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Located in the eastern part of India along the coast of Bay of Bengal, Orissa was historically pretty known for the ancient kingdom of Kalinga. In fact, it became an historical only because of huge massacre that happened during the Klinga war when Mauryan Emperor Ashoka attacked during the period 261 BCE. However, the state took its modern form in the year 1936 and since this time, it is known as the state of India. The state shares its boundary with West Bengal to the north-east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and Andhra Pradesh to the south and south-east; however, in the east, the state makes coastline along the Bay of Bengal.

It is surprising truth that the state Orissa has human settlements history of a period of about 5,000 years. Primarily, it was known as “Ddra Desa”; and then ‘Kalinga’, Utkal’ etc, even in the modern era, its name has been changed as “Odisha”. Likewise Orissa has very long history and the most eminent part of it was ‘Kalinga War’ that fought with the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the year 261 BCE. Besides, the region is also evidenced Buddha philosophy, which is established by the Great Emperor Ashoka and Jaina Philosophy. So, there are various centres of Buddhism and Jainism in the state and these are the most preferred tourists’ attraction these days.

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Geographically, the state has divided into various divisions; its northern and western part is covered by Chotanagpur Plateau, the eastern portion is covered by Eastern Ghats and further east it has a long coastline (namely ‘Northern Cirkar) along the Bay of Bengal; besides, Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani are the major rivers that make the respective region fertile. On the beaches of Orissa, there are a big number of Olive Ridley sea turtles. So, because of having so much diversity and natural resources, there are various research centres including ‘Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) – it is largest rice research institute of Asia situated on the bank of Mahanadi in Cuttack.

Furthermore, Chilka Lake located along the coastline of Bay Bengal is not only a major geographical feature but also home of various water creatures and of course a tourists’ attraction. Above all, the traditions and cultures of Orissa are also very rich; the dance of the state such as Odissi is 2,000 years old dance and it is worldwide popular classical dance; other popular dances are ‘Ghumra Dance and Mahari Dance. Besides, the Odissi music and Odissi crafts are also popular.

Orissa Tourism

By virtue of having long historical traditions and distinct geographical regions, the state has varieties of tourists’ attractions. The state has natural landscapes, coastline, temples, historical sites and many more. In addition, Orissa's varying topography ranging from the wooded Eastern Ghats in the eastern side of the state to the fertile river basin throughout the central regions have given shelter to a unique ecosystem. Interestingly, all these natural features have become the home for various flora and fauna; not only this, this ecosystem also invites various types of migratory birds and other animals.

Major Attractions of Orissa Tourism

Bhubaneswar: Located in the eastern part of the state, Bhubaneswar is capital of Orissa. The city has various majestic tourists’ attractions. You can experience here the perfect blend of historical traditions and customs with the modern technology. Major attractions of the city are:

• Rajarani Temple
• Lingaraj Temple
• Mukteshwar Temple
• Orissa State Museum
• Lalitagiri
• Bindusagar Lake
• Dhauli Hill
• Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves
• Nandankanan National Park

Konark: A small city of Orissa is worldwide popular for its magnificent Sun Temple. Dedicated to god Surya, Sun Temple is known for its architecture. Besides, there are various other temples and maths that attracts tourists equally. Other tourists’ attractions of Konark are:

• Konark Archaeological Museum
• Ramachandi Temple
• Konark Math
• Konark Beach

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Puri: Located at the eastern coast of Orissa, it is one of the most visited religious cities of India. Puri is largely known for the Temple Jagannath. Puri is one of the four sacred Hindu Dhams of India. Puri is also known as ‘Jagannath Puri, or ‘Sri Purusottama Dham’. Major tourists’ attractions are:

• Jagannath Temple
• Gundicha Temple
• Chilka Lake
• Puri Beach
• Swargadwar Beach

Cuttack: Interestingly, Cuttack is one of the most historical cities of India. Important tourists’ attractions are:

• Barabati Fort
• Chandi Temple
• Kadam Rasool Cuttack
• Stone Revetments

Sambalpur: It is one of the most unique cities of Orissa and largely known for the Hirakud dam. However, Sambalpur is also known for waterfalls and rich cultural heritage. The city is also known for diamond trade.

Mayurbhanj: Located in Orissa, it is largely known for Simlipal National Park.

Udaigiri: Located in the central part of Orissa, Udaigiri is Archaeological site, which largely known for its largest Buddhist complex. Interestingly, Udaigiri along with Ratnagiri and Lalitagiri constitutes Buddhist Triangle in the country India. The most important site is Madhavapura Mahavihara.

Orissa Beaches

• Gopalpur Beach
• Konark Beach
• Swargadwar Beach
• Puri Beach

Rath Yatra: Celebrated in Puri city of Orissa, Rath Yatra is the most prominent festivals of Orissa. It is also known as ‘Chariot Festival’. Started from the Jagannath Temple, fascinates thousands of devotees from various parts of the country.

National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuary of Orissa

Bhitarkanika National Park: Located in the Kendrapara District of Orissa, it is a Bhitarkanika Mangroves. Created in 1998, it is a National Park that conserves White Crocodile, Saltwater Crocodile, Indian Python, King Cobra and many more.

Simlipal National Park: Located in Mayurbhanj District of Orissa, Simlipal National Park has been taken its name from the Semul or Red Silk Cotton trees which are available in abundance. It is an elephant reserve; however, other significant animals are Royal Bengal Tigers, Indian Bisons, Chausingha, Orchidarium etc.

Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in Sambalpur District of Orissa, Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary is home of Leopards, Tigers, Sambars and many more. Besides, it is also popular for the various trees including Sal, Sandalwood, Neem, Arjun, Acacia etc.

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