Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha, lies in its coastal region. Together with Konark and Puri, it forms the Swarna Tribhuja or Golden Triangle of Odisha tourism. Along with the old town, the present day Bhubaneswar has often been illustrated as the Ekamra Khetra (Temple City). Although the modern city of Bhubaneswar was formally established only in 1948, the history of the areas in and around the present-day city can be traced to the 3rd century BCE and earlier. It is a confluence of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain heritage boasting of some of the finest Kalingan temples. This ancient city makes an ideal starting point for the traveller who wishes to explore the magnificence of Kalinga architecture, worship at its grand temples or enjoy the beaches of Puri. Bhubaneswar is 30 km from Cuttack, the commercial capital of Odisha. It is also an important business centre in its own right. Bhubaneswar is also the seat of State assembly. It is considered one of the fast growing cities in India, with its Manufacturing and Information technology advancements. With more than 100 educational institutes in the city, Bhubaneswar is also very popular for students from Eastern part of India. Odia is the most common language spoken with in the city. However, with a culture shifting towards cosmopolitan manner, Hindi and English are very much understood and accepted.
Bhubaneshwar’s history from the 3rd century BCE is represented in the nearby Dhauligiri rock edict of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka at the site of his famous conquest of the Kalingas. Between the 5th and 10th centuries CE it was the provincial capital of many Hindu dynasties and a centre of devotion to the god Shiva. Its many temples (including the Mukteshwara and Parashurameshwar), displaying every phase of Orissan architecture, were built between the 7th and 14th centuries. The city consists of the old quarter, containing about 30 ancient temples, and a planned township built after 1948, when the capital was moved there from Cuttack. In the latter are the state government buildings, the state museum, Utkal University (established 1944 in Cuttack), and the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology. Indira Gandhi Memorial Park lies at the city’s centre.
The Lingaraj Temple is an ancient place of worship situated in the city of Bhubaneswar and is the largest temple situated in the city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva as the name suggests, the temple was built sometime in the 7th century by the King Jajati Keshari. The edifice of the temple is a great example of Orissa style of architecture with a hint of Kalinga style of architecture and has intricately designed stone vaults covering the main sanctum of the temple. This remarkable structure is crafted out of darkest shade sandstone looking exemplary in its form.The Lingraj Temple houses a Shivalingam that rises to a massive height of 8 inches above the floor level and is about 8 feet in diameter as well. The Lingam here is believed to have been built of granite and is worshipped everyday with milk, water and bhanga. A small temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagawati temple is located in the northwest corner of the courtyard as well. However, entry is restricted to the followers of the Hindu faith only. Lord Harihara who is the manifestation of Shiva and Vishnu in the same deity, also makes an appearance here. During the course of a day, a total of 22 worship services are offered to the deities here each day. Once every year, the image of Lingaraja is taken to the Jalmandir in the centre of Bindu Sagar Lake.
Nandankanan Zoological Park is a 437-hectare (1,080-acre) zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. Established in 1960, it was opened to the public in 1979 and became the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. It also contains a botanical garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. Nandankanan, literally meaning The Garden of Heaven, is located near the capital city, Bhubaneswar, in the environs of the Chandaka forest, and includes the 134-acre (54 ha) Kanjia lake. Black panthers, gharial crocodiles and white tigers are some of the wildlife that exist in the zoo. The zoo is home to over 67 kinds of mammals, 18 varieties of reptiles and 81 species of birds that co-exist in the deeply forested boundaries. For gharial crocodiles, a captive breeding centre is also located within the zoo. White tiger breeding also takes place at the zoo. Asiatic lions, Indian crocodiles, Nilgiri langurs and countless birds, reptiles and fish are also housed within the zoo. In the zoo are also housed 34 aquaria that contains a large variety of fresh water fish. Entrance of the Reptile Park is adorned with a life-size tyrannosaurus. With facilities like boating, white tiger and lion safaris, nocturnal animal house, reptile park, aerial ropeway, bear safari, herbivore safari, amphibian enclosure and battery operated vehicles, it is the place for a person with a penchant for great outdoors.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, formerly called Kataka Caves or Cuttack caves, are partly natural and partly artificial caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance near the city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India. The caves are situated on two adjacent hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri, mentioned as Kumari Parvata in the Hathigumpha inscription. They have a number of finely and ornately carved caves built during 2nd century BCE. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out as residential blocks for Jaina monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri means "Sunrise Hill" and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves. The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, called lena or leṇa in the inscriptions, were dug out mostly during the reign of Kharavela for the abode of Jaina ascetics. The most important of this group is Ranigumpha in Udayagiri which is a double storeyed monastery. Other important caves include Hathi gumpha, Ananta gumpha, Ganesha gumpha, Jaya Vijaya gumpha, Mancapuri gumpha, Bagha/Byaghra/Vyaghra gumpha and Sarpa gumpha. The number of existing caves at Udayagiri is 18, while Khandagiri has 15. Rani Gumpa, Chota Hathi Gumpa, Thakurani gumpa,Jaya Vijaya Gumpa, Rasui Gumpa, pawana Gumpa, Ganesh Gumpa etc are some of these caves.
Dhauligiri Hills is a place marked with the serenity of Daya River and lies at a distance of 8 Km from Bhubaneswar. The famous rock edicts of Ashoka are worth witnessing. It is presumed to be the area of the bloody battle of Kalinga, won by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 265 BC. However, today the more visited site is, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Peace Pagoda, at the top of Dhauli Hill, built by Indo Japanese collaboration in 1972, standing in the form of a massive dome with lotus petals as its crown. The five chhatris (umbrellas) placed on its flattened top represent five important aspects of Buddhism. This gleaming white double storey structure stands on a platform with two entrances with flights of steps. The stupa, from its origin emerges as the central focus of worship. Dhauli Stupa commemorates the mission of peace that the Kalinga War achieved. The white Peace Pagoda or the Shanti Stupa transforms into a canvas for the night, as the state-of-the art projectors beam laser rays onto its surface, recreating a jaw-dropping rendition of the past. With the solemn scenes playing out in 3D, the narrator’s voice steady and strong, the audience is transported back into time, living every bit of the history unfolding before them.
Parashurameswar Temple, a small but marvelously decorated shrine of Lord Shiva, is assumed to be one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar and is constructed in 650 A. D. The temple is a specimen of the architectural styles of Oriyan temples. Enclosed within a compound wall, the deul, facing the West is a square towered, while the jagamohana, instead of being a stepped pyramid, is a rectangular structure with a terraced roof, sloping in two stages. Even though Parasurameswara Temple is the abode of Lord Shiva, this temple worships both Shakti and Shiva. The temple has verdant sculptures of animals, amorous couples and floral designs. The outer walls adorned with beautiful carvings of Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Lord Muruga and other Hindu Gods. There are also many beautiful carvings depicting Puranic stories. The spectacular identity and uniqueness of the temple is the "One thousand Lingas placed in the North West corner of the temple. Some of the major features in the architecture that make this temple one of the popular tourist attractions are the vimana, a bada, the curvilinear spire over the roof and the sanc
ISKCON Temple contains idols of deities like Krishna, Balaram, Gaura Nithai, Subhadra and Jagannath. Focused on propagating and educating spiritual knowledge, techniques of spiritual life to society at large, and consciousness of Krishna, the temple follows the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. As publicised in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the temple focuses on the belief that each soul is part and package of the quality of Godhead, Krishna. The temple also promotes the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God.Showcasing the ideology of the ISKCON movement, the temple organises kirtans, bhajans and pooja on a regular basis. With activities surrounding over two ISKCON centres, one in the Swarga Dwara area and the other in the outskirts of the city, ISKCON movement is very prominent in Bhubaneshwar. Nearby ISKCON temple, a new Radha-Krishna Temple is constructed, for the devotees of Krishna and Radha, the universal symbol of love.
The Museum of Tribal Arts & Artifacts, a tribal museum located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha was established in the year 1953. This Museum is an integrated part of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI). The main aim of the museum is to protect and promote the Tribal culture of the state. The museum is divided into 5 separate halls, each depicting an aspect from the lifestyle of the local tribes. The Museum of Tribal Art and Artifacts currently houses about 2,247 artifacts. There are dresses and ornaments, dokra items, musical instruments, hunting implements, fishing nets, weapons of offense and defence, agriculture tools, household objects, personal belongings, tribal art, photographs and terracotta items in the archive. Traditional costumes such as the ringa of the Bonda tribe, phute sari of the Santhals and gatungkap of Lanjia Saora can be seen at the museum. The replicas of 14 tribal Shrine Crafts are displayed in the courtyard of the Museum where the tribal deities are enshrined. All these reflect the tribal supernatural beliefs and their world of religion and give the premise a divine touch. The museum also exhibits the huts of the Orissa tribes namely Santal, Juang, Gadaba, Saora and Kondh. Each hut is built along with their arts and artifacts, and household appliances so as to imagine the entireness of the habitat in its physical settings.
The genesis of the Odisha State Museum goes back to the year 1932, when two notable historians Prof. N. C Banerjee & Prof. Ghanshyam Dash of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack started collection of archaeological treasures from various places. The small museum was then housed within the premises of the College. In 1938, by a suitable order, the Government of Odisha transformed this nucleus into the Provincial museum of Odisha. Orissa State Museum has two life size dancing welcome statues in Odissi dance posture at its entrance. In the museum are housed archaeological objects, art and craft objects, natural history objects, Bronze Age tools and stone sculptures. In the museum, tourists can view palm leaf manuscript of 12th century devotional poem Gita Govinda. By a collection of traditional and folk musical instruments and sculptures of different shapes and sizes, the museum expresses the vivid history and cultural traditions of Orissa. Collections of the museum also include copper plates, coins, stone inscriptions, manuscripts written on the palm leaves and age-old bronze tools. At the museum, tourists can also get an insight into rare epigraphic records stored in Epigraphy Gallery, handicraft, small paintings, collection of patta paintings, brassware, stone sculptures and delicate decoration.
Mukteswara Temple, the 'Gem of Orissan Architecture' is the only phrase that goes well with Mukteswara Temple. Located in Bhubaneshwar, Mukteshwara Mandir is the best temple in the capital city of Orissa. Mukteswara Temple, built in 950 AD, has sculptured gateways, diamond shaped latticed windows, decorated interiors and large number of carvings. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is considered as the most complex Lord amongst the Hindu Gods, the temple is imprinted with figures of ascetics in different poses of meditation. Name of the temple that means 'Lord who gives freedom through Yoga', is empowered by the sculptural images. Several small shrines that comprise numerous lingams of Lord Shiva, are located within the temple. The highlight of the temple, is the magnificent torana - the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Orissa.. The sculptured gateway, the jagamohana with diamond shaped latticed windows and decorated interiors and the plethora of sculptural work all deserve mention in this temple dedicated to Shiva. Although it is only a small monument rising to a height of 35 feet. Literally every inch of its surface is carved. This temple has also been described as a dream realized in sandstone and it is a monument where it is said sculpture and architecture are in complete harmony with one another.
Pathani Samanta Planetarium aims to make people aware about astronomy, astrophysics and space science. The planetarium also aims to generate awareness among them regarding their environment. It offers regular shows about outer space to create awareness in the field of astronomy, astrophysics and space science. Shows organised by the planetarium include night sky watch, audio visual program, poster shows and display of astronomical instruments. To support scientists wishing to conduct research on science and technology, the planetarium offers financial help. Further, it also provides them with a bigger platform where they get the opportunity to interact in the conferences of international repute. Works of the planetarium are also focused on creating awareness about the remote sensing technology. At the library located within the planetarium, collection of the books on environment, technology and science are found.
The Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC) of the Forest Department of the State Government offers a lavish botanical garden popularly known as the ‘Ekamra Kanan’ is a scenic and tranquil setting and a major attraction for tourists. From a park with play equipment and activities for kids to boating facilities and a huge cactus garden, the botanic garden at RPRC offers amusement to visitors of all age groups. The must watch sites in the garden are the musical fountain and a medical garden. The park also hosts a beautiful and grand flower show in winters. The entire park is divided into different sections. One part has a lovely flower garden with a children playground within it. Another portion has dense forest. However, you cannot go too far if you walk into the forest, because the forest is surrounded with electric fence. The third portion of the garden has the old day’s rose garden that houses a cactus garden. According to the source, this cactus garden is said to be the largest one in India. That’s why, Ekamra Kanan is also known as Cactus garden.
The Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubaneswar is a museum in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India with exhibits on plants, animals and geology of the eastern region of India. The Regional Museum of Natural History at Bhubaneswar, was inaugurated in 2004. It was undertaken by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The museum is located near Acharaya Vihar Square on Sachivalaya Marg, Bhubaneswar. The museum exhibits plants, animals and geology of the Odisha, the Eastern and north-eastern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India. The galleries emphasize the conservation of nature and natural resources while depicting ecological interrelationship among plants and animals. Visually challenged students can feel the exhibits of animals on the premises. The museum provides an extracurricular activity for schools and promotes environmental awareness. A skeleton of baleen whale has been installed in the museum, which is supposed to be largest for any museum in India.