Bhubaneswar, located on the Mahanadi Delta on the Bay of Bengal, is the capital of Odisha (Orissa, as it was formerly known). One of the world’s oldest cities, Bhubaneswar’s history dates as far back as the 4th century BCE, when under the stalwart leadership of the Philosopher-Emperor Ashoka, this city was the capital of the great kingdom of Kalinga, with a well developed civil and military structure. Today, Bhubaneswar is a thriving, modern city with all the trappings of a major commercial hub. However, with over 500 of India’s finest temples in and around this city, Bhubaneswar still retains its religious ambience. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in Bhubaneswar.
Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves
The main attraction in Bhubaneswar, these are rock-cut shelters located 6 km from the city. Some of them have intricate artwork carved into the walls. Evidence suggests that these were sanctuaries for Jain followers constructed around the 1st century BCE.
Raja Rani Mandir
This is an ornately decorated temple named after the stones used to construct it around 1,100 CE. The unique design incorporates the placing of pairs of statues as dikpalas, or guardians, around the temple to protect it. Beautiful sculptures adorn the pillars.
Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts
Orissa is blessed with a large community of various tribes, whose culture and way of life are illustrated in this museum. It features tribal dresses, jewelry, tools and weapons, and even musical instruments used by tribal people.
For an informative and comprehensive look into Orissa’s history, the State Museum is the best bet, with an impressive collection of artifacts including Bronze Age implements, invaluable palm-leaf manuscripts, musical instruments and a display that details the anthropology of Orissa’s tribes.
Regional Science Centre
This one’s straight from Jurassic Park. The RSC is a large park with models of huge dinosaurs and other exhibitions related to science and astronomy. The entry fee also includes a 30-minute movie that is shown every hour.
Orissa State Handloom Cooperative
This cooperative stocks some of Orissa’s uniquely designed textiles, including appliqué and ikat fabrics.
This is a great place to shop for or gawk at a wide range of handicrafts from the state. This market also features a number of food stalls, although the official opening time is 10:00 hours, most of the shops open much later.
Modern Book Depot
This book stocks a range of English literature, paperbacks, coffee-table books, maps postcards and even books how to learn Oriya.
Orissa Modern Art Gallery
This gallery displays some outstanding contemporary art created by local artists. It also sells prints and originals of various art pieces.
A nice place to relax, with dim lighting and great choice in Indian, Chinese and continental dishes. However, if you want some drinks to accompany your meal, you will have to have your food at the bar, adjacent the restaurant. But since this is the best place close to the railway station, the minor inconvenience is a small price to pay.
This list of the top 10 things to do in Bhubaneswar will make your itinerary-making a whole lot easier. Of course, there are other things to do and see around here, but these top 10 things are enough to make your trip memorable and enjoyable!