Ode to Odisha.. (Part 1)

Happy 2014 to you all!

So far, the year has had an interesting start. New places to see, a new phone to handle, new people to meet, new fights with old friends and new things yet to do.

Here I’m going to dive right inside of my trip to Orissa. Courtesy Twinks and family 🙂  

Scene: Train journey with my best friend and family.

The not-so-long train journey from Vizag to Bhubaneshwar is getting extremely annoying. The heat, the sleepless night and the obnoxious company of strangers in the same cabin is taking its toll. After all, I ask you, How many renditions of ‘Sari ke fall sa’ can you take before you lose your cool? 

Some People don’t take subtle hints.Well some people don’t take a blatant no either 😀

Anyway, I gained immunity and looked out the window and I could notice a sudden shift of scenery after crossing Barhampur where I saw a lot of palm fronds. But many of the trees lined along the railways looked misshapen and weird. It turned out that a lot of those were due to the effects of Cyclone Phalin. 

As we moved Farther into the state, Came the largest coastal lagoon in India. 

Chilika Lake
Chilika Lake

It isn’t an exaggeration when it’s called the largest salt water lake of our country. Chilika is an immense expanse of water Dotted with a lot of migratory birds and prawn culture farms. The water is so close to the Train, it felt like We were gliding above it..

Destination: Bhubaneshwar.

My tryst with the city of 3000 year old Indian History began from here:

Delightfully Yummy !
Delightfully Yummy Rasgullas!

Whoever said that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach sure knew to appreciate the finest things in life 😀 

If you have a sweet tooth and have a penchant for Bengali sweets, then that first bite of a warm Rasgulla, made of actual cheese, it’s Heaven!

Looking back, that makes up for all the “sari ke falls” I had to put up with 😉

Have I mentioned this is a very old city? And yet the Modern blends quite well with the Ancient. Bhubaneshwar is synonymous with Odissi, the classical dance, Ollywood -the Oriya film industry and loads of cultural fesitivities involving dance and music.

Early next morning I went to visit Lingaraj Temple, one of the largest and oldest temples in the region. The Kalinga architecture is prominent in most of the temples found in Odisha. There are a plethora of temples situated a stone’s throw away from this grand edifice thus living upto the title of ”Temple City of India”. 

Lingaraj Temple
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Chitrakarini Temple..

The intricacies of the workmanship are strikingly beautiful and you could gaze at them for ages and wonder how life was at the age of inception of these marvels..I couldn’t believe I spent half a day just admiring stonewok! 

The next big stop of the day was a Museum. Not a delightfully interesting place for a tourist but the visit to Odisha State Museum is something to cherish. 

These vibrant flowers greet us to various departments of the museum. Which includes a garden full of sculptures( for which I ran out of time )IMG_20140116_122357 IMG_20140116_122416

To start with, we began with the Archaeology section and we pretty much got exhausted with the variety.. Excavated sculptures, pillars, coins, everything that belongs in the history books of school students, we saw! 

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Creepy ain’t it?
IMG_20140116_124301
Notice the maze like design? Intriguing.
IMG_20140116_123840
Devotion

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I was really surprised to see that these artifacts were kept well lit and despite the absence of glass or regular monitoring staff, there was no indication of vandalism. Kudos to the tourists!

currency of a Bygone era..
Currency of a bygone era..

We were pressed for time and patience to see everything the museum had to offer and hunger drove us away. 

Now those heads of wild bisons are real creepy!
The remnants of a Wild Bison

After a sumptuous lunch at home, we head to the Shanthi stupa at Dhauligiri. 

Dhauli is speculated as the area where the massacre that was the Kalinga war took place. Ashoka, the erstwhile king of Mauryan dynasty, realized the futility of war when the river Daya running through the area turned red with the blood of the deceased. He them became a Buddhist and propagated peace. In 1970, this pagoda was built to commemorate the sanctity of the area. 

Battleground of Kalinga
Battleground of Kalinga

I stood by for a while imagining the doom of war.. peace obtained at a great cost.. precious indeed.

Shathi Stupa
Shathi Stupa

Those of you who have read ‘Immortals of Meluha’ might sympathise with me when the dome of this pagoda caught my eye for being the kind of radio transmitters described in the series. 😉 

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On the way to this stupa is a park which contains the Rock Edicts of Ashoka. Imagine our surprise when we ran( we were given only 5 min) the length and breadth of the park and couldn’t find a thing that looked historic! The edicts turned out to be hidden in a relatively small glass enclosure at the entrance. 

The bhaag-dhoud of the day still hadn’t come to an end. We then went to Ek number market and Wow, the bustling crowd, the tantalising smell of food like pani puri, chat, sweets, and the buzz of bargaining.. pretty amazing. 

Chaaats :D
Chaaats 😀
One stop shopping!
One stop shopping destination!

And since I just got started, I shall continue the rest in part 2. 

So long! 

Keep Smiling and Exploring 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Ode to Odisha.. (Part 1)

    1. Bringing back the true essence of Odisha and its cultural beauty. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. 😀

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