The Kondhs (also locally known as Kandha or Khonds), are the largest tribal group in Odisha (As per 1970 estimates, numbering more than 7, 00, 000 persons). The Kandhamal district in Odisha (erstwhile a part of Phulbani district), has 55% Kandha population and was named after the tribe. The Kondh is a tribe of people living mainly in the forested mountainous regions of the state of Orissa in India. They are known for their cultural heritage and values which center on respecting nature. They speak Kuvi language. Their religion is interwoven with traditional tribal beliefs and Hinduism. Their religion is animistic, and their pantheon includes eighty-three Gods. Their practices make them mainly dependent on forest resources for survival. The Khonds are subdivided into the plains Khond, who are highly assimilated with the neighboring Oriya and engage in plow farming (they are also divided into castes), and the hill Khond, who have preserved considerable vestiges of the tribal system. The chief occupations of the latter are slash-and-burn farming, hunting, and gathering. They celebrate festivals like Dussehra, Diwali, Sohraj, Sarhul, Jitia, Phagu Karma, Nawakhani and Ramnavami with great joy, honor, and enthusiasm which includes music and dance with the beating of Dhol, Kartal, Thali, Nagara and Flute. The rituals of this tribe are so pious that it can be easily seen in their practices.
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The largest brackish water lagoon of Asia, the Chilika Lake is an awesome place to visit when you are in Odisha. It stretches from Bhusandpur in the Puri District till the Ganjan District and comprises of a beautiful wetland. There are a number of islands here and these are places till where you can enjoy boating and also spend a peaceful and exotic weekend on one of these. The islands include the Nalabana, Kalijal, Honeymoon, Breakfast, Somolo and Rajahansa. The wetland is also a bird- watcher's heaven where thousands of migratory birds, especially flamingoes come here and are a visual treat completely. The Kalijai Temple on the Kalijal island is a popular attraction here where the Goddess Kalijai is worshipped. She is a local deity and Makar Sankranti is celebrated here with great pomp.
Konark Sun Temple
he major attraction of the town of Konark, this temple is a stunning example of ancient Odisha Temple architecture. The temple was built in the 13th Century during the reign of King Narasimhavarmana I. Samba, the son of Lord Krishna was cursed by him and this made him a victim of leprosy. After this he started practising strict penace and at the end of this he attained the blessings of the Sun God. Lord Surya is the one who is said to have powers of curing all sorts of sking diseases and so did he cure Samba. As a mark of his gratitude and devotion he built the Konark Sun Temple. Next day when he was taking a bath in the waters of Chandrabhaga, a picture of Lord Surya floated to his hands and he took it as an instruction of the Lord. He immediately placed this image in the temple he had built. The temple is huge and is in the form of a chariot which has 12 wheels and being driven by 7 horses. The idol of the Sun God is in a standing posture and the horses are shown carrying him across the heavens. The temple was also called as the 'Black Pagoda' by the British because it was built completely of black granite.
Mainly known as a pilgrim's beach, this is also the place which attracts thousands of tourists from around the world. The ones who come to pay homage to Lord Jagannatha make sure to take a dip in the waters of the Puri Beach. Talking from a traveller's point of view, the views of the sunrise and sunset are awesome here. The relaxed and calm atmosphere of the beach is soothing during a vacation and the sand art displayed especially by internationally acclaimed Sudarshan Pattanaik are a visual treat. There are also a number of shacks here selling fast food and other small items here and there. For a quieter experience you should move towards the eastern end of the beach and just sit there and watch the fishermen at work. High tides are a common trait of this beah so be careful to follow the rules guided to you.
Chandipur Beach is another one of the lesser known beaches of the East Coast in Odisha. The site can be reached by travelling to Baleshwar by road or rail. It is dangerous to visit the beach during the high tide, so plan your visit carefully. Devkund Waterfalls, Panchalinegeswar and Khirachora are some of the other attractions near the Chandipur Beach that together make it a great spot to spend a weekend.
Sri Jagannath Temple
The main attraction of Puri alluring thousands of people from all over India is mainly known for its mystic powers and enchanting surrounding. Filled with people it is a place you would hardly find empty. It is resided by Jagannath, Balaram, and Subhadhra. You can easily reach the temple with the help of local transport like auto and cycle rickshaw with a meagre fair of Rs. 30/- only.
Bhitarkanika National Park
For the wildlife enthusiasts visiting this state, Bhitarkanika National Park is an offbeat paradise that can be explored via a boat ride. The vast area of 672 square kilometres around the Bhitarkanika Mangroves was declared a National Park in 1998. Salt Water Crocodile, Water Monitor Lizard and the King Cobra are some of the species to look out for in this region replete with biodiversity.
Nandankanan Zoological Park
The name of this park means the garden of the heavens. This has been declared as a sanctuary and is spread over the Chandaka Forest. The Kanjia Lake is also a part of this park. This park and sanctuary is mainly known for the variety of tigers here, especially the Royal Bengal Tiger and the white tigers. wildlife safaris are the main attractions here and guides and proper security facilities are also available to take care of all the tourists.
Lingaraj Temple :The temple dedicated to Harihara, a combined deity form of Lord Vishnu and Shiva, is one of the major tourist attractions of the city. The central tower of Lingaraj Temple stands at a height of 180 feet and the temple complex contains 50 other shrines. Pandas/Priests at the entry approach for offering puja but we did not avail their service. There were only few people inside, we performed pooja here and poojari gave us a silver bilwapatra. Around the vicinity of the shrine, there are other temples of different gods and goddess.
The ancient caves of Khandgiri and Udaygiri are some of the finest examples of ancient India's rock-cut architecture. These caves served as residential blocks for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. The Jain temples in Bhubhaneshwar are at an hour's distance from these caves, and are another excellent example to study the ancient architecture of India.
Raja Rani Temple
First place to visit in Bhubaneswar-Puri trip was Rajarani temple situated at old Bhubaneswar near Tankapani Road. Rajarani temple derives its name due to the employment of dull red and turbid yellow sandstone locally called "Rajarani".It is famous for its sculpted figures and the successive tiers of projections rising to form 18 m tower. This temple has no idols as such. Dance, Life and some very personal moments of life similar to Khajuraho mithun shilpas are depicted in the form of carvings around the temple .The best preserved sculpture of the temple are the standing astadikpalas on the central façade of kanika .
Sambalpur also boasts of the Hirakud dam, the world’s longest dam across the Mahanadi river. There is minaret called Gandi Minar atop which one can enjoy the vast expanse of Hirakud dam with the calm, serene nature all around. It provides a wonderful view and, you can feel oneness with the nature.Both the cities, Rourkela and Sambalpur have retained their natural aura in spite of being industrial towns. You can experience a perfect symbiosis of nature and industry here.
This temple is considered to be the oldest existing temple of the city built around 650 AD. Though the Presiding God of this temple is Lord Shiva, this temple is a combination of the Shiva and Shakti. The outer wall of the temple is engraved with the idols of Lord Parsuram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Lord Indra (the king of Gods), Surya and many more Gods. This temlpe adjacent to the Mukteswar temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Bhubaneswar.
Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa
Dhauli Shanthi stupa : Dhauli believed to be the battleground of Kalinga war is a hillside lying on the banks of river Daya just 8km from Bhubhaneshwar. Kalinga war that took place in 261B.C had lot of implications on Emperor Ashoka's mind ,completely transformed his thoughts and soul after which he embraced Buddhism. It is said River Daya had completely turned red due to the blood of dying soldiers from both sides of Magadha and Kalinga kingdom. This is the site of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa built by Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. After offering our obeisance to Lord Buddha, we had an aerial view of Daya River
Raghurajpur Artist Village
If you want to explore what the art of Odisha looks like, Raghurajpur is the best place to visit. This is a village hidden amidst palm and betel vines, where artists can make you get lost in the charm of their art. There you find thatched huts with outer platforms where the artists sit and do their work. These are also like their art studios where you can watch them working. Pattachitra or artwork on mud plates is the traditional part and other items of terracotta, papier mache and other stuffs are also made here. The Gotipua is the academy of dance here which polishes the art of Odissi started and nurtured by the Great Guru Shree Kelucharan Mahapatra. Other than this the worship of the loacl deity is also worth a watch here.
The name of the place justifies its beauty. In Hindi, Swargadwar means gate to heaven, though significant because of the cremation ground present just behind to beach, the main attraction is the Beach. Stretched alongside the main road, the beach is a huge part of Puri's main culture. Also, praised for hosting beach festival every year in December. It is not only beautiful because of its nature, it is beautiful because of the art shown by local residents on the sand by making beautiful sand sculptures. ranging from face of goddess Durga to face of Subhash Chandra Bose
This highway is a part of the Golden Quadrilateral project and runs along the boundaries of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The Northern Terminal is in Mayurbhanj, Odisha and the Southern is in Chennai, Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, it runs through Nellor, kavali, Ongole, Chilakaluripet, Vijayawada, Guntur and Eluru.