This was my first visit to Bhubaneshwar, the Temple City of India and was very apprehensive before landing here since I had heard lot of stories about this place – both good and bad. From the aircraft the city looked flooded due to incessant rainfall since last couple of weeks but looked neat and compact with a small town look. Bhubaneshwar airport is small but well maintained. I was greeted by a board that read “ Infosys welcomes ARBINDH KAMATA” . My name was already translated to Oriya language by the friendly cab driver J The drive to airport to Infosys campus (about 20 kms) took just 25 minutes with no traffic jam. The roads are wide and well maintained with good amount of greenery all around. Being a travel freak, I made the team miss the Saturday afternoon siesta. We set off for local sight seeing starting with the main temple – Lingaraj temple. We were already warned about the priests who pester a lot and make you pay “dakshina” forcefully. The ancient temple houses the Shiva Linga which is “swayambhoovu” – which means orignated from the Earth naturally. The city gets its name from this temple. We also visited the famous Buddha Stupa at Dhauligiri just on the outskirts of this temple. This place is related to the famous War of Kalinga fought by King Ashoka. Later we visited the Khandagiri and Udayagiri, famous for rock cut caves built by Jain monks. On Sunday we started early morning for Konark. We were lucky to have a localite within the group - Daisy Smita who belongs to Bhubaneshwar. Thanks to her we could ward off local guides and priests. We started with visit to the magnificent Sun Temple at Konark, which is the most stunning monuments of religious architecture in the world. From Konark, on our way to Puri we visited the Chandrabhaga beach. The route to Puri is extremely picturesque via the Marine drive and in about 30 minutes we reached the abode of Lord Jagannath. On reaching Puri we visited the temple of Lord Jagannath. None of the temples here allow cameras and entry is restricted only to Hindus. Being the tallest temple in Orissa, it is one of the most magnificent pieces of monuments of India. After the darshan we had lunch and then spent some time at the vibrant Puri beach. On our way back from Puri we stopped at Pipli famous for various kinds of handicraft items like lamp shades, wall hangings, umbrellas etc. Thus came to an end my visit of Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark carrying back sweet memories of these places. Even the rains could not dampen our spirits but certainly affected quality of our snaps.
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