Sambalpur is the biggest city in western Odisha (formerly known as Orissa). It is a historically important place, mainly because of the number of freedom fights against the British, Veer Surendra Sai being one of the many who died fighting the British.
The climate is generally very extreme, temperature rising to about 45°C in summer and descending about as low as 7°C in winter.
It gets heavy rainfall during the rainy season, very important for the region because its non-irrigated areas depend on the monsoon for agriculture.
The best time to visit Sambalpur is October to March.
It has three railway station (Sambalpur City Station, Sambalpur Road Station and Khetrajpur Station). Khetrajpur is the most important station.
Sambalpur is well-connected to major cities in India like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Vhisakhapatnam.
It is also well connected by road to major cities around Sambalpur with night buses to and from Bhubaneswar, Bhilai, Rourkela, Raipur, Bargadh, Cuttack, etc.
Sambalpur is on National Highways 6 and 122.
- 1 Budharaja Temple, Budharaja Hill.
- Ghanteshwari Temple, Chipilma Rd, Bagbira, Chipilama (about 25 km from Sambalpur).
- 2 Hirakud Dam (16 km from Sambalpur). Longest earth dam in the world. The reservoir forms an artificial lake with an area of 746 km² having a shore line over 640 km. The drive on the 21-km dyke is majestic. You can enjoy the sight of the mighty Hirakud Dam and the fantastic expanse of water from the top of the revolving minaret called Gandhi Minar on the north. Ashok Nivas, a luxury Guest House, is near the Nehru Minar on the south. Cattle Island is near one end Hirakud reservoir. It is near Kumarbandh village of Belpahar-Banharpali range and is about 90 km from Sambalpur town by road, but is 10 km by water launch from Hirakud dam. The island was a hillock before construction of Hirakud dam. During the resettlement period, villagers left some of their cows and bulls and when the dam construction was over the cattle settled down on the hill-top. With the passage of time the nearby area was filled up with the reservoir water. Being away from mankind, the cattle are wild in nature.
- 3 Huma Leaning Temple, Tabada (32 km from Sambalpur, accessible by bus/auto). Famous for its Shiva temple, Huma contains the only leaning temple of Odisha. The Mahanadi river flows close by. Facilities for cruising in the river by country boat are available for a nominal price. Maha Shivaratri fair is held in February-March.
- Nrusimhanath (165 km from Sambalpur, 100 km from Bargarh). The temple of Vidala-Nrusimha stands at the foot of the picturesque Gandhamardan hill believed to be part of the hill which Hanuman carried on his shoulders from the Himalayas for saving the life of Lakshmana. On the other side of this hill is Harisankar temple and a waterfall. Nrusimha Chaturdashi fair is held in May-June.
- 4 Pradhanpat Waterfalls. The Pradhanpat hill with its waterfalls offers a rare scenic beauty. These falls are close to Deogarh town which is 96 km from Sambalpur on NH.6. Two guest houses named Basanta Nivas and Lalita Basanta were constructed by the former rulers of Bamra. Reservations are made by the Executive Engineer, National Highway Division, Sambalpur.
- 5 Samleswari Temple, Ray Pada, Khetrajpur. Erected by the Chauhans in the mid-16th century. Samaleswari Temple is dedicated to the goddess known as 'Maa', also known among the natives as samalei maa, meaning Mother Samaleswari. She is the presiding deity of Sambalpur, and is a strong religious force in western part of Orissa and Chhattisgarh state of India. Situated on the bank of the river Mahanadi the mother goddess Samaleswari is worshipped from ancient times as Jagatjanani, Adishakti, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati.
Sambalpur is well-known for its forest reserve. There are many conserved forests.
- 6 Debrigadh Willife Sanctury, Right Dyke Rd (50 km from Sambalpur). It stands out amongst all the wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha in terms of sighting wild animals, particularly in summer when trees shed their leaves. It stretches across the Lohara and Debrigadh Reserve Forests on the Barapahad hills in Baragarh district. The seasonal waterfalls and proximity of the large Hirakud reservoir are added attractions. It covers an area of 347 km². There is a population of tigers, leopards, sloth bears, chitals, sambars, and nilgais. Entry point is Dhorokusum. Accommodation is available at the Forest Rest Houses in Dhodrokusum and Dechua; and cottage at Chaurasimal. Reservation is done by DFO, Hirakud Wildlife Division at Sambalpur.
- 7 Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary (on NH6, 45 km from Sambalpur), ☏ (DFO Bamra). A population of tigers, leopards, panthers, sloth bears, elephants, sambal, gaur, chital and nilgai in a forest area of about 304 km². Watch towers provide a good view of the animals flocking the nearby watering points at night. Established 1962, located on NH6 and easily accessible by road. Jeeps for movement within the forest are available for hire from the forest office. Guide and spot lights are available with the Forest Range Officer against nominal charges. Accommodation is available at the Forest Rest House, Badrama, 3 km away. For reservation contact DFO, Bamra (office near Bamra railway station). Entry fees: Indians ₹10 per day, foreigners ₹100 per first day, heavy vehicles ₹10, light vehicles ₹5 per day, camera ₹2.
- 1 Burla. This is a small town, 14 km away from the district headquarters. It is known as the education hub of Odisha state. VSSUT Burla Engineering College (formerly UCE, Burla), VIMSAR Medical College, SU Sambalpur University are situated here.
- 1 Gole Bazar (Sambalpuri Sarees). Sambalpur is famous for its hand looms and textile industry, popularly known as Sambalpuri Sarees. Price can range from a few hundred to a hundred thousand rupees. There are many shops in the city, but most famous shops can be spotted in Golebazar, the main shopping centre. Chakadola Stores with its two branches at both Budharaja and Ainthapali is also a prominent centre for grocery goods and milk products with home deliveryaand catering facility. An emerging Big Bazar and a whole complex in the City Centre mall is in Modipara road.
There are many restaurants in and around Sambalpur city. You should try "pakhal", made of rice.
- Apptite (Hotel KC Palace), NH 6 (Near Ainthapali), ☏ , . Pure vegetarian restaurant.
- Celebration (Hotel Sheela Towers), VSS Marg, ☏ , . Multi-cuisine restaurant. You can also visit Cheers for drinks and Campus for fast food.
- Esquire, VSS Marg, ☏ . 8AM to 10PM. Multi cuisine restaurant
- Flavors (Hotel Saket), VSS Marg, ☏ , , . Fast food outlet - pizzas, burgers, doshas et al. There is an ice cream parlour.
- Hotel Uphar Palace, VSS Marg, ☏ , , , . Air-conditioned restaurant serves Indian, Chinese and Continental food.
- 1 Malini Cafe, Pattanayak pada (opposite Lakshmi Talkies), ☏ , . Specialising in South Indian cuisine and sweet treats. Known for its dosa, upma and cakes.
- Spice Hot (Hotel Nikki), VSS Marg, ☏ , , , , , . Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine. Open for lunch an dinner. The hotel also has a coffee shop and bar.
- Vilash (Hotel Saket), VSS Marg, ☏ , , . Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisine.
Many bars and restaurants are available within the city limits.
- Hotel Konark, N.H. 6, Baraipali Chowk (2.5 km from Sambalpur railway station.), ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. Non AC rooms: ₹4000; AC rooms : ₹700-₹1,000.
- 1 Hotel Natraj, Gaity Road, ☏ . ₹300-₹600.
- 2 Hotel Uphar, VSS Marg, ☏ , . ₹600-1,000.
- 3 Panthanivas (OTDC - Odisha Tourism Development Corporation), Brooks Hills, ☏ , , email@example.com. Check-out: noon. ₹650-1400.
- Hotel K C Palace, NH6, near Ainthapali, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 24 hr. Rooms: ₹995-1995, AC Dormitory: ₹300 per bed.
- 4 Hotel Sheela Tower, VSS Marg, ☏ , . ₹862 onwards.
- 5 Hotel The Grand SIBA, Budharaja (Near Jagannath Mandir, 1 km from Sambalpur railway station), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 10AM, check-out: 10PM. ₹2500-8000.
- 6 Hotel Harjit Residency, VSS Marg, ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. ₹1495-2995.
- Hotel Niiki, VSS Marg, ☏ , , , , , , email@example.com. Check-out: 24 hours. ₹2199-5799.
- 7 Hotel Saket, VSS Marg, ☏ , , , firstname.lastname@example.org. 1.5 km from Sambalpur railway station ₹1195-2995.
- 8 Hotel Uphar Palace, VSS Marg, ☏ , , , . ₹1195-2995.