Odisha- India’s best kept secret

One of the wishes in my bucket list got completed now – to visit Odisha and seek blessings of Lord Jagannath. And when your visit is not only facilitated, but fully organised and accompanied by a native, my friend Manoj and his very affectionate and petite wife Mousumi, the experience is simply ethereal. That’s how I sum up my week long visit to this beautiful state rich in heritage, culture, cuisine, art and above all that houses one of the char dhams – Puri!

From the time we landed at Bhubaneswar airport to the time we were dropped there exactly one week later – we neither needed to know the itinerary nor worry about logistics. Our friend and his wife had planned everything meticulously to the last mile.

Starting with well planned and smart city of Bhubaneswar, Odisha’s capital, we were simply mesmerised by its fine roads, disciplined traffic and hospitality in general. The incomparable Mayfair provided the perfect stay and mouth watering seafood and meat dishes were simply incredible. Nandan Kanan, about which I had read in my NCERT text book, had seen better days, but still provided a great experience. The high point our Bhubaneswar stay was delicious bamboo mutton, where soft mutton pieces, marinated and boiled are filled inside a bamboo and then left to cook slowly inside a tandoor or oven. It’s one of the finest and most delicious dishes eaten by me. Apart from certain temples and a quick visit to the commercial city of Cuttack, Bhubaneswar left a lasting impression on the mind.

It was time for visit to Lake Chilika, the massive brackish water lagoon spread over an area of 1100 square kilometer. It’s the second largest lake of India after Vembanad. It was surreal and the food at the resort most sumptuous. In fact, I would stop making any mention of food herein after as across wherever and whatever we are – vegetarian or non vegetarian, eating food was a great gastronomic experience. After a night’s stay at Chilika, it was the time for most awaited visited to Konark and Puri. Once again we were booked in a resort right on the confluence where river Chandrabhaga seamlessly merged into the mighty Bay of Bengal. Konark’s ruins bear testimony to its architectural excellence and one needs hours to fully appreciate the thought that went behind its construction. And as aforesaid, then came the high point of our trip – visit of Lord Jagannath’s Dham – a surreal and spiritual experience. The visit also included consumption of Mahaprasad within the precincts of Jagannath temple and this was one of the most delicious meals. Next day happened to be our 35th wedding anniversary too and this couple friend ordered traditional odiya food, specially customised for us, served on a specially decorated table. What else could one ask for to celebrate one’s anniversary? The heady mix of great place, great food, great company and above all blessings of Lord Jagannath provided everything!

Time to leave for Bhubaneswar airport for return back home was filled with déjà vu, but armed with Odiya delicacies – Chhena Podh and Rasgullas, we reconciled our heart with the age old wisdom- “ All good things come to an end.” But our joy is endless, memories lifelong and gratitude deep to this couple for revealing India’s best kept secret, Odisha tourism’s tagline, to us in the most incredible manner.

Another close Odiya friend, Raman Mahapatra, who was guiding and following our Odisha sojourn closely also added a bit of mysticism to the entire scenario. Unknowingly, I completed visit to the third Shakti Peeth after Kolkata and Guwahati two years ago ! As per Raman ( Quote)

“The great mythological texts including the Shiva Purana and the Kalika Purana (the Asthashakti) recognize the four major Shakti Peethas. Like

  1. (Bimala, Pada Khanda) inside the Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa,
  2. (Tara Tarini) Sthana Khanda (Breasts), near Berhampur, Orissa,
  3. (Kamakshi, Yoni khanda) near Guwahati, Assam and
  4. (Dakhina Kalika, Mukha khanda) in Kolkata, West Bengal originated from the limbs of the Corpse of Mata Sati. In a hymn, the Kalika Purana (Asthashakti) clearly says:
    “Vimala Pada khandancha,
    Stana khandancha Tarini (Tara Tarini),
    Kamakhya Yoni khandancha,
    Mukha khandancha 7Kalika (Kali)
    Anga pratyanga sangena Vishnu Chakra Kshate nacha……..”
Yummy cuisine
Majestic view of Lake Chilika
Traditional odiya cuisine customised for us

8 thoughts on “Odisha- India’s best kept secret

  1. Beautifully sumarised to the last word about “Odisha… India’s Best kept Secret”. It was so exceptionally well narrated, that I accompanied with Blogger throughout his visit. Your Blog is a great triggering factor to visit Odisha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sir, it is actually a secret destination, many of us are not aware. Odisha has a lot to offer. It has always been a pleasure to visit Odisha. Beautiful beaches, flora and fuana and mouth watering sea food.

    Liked by 1 person

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