Bhubaneshwar – A thriving centre of art and culture, once the heart land of erstwhile Kalinga Kingdom, Bhubaneswar is presently renowned as the capital city of State of Orissa in India. Bhubaneswar, literally means the Lord (eswar) of the Universe (bhuban), is a hub of historic temples and the city is webbed with many concrete lanes. The present modern city of Bhubaneswar was established in 1946 which is designed by the world renowned German architect Otto Königsberger. The capital city, once known for its architecture and grand temples, is presently a thriving centre for commerce and business. Having blended very nicely its formidable past with its modern aspirations and facilities, it forms a part of the Golden Triangle of holy temple cities Puri and Konark.
Bindusagar Lake: Bindu Sagar, also known as the Ocean Drop Tank, is a sacred tank lying to the north of the Lingaraja Temple. A number of temples and shrines are scattered around the tank. The lake is about 1300 ft in length and 700 ft in width. It is believed that Bindusagar contains water from every holy stream, pool and tank in India. People believe that when a person takes a dip in the Bindu Sagar Lake, all his sins washes away and he gets rid of all his diseases.
Brahmeswar Temple (c. 1050) is an architectural marvel of the matured Orissan temple building skills and style. The temple also incorporates certain innovative ideas like introduction of a great number of musicians and dancers on the exterior walls, and the use of iron beams in the construction for the very first time.
Situated close to the 'Ekamara Kanan' in Bhubaneswar, the Cactus Garden has a huge collection of over 100 varieties of Cacti and other species. The main aim of the garden is to preserve and conserve this endangered species. The cacti and succulents are also known for its medical values.
Enroute visit Hirapur village & 64 Yogini Temple
Hirapur, approximately 15 Kms from Bhubaneshwar, is a quaint village boasting an ancient roofless temple dedicated to Goddess Mahamaya. The Sixty Four Yoginis temple at Hirapur is a circular enclosure with a narrow doorway to the eastern side. There is no roof over the enclosure. The diameter of the enclosure is 7.62 meters or 25 feet and height of the wall on the paved floor inside is 1.87 metres or 6 feet 2 inches.
Inside the temple there are 60 niches and in every niche there is a figure of a Yogini. The other four Yoginis, who were perhaps housed in the Pillared Mandap in the centre of the Shrine, cannot be seen now. Yoginis are various forms of Goddess Durga who are attendant on her. The scholars opine that the Sixty Four Yoginis temple is an outcome of the Brahminical Tantric cult prevalent in Orissa during 8th and 9th Century A.D.
Enroute visit of Dhauli Ashoka Edict
enroute visit Dhauli, which is located about 8 Kms from the south of Bhubaneshwar on the bank of river Daya. The rock edicts of Dhauli narrate the story of grisly combat between Ashoka and Kalinga. The place is witness to emperor Ashoka's penitence after his violent crusade in Kalinga, and his eventual transformation after embracing Buddhism. The prominent rock edicts of Dhauli include an elephant convoy, the sprawling Buddha, footsteps of Buddha demeanor the wheel (Chakra), a quiescent beauty admired by female entourages, the Bodhi tree, procession on back of horse and monarch Ashoka forsaking confrontation by presenting his rapier to Lord Buddha at Dhaulagiri Knoll. Each edict is a perceptive rendering of outstanding Buddhist convention. The sculpture of elephant located on the top of edicts is one of the oldest rock edicts of Dhauli.
Enroute visit of Pipli
Pipli-Applique in Orissa is an old temple art, which has been refined to perfection. A fine example of the craft is the enormous appliqué canopies above the reigning deity of Puri, Lord Jagannath. Applique art is the processs of cutting, colored cloth into shapes of animals, birds, flowers, leaves and other decorative motifs and stitching them on to a piece of cloth that can ultimately be used as a lamp shade, a hand bag or even a garden umbrella.
Enroute visit Raghurajpur
Enroute visit Raghurajpur, the village is renowned for incredible artistic work on cloth, dried palm leaves or paper. Almost every house in the village is engaged in the fantastic art. The village has also a picturesque background, set on the southern bank of river Bhargavi and surrounded by coconut, palm, mango, jackfruit groves and other tropical trees. There are various temples dedicated to different lords, Radha Mohan, Gopinath, Raghunath, Laxminarayan, Gouranga and the revered village goddess, Bhusuni.
Excursion to Botanical Garden & Nandan Kanan Lion Safari Zoo
Nandankanan literally means the 'Garden of Pleasure' or 'Garden of Gods'. It is in Chandaka forest, 25-kms from Bhubaneswar and is famed for its white tiger population. It houses a variety of mammals, reptiles and various species of birds. The zoo enjoys an excellent reputation internationally, for successfully breeding black panthers and gharial crocodiles. Nandankanan is a Biological Park where animals are kept in their natural habitat, where a centrally located lake divides the Zoo from the Botanical Gardens.
State Botanical Garden, established in the year 1963, is situated next to the Nandankanan Zoological Park. The lake, which flows through the center, separates the garden from the park. It holds a wide species of plants such as hibiscus, brownie grandiceps, bougainvillea, dahlia, and chrysanthemum and is an ideal place for plant and nature lovers.
Excursion to Chilka Lake
Full day excursion tour of Chilka Lake. Approximately, 120 Kms from Bhubaneshwar, The Chilka Lake in Orissa is Asia's largest inland salt-water lagoon. Studded with small islands- including the picturesquely named Honeymoon Island and Breakfast Island- the lake is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a sandy ridge. The pear-shaped lake spreads across 1,100 sq km, and has a unique ecosystem with a range of aquatic flora and fauna found in and around its brackish waters. An impressive array of bird life, both native and migrant, makes Chilka one of the best places in India for a bit of satisfying bird-watching
Mukteshwara temple is often called the 'Gem of Orissa Architecture'. This 10th century temple of lord Shiva is known for its brilliant work in Kalingan style architecture with a combination of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain features. Mukteshwara temple is also important because it was built during the transition phase of early and late school of Kalingan architecture.
The Rajarani Temple was built in the 11th century AD. It is proportionate in measurement and stands majestically in a green field. It was constructed around the 11th century and dedicated to Lord Brahma but has no presiding deity now. There is a beautiful 59 feet high tower in the temple. The temple is also noted for its excellent sculptural art of erotic postures.
State Museum (closed on Mondays): The very first glimpse of the museum will take you into the world of past, reminding you of the history and cultural traditions of the state. The museum has an amazing collection of copper plates, coins, stone inscriptions and sculptures, rare manuscripts written on the palm leaves. The museum also houses age-old bronze tools and traditional & folk musical instruments.
This museum specialises in the art and culture of Orissa's 62 tribes. Each of them has their own art, handicrafts, dance forms and festivals. Dressses, ornaments, weapons, household implements and musical instruments are on display in well-lit and captioned galleries. (IMP: The Museum remains closed on second Saturday of every month).
Udaigiri & Khandagiri Caves
The twin hills of Kumargiri are known as Khandagiri (Broken hill) and Udaygiri (Hill of the Sunrise). These are the two hills facing each other across the road. The ancient caves of Udaigiri and Khandgiri are considered consecrate, as this was the place where Lord Mahavira addressed the people of the area. On these hills are archaeologically significant 113 caves, which are nearly 2300 years old. These rock-cut caves were built for the Jain monks around 1st - 2nd century B.C. The Khandgiri hill is about 40 meters high and the Udaygiri hill is about 35 meters high. At the apex of Khandagiri hill stands the 19th century "Parsvanath" temple. An idol of Bhagawan Adishvar in the Padmasana posture is the main attraction of this temple. The thirteen years lithic record of King Kharavela engraved in Hati Gumpha near Udaigiri is a magnificent specimen of Pali records so far found in India.
Built in the 8th Century, the Vaital Temple is an excellent example of Kalinga architecture. Vaital Temple features a double-story oblong roof that was influenced by Buddhist cave architecture. The Temple belongs to the Khakara order and was the center of Tantric worship, eroticism and sacrifice. The erotic sculptures are evident on the walls of the Vaital Temple.
Up Market/ Mall Shopping
Bhubaneswar has a slew of shopping malls like Forum Mart, Big Bazaar, Pantaloons and the newly-opened chic garment store called Reliance Trends. Grocery stores like Reliance Fresh Limited are all around the city. The departmental stores include TLC Universal and Unitech that are
Saksham Bazaar at Sainik School Square is a perfect destination for grocery shoppers where you can get items at good bargain. There are plenty of high-end and medium brand outlets on Janpath.