The expansive verdant paddy fields, sun-kissed beaches and amazing architectures make Odisha Travel a must-do for foreign tourists. Located in Eastern India, its coastline is embroidered with the Bay of Bengal.
Travellers can visit ancient temples, dense forests, tribal villages, thrilling wildlife parks and lot more. The main tourist attractions include Jagannath temple, Konark Sun Temple, Nandankanan Zoological Park, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves and Puri Beach.
History of Odisha suggests that it once served as a powerful trading centre for kingdoms of Sumatra, Bali and Java. The site witnessed the Battle of Kalinga, fiercest war in the history of India. It had changed the life of Emperor Ashoka and turned him into a follower of Buddhism.
Following are few interesting insights on Odisha
People and Culture
Flaunting the largest number of tribes in India, Odisha portrays a diverse socio-cultural background, especially in districts like Sambalpur, Koraput, Malkangiri and Mayurbhanj. Oriya is the widely-spoken language and sounds similar to Bangla and Assamese. Hinduism is one of the major religions practised along with Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, while tribes like Santhals and Mundas follow the Saran tribal religion. Among the top 50 festivals celebrated in Odisha, Ratha Yatra, Konark Dance Festival and Durga Puja are the prominent ones.
When it comes to dressing, Oriyas are very particular of wearing traditional outfits especially on festive occasions. Men wear dhoti, kurta and Gamcha while women are seen draped in colourful silk saris. Dalna- a typical Oriya delicacy cooked with lentils and green vegetables is a must-try when you visit. Also savour the sumptuous dahi vada and aloo dum. Sea-food are great to taste especially chingudi tarkari made with prawns.
Arts and Handicrafts
Odisha Cultural Travel Guide includes long history of stone carving, pattachitra (cloth based painting), sculpture and architecture. ?Some of the famous artworks are appliqu? work, palm leaf paintings horn craft and tarakasi work. The 5th century Jagannath Temple in Puri has artistic walls embellished with Pattachitra, the oldest art of Odisha. The sand art on Puri beaches is another marvellous wonder. Palm leaves etchings are a part of almost every tradition of Odisha. Colours used in the paintings are mostly mute.
Fairs and Festivals
Opt for Odisha festival packages to experience the cultural, traditional and local side of euphoria. Rath Yatra of Puri is one of the most famous festivals in Odisha. The celebration begins with ‘Snana purnima’ when the idols of Lord Jagannath along with his brother Lord Balarama and sister Goddess Subhadra are given a bath. They are then kept in isolation for 15 days the time period called as ‘Anabasara’. No public worship is performed during this time. After 15 days, Gods come out in colourful procession to begin the Rath Yatra. The other important festivals include Durga Puja, Kalinga Mahotsav, Konark Dance Festival and Crafts fair.
A major part of Odisha is covered with thick forests, sheltering different type of wild animals. The forest is mostly deciduous and consists of trees like Bamboo, Teak, Sal, Rosewood and Sagwan.
Nandankanan Zoological Park, Simlipal National Park and Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary are the famous wildlife parks. More than 1700 animals take shelter in the Nandankanan Zoo. You can spot animals like white tigers, Asiatic lions, Indian crocodiles, turtles, snakes and large variety of birds.
The Simlipal National Park is famous for its Gaur population and tiger reserve. The area gets its name from Semul, a type of tree that grows in abundance in this park. There are more than 40 species of mammals, 240 types of birds and nearly 20 species of reptiles.
Dance and Music
Music and dance have evolved over a long continuous history of nearly 2500 years. Odissi, the famous classical dance of the state, borrows its existence from the sect called Devadasis. They were the young women staying in temples. They believed themselves to be married to God and offered homage by performing this classical dance.
The other types of dance seen are Chhau, Ghoomra, Ranapa and Paika akhara. Oriya classical music has a beautiful blend of Hindustani and Carnatic music atyles.? It is a combination of 4 classes of music namely dhruvapada, panchal, chitrakala and chitrapada.
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