Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, lies in its coastal region, though not on the coast. It is located on the banks of the River Kuakhai which is part of the delta of the Mahanadi river. Together with Konark and Puri, it forms the Swarna Tribhuja or Golden Triangle of Odisha tourism. This 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 30 km from Cuttack, the commercial capital of Odisha. It is also an important business centre in its own right. It is considered one of the fast growing cities in India, with its manufacturing and information technology as the growing sectors. With more than 100 educational institutes in the city, Bhubaneswar is also very popular for students from Eastern part of India.
Odia is the most common language spoken with in the city. However, with a culture shifting towards cosmopolitanism, Hindi and English are very much understood and accepted.
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.
- 1 Biju Patnaik International Airport (BBI IATA). is small, but looks new and well maintained. It is well connected with major cities of India. Direct flights are available from Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and, to a lesser extent, Bangalore. International flights are available from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok with Air Asia.
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.
- Rajdhani Express, Nandankanan Express, Kalinga Utkal Express, Duranto 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).
- 2 Bhubaneswar railway station.
Bhubaneshwar is 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, and 62 km from Puri.
Buses travel to and from major cities in the region, originating at Baramunda Bus Station. The station should be reached by auto as it is not central at all. Tickets can be booked at the station, which is serviced by a good number of eateries, fruit and grocery stores and even a barber. Buses are decrepit, but quirkily decorated and very cheap (an overnight ride to Kolkata cost ₹400 in early 2015).
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 cheap. DTS (Dream Team Shahara) is a partnership between the government of Odisha and Sahara, a private company, that runs a public bus service. Buses ply all over the city, between 06:30 and 22:30 at about 20 min intervals, though the timings for specific routes vary. Fares are very reasonable, a 15 km journey costs ₹25. Tickets are bought on the bus - by cash only. Caution is advisable in using these buses as typical of any other Indian city as they can be very crowded.
Auto-rickshaws are the lifeline of Bhubaneswar and can be found on most streets of the city. Drivers are generally courteous and honest. Negotiate a rate beforehand, and make sure that the driver understands your destination. A short journey of around 5 km will cost you about ₹100. There are also shared autos that make journeys for as little as ₹5/km.
There are several online cab-hailing companies, such as Ola cabs (Auto, Share Taxis, Cabs, Full day rental cabs), Uber (Cabs), Clear Car Rental (Cabs), TaxiBhubaneswar (Cabs), TravelSangi (Cabs), Jugnoo (Auto) and Rapido (Bikes) operating in Bhubaneswar. Ola and Uber can be hired for visiting day trips to Puri, Konark or Chilika. However, you can easily find safe and reliable hired taxis also, that will do so.
Auto Rickshawas or 'auto' are a good means of transport. They can be hired for short distances or booked for a period of time covering predetermined tourist spots. They don't run on meters, so prices should be fixed before the tour starts. Prices are also subject to heavy bargaining.
The temples of Bhubaneswar are clustered around a small area. The area is overcrowded and connected with narrow roads and lanes, this area is best explored on foot.
Temples are undoubtedly the most important attractions of this city. Bhubaneswar is an ancient city where the major religions of India, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, have all 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, a few of the temples, like Ligaraj and Kapileswar do not allow entry to non-Hindus. Most of the oldest temples, around 400 of them, are concentrated around the Old Town area. The temples are spread around a small area and are connected by an intricate network of lanes and bylanes, so walking is a good option. Covering all the temples listed below can take a minimum of 3 to 4 days. Bhubaneswar also has its share of Buddhist and Jain sites along with nearby archaeological sites. The city also houses a huge zoological park offering safaries. The city also has a couple of museums and a botanical garden.
Apart from the Chausathi Jogini Temple temple all the other major temples of Bhubaneswar are concentrated in the old town area centred around the Buindu Saravor. They are best explored with a combination of walks and auto-rickshaw rides. Exploring all of them will be a long and tiring day.
- 1 Lingaraj Temple (odia:ଲିଂଗରାଜ ଠାକୁର), Lingaraj Road, Old Town, ☏ . 08:00-12:00, 16:00-20:00. 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. Photography is prohibited inside the temple complex: the platform offers a good vantage point to photograph the temple. Just be careful of the scammers who try to befriend you, saying they are in charge of the temple, then make you sign into the "guestbook", which is just the notebook full of random names and "donations", forcing you to "donate" as well. One of them reports any foreign people in the viewpoint to the second one, who comes later on the blue scooter, trying to trick you. Near the temple is Bindu Sarovara, a large lake that is reputed to have a drop of water from each of all the holy rivers of India. Free, offerings accepted.
- 2 Mukteshwara Temple (Odia: ମୁକ୍ତେଶ୍ୱର ଦେଉଳ). Built-in 996 AD, Mukteshwara Temple marks an important transition point between the early and the later phases of the Kalinga architecture. This temple is considered to be the gem of Odishan architecture. Mukteswara means "Lord of freedom." The highlight is the magnificent torana: the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Odisha. The arch with projected elephant heads on both sides is decorated not only with floral design but also by figurative sculptures, including female figures, monkeys and gaja – singha (a lion trampling an elephant). The Mukteswara Temple consisting of two parts namely Jagmohan (assembly area) and Biman, housing the inner sanctum. The jogmohan is crowned with a stepped pyramidical structure while the biman is crowned with a towering spire. The outer walls of the temple is covered with intricate carving, depicting various religious and social scenes, including stories from Pancharatna. Located in the same complex is the Siddheshwara Temple. Higher than the Mukteswara Temple and built at a later date, the Siddheshwara Temple is a classic example of Orissa temple architecture, although it lacks the grace of Mukteswara. Free, offerings accepted.
- 3 Parasuramesvara Temple (Odia: ପର୍ଶୁରାମେଶ୍ୱର ମନ୍ଦିର) (next to the Mukteshwara Temple). Surise - sunset. Dating to 650 AD this is the oldest surviving temple in Bhubaneswar, and possibly Odisha. It is the earliest example of Orissa Temple Architecture and is considered as the seed of the mighty Kalinga Temples of Lingaraj, Puri & Konark. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple consists of two parts the biaman and the jogmohan, the jogmohan was constructed at a later date. The outer walls of the Parasurameswara Temple are covered with intricate carving, depicting various religious and social scenes. Next to the entrance of the temple is a giant Shiva Linga. Free.
- 4 Rajarani Temple (Odia: ରାଜାରାଣୀ ମନ୍ଦିର). This temple got its name from a red-gold sandstone used, which is called Rajarani locally. It is an abandoned temple and has no presiding deity. The Rajarani Temple differs significantly from traditional Odissa Temple style. The spires of the Rajarani Temple consists of several sub – spires, which is very similar to the temples of Khajuraho. The star attraction of the Rajarani Temple is its intricately curved exterior. From floral design to geometric patterns and from figurative images to Yakshis to Gods cover the outer wall. The striking feature of the exterior carving is the presence of female figures many of which are in an erotic posture, this again has similarity with Khajuraho.
- 5 Ananta Vasudeva Temple (odia:ଅନନ୍ତ ବାସୁଦେବ ଦେଉଳ) (eastern side of Bindu Saravar). This 13th-century temple is on the eastern side of Bindu Saravar. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Krishna along with Balaram and Subhadra are worshipped out here. It is the first of the large temples of Odisha and is a classic example of Orissa Temple Architecture. The temple consists of the Bhog Mandap (Bhog distribution area), Nat Mandir (dance area), Jogmohan (assembly area) and the Biman, housing the Garbha Griha (inner sanctum). The outer walls of the temple contain intricate sculptures, many of which have been severely damaged. Sadly this magnificent temple is poorly maintained as dozen of priests are busy cooking the bhog at the temple complex. The shoot ejected out of the wood fire has blackened major portion of the yellow sandstones of the temple.
- 6 Bhaskareswar Temple (Odia: ଭାସ୍କରେଶ୍ୱର ମନ୍ଦିର). Bhaskareswar Temple is located east of the Rajarani Temple and lies on the opposite side of the road and is surrounded by open space. Built during the reign of Ganga Dynasty the 12th-century temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple consists of only the vimana, which stands on a 4-m-high platform. Doors on all four sides of the platform provide access to the interior of the temple. The interior houses a giant Shiva Linga with a height of 3 m and circumference of 4 m. The exterior lack ornamentation and only theree staues on the outer wall are of Parvati, Kartikeya and Ganesha.
- 7 Megheswar Temple (Odia: ମେଘେଶ୍ଵର ମନ୍ଦିର). Megheswar Temple is at a trijunction east of Bhaskareswar Temple. The temple is housed inside a walled complex surrounded by a large open space, which houses a rectangular tank. The temple is built in late 12th century CE and the inscription states that the temple was built by the instructions of Swapnesvara, who was brother-in-law of the Ganga King Rajaraja. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva consists of two interconnecting parts of jagmohan and vimana. The exterior walls of the temple are decorated with intricate sculpted images, but sadly many of them have been badly damaged. The exterior walls have carvings of dancing females, various animals such as lions, elephants and yalis, birds. The entrance is flanked with sculptures of nag and nagani and is topped with sculptures of nine planets.
- 8 Bramehswara Temple (Odia: ବ୍ରହ୍ମେଶ୍ୱର ମନ୍ଦିର). Bramehswara Temple is located south of Bhaskareswar Temple and was built in 1058 CE. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main shrine enclosed in a wall consists of two connecting parts, the jagmohan and vimana. The vimana housing the inner sanctum towers to a height of 18.96 m (62.2 ft) tall. The jaghoman, the assembly hall is topped with a stepped pyramid. The walled complex also four subsidiary shrines in the four corners of the walled complex. There are a few structures even outside the walled complex.
- 9 Vaital Deul (Odia: ବଇତାଳ ଦେଉଳ). Vaital Deul is located at a tri-junction west of Bindu Saravor. The temple was constructed in the last quarter of the 8th century. Vaital Deul is dedicated to the Goddess Shakti, and follows the khakhara style of architecture. The temple consists of the interconnecting parts of vimana and jgamohan. The vimana is rectangular and is topped with a tower capped with a vaulted roof. and has similarities with south Indian temple architecture. The back of the temple has five panels including an interesting panel of Ardhanarishawara (Half Female God), which occupies the central position. The eastern wall contains an elaborate stone panel of eight-handed Durga in Mahisasur – Mardini posture. Next to the Vital Deul is the small but elegant Sisireswara Temple. Constructed around 775 CE it probably predates it neighbour, Vaital Deul by a few years. This temple follows the traditional Oriya style with two interconnecting sections of vimana and jaghmohan. The top part of the vimana has collapsed and the jagmohan has been restored with a newly added roof. The Sisireswara Temple has intricate ornamentation on all four sides but encroachment has made access to the northern, eastern and western side impossible. The only exposed part of the temple is the southern side. This side is richly ornamented and includes Lakulisa and Ganesh.
- 10 Rameshwar Temple (ରାମେଶ୍ୱର ମନ୍ଦିର). Named after Lord Rama of the great Indian epic of Mahabharata the temple like most of the temples in Bhubaneswar is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to the legend during the return journey from Lanka to Ayodhya Rama and Sita rested at this very place and Sita expressed her desire to offer prayer to Shiva. Rama built a Shiva Ling and hence the name Rameshwar. Historical record states that the Rameshwar Temple was built in the 9th century CE at the start of the Somavamsi dynasty. It is one of the earliest temples of Bhubaneswar and is considered at the transitional phase of the Kalinga school of architecture. The temple consists of a towering vimana and a mandap which is completely detached from the main structure. The mandap has a stepped pyramidical roof and has doors on the south and western side. The entrance of the main temple is on the east and the other walls contain only a few panels depicting Vyalas (mythical animals) and erotic panels. The other three sides, apart from the entrance, have black stone panels of Durga (north), Kartikeya (west), and Ganasha (south) fitted on shallow niches the temple walls. The entrance door is topped with a black stone panel of nine planets. The temple is housed in a large compound, which includes a large pond with sides lined with stone steps. The temple is also known as Mausi Maa Temple, which literally translates into the house of the maternal aunt. Ramchandra Temple serves as the house of maternal aunt for the Lord Lingraj. Every year the bronze statue of Chandrashekhar (representing Lingraj) along with the statues of Rukmini and Basudeva are taken to Rameshwar Temple from the Lingaraj Temple in a highly colourful procession. This happens on the 8th day of the month of Chaitra (late March). The deities stay in Rameshwar Temple for four days and on the fifth day they return to Lingraj Temple in a grand procession.
- 11 Lakshmaneshwar, Bharateshwar and Satrughaneswara Temple. The temple complex housing the Lakshmaneshwar, Bharateshwar and Satrughanaeswara Temple lies just opposite the Rameshwar Temple. The three temples are in north south alignment with Lakshmaneshwarat the north, Bharateshwar in the middle and Strughaneswara Temple in the south. Built during the same period as Rameshwar Temple the three temples only consist of towering vimana with no other structures. Strughaneswara is the most intact of the temples. The front portion of the temple contains elaborate and intricate ornamentations. Bharateshwar Temple also has ornamentation on the front part but they lack the grace and beauty of its southern neighbor. Lakshmaneshwar Temple is the least decorative of the three and large portions of the temple have been reconstructed. Only the door frame contains some ornamentation.
- 12 Chausathi Jogini Temple (Odia: ଚଉଷଠି ଯୋଗିନୀ ମନ୍ଦିର), Hirapur. Chaushat Yogani Temple or the temple of 64 yoganis is 20 km south east of Bhubaneswar in the village of Hirapur. In 1953 archaeologists and historian Kedarnath Mohapatra of Odisha State Museum pieced together the sandstone blocks to reconstruct the temple. It consists of a circular open-air structure with a small square central pavilion. According to legend in order to defeat a demon goddess Durga once took the form of 64 yoganis to defeat a demon. Once victorious, the yoganis requested Devi Durga to construct a temple in their honor, hence the concept of Chaushat Yogani Temple. There are five Chaushat Yogani Temples in India. Nothing much is known about the original date of construction of the temple near Bhubaneswar. Some scholar opine that the temple was constructed by Queen Hiradei of the Bhauma dynasty during the 8th – 9th century CE, as the nearby village of Hirapur (originally Hiradeipur) was named after her, while the other suggest a slightly later date of 11th century CE. The outer walls of the circular temple rise to a height of 2 m. The entrance is on the east and is flanked with statues of two guards (darpal). The outer wall has nice niches housing the images of nine Katayani, each of which stands on a served head flanked with digs. The Katayani are topped with an unbrella and each holds a blade as if the beheading has just happened. The inner wall has sixty niches housing sixty yogani statues. The central square pavilion has arches on each side, which are flanked on both sides with statues. Out of the eight statues in the pavilion three are of yoganis (one yogani statue is missing) and the remaining four are of Bhairavas.
Lesser known temples
Many of these lesser-known temples are housed in large temple complexes, housing several other shrines and tanks. Many have intricate ornamentation on its outer walls. In spite of all odds, these temples must only be visited by tourists, who have a genuine interest in Odiya or Indian Temple architecture.
- 13 Chitrakarini Temple (Odia: ଚିତ୍ରକାରିଣୀ ମନ୍ଦିର) (north of Ligraj Temple Complex and east of Papanasini Temple Complex). The main shrine consists of jaghmohan and vimana. The four corners of the complex houses four subsidiary shrines, consisting of vimana only. The temple was probably constructed in the middle of 13th century and was commissioned by Narasingha Deva I (also known as Parama Mahesvara). The temple lies in beautifully manicured gardens with flower beds maintained by the ASI. Goddess Chitrakarini is an incarnation of Devi Saraswati, but the present presiding deity of the temple is Chamunda. The main temple and the subsidiary shrines have their share of external ornamentation. Most of it has eroded away or has been damaged.
- 14 Papanasini Temple Complex (northwest of Lingraj Temple complex). This temple complex houses four temples and the stone-lined pond named Papanasini. The temples are Papanasini, Baneswar, Maitreswara and Varunesvara and were not constructed at the same time. Papanasini is the smallest of the four temples and is on the north west corner of the complex. It is a very small temple dating back to 14th century CE. Next to it on the northern boundary of the complex is the Baneswar Temple. Again a very small temple dating back to 9th century CE, making it the oldest temple in the complex. At the centre of the complex stands the Maitreswara Temple the largest and the most prominent structure of the Papanasini Temple Complex. The temple consists of an interlinking jogmohan and a collapsed vimana. Its construction dates back to the 12th and 14th century and corresponds to the rule of Ganga Dynasty. Varunesvara Temple is the second largest temple of the complex and lies just north of the Papanasini tank. This is the newest temple of the complex. It was probably constructed in 15th century by Kapilendra Deva, the founder of Gajapati dynasty. Both the jagmohan and viman of this temple has remained intact. The stone lined tank of Papanasini lies at the southern end of the complex. According to legend, a saga meditated in this area for a long time without food and water for a long time and finally, Lord Shiva appeared. The sage wished for the construction of a tank that would be filled with holy water to cleanse the sins of human beings. The Lord granted his wish and hence the name Papanasini, literally meaning “cleanser of sins”. According to historians, the pond was constructed in 11th century.
- 15 Makareswar Temple (opposite the Papanasini Temple Complex). A simple temple following the simple Odiya architecture. It was probably constructed in the 14th century and corresponds to the later Gangaa Dynasty. The temple has only traces of ornamentation, and includes sculptures of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati, housed in their respective central raha niches. The complex also houses a subsidiary shrine located in the south west corner of the complex. It was probably built at an earlier date.
- 16 Bharati Math (Odia: ଭାରତୀ ମଠ) (east of Bakresvara Temple and north west of Lingraj Temple). This is not a temple but a Hindu Monastery dating back to the 11th century CE. The three storied structure dates back to 11th century. It is in very bad condition and large portions of it have already collapsed. According to local belief, the monastery was constructed by Yajati Kesari, the architect of the Lingraj Temple and served as a living quarter for the artisans working on the temple. In front of the Bharati Math stands the Bharati Math Temple. Consisting of only the vimana the temple is partially buried under the present ground level. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is made of coarse sandstone with very limited ornamentation. There are nine small Shiva Temples behind the Bharati Math Temple.
- 17 Yameshwar Temple (Odia: ଯମେଶ୍ୱର ମନ୍ଦିର). Yameshwar Temple or Jameshwar temple is located opposite of the Bakresvara Temple, both of which are located north west of the Lingraj Temple. The temple dates back to the Ganga period of the 13th century CE. The temple complex houses several structures built long before the Yameshwar Temple. Several of the older structures have been buried under the ground and some of them have also been excavated. Historian opine that the older structures dates back to the 7th century, making it contemporary with the Parasuramesvara Temple, the oldest standing temple of Bhubaneswar. The west facing temple consists of two interconnected sections of jagmohan and vimana. The nat mandir (dance platform) is not connected and located at a distance. Something very unusual for Odiya temple architecture, only the Sun Temple of Konarak follows this plan. In between the main structure and the nat mandir is a statue of Nandi Bull resting on a small raised mandap (pavilion). The complex contains several shiva lingas, including a sahasra linga, with a surface covered with numerous miniature lingas. The outer walls contain intricate ornamentation many of which weathered off with time and many other has also been damaged.
- 18 Bakresvara Temple (opposite the Yameshwar Temple). This is one of the few abandoned temples of Bhubaneswar. Architectural evidence suggests that the temple was constructed in the 14 century CE, which corresponds to the late Ganga Dynasty. It follows the traditional Odiya temple style of jagmohan and vimana and the exteriors have very little ornamentation.
- 19 Aisaneswara Temple (adjoining the western compound wall of Lingraj Temple and next to Municipal Corporation Hospital). The 13th-century Shiva Temple is built in the traditional Odiya plan and consists of the two interconnected sections of jagmohan and vimana. Immediately to the north of the temple is a subsidiary shrine. The other wall of the temple and the subsidiary shrine lacks detailed carvings and the niches are empty. The idol of Lord Lingaraj is brought here on the 6th day after Shivaratri.
- 20 Ekamreswar Temple (at the south east corner of Lingraj Temple). The 12th-century CE temple consists of only the vimana. Almost two meters of the temple have been buried under the ground. Under the Ekamra Ksetra Redevelopment Plan the buried portion of the temple has been excavated.
- 21 Byamokesvara Temple (Suresvara Mahadeva temple) (at the main (eastern) entrance of Lingaraj Temple). The 10th-century temple faces west and is made of coarse grey sandstone. The temple is partially buried under the ground and the surrounding heavily encroached by shops, stalls and residential buildings. The original temple consists of only the vimana but a modern pavilion has been added in front of the western entrance.
- 22 Kartikeswar Temple (junction of Giani Zail Singh Road and Moharana Lane). Like the neighbouring temples, this 13th-century temple is partially buried under the ground. It follows the classical Odiya temple style with the two adjoining structures of jagmohan and vimana. The exterior walls contain some ornamentation.
- 23 Dakara Bivisaneswara Temple. Dakara Bivisaneswara Temple is considered as a sub shrine of Lingaraj Temple. It was constructed during the 11th century CE and is contemporary to Lingraj. The deity of the temple is considered as a messenger of Lord Lingaraj. According to legend the temple is constructed by Bibhisana, the brother of Ravana. The temple has been badly renovated with several new modern annexations that have robbed the ancient temple of its antiquity. The niches are covered with modern glazed tiles and are added with extended concrete shed.
- 24 Purbeswara Temple (200 m east of Dakara Bivisaneswara Temple and on the opposite side of the road). The temple follows the traditional Odiya architecture with the interconnected structures of jagmohan and vimana. The top part of the vimana has long collapsed exposing the Shiva Lingam to the open sky. The lingam was later transferred to the jagmohan. Its outwalls are almost devoid of any ornamentation.
- 25 Lakhyeswara Temple. A 13th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is east facing and consists of only the vimana. The jogmohan has long collapsed leaving on the footprints on the ground.
- 26 Gangeswara and Yamuneswara Temples (80 m north-east of Debi Padahara Tank, opposite Lakhyeswara Siva Temple). The twin temples dedicated to Ganga and Yamuna date back to the 13th or 14th century. They were constructed during the Ganga Dynasty. According to legend Parvati (Bhabani), disguised as a cow heard, was staying in Bhubaneswar, then called Ekarma. She was attacked by two demons Kirti and Basa. She killed both of them by crushing them underground. In the process she became thirsty. Shiva struck her trident and formed a pool appeared, it came to be known as Ganga Yamuna Tank. The stone line tank can still be seen north of the twin temples. Its water is said to contain magical healing powers. The twin temples built of grey sandstone consists of only the vimana. They have now been connected by a modern structure.
- 27 Suka and Sari Temples (south of Bindu Saravor). Sukha Sari is a temple complex housing the Sukha, Sari and another unnamed temple. Located on the northern end on the complex the west facing Sari Temple is the largest temple of the complex. Built in typical Odiya style is consists of the interconnected jagmohan and viman. It was probably built during the 13th century and corresponds to the Ganga dynasty. The temple has intricate ornamentation on the outer walls including human figures, deities, scroll work and floral motifs. The northern niche contains a beautiful statue of Parvati, Sadly the statues in the other two niches have gone missing. The temple complex has gone through an extensive archaeological excavation in 2014 revealing lower parts of the temple, which have been buried for centuries. The excavation also unearthed the remains of a further five temples, some of which may date back as early as the 7th century CE. Sarai temple lies south of the Sukha temple. It was built during the same time as Sukha Temple. The temple is west facing and consists of only the vimana, but the jagmohan footprints are clearly visible on the stone platform. The ornamentation of Sari is subjected to severe weathering but a few panels have remained intact over centuries and demand a closer look. Te compound also houses a third nameless temple, consisting of the vimana only.
- 28 Mohini Temple (on the southern banks of Bindu Saravor). According to legend, the temple is named after Mohini Devi, queen of Sivakara II of the Bhauma (Kara) dynasty, but historians doubt regarding it. The temple dedicated to Devi Chamunda and is severely encroached upon.
- 29 Markandeshwar Temple (on the south west corner of Bindu Saravor). The 8th-century temple has a newly constructed jogmohan, built of sandstone block, with no ornamentation. The original jagmohan has been lost long back and the vimana contains some intricate ornamentation.
- 30 Uttaresvara, Bhimesvara and Asta Shambhu Temples (north of Bindu Saravor). This temple complex housing three temples lie on the northern edge of Bindu Saravor. The complex also houses a stone line tank known as Godavari Kund. The Uttaresvara and Bhimesvara Temple have been totally reconstructed and have cement plastered walls with bright yellow paint. A few statues of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Kama (with Rati and Priti) have been set on the outer plaster walls of Uttaresvara Temple. Asta Shambhu Temples is a cluster of eight temples, which still maintains its antiquity. The temples consisting of only the vimana have varying heights ranging between 4.2 m and 6.1 m. Five of the temples are in a single alignment and rest there lies at the corner of the Godavari Kund.
- 31 Brahma Temple (at the middle of Bindu Saravor). The old town of Bhubaneswar is situated around the Bindu Saravor. The majority of Bhubaneswar's temples are located all around the lake. The lake dates back to 7th - 8th century and is contemporary with some of the oldest temples of the city. The Brahma temple is located at the middle of Bind Saravor lake and with no regular ferry service the temple is generally inaccessible. But on the 42nd day of Chandan Yatra festival, the temple becomes a ritualistic centre, as the image of Lord Lingaraja pays a visit here by boat.
- 32 Kotiteertheswara Temple. A winding road connects the Mukteshwara Temple Complex with the Bindu Saravor. The winding lanes and by lanes houses several ancient temples. Kotiteertheswara is the first of the temple and lies on the left hand side of the road. The 11th-century Shiva temple was built by the Somavansi dynasty. According to legend single worship of the lingam in the temple is equivalent to 1 crore (10 million) pilgrimage, hence the name Kotiteertheswara. Apart from the main temple the complex also houses a subsidiary temple. Both the structures consist of the vimana only and have almost no ornamentation. The complex also has a pond named Kotiteertha Tank.
- 33 Swarnajaleswara Temple. Located north of the Kotiteertheswara Temple, the Swarnajaleswara Temple heavily is encroached, making it almost impossible to photograph the entire temple. The temple dates back to the 7th century and corresponds to the reign of Sailodbhava dynasty. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva went through an extensive restoration during the 1980s. The restoration was carried out by the State Archaeology Department of Odisha. The temple still exhibits some intricate ornamentation, including sculptures from Mahabharata and Ramayana.
- 34 Champakeswara Temple (north of Swarnajaleswar Temple). The 13th-century Champakeswara Temple is located in a densely populated neighbourhood of old Bhubaneswar, but luckily it is one of the least encroached temples of Bhubaneswar. The temple follows the traditional Odiya architecture with interconnecting jagmohan and vimana. The temple lacks ornamentation had the central niches on all three sides contains images put up at a much later date. The complex house smaller shrines at the north east and south east corners. It may be assumed that the complex once followed the panchayatana plan, with the central structure being flanked on the four corners by minor shrines.
- 35 Subarnajaleswara Temple. Subarnajaleswara Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva dating back to 9th-10th century. The area was once inhabited by goldsmiths, hence the name. It lies east of Kotiteertheswara Temple and lies east of the Lingaraja West Canal. Consisting of the vimana only it has almost plain walls devoid of any ornamentation.
- 36 Sampoornajaleswara Temple. Sampoornajaleswara Temple lies on the west of Lingaraja West Canal and is approachable from the Subarnajaleswara Temple by a small bridge spanning over the Lingaraja West Canal. The temple dates back to the 9th-10th century. Unlike its counterpart on the other side of the canal, this temple has rich ornamentation on its outer wall.
- 37 Nageshwar Temple.
- 38 Kapileswar Temple (south west outskirts of Old Bhubaneswar). One of the largest temple complex of Bhubaneswar and houses over 30 shrines and also includes a huge tank (Manikarnika tank). It is a satellite of the Lingaraj Temple. According to the legend the temple marks the birth place of sage Kapila, the father of Sankhya Philosophy. The main temple built in later Odiya style towers to a height of 60 ft (18 m). It was built during 14th century CE during Gajapati rule of Kapilendra Deva. Non Hindus allowed inside the temple complex.
Buddhist and Jain Sites
- 39 Dhauli Giri, Dhauli Road (8 km 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 BCE, renounced his bloodthirsty 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 BCE. 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 on the opposite hill. Free.
- 40 Khandagiri & Udayagiri, Khandagiri-Chandaka Road Khandagiri (off AH45 (NH16)). 06:00-18:00. 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 BCE, 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 operating Jain temple. Udayagiri: ₹5 for Indians, ₹100 for foreigners. Entry to Khandagiri caves is free.
- 41 Odisha State Museum, Lewis Rd, Kalpana Square, BJB Nagar, ☏ . The original museum dates back to 1932 and it has been housed in the current building since 1960. 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.
- 42 Museum of Tribal Art & Artefacts, CRPF Square. Popularly known as the Tribal Museum it is conceptually labeled as Museum of Man. The museum was conceptualized way back in 1953. It was shifted to the present location in 2001. It gives an impressive insight into the culture of the many different tribes living in and around Odisha. Tools, clothes and artwork are presented over several halls. In every area a guide of the museum will take care of you and give you extensive explanations. No entrance fee.
- 43 Regional Museum of Natural History, Acharya Vihar, Sachivalaya Marg (near the planetarium), ☏ . Regional Museum of Natural History is an undertaking of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and was inaugurated in 2004. It exhibits plants, animals and geology specimens from Eastern India, North-Eastern India and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Since 2017 the museum has used green energy through solar power production.
- 44 Odisha Crafts Museum.
- 45 Nandankanan Zoo, Nandankanan Road, Khordha Barang (about 15 km from the city). April–September: 07:30-17:30. October–March: 08:00-17:00, 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 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.
- 46 Deras Dam, near Chandaka Sanctuary (around 20 km away from the Bhubaneswar Baramunda Busstand). A pristine, quiet lake in the midst of the nature.
- 47 Ekamra Kanan Botanical Gardens. The botanical garden covers an area of 500 acres and was founded in 1985. It is undertaking of Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC).
- 48 Sisupalgarh. Sisupalgarh is an archeological site south of Bhubaneswar. Archaeological evidence has confirmed that the fortified settlement was continuously inhabited from the 5th century BCE to the 4th century CE. Set on a square plan, Sisupalgarh covers an area of 1 km². The ancient fortified settlement is surrounded by a 9-m-high defensive wall. The fortified city had intelligent traffic management, pedestrian-friendly pathways, grand gateways with guardhouses, wide roads and vast open space. It was a smart city dating back to 500 BCE. Sisupalgarh is named after Sisupal a character from the great Indian epic Mahabharata. According to historians, the original name of the citadel has been lost. Today the remains of Sisupalgarh are scattered in two parts, the northwest gate and the pilar complex. The gate is an elaborate brick structure. It is poorly maintained, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) boards have long vanished, leaving only the frame and the site is overgrown with vegetation.The pillar complex or the queen complex is located just southeast of the gate and is locally called Shola Khamba, literally meaning 16 pillars. Contrary to the name there are only 14 pillars. The front row contains 5 pillars (excluding one, which has only its base) there is a cluster of four pillars in a square arrangement at the eastern end of the front row. Sadly today large part of the fortified area of Sisupalgrah have been encroached upon by rapid building activities. Close proximity to the state capital of Bhubaneswar, soaring land prices and administrative neglect have made Sisupalgarh a soft target of the land sharks.
- 49 Pathani Samanta Planetarium. The planetarium is named after the famous Odia astrologer Samanta Chandra Sekhar Mahapatra, who was popularly known as Pathani Samanta. The planetarium runs four shows daily between 2PM to 6PM – two in Odia, one in Hindi and one in English. Each show duration is of 45 minutes. The planetarium also conducts sky watching classes. Special events are also held on occasions of solar eclipse, lunar eclipse and other astronomical events.
- Visit the scores of parks in the city. The science park refreshes your basics and takes you back to school days. Or go around the rose garden in CRPF square or the 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 (May 1998) 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.
Bhubaneswar has developed as an information technology hub. Mindtree, Infosys, TCS, IBM, Wipro, Mindfire 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, 8 km 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 mementos.
Hand-woven textiles, known as "handlooms" as in the rest of India, are exquisitely beautiful. For women: sarees and clothes that can be stitched into salwar kameezes, or kurtas. Shirts or kurtas for men are a good buy.
- Bhawani Mall.
- Big Bazar.
- 1 Boyanika, Unit-2, Ashok Nagar Bhubaneshwar,, ☏ , email@example.com. Government-run handloom shop
- 2 Market Building, Ashok Nagar, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha (via Raj Path Street and 4th street). 08:00-20:00, 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, general cloth shops and various street vendors selling a wide range of products. Free.
- The World.
- Esplanade Mall.
- Ekamra Haat.
- Pal Heights.
- 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 21:00-23:00. This place attracts 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 cheap as ₹150 up to ₹4000.
- 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 metres), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12. The entrance does not look good, just a narrow metal staircase, but the lodge is in reasonable condition.
- 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. ₹2000.
- Hotel Pushpak, Kalpana Square. Looks old but the interiors are very good. The bar is quite comfy.
- OYO 27976 Hotel Upasana, Laxmi Sagar 1 Subash Marg (not really walking distance to anything, so take an auto or grapple with the local bus "system"), ☏ , email@example.com. Rooms are basic if shabby with comfortable beds, TVs, bathrooms and wifi. Room service is reasonably priced. Given the option, choose a room on an upper floor with a fan (not AC). The laundry service is slow and not recommended unless staying three or more nights. On a quiet back street, the hotel is near to a number of breakfast stands and a shiny new supermarket. Online bookings, although the card payment system is unreliable. English is spoken by some staff. ₹1241.
- Bhubaneswar Railway Retiring Rooms, Inside the Railway Station (Ashok Nagar). Very clean and safe place. Your ticket number is essential. ₹150.
- 1 Swosti Grand, 103, Janpath, ☏ , toll-free: 1800 123 1414. ₹3254.
- 2 AIIMS Nagar Homestay, 214,Lane 14, AIIMS Nagar, Patrapada, ☏ . Starts from Rs 500.
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.
Summer tends to be hot.
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 scammed. In case you have an issue with an auto rickshaw driver or taxi then report immediately to a police outpost, or call 100.
- Baliguda, roughly 270 km south from Bhubaneswar is home of Konds and Kutia konds. This is known as gateway to tribal tourism in the state. You can enjoy the nearby attractions like Belghar Sanctuary, Sapanala River Valley and Daringbadi, and get good hotel accommodation in Baliguda. Hotel Bivab is the best hotel to stay in this area.
- 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 highly regarded by 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 nicknamed Rock City, it is around 60 km from Brahmapur.
- Rourkela - about 340 km north from Bhubaneswar. Direct train is available. Rourkela is one of the bigger cities of Odisha, and is also known as "Steel City".
- Sambalpur - Hirakud Dam and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Silk city Brahmapur (also spelled Berhampur) is nicknamed Silk City. It is around 180 km from Bhubaneswar.
- Simlipal National Park