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A favourite destination for adventurous travelers, Odisha (Orissa) rewards those who make the effort to stray off the beaten track with an intricate patchwork of archaeological wonders, fascinating tribal culture, and natural beauty, along with an old-fashioned sprinkling of sun and sand.

The forested hills of the southwest keep Adivasi (tribal) groups largely hidden from mainstream tourism, but it is still possible to visit their 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 might spy 19.5ft-long crocs (6m), 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 contemplating long-lost Buddhist universities, ancient Jain rock carvings and centuries-old Hindu relics, including Konark’s unparalleled Sun Temple.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Odisha.