In interest of friend’s marriage - A visit to modern “ancient kingdom of Kalinga”
So you know how it is when you are making a trip to an unknown place, you ask around. So one of my flatmate is from Odisha and he made sure that I am scared of the Maoist, bad roads, bad infrastructure and lot of other blah blahs! Gave me a big list of Don’ts.
Turned out the infrastructure is getting great with awesome highways (at least between the places we had visited)
Itinerary said something like this: Delhi -> Bhubaneswar -> Paradip -> Bhitarkanika -> Bhubaneswar -> Konark -> Puri -> Bhubaneswar -> Delhi
BhubaneswarWe landed in Bhubaneswar and were overwhelmed by the response by taxiwalas even though we didn’t had to take one. One of our friends from Odisha finally came, picked us up (we scolded him like anything for not reaching the airport on time) and dropped us off at XIMB (at another friend’s room studying there). He suggested we should visit Nandankanan Zoological Park (wiki link) and we are so happy to have followed his advice.
NandankananThe zoological park is clean and has almost all kinds of animal that are found in India and some from abroad too. The animals and birds here are kept with utmost care and they had been tried to prived with natural habitat. The park provide a safari service at a minimal charge of Rs. 50. Check out yourself:
Going to the zoological park was one of the best feature of our trip.
Lingaraja TempleThe temple was extraordinary built with Pujari explaining us the history behind it. It has one big circle on the floor and Pujari explained that it represents both the lings – nara and nari (Shiva and Hari).
Udayagiri and Khandagiri CavesThe Guide explained the meaning of different caves at these two places. Each cave built for different purpose – cave for Rani and elephants protecting those particular caves, caves for slaves and each of these caves with drainage system. They truly were a rare site.
BhitarkanikaUnexpected place situated in east Odisha had been a rare site to check out free crocodiles in the river through a motor-operated boat. The lodging and boat charges are minimal at the place. There are lot of places available at Rajapur for lodging. The best places are available at Bajarpur near the coast line of the river. Here, check out the loading-unloading area of the boat:
Check out the crocodiles roaming freely while you are on the boat scared of them:
You move through the most amazing turns in the river to reach a national park and the experience to walk through is exciting as well as tiring:
Konark (Sun-God Temple)One of the most amazing temple among the long list of temples of India. We came to realize the most amazing astronomical as well as Hinduism facts through the architectural design of Sun temple.
The most amazing part of the temple was that it was held through a magnet with pieces of iron moulded into stones. The idol was made up of seven different metals and was held in air through the magnet. It connects the time of day with the phases in life (baby, adolescent, adult, old age). It has lot of chariot wheels measuring time as well as explaining life of different people at every 3 hours of the day.
There were separate buildings built for Nritya (dance) practice through which the first sun-ray will always fall on the deity (idol) when the magnet was still around.
Front of the temple (facing east)
Nritya (Dance) practice building
PuriOne of the four dhams (pilgrimage) in worship of Krishna and the place emits a feeling of religion as much as can any place in India. We had stayed in a Chatanaya Goudiya Math (nearest place to the Puri temple.
The temple has idols of a lot of a lot of Hindu deities with centrally located Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra for which the temple is famous throughout India and abroad.
The corruption is rampant in the temple and we also took advantage of it by bribing a Panda (kind of a pujari) for easy darshan, easy prasadam (food tasted by God – as believed) to eat and to take home.
We visited the temple at the time of aarti (around 6 am in the morning?) and paid homage to deities and visited again in the afternoon to have prasadam.
Okay, I can’t just shut up without mentioning the back water sand beach of Puri. Go to the foreign beach to avoid dirty places (though you won’t see any foreigners there if you are of that bent). The beach had too much of tides and it was too much in disturbance as I can recall, but was fun even if you do not know swimming (like me?).
Overall, it was too much fun-clad trip with two of my friend’s marriages packed in it. Hope you will enjoy it whenever you get a change to visit Odisha.