BOUNDED ON THE WEST by the thickly forested hills of the Eastern Ghats, and on the east by nearly 500 km (311 miles) of coastline on the Bay of Bengal, Orissa covers an area of 156,000 sq km (60,232 sq miles). Its most famous sights are clustered together in a compact triangle on the eastern coast, in the fertile delta of its major river, the Mahanadi. These include the magnificent 13th-century Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and other outstanding temples at Bhubaneswar and Puri. To recover from sightseeing fatigue, there are beaches within easy reach at Puri, Konark and Gopalpur-on-Sea, fringed by coconut groves and fishing villages. Just south of this triangle is Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest lagoon and a paradise for birdwatchers. The hinterland of the coast is lush with green paddy fields, dotted with ancient Buddhist ruins and tranquil hamlets, where Orissa’s beautiful traditional crafts flourish. The spectacular, unspoilt landscape of northern Orissa includes Simlipal National Park, with its wealth of wildlife, and settlements of tribal people who form nearly a quarter of Orissa’s population of 35 million.
TOURIST SPOTS IN ORISSA
AREAS OF NATURAL BEAUTY