Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is a city of ancient temples and modern amenities. It is known for its rich history and culture, as well as its vibrant energy and growing economy.
History of Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar was founded in the 7th century by King Yayati I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. It quickly became a major center of learning and culture, and was home to many temples, palaces, and other architectural wonders. In the 16th century, Bhubaneswar was conquered by the Muslims, who destroyed many of the city’s temples. However, the city was rebuilt in the 19th century, and many of its temples were restored.
Bhubaneswar is a city of contrasts. It is home to both ancient temples and modern skyscrapers. The city is also home to a diverse population, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Jains. This diversity is reflected in the city’s cuisine, which features a wide variety of dishes from different parts of India.
Bhubaneswar is home to many attractions, including:
- The Lingaraj Temple: This 11th-century temple is one of the most important Hindu temples in India.
- The Jagannath Temple: This 12th-century temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a popular Hindu deity.
- The Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: These caves, dating from the 6th and 7th centuries, are home to a number of Hindu and Jain sculptures.
- The Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa: This Buddhist stupa, built in the 3rd century BCE, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Nandankanan Zoological Park: This zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including tigers, lions, elephants, and rhinos.
Things to do in Bhubaneswar?
In addition to visiting the city’s many attractions, there are a number of other things to do in Bhubaneswar, including:
- Take a walk through the Old Town: The Old Town is home to a number of temples, palaces, and other historical buildings.
- Visit the Handicrafts Museum and Discover Odisha State Museum: This museum displays a wide variety of traditional Odishan handicrafts, including textiles, jewelry, and pottery.
- Learn about the rich cultural heritage of Odisha at the Odisha State Museum. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, sculptures, paintings, and archaeological finds dating back to ancient times. Explore the different galleries to gain insights into the art, history, and traditions of the region.
- Take a cooking class: Learn how to make traditional Odishan dishes from a local chef.
- Go shopping: Bhubaneswar has a number of markets where you can buy souvenirs, clothes, and other items.
- Explore Ancient Temples: Bhubaneswar is known as the “Temple City of India” due to its numerous ancient temples. Visit the iconic Lingaraj Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and marvel at its magnificent architecture. Other significant temples include the Mukteshwar Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Ananta Vasudeva Temple, each showcasing unique architectural styles and intricate carvings.
- Attend a cultural event: Bhubaneswar hosts a number of cultural events throughout the year, including music, dance, and theater performances.
- Visit Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: Located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are ancient rock-cut caves carved into hills. These caves served as Jain monastic dwellings during the reign of King Kharavela. Explore the intricate cave structures, admire the beautiful carvings, and soak in the historical significance of these archaeological marvels.
- Visit Nandankanan Zoological Park: Nandankanan Zoological Park, located on the outskirts of the city, is a must-visit for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. It is renowned for its conservation efforts and houses a wide variety of animal species, including white tigers, lions, elephants, and many exotic birds. Take a safari ride or explore the botanical gardens within the park.
- Enjoy Ekamra Haat: Ekamra Haat is a vibrant handicrafts market that showcases the traditional arts and crafts of Odisha. Browse through a wide array of handicrafts, textiles, paintings, and traditional artifacts. Experience the rich cultural heritage of the state and pick up some unique souvenirs to take back home.
- Stroll around Bindu Sagar Lake: Take a leisurely walk around Bindu Sagar Lake, a sacred water body located near the Lingaraj Temple. The lake is surrounded by several ancient temples, creating a serene and picturesque setting. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, feed the fish in the lake, and capture some beautiful photographs.
- Taste Authentic Odia Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Odisha by trying the authentic Odia cuisine. Sample dishes like Dalma (a lentil and vegetable curry), Machha Besara (fish cooked in mustard sauce), Chhena Poda (a delicious cheese-based dessert), and Puri-Aloo (deep-fried bread served with potato curry). Don’t forget to try the famous Odia sweets like Rasagolla and Chhena Jhili.
Bhubaneswar is well-connected to other parts of India by air, rail, and road. The city’s airport is served by a number of domestic and international airlines. Bhubaneswar is also a major railway junction and is connected to major cities in India by train. The city is also well-connected by road and is easily accessible from other parts of Odisha.
Where to stay
There are a number of hotels, resorts, and guesthouses in Bhubaneswar to suit all budgets. The city also has a number of homestays, which offer a more authentic experience of Odishan culture.
When to go
The best time to visit Bhubaneswar is during the winter months (November-February), when the weather is pleasant. The city can be hot and humid during the summer months (March-June).
The cost of travel in Bhubaneswar is relatively low. A budget traveler can expect to spend around ₹1000 per day on accommodation, food, and transportation. Mid-range travelers can expect to spend around ₹2000 per day, and luxury travelers can expect to spend around ₹5000 per day.
Bhubaneswar is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture. It is a great place to visit for a cultural break, or as a stopover on your way to other parts of India.