Archive for the ‘Orissa Tourism’ Category

Now It’s Satkosia That’s Going High On Tourist’s preference with Eco Tourism

Satkosia Gorge

Enchanting Evenings on the banks of Mahanadi in the Satkosia gorge

Satkosia– The stunning gorge sanctuary lapped besides the Mahanadi river in Angul District has been a destination that has managed to retain its virgin charm and still presents awesome sightings to the occasional visitors.  The lesser known tiger Reserve of Odisha spreads across two sanctuaries – the Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary and The Baisipalli Sanctuary and offers rich biodiversity to the wanderers/ Though animals like deer, sambars ,elephants , crocodiles and leopards are common sighting, one need a particularly long stay apart from unwavering patience to get a glimpse of the tigers which are present in handful amount hers.

The place hardly enthused or got a mention in any tourist’s itinerary to odisha. However of late vigorous promotion by the Odisha  tourism department has led Satkosia to catch the attention of the touring population to the state. In an effort to build up tourism industry in Satkosia, the government constructed a Eco-tourism center near Chhutkei village under the Purunakote forest range of Angul District. The center that has five bamboo cottages that are equipped with all facilities for a comfortable stay. The center was constructed at a cost of Rs 50 lakh and was inaugurated on 7th December 2011.

1073 tourists have visited the camp since it was inaugurated in 2011. Among them 7 were foreigners , 200 from the West Bengal and other states of the country while the rest belonged to Odisha. Total revenue generated from the visits amounted to roughly around Rs 11 lakh. Apart from being used in the services of the visitors and maintenance of staffs and facilities, a part of the revenue generated goes to the Satkosia Tiger Foundation.

But what is more important is the fact that ever since the tourist facilities came up, the villagers are getting employment here itself and as a result of this the migration of people to other parts of state for employment activities has stopped substantially. Local people work mostly as guides for the visitors. while others have taken to the work of taking them on boat ride on the river Mahanadi.

Indeed the eco tourism center at Satkosia has changed the face of the region.  There are many other clusters of the state that are known for exquisite natural beauty. However they remain unknown to the outside world. The lessons learnt here if employed successfully in other parts of the state will definitely boost up the image of odisha in the tourists map of the country

 

Siruli Mahavir Temple of Orissa: An ancient Shrine of Lord Hanuman

Siruli Mahavir Temple

Siruli Mahavir Temple

One of the important  seats of Hanuman worship in Orissa, the Siruli Mahavir temple  is noted for its antiquity as well as uniqueness of the idol of the presiding deity; Lord Hanuman.  Notably, the idol at the temple of Lord Hanuman at Siruli has the image of  Mother Anjana carved on the thighs of Lord Hanuman which incidentally is the only of its kind in the entire world.

Situated at about 27 kms on  the north east of Puri town,the shrine  lies between Puri and Bhubaneswar.Though not imposing in view or magnificently designed, the structure shows typical adornments of the ancient Orissa architecture like the  Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandapa and Bhogamandapa. It is built in both late rite and sand stones. A tank has also been excavated in the eastern side of the temple complex. The temple faces south, while the idol of Lord Hanuman  in standing posture is set towards the Jagannath temple of Puri and the  right eye is set towards Lanka ( the kingdom of Ravana).

The huge statue of Lord Hanuman is enshrined in the sanctum is carved on a single piece of stone in standing posture . He holds a short dagger in left hand and Gandha mardana mountain in right hand. The figure of Lord Hanumana has been designed in the attitude of destroying Murasura (a demon). Anjana, the mother of Lord Hanumana is carved to the right side of the pedestal. The height of the figure is about 10 feet and made of black chlorite stone. A Shiva Linga canopied by seven hooded serpent is carved on top of the head of the figure. The figure of Lord Mahavir exhibits Lord Rama and Goddess Sita in his tearing heart.

There is a a popular legend that gives importance to this temple of Lord Hanuman. It is widely believed that Lord Hanuman used to stand guard to Lord Jagannath at his temple in the earlier days. However goddess Laxmi once had problem getting into the premises of the Lord as the enormous sized Hanuman obstructed her vision. She thus instructed Him to retreat two and half foots back and then take guard.  Lord Hanuman upon retreating back reached Siruli where the present day temple has been built.

On the basis of the local tradition people say that the temple was built by Anangabhima Deva – III (1212 A.D. to 1236 A.D.), the Ganga ruler of Orissa.  R.P. Mohapatra has referred that the Mahavir temple of Siruli was constructed during the late medieval period.

On the basis of the architectural features, the construction period of the temple can be tentatively assigned to the 16th century A.D. It is known from the above discussion that the architectural features of the temple  is not so important like other notable temples of Orissa. But the temple is considered by devotees as  one of the important  Hanumana  shrines of Puri. People of the neighboring villages attend this deity in large numbers.  Festivals like Makara SSankranti, Dusshera, Kumar Purnima , Ramanavami, Dola, Chandana Yatra and Gahma Purnima are regularly observed  in this temple with great pomp and enthusiasm.

 

Nature’s Own Habitat: Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary

Olive Ridley Turtles

Olive Ridley Turtles

Winter is approaching and what better time for a quick weekend trip somewhere? And if you are planning for a trip, well, a marine world life sanctuary is what you should be looking to explore. You need not book air tickets and plan in advance; Gahirmatha marine wild life sanctuary is one of Orissa;s top delights. Check out what’s in store for you….

Gahirmatha coast in Kendrapara district, the world’s largest nesting beach for olive Ridley turtles is packed with pleasure for tourists. Declared a wild life sanctuary in Orissa in 1979 and a world heritage site, Gahirmatha is significant for turtle conservation.

The breath taking view of the sanctuary, located on the converging point of the Dhamra River and Bay of Bengal attracts nature loving tourists. You will be amazed by the extensive area covered by the sanctuary – nearly 1,435 sq km. Watching the olive ridley turtles crawling on the beach is a rare sigh you will cherish for years. The sanctuary has been declared a world heritage site and has slowly attracted attention as an important place in Orissa Tourism.

Gahirmatha turtle sanctuary hosts  a variety of flora and fauna. One will find flaura like  Bels, terminenalia, Zizphus Bija, Salaia Sal, Babul, Teak, Bamboo and many other varieties in the sanctuary. Although the sanctuary is famous for the giant olive Ridleys which travel from as far as the Pacific ocean to nest her, it also  hosts the wild boars, barking deers, bears, leopards, crocodiles, jungle fowls, hyenas, wild dogs, four horned antelopes, sloth bears and blue bulls.

On a clear moonlit night, during the nesting season, you will see thousands of turtles crawling out of the sea, puffing and laboring as they drag themselves towards the beach. They usually select a suitable site, dig a hole in the sand with their flippers, lay nearly 120 eggs each, cover and compact the holes with their own body, sweep out all traces of their visit and crawl back to the sea – all within 45 minutes. Environmentalists are of the view that this is indeed one of the nature’s miracles.

Olive Ridley Turtle Hatch lings in Gahirmatha

Olive Ridley Turtle Hatch lings in Gahirmatha

The state government, assisted by International and regional NGOs has created this safe habitat for giant turtles. This has only been made possible by adhering to strict regulations banning fishing and forbidding nearby industries to run amok.

Once considered a delicacy by the locals who used to catch these creatures not long back, today the harmless creatures can at least move around freely thanks to the timely intervention of the government. The result is evident : today you can see thousands of giant olive ridleys in Gahirmatha.

On your tour to the marine sanctuary, watch out for no less incredible creatures thriving all around. But please retain you curiosity and don’t disturb them.

Nearby Attractions

While on a trip to the Gahirmatha sanctuary, you can also visit some interesting spots nearby. The temple of Lord Shiva built in the early 9th century in Dangmol is worth visiting. The sandstone temple of Nahakbabu is also a prime attraction. Some other spots at Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri Buddhist complex are worth visiting. One can also embark on a trip to Chandipur beach from here.

Bhitarkanika wild life sanctuary and national park near the Gahirmatha sanctuary is a major attraction. It sis recognized as the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India covering an area of 672 sq km.  The forest offers shelter to more than 2145 species of birds. It is also recognized s a “Crocodile Sanctuary” and is home to  the biggest population of salt water crocodiles in the country.

 

 

 

Orissa’s Hot Water Springs

Orissa is endowed with  a bounty of scenic, sublime and serene natural destinations which make it attractive to all kinds of tourists. One such attraction is the hot water sulphur springs. These springs, normally situated under thick cover of forests are important spots of religious practice.Of the many sulphur springs in Orissa, the one’s at Atri,Tarabalo, Deuljhari and Taptapani are famous.

Atri - Hot Spring in Khurda

Atri - Hot Spring in Khurda

Atri: Situated at a distance of 42 kilometers from Bhubaneswar in the Khurda district,Atri is one of the most frequented hot water sulphur springs in Orissa. The sulphur spring at Atri is situated amidst paddy fields and a distinct odor of sulphur surrounds the entire area. The spring water at Atri maintains a steady temperature of 55° C all through the day. The water from the spring is believed to be have medicinal properties that possess curative powers. Locals even claim the water to be capable of curing infertifilty in women. The Orissa Tourism Department has constructed a bathing complex near the spring that allows the pilgrims to take bath indoors.

Tarabola Hot Spring In Orissa

Tarabola Hot Spring In Orissa

Tarabalo: The hot water spring of Tarabalo is located in the Nayagarh district. Spread over an area of 8 acres, Tarabalo should be a must see destination in the itinerary of any tourist visiting orissa. The place is set amidst dense forests and is known for its scenic beauty. Te panoramic views and greenery make it an interesting picnic spot.

Deuljhari Hot Spring In Orissa

Deuljhari Hot Spring In Orissa

Deuljhari: The hot spring of Deuljhari is located between Athamalik and Angul district. Surrounded by green forests, the sulphur spring stretches over a vast area and maintains a high degree of temperature throughout the year.

The spring originates from a beneath a shivalinga which gives it a religious attribute. The hot water from the spring is collected in 36 manmade ponds that circumscribe a Shiva temple. This very phenomena is considered miraculous and draws tourists from far and wide.

Taptapani Hot Spring in Orissa

Taptapani Hot Spring in Orissa

Taptapani: Located at a distance of 50km from Berhampur, aptapani is a popular destination for tourists who visit this spring from far and wide. Set amidst dense thickets, Taptapani is situated on the perch of a hill. Hot water oozes from two different places and the temperature varies from 90° Fahrenheit to 100° Fahreinhit. The water from the hot water spring is channelized into a nearby pond which is open to the public for bathing. The spring is attributed with religious significance and a temple has been built near it. Over the years the place has developed into a place of pilgrimage.

 

 

Dadarghati – An unexplored Paradise in orissa

Dadarghati dam at Parjang block in Dhenkanal district can well be dubbed as the second paradise for migratory birds after brackish water lagoons of Chilika.

The majestic dam with its artificial waterfall is admired for its scenic beauty as it attracts many visitors and tourists who flock here for weekend picnic. Starting October, the place turns into a melting pot of migratory birds. Thousands of birds visit the dam every year who fly in here from places as far as Siberia,Baikal lake and

Darghati Dam - Orissa

Dadarghati - A paradise for bird lovers

Ukraine.

Oronthologists are of the opinion that this place receives the highest population of migratory birds in Orissa after Chilka. Apart from the birds, thickets in the adjoining areas are noted for divergent wildlife population. Elephants can be spotted coming in troops here for drinking water. Similarly deer and langoors are available in plenty here.

But it’s the ever increasing population of birds in the recent years that has pushed Dadarghati as a ‘must place to visit’ both for bird lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

The dam originally built on river Gambhiria nullah for a medium irrigation project in 1981.The catchment area of the project is 102 sq km and its full reservoir level stands at 118.87 meters. The reservoir covers five Pani Panchayats  in adjoining villages of Parjang block.

 

The place which is slowly seeing an increase in traffic of tourists in recent years from October till February, has every potential to be nurtured as a tourist destination. The weather being temperate and hospitable during this time has a magical effect both on the surroundings as well as the visiting tourists.

So if you are looking for a break from daily life activities, visit Dadarghati and enjoy your stay in nature’s lap.

 

Tourism Facelift for heritage Orissa Sites of Khandagiri and Udayagiri

Khandagiri: The cave complex of Bhubaneswar

Khandagiri: The cave complex of Bhubaneswar

The tourism industry of Orissa is going to get a major facelift with the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) lining up to provide cleaner greener and more amusingenvironment to tourists in the Khandagiri and udaygiri caves.

A mega tourism complex will be coming up near the caves. A food court serving varieties of traditional oriya dishes ,wide parking place, interpretation centre to disseminate various information onOrissa tourism and sculpture and heritage in the form of literature, video and audio CDs will form part of the mega complex at Khandagiri.

A circulation centre and a multimedia centre will be established to provideinformation about the culture and tradition of the state and to provide knowledge on a particular place through laser shows on water screen.

Apart from this, a common facility center will come up to encourage craftsmen of various communities to display their crafts and sell indigenous products to visitors.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be establishing a vending Zonein the region with an objective of providing cleanershopping amenities to tourists apart from generating employment for local youth.The facelift is expected to generate more revenues for the tourism department of Orissa.

Buddhist Monastery of Solampur

 Buddhist Mound of solampur in orissa

Buddhist Mound of solampur in orissa

That Orissa is the land which gave birth to Buddhism is a fact that many historians in Orissa and elsewhere contend. Dispersed across the landscape of the state are many sites of Buddhist afflictions that lay claim to the corroborations of the historians.It is an accepted fact that the Jajpur district of Orissa was once the epicenter of Buddhism in Orissa. Places like Lalitgiri, Udaygiri and Ratnagiri from Jajpur are known worldwide as sites of Buddhist importance.

However there are other places in and around Jajpur which are important Buddhist sites. Solampur, once a part of the Jajpur district and now placed in the geographical map of Bhadrak district is one such place.Placed just on the banks of northern Branch of the Baitrani river ,the site occupies a remarkable position in the history of Buddhist religion of Orissa.

The place finds mention in the Neulpur copper plate of Subhakaradeva-I and Ratnagiri plates of Somavamsi Karna as Solampur Mahavihara. The inhabitants of Solampur claim that the place was once the site for the royal palace of Bhaumkara and the Baitrani river was used as a moat for it. Numerous sites in the place corroborate the Buddhist origins of the place. These are:

The Mound

Located in the northern side of Solampur, a mound of burnt bricks,potteries and terracotta are found in the mound.The bricks found on the site owe a striking resemblance to bricks that have been used in the monastery of Ratnagiri. Still awaiting excavation, this mound is thought to be the monastery of Solampur.

Santhesvari

A small shed in the eastern side of the mound is locally known as Santhesvari.A number of Buddhist Icons such as those of Boddhisatva,Buddha, Jambala,Tara, Lokeswara and votive stupas are placed in th verandah of the Shed.The front portion of the shed has good number of icons such as Avalokiteswara and Jambala which are half buried in earth. All these images belong to 9th 10th Century A.D.

Raghunath Jew Temple

Located close to the Mound is the Rghunath Jew Temple which is estimated to be more than 200 years of age. The temple although Vaishnavite in affliction, has man idols that are Buddhist in origin. The frontal, northern and western walls of the temple have Buddhist icons.

The Buddhist Monastery of Solampur is a place of historical importance that still awaits restoration and further study. Slowly the efforts of the government and local people are however bring fruitful results.

Lakhari Wildlife Sanctuary of Orissa

So what if you have not heard about Lakhari earlier? So what if you hardly find any reference to Lakhari among the wildlife sanctuaries of Orissa let alone India? Just think… Is it not that the best places in the lap of nature are still unexplored?

Lakhari Wildlife Sanctuary

Lakhari Wildlife Sanctuary

Lakhari is one such destination. Serene, Beautiful and rich in flora and fauna! Untouched and unexplored by humans, the valley still retains most of its charm. To the people in the district of Ganjam, where the Lakhari Sanctuary lies, the place is synonymous to the abode of God.

The Lakhari wildlife is rich flora and fauna. Huddled silently in the Lakhari valley in Ganjam district, this wildlife sanctuary retains the most exotic variety of wildlife in Orissa. Spread over an area of 185 sq km, it offers a rare feast of rich tropical forest, hills, valleys, perennial water sources and a diversified fauna.

This sanctuary is home to animals like elephant, spotted deer, Sambar and monkeys. But it is two species of animals which are increasingly getting rare and are found here, that the valley holds special charm. Tigers and black bucks are two variety of rare animals which find Lakhari Sanctuary an ideal place to live in. Though one can find it easy to spot black bucks here, spotting a tiger is something that demands a bit of contribution from Lady Luck than anything else. Climate in the sanctuary is moderate and conducive for most live forms. Though, for tourists who depend a lot on nature to satisfy their senses, a visit in the monsoons is recommended. The valley goes live in the monsoon when all waterfalls start gushing water with a force that is brutal. The spectacle of the Gandahati waterfall in the rainy season is breathtaking.

Black bucks are found plentily in Lakhari Sanctuary

Black bucks are found plentily in Lakhari Sanctuary

A known habitat for elephant, the sanctuary is important elephant. Although human habitation in many parts of the elephant corridor is threatening the region for the last five to six years, large-scale poaching of elephants, bear and sloth bear is affecting the wildlife population. But, still the region enjoys the distinction of having a large percentage of landmass under forest cover in the entire state of Orissa.

If you are an wildlife enthusiast and are constantly drawn towards the forests and valleys, a visit to Lakhari will be a refreshing one for You. The wildlife sanctuary of Orissa is still to be explored by tourists and as such retains most of its virgin charm. You can take an accommodation at Digapahandi and Taptapani Panthanivas. Promoted and maintained by the department of Tourism, government of Orissa, The Panthanivas hotels offer the ideal stay for tourists.

Konark the Greatest Expression of Oriya Culture

Konark temple defies Introduction. Standing on a deserted stretch of sand on the Chandrabhaga beach, the Black pagoda has been much more than a temple. To the sailors of the yore, it was a guide post, to the historians today ,a a lens that give insight to the past greatness of Orissa, to the scholars a subject which is as intriguing as interesting, to the artists , a much awaited destination to showcase their skills, to the architects a thematic piece of design that defies any parallel in the world and to the awe struck tourists a mix of emotions and experience that is enriching, enchanting and unnerving.

Etymology

Konar - The Culmination of Oriya Architecture

Konark - The Culmination of Oriya Architecture

A combination of two words Kona (corner) and Arka (sun) gave Konark the identity and purpose that it was meant to be – A place of Sun Worship. In fact the temple was one of the earliest centers of Sun worshipping in India and one of the most important place of pilgrimage then. Early mentions in the Puranas though point the existence of another temple at the same place before the present structure came up. In some Puranas the temple has been referred to as Mundira or Mundirasvamin, a name that was subsequently replaced by Konaditya or Konarka. Apart from the Puranas, other religious texts also point towards the existence of a sun temple at Konark long before the present temple. The place where the temple stands today was once a bustling port of Kalinga.

History of Konark

The present structure was built by king Narashimhadev I (AD 1238-64) of the Ganga dynasty. He built the temple to commemorate his victories over the Muslims, who were pushing into Orissa from the west. During his reign he won at least three resounding victories over the invaders. Narasingha himself was more renowned for his valor than his piety. It is possible that he built the temple as a supplication for the Lord’s grace in helping him win these battles. The profusion of carvings, on and around the temple, depicting military subjects, seems to confirm it.

Gradual Collapse Of The Magnificent Konark Temple

Intricate Carvings on the wall of Konark

Intricate Carvings on the wall of Konark

The magnificent temple was ravaged and desecrated by the marauding Muslim Invaders in the beginning of 17th century. They inflicted more damage to the temple than was visible. The Muslims damaged the “Shikhar” of the temple taking it to be made of gold.The ‘Shikhara’ of the temple in fact was made of copper and was meant to provide balance to the several massive blocks of stone beneath it. The very weight of these block of stones served to keep the corbelled walls of the spire in position by counteracting their tendency to fall inward.  Once the Kalasha was removed, the plaster covering the dowels was damaged and exposed and, over time, washed away. The iron underneath now began to erode, disintegrate, and finally fell apart. Worse still, the essential tensile balance of the spire was destroyed. There was nothing to prevent its crumbling.

Several years before the removal of the copper Kalasha, the local maharaja had removed the cult image of Surya from the sanctuary. It was taken to Puri, for safety from the approaching Muslim armies. Once the presiding deity had gone, the temple was shorn of its spiritual power, and local interest in it declined. Added to it, the desecration of the temple by the heretic Muslims led people to shun the once respected place of worship.

The carcass of the Konark temple was unearthed and brought to the limelight in the late 19th century by the initiatives of the Lord Curzon, which was deserted under the sand for 300 years due to lack of maintenance and negligence. The British Archeologists uncovered the lower portion of the temple structure and restored the ruins of the temple.

The Unparalleled Architecture of Konark

Main Entrance of The Konark temple

Main Entrance of The Konark temple

The temple now in ruins, still holds much of its magnificence and has much to feed to the imagination of tourists. In its present form the temple 229 feet high with the audience hall at a height of 128 feet and the compound area is 857 feet by 540 feet wide. The entrance of the temple is guarded by two lions crushing a war elephant. In the entrance there is a Dancing Hal where the dancers of the temple used to worship God Sun through their dance. The dancing hall in front is intricately carved and is of photographer’s preference.

The major attraction of the Konark temple is the wheels of the chariot which are 10 ft in diameter with intricate architecture & carvings. During the ancient days these wheels were used as tools for watching the time cycle of a day (24 hours) with the shape of the shadow of the wheel depicting the specific time of the day and the seven horses dragging the Chariot represent 7days of a week. The whole temple area is enclosed by different geometric patterns. Around the base of the temple, up to the walls and roof there are sculptures of couples in varied postures of in erotic style. The intricacy & detailing of sculptures of animals, men and warriors, musicians playing drums & different instruments in odissi dance posses on horses in the temple are the examples of magnificence of the Oriya architecture during that era. Equal deftness can be found on the vast array of erotic sculpture on the walls of Konark. Konark is plastered with loving couples locked in ingenious amatory postures drawn from the Kama Sutra. The presence of these amatory sculptures confirm the influence of Tantric form of worship on the socio –cultural landscape of Orissa during that point of time.

With all the efforts made by government to restore the temple, there is hardly anything to stop the temple from degenerating. Writhing under the damages done centuries earlier, battered by storms and sea winds and nibbled by salt and sand, the temple seems to be gradually returning to its source, like some majestic galleon that is slowly but surely slipping under the waves. And it will be a matter of century before the marvelous structure would be buried in as anecdotes in text books.

Sea Surfing gets Spiritual Touch in Ramchandi Beach of Orissa

The world is slowly waking up to the take notice of the serene beaches of Orissa. Orissa is noted for long coastline and as many as 14 sea beaches rest in the long coastline of 480km. However most of these are still unknown to the outside world and enjoy their place in the virgin lap of the nature. Ramchandi is no exception.

Situated at just 7 kilometers from the world famous shrine of Konark,t he beach lies at the mouth where the River Kusabhadra meets the Bay of Bengal. Mostly sought after by local population, this virgin beach is slowly turning out to be a hot destination for vacationers, tourists and sea adventurers. And the factor that has bought in the change is what was left unnoticed by everybody till recently. High Tides!

Sea surfer at Ramchandi

Sea surfer at Ramchandi

Offshore winds that make the tides of the sea particularly high in Ramchandi make it open to various sea sports like Sea Surfing. And realizing the potential of the sport in drawing tourists from outside the state and country, Orissa Tourism in association with Rangers Adventure Foundation was quick to conduct a training and adventure camp on Sea Surfing. But it’s not just the training program and the resulting excitement from Sea Surfing that is attracting the people. In a show of unique farsightedness, Orissa tourism was quick to club spiritual practices like Meditation with the training program. The training adventure camp known as “Surfing Yogis” has found many followers.

Instructors from Hawaii and Australia and well known diver Sabir Baksh can be seen on the beach teaching tourists not only surfing but also meditation techniques. And this unique concept of surfing and spirituality is getting very popular as adventure lovers are having a gala time at the camp and at the sea.

Orissa is replete with places that can make a beeline of tourists and make them revisit it again and again. Efforts like these are commendable as these are sure to elevate Orissa high in the tourist map of the country.