What about having a tour of Orissa? Orissa, the land of Oriyas, earlier known as Kalinga, is flanked by the Eastern Ghats on the west and the Bay of Bengal on the East.

This ‘jewel of the east’ endowed with some of the great wonders of India’s cultural and natural heritage is still largely unexplored and untouched by modernity. Kalinga was a flourishing maritime kingdom with trading links to Java, Sumatra, Bali, and Indonesia. In 261 B.C., it was invaded and conquered by the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka. But, the spoils of war changed the heart of Ashoka, and he embraced Buddhism.

In essence, Orissa, a kaleidoscope of past splendors and contemporary expression, is India right down to her roots. Blessed with nature’s bounty, the State is known for its beautiful beaches, mountains teeming with wildlife, waterfalls, hot sulfur springs, and Chilika Lake. Sun Temple at Konark is a reason enough for a trip to India, like the Taj Mahal at Agra or Kailasa Temple at Ellora. The sacred city of Puri is considered one of the four holiest places, “Char Dhams,” and other ancient Hindu and Jain temples attract millions of pilgrims from all over the country.

Great traditional dances and music, exquisite handicrafts, temple architecture and sculpture, the colorful hospitable people, and above all, the excitement of modern India’s technological achievements in the form of Hirakud Dam and Raurkela Steel Plant are part of Orissa’s resplendent blend of past and present.

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Khushi Anand

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