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Odisha is a confluence of culture, history and heritage, which is indeed a large contributing factor to India’s cultural unity

As a distinctive travel destination, Odisha’s importance is paramount. Odisha’s numerous wonders and attractions have made this place a paradise for travellers. Apart from natural and breathtaking beauty, the state of Odisha has a rich cultural lineage dating back to 2000 years. Since ancient times, the strategic location of Odisha was cultivated and the place provided a ground for thriving kingdoms and empires. Bordered by the Bay of Bengal, Odisha had maritime trade relations with countries like Java, Bali, Sumatra, Vietnam and Thailand, which finally resulted in cultural assimilation, fusion in art forms and architecture. Traces of this unique antiquity can be found in various tourist destinations within the state and they clearly give an impression of the place’s glory. Situated in the central part of India, Odisha is a bridge which brings the northern and southern halves of the country together to create a new brand of cultural flavour. Here are a few popular picks for you.

Deulajhari If the purpose is to enjoy the winter with utmost cosiness and at the same time, satisfy your travel bug, then there can’t be a better option than Deulajhari. Situated in the Angul district of Odisha, Deulajhari has an ancient Shiva temple. But this is not its only identity. Deulajhari is known for its hot water spring which originates from beneath the shivalinga. Though the origin is a mystery, it is a proven fact that the hot water coming out of the spring has immense medicinal qualities and is capable of curing numerous ailments and diseases. The temperature of the hot spring varies from 40 degree Celsius to 60 degree Celsius and is collected into 36 man-made ponds. So if you want to enjoy a warm and cosy natural Jacuzzi then Deulajhari is worth visiting. You can visit other prominent hot water springs like Atri, Taptapani and Tarabalo.

Kathinacha This festive season has a lot to offer, especially if your choice of travel destination is Odisha. You will get to experience a unique dance form known as Kathinacha, which is performed by the cow herd community of coastal Odisha. Young boys perform this dance using long sticks attached to their feet and they form geometrical patterns with continuous tapping of sticks. During the event, the performers sing traditional songs amidst loud musical improvisations. A similar form of dance is also performed by local communities of Mayurbhanj and Bolangir. Using smaller sticks, the pace of performance takes speed and often accompanied by the rhythm of madal – a local drum.

Bali Yatra Though most fairs and exhibitions held in India are based on modern trade practices and incorporate modern commercial principles, Bali Yatra still retains an ancient charm. It is perhaps the only exhibition which has historical roots. Popular as a major tourist attraction, the festival commemorates the ancient maritime trade relations of Odisha with Bali. The festival also marks the beginning of Kartik Purnima which comes around October or November. Major features of the festival include thematic installations depicting Boitas –traditional boats which were used during ancient maritime trades, food stalls offering Oriya delicacies and various other stalls selling toys, household items, handicrafts and gifts.

Baripada Ordinary memories fade away. But, to make a lasting memory of Odisha, you must conclude your trip with Baripada. Situated in the Mayurbhanj region, Baripada is an extraordinary hot bed of ethnic creativity. The place is famous for handloom products which are weaved by local craftsmen. Besides, the place is also famous for stone carvings. The art form is antique and the same precise stonework can be found in the large temple of Kichakeswari in Khiching, dating back to the 7th or 8th century. By buying a piece of art from here you will actually return with a piece of marvellous history.

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