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General information  for Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Orissa.

History

The history of the Bhubaneswar-Khurda region goes back 2000 years[citation needed]. The speciality of the culture that grew here lies in its remarkable continuity and the tenacity with which it survived through various vicissitudes[1]. Emperor Kharavela established his capital in Sisupalgarh which is on the outskirts of the city. The Hathigumpha inscriptions at the Udayagiri caves and Khandagiri caves date back to the 2nd century BCE[citation needed]. Modern Bhubaneswar was originally planned by Otto Königsberger to be a well planned city with wide roads and many gardens and parks.

Bhubaneswar forms one of the vertices of the Golden Triangle the other two being the cities of Puri and Konark. The area is attractive to tourists for its spiritual significance to Hindus. To the east are the famous Sun temple of Konark and the Jagannath Temple of Puri. The Lingaraj Temple of old Bhubaneswar, built in the 11th century, is another temple noted for its ancient history. The Khandagiri and Udaygiri, situated on the outskirts of the city are home to monuments of the Jain monks since the times of King Kharavela. Another such monument is the Shantistupa, which was built with Japanese aid, as a symbol of peace at the site where the Kalinga War took place between Emperor Ashoka and Kalinga.
Konark Horse in Roundabout

Bhubaneswar is known for its architecture and ancient temples The imposing spire of the Lingaraj Temple, the quiet beauty of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and the pink translucence of the Mahavira Jain Temple in nearby Khandagiri.

The State Museum of Bhubaneswar offers an extensive selection of archaeological artifacts, weapons, local arts and crafts as well as insights into Orissa's natural and tribal history. The Tribal Research Institute Museum with its authentic tribal dwellings, created by the tribal craftsmen offers a bird's eye view of the State's tribal heritage.

Geography

Bhubaneswar is situated between 21° 15' North Latitude 85° 15' Longitude and at an altitude of 45 meters above sea level. Geographically, Bhubaneswar is situated in the eastern coastal plains of Orissa and south-west of the Mahanadi River. The city is subdivided into a number of townships and housings.

Climate

The city has a tropical climate; the average temperatures range between a minimum of around 10 °C in the winter to a maximum of 40 °C to 45 °C in summer. Sudden afternoon thunderstorms are common in April and May. The south-east monsoons appear in June. The average annual rainfall is 154 cm, most of which is recorded between June and October.

Demography

Bhubaneswar has a population of 10,00,000. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. In 2001, the city had an average literacy rate of 74%, higher than the national average of 65.4%. 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Wild Life

Nandankanan Sanctuary & Biological Park
About 20 km from Bhubaneswar, Nandankanan was established as a sanctuary in 1979. In effect it was really a Biological Park encapsulated in lush and natural landscape, offering its inhabitants a true feel of their natural habitat. This factor was further endorsed when a wild tigress (Kanan) actually scaled the boundary wall and voluntarily made her home with the Park's tiger population. It was here that for the first time ever, Gharials and white tigers were bred in captivity. Gharial breeding, one of the important projects at Nandankanan, has produced over 200 crocodiles. Nandankanan also runs a Lion Safari and White Tiger Safari. Nearby is the Chandaka Elephant Reserve.
 
Lakes

Chilika Lake

Asia's largest brackish water lake, Chilika, is located about 100 km from Bhubaneswar. A narrow isthmus separates Chilika from the waters of the Bay of Bengal. Spread over an area of 1,100 sq. km it was declared a sanctuary in 1987. Winter is the loveliest time at Chilika, with thousands of migratory birds flying in from as far off as Siberia to make their winter sojourn in strange waters. The waters come alive with their raucous cries and colourful plumage as the birds battle to find space to make their new homes. While the lake's Nalbana Island has been declared a sanctuary for its varied flora and fauna, Kalijai Island is home to Goddess Kalijai and the venue for annual Makar mela. Chital and black buck roam freely on the scrubby shores while dolphins gambol playfully in the foam of the churning waters.

Visitors can hire boats at Barkul, Balugaon, Rambha and Satapara to enjoy the lake.  

Temples

    * Bhavanishankar Temple
    * Ananta-Vasudeva Temple
    * Yameswar Temple
    * Bhaskareswar Temple
    * Rajarani Temple
    * Brahneswar Temple
    * Sureswar & Gouri Temple
    * Satrughaneswar Temple
    * Swaranjaleswar Temple
    * Sari Deul Temple
    * Yogini Temple
    * Lingaraj Temple

Fair and festivals

    * Shiva Ratri Bhubaneswar February - March
    * Khandagiri Mela Khandagiri February - March
    * Ashokastami Bhubaneswar March - April
    * Ramanavami Odagaon March - April
    * Jhamuyatra Kakatpur April - May
    * Anla Navami Sakhigopal October - November

Tourist Places

Khandagiri & Udayagiri (Jain Heritage)

The twin hills of Khandagiri & Udayagiri, 8 km from Bhubaneswar, served as the site of an ancient Jain monastery which was carved into cave like chambers in the face of the hill. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, some of the caves have beautiful carvings. The Rani Gumpha ( Queen's Cave), one of the largest and double- storied is ornately embellished with beautiful carvings. In the Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave), King Kharavela has carved out the chronicles of his reign.

Atri

The Atri hot sulphur spring is believed to have medicinal properties and has become a popular outing spot for vacationers. The drive from Bhuhaneswar (42 km) alone is worth the trip. The countryside is gorgeous. Atri is also famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Hatakeswar.

Dhauli

Just 8 km away from Bhubaneswar looking down on the plains that bore witness to the gruesome war waged on Kalinga by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, stand the rock edicts of Dhauli. It was here that King Ashoka; full of remorse renounced his bloodthirsty campaign and turned to Buddhism. The edicts are a living testimony to the King's change of heart. He urges his administrators to rule the land with justice and compassion. The edicts are so remarkable that they have been excellently preserved, despite the fact that they date back to the 3rd century BC. A sculpted elephant, the universal symbol of Lord Buddha, tops the rock edicts. The Shanti Stupa or the peace pagoda, built through the Indo-Japanese collaboration, is located on the opposite hill.

Hirapur

The Yogini shrine at Hirapur (dated 9th century) is important for its architectural variation from the main Orissan architectural genre. The temple is open to the sky (hypaethral). There are only four temples of this kind in India and two of them are in Orissa (the other one is at Ranipur- Jharial). Yogini Goddesses were worshipped in the hope of acquiring supernatural powers. It is 15 km from Bhubaneswar.