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Golden Triangle of Orissa (Odisha) April 6, 2012

Golden Triangle of Odisha

Golden triangle of Orissa

Golden triangle of Orissa:
Puri, Konark along with capital city of Bhubaneswar form the three vertices of Golden Triangle of Orissa tourism circuit, with circumference of about ~170KMs.
And the triangle can be explored within 1 day to 4 days, depending upon one’s requirements.
Puri is one of the major four pilgrimage center for Hindus & also is famous for its sea beach.
Konark, for me, is equivalent to Taj Mahal. Its history is worth going through.
And the third vertice, Bhubaneswar is not only the capital & “showcase” city of Odisha, but also better known as Temple city.
Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail & bus by rest of the country. This can be the starting & comfortably base point for rest of the circuit.
Puri is well connected by train & road. Konark is well connected by road.
Travel by own transport (car or Bike) is best & fastest means to cover the triangle.
State tourism & tour operators also offer day tours.
Personally, I find bike & cars best means to cover.
All three places have some good places for accomodation depending upon budget. Of all, Bhubaneswar is the best & also can be base for all places if time permits.
Some notes:
1) Orissa still fails to provide tourism infrastructure which other states like TN, Karnataka etc. provides. But things are definitely improving.
2) Do take prior notes on temple timings.
3) Be careful of seas especially during monsoon & cyclone season.
4) Drive carefully, roads are small & you never know which animal is crossing your road. At night, extra concentration needed & roads are not well litted.
5) Mobile, cameras are not allowed inside Puri Jagannath temple
6) Non- Hindus are not allowed inside PURI  Jagannath temple. But if you resemble like an Indian, one may skip, as there is no such check 😉
7) Be aware of priests in all the temples.
If you have an experimenting tongue, then none of these place will disappoint you with mouth watering Oriya cuisine, with pure veg option in temple & non-veg options in any hotel. Other cuisine of India is also available in plentiful in all of these places. Beyond that, Bhubaneswar will have some options, Puri may have very limited options & Konark may not have any.
Must Eat: “Abhada” or meal in temple premises (called Anand Bazar). “Khaja” is also another must eat.
“Chena Puda”, “Chena gaja”, “Rabidi” are other must eat sweets.
In Bhubneswar : Hare Ram Hare Krishna & Tamarind near Master Canteen, Lingaraj Lassi center are worth trying.
Other facilities:
1) ATM are available in all of these places.
2) Hotel, restaurants, tourist office etc. are available in all of these places.
3) Toilet facilities are also there, but limited & some what unhygienic
4) Fresh water facility is available in Puri sea beach. Not available in Konark n other near by beaches.
5) Parking facility available in almost all places.
Itenary :
1-2 day Plan: Bhubaneswar Lingaraj temple & Mukteswar Temple –> Dhaulagiri –>Pipli –>  Puri Temple & Beach –> Konark Sun temple & Chandrabhaga Beach –> Nimapada sweets –> Back to Bhubaneswar
2-3 Day plan: Bhubaneswar City & temples (1 day) –> Pipli –> Sakhi Gopal temple –> Puri Jagannath temple –> Puri Gundicha Mandir –> Puri Sea beach –> Ramchandi temple & beach –> Chandrabhaga Temple & Beach –> Konark Sun temple –> Satapada (Chilika lake) –> Bhubaneswar
The Capital city & definitely showcase city of Orissa. Bhubaneswar is better than an average Indian city in terms of infrastructure, but same is not true for Orissa as a state. With population close to million, Bhubaneswar is well connected by air & train with all major Indian metros.
Attractions: Lingaraj Temple, Mukteswar temple, Dhauligiri, Khandagiri, Udaygiri, Musuems (Tribal & Natural history), Haat (traditional Mall)
Bhubaneswar to Puri (Dhaulagiri, Pipili, Sakhi Gopal):
Distance of 65 Kms along NH-203, will take 1-2 hrs depending on traffic. The narrow road, passing through paddy & coconut plantation are treat to eyes. Dhaulagiri on hill top, just on outskirts of Bhubaneswar, overseeing Daya river, is place where emperor Asoka fought his last war & after which became a monk. Dhaulagiri is one of the stop for Buddhist circuit of Orissa & is definitely worth a visit. It is visible while driving towards Puri & is just 3 KMs off NH-203. One side is Buddha stupa & other side is a Shiv temple. There is parking facility, but no shoe stand.
Pipili, 17 Kms from Bhubaneswar, right on NH-203 is world famous for its applique craft & is worth a stop for people fond of art & handicrafts or looking for some souvenir.
SakhiGopal: An ancient temple, 15 kms before Puri on NH-203 is worth a stop if one is a hard Hindu devotee. Some people believe, pilgrimage to Puri is incomplete without visit to this temple. The temple is 3 Kms off NH-203.
NH-203 is a good highway to drive. As on April 2012, construction is going on to make it 4 lane highway. So construction may be annoying, mostly in night. There are quite a few number of dhabas on the highway, worth filling one’s stomach & quencing appetite. The one disadvantage, I feel is on boarding to guide tourists. Tourism department of Orissa needs to work on it.
Raghunathpur, is another village on NH-203, famous for its painting & wood work. People loving Pipli will also love this place.
Chandrabhga sea beach
Puri (Jagannath Temple, Gundicha temple, Temple Museum, Sea beach)
The 1 lac + town has all facility a tourist would need. Hotels of all budget, food for kind of taste buds, vehicle repair facility etc. are all available.
Jagannath temple, closed to Non-hindus, is main attraction of the town. Most to all tourists are here, just to get glimpse of residing god almighty. Shoe stand, mobile n camera deposit center, luggage rooms are available right near entrance of the temple. Parking on usual days (i.e when crowd is normal) is available just outside temple.
Musuem is for people, who want to know more about history of the temple town.
Sea beach, just 3 kms from temple, is another main draw of the town. Crowded through out the day, it is safe to take bath on bright sunny days.
Facilities available include snacks centers, restaurants, Souvenir shops, horse & camel riding, fresh water Bathrooms (hygiene can be a question), hotels for night stay, parking facility, life guards on duty.
Puri beach
All basic facilities like hotels, restaurants, vehicle repair center, medicine, toilets, parking & ATMs are available in Puri.
Hotel Puri is greatly recommended.
Puri to Konark (Marine drive)
The ~35 kms drive is one of the best drive I ever had in my life. It’s on par, infact better than Rameswaram-Dharasuvaram drive. This is an example, how small tourist flow can be boon. But I doubt, how many years, it will stay the way it is. Lined with coastal jungles & beach which is never away from the road, add to factor to seeing some wildlife (like dear etc.) plus close to zero traffic on well tarred roads, makes it a perfect road to drive on.
It has quite a number of beach resorts, but I doubt how many of them are operational. For me, the whole road is an attraction, but still if needed, one can stop at Ramchandi temple & beach, Gupteswar temple & panch Mukhi Hanuman temple. But biggest attraction is Chandrabhaga sea beach. Boating facility are available near Chandrabhaga beach & Ramchandi Beach. Boating can be really worth near Chandrabhaga beach during sun rise (but needs to be pre-planned with boat-boys a day before). The confluence of a river stream & sea & accompanying sea beach on orange light of rising sun is perfect recipe for a romantic treat.
Chandrabhaga beach has no proper bathing facility.
Marine Drive...Puri to Konark
Sun temple is the major attraction. World famous as Black Pagoda, for me it is as beautiful as Taj Mahal. Although much of temple is in ruin, but what makes it beautiful is its history. One need to read its history to appreciate what temple must have been in its full glory. A hanging god on concept of gravity & magnestism, that too 3 centuries earlier than Newton, depicts how advance was civilization during those days.
Anyways, below is the link to know its history:
Yatriniwas, Panthaniwas are recommended options.
In terms of facilities, Konark:
– It has hotels & restaurants to stay
– ATM, parking & toilet facilities are available
– Bike repair center is there. But no Car repair center (Puri is nearest place to get cars repaired).
– Medical n medicine shops are available (but again can be limited)
On way from Konark to bhubaneswar on SH-13, comes Nimapada 22KMs from Konark, which is famous for its sweets. Chena Puda is must.

Odisha Trip January 1, 2011

The “sunshine state” has much to offer, than known. The un-advertised tourism of state had its both advantages & dis-advantages. Advantage because less people go & so places are more pleasant & less littered. Although I have stayed all my life in Orissa, but lately I have explored some places & realized how distinct Orissa is & its culture, architecture, food. It has many things, which by all rights are eligible for being “Geographical Indicator”.

A good day trip route from Bhubaneswar/Cuttack-Route I followed

 Route: Bhubaneswar-Cuttack- Chandikhol-Udaygiri-Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri-Paradip-Raghunathpur-Cuttack

Distance: ~350Kms

Highlight: (a) Mahanadi River (b)Chandikhol temples (c) Buddhist circuit (d) Nehru Bunglow-Paradip (e) Few of the good roads Orissa has to offer. (f)Also one of the many worst roads (I doubt if,  SH-12 qualifies for being called a road) Orissa has to offer.

Season to visit: Nothing better than Winter season (Dec -Jan)

Caution: (a) Cuttack-Paradip road is pathetic & driving here after sun-set could be fatal. Its better to take NH-5A & then join NH-5 in Chandikhol.

(b) Decent dhaba availability is an issue in NH-5A (Chandikhol to Paradip), so better pack some food or have in Paradip.

Recommendations: (a) Sunrise over Mahanadi River in Cuttack (b) Sunrise view-Nehru Bunglow beach, Paradip (c) Sweet shop -Salepur in NH5 in between Bhubaneswar-Cuttack.

Places to visit:

a) Cuttack: I only like Mahanadi bridge. View of Train crossing the long Mahandi bridge, against background of rising sun is just awesome & very photographic. It is just ~30Kms from Bhubaneswar & NH5 between Bhubaneswar & Cuttack has many good dhabas.

Mahanadi Bridge,Cuttack


Mahanadi Bridge

b) Bhubaneswar: I will write separate article on my home town which has lot -lot to offer, which I am still exploring.

c) Chandikhol: Has two temples: Chandikhol & Sri Mahavinayak Temple, just 6-7KMs off NH-5. I would recommend early morning visit to these temples. I was one of the first to reach there & so could feel the winter chillness of the place, which are nested under huge trees & are resting place of macaques. Mahavinayak temple, atop a small hill has good 300 steps walk. Both temples have parking facility & tea shops.

Both are good place to relax in a peaceful environment. It is of course not a touristy place & keeping any such expectation will certainly disappoint one. Its good place for a day picnic,making your own food while loud music is being played. My early winter morning visit here, did gave me a peace of mind.

NH5 between Cuttack & Chandikhol

Chandikhol Temple

Monkeys-Chandikhol Temple

Last remaining Green patch-Chandikhol


Message for humanity

~300 Stairs to Sri Mahavinayak Temple


Sri Mahavinayak Temple


Road to Mahavinayak


NH5A: Chandikhol-Paradip: Good way to cover Buddhist Circuit

 d) Buddhist Circuit: Udaygiri, Ratnagiri & Lalitgiri

All the three places of Jajpur district, are best accesible by NH5A. While going from Chandikhol to Paradeep, diversion for Udaygiri & Ratnagiri comes first of left side. Lalitgiri is further down NH5A & is 2KMs off NH on right side. Regular milestones (photos below) helps in getting to place.

The diversion board off Nh5A, to go for Udaygiri & RatnagiriWelcome to Buddhist corridor (on NH5A)

 The roads off NH5A leading to Udaygiri & Ratnagiri are excellent roads with close to zero traffic. Tree lined roads cuts through infinite paddy field, making it a perfect ride, especially for an early bird.Again food wise, there’s nothing on this village road.

Just to note, all three places form, what is called Buddhist circuit. All three are similar in taste & are in advanced stage of decay.ASI is putting effort to excavate more & finish the incomplete puzzle. But I am sure, they cannot complete this puzzle. The circuit, certainly proves that Orissa, 1000-2000 years ago was a very important Buddhist center.

Except Udaygiri, other two has entry fee, parking facility & some snacking facility. All three are popular picnic spots for schools & big family n friends group. All three are well maintained by ASI with good gardens, providing some relax n chill out environment & so certainly is popular among local Love birds.

Transportation: Best way to cover all three places is a day trip from Bhubaneswar or Cuttack or Paradip. Bus facility is virtually non-existent & so best form of transportation, is a hired vehicle or personal vehicle. A bit cheaper option is to come by bus or local train to Chandikhol & hire a cab there, at junction of NH5 & NH-5A.Also availability of ATM will be an issue, so carry sufficient cash. Bhubaneswar & Cuttack are nearest big Railway stations, well connected with all parts of India. Bhubaneswar is nearest airport.

Udaygiri: First looks gives an impression, that there’s nothing. But walk of couple of 100 mtrs takes to lots of ruins of monasteries, spread across good 50 acres, with some atop a hill. Being over 1000-2000 years old, all are in their advanced stage of ruins & excavation by ASI looks as if they are solving a puzzle.Again it’s not a touristy place, with no entry fee, no parking fee & no eating facility available & so keeping big expectations, will only land to disappointment.



Mahastupa at Udaygiri of 10th Century AD


Ruins of UdaygiriUdaygiri Buddhist Monastery ruins


Just for your information

Ratnagiri, some 8KMs from Udaygiri, is the biggest among three. As per written history boards here, it once rivalled Buddhuism’s Mecca: Nalanda. But again, whole place is in advanced stage of ruining & ASI is trying to get something out of ruins. Entry fee is Rs 5 & free parking. It has some “pan shops” selling some packaged snacks. Besides ruins, the dahi bara, sold by a guy was awesome & cheap as well.

Sexy road from Udaygiri to Ratnagiri-8.5Kms


Mahanadi distributary on way to Ratnagiri




Ratnagiri Monastery Ruins


Guy provided awesome Dahi bara aloo dum..odia snack delicacy (Ratnagiri)

Lalitgiri, some 20KMs from Ratnagiri (via some village road) & is just 2KMs off NH5A. It’s of same taste as Udaygiri & Ratnagiri, but is bigger in terms of land area. People tend to get bored of same taste & so generally avoid visiting this bit far off place, which makes this more peaceful & calm. More than ruins, I found view of surrounding fields more interesting in Lalitgiri. Rs 5 access to well maintained gardens, make a perfect spot for peaceful outing. Again food availability is an issue, with few “pan-beetle shops” being only options for tea & biscuits.

Watch out fro this board on NH5A to go lalitgiriIncomplete entrance for Lalitgiri, off NH5A


Lalitgiri Ruins & surrounding garden

Awesome view of surrounding fields from Lalitgiri

 Special Requests:

1) All this Buddhist circuit sites are very well maintained.Please donot litter.

2) All structures are already in advanced stage of ruins & are very weak.Please avoid climbing over these structures. Moreover, these are/were place of worship, so please donot climb over roof of these structures.

3) Avoid loud music, as it may affect these weak structures.


The port city of Orissa, is supposedly an expanding city with growing industries in & around. Traffic of truckes starts 20Kms before the city itself. The air certainly is very polluted & does look like it has affected eco-system. Anyways, it has good places to go, like Light house & Nehru Bunglow beach. Nehru bunglow beach is most I like & is some ~20Kms from Paradip entry.This is place where one of the big distributary of Mahanadi meets Bay of Bengal. It is very neat n clean, well beautiful. But I am sure it’s gonna last for just few years, as expanding Paradip will galop n pollute it. Anyways place is very pristine & is certainly a picturesque point to see sunrise.One unique thing I saw is  that waves are perpendicular to sea (may be due to river mixing action).

Paradip is connected to Cuttack by train,but poorly & so most rely on Bus.It had decent lodging n eating option.

Nehru Buglow beach..abondoned flats..may be due to 1999 cycloneThe only eating option..the terrace has good views

Bike with Bay of Bengal in backgroundpoint where Mahanadi meets BoB

Sunset on return journey

SPECIAL REQUEST: All of these still retain their pristine value & well kept. Please please donot trash. Also be watchful to ruins, which may collapse, due to overloading.

Anyways Happy Journey & be Explorative n not an exploitive tourist.


Dhaulagiri November 11, 2010

Dhaulagiri, Bhubaneswar, Orissa


Where: Dhaulagiri is in Village of Dhauli, just ~13 kms from Bhubaneswar railway station.

How to go: Catch any puri bus or rent an auto (Rs 120) or best is to go in a bike.

Famous for : Gautam Budha stupa & white pagoda over top of a small hill & Dhauleswar temple (Lord Shiva)

Facilities available: Parking facilities, snacking facilities and an OTDC hotel n restaurant.

Best time to go: On a cloudy day to get best views of even surrounding paddy fields.

Please note, visit this place asap, because burgeoning Bhubaneswar will soon gobble up surrounding beauties. Also please place is very neat n clean, please donot trash.



Dhauleswar Temple