Rishikesh or Orissa?
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Jun 17, 2013 5:57 AM Last Post By: Giora
Jun 16, 2013 10:22 AM
Rishikesh or Orissa?Hi everybody,
We are 2 girls, from France and from Israel planning a short trip to India during July 2013. We have heard Manali area and Rishikesh became too commercial and unpleasant. Does somebody know a nice alternative for a stay of 15 days? What about Orissa State?
We have seen a great website with many links:
It seems as if they recommend very much Poori / Konarak / Calcutta.
Many thanks in advance for any assistance.
G & F.
Jun 16, 2013 2:50 PM
Jun 16, 2013 6:56 PM
Jun 16, 2013 9:48 PM
If the choice is between Rishikesh and Orissa for a 15 day trip, then Orissa is the obvious choice. Orissa being a state has a plethora of places to explore and activities to indulge in. You could make Puri your base and stay here for 4-5 days. A good accommodation option is Pantha Nivas run by the Orissa Tourism Department. It is set right on the beach and offers good, comfortable though basic stay. At Puri Jagannath temple is a must visit and so is the beach where you can buy pearls and corals.
From Puri make your way to the state capital, Bhubaneswar, 1 hour and 15 minutes away. Buses, cabs and trains are available. Bhubaneswar makes for a 3-4 day visit. Out here visit be sure to visit Lingaraja temple. As a rule when visiting any temple in India please take care of your attire. No sleeveless tops and shorts or skirts and leather items on you. Also, be a little wary of any donations/contributions asked for in the name of 'shagun', that is, for God to bless you. Do donate but be sure it goes to the temple authorities or administration, who always give a receipt back.
Other must visit sites are the Nandankan zoo and Udaygiri caves.
Now Orissa has a lot of fascinating places to explore like Pipli (a day's visit) where you can shop for Applique lamps and of course Dhauli (8 km from Bhubaneshwar) where some truly incredible edicts from Emperor Ashoka's time can be found, still in their complete glory.
Be sure to visit the world famous Sun temple in Konark. Enroute to Konark is Chandrabhaga beach, be sure to stop and explore its mesmerizing beauty. Then there is Cuttack to visit where you can buy rare filigree (silver) work. Also be sure to visit Satyabadi, Baliharachandi, Balighai and Sand Art Park on Giral beach.
You could check out Lonely Planet's page on Orissa to fine tune your itinerary.
Pantha Nivas, Puri: http://panthanivas.com/puri.html
For cab bookings: http://panthanivas.com/vehicles.htm
Hope this helps! Have a great trip and feel free to get back.
Jun 17, 2013 5:57 AM
4You've chosen two very, very different regions of India. Manali and Rishikesh are small towns in the mountains that are magnets for foreign backpackers. Orissa is one of the less-visited states of India (at least by foreign tourists), and has interests far different to that of the mountains.
Combined with Calcutta, Orissa would make an interesting trip for 15 days. But it really depends what your interests are. Personally, I think Calcutta's one of the loveliest cities in India to explore, but many tourists don't like it, and don't like big Indian cities in general. If you've read about the sights of Calcutta and find them interesting, and if you're not put off by a big, crowded city, chances are you'll appreciate a visit.
As for Orissa, the main interest is in old temples (Bhubaneswar has one of the best collections of ancient temples in India, and you can wander around most of them with few crowds; Konark Temple is a partly-ruined huge temple which is a world heritage site; Puri has a large and famous temple, but non-Hindus aren't allowed inside), a little bit of beach (Puri has a beach, and a bit of a backpacker scene, but I've never personally been so couldn't tell you much about it), and fairly off-the-beaten track places that few people go.
India is a hugely diverse country, offering all kinds of different places where you could happily spend 15 days. Without knowing your interests or what you're trying to look for, it's difficult to know what to recommend.
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