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Odisha Tourism

Tuesday, Feb 12 - 2013 | By Odishabook.com

The landscape of Orissa(now Odisha) is dotted with a large number of temples. The temples of Odisha conform to the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture, with distinctive features specific to this region. The best known of these are the Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneshwar, Jagannath Temple at Puri and the Sun Temple at Konark. The temples of Odisha exhibit a majestic grandeur. An Odia temple (deula) usually consists of a sanctum, one or several front porches (jagamohana) usually with pyramidal roofs, a dancing hall (nata mandir) and a hall of offerings (bhog mandir).

The Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneshwar boasts of a 150-foot (46 m) high deul while the Jagannath Temple at Puri is about 200 feet (61 m) high and it dominates the skyline of the town. Only a portion of the Sun Temple at Konark, the largest of the temples of the Golden triangle exists today, and it is still staggering in size. It stands out as a masterpiece in Odisha architecture. Odisha is also well known as a Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage destination. North-east of Cuttack, about 10 km from Bhubaneshwar, there are Buddhist relics and ruins at the three hilltop complexes of Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, which still bear witness to Buddhism's fruitful tryst with this region until well into the 13th century.

Odisha's varying topography – from the wooded Eastern Ghats to the fertile river basin – has proven ideal for evolution of compact and unique ecosystems. There by creating such treasure troves of flora and fauna that even seem inviting to many migratory species of birds and reptiles. Bhitar Kanika National Park is famous for its second largest mangrove ecosystem. The bird sanctuary in Chilika (Asia's biggest brackish water lake) and the tiger reserve and waterfalls in Simlipal National Park are integral part of any eco tours in Odisha, arranged by Tourism of Odisha.

The Gharial Sanctuary at Tikarpada and the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles in Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary also feature on the list of avid nature watchers. The city wildlife sanctuaries of Chandaka and Nandan Kanan are a must visit for the lessons they teach is conservation and revitalization of species from the brink of extinction.

Odisha is blessed with around 500 km long coastline and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Chilika, Asia's largest brackish water lake, not only provides a haven for millions of birds, but is also one of the few places in India where one can view dolphins. The lush green forest cover of Odisha plays host to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the famed Royal Bengal Tiger. Amidst the picturesque hills and valleys nestle a number of breathtaking waterfalls and rivulets that attract visitors from all over.

Odisha beaches include Puri, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Chandipur, Ramachandi Beach, Balighai Beach, Astarang Beach, Paradeep Beach. The famous Shiva Temple is near Dhenkanal.

The Marine Drive that connects Sun Temple Konark and the Jagannath Temple Puri provides a unique driving experience taking the visitor through the serene picturesque beauty of nature at the both side of the road. The smooth drive lets the commuter free to enjoy the sights and sweet songs of the singing boatman, the cool breeze, the old monuments and the sound of the inner self, which merges with the sound of the sea.

The royal heritage and architecture of edifices, like the Puri Jagnnanth Temple, Barbati fort, Lingraj temples, KhandaGiri & UdayaGiri caves, Sun temple of Konark, and the world heritage sites of Buddhism at Dhauli and Lalitigiri are really remarkable.
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