Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore!
This is your host Harish Bali.
In the last episode, I discussed with you....
....how you can plan your journey to Bhubaneswar, Konark and Puri.
With that, I also discussed with you the itineraries of North Odisha.
In this episode, I will tell you how you can travel through West and South Odisha.
How to begin this journey.
Where to go and how to go about it.
First of all, let us talk about Western Odisha.
The first thing that comes to your mind as you think of Western Odisha is the 'Sambalpuri Saree.'
This saree is woven on handloom.
In Western Odisha, more than 2 lakh workers are directly involved in this industry.
In Western Odisha, when we visited Sambhalpur, we also witnessed a folk dance performance there.
During the dance performance, we were so lost in it that we didn't want it to end ever.
It felt really good to see the performers in sync with the beat, performing enthusiastically.
I am deviating from the topic a bit.
The kind of folk performances that we saw in Kaziranga, Assam or in Kerala.....
....where we bought tickets to watch the performances....
.....that concept is not applied in Odisha because of low tourism development so far.
If you want to watch the Sambhalpuri folk dance live....
....for yourself or your group....
....you'll have to pre-inform the organizers for a performance.
Now we will talk about the places to visit in Western Odisha.
First of all, let me tell you how to reach here.
The nearest airport to reach here is Jharsuguda.
But the flight options in Jharsuguda are a bit limited.
This is why you may also have to explore other options like Ranchi, Raipur or Bhubaneswar.
But these three airports are quite far from Sambalpur.
If you want to come by train, Sambalpur is a large railway station.
And so is the Jharsuguda Junction.
If you want to travel through Western Odisha in four days....
...you will have to begin your journey through Sambalpur.
The night stay of Day 1 should be in Sambalpur.
On Day 2 morning, don't miss Sarsatia for breafast, you'll like it very much.
You won't get it anywhere else than Sambalpur.
You know what I'm enjoying the most here?
You can feel the crispiness in it.
As for having the best taste experience of this food.....
...you must dip 2-3 Sarsatia pieces into hot milk and eat.
After breakfast, you can go visit the Hirakud Dam.
Spend a couple of hours there.
A few miles from there is the Debrigarh Forest.
You can even do Jeep Safari.
Though we visited Debrigarh Forest, but we didn't do the jeep safari because we reached there in evening.
If you go there and spend the night in the Eco Camp, I've heard that is an exclusive experience too.
If you don't want to spend the night in Debrigarh Forest.....
....and you want to return to Sambalpur, then, in the evening....
....you can also visit Shree Samaleswari Temple.
You can also visit Shree Mata Ghanteswari Temple and spend the night in Sambalpur.
On Day 3, you will travel from Sambalpur to the Huma Temple.
The temple that you see on your screen is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Its structure is leaning, towards the right or left, in different portions of the temple.
There is no uniformity in the way this temple is leaning at different places.
And, till date, no one has been able to find out the reason behind this leaning.
And, perhaps, you won't get to see such a leaning structure anywhere else in India.
After spending a couple of hours at Huma Temple, you can proceed to Shree Nrusinghanath Temple.
From there, you will go to Balangir and spend the night there.
Day 4 - In the morning, you will leave Balangir and go to "64 Yogini Temple in Ranipur Jharial.
From there, you can also visit "Shree Harishankar Temple."
Next day, on Day 5, you can end your Western Odisha journey from Raipur, Jharsuguda or Bhubaneswar.
You must've noticed a lot of temple visits in this itinerary.
This is because Western Odisha is primarily known for religious tourism.
If you have 4-5 days at hand, you can follow this itinerary.
I will also tell you about the famous foods of Western Odisha.
You will get to eat 'Chawal Bara' everywhere as street food.
It is a local speciality.
Very little Urad dal is used to make Chawal Bara.
For instance, for a kilo of rice, 200gms of urad dal is used.
It is soft, obviously deep fried in oil
You can eat it as it is or dipped in Ghughni (local pigeon pea curry).
Another speciality that I tasted is "Ambil."
It is also called "Khatta."
It is very tasty!
It is made up of a lot of ingredients such as yogurt, tomatoes, dried mango, eggplant, radish and more.
Do make sure not to miss Ambil when you visit Western Odisha.
Our 19-day Odisha tour was from last week of October to mid-November.
If we had come here between August & September or....
....during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.....
...we wouldn't have had to miss the famous local festival "Nuakhai."
So, if you come here, you must keep that in mind.
This festival is about farmers praying to God to grant them a good harvest.
If you are planning your Western Odisha tour around December-January,....
....try to visit during the Dhanu Jatra of Bargarh district.
This Jatra has open theatre programs on Krishna Leela and Mathura-Vijay.
This is the biggest open-theatre program in Asia.
If you make your program to Sambalpur around May or June....
...you can also attend the "Sital Sasti Festival."
This festival celebrates the divine marriage of Lord Siva and Mata Parvati.
So, this is the information about the Western Odisha itinerary and some important festivals.
Now, let me tell you about South Odisha.
South Odisha is mostly famous for three main things.
The starting point of your journey into South Odisha would be Bhubaneswar because.....
...there are no airports in this region.
Though there are several railway stations....
...but they don't have all-India connectivity.
You will begin your journey from Bhubaneswar.
If you want to spend a day at Puri, you can do so before proceeding to South Odisha.
Otherwise, you can start from Bhubaneswar and your target would be to reach Gopalpur by 3 in afternoon.
On the way, if you want to visit the Mangalajodi bird sanctuary.....
...you can stop there for some time.
When you will reach Gopalpur by 3 or 3.30 pm....
...you should rest for a few hours and then go to Gopalpur beach in the evening.
I was very impressed with the Gopalpur beach.
Just imagine, this is November month and the weather is a bit warm.....
....but despite that people are enjoying themselves in the water.
Even I want to take off my shoes and get into water but.....
...if I do that we will have to spend a few more hours here.
On Day 2, you will go from Gopalpur to Berhampur, where you can have breakfast.
The best flavours in Masala Upma are those of mustard seeds, coriander, green chilies, and.....
....this is a delicious food item overall.
Do you know which place is Odisha's food capital?
The answer is Berhampur!
That is where we are right now!
If you are a foodie, you should spend 2-3 days here. You'd enjoy very much.
After breakfast, you can also buy pickles here to take back home.
Here, you'll get to buy a lot of varieties in pickle.
You will go to Raigada from Berhampur.
On our way there, we identified a place to eat our lunch, which is Digapahandi.
Everything in lunch was awesome here.
Okay, this thing is very interesting.
When you will come here, you will be shown all the vegetables like this....
....and you will have to pick your choice.
In this preparation, sourness is dominating.
But there is a little bit sugar in it as well.
I have to say, this is an amazing recipe!
On the way to Raigada, you can also see the Taptapani hot water spring.
The Day 2 night stay will be at Raigada.
At the hotel in Raigada, I saw more foreigner tourists than Indians.
All the foreigners had come to watch the tribal culture of Odisha.
Next day morning, you will go to the tribal market from Raigada.
For that you'll have to travel for 40-50kms.
If the primary objective of your visit to South Odisha is to enjoy the local culture.....
...it would be better to organize your travel with a travel agency.
If you want to arrange it yourself, you can talk to the manager of the hotel, where you are staying in Raigada.
You'll also have to pre-book a guide.
Otherwise, you may not be aware of the location of this tribal market, which keeps changing daily.
You will come back to Raigada after visiting the tribal market.
Spend some time on the Hanging Bridge, you will love it.
In the afternoon, you can leave Raigada for Koraput.
Once you'll cross Raigada, you'll notice a totally different landscape.
You won't see any other traffic till far on the road and it is a totally unpolluted environment.
Night stay will be in Koraput.
In case you are delayed on the way, you can also spend the night in Raigada and...
....next day, you must go to Koraput.
It would be better if you could spend two nights in Koraput.
The major sightseeing attractions of Koraput are located far from each other.
Every sightseeing location is a tourist attraction in itself.
You might want to begin your day with Deomali Hills.
This place is so beautiful that spending even 4-5 hours here would not seem enough.
I enjoyed it!
I am wondering about the kind of experience it would be to camp here for the night.
Just imagine waking up at 5 am and looking at this amazing vista!
And you would enjoy a sound sleep at night too!
During the second half of the day, you can visit this temple with a very tall statue of Lord Hanuman.
There are waterfalls to visit as well such as Rani Duduma Waterfalls.
I am sure you will love the natural environment of this region.
There is also "Shree Jagannath Temple" here in Koraput.
You won't be able to visit all these places that I showed you, and a few others too, in a single day.
If you watch our Koraput series, you'll get information about planning a visit to all these attractions.
After spending 2 days in Koraput, the third day, you will travel to Jeypore.
Or you can spend a day in Koraput and spend the next day's night in Jeypore.
While passing through Jeypore, you can also visit the Gupteshwar Temple.
Visit the Upper Kolab Dam.
This region is also known as "Dandakaranya."
This region finds mention in the great epic 'Ramayan.'
During his exile period, Shri Ram spent a logn time in the Dandakaranya too.
Because of this reason, this region also holds religious significance.
According to the plans discussed so far, you've visited South Odisha.
Now you have two ways to exit.
You can either go to Vizag.
In case you've hired a taxi from Bhubaneswar, you'll have to pay return fare to the driver.
But you can end your journey in Vizag.
Another alternative is to end your journey in Bhubaneswar.
This would be a long route and you won't be able to reach Bhubaneswar the same day.
On the way, you'll have to halt at either Gopalpur or Behrampur.
Next day, Bhubaneswar.
In case you can extend this whole journey by 2 more days.....
...you can deviate a bit and visit the Jiranga Monastery.
You can also visit the Gandahathi Waterfall as well as a number of other waterfalls too.
You can also go to Daringbadi, also known as the "Kashmir" of Odisha.
There are a number of sighteeing locations that you will be able to visit at a few diversions from the highway.
Afterwards, you can go to Bhubaneswar so, if you travel with a 10-day window,....
...you can cover South Odisha and other attractions that I told you about.
I hope that the information I gave you about the four regions of Odisha,....
...will make it easier for your to plan your own Odisha tour.
Before ending this episode, let me tell you how I planned my own Odisha tour.
We began our journey from Bhubaneswar.
We went to Cuttack from there.
There we enjoyed the local food.
We returned to Bhubaneswar.
We went to Puri, from where we passed through Gopalpur, Behrampur, Rayagada to reach Koraput.
From Koraput we went to Jeypore.
Traveling through that region, we reached Sambalpur.
After visiting the sightseeing locations in Sambalpur, we came back to Cuttack.
In Cuttack we participated in the Bali Yatra.
Afterwards, we travelled through Bhubaneswar and reached back in Puri.
From Puri, we returned to Bhubaneswar, where we ended our journey.
As I told you earlier, we began this journey in the last week of October 2019.
And this journey lasted for 19 days, till mid-November.
If you want to understand this Odisha tour in better detail....
...you'll have to watch our Odisha tour series for that.
You can watch the series in the playlist of my YouTube channel.
We will meet again soon.
New destination, new journey!
Till then goodbye!
Thanks for your time!
Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore!
This is your host, Harish Bali.
Right now, I am in Koraput town of Koraput district in South Odisha.
We reached here last night.
The building that you see in front of me, is the grand hotel building.....
We reached Rayagada.
A local told us to visit at least two places before leaving here.
One is the Hanging Bridge.
We will go there and the second place is....
....here, there is Maa....
This is too dangerous!
The time is 3.15 pm.
Now, we are leaving here to go to Dumduma Waterfall.
I am repeatedly saying it wrong, it is Duduma Waterfall.
The time is 3.15 pm and we are leaving here....
The distance is 35-40kms, someone told me, actually Sai told me that!