Historically described as Ekamra Kshetra, Utkala and Kalinga, Odisha was the cradle of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. Bhubaneswar became the capital of Odisha (then Orissa) in 1949 after the capital moved from Cuttack. Designed by German architect Otto Königsberger, the new city was named after Tribhubaneswar or ‘Lord of the three worlds’, an aspect of Shiva worshipped as the main deity of Lingaraj temple. With nearly a thousand shrines, Ashokan edicts and inscriptions, the history of India’s Temple City, is etched in stone. With direct connectivity to the Bhubaneswar airport, travelling is very convenient.
Best time to visit: The ideal time to explore the city is from October to March.
How to reach
By Air: Bhubaneswar Airport or Biju Patnaik International Airport, about 6km from the city center connects the city with the rest of the country. IndiGo now operates 24 daily non-stop flights between Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam & Kochi.
By Train: Bhubaneswar railway station is the central station, connecting the city with the major parts of the county through various passenger and superfast trains.
By Bus: Bhubaneshwar has a vast network of government-operated and privately-owned buses that connect the city with all other prime towns in the country. Baramunda Bus Stand is the main bus terminus serving the city.
Getting around: Buses by Dream Team Sahara (DTS) and OSRTC (Odisha State Road Transport Corporation), auto-rickshaws and cabs on rent are the primary modes of transportation to travel around the city.
Named after Dalma (Odiya lentil-vegetable curry) a traditional Odiya cuisine, the place is excellent with mutton kassa and bamboo mutton.
One of the rare joints in Bhubaneswar to serve excellent Continental, Mexican and Italian! Try their Hungarian goulash, lasagna, chicken chowder, Starry Nachos Chicken and caramel custard.
A fine-dine restaurant with plush interiors; the highlight is the complimentary crispy roomali roti to munch on while you wait for the order to arrive!
The best vegetarian restaurant in town for the last two decades, all the dishes here, are cooked without onion or garlic. Try the dum aloo, stuffed brinjal, navratan korma and pulao, dal fry and dhaniya gobi.
Easily the pick of the nine eateries in the complex, the speciality restaurant has all the taste but none of the trappings of a Punjabi Dhaba—killer black dal, methi corn, chicken dishes, complimentary chaas (a yoghurt based drink) and amazing baked gud rasgulla!
Bhubaneswar is a great shopping destination with everything from Sambalpuri cotton saris, tussar silks, dokra metal artefacts, patachitra paintings on palm leaf or cloth, appliqué work from Pipli, stone sculpture, shell handicrafts and semi-precious stones for sale.
Main markets: The main shopping hubs are Bapuji Nagar Market, Ashok Nagar Market and Shahid Nagar Market. Ekamra Haat is a beautiful handloom and handicrafts market with food stalls as well.
Utkalika: This state-run government emporium in the busy Marketing Building, is also good for handicrafts, as are Mayuri and Soumya Handicraft near Chausath Yogini. Besides Utkalika, Boyanika, the oldest brand name in Odisha handlooms, also have an outlet at Unit-1 Market.
Anwesha Tribal Arts & Crafts: For a wide range of dokra craft and tribal paintings, drop in at Anwesha Tribal Arts & Crafts at IRC Village, Nayapalli. And if you’re looking for good old retail therapy, try malls like The World, MTG Mart and Mega Shop.
Swosti Premium, Jaydev Vihar Located on Nandan Kanan Road, this is a newer hotel by the company behind the Bhubaneswar landmark Swosti Grand. They also run branches at Chilka and Gopalpur.
Mayfair Lagoon, Jaydev Vihar Set amidst pretty gardens and a lagoon, this luxury resort, is decorated with garden sculptures, vintage cars, even a beautiful old Beech aircraft. There’s a cluster of restaurants, swimming pool, spa, gym and a jogging track that encircles the 10-acre property.
The Presidency, Nayapalli A decent three-star hotel offering free Wi-fi and airport pick up, inclusive of breakfast.
VITS Bhubaneswar, Cuttack-Puri Road It is one of the best hotels near Bhubaneswar railway station where you can stay at an affordable price. The hotel offers value for money comfort, two dining options and a business centre.
State Botanical Garden (Odisha) and Regional Plant Resource Center: The State Botanical Garden (Odisha) and Regional Plant Resource Center, are botanical gardens with an extensive collection of exotic and regional fauna.
Museums and Galleries in Bhubaneshwar: The Odisha State Museum has archaeological artefacts, weapons, local arts and crafts as well as insights into the state’s history. The SCST Tribal Research and Training Institute Museum has life-size models of various tribal dwellings and stunning dokra (metal casting using the lost wax process) pieces – both ceremonial and functional. The Odisha Art Gallery at Forest Park is good for art buffs. Other museums include Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Regional Museum of Natural History, Regional Science Center and State Handicrafts Museum.
Drive 8km south of Bhubaneswar to Dhauligiri or Dhauli for short to see the Japanese Peace Pagoda built in the 1970s and the complete Ashokan Edicts engraved on the rock. The site of the bloody Kalinga War (262-261 BC), where the Daya river turned red from this vantage point made Mauryan Emperor Ashoka shun violence and convert to Buddhism. This is one of the most important tourist places in Bhubaneswar. The rock-cut elephant above the edicts is the earliest Buddhist sculpture in Odisha. Continue via the village of Pipli (famous for its appliqué work) to Puri and visit the beach and the holy Jagannath Puri temple. Along with the Sun Temple of Konark, it forms the Golden Triangle of Odisha. Just a little southwest of Puri is the salt water lake of Chilika, the largest coastal lagoon in India and the most substantial wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian subcontinent. During the annual Puri Rath Yatra in June–July, witness grand processions of the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra pulled in massive chariots by thousands of devotees.