The Temple City is one of the most-visited destinations in India, especially in the winters. It gives you a respite from the cold winters of the north, and enriches your soul when it’s worn out. The city’s many archaeological and architectural marvels, tradition and cuisine present a good enough first look at Odisha. But there are still ways get to know the state a little better . And these ways take you to some other breathtaking destinations in the state and back in a day!
It’s fairly easy to get to the nearby towns and cities, thanks to the well-maintained highways. Services such as Ola and Uber also add to the ease of getting around the city and to other destinations.
Here’s a look at the day trips you can take from Bhubaneswar, because there’s always more to an Eastern Coastal state than meets the eye:
Famous for the Sun Temple, Konark is about a two-hour drive from Bhubaneswar. The Sun Temple is one of the most beautiful temples you’ll ever see. Built in the shape of a chariot and adorned with carvings, this temple is said to have been held together by a magnet until it was attacked.
With its stone carvings and rich history, the temple does take one back in time. But make sure you plan your visit so that you can witness its glory before closing time (around 5:30 pm).
If rock monuments are not what you’re looking for, the Chandrabhaga beach may interest you. Head there if you’re looking to relax as you watch the sunset.
Along with Bhubaneswar and Konark, Puri forms what is known as the “Golden Triangle” of Odisha. The triangle is famous for three ancient temples – the Lingaraja Temple of Bhubaneswar, Konark’s Sun Temple, and the Jagannath Puri Temple.
The Jagannath Puri Temple is open to visitors until 10:00 pm, but you should remember that phones, footwear and leather items aren’t allowed inside the temple premises. There are stands where you can deposit these items for safekeeping outside the temple.
Puri has its own beach as well, so if you want to enjoy the sea, you’ll have the opportunity to do so. You may, however, find both the beach and the temple a little crowded, so make sure you’re prepared for it.
3) Chilika Lake
You can hire a cab to get to this sprawling, beautiful lagoon, where you can enjoy the scenery, the wildlife (especially the birds), and the seafood. About a two-hour drive from Bhubaneshwar lies Bharkul, where you can access the famous Chilika Lagoon.
There are both government and private agencies that offer boat rides on the lake. You can visit the Kalijai Temple built on an island in the middle of the lake, and if you have recieved a permit from Bhubaneswar, you can also visit the Bird Sanctuary. Various migratory birds, including flamingos, start arriving here in December and are a major attraction in the winters.
The boat ride can take a lot of time, especially if you’re visiting both the temple and the bird sanctuary (at least five hours), so it would help to plan your day accordingly.
While you’re here, you should also try some of the seafood served at the local restaurants and dhabas, which serve fresh fish, crab and prawn caught from the lake itself.
If you wish, you can visit both Konark and Puri in a day and that too with time to spare. But a trip to Chilika Lake requires an entire day, and can be a little tiring. It would be better to leave early in the morning so that you can take your time enjoying everything this beautiful ecosystem has to offer.
For a few ideas about what to do in Bhubaneswar, take a look at one of my previous posts: http://lanternfishblog.com/2019/11/22/the-best-of-bhubaneswar-why-you-need-to-visit-indias-city-of-temples/