Welcome to Odisha

The forested hills of the southwest keep Adivasi (tribal) groups largely hidden from mainstream tourism, but it is still possible to visit their fascinating weekly markets and interact with villagers leading traditional lives. Forests elsewhere – both inland and along the coast – are home to some of Odisha’s wonderful nature reserves, where you can spy on 6m-long crocs, rare dolphins, endangered sea turtles and thousands of nesting birds.

Foodies will relish a whole new set of regional flavours cooked up in Odishan kitchens, while history buffs will be left salivating over long-lost Buddhist universities, ancient Jain rock carvings and centuries-old Hindu relics, including Konark’s unparalleled Sun Temple.

Top experiences in Odisha

Travel guides

Starting at $45.49

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Odisha activities

$55 Cultural & Theme Tours

Bhubaneswar Multi-Temple Tour with Lunch

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel at your selected departure time.Head to the most famous and oldest temples of India that were built in 9th-10th century. Visit the Lingraj Temple built in 11th Century. The splendid Lingraj Temple (the king of lingas, the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva) represents the culmination of the evolution of temple architecture in Odisha. Visit the next Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, belonging to 10th century. Standing 34 feet tall, the Mukteshwar temple is one of the smallest and most compact temples in Bhubaneshwar. However, it's famous for its exquisite stone archway, and ceiling with eight petal lotus inside its porch. A number of the carved images (including lion head motif) appear for the first time in the temple architecture. Your next destination Brahmeshwar Temple. Situated around a kilometer east of the Lingraj temple, the Brahmeshwar temple was built by the reigning king's mother in honor of the deity Brahmeshwar (a form of Lord Shiva). It's approximately 60 feet tall. Iron beams were used in the temple's construction for the first time. Afterwards, visit the Rajarani Temple, unique in that there is no deity associated with it. There's a story that the temple was a pleasure resort of an Oriya king and queen (raja and rani). However, more realistically, the temple got its name from the variety of sandstone used to make it. The carvings on the temple are particularly ornate, with numerous erotic sculptures. This often leads to the temple being referred to as the Khajuraho of the east. After your visit to Rajarani Temple, enjoy a delicious local cuisine as your lunch. Your last visit will be to Yogini Temple, located in Hirapur. This temple is one of only four yogini temples in India, dedicated to the esoteric cult of tantra. It's shrouded in mystery and many locals are fearful of it -- and it's not difficult to imagine why. The temple has 64 stone yogini goddess figures carved on its inside walls, representing the 64 forms of the diving mother created to drink the blood of demons. At the end of the tour, your driver will drop you off at your hotel or you are free to explore the city on your own.

$65 Private & Custom Tours

The Bhubaneswar Experience

You will be picked up by your guide and separate driver at your local hotel in Bhubaneswar in the morning around 09:00. You will be taken by a private, air-conditioned vehicle to the first destination which is the Lingaraja Temple. The temple is one of the most sacred and religious sites in India and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple so you will be allowed to admire the temple's impressive structure from the outside, which is almost fully viewable. This temple is also the biggest temple in Bhubaneswar and its structure is so ancient that a lot of myths and legends are shared by the locals about its conception.After viewing the famous Lingaraja Temple, you will continue with your guide and driver to your next stop, the Mukteshwar Temple. Located at a hilltop, this temple was built in the 10th Century and is another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The unique structure offers a mix between modern and ancient. At this temple you will see the extraordinary carvings with intricate details, stunning interior, and impressive structural design. The next place to visit is the ancient Parsurama Temple, believed to have been built during the 12th and 13th century. This temple is the only temple in Kerala dedicated to Lord Parusarama. Lord Parusama was the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and known in the ancient scripts as a warrior. The temple is an important location for many people to come and worship their ancestors and offer prayers.After visiting the Parsurama Temple you will continue to the Rajarani Temple. This temple is believed to have been constructed between the 11th to 12th century and has many similar details to the famous Khajuraho Temples, due to its intricate details of erotic carvings. The name of the temple originates from the local sandstone which was used to build the temple. Inside the temple are many beautiful sculptures depicting different ancient legends such as guards, Varuna, and scenes from Shiva's marriage. After visiting the temples, you will be taken to the hills on the edges of the city to see Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves. These famous caves were carved by Jain monks during 2nd century BCE. There are more than 30 caves on this location with all unique details of sculptures and myths. One of the caves, the Snake Cave, got its name from the two serpents clinging to the arch of the entrance of this cave. Inside the cave are carvings telling the story of a boy chasing wild animals. The last stop of the trip is at the Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts which offers an unique experience to get to know the Orissan tribal culture. The museum is showcasing the ancient tribal clothing, artifacts, jewelry, hunting weapons, and many other things. This will be a delightful visit to finish off the tour. After the museum visit you will return to your hotel and conclude the tour.

$70 Transfers & Ground Transport

Explore the Historical Caves of the Khandagiri and Udayagiri Hills from Bhubaneswar with Private Transfer

You will be picked up and driven to the caves.  The caves belong to the earliest groups of Jain rock-cut shelters in Udayagiri (Hill of Sunrise) and Khandagiri (Broken Hill).  They command a unique position in rock-cut architecture, art and religion. The two hills rise abruptly from the coastal plain, about six miles west of Bhubaneswar. You will visit this multi-storied ancient apartment residence for Jain monks. They were the work of the first known Orissan ruler, King Kharavela, and probably begun in the first century BC. Kharavela was a king of the Mahameghavahana dynasty, who is known for expansion of the Kalinga Empire and his installation of public improvements, such as canal systems. His queen was quite a patron of the arts, and probably was the driving force behind the impressive sculptural decoration of the caves.   Udayagiri has 18 caves on its hill.  The largest, Cave 1, is known as Rani Gumpha or Queen's Cave.  It has fine wall friezes, recently restored pillars, and beautiful sculptures. On the lower story, you can see carved dwara palas (sentries) and side pillars crowned by animals. Above them are toranas (arches) with religious and royal couples standing with folded hands.  Also see a female dancer with accompanying female musicians. In the main central wing, are themes indicating a  victory march of a king.  In the  preserved Upper Story are six cells with two doorways each, flanked by two pilasters.   Cave 2, Chota Hathi Gumpha, or Small Elephant Cave, has a carving of six elephants flanking its entrance. Cave 4, Alakapuri Gumpha, contain sculptures of a lion holding a prey, in its mouth, and pillars topped by pairs of winged animals, some human and some bird headed.  Several additional caves will be shown on your tour.   There are 15 caves on the Khandagiri hill. Cave 1 and 2, are known as Tatowa Gumpha or Parrot Caves, because of the figures of parrots carved on the arches of their doorways. Cave 3 is called the Ananta Gumpha or Snake Cave after the figures of twin serpents on the door arches. It is one of the most important caves on the Khandagiri hill on account of its unique motifs: figures of boys chasing animals including lions and bulls. On the back wall of the cell is carved a nandipada on a stepped pedestal flanked on either side by a set of three symbols, a triangular headed symbol, a srivatsa and a swastika, auspicious to the Jains. You will have the oppotunity to visit additional caves on this hill. The 18th century, Jain Temple, at the top of the hill dedicated to Rishabnath, was most probably built on the site of an earlier shrine. The temple enshrines some old tirthankars and affords a panoramic view across the plains. You will be driven back to your hotel at the end of the tour.

$57 Cultural & Theme Tours

UNESCO's Konark - The Famous Sun Temple at the Bay of Bengal

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Bhubaneshwar and driven to the Sun Temple (about 44 miles). The massive structure sits in solitary splendor surrounded by drifting sand on Konark Beach, less than 2 miles from the sea.  The word 'Konark' is a combination of two words 'Kona' and 'Arka'. 'Kona' means 'Corner' and 'Arka' means 'Sun', so when combined, it becomes 'Sun of the Corner'. Konark Sun Temple is situated on the north eastern corner of Puri and is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya.  There are three images of the Sun God at three different sides of the temple, positioned in the proper direction to catch the rays of the sun at morning, noon and evening. Konark Temple was conceived as a massive chariot hauling the Sun God across the heavens by the might of seven splendidly carved horses.  The chariot stands aloft on 24 intricately carved chariot wheels. The wheels of the temple are sundials which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute.  Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Monument, the magnificent Sun Temple at Konark is the culmination of Orissan temple architecture, and represents a stunning monument. Nobel Laureate Poet Rabindranath Tagore said, “here the language of stone surpasses the language of man”.   In the evening, you will return back to your hotel in Bhubaneshwar by your air conditioned vehicle.

$54 Day Trips & Excursions

Trip to Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri from Bhubaneswar

Lalitagiri is also a well-known tourist pilgrimage, especially for Buddhism. Lalitagiri is a major Buddhist Complex, comprising major stupas, 'esoteric' Buddha images, and monasteries (Viharas), one of the oldest sites in the region. Not only a religious pace, Ratnagiri was also a great place of learning for the Buddhism of Tantric cult, known as Vajrayana. The Kalchakrayana also had flourished considerably in this place, as evident from the Tibetan Buddhist texts. What you can expect – Itinerary is given below for your reference Morning on time pick-up from Bhubaneswar Hotel, to proceed for the sightseeing tour of Lalitagiri & Ratnagiri Caves (Approx. 130 Kms / 03 Hrs drive – one way). Lalitagiri is like an ancient village, with greenery and free spaces, mild forests and breezes blowing all the time. The ancient stupas, sculptures on them and the caves give it a look that fairly resembles to that ancient age. Lalitagiri is situated at a distance of 90 km from Bhubaneswar, in the state of Orissa. The sculptures are also quite interesting, especially when it's known that these belong to the 1st century. There are several stupas in the hill range, and the Chaitya hills are also a major attraction for the tourists.  Ratnagiri is another pilgrimage related to Buddhism, and has many significant Buddhist sculptures scattered around in the hill range. The excavations have revealed the relation of this place with the Gupta Dynasty, and this dates back to 6th Century AD. The huge monastery that has been excavated is thought to be of Mahayana sect, showing that Buddhism spread through these areas in the later part, especially due to the influence of the great kings such as Ashoka and those of the Gupta dynasty. There are also some other pieces of Buddhist origin in this place including the monastery, stupas, chaityas etc. Evening on time, drop back to Bhubaneswar Hotel.

$52 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Tour: Full-Day Khandagiri, Udaygiri, and Dhauli Buddhist Site Tour from Bhubaneswar

You will be picked up from your hotel and depart on a full-day tour of Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves followed by Dhauli Buddhist site. Khandagiri and Udaygiri Caves are approx. 7 km west of Bhubaneswar and are the two adjacent hills as the next major Orissan historical monument after the Edits of Ashoka. The rocks of Khandagiri and Udayagiri are carved and tunneled, creating a multi-story ancient residence for Jain ascetics by the first known Orissan ruler, King Kharavela of the Mahameghavahana Dynasty. The king is known for expansion of the Kalinga Empire and his installation of public improvements, such as canal systems. His queen was a patron of the arts and had much to do with the impressive sculptures decorating the caves.Later on you will visit Dhauli, the site where the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka renounced violence and embraced the teachings of Buddha. This site is marked by a Peace Pagoda known as Shanti Stupa, built in the early 1970s by the Japanese. Afterwards you will also visit nearby two ancient rock edicts dating from 260 BC. These edicts outline Ashoka's detailed instructions for his administrators to rule with gentleness and fairness. Stop by the small-rock cut caves, Hindu temples of early medieval period and a renovated Siva temple on top of a hill. After the sightseeing, you will be transported back to Bhubaneshwar city and dropped at your hotel.