Odisha, located on the Indian subcontinent’s eastern coast, is home to a diverse range of excellent tourism items. Historically known as a cultural hotspot, it has recently emerged as one of the most beautiful states in the country, with rapid progress on all fronts, including the travel and tourism sector. If you ask any travel enthusiast about sites to visit in Odisha, they would undoubtedly recommend Jagannath Temple, Konark Temple, Sambalpur, and Goplpur. Odisha is well-known as the home of one of the Char Dhams, Puri, although little of the state has been explored. There are up to 800 spiritual structures in the city of Bhubaneswar alone. The Kalinga architecture is unique to the region, and it has characteristic curvilinear designs and ornate exquisite stone carvings.
Many parts of Odisha remain undiscovered and unexplored, thus we offer you this list of the best offbeat places in Odisha to make your trip more meaningful.
1. Debrigarh Sanctuary
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Bargarh district of Odisha, is perched on the edge of the blue backwaters of Hirakud Dam. It’s noted for its beautiful scenery and easy access to animals. Debrigarh, which covers 743 square kilometers, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Apart from the 42 species of fish, Debrigarh is home to more than 40 species of mammals, 234 species of birds, 41 species of reptiles, 85 species of butterflies, and 38 species of spiders. There are over 250 different plant species to be found here.
The sanctuary is an eco-sensitive zone, flanked on the eastern and northern sides by the Hirakud reservoir edges. Leopard, bison, sambar, elephants, wild boar, chital, chousingha, wild dog, porcupine, nilgai, peacock, and many more wild species may be seen in Debrigarh, which is literally a sanctuary. It’s a beautiful place to go birding.
According to the legends, revolutionary freedom warrior Veer Surendra Sai established his camp in Barapathar, which is located in the sanctuary’s centre.
2. Rushikulya Beach
Rushikulya Beach is a lesser-known beach in Odisha that is famous for being home to the “Olive Ridley Turtle” The Ganjam area is home to this beautiful and remote beach. Aside from being beautiful and pristine, this beach is well-known for the “hatching of the Olive Ridley Turtle” eggs, which takes place mostly early in the morning. The ‘olive ridley turtle’ is an endangered species, and many conservationists have been working hard to safeguard it in recent years. Furthermore, because this beach has not been developed, there are very few hotels, motels, shacks, or other structures visible in or near it. Two big Olive Ridley Turtle nestings were seen for the first time on this beach in early 2018. They happened initially in February and then again 49 days later in April. Approximately 3600 turtles were hatched during nesting in April, according to forest department authorities. Only time will tell whether this unusual nesting phenomenon will continue in the future. It is about 327 kilometres (by NH16) from Gahirmatha Beach.
3. Barehipani Waterfall
Barehipani is the second tallest waterfall in India and the highest in Orissa. The waterfall is 1309 feet tall, only 55 metres shorter than India’s highest waterfall, Kunchikal Falls. The Budhabalanga River, which runs across the mountain, is the source of the waterfall. The waterfalls in two drops, making it a two-tiered one.
The river Budhabalanga cascades down from the Simlipal hills, creating these magnificent falls that are 1200 feet (399 metres) high. The Joranda falls are near the Barehipani waterfalls. This waterfall, while not as large as the Barehipani, is noted for its beauty. Throughout the year, both of these waterfalls are full of water. The water cascading down from the falls that run in little streams throughout the forest, which is located inside the borders of the Simlipal national park, which is home to the magnificent Bengal tiger as well as the rare white tiger species in Orissa, serves as the lifeblood of the forest’s creatures. The cascade of water Barehipani is a popular tourist destination, with thousands of visitors flocking to see its unparalleled beauty each year. A trip to Simlipal isn’t complete without seeing the magnificent Barehipani Falls.
Because there is no vegetation around the falls, it appears that during the monsoon season, this waterfall becomes extremely violent and moves a large amount of water. The falls are located within Simlipal National Park, one of India’s most important Bengal and White Tiger preserves.
Chandragiri is a lush valley in the Gajapati district of Odisha that is known for its Tibetan population and Buddhist monastery. Many people refer to Chandragiri, one of the many diverse places in Odisha, as “Mini-Tibet.”
It’s a perfect adobe for travellers because of its rare scenic beauty and picturesque landscape surrounded by lush tropical forest, gurgling rivers, exquisite mountain slopes, and roaring hilltops. This location, blessed with natural bounty, is known for seasonal fruits, Tibetan woollen clothing, carpets, and dogs of diverse types. The large-scale horticultural plantings, as well as Tibetan refugee cultural activities, provide colour and appeal to the area.
The town had kept a low profile until 2010 when it became home to Eastern India’s largest Buddhist monastery.
Since then, its popularity has continuously increased among Indian and international tourists. Visitors from all over the world are flocking to the small village to experience unadulterated village life, be wowed by the beautiful Padmasambhava Mahavihara Monastery, and be bowled over by the mighty Eastern ghats.
5. Satkosia Tiger Reserve
In India’s geomorphology, the Satkosia Gorge is a one-of-a-kind feature. Mahanadi has carved a spectacular gorge with sylvan beauty and superb characteristics straight through the Eastern Ghats. Since 1976, the picturesque town of Satkosia, 160 kilometres from Bhubaneswar, has been home to a wildlife sanctuary known as the Satkosia Tiger Reserve. In the moist, deciduous forests of the Eastern Ghats, tigers call the sanctuary home. Elephants, birds, and other species that may be seen in the wild also call it home.
When boating, one may see the Gharials, or Indian fish-eating crocodiles, that live in the river. The Mahanadi River runs through a 14-mile-long gorge, which is why the town was given the name Satkosia, which comes from Saat Kros, an old local measurement.
In Satkosia, the Odisha Forest Development Corporation offers a variety of housing choices. The Kuanria Deer Park & Dam, as well as the Kantilo Neelamadhav Temple, are nearby.
Pattachitra art is primarily recognised in Odisha’s historical crafts hamlet of Raghurajpur. The art form is utilised to embellish none other than Lord Jagannath and his siblings, the Lord of the Universe. The art form’s association with the holy trinity elevated it and helped it gain prominence.
The Pattachitra has captured the imagination of artists and art lovers alike, depicting scenes from mythology with vibrant colours, superb craftsmanship, and simplicity in design. Vastra (Cloth) and Chitra (Paintings) are two terms used in Pattachitram. As a result, Pattachitra is essentially a fabric painting.
Raghurajpur, about 12 kilometres from Puri, is a charming village with 120 or so houses neatly lined up in two rows facing each other. Every house has an artist working in the profession, making it maybe the only area in India where such a vast number of artists can be found.
Raghurajpur is also the birthplace of KelucharanMohapatra, the doyen of Odissi Dance Gurus, and the hamlet is famous for the Gotipua dance (a precursor to Odissi). Acrobatic postures are used in this dance, which is done by young males costumed as female dancers.
Tourists are welcome, so start up a discussion with the locals to learn more about the art form and its history.
7. Mangalajodi Bird Sanctuary
Mangalajodi Ecotourism is a venue for a peek into Mother Nature, located 40 kilometres from the district headquarters. “The Bird’s Paradise,” an eco-tourism attraction on the northern banks of Chilika Lake in Odisha, attracts around 3,00,000 birds to its marshy waters, especially in the winter. It is a one-of-a-kind environment whose preservation is exemplified by a sustainable way of living. Mangalajodi Ecotourism aims to inspire, inform, and empower communities to use well-managed low-impact tourism to turn ecosystems into a sustainable source of livelihood rather than exploiting them for short-term profit. The entire programme hinges on the conservation of the wetland ecology and its avifauna.
8. Chandipur Beach
Chandipur Beach, also known as the ‘hide-and-seek’ beach, is a long expanse of golden sand surrounded by Casuarina trees, clear seas, and rich coastal flora. Every day, though, a peculiar natural phenomenon happens here. During low tide, the seawater recedes up to 5 kilometres (3 miles) twice a day, leaving just the shells behind. During high tide, the water returns.
The biodiversity of sea creatures in the area has been greatly enhanced as a result of this extreme natural phenomenon. When the seawater returns, it brings horseshoe crabs and red crabs with it, which would otherwise live further away from the beach.
This is thought to be a one-of-a-kind phenomenon at this beach. The tide retreats at different times depending on the moon cycle, but it happens every day. The low and high tides are well-known among the locals. Whether the tide is in or out, the sunrises and sunsets are exceptionally beautiful at this beach.
In Odisha, you’ll find a plethora of museums and cultural places to pique your interest in history. Delectable meals will satisfy your appetite for superb eating. Exquisite temples will quench your thirst for spiritual reality. Your yearning for new experiences will be satiated by the numerous children of nature — lakes, hills, and wildlife. Numerous fascinating tribes will sate your curiosity for the unknown. Those who take the time to travel to Odisha will feel rewarded!