bargarh in Odisha, near the foothills of Gandhamardhan Hills. The ancient temple was built around 1313 AD by king of Patnagarh. Currently, the temple is divided into two sections - the first is the seat of Lord Nrusinghnath and the other section is dedicated to Jagmohan.
Humaduma is one of the most important attractions in Odisha. Most popularly known as the Leaning Temple of Huma, the structure really leans to the right, making it one of the only two leaning temples in the world. The shrine is dedicated to Hindu God- Lord Bimleshwar.
Patalganga is one of the most visited tourist hotspots of Odisha. It is a small perennial lake which is believed to be as holy as the River Ganges. Locals perform their poojas downstream while tourists come to visit it as well. Legend has it that when Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita visited here during their exile, Sita felt thirsty. And so, Laxman broke the ground with his bare feet and that's how the lake sprung.
Visit these historical places in Odisha and experience the soul of the state and come back with a bag full of memories, the beauty and simplicity will remain etched in your mind.