Top places in Odisha to visit during Ratha Yatra

 Wednesday, June 29, 2022 

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Orissa

Ratha Yatra is around the corner and Odisha and preparations for the biggest festival of the state in the land of Lord Jagannatha is in full swing.

Although this East Indian state becomes the hotspot of pilgrims during Ratha Yatra, there is a long array of places to explore and things to do in Odisha.

From rolling beaches to historic monuments and exotic wildlife, there is so much for tourists who are looking for a break for a couple of days in July.

The land offers a complete package to fit into everyone’s taste and budget.


Here is a brief guide to some of the top places in Odisha to include in your Ratha Yatra itinerary:

Puri Jagannatha Temple

Resplendently coloured visitors, bustling streets, cheerful, vendors and a festive vibe are just some of the major draws of Puri during Ratha Yatra- the world famous Chariot Festival.

A fun fair is organised to celebrate the festival where vendors sell traditional delectable dishes such as khaja, poda pitha, sarapulli and others.


Puri beach

There can be nothing better than starting the day watching a stunning sunrise on the Puri beach.

Taking a dip in the sea, collecting seashells from the beach, sauntering along the sea, savouring delectable platters from the beachside food joints and clicking selfies with the gushing waves at your backdrop can be some of the most sought-after activities to do during Ratha Yatra.


Raghurajpur Artist Village

Raghurajpur is an idyllic village which is the birthplace of Patachitras– the famous cloth paintings in Odisha. A community of skilled and veteran artists reside in this hamlet who create sheer magic every day.

Tourists can go for a walking tour around Rahgurajpur, meet artists, get to know about them and their lifestyle and buy some some knickknacks from the ensemble of handicrafts that are on sale.

The best way to reach Raghurajpur is by walking along the breezy path from Chandipur but stop.


Chilika lake

Famed as the world’s largest brackish water lake, Chilika is probably the most highlighted attraction in Orissa after the Jagannath Temple. The massive water body spreads over 1,165 sq km with the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary located right in the midst of the lake.

During winter the sanctuary is visited by migratory birds like flamingos, Asiatic Dowitcher Dalmatian pelican and many more. If luck is on your side, you may also get a glimpse of the Irawaddy dolphin.


Konark Sun Temple

Declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Konark temple built in the 13th century (according to the Kalinga School of temple architecture) with its intricate carvings is a glorious representation of the chariot of the Sun God.

Although, today, the temple is just left with ruins, however, the wheels, dance hall and a few smaller temples never fail to enthrall visitors every time they visit the place.


Nandankanan Zoological Park

Nandankanan Zoological Park, spreading over a staggering 400 hectares, is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts to spot animals in their most intriguing gestures. The zoo is famous for being home to over 1,600 animals and breeding several varieties of endangered species like the Asiatic Lion, mouse deer and others.

There are 34 aquariums and a massive reptile park that has many species of crocodiles, snakes and turtles.

July is the best time when tourists can get to see the world-famous Royal Bengal white tiger, Nilgiri langur, black panther and other unique animals.


Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

Forming a part of the earliest kind of Jain rock-cut shelters , the caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri are a major historic attraction in Odisha.

A part of these caves are naturally formed and the rest are built during the reign of King Kharavela. Shutterbugs should not miss a chance to capture the magnificent carvings on the caves.

Covering the 18 caves of Udaygiri and 15 caves of Khandagiri may be quite a challenge for even the sturdiest of explorers. For them, Rani Gumpha (The Queen’s Cave)- a double storeyed monastery at Udaygiri can be a first pit stop.


Lingaraja temple

The chiliastic temple is revered as one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar which attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrim round the year. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva who is worshipped in the form of 180 feet tall shivalingam. The temple houses over 100 smaller shrines in a massive courtyard that are worth a watch.

Apart from its time-honoured religious significance, Lingaraja Temple’s structural design is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple premise.


Bhitarkanika National Park

Located in the Brahmani-Baitarani region of Kendrapara district in Odisha, Bhitarkanika National Park is one of the most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries in Asia. The most significant feature of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is its dense mangrove forests, stretches of wetland and existence of the maximum number of salt water crocodiles.

Keep looking out for an Asian open bill, a darter, a collared kingfisher, or an egret while walking by Suajore creek. If you have your lucky cap on, you might be able to locate a few.


Balighai Beach

Situated along the coast of the Bay Of Bengal at a distance of 8 Km on the Puri-Konark Marine Drive Road, the pristine beach of Balighai is a relatively hidden gem of Odisha.

The beach is tucked at the mouth of Nuanai River and is favourite of beach lovers to bask in the sun, indulge in water activities and watch stunning sunrises and sunsets over the Bay Of Bengal.

Balighai Beach stands out from many other beaches of the state in terms of its unique bio-diversity and panorama. Tourists visiting the place between December and January can spot Oliver Ridley turtles who come ashore to lay eggs.

A robust population of migratory birds also fly to this region during winter.

Odisha is a land of pristine beaches, architectural wonders, spiritual sojourns and many more things to see and explore. Prepare your itinerary from the list of unique destinations to make the most of your trip to the Land of Jagannatha during Ratha Yatra.

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