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 the 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, India's Temple City's history, is etched in stone. With direct connectivity to 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 Bhubaneswar
Flights to Bhubaneswar : Bhubaneswar Airport or Biju Patnaik International Airport, about 6km from the city centre connects the city with its rest. IndiGo now operates 24 daily non-stop flights between Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Kochi.
By Train: Bhubaneswar railway station is the central station, connecting the city with the county's significant parts through various passenger and superfast trains.
By Bus: Bhubaneswar 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/local transport in Bhubaneswar: 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.
Most spoken languages in Bhubaneswar
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.
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.
The State Botanical Garden (Odisha) and Regional Plant Resource Center, are botanical gardens with an extensive collection of exotic and regional fauna.
The Odisha State Museum has archaeological artefacts, weapons, local arts and crafts, and 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 saltwater lake of Chilika, India's largest coastal lagoon 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.
The city of Bhubaneswar is known for its rich culture; hence there are a number of festivals in Bhubaneswar that are rejoiced in the city.
The Ashokastami Festival is celebrated in April. This festival is also known as Rath Jatra or Chariot Festival. During Ashokastami Festival, the idol of Lord Lingaraj is kept on a chariot and carried from the main temple to Rameswar Temple. The idol is returned after four days.
In January, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with a lot of enthusiam. At this time, Makar Mela is held. During the festival, the locals worship the Sun-god with great reverence.
One of the state's biggest festivals is the Taratarini Mela, which is held in the months of March and April. On each Tuesday, from mid-March to mid-April, this festival is celebrated at Tara Tarini pitha.
One of the significant music festivals of the city, the Rajarani Festival is celebrated in January, for a period of three days. The key focus of this festival is to promote the Indian classical and traditional music.
January and February are also the months when the vibrant and colourful Megha Mela or Fair festival is held in the city.
Another key festival in Bhubaneswar is Durga Puja that is held in September-October with fanfare and enthusiasm. This is a nine-day festival. Lakshmi Puja is also held in September-October. This is one of the prime festivals of Bhubaneswar that is celebrated with great reverence.
Mahashivratri is an essential festival celebrated between February-March. On this occasion, devotees, especially women, fast and worship Lord Shiva to seek his divine blessings.