Welcome to Bhubaneswar!
Bhubaneswar, India (the state capital of Odisha), is a modern city steeped in ancient heritage. Established a year after India’s independence in 1947, Bhubaneswar, along with Chandigarh and Jamshedpur, is among the three planned cities of the country.
Everyone landing in Bhubaneswar Airport throngs the popular tourist attractions, but it is a worldwide local who knows how to experience the best a city has to offer. This is an insider’s guide of some of Bhubaneswar’s most captivating spots.
Bhubaneswar, often called the “Temple City of India,” is visited annually, in large numbers, by devotees and tourists alike. Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist influence, dating back to the 3rd century BC, reflects through its many architectural marvels. If art and culture fascinate you, you’ll find the intricate designs, engravings, and the omnipresent historical importance of these religious sites to be both educational and spiritually enlightening.
Worldwide Local Tip: The best time to visit Odisha is during festivals. An explosion of colors, smells, food, lights, and cultural practices make celebrations such as Durga Puja, Kalinga Mahotsav, and Chandan Yatra a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Getting There and Getting Around There
Reaching Bhubaneswar is easy as it is well-connected to the rest of the country through air, rail, and road. Hop on an easy Delhi to Bhubaneswar flight, or take a leisurely train ride. Within the city, DTS and OSRTC buses make travel a breeze, or you can head to the local tourism board to hire taxis for sightseeing. Bhubaneswar is very safe and among the first places in the country to have women cab drivers, breaking gender stereotypes typically associated with the transport industry.
Worldwide Local Tip: Beach lovers will be happy to note that only an hour’s drive from Bhubaneswar is Puri, a city that promises some of the best, secluded beaches in the region. Golden Beach, next to Jagannath Temple, is well-known and brimming with a flurry of activity. If you need a respite from the hot Bhubaneswar weather, but you are looking to escape the crowds, head to either Model or Swargadwar Beach for a more laid-back beachy vibe.
Temples and More
The Shanti Stupa, the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, and the Parashurameshvara Temple are the three must-visit historical monuments in Bhubaneswar. If history is your thing, then don’t miss out on the Ashoka edicts in Dhauli Hills--considered to be “the first tangible evidence of Buddhism,” they are a testament of the city’s historical importance.
Worldwide Local Tip: When in Bhubaneswar, it is essential that you indulge in Odia cuisine. The best places to savor flavorful dishes made with local ingredients is Kanika at the Mayfair Lagoon, one of the best hotels in Bhubaneswar. Order one of their Niramisa or Aamisa thalis and enjoy a variety of offerings that make Odisha’s homegrown food delightfully distinct.
Modern Bhubaneswar: Art and Science
In Bhubaneswar, time merges. The city displays a beautiful amalgamation between the old and the new, giving it a unique disposition. After a visit to the temples, move on to slightly new-age excursions, such as the Odisha Modern Art Gallery, a space that regularly showcases works by local and international artists. Then, there is the Pathani Samanta Planetarium, a perfect half day excursion, brimming with interplanetary education. The Planetarium is enjoyed best with kids.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a day-long escape from the city, Chilika Lake, situated about 62 miles away, is an ideal opportunity to go boating, spot dolphins, or visit the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary. However, beware of the fake sea-pearl scam, run by the local boatmen. They supposedly take out well-polished pearls randomly from sea-shells to sell to you, which are in reality not authentic and often made of plastic.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Bhubaneswar is all about stunning attractions, where religious architecture mixes beautifully with contemporary buildings. For a worldwide local, the real charm of the city is in experiencing the traditional ethos that still forms an integral part of everyday life.