Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha, lies in its coastal region. Together with Konark and Puri, it forms the Swarna Tribhuja or Golden Triangle of Odisha tourism. This ancient city makes an ideal starting point for the traveller who wishes to explore the magnificence of Kalinga architecture, worship at its grand temples or enjoy the beaches of Puri.
Bhubaneswar is 30km from Cuttack, the commercial capital of Odisha. It is also an important business centre in its own right.
With many Hindu temples, which span the entire spectrum of Kalinga architecture, Bhubaneswar is often referred to as a Temple City of India and together with Puri and Konark it forms the Swarna Tribhuja ("Golden Triangle"), one of eastern India's most visited destinations. The modern city was designed by the German architect Otto Königsberger in 1946, along with Jamshedpur and Chandigarh.
The Biiju Patnaik International Airport is small, but looks new and well maintained. It is well connected with major cities of India, but international flights have not yet started. Direct flights are available from Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and, to a lesser extent, Bangalore.
There are two officially sanctioned options for getting a taxi at the airport -Carzonrent, a private cab agency, and a prepaid taxi service run by the airport. Both have counters at the exit. The Carzonrent salesman will try to upsell you day trip packages when you are looking for just a ride. Ignore him as you are bound to find better options within city. Also, the other prepaid taxi is available only once you get past the security barrier, while Carzonrent is available both inside and outside. You are better off making your decision only after you step out. Another good option, if your destination is within the city, is to call for a radio cab.
Bhubaneswar is the headquarters of East Coast division of Indian Railways. It is situated on the main line from Kolkata to Chennai and is well connected to most major Indian cities. For timings and other details check the Indian Railways website. Some major trains connecting Bhubaneswar with:
- Rajdhani Express, Nandankanan Express, Kalinga Utkal Express, uranto Express, Puri Express and Purushottam Express
- Konark Express and Lokmanya Tilak Express, etc.
- Coromandel Express, Chennai Howrah mail, etc.
- Dhauli Express, Janasatabdi Express, Coromandel Express, Howrah Puri Express, Shri Jagannath Express, Falaknuma Express, Howrah Chennai Mail, Howrah Yesvantpur Express, EastCoast Express, etc.
- Falaknuma Express, East Coast Express, Konark Express, Visakha Express, etc.
- Prashanti Express, Yeshwantpur Howrah Express, Yeshwantpur Guwahati Express(only on Mondays), Guwahati Express (Wed, Thu, Fri).
Bhubaneshwar is situated on the National Highway no.5 that runs between Kolkata and Chennai. It is 480 km from Kolkata, 445 km from Visakhapatnam, 1225 km from Chennai, 32 km from Cuttack, 130 km from Chilika Lake (Barkul), 184 km from Gopalpur-on-sea, 64 km from Konark, 62 km from Puri.
From Bhubaneswar after traveling 20 km there is a place known as Pipili. This place is famous for patching cloth design locally known as Chandua. From the center of Pipili market one has to take left turn to go towards Konark and the straight road goes to Puri.
Bhubaneswar's roads are well-laid out by Indian standards, and the newer parts of the city are well-planned. Getting around is easy and inexpensive
Town buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. DTS (Dream Team Sahara)  is a partnership between the government of Odisha and a Sahara, a private company, that runs a public bus service. Buses ply all over the city, between 6:30AM and 10:30PM at about 20 min intervals, though the timings for specific routes vary. Fares are very reasonable - a 15km journey will cost you ₹14. Tickets are bought on the bus — you can either pay cash or use a smartcard that you have to acquire in advance. Download the passenger information from their website — it has the schedule for route map. Caution is advisable in using these buses as typical of any other Indian city - they can get very crowded.
Auto-rickshaws can be found on most streets of the city. The drivers in Bhubaneswar are generally courteous and not out to cheat you. Negotiate a rate beforehand, and make sure that the driver understands your destination. A short journey of around 5km will cost you about ₹100. There are also shared autos that make journeys for as little as ₹5/km.
There are several radio taxi companies, such as Meru and Ola cabs operating. They charge by the distance. In particular, Ola is very good. Their smartphone app is easy to use, cabs are plentiful and drivers are polite and reliable. Most radio cabs operate only within the city and will not drive you to nearby places like Puri or Konark. However, you can easily find safe and reliable hired cabs that will do so.
Temples are undoubtedly the most important attractions of this city. Bhubaneswar is an ancient city where the the major religions of India, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, have had a presence during some time in its history. All the religions have left their architectural footprints here. In particular, this is a place where the Kalinga style of Hindu temple architecture flourished between the 10th and the 13th century. You will see some of the finest examples of the style here. Unfortunately, most temples do not allow entry to non-Hindus. Most of the oldest temples, around 400 of them, are concentrated around the Old Town area.
Deras Dam. It is situated near Chandaka Sanctuary, around 20 km away from the Bhubaneswar Baramunda Busstand. It is a pristine, quiet lake in the midst of the nature.
Dhauli Giri, Dhauli Road (8km from the city). Looking down on the plains that bore witness to the gruesome war waged on Kalinga by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, stand the rock edicts of Dhauli. It was here that King Ashoka, full of remorse after the Kalinga War in 261 BC, renounced his blood-thirsty campaign and turned to Buddhism. The edicts are a living testimony to the King's change of heart. He urges his administrators to rule the land with justice and compassion. The edicts are so remarkable that they have been excellently preserved, despite the fact that they date back to the 3rd century BC. A sculpted elephant, the symbol of the boundless powers of Lord Buddha, tops the rock edicts. The Shanti Stupa or the peace pagoda, built through the Indo-Japanese collaboration, is located on the opposite hill. Free.
Khandagiri & Udayagiri, Khandagiri-Chandaka Road Khandagiri Bhubaneshwar (Off AH45 (NH16)). 6AM=6PM. These twin hills served as the site of an ancient Jain monastery which was carved into cave like chambers in the face of the hill. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, some of the caves have beautiful carvings. The Rani Gumpha (Queen's Cave), one of the largest and double-storied, is ornately embellished with beautiful carvings. In the Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave), King Kharavela has carved out the chronicles of his reign. At the summit of Udayagiri is an excavated Jain temple. Khandagiri has a currently operational Jain temple. Udayagiri: ₹5 for Indians, ₹100 (or $2) for foreigners. Entry to Khandagiri caves is free.
Lingaraj Temple (Lingaraja Temple), Lingaraj Road, Old Town, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha 751002, ☎ . 8AM-12PM, 4PM-8PM. The 10th or 11th-century Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar has been described as "the truest fusion of dream and reality". A rare masterpiece, the Lingaraja temple has been rated one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India by Ferguson, the noted art critic and historian. Every inch of the surface of the 55 m-high Lingaraja temple is covered with elaborate carvings. Sculpture and architecture fused elegantly to create a perfect harmony. Non-Hindus are not permitted inside. However there is an elevated viewing platform next to one of the boundary walls. To reach the platform, face the temple's main entrance and walk around to the right. There is a laneway leading to the back of the temple and the platform. Near the temple is Bindu Sarovara, a large lake that is reputed to have a drop of water each from every holy river of India. Free, offerings accepted.
Mukteshwara Temple. Dating back to 10th century this temple marks an important transition point between the early and the later phases of the Kalinga architecture. The highlight is the magnificent torana - the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Odisha. This temple is considered to be the gem of Odishan architecture. The beautiful sculptures eloquently speak of the sense of proportion and perspective of the sculptor and their unique ability in the exact depiction of the minutest objects. Mukteswara means "Lord of freedom". Free, offerings accepted.
Museum of Tribal Art & Artefacts, CRPF Square. The museum gives an impressive insight into the culture of the many different tribals living in and around Odisha. Tools, clothes and artwork is presented over several halls. In every area a guide of the museum will take care of you and give you extensive explanations - you really get to know something about the things you see. Anyway there is no entry fee.
Nandankanan Zoo, Nandankanan Road, Khordha Barang,Odisha 754005 (About 15km from the city). April-September: 7:30AM-5:30PM. October-March: 8AM-5PM, closed Mondays. The zoo has some rare species of animals and is particularly well known for white tigers. There is a nice lake inside for boating and a ropeway, which, as of 2015, has been non-functional for 3 years. There is also the Botanical Garden is adjacent to the zoo. Avoid visiting the park on weekends when it gets pretty crowded. Entry: ₹20 for Indian adults, ₹5 for Indian children between 3-12yrs, ₹100 for foreigners (you get a map free), Free for handicapped visitors. ₹50 for the safaris - the tickets are sold together even though the prices are quoted separately. Aquarium: ₹10 for adults, ₹5 for children, Paddle Boat: ₹25 for a 2-seater, ₹50 for a 4-seater and ₹100 for Family Boat. There are charges quoted for cameras, but no one seems to care about mobile cameras. ₹50/person for "Battery Operated Vehicles", but they will insist that you take on the entire 15-seater vehicle for ₹750..
Odisha State Museum. Housing a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, traditional and folk musical instruments. Rare epigraphic records are preserved in the Epigraphy Gallery.
Rajarani Temple. This temple got its name from a red-gold sandstone used, which is called Rajarani locally. It has no presiding deity but many intricately carved figurines in various stages of daily chores.
Sri Krishna-Balarama Mandir, ISKCON, on NH5 (ask the autorickshaw drivers, about Rs40 from town). Non-Hindus and foreigners who desire to visit a Hindu temple can go to this temple - the devotees are friendly and there is a cheap and clean vegetarian restaurant.
Traffic Mahadev. a small temple which acts as a road divider.
- Visit the scores of parks in the city. The planetarium for one is good. The science park refreshes your basics and takes you back to school days. Or go around the rose garden in CRPF square or the recent NICCO park.
- There may be an odd play going on in Rabindra Mandap, opposite the General Post Office. Or a dance program at Soochana Bhavan. This place also had radio news broadcasts (May1998) and a newspaper library. Visit places such as the hall of dance called Natamandira or the bhoga-mandapa, meaning hall of offering. Though these particular places can be found around the temple, the temple itself is off limits to non-Hindus.
- Enjoy the architecture of both ancient temples and the modern buildings in Sachivalaya Road.
- Take rest in one of the many small lassi shops and enjoy one of those cool yoghurt drinks. The lassi in Bhubaneswar is one of the best around.
Bhubaneswar has developed as an information technology hub. Infosys, Satyam, TCS, IBM, Wipro, Mindfire Solutions, Discoverture Solutions and others have their offices here. It is also growing into an education hub. There are many engineering colleges and some good Business schools. XIM and KSOM are two prominent B-schools in Bhubaneswar.
Other than the new-economy companies, historically, the largest employer in Bhubaneswar has been the government.
Bhubaneswar is a great place to buy the handicrafts of Odisha. Silver filigree work, Applique work, items made of jute and papier mache items are some of the things you should consider taking back from your trip. The best place to buy these, though is not the city itself, but Pipili, 8km away, on the route to Konark and Puri.
Colourful wooden icons of Lord Jagannath, sandstone icons and gemstones are a few other artifact that you can take back as mementoes.
Hand-woven textiles, known as "handlooms" as in the rest of India, are exquisitely beautiful. Women can pick up sarees, clothes that can be stitched into salwar kameezes, or kurtas. Shirts or kurtas for men are also a good buy.
- Bhawani Mall
- Big Bazar
- The World
Market Building, Ashok Nagar, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha (via Raj Path Street and 4th street). 8AM-8PM, Closed on the last Monday of the month. This shopping complex run by the city's Municipal Corporation, is an excellent place to shop in Bhubaneswar. It has a multitude of shops, including Boyanika, and Utkalika, government run shops for handlooms and handicraft respectively, many other shops that sell handlooms of all kinds, general cloth shops and various street vendors selling all kinds of stuff. Free.
Country Kitchen, Bapuji Nagar (2.7 km from railway station). Spicy non-veg (mainly chicken) and separate veg restaurant.
Dalma, Sachivalaya Marg, Chandrasekharpur (Unit 4 and KIIT Square). Authentic Odiya cuisine.
Hare Krishna restaurant (Near the railway station). A vegetarian restaurant.
May Fair, 8-B, Jaydev Vihar-Ekamra Kanana Road, ☎ .
- Mirch Masala; petrol Pump Chandrashekharpur, Patia
Not a place to really party out. But you can still chill at the following places.
The Cellar (Mayfair Hotel). The latest addition to the city's night-life, where you can bowl, booze, and dance to Bollywood numbers from 9 to 11PM. This place is currently attracting crowds.
Desire, , Pal Heights. Good interiors, a good place for boozing and chilling out
Rock On, opposite XIMB. Nice place to drink and to spend time with friends.
Xstacy Lounge, Plot No 421B, Nandan Kanan Road, Above Canara Bank, Chandrasekharpur, ☎ .
There is a variety of options from as low as 150 to 4000 rupees. Foreign travellers are generally expected to be attracted to the 3 star hotel and above range, but unfortunately their quality is not always satisfactory.. These would range from 1000 to 5000 rupees. One US dollar is equivalent to about 46 Rupees.
City Lodge, 55 Janapath, Ashok Nagar (From the circle in front of train station, face the station and walk along the road to the right for some 500 metres.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12. The entrance does not look good, just a narrow metal staircase, but the lodge itself is in
Ginger Hotel. Ginger probably gives the best value for money in Bhubaneswar. Book online (but change into a package price during check-in to get breakfast included). Buffet breakfast and dinner. In-house Coffee-Day and ATM. Wireless may work. Rs 2000.
Hotel Pushpak, Kalpana Square. Looks old but the interiors are very good. The bar is quite comfy.
Bhubaneswar is one of the greenest cities in India and it has a clean look, with adequate arrangement for dustbins made by the local municipal authorities. It is a generally peaceful city with hardly any history of violence. Nevertheless, you should avoid travelling late in night as the city tends to sleep early. Also, wear cool, white clothes in the summer.
The temples are managed in the age-old traditions so be aware of the Hindu rituals and traditions before entering them. Make sure to take off your footwear when you enter a temple or any household. Women in particular needed to be cautious in their clothing and hygiene, but things are more equitable now.
It tends to be too hot in summer. So be careful if it comes in itinerary during April/May. Otherwise, it is welcome weather all through the year. The evenings are very tender and cool.Be aware of the many touts near to the tourist places—railways, temples, and hotels. The 'Pandas' can be notorious if not shown respect. But be within your limits and a polite no (sometimes repetitive) will be ok to avoid getting cheated. In case you have an issue with an auto rickshaw driver or taxi then please report immediately to a police outpost. There is always one around the corner. The police are also very helpful or just call 100.
- Bhitarkanika National Park, roughly 120 km North of Bhubaneswar, is home to the largest population of Saltwater Crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in all of India and is home to the largest known living crocodile at 23 feet in length. The park also features a wide variety of other wildlife, including a rare Albino Saltwater Crocodile.
- Chilika lake is regarded as the Mecca for birdwatchers. It is about 100 km from Bhubaneswar. The brackish water being the reason for its amazing bird diversity, it is the second largest brackish water lake in Asia.
- Koraput - NALCO and HAL plants
- Manglajodi in Chilika is a fishing village on the banks of the lake. it would be better to contact the local conservation group Wild Odisha, who will suggest a good guide who can take you around and will help you hire a boat too.
- Rock city Kodala is called rock city it is around 60 km from Brahmapur.
- Rourkela - Situated about 340 KM North from Bhubaneswar. Direct train is available. Rourkela is one of the bigger cities of Odisha. It is also known as "Steel City" of Odisha.
- Sambalpur - Hirakud Dam and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Silk city Brahmapur (also spelled Berhampur) is called as silk city. It is around 180 km from Bhubaneswar.
- Simlipal National Park:- Similipal is an excellent place to visit if you are traveling to Odisha.