Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East India state of Odisha, lies in its coastal region. Together with Konark and Puri, it forms the Swarna Tribhuja or Golden Triangle of Odisha tourism. This ancient city makes an ideal starting point for the traveller who wishes to explore the magnificence of Kalinga architecture, worship at its grand temples or enjoy the beaches of Puri.
Bhubaneswar is 30 km from Cuttack, the commercial capital of Odisha. It is also an important business centre in its own right. Bhubaneswar is also the seat of State assembly. It is considered one of the fast growing cities in India, with its Manufacturing and Information technology advancements. With more than 100 educational institutes in the city, Bhubaneswar is also very popular for students from Eastern part of India.
Odia is the most common language spoken with in the city. However, with a culture shifting towards cosmopolitan manner, Hindi and English are very much understood and accepted.
Biiju Patnaik International Airportis small, but looks new and well maintained. It is well connected with major cities of India. Direct flights are available from Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and, to a lesser extent, Bangalore. International flights are available from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok with Air Asia.
There are two officially sanctioned options for getting a taxi at the airport - Carzonrent, a private cab agency, and a prepaid taxi service run by the airport. Both have counters at the exit. The Carzonrent salesman will try to upsell you day trip packages when you are looking for just a ride. Ignore him as you are bound to find better options within city. Also, the other prepaid taxi is available only once you get past the security barrier, while Carzonrent is available both inside and outside. You are better off making your decision only after you step out. Another good option, if your destination is within the city, is to call for a radio cab.
By trainBhubaneswar is the headquarters of East Coast division of Indian Railways. It is situated on the main line from Kolkata to Chennai and is well connected to most major Indian cities. For timings and other details check the Indian Railways website. Some major trains connecting Bhubaneswar with:
- Rajdhani Express, Nandankanan Express, Kalinga Utkal Express, Duranto Express, Puri Express and Purushottam Express
- Konark Express and Lokmanya Tilak Express, etc.
- Coromandel Express, Chennai Howrah mail, etc.
- Dhauli Express, Janasatabdi Express, Coromandel Express, Howrah Puri Express, Shri Jagannath Express, Falaknuma Express, Howrah Chennai Mail, Howrah Yesvantpur Express, EastCoast Express, etc.
- Falaknuma Express, East Coast Express, Konark Express, Visakha Express, etc.
- Prashanti Express, Yeshwantpur Howrah Express, Yeshwantpur Guwahati Express(only on Mondays), Guwahati Express (Wed, Thu, Fri).
By roadBhubaneshwar is on the National Highway no.5 that runs between Kolkata and Chennai. It is 480 km from Kolkata, 445 km from Visakhapatnam, 1225 km from Chennai, 32 km from Cuttack, 130 km from Chilika Lake (Barkul), 184 km from Gopalpur-on-sea, 64 km from Konark, and 62 km from Puri.
By busBuses travel to and from major cities in the region, originating at Baramunda Bus Station. The station should be reached by auto as it is not central at all. Tickets can be booked at the station, which is serviced by a good number of eateries, fruit and grocery stores and even a barber. Buses are decrepit, but quirkily decorated and very cheap (an overnight ride to Kolkata cost ₹400 in early 2015).
Bhubaneswar's roads are well-laid out by Indian standards, and the newer parts of the city are well-planned. Getting around is easy and inexpensive.
By busTown buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and cheap. DTS (Dream Team Shahara) is a partnership between the government of Odisha and Sahara, a private company, that runs a public bus service. Buses ply all over the city, between 06:30 and 22:30 at about 20 min intervals, though the timings for specific routes vary. Fares are very reasonable, a 15 km journey costs ₹25. Tickets are bought on the bus - by cash only. Caution is advisable in using these buses as typical of any other Indian city as they can be very crowded.
By taxiAuto-rickshaws are the lifeline of Bhubaneswar and can be found on most streets of the city. Drivers are generally courteous and honest. Negotiate a rate beforehand, and make sure that the driver understands your destination. A short journey of around 5 km will cost you about ₹100. There are also shared autos that make journeys for as little as ₹5/km.
There are several online cab-hailing companies, such as Sairam Taxi, Ola cabs (Auto, Share Taxis, Cabs, Full day rental cabs), Uber (Cabs), Jugnoo (Auto) and Rapido (Bikes) operating in Bhubaneswar. Ola and Uber can be hired for visiting day trips to Puri, Konark or Chilika. However, you can easily find safe and reliable hired taxis also, that will do so.
Dhauli Giriaddress: Dhauli RoadLooking down on the plains that bore witness to the gruesome war waged on Kalinga by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, stand the rock edicts of Dhauli. It was here that King Ashoka, full of remorse after the Kalinga War in 261 BC, renounced his bloodthirsty campaign and turned to Buddhism. The edicts are a living testimony to the King's change of heart. He urges his administrators to rule the land with justice and compassion. The edicts are so remarkable that they have been excellently preserved, despite the fact that they date back to the 3rd century BC. A sculpted elephant, the symbol of the boundless powers of Lord Buddha, tops the rock edicts. The Shanti Stupa or the peace pagoda, built through the Indo-Japanese collaboration, is on the opposite hill.
address: Khandagiri-Chandaka Road KhandagiriThese twin hills served as the site of an ancient Jain monastery which was carved into cave like chambers in the face of the hill. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, some of the caves have beautiful carvings. The Rani Gumpha (Queen's Cave), one of the largest and double-storied, is ornately embellished with beautiful carvings. In the Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave), King Kharavela has carved out the chronicles of his reign. At the summit of Udayagiri is an excavated Jain temple. Khandagiri has a operating Jain temple.
Lingaraj Templephone: +91-674-234 0105address: Lingaraj Road, Old TownThe 10th or 11th-century Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar has been described as "the truest fusion of dream and reality". A rare masterpiece, the Lingaraja temple has been rated one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India by Ferguson, the noted art critic and historian. Every inch of the surface of the 55 m-high Lingaraja temple is covered with elaborate carvings. Sculpture and architecture fused elegantly to create a perfect harmony. Non-Hindus are not permitted inside; however, there is an elevated viewing platform next to one of the boundary walls. To reach the platform, face the temple's main entrance and walk around to the right. There is a laneway leading to the back of the temple and the platform. Photography is prohibited inside the temple complex: the platform offers a good vantage point to photograph the temple. Just be careful of the scammers who try to befriend you, saying they are in charge of the temple, then make you sign into the "guestbook", which is just the notebook full of random names and "donations", forcing you to "donate" as well. One of them reports any foreign people in the viewpoint to the second one, who comes later on the blue scooter, trying to trick you. Near the temple is Bindu Sarovara, a large lake that is reputed to have a drop of water from each of all the holy rivers of India.
Mukteshwara TempleDating back to the 10th century, this temple marks an important transition point between the early and the later phases of the Kalinga architecture. The highlight is the magnificent torana: the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Odisha. This temple is considered to be the gem of Odishan architecture. Mukteswara means "Lord of freedom." The Temple complex also houses the siddhesvara Temple.
Rajarani TempleThis temple got its name from a red-gold sandstone used, which is called Rajarani locally. It has no presiding deity but many intricately carved figurines in various stages of daily chores.
Sri Krishna-Balarama Mandiraddress: ISKCON, on NH5Non-Hindus and foreigners who desire to visit a Hindu temple can go to this temple. The devotees are friendly and there is a cheap and clean vegetarian restaurant.
Traffic MahadevA small temple which acts as a road divider.
Ananta Vasudeva TempleThis 13th-century temple is on the eastern side of Bindu Saravar. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra are worshipped out here. It is first of the large temples of Odisha.
Parasuramesvara TempleDating to 650 AD this is the oldest surviving temple in Bhubaneswar, and possibly Odisha. The temple consists of two parts, Vimana and Jagamohan. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Odisha State MuseumHousing a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, traditional and folk musical instruments. Rare epigraphic records are preserved in the Epigraphy Gallery.
Museum of Tribal Art & Artefactsaddress: CRPF SquareGives an impressive insight into the culture of the many different tribes living in and around Odisha. Tools, clothes and artwork are presented over several halls. In every area a guide of the museum will take care of you and give you extensive explanations. No entrance fee.
address: Nandankanan Road, Khordha BarangThe zoo has some rare species of animals and is particularly well known for white tigers. There is a nice lake inside for boating and a ropeway, which, as of 2015, has been non-functional for 3 years. There is also the Botanical Garden is adjacent to the zoo. Avoid visiting the park on weekends when it gets crowded.
Deras Damaddress: near Chandaka SanctuaryA pristine, quiet lake in the midst of the nature.
- Visit the scores of parks in the city. The planetarium for one is good. The science park refreshes your basics and takes you back to school days. Or go around the rose garden in CRPF square or the NICCO park.
- There may be an odd play going on in Rabindra Mandap, opposite the General Post Office. Or a dance program at Soochana Bhavan. This place also had radio news broadcasts (May1998) and a newspaper library. Visit places such as the hall of dance called Natamandira or the bhoga-mandapa, meaning hall of offering. Though these particular places can be found around the temple, the temple itself is off limits to non-Hindus.
- Enjoy the architecture of both ancient temples and the modern buildings in Sachivalaya Road.
- Take rest in one of the many small lassi shops and enjoy one of those cool yoghurt drinks. The lassi in Bhubaneswar is one of the best around.
Other than the new-economy companies, historically, the largest employer in Bhubaneswar has been the government.
Colourful wooden icons of Lord Jagannath, sandstone icons and gemstones are a few other artifact that you can take back as mementos.
Hand-woven textiles, known as "handlooms" as in the rest of India, are exquisitely beautiful. For women: sarees and clothes that can be stitched into salwar kameezes, or kurtas. Shirts or kurtas for men are a good buy.
phone: +91-674-2530230address: Unit-2, Ashok Nagar Bhubaneshwar,Government-run handloom shop
Market Buildingaddress: Ashok Nagar, Bhubaneshwar, OdishaThis shopping complex run by the city's Municipal Corporation, is an excellent place to shop in Bhubaneswar. It has a multitude of shops, including Boyanika, and Utkalika, government run shops for handlooms and handicraft respectively, many other shops that sell handlooms, general cloth shops and various street vendors selling a wide range of products.
Country Kitchenaddress: Bapuji NagarSpicy non-veg (mainly chicken) and separate veg restaurant.
address: Sachivalaya Marg, ChandrasekharpurAuthentic Odiya cuisine.
Hare Krishna restaurantA vegetarian restaurant.
address: 8-B, Jaydev Vihar-Ekamra Kanana Road
- Mirch Masala; petrol pump Chandrashekharpur, Patia
The CellarThe latest addition to the city's night-life, where you can bowl, booze, and dance to Bollywood numbers from 21:00-23:00. This place attracts crowds.
Desireaddress: , Pal HeightsGood interiors, a good place for boozing and chilling out
Rock Onaddress: opposite XIMBNice place to drink and to spend time with friends.
Xstacy Loungephone: +91 9437799977address: Plot No 421B, Nandan Kanan Road, Above Canara Bank, Chandrasekharpur
City Lodgeaddress: 55 Janapath, Ashok NagarThe entrance does not look good, just a narrow metal staircase, but the lodge itself is in reasonable condition.
Ginger HotelGinger probably gives the best value for money in Bhubaneswar. Book online (but change into a package price during check-in to get breakfast included). Buffet breakfast and dinner. In-house Coffee-Day and ATM. Wireless may work.
phone: +91-9337046699address: 29 - Janpath, Bapuji NagarContains the Odiya Chhadakhai Restaurant and multi-cuisine Janak Restaurant, both of which it touts.
Hotel Pushpakaddress: Kalpana SquareLooks old but the interiors are very good. The bar is quite comfy.
phone: +91 674 2310044 (bookings), +91 9439865225 (front office)address: Plot No 2, Old Station Square, Netaji Subhash Marg, Upasana, Old Station Square, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha 751006Rooms are basic if shabby with comfortable beds, TVs, bathrooms and wifi. Room service is reasonably priced. Given the option, choose a room on an upper floor with a fan (not AC). The laundry service is slow and not recommended unless staying three or more nights. On a quiet back street, the hotel is near to a number of breakfast stands and a shiny new supermarket. Online bookings, although the card payment system is unreliable. English is spoken by some staff.
Railway Retiring Roomsaddress: Inside the Railway StationVery clean and safe place. Your ticket number is essential.
Be aware of the many touts near to the tourist places: railways, temples and hotels. The 'Pandas' can be notorious if not shown respect. But be within your limits and a polite no (sometimes repetitive) will be ok to avoid getting scammed. In case you have an issue with an auto rickshaw driver or taxi then report immediately to a police outpost, or call 100.
- Baliguda, roughly 270km south from Bhubaneswar is home of Konds and Kutia konds. This is known as gateway to tribal tourism in the state. You can enjoy the nearby attractions like Belghar Sanctuary, Sapanala River Valley and Daringbadi, and get good hotel accommodation in Baliguda. Hotel Bivab is the best hotel to stay in this area.
- Bhitarkanika National Park, roughly 120 km North of Bhubaneswar, is home to the largest population of Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in all of India and is home to the largest known living crocodile at 23 feet in length. The park also features a wide variety of other wildlife, including a rare Albino Saltwater Crocodile.
- Chilika lake is regarded as the Mecca for birdwatchers. It is about 100 km from Bhubaneswar. The brackish water being the reason for its amazing bird diversity, it is the second largest brackish water lake in Asia.
- Koraput - NALCO and HAL plants
- Manglajodi in Chilika is a fishing village on the banks of the lake. it would be better to contact the local conservation group Wild Odisha, who will suggest a good guide who can take you around and will help you hire a boat too.
- Rock City Kodala is nicknamed Rock City, it is around 60 km from Brahmapur.
- Rourkela - Situated about 340 km North from Bhubaneswar. Direct train is available. Rourkela is one of the bigger cities of Odisha, and is also known as "Steel City".
- Sambalpur - Hirakud Dam and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Silk city Brahmapur (also spelled Berhampur) is nicknamed Silk City. It is around 180 km from Bhubaneswar.
- Simlipal National Park