Odisha formerly known as Orissa is a state in Eastern India. The state’s capital is Bhubaneswar.
Odisha has 485 km (302 mi) of coastline stretched across Bay of Bengal. The state is well known for its Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destinations.
MAJOR TOURIST SITES
Major tourist destinations in the state include: The Sun Temple situated at Konark, Gundicha Ghar Temple at Puri, Loknath Temple at Puri, Chilka, Bhitarakanika, Udayagiri Caves, Khandigiri Caves and Mahendragiri, Jagannath Temple at Puri, etc.
Odisha’s culture is best known for the oldest surviving dance form in India - Odissi having a tradition of 2,000 years.
Odisha is famed for its lacelike silver-filigree ornaments known as tarakasi. The state also preserves the age-old art of patachitra painting where cotton or tassar (silk cloth) is covered with a mixture of gum and chalk with images of deities and scenes from Hindu legends. The region is also acknowledged for bright appliqué and ikat (a SoutheastAsian technique where thread is tie-dyed before weaving).
Odisha's cuisine is well known for using mustard which is used ubiquitously in seed, paste and oil forms, giving many Odisha dishes a distinct flavour. Odisha’s thali (plate) consists of bhata (rice), kaharu phula bhaja (fried pumpkin flower), dalma (dahl cooked with vegetables, mustard and spices), besara (vegetables or river fish with mustard-paste gravy), saga bhaja (leafy greens lightly fried with garlic paste) and a five-seed mixture called pancha phutan. Some of the region specialties include:chungdi malai (prawn curry), macha ghanta (fish curry), chaatu rai (vegetable dish), etc. Among the popular sweet meals are rasgulla and chhenapoda.
Major festivals of the region include Adivasi Mela, featuring art, dance and handicrafts of Odisha’s tribal groups (January), Konark Festival featuring traditional music and dance in the backdrop of the famous Sun Temple (February), International Sand Art Festival, that takes place at Chandrabhaga Beach, Konark (December), Mukteswar Dance Festival (January), Rajarani Music Festival in Bhubaneswar (January), etc.
Odisha's evergreen and moist forests are suitable habitats for wild orchids. Around 130 species have been reported from the state.
The state is also an important habitat for the endangered olive ridley turtles and Irrawaddy dolphins.
National Parks include: Simlipal National Park, Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and Chilika Lake.
There are three well-defined seasons in Odisha: winter (January to February), pre-monsoon season (March to May), south-west monsoon season (June to September) and north east monsoon season (October-December).
Best time to visit is November to March.
Most Popular Destinations