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Bhubaneswar: An amalgamation of Cultural Heritage and Modern Outlook

Bhubaneswar: DailyJag

Often depicted as Ekamra Khetra (temple city), Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, boasts of architectural grandeur, cultural roots that can be traced back to 3rd century BCE, and economic importance to Eastern India. Being one of the first three planned cities of Modern India, it offers a holistic experience to its tourists in terms of heritage, excursions and resplendent reminiscence of Odiya culture along with modern amenities to take care of their comfort.

Culture and Heritage

Temples are synonymous with Bhubaneswar, and they never fail to awe their travelers with their impressive detailing, architectural mastery, and history behind them, irrespective of religion. Some of the famous temples include Lingaraja Temple, Muktesvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Ananta Vasudeva Temple.

Lingaraja Temple
Lingaraja Temple

Bhubaneswar’s vibrant cultural heritage is evident from their dedication and excellence in the field of art and craft. Odissi, one of the oldest classical dance forms of India, accompanied by music, forms an integral part of its culture.

Its gallant past can be witnessed at The Odisha State Museum which comprises 11 sections including archaeological relics, weapons, patta paintings, palmleaf manuscripts, local crafts, and contemporary art.

Besides temples, Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves, which are partly natural and partly artificial, treat their visitors with a rich cultural history and religious significance behind the finely and ornately carved caves built during 2nd century BCE.

Festivals and Melas

Bhubaneswar hosts many festivals and melas to celebrate the richness of its cultural heritage. Ratha yatra, Temple Car Festival, is the most important festival in Bhubaneswar, Odisha to commemorate Jagannatha (incarnation of Vishnu and Krishna). Besides other religious festivals, Bhubaneswar extolls its other cultural and intellectual beauty such as dance forms, arts with many other cultural sub-festivals, as a part of its Ekarma Festival. Some of these festivals are:

  • Kalinga Mahotsaba for traditional martial arts
  • Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsaba for classical dance forms
  • Rajarani Music Festival for classical music
  • Mukteswara Dance Festival for Odishi dance

Then there are fairs such as Adibasi Mela, Toshali National Crafts Mela, Rajdhani Book Fair, and Khandagiri Utsav to showcase its art, artifacts, tradition, and culture.

Places To Visit

Being so rich in tradition and historical significance, Bhubaneswar is heaven for religiously inclined people but it hosts some unique experiences which range from curing skin diseases to witnessing wildlife.

  • Atri Hot Springs: Out of the many hot springs in Odisha, the one at a small village, Atri, is considered to be pious that can even fulfill people wishes and cure skin diseases.
  • Nandan Kanan Zoological Park: Nandankanan which literally translates to The Garden of Heaven, is the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It’s home to around 166 species of animals including some endangered animals like Asiatic lion, Sangal lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur etc.
  • Vaital Deul: It’s a tantric shrine that’s located near Bindu Sarovar. It’s renowned for its rectangular shape sanctuary tower and a home for some of the early erotic sculptures in Orissan art.
  • Bindu Sarovara – The Bindu Sarovar or Bindu Sagar is a tank sacred to the Hindus. The tank is believed to contain drops from all holy rivers and pools of India. The water body is surrounded by a number of beautiful temples and lies in the vicinity of the Lingaraja Temple.
Bindu Sarovara, Bhubaneswar
Bindu Sarovara, Bhubaneswar

Strategic Planning for a Modern Outlook

Bhubaneswar is an amalgamation of the past and the future. With its roots perfectly placed in the gallant past of its cultural heritage, it takes impeccable measures to ensure a modern and smart outlook towards its future. In 2017, its efforts were applauded and awarded with the elusive Pierre L’enfant International Planning excellence award by American Planning Association for good and advanced town planning. Being featured in the top 20 global cities in the Global Smart City Performance Index 2017, and hosting international sporting events (like the Hockey World Cup, 2018) at ease, speak volumes about its strategic planning to cater tourism and provide amenities for easy living. Thereby, on your next trip to Bhubaneswar, be prepared to experience the touch of its culture with the comforts that you expect from a modern city.

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Written by Vineet Jain

I like to write, I like to think, and I like to express myself with my words and music.
I know when to be a source and when to be a sink, and I will try to inspire you, make you laugh and sometimes, will try to make you think something that you have ignored all your life.

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