The 54m-high Lingaraj Mandir dedicated to Shiva dates from 1090 to 1104 – though some parts are more than 1400 years old–and is surrounded by several smaller temples and shrines. The granite block within, representing Tribhubaneswar (Lord of Three Worlds), is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana). The main gate, guarded by two mustachioed yellow lions, is a spectacle in itself as lines of pilgrims approach with offerings in hand. The temple is closed to non-Hindus.
Given the high compound wall, foreigners can view the temple’s interiors only from a viewing platform (this may also include Hindu foreigners). Face the main entrance, walk right, then follow the wall around to the left and find the viewing platform on your left, just before you reach Chitrakarini Temple. There is occasional aggressive hassling for ‘donations’ at the viewing platform. The money will not go to the temple, so stand your ground and do not pay.
Location: Lingaraj Road, Old Town Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Timings: 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Entry Fees: No entry fee
Nandankanan Zoological Park
Spread over 400 hectares in the Chandaka forest lies the impressive Nandankanan Zoological Park. Located on the banks of Kanjia Lake, this zoo is home to over 67 kinds of mammals, 81 species of birds and 18 varieties of reptiles. It was the first zoo in India to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and also houses a botanical garden. Visitors can see black panthers, white tigers, gharial crocodiles and many other animals, birds and reptiles in an attempt to maintain the natural balance of nature against the growing urbanisation of Bhubaneswar.
Opening hours: 7.30am-5.30pm (April–September), 8am-5pm (October–March); Closed Monday.
Odisha State Museum
Wondering what to do in Bhubaneswar? Visit Odisha State Museum, which houses a treasure trove of artifacts emphasizing the magnificent history of the state and the families which ruled it for centuries. The museum, established in the year 1948, houses the best collection of erratic palm-leaf manuscripts, scroll paintings, folk musical instruments, and Bronze Age tools.
Location: Near Lewis Road, Kalpana Square, BJB Nagar Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Timings: 10 AM to 5.00 PM
Entry Fees: INR 10 for Indians and INR 50 for foreigners
Pathani Samanta Planetarium
The Pathani Samanta Planetarium was recognized to create awareness of astrophysics, astronomy, and space science. Multiple shows, workshops, regular conferences about outer space are organized here. There is an extensive library with an impressive number of books from the field of astronomy, science and technology are there.
Location: Sachivalaya Marg Acharya Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Timings: 1.00 PM to 5:45 PM
Entry Fees: INR 30
Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves
Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are located six kilometres to the west of Bhubaneswar. These caves offer a brief look into the history of Jain religion and Kalinga Empire. The names of these caves were derived from the hills on which they are located. The caves have been numbered according to the Archaeological Survey of India, Hatigumpha, and Ganesha Gumpha are the most popular in the area. Cave 1 is decked out by sculptural wall painting with carved figures of athletes, women, elephants, and geese carrying flowers.
Location: Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Timings: 9.00 AM to 6.00 PM
Entry Fees: INR 15 for Indians and INR 200 for foreigners