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Odisha

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Revision as of 14:45, 12 April 2004 by 62.255.64.10 (talk) (Comments about Bhubaneswar/Puri )
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Odisha

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If you visit Orissa you will probably start in Bhubaneswar, which is the state capital. There are regular trains from Delhi,Kolkata and the south. There is also a domestic airport with flights operated by Indian Airlines and Sahara. A budget hotel which I found near the railway station is Sri Krishna Hotel (the rooms are around RS 500 for 24 hours). Staff are friendly and helpful. Just around the corner is a good vegetarian place to eat called the Hare Krishna restaurant. Bhubaneswar is also known as the temple city and there are many excellent examples of Orissan architecture in the old part of the city. The Lingaraj temple is famous in India for worshippers of Shiva but foreigners are not permitted inside,however there is a viewing platform next to one of the boundary walls.(beware of the man that comes with a book with different peoples names and nationalities as well as donations written in it, he is quite persuasive but you really don't have to give him a donation!) Bindu sarovara is a large lake near to Lingaraj and Ananta Vasudeva temples where there is a drop (bindu) of every holy river in it. I think the most reliable travel agents are Swosti Travels, again next to the Sri Krishna Hotel. If your budget permits the Swosti is a good hotel. They have quite a good bakery. There is a private hospital in Bhubaneswar called Kalinga and that is probably your safest bet, however if you have a tummy bug Dr S.S Mishra of Apex Hospital,Baramunda has helped me and my friends/family on many occasions! If you want to go inside a Hindu temple the devotees at the Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir (ask the auto rickshaw drivers for ISKON, it is about RS 40 from town) are friendly and there is a cheap and clean veggie restaurant.You can get private rickshaws outside the temple, Vijay has never cheated us! Or stop a taxi rickshaw and pay less to get to where you want but you will have to squash up with whoever else gets inside. There are two fantastic beach resorts in Orissa, Jagannath Puri (approx 1 and a half hours or 60 km from Bhubaneswar by bus,around RS 15) and Gopalpur. I really like Jagannath Puri. It is a pilgrimage town with a famous temple of Jagannath (means Lord of the Universe).There are many hotels, most overseas tourists stay near to Chakratirtha Road (C.T. Road). The Sun temple at Konark is also near by. If you go to Puri by road from Bhubaneswar you will go past Pipli with its beautiful applique handicrafts, worth a look. the beach is golden sand but the water is a bit rough (guess it is good if you like to swim).Puri is also on the train route from Delhi and Kolkata. There are many rural areas in Orissa but it is best not to explore unless you know someone there.

I enjoyed going to Taptapani natural hot springs near Berhampur and there was also a deer sanctuary.Chilika is a massive lake with many different species of wild birds.Local people are usually happy to suggest places ot visit.

Orissa has not been developed as much as other areas of India.There are Cyber cafes in different areas of town. The State Bank of India near No1 Market (Call it Eka number market) has good exchange rates and will change foreign currency/travellers cheques. UTI bank will also do this and has air conditioning,it is near to Rama Mandir. There are some more luxury hotels in Bhubaneswar including Mayfair Lagoon (with swimming pool),Swosti Plaza,Oberoi, Ashok Kalinga and Shishmo but always being broke I have never stayed in them, only heard good reports!