Beyond Temples – Bhubaneshwar

5th Oct 2014

Although this was my office trip with my colleagues, but we managed to do some spectacular sight-seeing in almost one day.
We went there in second week of October last year. Boarded Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani. Since It was my office trip, I did not have to worry about my travel cost, accommodation and food. I stayed in the office guest house in VIP Colony in Nayapalli. The greenery and cleanliness of the roads made me step out of the cab and walk along that street. The air so fresh and blue cloudy sky and the chirping birds and blooming colourful flowers. 
The same evening we visited the Ekamra Kanan park- 10min walk from our guest house. But it was too dark to notice anything. Best time to visit there is in the morning when you can see people around strolling and jogging. There is a large boating lake and a huge pyramid which houses different species of cactii in the middle of the garden. Huge trees, colourful concrete sculptures, lush green lawns, serene ambience make it an extraordinary place for one to feel lost amidst the bounty nature. 
October being the month of retreating monsoon makes the surroundings appear more appealing to eyes. There were light showers almost everyday during the dawn and the dusk, and one never knows when the bright shining sky is taken over by the grey stormy clouds. 
We had prepared a quick itinerary to all the famous spots in the town in the early morning of the day we were supposed to leave. I had already read about the UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves and didn't want to miss the opportunity of cherishing the beautiful sunrise. We reached there by 4:30 am and strolled around to see the caves. We walked towards the highest altitude to view the entire city. The earth rotated a few more degrees and the glimpse of first ray of sun just above the horizon gave us heat.  It was a beautiful experience I have ever had. Our next desire was to witness the largest Kalinga Architecture in Bhubaneswar, that is , the Lingaraj Temple. It is the finest example of Hindu temple all over India - built in stone - following the perfect vaastu. Another stops were Mukteshwar Temple and Raja Rani temple, which one must visit if they are around. Both the temples as well as well their complexes do not even deserve to be compared. The fine stone carving is spellbinding. To visit all of these places, we hired an auto-rickshaw from our place of  accommodation for about Rs 500 who gave us a good ride in the entire old part of the city. 
The only things that I liked the most in cuisine were - Oou (elephant apple) chutney, pitha (malpua / pancake) and chhena poda (sweet made of cottage cheese) - and are local to the city - hence a must try!