Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha, lies in its coastal region. Together with Konark and Puri, it forms the Swarna Tribhuja or Golden Triangle of Odisha tourism. This ancient city makes an ideal starting point for the traveller who wishes to explore the magnificence of Kalinga architecture, worship at its grand temples or enjoy the beaches of Puri.

Bhubaneswar is 30km from Cuttack, the commercial capital of Odisha. It is also an important business centre in its own right. Bhubaneswar is also the seat of State assembly. It is considered one of the fast growing cities in India, with its Manufacturing and Information technology advancements. With more than 100 educational institutes in the city, Bhubaneswar is also very popular for students from Eastern part of India.

Odia is the most common language spoken with in the city. However, with a culture shifting towards cosmopolitan manner, Hindi and English are very much understood and accepted.

Understand

With many Hindu temples, which span the entire spectrum of Kalinga architecture, Bhubaneswar is often referred to as a Temple City of India and together with Puri and Konark it forms the Swarna Tribhuja ("Golden Triangle"), one of eastern India's most visited destinations. The modern city was designed by the German architect Otto Königsberger in 1946, along with Jamshedpur and Chandigarh.

Get in

By plane

The Biiju Patnaik International Airport is small, but looks new and well maintained. It is well connected with major cities of India, but international flights have not yet started. Direct flights are available from Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and, to a lesser extent, Bangalore.

There are two officially sanctioned options for getting a taxi at the airport -Carzonrent, a private cab agency, and a prepaid taxi service run by the airport. Both have counters at the exit. The Carzonrent salesman will try to upsell you day trip packages when you are looking for just a ride. Ignore him as you are bound to find better options within city. Also, the other prepaid taxi is available only once you get past the security barrier, while Carzonrent is available both inside and outside. You are better off making your decision only after you step out. Another good option, if your destination is within the city, is to call for a radio cab.

By train

Bhubaneswar is the headquarters of East Coast division of Indian Railways. It is situated on the main line from Kolkata to Chennai and is well connected to most major Indian cities. For timings and other details check the Indian Railways website. Some major trains connecting Bhubaneswar with:

New Delhi

Mumbai (Bombay)

Chennai (Madras)

Howrah (Kolkata)

Hyderabad (Secunderabad)

Bangalore

By road

Bhubaneshwar is situated on the National Highway no.5 that runs between Kolkata and Chennai. It is 480 km from Kolkata, 445 km from Visakhapatnam, 1225 km from Chennai, 32 km from Cuttack, 130 km from Chilika Lake (Barkul), 184 km from Gopalpur-on-sea, 64 km from Konark, 62 km from Puri.

From Bhubaneswar after traveling 20 km there is a place known as Pipili. This place is famous for patching cloth design locally known as Chandua. From the center of Pipili market one has to take left turn to go towards Konark and the straight road goes to Puri.

By bus

Buses travel to and from major cities in the region, originating at Baramunda Bus Station. The station should be reached by auto as it is is not located centrally at all. Tickets can be booked at the station, which is serviced by a good number of eateries, fruit and grocery stores and even a barber. Buses are decrepit, but quirkily decorated and very cheap (an overnight ride to Kolkata cost ₹400 in early 2015).

Get around

Bhubaneswar's roads are well-laid out by Indian standards, and the newer parts of the city are well-planned. Getting around is easy and inexpensive

By bus

Town buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. DTS (Dream Team Sahara) is a partnership between the government of Odisha and a Sahara, a private company, that runs a public bus service. Buses ply all over the city, between 6:30AM and 10:30PM at about 20 min intervals, though the timings for specific routes vary. Fares are very reasonable - a 15km journey will cost you ₹14. Tickets are bought on the bus you can either pay cash or use a smartcard that you have to acquire in advance. Download the passenger information from their website it has the schedule for route map. Caution is advisable in using these buses as typical of any other Indian city - they can get very crowded.

By taxi

Auto-rickshaws can be found on most streets of the city. The drivers in Bhubaneswar are generally courteous and not out to cheat you. Negotiate a rate beforehand, and make sure that the driver understands your destination. A short journey of around 5km will cost you about ₹100. There are also shared autos that make journeys for as little as ₹5/km.

There are several radio taxi companies, such as Meru and Ola cabs operating. They charge by the distance. In particular, Ola is very good. Their smartphone app is easy to use, cabs are plentiful and drivers are polite and reliable. Most radio cabs operate only within the city and will not drive you to nearby places like Puri or Konark. However, you can easily find safe and reliable hired cabs that will do so.

See

The Indo-Japanese White Pagoda in Dhauligiri
Statue of Lion at Dhauligiri and the Scenery from top of Dhauligiri
Lingraj Temple
Muktesvara Temple
Rani Gumpha, Udaygiri Caves
Rajarani Temple
Parasuramesvara Temple

Temples are undoubtedly the most important attractions of this city. Bhubaneswar is an ancient city where the the major religions of India, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, have had a presence during some time in its history. All the religions have left their architectural footprints here. In particular, this is a place where the Kalinga style of Hindu temple architecture flourished between the 10th and the 13th century. You will see some of the finest examples of the style here. Unfortunately, most temples do not allow entry to non-Hindus. Most of the oldest temples, around 400 of them, are concentrated around the Old Town area.

Do

Work

Bhubaneswar has developed as an information technology hub. Infosys, Satyam, TCS, IBM, Wipro, Mindfire Solutions, Discoverture Solutions and others have their offices here. It is also growing into an education hub. There are many engineering colleges and some good Business schools. XIM and KSOM are two prominent B-schools in Bhubaneswar.

Other than the new-economy companies, historically, the largest employer in Bhubaneswar has been the government.

Buy

Bhubaneswar is a great place to buy the handicrafts of Odisha. Silver filigree work, Applique work, items made of jute and papier mache items are some of the things you should consider taking back from your trip. The best place to buy these, though is not the city itself, but Pipili, 8km away, on the route to Konark and Puri.

Colourful wooden icons of Lord Jagannath, sandstone icons and gemstones are a few other artifact that you can take back as mementoes.

Hand-woven textiles, known as "handlooms" as in the rest of India, are exquisitely beautiful. Women can pick up sarees, clothes that can be stitched into salwar kameezes, or kurtas. Shirts or kurtas for men are also a good buy.

Eat

Odisha-style mutton curry is available in Odisha and Bengal

Drink

Not a place to really party out. But you can still chill at the following places.

Sleep

There is a variety of options from as low as ₹150 to ₹4000. Foreign travellers are generally expected to be attracted to the 3 star hotel and above range, but unfortunately their quality is not always satisfactory.. These would range from ₹1000 to ₹5000. One US dollar is equivalent to about ₹46.

Stay safe

Bhubaneswar is one of the greenest cities in India and it has a clean look, with adequate arrangement for dustbins made by the local municipal authorities. It is a generally peaceful city with hardly any history of violence. Nevertheless, you should avoid travelling late in night as the city tends to sleep early. Also, wear cool, white clothes in the summer.

Respect

The temples are managed in the age-old traditions so be aware of the Hindu rituals and traditions before entering them. Make sure to take off your footwear when you enter a temple or any household. Women in particular needed to be cautious in their clothing and hygiene, but things are more equitable now.

Cope

It tends to be too hot in summer. So be careful if it comes in itinerary during April/May. Otherwise, it is welcome weather all through the year. The evenings are very tender and cool.Be aware of the many touts near to the tourist places—railways, temples, and hotels. The 'Pandas' can be notorious if not shown respect. But be within your limits and a polite no (sometimes repetitive) will be ok to avoid getting cheated. In case you have an issue with an auto rickshaw driver or taxi then please report immediately to a police outpost. There is always one around the corner. The police are also very helpful or just call 100.

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