Mahendragiri

Mahendragiri, Odisha – At 5,000 feet high lies amidst the lush green forests

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Mahendragiri is at 5,000 feet high and lies amidst the lush green forests, with its unparalleled glory in the Parlakhmundi subdivision of the Gajapati district. The mythological stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are associated with this Mahendragiri. It was said since a long as once Lord Parshuram used to stay and meditate Lord Shiva for a long time on this Mahendragirimountain; after which he received the Parsu (double-axle) from the God. In the Dwapara Yug, Mother Kunti along with her five sons used to stay here for a certain time during their 12 years of Vanvas (exile); and Bhima used to worship the Lord Shiva here too.  The poets Kalidas and Radhanath Ray has mentioned about this hill in their works.

Places to see at Mahendragiri: The holistic place is famous for the temple of Lord Shiva and Parshuram. There are three other temples on the top of the mountain. These temples are named after the Pandava brothers and their mother Kunti.

Kunti Temple:

The Kunti temple is 30 feet high and is at one end of the flat top the mountain. It is in rekha style. It does not have any plinth. The temple has been plastered with lime after thorough repair. In the side of the place are parsvadevatas like Ganesha, Kartikeya and Pravati. The nabagrahas are in the lintel over the door jambs. The two inscriptions are placed in the 12th century A.D. are there, one to the right of the entrance door and the other on the left side of the temple. Some sculptures and dressed stone slabs lie scattered around the temple.

Yudhisthira  Temple

The Yudhisthira temple rising abruptly from the ground level is in triratha style and is on the other side of the flat top of the mountain. The outer walls are devoid of any sculptural decoration excepting four Chaitya arches. There is no parsvadevata. The lintel of the door contains an inscription of the Chola king Rajendra Chola.

Rising abruptly from the ground level the Yudisthira temple is in triratha style and is on the other side of the flat top of the mountain. The outer walls are not sculpturally decorated excepting four Chaitya arches. There is no parsvadevata. The lintel of the door contains an inscription of the Chola king Rajendra Chola.

Bhima Temple

The Bhima temple, as the scholar assumes is built just after the Gupta period, and is the earliest of these temples. It is made of five huge square sized blocks of stones and has low and squat tower, square sanctum, squat sikhara and flat roof. The doorway is narrow and the walls do not have any niche. In the last tier of the temple lies the amalakasila but the kalasa is absent. There is no sculptural decoration worth mentioning. This temple is often regarded as the Gokarnesvara temple of the place. In addition to these temples, there are three other huts like uncut stone structures arranged in groups.

Nearby attractions at Mahendragiri: It is a quaint tourist destination with no other nearby tourist destination.

Things to do at Mahendragiri: Explore the beauty of the surrounding. The serenity of the place and the sight of the lush green forest will enthral your heart. Besides the art and architecture of the temples are also worth noticing. Mahendragiri takes a gorgeous look on the eve of Maha Shivaratri, when thousand of devotees from around the world travels here and trek onto the peak to worship Lord Shiva on that day. The panoramic Eastern Ghats is also a feast for the eyes.

Best time to place: Mahendragiri can be visited throughout the year.

How to go ?

Mahendragiri is approachable from Behrampur or Bramhapur, which is its nearest railway station. It is approachable by three routes. The first route, the route currently in use, is upto Paralakhemundi, 115 km. from Brahmapur via Ichhapur – Palasa. The second route is from Brahmapur to Paralakhemundi via Digapanandi-R.Udayagiri and Rayagada which runs over a distance of 173 km. The third route is 126 km from Brahmapur via Ichhapur-Jarada-Kaipur and Paralakhemundi.

To go to Mahendragiri one has to go to Paralakhemundi which is about 120 km. from Brahmapur via Palasa( Andhra Pradesh). From Paralakhemundi one can travel by bus for 46 km. i.e. upto Kainpur, 14 km. from Mahendragiri and then to Burkhat pass (5 kms) by jeep and finally proceed to the Mahendragiri hill (10 kms) on foot. Now the communication has improved and one can go upto the foothill by jeep.

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Where to stay ?

There is no accommodation facility for the tourists. The nearest places where accommodation is available are Jeranga, where there is an Inspection Bungalow of Works Department and Paralakhemundi, where there is a circuit house, a Works Department Inspection Bungalow and other private hotel.

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Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

Cuttack

Cuttack, Odisha – Is best known for its internationally acclaimed art – the silver filigree work

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Cuttack is one of oldest cities of Odisha (Orissa). It was known as the Abhinaba Baranasi Kataka in the medieval age. The city resides on a fertile delta formed by the Mahanadi and Kathjori rivers. Cuttack is now one of the busy commercial centres flooded with trade activities and is an ideal tourist destination providing best facilities of all sorts.

Spanning from east to west, a narrow strip of land is what comprises Cuttack. With two topographical divisions, namely, the hilly terrain on the west and Mahanadi delta plains in the east, this densely populated city is highly fertile. The fertility due to the water bodies functioning as tributaries of Mahanadi river system, Cuttack is a major producer of rice.

Places to see at Cuttack: Around 30 km from the capital city of Odisha (Orissa), Cuttack is best known for its internationally acclaimed art–the silver filigree work. Thin silver wires fashioned into exquisite jewellery, utensils and decorative items will simply take your breath away along with a heavy toll on your wallet.

You will also get a prominent example of the legendary skills of Cuttack artists on the stone embankments of Kathjori River dating back to 11th century AD. The ruins of the Barabati fort, on the bank of the Mahanadi add more to the architectural skills of the people of Cuttack. Being a home to several sports events and cultural programmes today, the fort evokes brave memories of the past days. There is a very famous Hindu Temple coined Katak Chandi that rests at a strolling distance from the fort area.

Another popular shrine at the city named Qadam-i-Rasool represents an unique example of inter religion brotherhood.The shrine is surrounded by a high compound wall and rising towers at each corner is acclaimed by both Muslims and Hindus. The shrine is marked for a rare music gallery built in l8th century AD. Another attraction at the shrine is the footprints of Prophet Mohammed imprinted on a circular stone in its central dome structure. Cuttack is also renowned for its Durga Puja celebrations.

Things to do at Cuttack: Cuttack is the favourite spot of the shoppers. Silk and cotton being the major textiles of the region, Cuttack takes good care of your shopping spree.

Every public discourse at Cuttack is marked by brotherhood, tradition and history, some of the most predominant sentiments of people at Cuttack. With years of history to support them, the people of Cuttack are quite confident despite the fact that they have to witness some of the worst floods.

Unmoved by these natural calamities, life at Cuttack goes on amidst many celebrations taking place here round the year. This ‘live life king size’ trait of the Katakis is believed to be inherited by the might of Emperor Ashoka of Kalinga Empire. With several tourist attractions nearby, Cuttack remains one of the most essential links of the golden triangle tour to Odisha (Orissa).

Nearby attractions from Cuttack City: Cuttack is a tourist hub from where you can organise your trip to various tourist destinations.

Choudwar

It is a growing industrial area and was once the capital of Somakhuli Kesari kings of Orissa. You will still find the remnants of eight prominent Shiv Piths here. During the Mahabharata era the five Pandavas along with Draupadi took shelter here during the period of their secret exile. This historical place is just 24 km by road and 5 km by boat from Cuttack city.

Naraj

Naraj a picturesque location is just 15 km from Cuttack city. The place was once a seat of learning for Buddhist culture & learning. Savour the spectacular view of river Mahanadi from here.

Dhabaleshwar

Lying in the bosom of the river Mahanadi this is a beautiful island named after the presiding deity Lord Dhabaleshwar an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It is just 35 km from Cuttack and is a place worth visiting.

Chhatia

Also known as Chhatiabata, Chhatia is a sacred pilgrimage place with the shrine of Lord Jaganath.

Best time to visit Cuttack:  You can visit Cuttack throughout the year. However the best time to visit Cuttack is during the winter season. The weather remains pleasant during this time and you can enjoy the sight seeing most during this season.

How to go ?

Cuttack is accessible by road, rail, and air.

By Air – Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport to Cuttack. An adequate number of daily flights Indian airlines as well as some other private operators, connect the city with Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.

By Rail/Train – Lying on the Kolkata-Chennai main line, the local railway station at Cuttack observes a plethora of fast trains operating from here that connect the city with some other prominent cities within and outside Odisha (Orissa) thus making the journey to Cuttack via train, a much convenient and reasonable option.

By Road – A smooth network of National Highways connect Cuttack with the rest of India. Regular buses and taxis ply to and fro Cuttack for all the major cities of India.

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Where to stay ?

Cuttack being one of the most popular tourist destination there is no scarcity in accommodation facilities. There are many  hotels at Cuttack. Some options are:

Hotel Akbari Continental: +91-0671-2423251/69/73, 2423254
Hotel Dwarika Resorts Pvt. Ltd: +91-0671 2422220, 2421345
Hotel Sagar Shree: +91-0671 2430251, 2433132
Hotel Blue Lagoon: +91-0671 2431884
Hotel Surya Kiran: +91-0671 2304078
Hotel Lords: +91-0671 2422050

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Nandankanan

Nandankanan Zoo, Odisha – Adjacent to Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary and shrouded by natural forest

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Adjacent to Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary and shrouded by natural forest Nandankanan lies in the vicinity of Kanjia lake. It covers a portion of Krishnanagar and Jujhagarh Demarcated Protected Forests (DPF) and is close to Baranga Railway station on Howrah-Chennai route.

The very name of “Nandankanan”, in mythology, means the ecstatic but imaginary beauty of the heavenly garden. Enjoy the panoramic views of nature and appreciate the glamour that exists in the external morphology of plants and animals.

NandankananPlaces to see at Nandankanan: Nandankanan is a renowned zoo. The zoo is enriched with 101 enclosures with 202 sub-enclosures at Nandankanan. It has the significance of having both the cages and open moat enclosures. There are 54 cages and 47 open moated enclosures housing all the captive animals of Nandankanan. It has the glory of having 126 species of animals which includes 40 spp. mammals, 56 spp. birds and 24 spp. reptiles. Nandankanan has a large number of animal collections. More than 1580 no animals, including 634 mammals, 812 birds and 134 reptiles is residing there. There are Eighty eight (88) species (indigenous) along with 32 exotic species of animals adding to its glorious collection. The animal collection of this Wild Life Sanctuary includes 15 spp of endangered mammals, -6 spp of endangered birds and 10 spp of endangered reptiles.

Nandankanan is the only zoo in India that has the Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximus) and Open-billed Stork (Anastomus oscitans). Apart from it, the zoo also has glory of being among the 2 zoos in India having Orang-Utan (others in Kanpur Zoological Park, Uttar Pradesh), Indian Pangolin (others in Jhargram Zoo, West Bengal), Spotted Munia (Others in Sayajibaug Zoo, Gujurat) and Burmese Python (others in CulcattaSnakePark, West Bengal). It is among the three zoos of India having Green-winged Macaws, Cinereous Vulture and Nicobar Pigeon.

Things to do at Nandankanan: Exploring the large area of the zoo is the only thing to be done here and that will not make you bored is for sure.

The zoo is famous for its white tiger populations of white tigers, which it claims to, have produced.
Birth of white tiger from normal coloured tigers has given a special place to Nandankanan over the world as one of the major host zoo for the white tigers.

Nandankanan-2 NandankananNandankanan has created its unique place for successful captive breeding of endangered Gharials in 1980. The other breeding species of Nandankanan includes Indian pangolin (1971), Mouse deer (1972), Malayan Giant squirrel (1974), Sloth bear (1978), Mugger (1982), Himalayan Black bear (1982), Lion-tailed Macaque (1983), Brow-antlered deer (1984), Salt water crocodile (1985), Indian porcupine (1986), White necked stork (1986), Caiman crocodile (1990), Water monitor lizard (1996), Swamp deer (1998), Chimpanzee (1999), Grey heron (2000) and Siamese crocodile (2010), ratel 2012 and many free living animals including Open billed storks.

Nearby attractions at Nandankanan: The zoo itself is the attraction here, wandering which you will be entertained thoroughly. The zoo contains aquaria, a reptile park and an orchid house which are worth visiting.

Aquaria:

The zoo also has 34 aquaria housing a large variety of fresh water fish.

Reptile Park:

There is also a large reptile park containing numerous species of crocodiles, lizards, turtles, and snakes. It has a cave like entrance and is guarded by a large sized Tyrannosaurus rex.

Orchid house:

The zoo has the largest orchid house in Orissa that spread over 5,000 sq.ft. There are 130 species of orchids in Orissa that has been found in Orissa.

The tourists can also enjoy the rides of ropeway, toy train and boating in Nandankanan.

Best time to visit Nandankanan: This place is accessible for the tourist throughout the year.

How to go ?

Nandankanan is just 18 km by road from the capital city of Bhubaneshwar which is easily accessible by car or bus. It is one of the sight scene spot from Puri and is 75 km from this esteemed religious place.

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Where to stay ?

Nandankanan is ideal for a day trip visit as there are no such accommodation facilities near the spot. You can stay at Bhubaneshwar or Puri having both luxurious and budget hotels. Some options are:

Hotel Excellency: (+91) 674 – 250 1220
Hotel Grand Central: (+91) 674 – 2313411 to 414
Hotel Sheetal: (+91) 674 – 25535165 , 25535267 , 25535168 , 25535149

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Raghurajpur

Raghurajpur, Odisha – Situated amidst groves of coconut, palm, mango & jack fruit, Raghurajpur is a handicrafts village

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“At Raghurajpur, every villager is an artist and every house is an artist’s studio.”

Situated amidst groves of coconut, palm, mango and jack fruit, Raghurajpur is a handicrafts village in Puri district Odisha. Popularly known for its master Pattachitra painters, the village comprises of two streets and has over 120 houses that are Raghurajpurdecorated with mural paintings. These are the residents of the painters who practice their pattachitra craft. There are also many other handicrafts practices throughout the village, including traditional masks, stone idols, papier mache, sculptures, and wooden toys. The series of temples at the village are dedicated not only to Bhuasuni, the local deity but also to various Hindu gods like, Radha Mohan, Gopinath, Raghunath, Laxmi narayan and Gouranga.

It is the only place where the traditional decoration known as the Patas, are used under the throne of Lord Jagannath and also on the three chariots during the annual Rath Yatra festival, that takes place at pilgrimage town of Puri, some 14 km away, known for the Jagannath Temple.

In the year 2000 it became a heritage village by INTACH. The village soon became a major rural tourist destination of the state, drawing tourist, both domestic and foreign to the village. The heritage walks provided to the visitors by the organization, makes the village a template for heritage tourism in the region.

Places to see at Raghurajpur: Though renowned for the pattachitra paintings the buck does not stop here an array of other craft items – palm leaf inscriptions, stone and wood carvings, papier mache, sodhai work, mural painting, wooden and cow dung toys, Raghurajpurfiligree, applique, terracotta – are created and proudly displayed in the dainty households.  It is also the venue of the annual Basant Utsav – Parampara Raghurajpur (Spring Festival), which was first organized in 1993 under the aegis of State Tourism Department and eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata, held in February 4 and 5 and is an important tourist draw.

Besides being a centre of all kinds of handicrafts it is also a home to the living tradition of performing arts, known as Gotipua a traditional form of Odissi dance. Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, a maestro of Odisi dance was born in this village and had early trainings at Gotipua. The dance is performed by boys aged 14 years or younger. In the age of 4 to 6 the boys start their training in a residential Gurukul.

Nearby attractions from Raghurajpur: The pristine pilgrimage town Puri is just 11 km from Raghurajpur.

Things to do at Raghurajpur: A trip to this artistic village will cast a magic spell upon your senses. The village preserves the true heritage of India. Take a stroll along the paddy fields of the quaint village dotted with betel vines and the river Bhargavi flowing by.

Best time to visit Raghurajpur: You can visit the place throughout the year.

How to go ?

It is just 10 km from Hindu pilgrimage town of Puri, and 50 km from Bhubaneshwar. You have to get down at Chandanpur on N.H no. 203 connects the Puri and Bhubaneshwar town, the two important tourist destinations of the country. A cycle rickshaw ride or a walk on a 1.3km scenic road will take you to the village.

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Where to stay ?

At Raghurajpur there are no such accommodation facilities. As it is very near to the popular tourist destination Puri, you can make a day trip in this village and make a return to Puri, having plenty of budget hotels with restaurants. Some options are:

Puri Hotel: (06752) 222114, 223809
Toshali Sands Resort: 1800 123 4555 (Toll Free), (+91)-9937003223
Hotel Sonar Bangla:(+91)33 4006 0787, (0675) 2230009, 2321263, 2230089, (+91) 9777184314
Hotel Chariot: (+91)-7381035022, (+91)-8961088899

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Konark

Konark, Odisha – Famous for the magnificent 800 year old Sun Temple

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As you reach Konark the roars of the sea waves and the magnificent 800 year old Sun Temple will welcome you. Konark, situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal and is admired with the intricately carved stone temple offering majestic charm.  The tourists mostly visit Konark from Puri or Bhubaneswhar in a daytrip without staying overnight and missing all the charms of this little temple town and its glorious Sun temple. The spectacular sight of the Sun God glowing with its first rays and the ruins of the Konark-chakramajestic temple with the roar of the sea is a life long experience. The panoramic beach admiring the temple town enhances the appeal of the location to the tourists. The temple giving the essence of Oriya art and architecture is a just a few minutes walk from the sea beach. Staying at Konark and visiting the beautiful Chandrabhaga Beach and Chandipur, the handicraft town of Pipli and the nearby temple towns of Puri and Bhubaneshwar will make one of the complete package tours of Orissa.

Places to see at Konark: The chief attraction of Konark is the Sun Temple. It is also the most popular tourist spot in Orissa. It has been declared as World Heritage Site since 1984. The temple has been structured in the form of a giant chariot, featuring 12 pairs of wheels. The wheels are 10 feet in diameter, each signifying a single month. The chariot is pulled by seven horses. Two stone curved lions have been built near the entrance of the temple. You need to ascend a flight of steps to approach the main Konarkentrance. The temple features a three-tiered pyramidal roof admired by a nice looking spire. The temple is renowned for some exquisite stone carvings that admire the entire structure.

The Chandrabhaga Sea Beach, located 3 km east of the Konark Sun temple is a hot spot for tourists visiting Konark. There is also a lighthouse near Chandrabhaga, which enhances the splendour of the place.  View from the top of the lighthouse will make you feel out of the world. The latest addition is a natural deer park, which boosts the tourist potential of Chandrabhaga. The sight is aesthetically appealing. Pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum near the temple complex, which displays sculptures and carvings from the remnants of the Sun Temple.

Places to see at Konark: The chief attraction of Konark is the Sun Temple. It is also the most popular tourist spot in Orissa. It has been declared as World Heritage Site since 1984. The temple has been structured in the form of a giant chariot, featuring 12 pairs of wheels. The wheels are 10 feet in diameter, each signifying a single month. The chariot is pulled by seven horses. Two

Konarkstone curved lions have been built near the entrance of the temple. You need to ascend a flight of steps to approach the main entrance. The temple features a three-tiered pyramidal roof admired by a nice looking spire. The temple is renowned for some exquisite stone carvings that admire the entire structure.

Nearby attractions of Konarak: If you are eager for further exploration in Konarak, then you will not be disappointed. Along the Puri Road, the unexplored and serene Konarak Beach is a major attraction of tourists, where you can watch the local fishing fleet at work. The spectacular sunrise at this beach offer visual ecstasy. The Ramachandi Temple is picturesquely located on the confluence of River Khusabhadra, 8 km from Konark. The temple is a popular place of worship and a sought-after picnic spot. If you move further, you can locate an image of Buddha seated in Bhumisparsa Mudra along with the image of Heruka, at Kuruma. The village of Pipli famous for its handicrafts is located at a distance of 23 km from Konark. The village is famous for a wide range of distinctive selection of handicrafts and appliqué work products. There is also the temple of Goddess Barahi at Chaurasi, 35 km from Konarak, which can be traced back to the 9th century AD. You can also make a trip to Prachi valley, located 45 km from Konark to visit the temple of Kakatapur, dedicated to Goddess Mangala and Banadurga. The temple is also the venue of the Jhamu Yatra. The serene sea beaches at Baleswar and Chandipur (20 km), Balighai (25 km), Chilika (70 kms) and Astranga (55 km) are also some other popular sites. You can also visit the temple town of Puri just 35 kms away for the famous Jagannath Puri Temple and Rath Yatra. The temple town of Bhubaneshwar is around 65 kms from Konarak.

Things to do at Konark: The “Konark Dance Festival,” held in the month of December every year in the backdrop of the Sun temple is the primary cultural attraction of the place. You will be enthralled by the wonderful performances of the celebrated classical dancers and singers, who take active part in this festival, performing in an open-air auditorium. Thousands of performers from all over the country participate in this grand festival, which is celebrated on the seventh day of the new moon of Magha. If you are travelling to Konark in February, you can also visit the Chandrabhaga Mela held every year.

Best time to visit Konark: You can visit Konark anytime of the year. However, if you want to attend the Konark Dance Festival, then visit during December.

How to go ?

The most convenient way to reach Konark is driving either from Puri (35 km) or from Bhubaneswar (65 km). The closest airport of the destination is located at Bhubaneswar. You can also avail train to Puri or Bhubaneswar and then drive to Konark. Taxis are also available from Puri running to Konark. Bus services are also available from Puri to Konark. State bus services are also available from Bhubaneswar Bus Stand to Konark.

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Where to stay ?

There are plenty of accommodations in Konark. Some options are:

Surya Inn : +91 093 37 566655
Labanya Lodge : +91 099 37 073559

You can also stay at the Government Tourist Lodge. For booking details you may contact:

OTDC Central Reservation Counter : +91- 0674 – 2430764
OTDC, Bhubaneswar :  1800 208 1414 (Toll free) 

You may also visit their official website: www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Puri

Puri, Odisha – One of the most popular tourist destinations and also one of the major Char Dham pilgrimages

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Puri is one of the most popular tourist destinations and also one of the major Char Dham pilgrimages. If you have not visited, the place it means that your pilgrimage tour of India is not complete. This place nestles on the eastern coast of Bay of Bengal in Orissa. It is the abode of the Lord of the Universe, Lord Jagannath. On your way to Puri don’t miss the appliqué handicraft work at Pipili village. All these attractions make Puri the hub of the tourist.

Puri-resortPlaces to see at Puri: The major attraction of Puri is the Jagannath Temple. Built in 11th century, this temple is considered one of the 4 major dhams of pilgrimage for Hindus. In this temple only Hindus are allowed to enter and offer puja. You can offer pujas, in the Jagannath Temple and the Shani Temple, and enjoy the prasad and bhog of this place. Other places to see are Shankaracharya’s Gobardhan Pitha, which is a Hindu math.

The cremation site of Swargadwar, means the Gateway to Heaven, Sunara Gaurang Temple, Chakra Tirtha Temple, Bedi Hanuman Temple, Mausima Temple, Shree Gundicha Temple, where Rath Yatra ends and Shree Lokenath Temple, where the half submerged Linga of Lord Shiva is present, signifying his hiding from Shani are the places you can visit. The golden beach of Puri is another attraction that drives people to come to this place again and again.

Nearby attractions of Puri: There are many places to visit that are close to Puri, like the Chilka Lake, Sun Temple of Konarak, Alarnath Temple, Chandrabhaga Sea Beach, Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary, Raghurajpur that is known for Patta Chitra and Pipili renowned for appliqué work. Other places of interest are Lingaraja Temple and Bhubaneshwar’s other temples, caves of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, Ashoka’s Dhauli rock edicts, Atri sulphur spring, Chandaka elephant reserve, Balihar Chandi Temple, Yogini shrine of Hirapur and Nandankanan sanctuary.

PuriThings to do at Puri: In Puri the sightseeing is the best thing to be done. The place has a wide range of touring spots, which invites people to spend an eventful weekend. The golden beach of Puri is an ideal spot for swimming and surfing. You can even choose to relax on the Puri beach, which is also a popular choice among travellers. The Ramchandi Temple is a popular picnic spot for tourists as well. You can also take a long drive on the Puri Konark Marine Drive that goes through many isolated beaches.

Best time to visit Puri: Tourists can visit Puri all throughout the year, as the temperature remains moderate in this coastal region. There is a huge festival of Rath Yatra in July, when thousands of pilgrims come to get darshan of Lord Jagannath.

Puri-jaggannathHow to go ?

Puri can be reached via roadways by covering a distance of 540 km from Kolkata through Bhubaneshwar. From Kolkata Bhubaneshwar can be reached by taking on the National Highway No.5 and from there taking the State Highway No. 8 you can reach Puri. It takes 2 hours to reach Puri from Bhubaneshwar on car.

You can also ride any of the fast and super fast trains that connect Kolkata to Puri, like the Howrah-Puri Sri Jagannath Express or the Howrah- Puri Express and others. Both the trains cover a distance of 502 km and takes about 9 hours. You can also reach Bhubaneshwar by air. The airport of the State capital at Bhubaneshwar is something 60 km from Puri and is connected by regular flights.

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Where to stay ?

There are numerous hotels in Puri where you can relax and savour various delicacies. Some options are:

Puri Hotel : +91-06752 222 114 Website : www.purihotel.in
Victoria Club Hotel: +91-06752 – 222005 / 222920 Website: www.victoriaclubhotel.com

Along with private hotels OTDC run tourist lodge is also a good accommodation option in Puri. For booking details you may contact:

Central Reservation Counter, OTDC : +91-0674–2430764
Official website: www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Gopalpur

Gopalpur, Odisha – Take a break from the busy city life & spend sometime in utter seclusion

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Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life and go to Gopalpur to spend sometime in utter seclusion. The tranquillity of the beach located in the Ganjam district of Orissa will soothe your heart and enable help you to rejuvenate your senses. The immaculate beach of Gopalpur, the returning fishermen, the lighthouse and the fragments of a lighthouse makes Gopalpur ever charming. The other attractions of the place are Taptapani hot spring, Lake Chilika and its fantastic weather.

GopalpurPlaces to see at Gopalpur on sea: The serene beach of Gopalpur is the major attraction of the tourists. The beach is never crowded and sometime, especially in the afternoon you will not find another soul near the seaside, only a fisherman hauling his net out of the seawater. The beach is also admired by a Light House, which offers a panoramic 360-degree view of the entire Gopalpur including the sea and part of the Chilika Lake. You can enter the Light House, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. A visit to the ruins of the ancient port of Gopalpur, upholding the lost glory of this wobbling port town is also an experience treasure.

Nearby attractions around Gopalpur on sea: There are some amazing attractions nearby Gopalpur, calling the tourists. One of the most famous spot of tourist interest is the Taptapani hot spring. You can make trip to this wonderful location, famed for hot spring gushing from the earth surface. Bathing in the hot spring is truly an enduring experience. Taptapani is located 67 km from Gopalpur and takes an hour to reach by road. You can also organize a day tour to the GopalpurTibetan refugee village of Chandragiri, located 36 km. south of Taptapani. Another major destination is the Chilika Lake, the backwater of Orissa, located at a distance of 68 km. from Gopalpur. You can also visit the nearby beach of Dhabaleshwar.

Things to do at Gopalpur on sea: Enjoy long walks along the quaint beach of Gopalpur and the expansive stretch of cashew nut groves, enjoying the sight of the rolling waves kissing the beach. Savour the spectacular sunrise on the azure seawater. The sight of the truant crabs running to and fro is also enchanting. You can also buy some handicrafts and hand-woven saris from the destination.

Best time to visit Gopalpur on sea: The ideal time of visiting the location is monsoon, which initiates from mid-June to late August. Gopalpur buzz with tourists during this time.

How to go ?

There are a number of options to reach Gopalpur. You can drive to the destination along the National Highway 5 from Berhampur or Brahmapur, which is located 16 km from Gopalpur. You can also board a train from Berhampur. The Bhubaneswar airport, located at a distance of 180 km. from Gopalpur-on-sea is the closest airport from Gopalpur. It takes one hour to reach Bhubaneswar from Kolkata by flight.
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Where to stay ?

There is an array of accommodation facilities in Gopalpur. OTDC panthanivas is an option. For booking details you may contact:

OTDC Central Reservation Counter : +91-0674 – 2430764

O.T.D.C.Ltd.Bhubaneswar-14 : Cell : 98611 – 26800.
You may also visit their official website: www.panthanivas.com

There are many private hotels too. Some options are:

Hotel sea pearl: +91-0680 234 3556
Mayfair Palm Beach Resort: +91-0680 666 0101
Sea Side Breeze : +91-0680 234 3075

Prior booking of hotels is required only during the high tourist season of November-January. However, the town remains idle for the rest of the year.

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Dhauli

Dhauli, Odisha – Considered as sacred and has been site for pilgrimage over centuries

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The Dhauli Hills or Dhavalgiri on the banks of River Daya which is considered as sacred has been a site for pilgrimage over centuries, and is a halt station frequented by both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. It is only 10 kms from Bhubaneshwar, and was the famous battlefield of Kalinga War which proved to be the turning point in the life of Emperor Ashoka. The hills are marked with Dhaulia number of rock cut caves and ancient Hindu temples. The numerous pillars, stupas and monasteries are also worth exploring. The rock cut elephant carving located at the base of Dhauli Hills is one of the earliest Buddhist themed carvings in Orissa.  The most famous among them are the set of rock edicts left by the Emperor Ashoka in about 260 B.C. Dhauli or Dhaulagiri is mostly visited by the tourists on a day tour from Puri or Bhubaneshwar and hence they miss the joy of experiencing the true beauty of Dhauli. A night spend will make you feel the actual serenity of this pristine place of Dhauli. You must enjoy the experience of the magnificent sunset and sunrise over the endless sea of paddy fields. You can also take a walk along the Daya River on the same road which is ornamented by the footsteps of the greatest kings of history – King Ashoka.

Places to see at Dhauli:  The Japanese Peace Pagoda, set amidst a number of ancient monasteries and stupas is truly marvellous. This wondrous structure is truly worth visiting. It is a notable Buddhist structure built jointly by the Japan Buddha Sangh and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangh in the year 1972. Beyond the Stupa, there is an ancient Hindu temple devoted to Lord Dhavaleshwar.

DhauliYou can savour a magnificent view of the surroundings from the top of the Dhauli Hill. The green stretch of paddy fields along with cashew eyes trees offer visual splendour. You will also admire the beauty of the winding and sparkling Daya River. You can also see inscriptions and engravings in Dhauli, which can be traced back to the Ashokan era. The place is a popular pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Dhauli is admired with many stupas, which were once built by Emperor Ashoka himself.

Nearby attractions of Dhauli: You can also visit Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa and the temple town of Puri from Dhauli. The handicraft town of Pipli (famous for its appliqué work) and the temple of Konark are also located nearby.

Things to do at Dhauli: Apart from visiting the Dhavaleshwar Temple and Stupa, you can hike along the Daya River and take long walks around the ruins of various structures of Dhauli Hills. Also, take a stroll along the forest track of Dhauli hills, which is truly an exciting outdoor activity.

Best time to visit Dhauli: You can experience the true essence of Dhauli, if you are visiting the destination during the winter months, starting from October and extending up to March. Summer is extremely hot in Dhauli, hence, it is better to avoid the summer season.

How to go ?

The town of Dhauli is easily accessible by buses from the neighbouring regions of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The nearest airport of Dhauli is in Bhubaneswar, which is well connected from Kolkata. There are no direct trains to Dhauli, so you need to drop down at Bhubaneswar railway station.
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Where to stay ?

The Govt. Tourist Lodge at Dhauli is the only well-equipped accommodation here. The lodge is located very near to the famous stupa and overlooks the Daya River and miles of paddy fields. This tourist lodge has a dining hall and nice well-equipped double bedrooms with attached bathrooms. We arrange booking for Tourist Lodge at Dhauli directly from Kolkata. Dining facilities are excellent here, which mainly comprises ethnic Indian cuisine. However, Western styled food is also offered here. While visiting Dhauli, do not miss the chance of savouring the Oriya cuisines, which are delicately spiced. Relish seafood like shrimp or crab and other fish preparations, which are quite popular in the region. For booking details you may contact:

OTDC Central Reservation Counter : 1800 208 1414 (Toll free)
Official website: www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Gahirmatha

Gahirmatha, Odisha – World’s largest nesting beach of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

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Want to see the unique Olive Ridley Sea Turtles? Then make a visit to the Gahirmatha next weekend. Gahirmatha also known as Gaharimatha is a coast located in the Kendrapara district of Orissa. It is the world’s largest nesting beach of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The place has been declared a wildlife sanctuary of Orissa in 1979 and a world heritage site, and is significant for turtle conservation.

GahirmathaPlaces to see at Gahirmatha: The breathtaking view of the Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, located on the confluent point of the River Dharma and Bay of Bengal attracts nature loving tourists to see millions of turtle living here. You will become amazed to see the extensive area covered by the sanctuary, which comes near 1435 square kilometer. Watch the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles thriving at the marine sanctuary of Gaharimatha, a rare sight that you will treasure for years. You can also visit two other turtle nesting beaches located at the river mouth of Devi and Rushikulya.

Nearby attractions around Gahirmatha: While making a trip to Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary, you can also visit some notable spots of tourist interests, located nearby. The Temple of Lord Shiva built in the early 9th century in Dangmol is truly worth visiting. The Temple of Nahak Babu built with sandstone is also a prime attraction of the tourist. Some other spots of tourist attractions are Lailtgiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri Buddhist complex. You can also visit the Chandipur Beach located nearby.

GahirmathaBhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park is also located in near the Gaharimatha Turtle Sanctuary. It is recognized as the second largest Mangrove ecosystem across India, spanning an area of 672 sq. km. This mangrove forest offers shelter to more than 215 species of birds. The Bhitarkanika National Park has achieved the status of a “Crocodile Sanctuary,” as it houses the biggest population of salt-water crocodile in the country. This National Park is encircled by the Gahirmatha Beach in the eastward side.

Things to do at Gahirmatha: Organize a tour to the marine turtle sanctuary at Gaharimata and watch the nesting beach of the turtles, without disturbing the creatures. Also visit the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, which offers true pleasure to the avid bird watchers. You will also be thrilled by the very sight of the mass of gigantic crocodiles at the location.

Best time to visit Gahirmatha: The ideal time of visiting the Gahirmatha Sanctuary is the period between the months of October to February, when the turtle come to nest.

How to go ?

The nearest airports of Gahirmatha are Bhubaneswar and Kolkata airports. The location is also accessible by waterways (Chandabali, Ragnagar and Gupti). You can also take trains from Howrah and reach Bhadrak, Balasore, Cuttack or Bhubaneswar, from where Gahirmatha is easily accessible. Gaharimatha is just 4 kms from Dangmol. The nearest railhead to Gahirmatha is Bhadrak, which is just 77 kms away. From Bhadrak, one can reserve a taxi or a jeep to Bhitarkanika Forest Reserve and hire a boat to reach Gahirmatha.

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Where to stay ?

There are no such accommodation options in Gahirmatha. You can stay in private hotels in the nearby towns.

Two options are:
Hotel Golden Anchor : +91 (06722 222 648)
Hotel Paradeep International : +91 (06722 222 986)

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Kuldiha

Kuldiha, Odisha – A dense forest home of wide variety of wild animals

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The Kuldiha Forest spanning over an area of 282 square kilometers is a dense forest shrouded mostly with thick growth of sishu, sal, piyasal, mango, bahera, jam and simul trees making it an abode of a wide number of animals like wild cats, elephants, long Kuldihatailed monkeys, cheetals, gaur, leopard, giant squirrel as well as some bird species like peafowl, hill myna and hornbill. Kuldiha nestled in Balasore district is also famous for supporting wide varieties of reptiles too. The Kuldiha forest area integrates into the SimilipalForest through the Nato hill and Sukhupada hill ranges. There is a hilly stream that flows along the forest and a watch tower that is built calculatively at Garsimulia on the bank of the river. Kuldiha also has a Lion Sanctuary.

Places to see at Kuldiha Forest: The Kuldiha Forest itself is the best attraction to watch out for. The forest is also the home to Tenda Elephant Sanctuary and a Lion Sanctuary.

KuldihaNearby attractions at Kuldiha Forest: Among the nearest destinations, you can definitely visit the Russia Dam or Rishia Dam as it is locally known. This is a great place to spend some moments in complete seclusion. The dam is also the place to watch out for some elephants from the Tenda Elephant Sanctuary who come here for water. You can also visit Panchlingeswar on a short trip.

Things to do at Kuldiha Forest: You can go for an exciting trek from Nilagiri through the forests of Kuldiha and also explore the Kuldiha Forest Sanctuary along with the Tenda Elephant Sanctuary which is a must when you are in this part of Balasore.

Best time to visit Kuldiha Forest: You can visit Kuldiha Forest during anytime of the year except for rainy season when the forest becomes inaccessible.

How to go ?

From Balasore, you have to reach Shergarh via the National Highway. Then from Shergarh, reach Sujangarh via Nilagiri and Panchlingeswar. Now, you need to turn left from Sujangarh to reach the Kuldiha Sanctuary.

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Where to stay ?

You can avail accommodation at the Forest Bungalow equipped with solar lights. But for food, you have to bring your own as there are no dining facilities available.

For booking details you may contact:

Kuldiha Tourism: 
+91-9337331370, 91-9437012978, 91-9040267539

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Chandipur

Chandipur, Odisha – An exclusive and isolated seaside to spend sometime in complete desolation

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Chandipur in Orissa offering an exclusive and isolated seaside is the right choice to spend sometime in complete desolation exploring yourself. This place features a unique beach. This unusual sea resort is located in the Baleswar District of Orissa. A weekend at this quaint seaside to rejuvenate yourself is worth.

ChandipurPlaces to see at Chandipur: The beach itself is the prime attraction of Chandipur. The beach is truly of its kind. During the ebb tide, the seawater flow back from 1 km. to 5 km. and it again returns during the high tide. The phenomenon takes place twice a day, which forms wide stretch of silvery sandy beach. This rare sight is truly an unforgettable experience, which you will treasure. You can also visit Balaramgadi to view the majestic sight of the confluence of river Budhabalang or Buribalam with the sea. At this place, the famous freedom fighter Bagha Jatin was martyred by the British.

Nearby attractions around Chandipur: You can enrich your trip to Chandipur further by making trips to some exotic nearby locations. You must make a trip to Panchalingeswar (45 km. from Chandipur). The place is known for its unparalleled scenic beauty and the shrine of Lord Shiva. The religious tourists can make a tour to Remuna (25 km.), renowned for housing the temple of Khirachora Gopinath. A day trip to Nilagiri (40 km.), housing the JagannathTemple is also quite rewarding. The place is also known for the Kuldiha Sanctuary. Travelling a distance of 5 km. from Nilagiri, you will reach Sajanagarh, famous for the shrine of Bhudara Chandi.

ChandipurSpanning an area of around 2750 sq. km., the wildlife sanctuary of Similipal is also worth visiting. Covered with emerald green forest the place is the haven of a number of wild animals and 230 species of birds. You can also pay a visit to Deokund to experience the enchanting sight of waterfalls and a Sakti shrine. The serene beach of Talsari, located 90 km. from Chandipur is also a hotspot of the tourists. Another major location is Bhitarkanika, the second largest Mangrove Forest Sanctuary across the country.

Things to do at Chandipur: You can enjoy a stroll along the extensive sea beach, when the seawater recedes and vanishes beyond your eyesight. You can also hire a jeep and go for a ride on this wide beach. You can also enjoy a prolong sunbath on the sea beach. Drink plenty of green coconut water available at the sea beach. You will also find some shack in the area catering some best sweets of the region. Relish the different items of prawns at the seaside eateries.

Best time to visit Chandipur: Chandipur beckons tourists all round the year.

ChandipurHow to go ?

In order to reach Chandipur, first you need to travel up to Balasore or Baleswar, either by rail route or by roadway. Buses are available from Balasore running to Chandipur. The nearest railhead of Chandipur is Balasore, located 17 km away.

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Where to stay ?

There is a Government owned Tourist Lodge in Chandipur. For booking details you may contact:

The Central Reservation Counter of Orissa tourism.
Tel No.- 0674 – 2430764.

For detailed information you may visit their official website: www.panthanivas.com

Chandipur also offers an array of lodging facilities in private hotels ranging from expensive accommodation to budget hotels. Some options are:

Hotel Chandipur : 0674 – 270030, 270033
Hotel Shantinivas : 0674 – 270018
Pacific Holiday Inn : 0674 – 270083

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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rambha-orissa

Rambha, Odisha – Located at the southern coast of the Chilika

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Rambha is located at the southern coast of the Chilika which is the largest lagoon containing brackish water. It is 40 km from Berhampur on National Highway 5. The lake is also a residence to 150 species of migratory birds during winter. It is dotted with numerous islands. The panoramic beauty of the place overlooking the Chilika Lake and the hills will cast a magic spell upon you. Here you can enjoy the dolphin watching and bird watching in different islands like the Breakfast Island, Becon Island and Birds Island.

Places to see at Rambha: You can make trip to the Honeymoon Island, nestled in the Rambha bay, beside the Sankuda Island. The Breakfast Island, which has been formed between Badakuda Island and Somolo Island in the Rambha Bay, is truly the most rambha-orissabeautiful place to have your packed breakfast. The Somolo Island has the remnants of a dilapidated bungalow, built by the King of Kalikote. Some of the other major islands of the Rambha bay are Honeymoon Island, Birds Island, Parikud Island, Island of Nalabana, Rajhans Island and New Mouth. Among all these islands, the island of Nalbana deserves a special mention, as it is a sanctuary and a prime refuge point of the migratory birds. You can also savour the view of dolphins at the mouth of Chilka near Satpada.

The Beacon Island is also an impressive sightseeing location. The Khalikote range is also admirable, forming a wonderful backdrop of the Somolo and Dumkudi islands. Many tourists also visit the Bird’s Island, found in the southern sector of Chilka. Tourists with religious bent of mind can make a trip to the Kalijai Temple, devoted to Goddess Kalijai. Trips can also be made to the small island of Barunkuda, near Magarmukh, which houses a shrine of Lord Varuna. The Bhabakundeswar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is also worth visiting.

Nearby attractions of Rambha: A number of nearby attractions enhance the beauty of the place. At a distance of around 22 km from Rambha, the temple of Goddess Narayani adorns the valley hilltop. This scenic site is also a preferred picnic spot. You rambha-orissacan also make a trip to Nirmaljhara, located 11 km from Rambha. The place has gained popularity as both a picnic spot and a pilgrimage site. Many tourists also make tour to Banpur, which is a famous Shakti-pitha of Goddess Bhagabati. The place also houses a number of Buddhist images.

You will also truly treasure your visit to the nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles in Rusikulya Beach near Rambha in Chilka. However, no accommodation facility is available at Rusikulya Beach. So, the tourists need to stay at Rambha, from where hired cars are available early in the morning to the Rusikulya beach. The temple towns of Puri and Bhubaneshwar are the popular getaways from Rambha.

Things to do at Rambha: You will never have a single dull moment during your stay at Rambha, with so many activities around. Cruising on Chilka Lake is truly an unforgettable experience. Speed boat and motorized yacht are available at fixed price from Orissa Tourism Development Corporation. Many tourists also hire a sea kayak from Orissa Tourism’s Water Sports Complex (WSC) to move around the Nalabana Island.  Rambha is also considered a great spot for bird watching. The place being a home of around 150 species of migratory birds is truly a bird watcher’s paradise.

Best time to visit Rambha: Rambha welcomes guests throughout the year. However, winter is more charming as the migratory birds visit the region during this time. Monsoons in Rambha have a different beauty with the dark clouds rolling through the mountains over the deep blue Chilka.

How to go ?

Rambha is situated on NH 5 between Berhampur and Bhubaneswar. The nearest airport of the destination is located at Bhubaneswar, 130 km from Rambha. If you prefer to travel by train, then the closest main railhead is at Balugaon, located at a distance of 35 km from Rambha. You can hire cars or avail local buses from Balugaon to Rambha. Moreover, the buses running between Berhampur and Bhubaneswar through NH 5, also halts at Rambha.  There is a railhead in Rambha too, but express trains usually do not stop here.

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Where to stay ?

The Tourist Lodge at Rambha overlooking the Chilka Lake offers excellent accommodation and dining facilities. AC as well as non AC rooms and cottages are available offering spectacular view of the lake. For booking details you may contact:

OTDC Central Reservation Counter:
Phone: 0674 – 2430764,  1800 208 1414 (Toll Free)
Official website: www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Satapada

Satpada, Odisha – A beautiful lake resort near Puri

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Satapada – a beautiful lake resort is just 50 km from the famous pilgrimage Puri. The tranquillity of the charming place serves as a relief from the cacophony of the urban life. Satapada a quaint natural grandeur is located on the south eastern part of the Satapada Seafamous Chilika Lake. This ‘lake resort’ is famous as a point where the Chilika Lake ends its course and mingles into Bay of Bengal. The site is a favourite of the nature lovers. Here you can enjoy the frequent sights of Dolphins swimming in the azure waters of the lake and the sea. Besides the dolphin watching, cruising in the nearby lagoon is an enjoyable activity of the tourists visiting the destination. There is a bird sanctuary located nearby which is also worth visiting.

Places to see at Satapada: Dolphin sightseeing is the greatest attraction of this exotic lake resort. The Dolphin Motor Boat Association provides boat on hire to enjoy this adventurous activity. As the motorboats approach the Dolphin points they switch off their engines to maintain complete silence. If you wait for few minutes, you would see cheerful dolphins frisking in the water.

A visit to the Nalaban Island which is the home to a huge number of migratory birds within Lake Chilika is also a nice and fulfilling experience. It has been declared as a bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act in 1973. It is the heart of the park. During monsoon, the island gets flooded and it emerges after monsoon. The vast lake is the haven of 225 species of birds, algae and aquatic plants, a large variety of phytoplankton and around 350 species of non-aquatic plants. Some other areas, which also record high concentration of birds, are Parikud Island and the western shores of the Northern sector. Sunrise and sunset over Chilika from Satpada is heavenly.

Nearby attractions of Satapada: The Rambha bay nestled at the southern end of the lagoon is admired with numerous islands. The site offering visual pleasure was popular among the British as picnic ground. It is an unparalleled site for Island trip as each island features some uniqueness. Pay a visit to the Honeymoon Island, nestled in the Rambha Bay near the Sankuda Island. It is located 5 km away from Rambha Jetty. Honeymoon Island is also popularly known as “Barkuda Island.” The Breakfast Island is located in the Rambha Bay between Badakuda and Somolo Island. This island is shaped like a pear and enriched with exotic flora. You will find the ruins of a dilapidated bungalow here built by the king of Kalikote.

SatapadaThe Beacon Island is also a very charming location, bordered by the Eastern Ghat. You will admire the Khalikote hill range, forming an enchanting backdrop of the Somolo and Dumkudi islands. You can also visit Bird’s Island, located in the southern sector of Chilka. The island is shrouded with herbs, shrubs, creepers and trees. Some local birds use the island as perching ground round the year. The island also gives shelter to migratory birds during winter. The Bird’s Island is known for its rich algal communities and limited mangrove species.

The religious minded tourists could visit the Kalijai Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kalijai. You can also make a trip to the small island of Barunkuda, near Magarmukh, which has a shrine of Lord Varuna. You can also visit Nabagraha, located near the village of Berhampur. The Bhabakundeswar temple of Lord Shiva, located at Manikpatna is also worth a visit. Around two km from Rambha, Goddess Narayani admires the valley hilltop, which is girdled by a stream. It is a favourite picnic spot for tourists. Another centre of religious activity is Banpur, housing the famous temple of Goddess Bhagabati. The place is 42 km from Rambha. Another sought after tourist destination is Nirmalihara, located around 11 km from Rambha. The place is highly revered as a pilgrimage spot.

Things to do at Satapada: Tourists mainly make trip to Satapada to enjoy a boat ride in Chilika Lake and to watch dolphins. The region is dotted by a number of beautiful islands, which are also worth visiting. Boats are available from Satapada, which carry tourists to the scenic Balugaon side of Chilika. Most of the islands are also ideal for arranging picnics. Dolphin spotting and bird watching is a favorite activity at the place.

Best time to visit Satapada: Satapada welcomes tourist all round the year. Monsoons turn the sky dark and endless miles of clouds hover over the pristine Chilika Lake giving one of the most beautiful sights. Winters in Chilika welcome birds from all over the world.

How to go ?

There are several options to reach Satpada. The nearest rail station is Balugaon. Buses are available to Balugaon to the lake. You can also reach Puri by train, from where regular bus services are available to Satpada. The closest airport of Satpada is located at Bhubaneswar, about 120 km away.

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Where to stay ?

The OTDC (Orissa Tourism Development Corporation) Yatrinivas Tourist Complex is the most popular and well-equipped accommodation in Satpada. Located on the shores of Lake Chilka, OTDC Yatrinivas Tourist Complex is equipped with Suites, AC rooms as well as non AC rooms. For booking details you may contact:

OTDC Central Reservation Counter:
Phone: 0674 – 2430764,  1800 208 1414 (Toll Free)
Official website: www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Taptapani

Taptapani, Odisha – Lush green hills and jungles washed by rains

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Taptapani located amidst the forests of Ganjam District of Orissa, is just 50 kilometres from Berhampur. The place is admired by the lush green hills and jungles washed by rains. Savour the magnificent sight of the distant hills tucked in clouds. Taptapani Taptapaniis mainly known for its natural hot sulphur springs whose water is considered to have medicinal properties and is capable of curing aches, pains and skin ailments like eczema and scabies. The place is surrounded by beautiful hills of the Eastern Ghats, inhabited by the ancient tribes of Orissa. Nearby it are a majestic Buddhist Monastery, a deer park and a Shiva Temple. This place is idyllic as a weekend destination, that can be visited with another great beach destination of Orissa – Gopalpur on Sea.

Places to see at Taptapani: In Taptapani, you can visit the Deer Park maintained by the Forest Department located nearby and visit temples like Sri Nilakantheswar Temple, and Kandimata Mandir. There are numerous small waterfalls, nameless rivulets, lakes and tribal villages all around. The other interesting place to visit is the Tibetan settlement and monastery.

However, most tourists visit Taptapani to take a dip into the Sulphur rich Hot Springs, which rejuvenates them with a renewed life-force. You can take long walks along the forest trails and highlands of Taptapani or just sit back in your hotel’s terrace and enjoy the views of the distant hills and greenery.

Nearby Attractions of Taptapaani: Gopalpur on Sea – the famous beach destination with a famous light house is very near to Taptapaani. The light house at Gopalpur offers an amazing view of the sea and a part of the Chilika Lake. The other beaches of tourist attraction near Taptapaani are the Pati Sonepur beach located near the mouth of River Bahuda and the beach at Aryapalli. You can also visit the nearby temple of Taratarini surrounded by Rushikulya River and dedicated to the twin Goddess, Tara and Tarini. You can also visit Taptapani from Lake Chilka. The temple of Mahuri Kalua just 20 kms from Taptapani located on a hilltop with a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and valleys is breathtaking.

Things to do at Taptapani: You can take a long nature-walk along the picturesque landscape of the surrounding areas of Taptapani. A visit to the villages of tribal communities such as Kutia Kondh, Bonda, Dingara Kondh and Mali tribes can be interesting as you can also learn about the lifestyles of these tribal people. You can also visit Tampara, which is a large brackish lake with a water sport complex offering various water sports such as paddle boats, water scooter and more.

Best time to visit Taptapani: Taptapani is an all season destination and you can visit this place all round the year. However, to enjoy the dip in the hot water spring and to visit the nearby places, the most preferred time to visit Taptapani is between October and March.

How to go ?

From Kolkata, you can avail a train to Berhampur, the nearest rail station to Taptapani. From there, you can avail the option of taxis. Since Taptapani is situated on the State Highway connecting Berhampur with western Orissa, you can also avail the option of buses plying on the State Highway.

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Where to stay ?

The Govt. accommodation at Taptapani is the only accommodation available which is facilitated with Dining Hall, AC and Non-AC suites and bathrooms with bathtubs filled with water direct from the hot springs. For booking details you may contact:

Accommodation in Taptapani

Accommodation in Taptapani

OTDC Central Reservation Counter
Ph: 0674 – 2430764, 1800 208 1414 (Toll free).
Official website: www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Vetnai

Vetnai, Odisha – A trip to Vetnai will make you feel that you are on an African Safari

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Vetnai or Bhetnai a small nondescript village is located in the Ganjam district of Orissa. Numerous male and female Black Bucks are found here wandering at the slopes of the mountain range of Eastern Ghats. A trip to Vetnai will make you feel that you are on an African Safari. This place is ideal for the forest lovers to explore the real charm of forest safari.

Places to see at Vetnai: Vetnai is known for its 1600 Black Bucks, which roam freely on an area of 40 sq. km. Near the sanctuary is the undulated landscape of the bluish mounds, which is a beautiful sight you must enjoy.

Nearby attractions at Vetnai: Chilika Lake is a popular tourist destination that every traveller visiting Vetnai generally goes to see. Another spot is Monglajori Bird Sanctuary, where you can view Whistling-duck, Asian Openbill, Purple Swamphen, Grey-headed Lapwing and Cotton Pygmy-goose and numerous other local and migratory birds.

Blackbuck Things to do at Bhetnai: The major thing to be done in Bhetnai is sightseeing and watching the Black bucks playing around in open valleys and grasslands. You can also visit the nearby Monglajori Bird Sanctuary to view rare birds some beautiful butterflies. A trip to the Chilka Lake, to enjoy its serene beauty and playful dolphins can also be on your cards. Watch it all yourself as well as capture every moment in your camera. You can also try the popular Oriya sweet ‘Chana Poda,’ which is baked yogurt.

Best time to visit Bhetnai: The ideal time to visit Bhetnai is during the winter season.

How to go ?

Bhetnai can be reached from both Berhampore, which is 50 km and from Balugaon, which is 75 km from the destination. However, you should choose the route through Balugaon if you want to visit Monglajori first and then Bhetnai. However, if you travel by rail, then you have to come via Berhampore that has a railway station. From Berhampore there are regular bus services that can take you to Aska as well as Bhetnai.

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Where to stay?

Although Vetnai doesn’t have accommodation facilities for its tourists, good hotels are available in Balugaon. Even many comfort and budget hotels are available in the nearby town of Berhampore. Dining facilities come attached with the hotels of Balugaon and Berhampore.

Some options are:

Narayani Lodge: 6756 -20521/20212
Patro Lodge:  6756 220308

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Dangmol

Dangmol, Odisha – Savour the breathtaking beauty of Bhitarkanika National Park

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Dangmol in Bhitarkanika forest is ideal for exploring the natural beauty of the lush green vegetation. It offers excellent opportunities to savour the breathtaking beauty of Bhitarkanika National Park.

Places to see at Dangmol: The main attraction of Dangmol is the spectacular beauty of Bhitarkanika forest, which is the second largest mangrove forest in India and home of the estuarine crocodile. The coastal area of Gahirmatha is nearby, here the giant Pacific Ridley Sea Turtles visit.

Inside Dangmol Forest

Inside Dangmol Forest

Inside Dangmol Forest

Inside Dangmol Forest

Things to do at Dangmol: You can hire a boat & take a trip of the Bhitarkanika National Park & enjoy the exquisite nature. Besides, you can also go for some trekking inside the forest.

Best time to visit Dangmol: Throughout the year but avoid going during the rainy season.

How to go ?

You can start your journey early morning by car and reach Bhadrak via Kharagpur-Belda-Balasore. This is some 5 hours journey from Kolkata. But those who want to travel by train can board the Dhauli Express to Bhadrak and then hire a car to reach Chandbali.

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Where to stay ?

There are guest houses as well as forest rest house for tourists. Dining facilities are available at the places of stay.

Forest Rest House in Dangmal is a good option.
For booking details you may contact:  Ph.-272464,06729.

You can also stay at Aranya Nivas in Chandbali. For booking details you may contact:
Utkal Bhawan,
55 Lenin Sarani,Kolkata.
Tel: (033) 2244653/22164556
Central Reservation Counter
Tel: 0674 – 2430764.
For detailed information log on to www.panthanivas.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Padua

Padua, Odisha – An island with a serene lake, surrounded by hills covered with forests

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Padua near Koratpur is an island with a serene lake and surrounded by hills covered with forests. The nature is very generous here adorning the place with lakes, rivers, hills, forests, valleys and miles and miles of paddy fields. It extends over an area of around 50

Padua

Padua

sq. km, and perches at a height of 3500 feet above sea level. It is midway between Araku and Koraput and tourists visiting Araku, can easily make a trip to Padua just 30 km away. You can also reach Padua from Koraput, located at a distance of 70 km. In Padua, enjoy the boating and angling in the Macchkunda Lake, take nature walks and treks on the nearby hills and keep romancing the moonlight amidst the music of wilderness.

Places to see at Padua: Padua is an outstanding destination with an array of impressive attractions. If you have planned for a two-night stay at Padua, then visit the nearby Nageshwari Caves, Duduma Dam, Rani Duduma waterfall and Sili caves. A visit to Deomari, the highest point of Eastern Ghats is also a wonderful experience. The Macchkonda Lake along with Macchkonda powerhouse is also worth visiting. Walk down to the nearby tribal village of Kulabi, inhabited by the local tribal people.

Nearby attractions of Padua: Padua is 30 kms from Araku valley, 130 kms from Vishakapatnam and 70 kms from Koraput so you can tag Padua into your Vizag – Araku itinerary too.

Enrich your experience of touring Padua, by making an enjoyable trip to the Koraput in Orissa. The picturesque landscape of Koraput admired with verdant hills, meandering streams, lush green valleys, spectacular caves and wonderful waterfall, bring heaven to the earth. The prime attraction of Koraput is “Sabar Shrikhetra,” a modern temple of Lord Jagannath, built on a hilltop. Do not miss the Tribal Museum and Nisanimunda, located a few kilometers away from the temple.

Padua

Padua

From Padua, you can also visit Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh. Araku attracts tourists mainly for viewing its rich landscape, hills and valleys. Travelling to Araku by train from Vishakapatnam truly offers an unique experience. On its way to Araku, the train needs to cross a total of forty-one tunnels and a number of bridges. The Ananthagiri hills found on the way to Araku Valley is famous for coffee plantations and panoramic views of the entire Araku region. It lies on the Eastern Ghats of India, and is mainly the refuge of tribal people. There is also a TribalMuseum in Araku displaying tribal handicrafts and lifestyle. Araku Valley is also a superb base for sightseeing. You can visit Katika waterfalls, Ananthagiri hills, Chaparai River and Padmapuram gardens from Araku. While returning Vishakapatnam you can also pay a visit to the Tyda forest.

Another most enchanting attraction is the Borra Caves, located 49 kms from Padua. This enthralling tourist attraction, nestled at an altitude of 705 m is primarily noted for the stalactites and stalagmite formations. The caves are located in the Araku Valley of the Ananthagiri hill range and drained by the Gosthani River. At the entrance point, the cave measures around 100 m horizontally and 75 m vertically. You can also trek 4 kms to reach the nearby Nageswari caves and have a panoramic view of the  Machkunda Valley. Here you can meet the tribal people and even try to discover a part of the Nageswari caves.

Things to do at Padua: Padua is an ideal place to enjoy nature to its fullest. You can enjoy nature walks and treks over the green hills and surrounding landscape. There are also provisions of boating to the island, which still doesn’t have a name (Maybe you could be the first one to name it!). You can also do some angling in the lake. While lazing on the verandah of the resort in Padua, savor the spectacular sight of sunset over the Macchkonda Lake. You can also interact with the local tribal population to gain knowledge about their livelihood.

Best time to visit Padua: You can visit Padua any time of the year.

How to go ?

Howrah – Koraput Express connects Howrah and Koraput via Sambalpur. It takes around 23 hrs to reach Koraput. Padua is 70 kms from Koraput – you can get hired cars connecting Koraput and Padua. However, the best way to reach Padua is from Vishakapatnam. You can board the Howrah Yashwanthpuram Express to reach Vishakapatnam at 11:00 am next day (it’s a 14 hrs journey from Howrah). You can enjoy the sea beaches of Vishakapatnam the whole day and hire a car or take the 1VK (Vishakapatnam – Kirrandul Express) next morning to Padua. The 1VK Express stops at Padua station for a few minutes after crossing Araku. You can also reach Padua from Araku by road (which is just 30 kms away). If you are travelling by car from Vishakapatnam, then Padua is around 130 kms from Vishakapatnam.

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Where to stay ?

There are not many accommodation facility in Padua. There is only one resort in Padua with five excellent cottages under the

Padua Diamond Lake View Resort

Padua Diamond Lake View Resort

shadow of the surrounding hills. Painted in white, this charming resort stands amidst green hills beside the Machkonda Lake. The resort is well equipped with all modern amenities offering excellent lodging and dining facilities. You would get electricity, television, mobile connectivity and whole lot of other facilities too. The resort also arranges Pick-Up and drop facilities from Koraput, Vishakapatnam and Araku.

DIAMOND LAKE VIEW RESORT
{On Araku-Jeypore highway,30 kms from Araku.Beside Jolaput Lake}
Opp: Police station ,Padwa-764038 Odisha
(Tel) – 06868-275444 , 06868-275666

30, Jadunath Dey Road, 2nd floor, Opposite: Indian Airlines Office, Kolkata 700012
Tel : 033-22259639
Website : www.diamondlakeviewresort.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Panchalingeshwar

Panchalingeshwar, Odisha – A secluded place, located amid the tranquil & scenic natural ambience

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Panchalingeshwar is a secluded place, located amid the tranquil and scenic natural ambience. It is an unusual hamlet nestling in the hilly areas of Balasore district in Orissa. This serene site is ideal for relaxation from the aching city stress.

Panchalingeswar Temple

Panchalingeswar Temple

Places to see at Panchalingeswar: Tourists are primarily attracted to the village of Panchalingeswar to visit the Panchalingeswar Temple, which is the shrine of Lord Shiva. The temple is located on a hilltop near the Nilagiri hills and is famous for housing five shivalingas, immersed in a small flow of water. You need to ascend 263 stairs to reach the temple. Walk for 3 km from the temple site through a tribal village, to enjoy the spectacular sight of the Khumkut Dam. You could also locate a watchtower at the site.

You can also visit Sajanagarh, the place of Budarachandi, which is also a popular archaeological site. Make a trip to the Kuldiha Elephant Sanctuary and the Jagannath temple, situated nearby.

Nearby attractions around Panchalingeswar: Tourist visiting Panchalingeswar can arrange for some interesting trips to nearby destinations. Chandaneswara is a prime attraction of the tourists, renowned for its pristine beach and the shrine of Lord Chandaneswara. Tourists can also visit another serene beach at Chandipur. You can also make a trip to Remuna, the site famous for nurturing the Vaishnavite culture. The place also houses a well-decorated temple of Khirachora Gopinath. Another interesting place is Khiching, popular for housing the age-old Chamunda temple and Kichakeswari temple.

Things to do at Panchalingeswar: If you love trekking, then you can trek at the Nilagiri Hills. Enjoy your trips in the nearby sightseeing places. You can also get the pleasure of a nature walk savouring the splendid beauty of Pancha lingeswar.

Best time to visit Panchalingeswar: The ideal time to visit the place is during Autumn and Winter.

How to go ?

Panchalingeswar is located at a distance of 30 km. from Balasore and 85 km. from the town of Baripada. Regular facilities of transport are available from both the destinations to Panchalingeswar. The nearest airport of the destination is located at Bhubaneswar, whereas Balasore serves as the closest railway station.

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Where to stay?

There are not many accommodation facilities in this place. You can stay at OTDC tourist lodge in Panchalingeshwar. For booking details you may contact:

Panchalingeshwar-panthanivas

Panchalingeshwar Panthanivas

OTDC Central Reservation Counter:
Phone: 0674 – 2430764,  1800 208 1414 (Toll Free)
Official website: www.panthanivas.com

Shakuntala Nivas is another option.
Ph: +91-9938450160, 9338632694, 9338034427,9937925833

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Paradeep Beach

Paradeep, Odisha – A wonderland somehow unexplored by the tourist

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Paradeep in Odisha is located at the conflux of mighty Mahanadi River and the Bay of Bengal. Also called Paradip, it is like a wonderland somehow unexplored by the tourist. The spectacular sunsets and sunrises along with the secluded beaches, age-old temples, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles, a magnificent lighthouse and one of the largest ports in India are the prime attractions here. The place is 125 km towards the east of Bhuvaneshwar and 94 km towards the east of Cuttack. The most important activity of the people of Paradip is fishing and the best part – it is not crowded.

Places to see at Paradeep: The biggest attraction here is the confluence of the Mahanadi River and the sea. The mesmerizing scenes of sunrise and sunset make the spot a really exciting one. There is the Hukitola Building, showcasing the rain harvesting system of the earlier days. Among the ‘must visit’ destinations of Paradip, there is the Tulasi Kshetra, which is very famous for the Baladeva Temple, the Gahirmatha beach, which has now been converted into a breeding center for Oliver Ridley turtles. Don’t miss a trip to the Light House, Paradeep Port, Marine Aquarium, Jagganath Temple, Smurti Udyan and Hanuman Temple.

Nearby attractions of Paradeep: The most popular attraction near Paradeep is the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary that is spread over 672 square kilometers and is home to a wide variety of animal life like sea turtles, crocodiles and water monitor lizards apart from the wide variety of birds. The famous Gahirmatha Wildlife Sanctuary located on the fringes of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is also a great place to see the nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles. The caves of Udayagiri and Ratnagiri are also located nearby.

Things to do at Paradeep: Enjoy long walks along the beach, visit temples, take camel rides on the beach and watch the wonderful sunsets. You can visit the local temples or go for a boat safari through the mangrove forests.

Best time to visit Paradeep: The best time to visit Paradip is during the months of November to March.

How to go ?

Cuttack station is the nearest railhead of Paradip. You have to hire taxis from Cuttack to reach Paradip. You would also get hired cars to Paradip from Bhuvaneshwar. Paradip is only 125 kilometers from Bhuvaneshwar. National Highway 5A passes through Paradeep, connecting the sea side with Lalitgiri, Udayagiri and Ratnagiri.

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Where to stay?

The tourist lodge run by OTDC  in Paradeep is a good option. For booking details you may contact:

Central Reservation Counter (OTDC)
TelNo.- 0674 – 2430764, 1800 208 1414 (Toll Free)
Official website:  www.panthanivas.com

There are also many private hotels in Paradeep. Some options are:

Empires Hotel
Ph no.: +91 6722 223941

Hotel Golden Anchor
Ph no.: 06722 222 986

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson
Ph no.: 06722 223 408

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Mangalajodi-odisha

Monglajodi, Odisha – A Village of Bird Protectors

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Monglajori or Monglajodi, a village of bird protectors is located about 60 km. southwest of the city of Bhubaneshwar off NH5 and 4 km. southeast of the Tangi town. It nestles in the Khurda district of Orissa. The region is primarily a marshy land consisting Monglajodi-1of fresh water, and spotted at the northeastern corner of the Chilka Lake. This wetland of Monglajori is fed by a number of channels crossing the reed beds along the brackish water of the Chilka Lake. The area is covered with lush vegetation and reed beds, comprising mostly of Phragmites karka and Typha angustata. The prime channel flows from north to south for around 3 km. and features a nature track, running parallel to it for around 2 km. ending in a watchtower.

Mongaljori Ghera’ is a refuge of the waterfowl, which attracts a number of winter migrants. Monglajori, recognized as an IBA, supports around 200,000 – 300,000 waterfowls during the winter along with populations of around 15 other species, exceeding 1% of their bio-geographical population. The population includes Red-crested Monglajodi-2Pochard, Tufted Duck, Fulvous Whistling-duck, Asian Openbill, Purple Swamphen, Grey-headed Lapwing and Cotton Pygmy-goose. Some other species found in adequate numbers are Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Shelduck, Garganey, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Eurasian Wigeon and other resident birds. The preying birds include Brahminy Kite, Eurasian Marsh Harrier and White-bellied Sea Eagle. Whiskered Tern is also found in plenty in the season.

Few years back, hunters were very active at Monglajodi, who used to travel around this wetland with loaded guns in search of migratory birds. However, lately, bird poaching is not practiced anymore.

Places to see at Monglajori: Monglajori is an extensive wetland spanning an area over 300 sq. kms. The area is a safe haven of around 236 species of birds, among which, most of them are migratory. The tourists are truly thrilled by watching various species Mangalajodiof birds, which include Northern Shoveller, Pintail, Brahminy Duck, Bar headed goose and others. Moreover, the tourists can also closely observe the nesting, breeding of some regional wetland birds like Open billed stork, Purple moorhen etc during the rainy season.

Another major tourist attraction of the site is an age-old and largest temple of the village, popularly known as the PatitaPabanTemple. The village also houses some other notable temples like, Gupteswar Temple, Maa Mangala Temple, Nilakathaswara Dev Temple and Maa Balimajhi Devi Temple. There is also a picnic spot surrounding Maa Balimajhi Devi Temple.

Nearby attractions of Monglajori: The nearby prime spots of tourist interest are the Chilka Lake and Nalabana Bird Sanctuary. ChilkaLake is a salt water estuarine lagoon, which is the haven of seven to eight lakh birds, comprised of 121 species.

Things to do at Monglajodi: Monglajodi is the heaven for the avid bird watchers.

Beat time to visit Monglajori: The ideal time for visiting Monglajori are the months between November and March.  This is the best time for bird watching in Monglajori.

How to go ?

Balugaon is the closest rail station of Monglajori, which is accessible via Tangi by roadway.

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Where to stay ?

An eco-tourism camp is operated by private organizations in Monglajori. For booking details you may contact:

Mangalajodi Ecotourism:
Phone: (+91) 88952-88955, 97766-96800.
Website: www.mangalajodiecotourism.com

However, better lodging facilities are available at Balugaon, Kalupada and Khurda Road.

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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