India's cultural cauldron, Odisha, is a perfect blend of the countryside, mountains, heritage sites, beaches, artwork, urbanity, and wildlife. Home to some of the marvellous landscape features, natural scenic beauty, significant architectural and natural heritage, Odisha attracts millions of people around the year.
Odisha might not be one of the most fast-paced states in India. However, it is one of the most cultured, open-minded, and friendly states in India. If you like taking an in-depth look into the rich culture and history of India, then Odisha is the place to explore! Moreover, it has a considerable number of reasons to be there, and you can find bounties in Odisha's every nooks and cranny. So, take a look at these ten best places to visit in Odisha in 2020 and pick the destinations that can make into your travel-list.
PC: I, G-u-t
This spiritual capital of Odisha is one of the most-visited places in India. Puri, far-famed as "Shrikhetra." is a part of Char Dham (four famous pilgrimage destinations in India). It is believed that without a visit to this sacred place, the spiritual journey of the Hindus would remain incomplete. Puri is quite a favourite for family excursions; and the tropic climate, leisure hotels, and retreats make it a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of life.
Its remarkable ancient temples, the beautiful beaches and the richness of the cultures here make an excellent amalgam for tourists and nature lovers. Popular attractions in Puri include District Museum, Ashramas and Mattas, Gundicha Temple and Puri Sea Beach.
Bhubaneshwar is an ancient land, which finds its mention in epic Mahabharatha and also played a pivotal role to reform King Ashoka. However, today Bhubaneshwar is renowned as one of the smartest cities of India. It is one of those cities in India, which has rightly found a perfect balance between its ancient origins and at the same time does an exceptional job of keeping up with the new trends and advancements. One of the main perks of the city is its vicinity to other places of tourism like Konark and Puri, which forms the golden triangle for the tourists.
Famous tourist attractions in Bhubaneshwar include Mukteswar Temple, Dhauli Hill, Odisha State Museum, Lingaraj Temple and Khandagiri & Udayagiri Caves.
Located in the Ganjam district to the southern part of Odisha, Gopalpur is a famous sea beach and commercial port of Odisha. Over the decades, Gopalpur has transformed itself from a colonial site to a major port of the east. Also, Gopalpur boasts several natural bounties and beaches that attracts locals as well as tourists from around India. Inland of this lesser-known tourist place displays a long stretch of cashew plantations which are exported through the same port.
4. Chilika Lake
Flowing across Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha, Chilika lake covers a mammoth 1100 Km in area. It is the largest lagoon in India and second largest in the world. This brackish water lagoon is popular for the sightings of Dolphins, other aquatic animals and a wide range of eco-tourism. A comprehensive eco-system for the fishery, it is a notable wintering ground to the migratory birds and also home to many endangered species.
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Located about 35 Km away from Puri, Konark is one of the most-visited tourist sites in India. Also, it was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1984. This small town is home to one of the oldest Sun temples, which was built in the 7th century AD. Moreover, a drive from Puri to Konark is an absolute delight, as you can witness some of the best natural bounties Odisha has to offer along the highway! Enjoy the ride!
6. Nalabana Bird Sanctuary
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Spread across a massive 1555 hectares, Nalabana Bird Sanctuary serves as a homeland to a vast eco-system. Nestled in one of the islands of the second largest lagoon in the world, Chilika, this bird Sanctuary is a massive forest abode to countless wildlife refuges.
The fusion of sweet river water and salty seawater provides the perfect home for a diverse aquatic life and birds.
7. Chandipur Beach
Chandipur Beach is nothing like any other beach you find in India; it has a trick up its sleeve. It is known to showcase one of the best vanishing moves you will ever come across. The water by the sea gradually recedes during low tide and then slowly comes back during high tide. So, what is expected to be a seashore transforms itself into a wetland, playing tricks with peoples mind. Also, Chandipur is renowned for its seafood - especially the prawns and pomfrets and other shellfish cooked in Odiya-style. Treat yourself!
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Located in the Baleswar district, Bhitarkanika is one of the best aquatic parks in India. Bound with diverse flora and fauna, it is a lot similar to the Sunderbans in West Bengal. However, there are no tigers here. Bhitarkanika was the special hunting ground of the imperial Raj Kanika family and had a notified distinctive status for the crocodiles here.
9. Sanaghagara Falls
Located in the Kendujhar district, Sanaghagara Falls is an enchantingly beautiful cascade, falling from a height of 100 feet. Enveloped by the rich greenery and scenic views, it produces a tranquil and wholesome feeling for its visitors. A crowd favourite for trekking and camping this tourist attraction is best to visit during the monsoon season.
10. Satkosia Reserve
Located in the Angul district of Odisha, Satkosia reserve is a tiger reserve, spread across a mammoth 990 km. It was authorised in 1976 with an area of 800 Km; however, now it spreads across a long gorge of 22 Km where the Mahanadi river crosses the eastern ghats. The reserve is decked with moist deciduous trees and is notably renowned for its huge Sal trees.