Odisha&rsquos rich culture and heritage continue to beckon discerning travellers to its shores. Odisha Walks, a new initiative by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation hopes to put the spotlight on fascinating destinations in the state. Five guided tours on the state&rsquos heritage circuits will help travellers gain an immersive insight into Odisha&rsquos historical and cultural legacy as they walk through memories of the bygone era.
Considered to be a gem of Kalinga architecture, this 10-century Hindu sanctuary was built as a tribute to Lord Shiva. Look closely at the walls of this holy space and you'll see the history of Bhubaneswar play out in all its glory. Ornate stone carvings of a lion over an elephant are placed all over the structure symbolising the dominance of Hinduism over Buddhism during that era.
The Lingaraja Temple, built in the loving memory of Lord Shiva, is the largest temples in the city. A prominent figure of quintessential Kalinga architecture, the temple has over 50 different temples within the complex. The compound, which is not open to non-Hindus, hosts the grandest of Shivaratri celebrations across India. A viewing platform outside the temple allows you to view the entire complex if you are unable to go in.
Dhauli Shanti Stupa
Also called the Peace Pagoda, this stupa was built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in 1972 on the site where the famous Kalinga War was fought in 261BC. Situated approximately 8km from Bhubaneswar, the site also has a light and sound that talks about the journey of Emperor Ashoka.
Khandagiri caves and Udayagiri caves
Built around the 2nd century BC by King Kharavela of the Meghavahana dynasty, these caves were discovered by British Officer Andrew Sterling in the 19th century AD. Originally built for Jain scholars, only 33 of the 117 caves have survived - Eighteen caves are located on Udaygiri hill and fifteen on Khandagiri hill. Many of these hand-carved caves are double-storeyed and feature an elaborate communication system through holes.