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Rayagada

3.0 /5 10 votes

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Best Time: Oct-Feb Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Visakhapatnam Airport Check Flights

Rayagada Tourism

Rayagada is a district in Odisha with a rich history and a distinct culture which has, over the years, mingled with the local tribal culture. This district has many historical places to visit and is known for its cuisine, crafts and handmade products.

Rayagada is one of the most visited districts in Odisha and is located on the South Eastern border of the state. This is an upcoming tourist destination that has not yet been flooded with tourists but has all the facilities for a comfortable stay. This district offers dense forests, historical monuments, a peek into the lifestyle of tribal populations and authentic food, making it an ideal destination for all kinds of tourists. Rayagada has been inhabited since before the Mauryan empire controlled this region and has been an essential part of most empires due to its abundant natural resources.

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History of Rayagada

Rayagada is not centrally located in India, but it has been a focal point for empires due to the rich stores of mineral and forest resources found in this region. Emperor Ashoka recorded this region as belonging to the Kalinga Empire, which he took control of after the war of Kalinga. After the fall of the Maurya Empire, there were many small regional kings who fought for the control of what is now Rayagada. It belonged to various regional ruler and pan-India dynasties like the Mughals could not directly wrest control of this region due to a strong regional leader. During the British Era, this region came under the Jeypore Zamindari and was integrated into the state of Odisha after independence. Many temples, forts and tombs have been built by rulers over the years and still stand today, for tourists to experience.

Art and Culture of Rayagada

Rayagada is one of the unique districts in India since more than 50% of its population is tribal people. These tribes have their own way of life and do not follow the lifestyle of the mainstream. The huge forest area of this district helps the tribes have an autonomous life. The tribal culture thus has greatly influenced everything from the food to arts and crafts of Rayagada and has given this district some unique things tourists can look out for. Jewellery, clothing, handicrafts, products made from forest produce and traditional cooking ingredients like masalas are the most famous products of this district. The three main tribal groups - Dongrias, Saoras and Kondhas have greatly contributed to the development of these products and have made them available for tourists in local markets.

Restaurants and Local Food in Rayagada

Rayagada is one of the well-connected districts of Odisha, but the people here still prefer a traditional lifestyle. This is also reflected in the food choice of the region. Apart from the larger hotels, which have multiple cuisines, Rayagada mostly has small restaurants that serve traditional food. Punjabi, Mughlai and Chinese food are available here, like the rest of India, but the quality and taste is not always as you expect it to be, so it is best to stick to the traditional food since that is what is made best here.
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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rayagada by rail or road and check into your hotel. In the morning, you can visit the Maa Majhighariani temple which is the most famous temple in this region and sees devotees from all neighbouring states. The peculiarity of this temple is that only the head of the goddess is worshipped and the idol does not have a body, only a head on a pedestal. Sunday, Wednesday and Friday see the largest number of devotees coming for pooja. In the evening, visit the Lakshminarayan Temple in Rayagada which houses the deities Lakshminarayan, Hanuman, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Lord Siva. The temple complex is lush green, and you can enjoy a small picnic here.

Day 2: The next day, you can choose from the two beautiful spots just outside Rayagada - one is a Shiva temple located about 113 kilometres from the city at the confluence of 3 rivers. It is surrounded by forests and woodlands - the perfect spot for a day out. The other option is another Shiva temple located 48 kilometres from the city near a waterfall which has woodlands all around it. If you have more than 3 days, visiting both of these spots is highly recommended.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Well connected by road and rail, has a mixed and diverse culture. Has well-preserved monuments that have not yet been crowded by overeager tourists.

What's Not So Great?

Air travel is not a convenient option. The options for stay are limited and not all establishments have an internet presence, so bookings may prove to be tricky.

For Whom?

Rayagada is the perfect destination for adventurers who want to stumble across something unexpected, for a family vacation visiting the monuments or for a wildlife tour.

How To Reach Rayagada

Rayagada is well connected to the rest of India by rail and air and it has a railway station in the city. There is no airport and the nearest one is located in Vishakhapatnam which is around 150 kilometres away.

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