India secrets: Orissa

first_imgThe medicinal plant garden This lovely garden is home to some of the rarest plants in the country. Located around the sacred Bindusagar tank, this ground was once a wasteland but is now one of the finest parks in the city, with hundreds of species of medicinal plants. Apart from being a place where nature-lovers can admire flora and fauna, it is also a centre for biological research, and gives visitors an insight into plants which are used to make herbal Indian medicines. Near Bindusagar Tank.State institute for development of arts and craftsAlthough this started as a design development institute to equip scholarship holders from weaker sections of society with sustainable livelihoods, it has gone on to become a place that preserves, as well as showcases, all forms of folk art in the state. Located in the State Handicraft Complex at Gandamunda, this is one place where you can watch artists at work as they create various items. There is a small shop on the campus that stocks different handicrafts at reasonable prices. Gandamunda; Tel: (0674) 235 0298Kalinga stadiumThis national athletics ground is a good place to catch some live sporting action. The Kalinga Stadium also has an Olympic standard swimming pool for hosting international competitions. It is a great place to go for a swim, however you need to be a member for that. You will also need to take a test to convince the lifeguards that you will not drown while doing a 100-m lap and then you can swim away to your heart’s glory! Near Jaydev Vihar Square Flyover.advertisementRabindra mandapAt this grand dome-shaped building, watch Mangalacharan, Dasavatar and Abhinaya performances, traditional forms of classical Odissi dance. This dance form is known for its dramatic gestures and Rabindra Mandap is a good place to see some of the best performers in this state. If you want to pick up a few accessories related to Odissi dance or even costumes, then walk down to the Market Building in Ashok Nagar which is close by and fill those shopping bags. Located at Unit 4Lalchand jewellersWith elegant meshes and fragile threads interwoven into complex designs, delicate silver filigree jewellery is this silversmith’s forte. From broaches to earrings to hairpins, Lalchand Jewellers has a dazzling array of shining accessories to choose form. They can also design lovely little bespoke pieces to suit your taste. It is a place to pick up wonderful little things you have always wanted. Unit 3, Station Square; Tel: 253 4625PriyadarshiniWalk into this store and choose from a range of Orissa saris, famous for intricate woven designs and bold eye-catching borders. They range from the traditional Pasapalli or ‘chess’ saris with their distinct black and white boxes, to the Sambalpuri or ‘temple’ saris in cotton and silk with distinct, brightly coloured designs on their borders. Priyadarshini is definitely a dream destination for women travellers searching for their perfect Orissa-style drape. Western Tower of Unit 1 Market Building; Tel: 253 2140Odisha hotelNo trip to this city is complete without a taste of Oriya cuisine. One of the best places to sample some delicacies is Odisha Hotel. The food is served on a banana leaf. Try the local specialities. They range from Kakhaaru Phula Bada or deep-fried pumpkin-flower, Badi-Chura or powdered cakes of Urad Dal with green chillies, garlic and onion, Maacha Bihana or fish egg cakes in a spicy curry. Seafood and green veggies dominate. Top it off with a Chhena Gaja (deep fried cottage cheese in sugar syrup). C-18 Market Building, Sahid NagarMusical martThis music shop, run by a Bengali gentleman, is fondly called ‘Dada’s Shop’. This is a good place to pick up classical and folk music instruments from Orissa. The store will even custom make a special folk instrument.They have many of them including toori (a flute-like instrument) and the dhumsa (a large drum like instrument used in the folk dance of chhau). The Indian classical instruments range from the flutes, tanpuras, sitars, tabla, mridanga and pakhaawaj. Modern instruments like Spanish guitars, drum sets, keyboards are also available. Kharavel Nagar, Unit 4; Tel: (0) 94381 34865 Bhubaneswar: Anindita TripathyA copywriter and media consultant from Bhubaneswar, sheis also a Hindustani Classical vocalist, instructor and composer.Anindita attributes her artistic temperament to the city she comes from.Must do: OrissaStay: Toshali sands, PuriThis stunning resort is spread across 30 acres of beautiful greenery, and has its own private beach. At the cottages, you can sit out on your private verandah and smell the roses in your exclusive garden. By the sea, Puri; tel: (06752) 250 571-3; www.toshalisands.comEat: Mahaprasad, Jagannath templeIf over 400 cooks prepare something everyday, it has to be special. Add to it the fact that this food is cooked for none other than Lord Jagannath and you don’t need any more reasons to try the much blessed mahaprasad–rice, dal, vegetables, sweet.advertisementShop: SambalpurOne cannot claim to be an Indian and not have heard of Sambalpur sairs. Returning from Orissa without one in your bag is like coming away from Agra without seeing the Taj Mahal. Well, almost.The trademark double ikat designs of the cotton saris of Sambalpur can be bought in any state emporium, but for the largest and most unique collection, visit the source itself. In this town, artisans not only offer you saris, but also loose fabric, bedspreads and more.See: Sun temple, KonarkYou cannot skip a visit to this legendary temple that is devoted to worship the Sun God. A UNESCO World Heritage Monument, it was built by King Narasimhadeva in the 13th century, in the shape of a chariot drawn by seven horses that is supposedly carrying the sun across the heavens.Outside Bhubaneswar: Lotus eco village, KonarkThis beautiful resort tucked away in the untrammeled sands of Ramchandi beach will make you feel close to nature. You are greeted with the sound of a conch shell and a traditional tilak as you enter the earthy interiors. This is a fantastic place to unwind and escape the general bustle and rush of Konark.The resort advocates eco-friendliness from its choice of building materials (which includes straw, bamboo and other natural green materials) to handmade organic soaps and shampoos. It also has its own kitchen garden providing farm fresh veggies and an unlimited variety of fresh fish that is part of the daily catch from the sea.The sprawling property includes part of the backwaters of the Kusabhadra River (where you could go fishing and boating) and a wooded area where you can spot the occasional deer. At the Panchakarma spa, visitors can choose from rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments. Lotus Resort’s serene landscape, peaceful ambience, and rustic setting make it a perfect getaway for couples or families. Ramchandi Beach, Konark; Tel: (06758) 236 161; www.lotusresortkonark.comlast_img

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