Orissa is probably one of the most under-rated tourist destinations in India. It is vibrant and colorful and has beaches, wildlife reserves, ancient architecture, art festivals, and everything that a traveler needs to have a memorable time.
In February 2020, I was on a work-related trip to Kolkata and had three days to spare before heading back home to my busy life in Mumbai. I decided to go on a short trip to make the best use of my time there. Kolkata is strategically located in the Eastern part of India offering quick access to the North-Eastern states, Central Indian States, and the Eastern Coastline. After going through my options, I decided to visit Orissa – the Land of Lord Jagannath.
February is a good time to travel to most parts of India (barring the snow-clad Himalayas … bbrrrrrr). I had some woolen clothes to keep me warm and a backpack to stuff them in. I also created a rough itinerary to structure my trip since I only had three days and the state had a lot to offer. Based on the itinerary, I chose a hotel that was centrally located making it easier to commute. Next, I started looking at cabs to reach Bhubaneswar – my starting point.
While you can fly or take a train to Orissa, I prefer traveling by road since it allows me to sync with the changing landscape as I approach my destination. I also tend to take a lot of breaks and visit small villages or other places that catch my attention along the way.
The taxi fare in Kolkata to travel to Bhubaneswar was reasonable and I opted for Savaari Car Rentals service since I had used their cabs before and had positive reviews about them. The distance between Kolkata and Bhubaneswar is around 500-550km, depending on the route you take. The travel time is between 8.5-9.5 hours. I decided to start my journey early in the morning (by early I mean 4 am) so that I could reach Bhubaneshwar by noon.
With no roadblocks (literal or otherwise), I reached as scheduled and checked in to the hotel. My itinerary was broadly as follows:
- Visit some temples in Bhubaneswar city like Parsurameswar Temple, Lingaraj Temple, Rajrani Temple, etc.
- Visit the Mukteshwar Temple – one of the most prominent temples in Orissa (around 10km from the city). This temple is also known as the epitome of Orissan Architecture.
- If time permits, then visit the Ramchandi Temple (around 85km from Bhubaneswar)
- Spend an evening at the Chandrabhaga Sea Beach
- Visit the Chilika Lake at Satpada. This is Asia’s largest salted water lake. Also, visit Rajhans Island for Dolphin spotting.
- Visit the famous Raghurajpur village in Puri (around 50-60km from the city). This village is famous for its artists. In fact, every villager in Raghurajpur is an artist.
- Go for a white tiger safari at the Nandankanan Zoological Park.
I also had a wish-list of local food items that I wanted to try while there like Dalma, Khechadi, Chungdi Malai, Pakhala, etc.
So, what really happened in Orissa?
I had an awesome time. I ticked off all that I had planned for and more. By the time I headed back to Kolkata, I had memories that would last me a lifetime. I also made some friends in Raghurajpur and still stay in touch with them helping my friends in the city buy paintings from them.
If you have been contemplating a trip to Orissa, then I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. Ensure that you base yourself in Bhubaneswar and opt for a reliable Bhubaneswar Car Rental service with a local driver to visit as many places as you can. Once you do, please share your experiences with me. Safe travels!
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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