Orissa is a great place to visit

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Sun Temple Konarak

I visited Orissa in December 2013. Took from a flight from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar. Reached about 7.30 pm. Took a auto from the airport to the hotels close to the bus stand. Got a nice clean room for about Rs 800/.

Spent five days in Bhubaneshwar, Konarak and Puri. Of this about 1.5 days was in Bhubaneswar, a day in Konarak and the rest in Puri. Great trip to say the least. There is a lot more in Orissa then what I saw. Left that for another trip.


This piece gives you the places seen day wise and links to albums on eSamskriti.


Day 1

Left at 6 am for the Lingaraja Mandir. Had early morning darshan (think I went too early). Keep about 90 minutes to enjoy Lingaraja.


Later visited Bindu Sarabar Lake, Anantavasudev, Parasurameshwar, Chitrakarini (next to Lingaraja) and Vaital Deul (tantric place of worship) temples. Parasurameswar Temple is the oldest temple in the city and has images of Lord Vishnu, Surya, mother Goddesses, surely worth a visit.


To see pictures of these temples 


About 100 kms from Bhubaneswar are the monasteries of Ratnagiri, Udaygiri and Lalitgiri which comprise the Diamond Triangle.. Visited them in the same order. Ratnagiri is on top of a hill, area beautifully maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Votive Stupas 8-11th century A.D. as you climb up the hill. The complex has two monasteries and a Maha Stupa. One of the monasteries has a huge statue of Buddha. Monastery witnessed growth from 5-13th century A.D.


Next site was Udaygiri or The Hill of Sunrise. It is about 20 minute drive from Ratnagiri in the midst of nowhere. Close to entrance is a Shiv mandir where met the Pandit. It has a huge Buddha image, shrine complex, ruins of a Maha-stupa and a residential complex. Museum has large number of stone images.

Last is Lalitgiri or Hill of Grace. We drove thru a village to reach a big gate. Again this is on a hill very beautifully maintained. Has Chaityagriha Stupa Complex i.e. 1st century B.C. to 7th century A.D. and monasteries 4th to 11th century A.D.


To see pictures of Monasteries 


Returned by 5 pm. Had time so visited the Mukteswar Temples cluster. Temple attributed to 10th century A.D. This is probably the most aesthetic temple in Bhubaneswar. It has beautiful decorations, outdoor wall, stone arched gateway, spire has floral design. Must see.

Day 2

The next morning went there again. Minutes away from the Muktesvara Mandir is Kedar Gouri temple. It is considered very auspicious to bath here.


To see pictures of Muktesvar Mandir 


From there visited the Raja Rani group of temples (11th century), Bhaskaresvara temple (13-14th century), Meghesvar temple (12-13th century). Also see Ananta Vasudeva and Brahmesvara temples.


To see pictures of Raja Rani & other temples


Also visited a showroom cum training centre of Sudarshan Arts and Crafts Centre. Enroute to Konarak visited the showroom of Raghunath Mohapatra (awesome stuff). Got a very good idea of how stone sculptures are made.


To see pictures of Sudarshan Arts & Crafts Centre


Enroute to Konarak three places worth visiting.


One is Dhauli where you see Ashoka's Rock Edict, a Buddhist Pagoda sponsored by the Japanese and sculptured elephant. Next is the 64 Yogini Temple 9th century (worth seeing). 


To see pictures of 64 Yogini Mandir and Dhauli 


Last is Pipli to see local handicrafts. Lots of small shops selling. Do visit.


To see pictures of Pipli 


Reached Sun Temple Konarak by about 3ish. Saw temple in evening.


Day 3

Early morning went to Chandrabhaga beach. Very cold in morning but worth it. By 7 am was back at Surya Mandir. After clicking pictures, breakfast left for Puri by about 11 ish. Missed seeing the museum at Konarak.


The drive from Konarak to Puri is very good and is called Marine Drive after Mumbai's iconic sea facing road. Was exhausted so spent time walking around the famous Puri beach and a bit of window shopping. One gets very good handicrafts and textiles in Puri.

Keep atleast half a day for Konarak, a full day if you want to enjoy. Hire a guide for sure.

Numbers of two guides whom I used. First is Panda, 91 73776 66652. Second is Shankar, 91 99377 08364.  

The temple is made of Khondalite and Chlorite stone. Must see the following -


Motifs: elephants in various altitudes, military march and processions, caravans.

Giraffe on southern side is noteworthy.

Platform: see ladies motives e.g. wringing water from wet hair, tail of snake.

Wheel: 2 by 16 spokes, 8 broad n 8 thin. Spokes minutely carved.

Deity: Navagarhas–Surya, Chandra, Mangala, Buddha, Brihaspati, Sukra etc 

Doorframe Panel: has 3 images – Siva, Shakti, Vaishnav.  

Surya Chariot: Top view from a height. Images of Sun God & Temple of Shadow or Chhaya Devi.

To see pictures of Sun Temple Konarak (exhaustively covered) -  

Album 1 

Album 2 

Day 4

Next day early morning went to Jagannatha Temple for darshan. Lucky to witness Manga Aarti at 4 am. Was back by 6 am. Bought lots of prasad to take home. Carvings on the outer wall of the main temple depict of the life of Lord Krishna. Sensous sculptures on the walls of the Bhoga Mandapa. Visit Rohini kund.


To see pictures of Jagannatha Temple

In the morning drove to Chilika Lake 40 kms from Puri. Very scenic drive. Boat ride is about 1 hour, costs Rs 1800/ for a three hour boat ride. If you are lucky get to see dolphins. Very nice boat ride. They take you to the point where the lake enters the sea.

To see pictures of Chilika Lake

In the afternoon went to heritage village Raghurajpur i.e. only 10 kms from Puri. It is known the world over for Pattachitra or minitiature paintings. Here every house either has a national or state award winner. People very humble and nice.

Photo captions have names and phone numbers of artists along with pictures of their work for e.g. Pranab Das 91 9437632111, 91 9776924900, pranab.painting@gmail.com. Keshab Handicrafts - Kumari Sasmit Maharana 91 9938142847, 91 8984439409. Panchanan Roul 91 7873076432. Tusser Silk sari by Dilip Kumar, 06752 274858, 91 9777065512, subhamartandcraft512@gmail.com. Artist Narayan Das 91 9937314078, 06752 274782, email dashandicrafts@gmail.com. 

To see pictures of Raghurajpur

Day 5

Lots of beach side hotels in Puri. Early morning went for a walk on the beach. Then visited

Totapuri Ashram (Guru of Ramakrishna Paramhansa) i.e. about a fifteen minute drive from Puri beach. It is a must visit since Totapuri Maharaj was a highly evolved spiritual guru.


Minutes away from the beach is Karar Ashram where lies the Samadhi of Swami Shri Yukteshwar Giri (Guru of Paramhansa Yogananda). Again a spiritually uplifting experience.

To see pictures of Totapuri and Karar Ashrams

Do visit Puri beach to see the work of sand artists Sudarshan Patnaik and Manas Saboo.


On return drove straight to Udaygiri and Khandagiri i.e. about ten kms away from Bhubaneshwar. Former has 18 Buddhist caves while latter has 15 Jain caves. In Buddhist caves do see Rani and Hathi Gumpah.

To see pictures of Udaygiri and Khandgiri Caves 

Day 6 took the next day morning flight to Mumbai. Orissa is lovely to visit in the winters. Lots of other places to see besides the ones referred to above. Leave that for another trip.

Also read

1. Very good travelogues on Orissa

2. About Chilika Lake