5 Must Visit off Beat Destinations in Odisha
If you’re seeking an authentic and unique experience, Odisha should be on your travel radar. This is a hidden gem that offers a rich tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty off the beaten path. Some iconic destinations like Puri and Bhubaneswar are still popular among tourists. But there are countless hidden gems, off the beaten path, that offer far more authentic and immersive experience.
Here is a list of 5 must-visit off beat destinations in Odisha.
1. Bhitarkanika National Park: A Nature’s Paradise
Bhitarkanika National Park is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and those who love nature and photography.
It is a perfect place to enjoy rural life. This natural paradise is often overlooked by tourists in favour of more famous national parks in India.
The park is located in Kendrapara district in Odisha. Bhitarkanika is home to a variety of reptiles and birds. Saltwater crocodiles live in big numbers here, and boat cruises through the mangrove forest allow tourists to observe these big creatures basking in the sun on the banks of river channels in their native habitat.
The mangrove forest here is also a haven for many bird species, making it an ideal site for birdwatchers. Darters, Grey Herons, Storks of various kinds, kingfishers, mangrove petta, woodpeckers, cranes, cormorants and many other bird varieties are found here.
The national Park is also home to several snake varieties – python, cobra, krait, water snakes etc. Spotted deer, wild boars, jungle fowls, monitor lizards, and fish cats are found here.
2. Chandipur Beach: The Vanishing Beach
Chandipur beach is unlike any other beach you may have visited. This beach is located in Balasore district on Odisha.
The place is famous for its unique natural phenomenon, the vanishing sea. The tide recedes around five kilometres from the shoreline twice a day, leaving behind a quiet and bizarre area ideal for exploring.
During low tide, you can walk on the seabed, collecting seashells and marvelling at the disappearance of the waters. It’s a site that creates a sense of awe and connectedness with the natural world that is uncommon in more touristy settings.
3. Simlipal National Park: An Untouched Wilderness
Simlipal National Park, located in Mayurbhanj district, is yet another gem of Odisha which tourists must explore.
This beautiful and verdant oasis is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to a wide range of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, leopards, and various species of deer.
Simlipal offers an excellent opportunity for jungle safaris, bird watching, and trekking, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region with gushing waterfalls, meandering rivers, and dense forests.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive royal Bengal tiger.
4. Hirakud Dam: India’s Longest Earthen Dam
Hirakud Dam, standing above River Mahanadi in Sambalpur, is a spectacular engineering wonder that many visitors overlook. It is not just India’s longest earthen dam, but also one of the world’s longest.
The reservoir of the dam produces a vast artificial lake, providing a tranquil backdrop for picnics, boating, and watching breathtaking sunsets.
Sambalpur City, which is close, has its own beauty, with an ancient history and unique Sambalpuri textile traditions.
5. Gopalpur-on-Sea: A Tranquil Beach Retreat
Everyone in India has a habit of comparing all beach destinations to Goa as it is India’s most popular beach destination.
Goa may be the most popular but Gopalpur-on-Sea provides a quieter, less crowded option.
The gorgeous beaches here is known for its golden sand and tranquil waves, which are ideal for leisure and water sports.
During the British Raj, Gopalpur was a thriving port, and elements of its colonial past may still be found in its architecture. It’s great for people looking for a quiet beach holiday away from the normal tourist hordes.
Odisha is a hidden gem which tourists must explore in bigger numbers. Its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and serene natural wonders make it an exceptional destination for travelers. Whether you have interest in wildlife, ancient history, indigenous cultures, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat, Odisha has something unique and remarkable to offer. It offers a myriad of experiences for those willing to explore its lesser-known treasures.
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