Top 10 Places to Visit in Odisha: Exploring the Hidden Gems of India

Odisha, also known as “The Soul of India,” is a treasure trove of rich cultural heritage, magnificent temples, pristine beaches, and breathtaking natural beauty. Located on the eastern coast of India, this lesser-known gem offers a unique blend of history, spirituality, and picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, Odisha has something to offer everyone. This article will guide you through the top 10 places to visit in Odisha.

Things to Do While Visit in Odisha

When you visit the beautiful state of Odisha, you’ll be delighted to discover a wide range of activities that will create lasting memories. Immerse yourself in the ultimate relaxation with luxurious spa experiences offered by beach resorts, where you can rejuvenate your senses while basking in the serene coastal surroundings.

For the adventure enthusiasts, Odisha offers thrilling water sports adventures like parasailing and banana boat rides, allowing you to feel the rush of adrenaline as you glide through the crystal-clear waters. With its diverse array of attractions, Odisha truly has something for everyone, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Where to Stay While Visiting Odisha

From luxury beach resorts to budget-friendly homestays, there are plenty of accommodation options in Odisha. Puri, the holy city of India is home to some of the best beach resorts and hotels offering amazing views and comfortable rooms. For a more traditional experience, you can find an array of heritage properties throughout the state.

If you’re looking for something more economical, you can opt for homestays and guesthouses which provide a cozy atmosphere and homely hospitality. Wherever you choose to stay in Odisha, make sure to explore the local cuisine and culture.

Best Time to Visit Odisha

The best time to visit Odisha is during the winter months (November – December) when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. During this period, you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as camping, trekking, and exploring the local villages. Summer is also a good time to visit Odisha since the temperatures are moderate and it’s an ideal time for sightseeing. However, be sure to carry plenty of sunscreen and shade yourself from the heat during this period.

Shopping in Odisha

No visit to Odisha would be complete without shopping for some local handicrafts. Dotted with vibrant street markets, Odisha is the perfect place to explore traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. From intricate hand-crafted jewellery to intricately woven fabrics, you can find a wide range of unique items at several local markets in Odisha.

You can also find some wonderful wood carvings made from sandalwood that make great gifts and keepsakes. For something truly special, make sure to visit the bustling markets of Cuttack, Sambalpur, and Puri where you can find unique items that will take you back in time.

Local Cuisine in Odisha

Odisha is renowned for its mouthwatering street food – from pakhala (rice cooked with yoghurt) to dahi vada (fried lentil dumplings in yoghurt), there’s a dish for every palate. When you’re exploring the local markets, make sure to sample some of the delicious street food available. You can also find traditional Odia thalis at many restaurants that offer multiple dishes such as chicken curry, sambar, and rasam served with steamed rice.

For the adventurous eater, there are also some unique dishes to try such as chhena poda (baked cheese cake) and chenna jhilli (rice dumplings in sweet syrup). So make sure to indulge in all that Odisha has to offer – from its thrilling experiences to its traditional cuisine!

10 Best Places to Visit in Odisha

1. Bhubaneswar: The City of Temples

The capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, is truly a treasure trove of ancient temples and a testament to its rich historical legacy. With roots dating back to the 3rd century BCE, the city’s old town proudly showcases more than 1000 Hindu temples, each a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture. These temples not only serve as places of worship but also as living examples of the region’s artistic and architectural prowess.


Among these architectural marvels, the Lingaraja Temple stands as a shining gem. This 11th-century temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, exudes grandeur and spiritual significance. Its intricate carvings, towering spires, and sacred rituals draw countless devotees and visitors from far and wide.

But the allure of Bhubaneswar doesn’t end there. The Mukteshwar Temple, with its delicately carved torana and stunning sculptures, is another must-visit site that showcases the exquisite craftsmanship of ancient times. The Rajarani Temple, known for its unique red sandstone and intricate carvings, is a true delight for art enthusiasts.

And a visit to the Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves takes you on a journey through history, with their ancient Jain rock-cut cave dwellings providing a glimpse into the lives of the past.

Bhubaneswar’s rich heritage, preserved in its temples and caves, offers a captivating experience that transports you to a bygone era. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or a spiritual seeker, Bhubaneswar’s ancient temples and historical sites are sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul.

2. Simlipal National Park

Located in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, Simlipal National Park is a sprawling wildlife sanctuary that spans an expansive area of 845 square kilometers. This enchanting park is not only renowned for its rich biodiversity but also holds the distinction of being home to India’s highest population of tigers.

As you step into this natural paradise, you will be greeted by the awe-inspiring beauty of lush sal forests, vibrant grasslands, magnificent waterfalls, and meandering rivers. The tranquil ambiance is further enhanced by the mist-covered mountains that add a touch of mystery to the landscape, creating a truly ethereal experience.

Simlipal National Park offers a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, providing a wide array of opportunities to encounter some of India’s most captivating creatures. From the majestic wild elephants and formidable Indian bison to the elusive leopards and adorable sloth bears, every moment spent in this sanctuary is filled with the excitement of discovering the diverse wildlife that calls this place home.

Embarking on a journey through Simlipal National Park is not just an exploration of nature’s wonders, but a chance to immerse yourself in the stories and secrets that this sanctuary holds. So, get ready to be captivated by the breathtaking vistas, serenaded by the songs of the forest, and embark on an unforgettable adventure in this treasure trove of biodiversity.

3. Puri

Puri, a charming small town located on the beautiful Bay of Bengal, is renowned for its majestic Jagannath Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This iconic temple complex, considered one of the four dhams (sacred abodes) of the Hindus, is not only a place of worship but also a testament to architectural brilliance.

Every year, the vibrant Rath Yatra captivates millions of devotees and tourists alike, as the deities are gracefully carried in massive wooden chariots during this grand procession.

Apart from the mesmerizing temple, Puri boasts several other captivating attractions. The historic Sun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a magnificent testament to ancient architecture and Hindu mythology. The intricately carved sculptures and stunning architecture of the Sun Temple leave visitors awestruck.

For those seeking a serene beach experience, Konark Beach in Puri offers pristine shores, where the gentle waves of the Bay of Bengal create a calming ambiance. The beach is perfect for leisurely strolls or simply enjoying the breathtaking sunset views.

Nature lovers will be delighted by Chilika Lake, which is not only India’s largest brackish water lake but also a paradise for birdwatchers. With its vast expanse of shimmering water, surrounded by lush greenery and dotted with numerous islands, Chilika Lake is home to a rich and diverse ecosystem.

Visitors can embark on boat tours to explore the lake, spot migratory birds, and witness the local fishing communities in action.

In summary, Puri offers a delightful blend of spirituality, history, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a truly immersive experience.

4. Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple

Chilika Lake, nestled along the coast of India, proudly holds the title of being the largest coastal lagoon in the country. As a designated Ramsar site, it is recognized as a wetland of international importance. This expansive water body serves as a crucial habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds, including the elegant flamingos, graceful ibis, majestic pelicans, and many more avian wonders.

Embark on a peaceful boat ride to delve into the enchanting beauty of the lake and its surrounding landscapes, immersing yourself in the captivating sights and sounds of nature. Indulge in the local culture and cuisine, allowing yourself to truly embrace the serene ambiance that Chilika Lake has to offer.

5. Chilika Lake

Chilika Lake, nestled in the southern part of the state, is a vast brackish water lake renowned for its natural beauty and biodiversity. With its expansive stretch spanning over 1,100 sq km, it proudly holds the distinction of being India’s largest coastal lagoon. This enchanting ecosystem is home to a myriad of fascinating aquatic creatures, including playful dolphins, scurrying crabs, delicate oysters, and an impressive variety of over 160 species of birds, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike.

To truly immerse yourself in the captivating charm of Chilika Lake, embark on a delightful boat ride departing from either Barkul or Rambha, allowing you to soak in the serene surroundings and discover the hidden treasures that lie within.

6. Gopalpur

Gopalpur, a charming beach town situated in the Ganjam district of Odisha, boasts a rich history as an erstwhile trade hub. Today, it captivates visitors with its idyllic white-sand beaches, exuding an aura of serenity. The tranquil atmosphere invites you to indulge in a myriad of activities, such as swimming in the crystal-clear waters, basking in the warm sun, and leisurely strolls along the shoreline, allowing you to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature.

7. Daringbadi

Daringbadi, nestled in the picturesque Kalahandi district of Odisha, is a captivating hill station that promises an enchanting escape. With its cool climate and lush greenery, this haven is a sanctuary for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of its dense forests, alive with the melodies of exotic birds and the grace of indigenous animals. Wander through the enchanting trails that lead to breathtaking waterfalls and stumble upon natural springs that rejuvenate the soul.

Marvel at the majestic Badangiri mountain range, standing tall as a testament to nature’s grandeur. Indulge in the sublime beauty of Daringbadi, where every moment is a celebration of serenity and discovery. Plan your visit between November and February, when the weather is delightfully cool and pleasant, offering the perfect ambiance for an unforgettable experience.

8. Raghurajpur

Raghurajpur, a charming little village nestled in the picturesque Puri district of Odisha, is truly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This quaint village is not only known for its idyllic setting but also for its exquisite Pattachitra paintings, a traditional art form that showcases intricate designs and vibrant colors on cloth and paper.

As you wander through the narrow lanes, you’ll be captivated by the skillful handcrafted items that adorn the local shops – from delicate palm leaf engravings that tell stories of ancient times, to mesmerizing stone carvings that bear the mark of the village’s rich cultural heritage. And let’s not forget the masterful woodwork and the traditional mask making that adds another layer of artistic beauty to this enchanting place. Raghurajpur is a treasure trove of artistic expression, where every corner tells a story and every brushstroke carries the legacy of generations past.

9. Hirakud Dam

Hakud Dam, located in the scenic Sambalpur district of Odisha, is not only one of the largest reservoirs in Asia but also a captivating destination for adventure enthusiasts. Spanning across the majestic Mahanadi river, this magnificent dam offers a plethora of thrilling activities and experiences. Visitors can indulge in exciting adventure sports like boating, fishing, and kayaking, immersing themselves in the thrill of the water.

Moreover, the dam’s strategic location provides breathtaking panoramic views of the picturesque surrounding landscape, adding to the allure of this remarkable destination.

10. Kalijai Island

Kalijai Island, nestled in the serene waters of Chilika Lake near Satapada in the picturesque Puri district of Odisha, is a captivating destination that beckons travelers with its enchanting beauty. This idyllic island is not only renowned for its scenic charm but also holds great historical and spiritual significance. At its heart lies an ancient temple, a sacred abode dedicated to the revered Goddess Kalijai, attracting devotees and pilgrims from far and wide.

Beyond its spiritual allure, Kalijai Island is a haven for nature enthusiasts, particularly avid bird watchers. As you explore this paradise, be prepared to be mesmerized by the vibrant avian life that graces its shores. From the elegant flamingos gracefully wading through the azure waters to the majestic pelicans soaring across the sky, and the delightful migratory ducks that find solace in its tranquil surroundings, the island offers a delightful spectacle for all bird lovers.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility and serenity of Kalijai Island, and allow its captivating beauty and rich biodiversity to transport you to a world of wonder and awe.

From religious pilgrimages to thrilling adventure activities, Odisha offers a genuine mix of experiences. With its unspoilt beaches, serene backwaters, and exotic wildlife, it’s truly the hidden gem of India.

These top 10 places are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring all that Odisha has to offer. Whether you’re here for a short getaway or an extended vacation, this beautiful state promises an unforgettable experience. So come and explore the hidden treasures of Odisha!

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Frequently asked questions

How can I get to Odisha?

You can reach Odisha by air, train or bus. The state has three major airports – Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda Airport and Veer Surendra Sai Airport at Jharsuguda. There are also regular trains that run from major Indian cities like Kolkata and Delhi, and numerous bus services connecting all major districts of the state.

What are the must-try foods in Odisha?

Odisha is a food lover’s paradise! Popular dishes that you must try include Dahi Vada, Pakhala Bhata, Dalma, Rasabali, Chhena Poda, Kankara Jhola, and Khechadi. Sweet lovers must not miss out on Rasagola, Chakuli Pitha, Chhenna Gaja, and Chenna Poda.

What are the most popular activities to do in Odisha?

Odisha offers a plethora of exciting activities for visitors to enjoy! Popular activities include boating in Chilika Lake, exploring the Udaygiri & Khandagiri Caves, and wildlife spotting at Bhitarkanika National Park. Adventure enthusiasts can also indulge in thrilling activities like kayaking, paragliding and river rafting. There are plenty of options for religious travelers too – from visiting ancient temples to pilgrimage trails.

Are there any festivals that I can attend in Odisha?

Yes! Odisha has numerous festivals and fairs throughout the year. The most popular ones are Konark Festival, Raja Festival, Nuakhai Juhar, Kalinga Mahotsav, and Rath Yatra. These festivals offer great opportunities to learn more about the culture of the locals and discover new experiences. You can also visit many unique village fairs and cultural events that bring together a variety of performances, art exhibitions, and workshops.

What are some of the best shopping options in Odisha?

There is no shortage of great shopping options in Odisha! From local handicrafts like applique work, Patta painting, and handloom weaving to traditional jewelry pieces, you will find plenty of amazing souvenirs to take home. You can also shop for local spices like garam masala, chilli powder, and turmeric as well as artisanal food items like cashew nuts and Jaggery. Don’t forget to haggle and bargain at the markets – it’s part of the fun!

Are there any national parks in Odisha?

Yes, there are three major national parks located in Odisha – Bhitarkanika National Park, Similipal National Park and Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary. These stunning reserves offer a plethora of wildlife spotting opportunities and are home to some of the most incredible species like Asiatic lions, monitor lizards, tigers, and more. A visit to these parks is a must-have experience for all nature lovers!

What are some of the best places for beach holidays in Odisha?

Odisha has some amazing beaches that offer an ideal setting for a relaxing holiday. The most popular ones include Balighai Beach, Puri Beach, Gopalpur Beach, Chandipur beach and Rushikulya beach. These beaches offer stunning views of the sea, tranquil waters for swimming and plenty of adventure activities to keep you entertained. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an exciting family vacation, there’s something for everyone in Odisha!

Are there any religious sites in Odisha?

Yes, Odisha has a rich history of Hindu culture and is home to numerous ancient temples. Some of the most popular pilgrimage sites include Konark Sun Temple, Lingaraja Temple, Puri Jagannath Temple, Maa Tarini temple in Ghatgaon, Mukteshwar temple in Bhubaneswar and many more. There are numerous interesting festivals that are celebrated in honor of these holy places throughout the year – don’t miss out on the chance to experience them!

What is the best way to explore Odisha?

The best way to explore Odisha is by road. The state has an extensive network of roads that connect all major cities and districts. Hire a car or take a bus to explore the breathtaking landscapes, forests, rivers and villages of Odisha. You can also hire local guides who are experts at uncovering all the hidden gems of this beautiful state.


Odisha is an incredible destination for all types of travelers. From stunning beaches to fascinating wildlife, the state has something unique to offer every visitor. With its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and hospitable locals, Odisha promises a memorable vacation that you will never forget! So get ready to explore the wonders of this enchanting region – let your journey begin!

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