state in Eastern India

Odisha (Odia: ଓଡ଼ିଶା Oṛiśā oh-RRIH-sah) formerly spelt Orissa, is a state in Eastern India.

Location of Odisha within India

Regions

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Odisha regions - Color-coded map
  Coastal Odisha (Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Ganjam)
The most visited region of Odisha, home to Chilika Lake, Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple and picturesque beaches.
  Northwest Odisha (Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Subarnapur, Angul, Deogarh, Kendujhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj)
  South Odisha (Nuapada, Bolangir, Boudh, Nayagarh, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Khordha and Malkangiri)

Cities

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Jagannath Temple, Puri

Here are nine of the most notable cities.

  • 1 Bhubaneswar — state capital, transport and education hub
  • 2 Brahmapur (Berhampur) — the Silk City
  • 3 Cuttack — the former capital of Odisha and the twin of Bhubaneswar
  • 4 Koraput — enchanting hills, verdant forests, winding streams, exotic wildlife and a rich tribal way of life
  • 5 Paradip — the port city
  • 6 Puri (Jagannath Puri) — famous for Jagannath Temple and vibrant beach, and the most popular tourist destination in the state
  • 7 Rourkela — one of the biggest cities of Odisha, also known as "Steel City" of Odisha
  • 8 Sambalpur — the biggest city in western Odisha
  • 9 Sunabeda — the Kashmir of Odisha

Other destinations

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  • 1 Bhitarkanika National Park — mangrove wetland park
  • 2 Chilika Lake — the second-largest lake in India, and a migratory bird hotspot. Also home to sea turtles and dolphins.
  • 3 Simlipal National Park — a massive wild life sanctuary in Northern Odisha. Home to tigers and elephants

Understand

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Odisha is a coastal state at the Bay of Bengal. The eastern part, close to the sea is more prosperous, with a lot of tourist locations and religious places. The western part is a hilly and forested area, generally drought prone. It is a predominantly tribal belt. However, the western part of the state contains enormous volumes of iron ore and various minerals.

It is a culturally rich state. The Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark golden triangle is the pride of the state.

Traditionally, Odisha descended from the historical kingdom of Kalinga. The script for the Odia (Oriya) language derives from the Kalinga script, which is one of the descendants of the Brahmi script.

Culture

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The people of Odisha are known for their hospitality. It is largely peaceful (there has never been any large scale violence on communal grounds), and the society is very tolerant and accepting towards other cultures. However, for reasons historical, economic and political, Odisha has remained isolated from the country's mainstream and hence has not been able to take in its stride the tremendous progress the Indian people have achieved in all spheres, including those the social sphere. The people, especially in the tribal western belt, remain extremely simple in their way of living, and are mostly unaware of the mannerisms of the urban world.

Talk

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Odia (also spelled Oriya) is the local language. It is an Indo-European language like most North Indian languages. It is closely related to Bengali, to the extent that the two languages are mutually intelligible. Hindi is also spoken here. Many people understand English. Bengali is spoken particularly in the tourist centres, and even Telugu is widely spoken in southwestern Odisha.

Get in

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By train

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There are regular trains from Delhi, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai.

By plane

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There is an airport in the heart of the city of Bhubaneswar (BBI IATA) with flights operated by all major airlines. It is well connected to other major destinations such as Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Get around

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By taxi

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  • Taxis or hired cars are available in important cities and towns.

By autorickshaw

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  • Private rickshaws cost less than regular taxis but you will have to squash up with whoever else gets inside.

Temples, beaches and Chilka Lake. Shimilipal National Forest which is a paradise for nature lovers.

Odisha is well known for handicrafts. Sambalpuri and Kataki sarees in handspun cotton and silk or tussar, have traditional Hindu and Buddhist designs on them. There is filigree work in silver that you will find in Kataka. You will also find fine tribal work in brass and other metal-wire. Pattachitra is traditional painting on palm-leaf or raw silk.

See also: South Asian cuisine
 
Chennapoda, a cheese dessert from Odisha

A typical meal in Odisha consists of a main course and dessert. Typically breads (roti, paratta) are served as the main course for breakfast, whereas rice is eaten with lentils dal during lunch and dinner.The breakfast consists of chuda (poha, flattened rice), mudhi (muri, puffed rice), chuda can be eaten either as fried or with curd-banana-sugar (known as Chudaa Dahi). Mudhi is a famous snack in north Odisha. Different pitha also form the breakfast menu. The main course at lunch includes one or more curries, vegetables and pickles. Given the fondness for sweet foods, the dessert course may include generous portions of more than a single item. Odia desserts are made from a variety of ingredients, with milk, chhena (a form of cottage cheese), coconut, rice, and wheat flour being the most common.

Chhena podha is a dessert made of cheese and is a delicacy of Odisha. It is a must-try dessert and not found at any other place in India. Eat the rasagullas from the dhabas or the little snack stores set in freeways; they come in yellow-white and brown colours and are very delicious. Taste chena poda, another traditional sweet from Odisha that is made with fresh cheese, semolina and/or rice flour, cardamom, ghee and dried fruits and nuts. If you enjoy spicy food and are used to Indian cuisine, you can try out the local Odisha cuisine made out of seafood (like fish, tiger prawns and crab curry prepared with exotic spices).

Drink

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Green coconut and sugarcane juice are popular.

Local alcoholic drinks are called mada. There is a large variety of mada made from tropical fruits and grains.

Sleep

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There are several good hotels in Bhubaneswar, such as Trident Hilton, Hotel Mayfair, and Hotel Swosti Plaza. You can also get decent accommodation at the OTDC hotels all over the state in tourist locations. In the smaller towns, try to stay in the Forest Bungalows or Inspection Bungalows, mostly run for government officials on tour, but provided to others when vacant.

Stay safe

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The area is infested with mosquitoes and so carry DEET insect-repellent spray, mosquito-repellent coils and take the doctor's advice, in advance, about anti-malarial medicines.

It is not advisable to venture out late in the night in deserted places and sea beaches, and it's better to have a local tour guide with you for company.

Coastal Odisha is also prone to cyclones, with the peak season from May to November.

Connect

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There are cyber cafes in most of the important tourist cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri; it will not be difficult to find one. The per-hour rate is also as low as ₹10/hour or even less.

Go next

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This region travel guide to Odisha is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!