CHILIKA LAKE – This is the largest brackish water lake not only in India, but also in all of Asia. Such lakes are more saline than their freshwater counterparts, but a tad less salty than the water out at sea. Chilika is known for its abundant bird life that is sure to excite not just any birder but even the nonbirder. In fact, the Mangalajodi corner of the lake is host to over 160 species during the peak season, some from as far away as Russia. The lake supports a vast ecosystem and provides livelihood to thousands of fisherfolk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands in the lake. The lake can be visited from many places—Rambha is relatively peaceful, Satapada and Barkul, which are the best known among these. Chilika was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport, 95kms away.
GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Call it the ‘other Golden Triangle’: The three Odishi towns of Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark, which are known for their temples and their popularity in terms of pilgrimage and travel. Throughout the triangle, Jainism and Buddhism have left prominent imprints which that have been set in stone by various Buddhist stupas and Jain temples. Those looking to cover all three vertices should begin with Bhubaneswar, which has the Lingaraj, Parashuramesvara and Mukteswar temples that you ought to visit. At Puri, the Jagannath Temple is world famous and is visited by large crowds every day. The Sun Temple of Konark is a 13th-century structure in the shape of a gigantic chariot, built by king Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The Sun Temple is just 65kms from state capital Bhubaneswar, from where Puri is 60km away.
TRIBAL CIRCUIT – Much of India’s diversity owes to its colourful tribes, which possess their own innate cultures and traditions. This makes the tribal circuit of Odisha particularly unique. A trip to the circuit includes a number of smaller towns such as Gopalpur and Sambalpur, in addition to larger cities such as Bhubaneswar. Participate in Gopalpur’s enthralling beach festival, which makes it an exciting tourist spot. At Sambalpur, there are numerous festivals based around agriculture such as the Nuakhai that takes place in the months of August and September. In Bhubaneswar, a week-long tribal fair begins on 26th January, while the Chhau Festival in Baripada, a classical dance festival, takes place in April. Also, do not miss the Puri Beach Festival in November. Gopalpur and Sambalpur are 16Skms and 293kms from Bhubaneswar by road, respectively.