6 Off Beat Things To Do in Bhubaneswar
Posted by Priya Abraham
Welcome to Bhubaneswar-the “Smart City” that offers you an impressive blend of architectural heritage and urban design. Get amazed at how you breeze past the neat and well-planned city dominated by wide, tree-lined roads and dignified government buildings to find yourself amongst some of the richest and well preserved ancient treasures in the country. As you soak yourself in the warmth of this clean, lush green city, there is plenty to see and do. Here are the top ten:
The place that changed Emperor Ashoka could very well bring peace to your soul and so if you are one searching some calm, the tranquil Dhauli hills might be the perfect destination for your mind. About 8 kms from the frenzy of the capital city, Dhauli is marked by the dazzling white peace pagoda, built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in the Seventies. You can find splendid edicts of Ashoka embossed on a mass of rock in Dhauli, beside the way to the hill summit. It was here that the battle between the Mauryan emperor Ashoka and the ruler of Kalinga (the earlier name of Odisha) was fought. The Daya River turned red with the blood of slain soldiers and the sight is said to have moved the emperor and he converted to Buddhism. Take your time out to sit by the Guardian lion and enjoy the sprawling view of the expanding cityscape. Do not miss the light and sound show during the evenings. The narration describes the transformation of Chandashoka to Dharmashoka. Renowned artists Kabir Bedi, Om Puri and Bijay Mohanty have lent their voices in English, Hindi and Odia respectively.
Visit to this “City of Temples” remains incomplete unless one explores the wealth of monuments at Ekamra Kshetra dotted with a series of ancient sandstone temples, heritage ponds and water tanks. The ornate sandstone structures here are a testament to a historical heritage spanning over 2,000 years and are the cornerstone of architectural, artistic and cultural brilliance. The city is home to hundreds of ancient big and small temples that trace the evolution of Odishan architecture, indicative of how their styles shaped from modest beginnings and rose to a gigantic scale. Most of these temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. In fact, the name Bhubaneswar was derived from “Tribhubaneswar” - one of the many names of Shiva meaning "Lord of Three Worlds".
Lose yourself to Odishan handicrafts, ethnic cuisines and cultural activities set in an ambience of a traditional rural marketplace at one of Bhubaneswar’s most loved Ekamra Haat. Take a relaxed stroll and surf through the open display stalls for an altogether delightful experience - buying souvenirs for your loved ones, savouring the delicacies of different states or simply relaxing in the fresh green velvety lawn.
Pick up your choicest from this treasure trove of stone sculptures, wood carvings, applique, pattachitra, cane and bamboo craft, dhokra, bell metal, terracotta, palm leaf engraving and a variety of traditional handloom products. The stalls selling handicrafts are allotted to craftsmen to ensure that visitors get to buy authentic wares at prices that have not been inflated by the middlemen. The hang out is not only famous for arts and crafts, but is also a popular entertainment venue. Programs like fancy shows, musical shows and talent shows are a regular attraction here. Pamper your taste buds by trying flavours of the Odia thaali, Chakuli and Mansha combo, and Mati handi mansha offered at the haat.
Welcome to Gangotrinagar, the newly found valley of the artisans near the bank of the historic Gangua nullah that was once the moat of the Sisupalgarh fort .Visitors to this place can spot many artists spreading the art form by training younger artists in their studios. While most artisans have already earned accolades for their stone carvings and exporting the stone crafts to foreign countries, the pattachitra artists of Gangotrinagar have also gained much popularity for their work.
The twin caves Udayagiri and Khandagiri chiselled out of huge sandstones and once home to Jain monks are a must visit for those who are passionate about ageless historic structures. While the monk cells for meditations and prayer are simple, the hallways and verandah walls are replete with carvings depicting hunting expeditions, royal processions and daily lives from the time of King Kharavela of Chedi dynasty and his successors- devout Jains the first ones to have excavated these caves, as per inscriptional evidences. Udayagiri means "Sunrise Hill" and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 rock-cut caves.
Check out one of eastern India’s finest zoos, where endangered species are nurtured and ferocious predators are kept promising its visitors an amazing adventure into the animal kingdom. Nandankanan houses a total of 3,004 animals, including 1,175 mammals, 1,546 birds, 262 reptiles and 21 amphibians. Oozing greenery from all sides, the zoo stands out for its spaciousness, cleanliness and large enclaves built for the exotic animals like elephants, zebras, lions, green anacondas, rhinoceroses and baboons. Do not get surprised if the local guide calls out their names. Most animals here have been lovingly named by the authorities. It is the host zoo for white tigers. The multiple safaris, boating facilities, aquarium and walk-through aviary are special attractions at the zoo.
Even as the war of words over Rasagolla’s origin continues to raise its head every now and then, a visit to Bhubaneswar would remain incomplete without trying a syrupy Pahala Rasagolla The highway stop is a must stop people in Bhubaneswar going to meet someone at the neighbouring Cuttack or vice versa. What started as a couple of shops a few years back has spread to over 100 shops on both the sides of the busy road.
The locals humbly admit that this warm sugary cheese ball that has changed the economy of an entire village for good. The income helped them educate their children better, create assets, and access better health care.
Most of the families in this village supply homemade raw materials used for the preparation of this sweet delicacy and are connected to the Rasagolla business.
Discover the many hues of Odissi in full display by artistes performing at the city’s Rabindra Mandap- a vibrant cultural spot in the city. Lose yourself to breathtaking performances by the dancers depicting mythical and religious stories, devotional poems and spiritual ideas emoted with excellent body movements, expressions, impressive gestures and sign languages. Graceful postures, energetic footwork and beautiful formations are sure to take you from one frame to the other, freezing time and space and you will certainly realise why the beautiful dance form has managed to enchant audiences across the globe. Located near the State Legislative Assembly, the Mandap is hugely popular in the city for the indigenous art forms that are organized here. Performances of Odissi and dramas are regular affair here.
Speaking of all that Bhubaneswar has to offer, one cannot miss out on Sishualgarh, one of the largest and best preserved early historic fortifications in India. Though most of the structures has been decayed and are lost, the pull of 18 laterite pillars at this ruined fortification that stand erect even 2,500 years later is sure to leave you flabbergasted. The settlement had well laid out houses, interested structures, lanes and by-lanes. The discovery of ornaments, beads, bangles, terracotta, copper, iron implements like knives, blades and nails points to the possibility that the inhabitants of the city must have been quite advanced. However only a part of the city has been excavated and a lot more remains to be discovered from these ancient remains.
Get awestruck by the wealth of Odisha’s rich past at the State Museum at Bhubaneswar that is filled with countless works of priceless art, historical artefacts and natural marvels. The huge galleries have on display more than 50,000 diverse articles from the ancient times including a variety of collections that include archaeological finds, religious sculptures, coins, ornaments, cloths, artillery, armours, weapons, musical instruments, antique paintings decorative arts and manuscripts. The huge anchors on display at the museum are a special reminder to the states maritime trade. The gallery has separate galleries for scientific collections in archaeology and geology. The museum’s real highlight, however, remains the rich collection of palm leaf manuscripts. The oldest manuscript here is dated back to 1690.Login to Post Comment