Major Cities and Tourist Places of Odisha
Tourist Places of Odisha
Category : Religious
The Jagannath Temple, Puri is one of the most renowned places of interest that are situated in the town of Puri. There are a number of temples in the town, which form one of the major attractions of the place. The Jagannath Temple of Puri is one of the most popular temples of the place. more…
Category : Religious
The Sun Temple situated at Konark is one of the most famous temples in the Indian state of Orissa. Since, Konark is situated in Orissa; it forms one of the three points of the so-called “Golden Triangle of Tourism”. The other two spots are the temple city of Bhubaneshwar and Lord Jagannath’s home, Puri. more…
Gundicha Ghar Temple
Category : Religious
Gundicha Ghar Temple, Puri is one of the most important tourist attractions that are located in the town of Puri. There are a couple of temples in the town and this temple is one of the most well known temples of the place. To visit this temple of Puri, one has to travel to the town. The airport closest to Puri is situated in the city of Bhubaneswar. more…
Category : Religious
Loknath Temple is one of the most well known places of interest in the town of Puri. Puri houses quite a few temples, which are quite popular among the tourists who come to visit this place of India. The Loknath Temple of Puri has been put up to pay homage to Lord Shiva. Therefore, this temple of Puri is also referred to as the Shiva temple of the region. more…
Daria Hanuman and Sonar Gouranga Temple
Category : Religious
The Daria Hanuman and Sonar Gouranga Temple is one of the most well known attractions for the tourists who often visit the Puri town to spend a vacation in leisure. There are many well known temples in this part of the subcontinent of India. more…
Category : Religious
Ardhasani Temple, Puri is one of the most well known attractions for the tourists in the town. The main structure of the temple is not very big. The temple is completely whitewashed. It is located at a distance of only 3 kms away from the Jagannath Temple, which is another very important temple of the region. more…
Chilka is one of the Odisha attractions, which is visited by many tourists who come to the state on a vacation. The beautiful natural surroundings of Lake Chilka in Odisha make this place one of the most commonly visited tourist places of Odisha .
Chilka of Odisha is actually the biggest salt water lake of the entire country of India. It is situated towards the south-west of Puri, which is one of the most prominent tourist spots of the state. The Chilka Lake of Odisha is quite shallow. The length of the lake is 70 kms, while its width is 15 kms.
One of the main attractions of the Chilka Lake is the variety of birds that come here during the months of winter. These different species of birds mainly come from Siberia.
The Bhitarakanika is one of the most important tourist attractions that are located in the state of Odisha . This place is a must-visit for the nature-lovers. It houses a wide range of plant and animal life.
It is home to about 170 different varieties of migratory birds. Some of the most well known birds that are found here are kingfishers, sea eagles, open-billed storks, sand pipers, kites, whistling teals, darters and sea gulls.
The Bhitarakanika provides shelter to a variety of wild animals. Some of the major wild animals found here are crocodiles, pythons, king cobras, rhesus monkeys, wild pigs, spotted deer and sambars. There is a farm for breeding crocodiles in Bhitarakanika. The white crocodile sankhua, a rare species of crocodile is found here.
One of the prominent Odisha attractions, Mahendragiri is situated in the Parlakhemundi area of Gajapati district. Placed at an altitude of 5000 feet above the sea level, Mahendragiri offers a breathtaking view of the picturesque surrounding regions.
Exotic mountain ranges, lush evergreen forests, the swift flowing rivulet of Mahendra Tanaya and the pleasant weather represent the beautiful place of Mahendragiri. Mahendragiri bears relics to the rich religious and mythical history of the region. The legendary poets, Radhanath Ray and Kalidas composed several poems in praise of the beauty of the high mountains of Mahendragiri.
The ancient site of Mahendragiri boasts of several archaeological relics that reflects the antiquity of the beautiful place. Far from the hustle bustle of the maddening crowd of the cities, the serene and calm surrounding of Mahendragiri relieves the tourists from the stress and strains of daily mundane life.
Khandigiri caves of Odisha bear relics to the rich religious history of the ancient times. Located at a short distance of just six kilometers from Bhubaneshwar, the Khandagiri caves are notable Odisha attractions that offer the tourists to experience the archaeological remnants of the bygone era.
The fifteen caves of Khandagiri were used to be inhabited by Jain scholars and hermits during the ancient periods. A perfect example of rock cut temples the walls of the caves of Khandagiri are exquisitely designed with beautiful paintings and motifs. Some of the walls bear inscriptions from the holy texts of the Jain religion.
The Udaygiri Caves comprise of eighteen rock cut caves that depicts the unique religious legacy of the ancient times. Located at a height of 135 feet, the Udaygiri hills were commonly referred to as Kumari Parvata during the ancient period.
The caves of Udaygiri were constructed to accommodate the Jain hermits and scholars who had renounced the worldly pleasures in search of truth and peace. The walls of the Udaygiri caves are decorated with beautiful paintings of human beings and animals. Some of the walls of the caves have inscriptions from the sacred texts of Jain religion carved on them.
Each of the caves of Udaygiri bears a distinct name. The double storied cave of Rani Gumpha is the most impressive of all the caves. Also known as Queen Cave, the walls and doorway of Rani Gumpha cave are extensively decorated with excellent carvings. Most of the carvings portray the victory of their native kings over the enemies.
Major cities of Odisha
Bhubaneswar is the capital of the Indian state of Odisha. The ancient city of Bhubaneswar is also known as the Temple City of eastern India. Bhubaneswar, derived its name from Tribhubaneswar, which literally means the Lord of the Three World (Tribhuban), which refers to Shiva. It is also known as Mandiramalini (The Temple City) also as Ekamra Kshetra and Kalinga Nagari. It is the largest city in Odisha and is a centre of economic and religious importance in Eastern India.
The city has a history of over 2000, years while the modern city emerged in 1948. The city was the ancient capital of the Kalinga Empire. The City is endowed with many tourist attractions and religious spots with more than 500 temples like the Lingaraj Temple, Parashurameswar Temple, Mukteswar Temple etc. are standing since ancient times and boasts of its rich culture and heritage. Together with Puri and Konark, Bhubaneswar forms the Swarna Tribhuja (Golden Triangle), one of eastern India’s most visited destinations.
Bhubaneswar replaced Cuttack as the capital in 1948, the year after India gained its independence from Britain. The modern city was designed by the German architect Otto Konigsberger in 1946. It is one of modern India’s first planned city with wide roads and many gardens and parks. It is a fast developing city with modern amenities. It is located in Khordha district of Odisha. The city is bounded by the Daya River to the south and the Kuakhai River to the east, the Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary and Nandankanan Zoo lie in the western and northern parts of Bhubaneswar, respectively. The Bhubaneswar urban development area consists of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area, 173 villages and two other municipalities spread over 393.57 square kilometres. As per the 2011 census of India, Bhubaneswar had a population of 837,737 of which males was 445,233 while the number of females were 392,504. The people here speak Odia and bears resembles to the Hindi, Bengali and Assamese language.
Bhubaneswar experiences tropical climate. The summer season (From March to June) gets very hot with the average maximum temperature going slightly above 40° Celsius. The winters (From November to February) in Bhubaneshwar are chilly, but not extremely cold and the place gets relief from the hot climate during monsoons (From July to October). The city receives approximately 1450 mm of rainfall.
Bhubaneswar is an administrative, information technology, educational and tourism city. Bhubaneswar is ranked as the best place to do business in India by World Bank. Bhubaneswar has emerged as one of the fast-growing, important trading and commercial hub in the state and eastern India. In 2012, Bhubaneswar was ranked third among Indian cities, in terms of starting and operating a business by the World Bank. In 2009, Odisha was ranked ninth among Indian states in terms of software export by NASSCOM, with most IT/ITES companies established in Bhubaneswar. According to a 2012 survey, among the tier-II cities in India, Bhubaneswar has been chosen as the best for conducting IT/ITES business.
The infrastructure of Bhubaneswar is great and there are many modern modes of transport. The Biju Patnaik international airport in Bhubaneswar is the major and sole international airport in Odisha, which is connecting all the major city in India and the city to Southeast Asia and the Middle East by daily flights. The East Coast Railway has its headquarters in Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar railway station is one of the main stations of the Indian railway network. Bhubaneswar having a major railway junction at Khurdha for South Eastern railways. Besides there are more two another station at Bhubaneswar connected to all major cities in India. The city being the capital, is well connected to all parts of the state and nearby states as well. It is connected to the rest of Odisha and India by National Highways-NH 5. Bhubaneswar has wide roads in grid form in the central city. There is regular bus service to and from all major cities.
Bhubaneswar, is emerging as a knowledge hub in India with several new public and private universities, including the establishment of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), are India’s new National Universities by the government, as well as Vedanta University, one of the world’s largest private universities. Today the city has some of the renowned universities in the country. Some of the major universities are the Utkal University, Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Kalinga institute of Industrial Technology and many more. Utkal University, established in 1939, is the oldest, with 267 affiliated general colleges, 15 law colleges, six medical and pharmacy colleges. There used to be students from far away countries like Persia, Greece and China to study mathematics, philosophy and astronomy. There are plenty of engineering colleges, science colleges, technology, higher studies and many more.
The Cultural Heritage of Bhubaneswar is opulent and unmatched anywhere in the Indian subcontinent. Bhubaneswar is supposed to have had over one thousand temples; earning the tag of the Temple City of India. Some of the famous temples include, Lingaraj Temple, Muktesvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, Ananta Vasudeva Temple. Apart from the ancient temples, other important temples were built in recent times include Ram Mandir and ISKCON. The Cultural Heritage of Bhubaneswar includes the famous Odissi dance form. The Odissi dance originated from Odisha. Odissi is considered by some historians as an offshoot of the Hindustani Classical music of northern India- although the two are quite distinct from each other. Odissi dance is generally accompanied by Odissi music. The State Museum offers archaeological artifacts, weapons, local arts and crafts as well as insights into Odisha’s natural and indigenous history. The State Museum has the world’s largest collection of palm leaf paintings.
The Fairs and Festivals in Bhubaneswar also has a magnetic attraction for visitors from all over India and the world. People here celebrate 13 festivals in 12 months which is incredible. The festivals and celebrations go on the whole year with the same enthusiasm and energy. Some of the grand festivals here are the Makar Mela, Rath Yatra, Ekamra Utsav, Kalinga Mahotsav, Parab tribal festival, Durga Puja, Ashokastami and Maha Shivaratri.
Cuttack is the former capital and the second largest city of Odisha is also the headquarters of the Cuttack district. The word Cuttack derives its name from the anglicized sanskrit word Kataka which literally means The Fort, referring to the ancient Barabati Fort, around which the city developed. This city takes pride in the fact that it had been the capital of Odisha, before its shifting to Bhubaneswar, the new capital. Cuttack is also known as the Silver City due to its famous silver filigree works.
Cuttack was founded by King Nrupa Keshari in 989 A.D. He was a marital and ambitious prince, who was always fighting with his neighbours. The reign of Markat kesari was distinguished for the construction of stone revetment or embank to protect the new capital from flood in 1002 CE. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests Cuttack becoming capital of a kingdom founded by Raja Anangabhimadeva III of Ganga dynasty in 1211 CE.
The city is spread across an area of 192.5 sq kms, centred on a spit of land between the Kathajodi River and the Mahanadi River. The city is highly populated. As per the 2011 census of India, Cuttack had a population of 606,007 of which males was 303,530 while the number of females were 302,477. Cuttack has an average literacy rate of 91.17% with male literacy at 97.87% and female literacy at 84.49%. The Cuttack ranks high in literacy rate among Top Cities of India. Odia is the primary language used in the city besides Hindi being widely spoken and understood. English is widely used for commercial purposes. Cuttack was the seat of government in Odisha for close to a thousand years before its burgeoning size forced the creation of a new capital at Bhubaneswar in 1948. The two cities are collectively referred to as the twin cities today.
Cuttack experiences tropical wet and dry climate. The summer season from March to June gets very hot with the average maximum temperature going slightly above 35 °C to 40 °C. The monsoon months are from July to October when the city receives most of its rainfall from the South West Monsoon. The annual rainfall is around 144 cm. Temperatures are considerably lower during the rainy season, averaging around 30 °C. The winter season from November to February is characterized by mild temperatures and occasional showers. The winter months feature chilly northerly winds which bring down the temperature to around 15 °C, though the bright sunshine helps maintain the pleasant weather. Temperatures may exceed 45 °C at the height of summer and may fall below 10 °C in winter.
The City of Cuttack is administered by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation. CMC was established as a municipality in 4 June 1876 and was named as a corporation in 15 August 1994. Cuttack is widely known as the commercial capital of Odisha. It is believed to have the largest GDP among all cities in Odisha due to its large business houses and wide range of industries ranging from ferrous alloys, steel and logistics to agriculture and traditional industries like textiles and handicrafts. There are many trading houses in the city renowned nationally and internationally. The city is second largest hub for textiles in eastern India. The city’s annual textile trade generates over a billion dollars of revenue. Being the former capital and now the partial capital of the state and a big business hub, many central and state government and corporate offices are in Cuttack. The service sector is quite large. The presence of Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), the largest rice research institute in Asia, adds to the importance of Cuttack in the agricultural map of the country. The presence of Odisha High Court and the SCB Medical & College, the largest medical institution in the state, further nourishes the service sector. Education is a major industry due to large number of universities, colleges, schools and coaching centers and caters to the neighboring districts.
The city is part of the larger Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC). CMC was established as a municipality in 4 June 1876 and was named as a corporation in 15 August 1994. The CMC is in charge of the civic and infrastructure needs of the Metropolitan City. Cuttack has an Air Base named Charbatia Air Base for the exclusive use of the Indian Air Force. The nearest commercial airport is the Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar, about 28km away. Cuttack Junction is one of the important stations on the Howrah-Chennai mainline of the East Coast Railway and falls under the Khurda Road division. A branch line to Paradeep starts from Cuttack. It is connected to all parts of India through trains run by the Indian Railways. As per the new numbering National Highway 16 runs from North to South of the City. As a part of the Golden Quadrilateral project, this highway runs from Chennai to Kolkata. National Highway 55 connects Cuttack with Sambalpur. Feeder State Highways connect Cuttack to Jajpur, Paradeep, Talcher, Angul, Kendrapara and nearby towns in Cuttack district. Intra city transport is primarily through Auto rickshaws. Nowadays DTS city buses ply in the city to join different places in the city and Bhubaneswar. Cuttack is a major junction connecting all the major parts of the state. The bus terminus at Cuttack is located at Badambadi, and is one of the largest bus terminus in India, and thousands of private and government buses ply to hundreds of destinations everyday.
Schools in Cuttack are either run by the CMC or by private trusts and individuals. The Odia medium schools in Cuttack are affiliated to the Board of Secondary Education (Odisha), while the English medium affiliated to either ICSE and the CBSE boards. Apart from English and Odia medium schools, certain Hindi, Urdu, Gujrati, Bengali and Telugu medium schools are also present in Cuttack. Ravenshaw Collegiate School, the oldest school of Odisha which was founded by Thomas Edward Ravenshaw in 1868 and was granted University status on 15 November 2006 is situated in Cuttack. Most of the junior colleges in the city are affiliated to the Council of Higher Secondary Education. Cuttack is home to several technical institutions which includes public and private engeneering, management and medical colleges. Shri Ramachandra Bhanj Medical College (SCB), the largest medical college of the state is located in Cuttack. The S.C.B. Medical College also has a dental wing which offers bachelor degree in dental sciences. Asia’s largest rice research institute, the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) is situated in Cuttack.
Cuttack was established more than 1000 years ago as a military establishment. Barabati fort is a 14th-century fort built by the Ganga dynasty ruler Maharaja Markata Keshari. The temple of Cuttack Chandi is probably the most famous religious establishment of city. The ruins of the fort remain with its moat, gate and the earthen mound of the nine-storied palace, which evokes the memories of past days. Cuttack takes pride in being the birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the place has now been converted into a museum named Netaji Birth Place Museum. The city constitutes the state’s only Water Park named Ocean World. A deer park is situated beside the Mahanadi Ring Road at Madhusudan Nagar, overseeing the beautiful Mahanadi River. The park has about 200 deers. The city is filled with numerous social parks. Biju Pattnaik park, Gouri Shankar park, Kathajodi river view park, Khannagar park, Jobra park are some of the prominent existing parks. The temple of Cuttack Chandi is the most famous religious establishment of city. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Chandi, the presiding deity of Cuttack. Dhabaleswar Temple is situated on an exotic island in the Mahanadi River and is embellished with stone carvings that date back to the early 10th and 11th century dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Qadam Rasul: It is a very famous holy site for the Muslims in the state. It is believed to be a type of veneration of Muhammad. Also Jama Masjid is the oldest, biggest masjid of Cuttack. It was built during the Mughal era.
Cuttack, being the aesthetic capital of Odisha for a long period, celebrates festivals from all religions with much fanfare and devotion. Cuttack is famous throughout the nation for its Durga puja celebrations. Cuttack hosts about 200 Durga Puja pandals every year. Each of them is quite unique and distinct in shape and size. The specialty Cuttack Durga Puja are the idols adorned with huge amounts of gold and silver, with localities trying to outsmart each other by constructing more attractive idols. Bali Jatra is the festival which Cuttackis look forward to most is the Bali Jatra. Bali Yatra is supposedly the second largest trade festival in Asia and the largest in India. And the other regular Indian festivals like Kali Puja, Ratha Yatra, Raja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Vasant Panchami, Holi, Diwali, Chhath, Eid, Good Friday, Christmas and the numerous festivals are celebrated here.
Rourkela is one of the beautiful and the fourth largest city of Odisha after Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur is situated about 340 kilometres north of state capital Bhubaneswar. The city is surrounded by a range of hills and encircled by rivers. The name “Rourkela” means “Our Village” in the local dialect of Sadri language spoken by the tribals here.
Rourkela is one of the oldest cities of Odisha that has a vast culture and natural heritage. In the year 1931 Rourkela was declared as the urban town. It is located in Sundergarh district of Odisha. The area of Rourkela is 200 square kilometres approximately. The area near Rourkela is rich in iron-ore hence a steel plant is situated in Rourkela. Rourkela is situated in a hilly region. Thirty six percent of the geographical area of the district has semi-evergreen or tropical dry deciduous forest. The Koel and Sankha rivers meet at Vedvyas, Rourkela and flow as a single river called Brahmani.
Rourkela experiences tropical climate. The summer season (March to June) gets very hot with the average maximum temperature going slightly above 45° Celsius. It receives high rainfall during Southwest monsoon (July to September) and retreating Northeast monsoon (December – January). Average annual rainfall ranges between 160 and 200 cm. The minimum and maximum temperatures are in the range of 11 Celsius to 44 C with a mean minimum and maximum temperature range of 14.3 Celsius to 39.2 Celsius during coldest and hottest months.
The steel city is divided mainly into two sections Old Rourkela and the much larger Steel township. The Steel Township and Fertilizer Township are under the Steel Plant Administration while the other sections of the city are under the Rourkela Municipal Corporation. According to the census report of 2011 the population of Rourkela Industrial Township is 273217 and Rourkela Town is 279753 and the urban metropolitan area is 650000. Rourkela has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 69%. People from all over the country can be found working here though, Odiyas are still a majority. It is one of the reasons why Hindi is a very popular language in Rourkela even though Odiya is a local language. Rourkela is the educational, technical and medical research hub of Western Odisha. It houses many English medium schools which provide CBSE and ICSE certificates to their students. It also has one of the National Institutes of Technology (NIT Rourkela) of the country. Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH) a district level hospital with consultancy facilities in several fields. The IGH is a modern and well equipped hospital with number of specialty health care facilities by experienced and specialised Doctors on various fields. Rourkela is the industrial capital of Odisha. It has industries of all sizes. The city is known internationally for iron &steel trades. One of the largest steel plants of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is situated here. The city is popularly known as the engineering heartland of India. The city has a beautiful park, a small zoo, a lake, aquarium, deer park and an industrial museum. The Asia’s highest Hanuuman statue, about 22 m high stands within a temple complex at Hanuman Vatika. Rourkela has an International hockey stadium with synthetic astroturf. Rourkela celebrates almost all festivals. The most awaited festival is Durga Puja and the major festivals are Nua Khai, Ganesh Puja, Kali Puja & Biswakarma Puja.
As Rourkela is the industrial capital of Odisha, it has a developed transportation network. It is situated on the Kolkata-Mumbai South Eastern railway line which is a major route connecting the two metros of India. Rourkela is directly connected to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Cuttack, Delhi, Bilaspur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Puri, Patna, Kolkata, Raipur, Ranchi, Sambalpur, Vishakhapatnam and many more cities of India. Rourkela is connected to various towns of the state by State Highway 10 and National Highway 23. National Highway 23 connects it to the nearby city of Ranchi which is the capital of Jharkhand state. Also the city has is a small airport. Some airlines companies are providing their service to connect Rourkela with other parts of Odisha.
he beautiful sand city Balasore is situated in Balasore district of Odisha, about 194 kms north of the State capital Bhubaneswar, near the southeastern coast of India. It is the headquarter of Balasore district. Balasore came to be known from the Persian word “Bala-e-sore” which means Town in the sea. The town is also known as sand city for its proximity to wonderful beaches. It is best known for Chandipur beach. It is also the site of the Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program’s Integrated Test Range, located 18 km. south of Balasore.
Balasore was part of the ancient Kalinga which later became a territory of Utkal, till the death of Mukunda Dev. In recent times Balasore has turned into an industrial town. Balasore is a town in the North of Odisha, which is a state in South Eastern India. The city has West Bengal in the north, and the Bay of Bengal to the East. Balasore is a place of scenic beauty and a major tourist attraction, also because of its historical monuments, such as various temples in the area. There are a few hill ranges in the region too.
The summer season (From Mar – Jun) gets very hot with the temperatures range from a minimum of 23° C and can rise up to a maximum of 40° C. Monsoon or Rainy season (From Jul – Sep) in the district of Balasore experiences a tropical monsoon climate and the conditions are wet for a few months of the year. And in the winter season (From Oct – Feb) is much pleasurable and amusing with a much soothing temperature range from 12° C to 29° C.
Balasore is an important tourist destination and a commercial hub of the state. There are many industries are resides here. As of 2001 India census, Balasore had a population of 106,032. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Balasore has an average literacy rate of 86%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. It is the most literate town of Odisha. The local people of Balasore are involved in producing, fishing as well as travel for sustenance.
Balasore is the education hub of Northern Odisha with many Engineering Schools and the famous Fakir Mohan University, named after the renowned novelist Fakir Mohan Senapati, who hails from this town of Odisha. There are number of schools, colleges and universities dominate the small town. Also Balasore has a strong affinity for art and literature. Balasore also a major center of cultural activities of that region.
National Highway 5 and National Highway 60 pass through the city, this highway runs from Chennai to Kolkata. Intra-city transport comprises Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws. City buses ply in two routes in the city to join the different parts of the city. Balasore railway station is an important station on the Howrah-Chennai main line of the South Eastern Railway. The distance to Kolkata is approximately 232 km, while the distance to Bhubaneswar is about 208 km. The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar. Kolkata is approximately three and a half hours by train and approximately 4 to 5 hours by bus.
Tourist attractions in and around Balasore are also aplenty. There are numerous places to visit such as Biranchi Narayan temple, Khirachora Gopinath Temple, Panchalingeswar temple, Chandipur seabeach, ITR Chandipur, Chandaneswar, Talasaari, Raibania fort, Bhushandeswar, Langaleswar, Balaramgadi, Rajagarh, Bhudhar Chandi, Kashafala, Ayodhya, Astadurga temple, Bardhanpur Maninageswar and Chasakhand’s Bagha Jatin memoir.
Balasore culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, and music . The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other cities. Balasore residents celebrate both Western and Indian festivals. Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Good Friday, Dussera, Moharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Rajaa and Maha Shivratri are some of the popular festivals in the city.
The biggest city in western Odisha Sambalpur is situated in Sambalpur district, about 325 kms West of the State capital Bhubaneswar. It is the headquater of Sambalpur district and the second largest city by population in Western Odisha. Sambalpur was established in the year 1528 by Raja Balaram Dev. It is situated in the bank of river Mahanadi and is enriched with natural surroundings. Sambalpur derives its name from its presiding deity Sambaleswari enshrined in a temple called Samalai Gudi on the banks of Mahanadi, erected by the Chauhans in the mid 16th century. The city is famous for Hirakud Dam, Sambalpuri Saree, Sambalpuri songs, Sambalpuri dance and the Sitalsasthi Carnival.
The history of Sambalpur, as depicted by eminent historians, is full of events including Indian freedom struggle representing the different sections of society. Since Sambalpur is one of the ancient places of India, which survived even in the prehistoric age and holds a very important place in the history of Odisha and India. The history of Sambalpur exhibits many evidences of its contribution towards the struggle for freedom of our country. Sambalpur lies on the bank of river Mahanadi. The river flows to the west of the city and separates Burla from Sambalpur and Hirakud. The Hirakud Dam lies upstream of Sambalpur. Budharaja is a small reserve forest located within the city.
The climate is generally very extreme, temperature raising to about 47°C in summer (From Mar – Jun) and about as low as 5°C in winter(From Oct – Feb). It gets heavy rainfall during the rainy season, very important for the region because non-irrigated area of the region depends on monsoon for agriculture. Sambalpur gets rainfall from South Western monsoon.
Sambalpur city is governed by a Municipality which comes under Sambalpur Metropolitan Area. As of 2011 India census, Although Sambalpur city has population of 183,383 its urban/metropolitan population is 269,575 of which 138,826 are males and 130,749 are females which includes Burla and Hirakud. Sambalpur has an average literacy rate of 85.69% of which male and female literacy was 90.30 and 80.92 percent. The Sambalpuri language which is one of the form of traditional Odiya language, mixed up with the tribal touch in it. It is primarily known as Kosli language which is believed to be the Indo-Aryan language of Western Odisha. Sambalpuri Language (Kosli) is spoken at Sambalpur however Odia, Hindi, and English are used for education and official purposes.
The economy of Sambalpur is basically dependent on trade. Majority of the residents are either salaried or self-employed. The forest along Sambalpur and nearby places have contributed majorly to the growth and development of this city, promoting its economy. The city is famous for handloom and other textile products. Apart from forest and agriculture, export is another area owing to which Sambalpur has furthered its economy. With industrialization, the economic channels for Sambalpur have spread to mineral based industries. Sambalpur channelizes its economy through textiles too.
Sambalpur is having one of the best facilities for education in the state with many schools and universities. Sambalpur University, Veer Surendra Sai Medical College, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Gangadhar Meher College, Government Women’s College, Odisha Medical College of Homeopathy has awarded Sambalpur the title of “Education Hub” in western Odisha.
Sambalpur has a well connected transport facility for commercial and public transportation. Connecting buses are available for road transportation of the people. The two important national highways namely the NH6 and NH42 connect Sambalpur to Deogarh and Charmol respectively. Apart from this, the State Highway 10 also has a massive presence. Railways cover an important aspect of transport facilities. There are four railway stations in the Sambalpur district at major destinations like Sambalpur, Sambalpur Road, Hirakud and Sambalpur City. The railway station for Sambalpur City is routed along Bhubhaneshwar Jharsuguda line while the other three stations are routed along the Jharsuguda-Bargarh line. Sambalpur connects with all the major cities and metros of India through the railways. Mostly direct trains run along these major towns. There are no airports in Sambalpur. But, The nearest Airports are Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur (262 km), Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (325 km) and is Jharsuguda (50 km).
Sambalpur is one of the chronicled spots of Odisha and is located deep in the lap of nature. The world famous Hirakud Dam built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in 1956 is a major tourist attraction. The dam is the world’s largest earthen dam and is one of the longest dams in the world, about 26 km in length. The whole state of Odisha is said to be a state of Temples. Sambalpur additionally has several temples and religious spots placed in the city. Some of the most famous temples of Sambalpur are the Goddess Samalai temple, Brahampura temple, Liakhai Temple, Timini, Bariha, Madanmohan and many more. Leaning Temple of Huma, located about 25 km from Sambalpur, built in the 17th century. Samaleswari Temple is the main temple of Goddess Samaleswari, located on the banks of river Mahanadi.
The language, festivals, songs and dances and everything is deeply connected with the cultural heritage of Sambalpur. The Sambalpuri dance is a folkloric dance form, which has its roots in the western part of Odisha. A dance form named Dhalkhai is performed by the young girls of several during Bhaijiuntia, Dussehra and several festive occasions. The folk music of Sambalpur and the nearby areas has an influence of the emotional eruption of the people. A cultural manifestation of the hidden age-old traditional performing art of a vast geographical area is possible through this annual celebration of the festival in the name of “Lok Mahotsav”. The famous festivals of Sambalpur portray the vibrant culture of the western Odisha. Nuakhai is one of the most important festival of Western Odisha and Sambalpur. Some of the major festivals celebrate in Sambalpur are Sitalsasthi, Bhai-Juntia and Puo-Juntia.
The Silk city Brahmapur is located in the eastern coastline of Ganjam district of Odisha, about 169 kilometres south of the state capital Bhubaneswar. It is one of the oldest and largest cities of Odisha and mainly a trading centre for Southern Odisha. The name Berhampur is an anglicized form of “Brahmapur” which etymologically means “The Abode of Brahma, the Creator”. The city is famous for its intricately designed silk sarees called Brahmapuri Patta, Bomokei Patta, handloom cloth and jewellery shops.
Berhampur is not only one of the oldest cities in Odisha but it is also one of the largest cities in this region. Berhampur name is given by the British colonialists to the city. This city once formed a part of the Mauryan dynasty under Emperor Ashoka. The city has been renamed recently as Brahmapur which reflects its Sanskrit influence in the original name. The city was declared as a Municipality in the year 1867. The city is surrounded by vast cultivable plains having mild slope towards Bay of Bengal. These Granite Rock belts in this region form a major source of employment and revenue in this city.
The climate of the city is pleasant and soothing due to its close proximity to Bay of Bengal. Maximum summer temperature is 40°C whereas minimum winter temperature is 22°C. The mean daily temperature varies from 33°C to 38°C. May is the hottest month in the year whereas December is the coldest. The average annual rainfall is 1250 mm and the region receives Monsoon and torrential rainfall for four months only in a year from July to October.
The city is administered by the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC). This organization earlier was a municipality from 1867. As per the 2011 Census of India, the population of Brahmapur is 355,823, of which 185,584 are males and 170,293 are females. The effective literacy rate of Brahmapur is 90.04%, higher than the national average of 74.04%. Male and female literacy are at 93.83% and 85.92% respectively. It is the most populated city in the Ganjam district of Odisha. By virtue of its close proximity to Andhra Pradesh, Coastline of Bay of Bengal, Gopalpur Port and Visakhapatnam it has become a center of attraction for multiethnic people in pursuit of better residential zones, education and to some extent for employment in unorganized sectors delivering various services and goods.
Brahmapur region is the hub of industrial activities in southern Odisha. A large number of private small scale industries have been set up in the city. Industrial clusters include granite processing units, Cashew nut processing, rice mills and handloom unit industries are popular in this region. Besides these industries, many state level software companies are set up in Berhampur which offer quite a many opportunities with major cities for BPO and IT companies. Berhampur has received nationwide acceptance and is celebrated for its silk and the majestic temple structures. With the ever growing industrial and economic development, Berhampur has become a hub for trade and commerce.
The city is also a major center of education in south Odisha. The city has many educational institutions like Medical College, Law College, Engineering Schools and Colleges etc. There are many major educational institutions in Brahmapur and following are some of the reputed institutions: Berhampur University, Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati (MKCG) Medical College and Hospital, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences(CPS), Khallikote Government College, Government Engineering School (Polytechnic), Parala Maharaja Engineering College(PMEC), National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), Vignan Institute of Technology and Management(VITAM), Roland Institute of Technology (RIT), Sanjaya Memorial Institute of Technology (SMIT) and Gandhi Institute for Industrial Technology(GIIT). The city has highest number of engineering colleges after the state capital of Bhubaneswar. Many students come here to prepare for engineering and medical entrance examinations especially from southern and central region of Odisha.
Berhampur being the major commercial capital in the southern part of the state of Odisha has a very well developed network for transportation. This busy city is well connected network of Railways, Airways and Roadways. The popularity and the city emerging as a trading center is majorly due to the easy connectivity to and fro the city. This is also among the major reasons for the development of the city. National Highway 5 from Chennai to Kolkata, National Highway 59 from Gopalpur to Ahmedabad and National Highway 217 from Gopalpur to Raipur pass through Berhampur. The Roads here facilitate the movement for both passenger as well as freight traffic. The regular bus services run by the government and private operators connects Berhampur to the other parts of the state of Odisha. Buses also ply between the neighboring states of Odisha. There are also luxury buses available to and from Berhampur. Berhampur city is well connected with the major cities of India via rail. Berhampur railway station located on the East-coast railway line is the main railway station of the city. This is a major route connecting two major metro cities of Kolkata and Chennai. It is also directly connected to other major cities of India including New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Puri, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Sambalpur and many other cities of India. Berhampur does not enjoy airways connectivity but the nearest airports are Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar which is just 169 km away from Berhampur and Visakhapatnam Airport in Andhra Pradesh which is 256 km away. These airports are well connected to the other parts of India with the city.
Tourism in Berhampur is emerging and flourishing because of the scenic beauty in and around the area. There are a number of temples in and around Berhampur to which people come from far off places to worship. Some of the famous temples in this region include the Bankeswari, Narayani, Kulada, Mahendragiri, Taratarini Temple, Maa Budhi Thakurani Temple, Buguda Biranchinarayan Temple, Mantridi Siddha Bhairavi Temple and Balkumari Temple. For all the beach lovers Berhampur offers a retreat like never before. The sights and beauty of these beaches include much more than the same old sun, surf and sand. Gopalpur beach which is about 16 km from Berhampur is one of the most famous spots near the city. Another one that is Aryapalli Beach is an oasis of ocean spray with endless days of warm breeze. This beach is located 30 km outside of Berhampur. Apart from this there are many other tourist spots in Berhampur which attracts people from all around the city.
The major festivals celebrated in Berhampur includes Durga Puja Rath Yatra, Diwali, Gaja Laxmi Puja, Holi, Rakshya Bandhan, Janmastami, Ram Navami, Saraswati Puja, Ganesh Puja and others. These festivals are most commonly celebrated by the people in Odisha and even the whole of India. Apart from these some unique festivals celebrated here include Sharad Purnima or Kumara Purnima. Sitala Shashti Jatra is another festival celebrated here during the month of June to mark the wedding of Lord Shivaand Goddess Parvati. Even other communities of the city such as Marwaris, Telugus, Punjabis, Gujaratis and Bengalis take part in these celebrations along with their own festivals.