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Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years.
The new Bhubaneswar with its modern buildings and extensive infrastructure perfectly complements its historic surroundings. With facilities to cater to every type of visitor, Bhubaneswar makes an ideal tourist destination.
Bhubaneswar can be visited at anytime of the year. The period between mid-September and mid-March is considered as the tourist season when the sun is bright and warm, the sky is blue, the air is cool and the weather is generally pleasant. To the visitor, Bhubaneswar is a city of contrasts, co-existence and continuity. There is a happy encounter of past and present in this temple town which has a history of about 2500 years. All religions and sects flourished here.
How to Reach Bhubaneshwar
Approach: Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail and road to the rest of India. The modern Biju Patnaik airport is being extended to receive wide bodied aircraft, and one may well see international charters landing here soon.
Best time to visit:
Bhubaneswar can be visited round the year, but the ideal time, especially for visitors from colder climes, would be from October to March.
Excursions in Bhubaneshwar
Dhauli (8 km)*
Surrounded by paddy fields, the Dhauli hill brings back memories of the historic 'Kalinga war' which was fought around here. It is here that Ashoka, the terrible, was transformed into Ashoka, the compassionate and championed the cause of Buddhism. On the foot of the hill one can see the Rock Edicts of Ashoka and the forepart of a skillfully sculpted elephant hewn out of a huge rock. Dhauli has gained prominence due to the establishment of a Buddhist Peace Pagoda, popularly known as Shanti Stupa, built in the early seventies by the Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. An old temple of Lord Dhavaleswar, reconstructed in 1972, also stands on the hill-top.
Just two km from the famed Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar lie the ruins of Sisupalgarh. Dating back to the third or fourth century BC, these ruins show that even at that early date there was a well fortified city here, and establish the fact that the Orissan civilization has very ancient roots.
Hirapur (15 km)*
Hirapur has the 11th century Hypaethral temple of sixty four Yoginis. It is second of its kind in Orissa and one of four such unique temples in India.
Situated amidst greenery and famous for the hot sulphur water spring, Atri, 42 km. from Bhubaneswar and 14 km. from Khurda, is also a holy place with the shrine of Hatakeswar. A bath in the spring water is reputed to cure skin diseases apart from being a pleasant experience.