Swarna Tribhuja, the Golden Triangle of the East is the most visited tourist destination in Odisha. Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, being only 365km away from Kolkata, it is an easily accessible quick gateway option for the people of Kolkata and I have been fortunate enough to frequently visit Bhubaneswar and immerse in the beauty of its numerous temples, witness the vivid fauna at the Nandankanan Zoo, visit the multifarious museums and devour in the city’s local cuisines.
The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik International airport that connects the city Bhubaneswar to Kolkata. There are several bus and cab services available near the airport to reach the inner city.
Regular and frequent train services to Kolkata are available from the main railway station namely, Bhubaneswar Railway Station. Many cabs, taxis, autos and buses are available outside the station.
Baramunda Bus Stand is the main bus stop of the city from where regular bus services are available from Kolkata.
There are various types of accommodations available at Bhubaneswar. From hotels to homestays, there are a plethora of options for travellers to opt based on their requirements.
Ashok Nagar, Nayapalli, Jaydev Vihar are some of the areas where you will find a good range of hotels offering quality amenities. Both budget-friendly and luxury hotels/resorts are present in these areas.
There are hotels available near Biju Patnaik International airport and Bhubaneswar railway station. If you have to explore around the city, it is more convenient to stay closer to the railway station.
There are plenty of other homestays and guest houses in some residential areas around the city at an affordable price making it easy for budget-friendly travellers. It is advised to be thorough with reviews before choosing a particular place.
1st day of the trip
I went to visit Bhubaneswar last October which is one of the best months to visit the city to get to explore Bhubaneswar in all its pleasantness. The weather was warm and calm which made it possible for me and my family to roam about at ease. Bhubaneswar being called the “temple city of India” houses more than 700 temples in the city itself, so we started the trip with visiting some of the magnificent temples. We visited the Rajarani temple, Lingaraj temple and the Mukteswara temple all dedicated to Lord Shiva. All of these temples dated back to the 10th century and exuded the architectural styles of the Kalingas. The massive structure with the intricated architectural styles is what makes these temples so prominent within the city. The premises of each and every temple is kept very neat and clean where tourists can stop for a moment and take a lot of pictures. Learning the religious and historical significance of each of these temples from our tour guide made us awestruck.
The next and the last stop for the day was the popular Udaigiri and Khandagiri Caves. Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves which were previously known as the Cuttack Caves are half natural and half artificial caves of historical, archaeological and religious importance. Udaygiri meaning “Sunrise hill” has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves. The important caves are Ranigumpha, Hathigumpha, Ananta gumpha, Ganesha gumpha and others. Though not very much well maintained this place is nice for a one time visit. One of the hills has a temple on top of it where devotees can come and offer their daily prayer. The view of the entire city from atop the hills and a soothing view of sunset is an amazing and wholesome experience to cherish. As the hills and the caves are surrounded by jungles all around it is advisable not to delve deep into the jungles to protect oneself from any insect bites or bugs or even an act of thievery.
2nd day of the trip
The second day of the trip mostly revolved around the visiting the Nandankanan Zoo. The fees is around Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 for roaming around the zoo with some additional charges if one books a tour guide and gets the tickets for the jungle safari. It is the first zoological garden to enter the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2009. It was established in 1960 and partly is a botanical garden and a sanctuary. In the zoo there are a great many number of birds, reptiles, herbivores as well as carnivores to gaze at.
But the most interesting part for me was the jungle safari as Nandankanan Zoo is the first Zoo to offer white tiger safari each and everyone in the vehicle was excited and looking forward to it. There are various safaris such as Tiger Safari, Lion Safari, Bear Safari, Herbivores safari and also a beautiful butterfly garden. The visitors are put in a unique situation where they are kept inside a protected vehicle mostly a covered bus and they are taken into the natural habitat that is deep into the jungles where the animals live.
While the specially protected vehicle moves meandering through the crisscross roads the tigers and the lions roam about freely along the paths which makes the entire journey a gasping and a thrilling one. A visit to the Nandankanan Zoo is a time-consuming process which leaves very less or no scope to add any further sightseeing sites to go to for the day. There are a number of street-side stalls and shops selling various foods just outside the zoo gates where the visitors can sit and have their daily meal. The visiting hours are 7.30 am to 5.30 pm during the summers while 8 am to 5 pm during the winters.
3rd day of the trip
We reserved the last and the third day of the trip for the museums. We went to the Odisha State Museum, the Tribal arts and artefacts Museum and the Kala Bhoomi Museum. The Odisha state Museum amazes its visitors with the diversified contents. Headed by the Cultural Affairs Department of Odisha Government it is a famous museum of Bhubaneswar. It has total eleven sections namely; Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, Armoury, Mining and Geology, Natural history, Art and Craft, Contemporary Art, Patta Painting, Anthropology and Palm leaf Manuscripts.
Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts is a museum where on display are various tribal clothes, jewellery, utensils, musical instruments and much more. It gives a deep insight into the tribal lives and many local artists are seen creating various things in the museum premises. Life-sized huts and houses are made on the campus where a glimpse of the tribal household can be seen. In the middle of the museum campus is the section where various Gods and Goddesses prayed by the tribals are portrayed. The premises during the winter season is filled with freshly bloomed flowers where one can pose and click many pictures. As well as there there is a mini auditorium inside the museum where at every fifteen or thirty minutes one can watch any documentary regarding the tribals, each of the rooms has a TV with wired headsets for interested people to watch tribal documentaries. In the museum campus, there is a shop which sells various tribal products at an affordable price.
The Kala Bhoomi Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm. This was our very last stop of the entire Bhubaneswar trip and we got to see the beautiful craftsmanship of the artisans and some masterpieces. The museum is divided among two sections, in one of the sections we could see various handicraft and handloom products on display while the second section is the live section where most of the workshops happen. The museum offers live pottery workshops which is intriguing for any tourist as it was to me. The museum is built y locally found sandstones and stands as one of the oldest monument of the region.