Odisha is a land of unexplored wonders. I feel the bliss that I made it there. Planning a trip to Odisha was difficult because I knew naught about it. People usually mention the Puri beaches, Konark temples, and other similar places, but I wanted to explore Odisha’s unseen side. You can say I was looking for something more from Odisha, and it did not fail to live up to my expectations.

I began my voyage with Bhubaneswar by checking in at Fortune Park Sishmo. After a while, I was on the road talking to the rickshaw-pullers and the local people for hunting down the places that speak unsaid things about the capital city of Odisha. This is how I got my firsthand experience of the culture and tradition of this beautiful place.

My Introduction to the earthy and full of flavors Odia cuisine began with tasting the traditional savory food at roadside vendors selling freshly prepared vadas with coconut chutney near a newly made friend’s home near Khandadhar waterfalls. Eating podo pitha, bodi chura, and gupchup was terrific. I then got a carved sculpture as a gift from the old lady of the house.

Well, it’s hard to describe the scenic beauty of Odisha as each place had some unsung story or a hidden lesson or cuisine of its own.

So here is my experience:

1. Raghurajpur

My stroll at Raghurajpur gave me mercantile vibes on the surface. Walking through the market, I heard vendors calling customers to buy their art and craft, but as you go farther, you experience the the village’s culture and tradition. Fun fact about the village is the array of beautiful temples in the middle lane and muralled house walls on either side.

2. Puri Beaches

Famous for golden beaches gave me an extravagant experience of the sunset as well as sunrise. I had one of my finest sunset and sunrise experiences here. Enjoyed horse riding and other beach activities. I ate comfort food at Mahodadhi restaurant and slept crouching in the bed at Seascape hotel. I spent early mornings catching the sunrise at the eastern boundary.

Then I took the ride from the hotel to Khandadhar village. It was a 10-hour long drive that had a lot of beauty one can treat the eyes with. Finally, I began my trip to Khandadhar by checking in at Khandadhar Nature camp.

3. Khandadhar

Early in the morning woke up with the pleasant sound of birds chirping and beams of golden rays entering my room. I reached the waterfalls using a rickshaw late in the evening and must mention the waterfalls here are safer than any other place. The part I will not forget that it got late on my way back to the camp, and I saw women walking alone as in they were going back from work to their houses, which eventually made me feel safe.

4. Chilika lake

The brackish water lake fed by 52 rivers is vast and spread over 900-1165 sq km. The shallow and pear-shaped lagoons make the time spent there worth its while and has flawless beauty.

Visiting Temples

The Konark Sun Temple has beautifully carved geometrical patterns and wheels to serve the sundial. I witnessed three sun-god images in three different directions to catch the sun’s rays at dawn, noon, and sunset, and all of it was a very calming experience.

The Lingraj Temple was another example of fantastic architecture. A Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva.

The Koraput is the heart of tribal culture in Odisha.

The Jagannath Temple is built in honor of the tribal deity, Lord Jagannath, who is considered by the local Sabar people to depict God Vishnu. I visited the Tribal Museum, the Balda caves, the Balmiki Ashram, and it made me feel even more that ‘Odisha is a hidden gem waiting to get explored.’

If ever given a chance to revisit Odisha, I would love to explore more of it as Odisha is a state for wanderers of all kinds who want to find themselves.

You can also read more about top travel places on TBO Academy to plan your next travel.