When it comes to the concentration of Buddhist sites in Indian states, the eastern state of Odisha does not lag far behind the likes of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. With over two millennia of history in Buddhism, Odisha is what one would call a heaven of the Buddhist. Visit the predominant places of Buddhist pilgrimage in the state in this specially designed 7 day Odisha Buddhist tour India. In fact this tour is a guide to Buddhism in Odisha. The itinerary includes Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitgiri (the “DIanmond Triangle”) captures many of the essential sights in Odisha.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Upon your arrival at Bhubaneswar airport/railway station, you will be received by our representative and will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel. Half day sightseeing tour of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, includes visits to temples of Lingaraj, Parsurameshwar, Mukteshwar and Rajarani.
If you’re in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by hundreds of ancient temples that are found in the city.
Bhubaneswar, also known as the “Temple City of India” thanks to a large number of temples dotting the city, derives its name from Shiva or Tribhubaneswar “Lord of the Three Worlds”. Not surprisingly, the city is one of the sacred places for the Hindus in India.
Built between 1090 to 1104 , this 54m high splendid temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is surrounded by many smaller temples, some of them miniature versions of the temple. The Lingaraj Temple, the king of lingas (Phallus), the symbol of Lord Shiva) is the zenith of the evolution of temple architecture in Odisha.
Set in scenic surroundings, the striking 11th century Rajarani Temple, with its shikhara (spire) sculpted with miniature versions of itself, is one of the highlights of Bhubaneswar.
Rightly called the “Gem of Odishan Architecture,” the 10th century AD Mukteshwar Temple is known for ornately carved sculptures depicting stories from Panchatantra. The 34 feet tall, the Mukteshwar temple sports exquisite stone arch.
Located in close proximity to the Mukteswar Temple and a kilometer east of the Lingaraj temple, the 7th-century Parsurameshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Admire the lavish carvings sculpted on the walls of the temple which is approximately 60 feet tall.
Overnight stay at Bhubaneswar.
Following breakfast we will drive to the three points of the Buddhist Triangle popularly known as the Diamond Triangle of Odisha ( Lalitgiri-Udaygiri-Ratnagiri).
The excavations at Ratnagiri have unearthed important Buddhist sites and artifacts including two large Buddhist monasteries, 10 meter high stupa surrounded by small votive stupas and a statue of Buddha. According to the Chinese monk and scholar Hieun Tsang who visited the site in the 7th century AD, Ratnagiri was an important entre of Buddhism. The Ratnagiri museum under the Archeological Survey of India is an invaluable introduction to the history of Buddhism in the area and the galleries have some interesting finds including sculptures found in the area.
The famous Buddhist site of Lalitgiri is the treasure trove of extensive Buddhist remains dating from the 3rd century BC to 15th century AD. Several monastery ruins, statues of Buddhists deities including Maitreya and Avalokitesvara and colossal image of Buddha are some of the fascinating finds at Lalitgiri. The discovery of casket containing gold and silver relics has further enhanced the sacredness of the site for the Buddhists.
Udaigiri, the third point of the Diamond Triangle is home to two monastic establishments dating back to the 10th to 12th centuries AD. Apart from the image of a twelve-armed seated Prajnaparamita, trace of Buddhist Sakti cult has been found with the discovery of an eight-armed statue of Marici.
After making an excursion to the Diamond Triangle we will return to Bhubaneswar.
Overnight stay at the hotel in Bhubaneswar.
After having breakfast morning drive to Puri. On the way we will visit Dhauli Hill on the top of which is the shining white-domed Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda). Dhauli is famous for the 3rd century BC rock edicts erected by Ashoka, the great Mauryan Emperor. It was at Dhauli that battle of Kalinga was fought by the Daya river leading to the conquest of the former by Ashoka, who, overwhelmed by the massacre of the people, decided to embrace Buddhism an even that took place eight years after his coronation.
After exploring Dhauli we will head towards the village of Pipli which is 20 km from Bhubaneswar. Pipli is known for its exquisite appliqué work.
Built in the 13th century, the Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known worldwide for its architectural grandeur as well as the intricacy and profusion of sculptures of amorous couples engaging in the intimate acts on its walls.
After reaching Puri you will be transferred to the hotel. Later we will visit the Jagannath temple the pivot around which Puri has evolved. A superb example of Kalinga style of architecture this 65 metre tall temple was built in the 12th -13th century AD and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Apart from the main temple you will see within its precincts an array of other smaller shrines.
After admiring the grandeur of the Jagannath temple it is time to unwind and rejuvenate on the golden Puri Beach located on the Bay of Bengal.
Overnight stay in the hotel at Puri.
After morning breakfast leave by road for Chilika Lake the largest brackish water lake in Asia. A boat cruise on the lake to explore the Nalabana Island and Bird’s Island is high on the list of the best attractions of Odisha. After enjoying the untamed Nature at Chilika Lake it is time to proceed to Gopalpur which is 75 km from here. We will spend the night at a hotel in Gopalpur.
After morning breakfast we will drive to Chandragiri famous as a settlement centre for its thriving Tibetan Buddhist community. During the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, these Tibetan refugees along with the Dalai Lama escaped to India and were allotted this spot to settle. The Buddhist monastery, set in an incredibly picturesque landscape comprising of tropical forest and gushing rivers, will provide you peace of mind.
After exploring Chandragiri we will return to Gopalpur and spend the night at hotel.
Early morning drive from Gopalpur to Bhubaneswar which is located 190 km away. On the way you will visit the twin hills of Kumargiri-Kumarigiri known as Khandagiri and Udaigiri caves which served as the dwellings of the Jain ascetics in ancient India. Built in the latter half of the 1st century B.C. by King Kharevala, these caves are ornately embellished with exquisite carvings. Of these Rani Gumpha (Queen’s cave) is the largest.
From here we will take a seven km drive to reach Bhubaneswar where we will check in to the hotel. In the latter half of the day we will visit Odisha State Museum, located in the heart of the Bhubaneswar city. The museum is a treasure trove of copper plates, coins and stone inscriptions and paintings. We will also pay a visit to the Ekamra Haat.
Overnight stay at Bhubaneswar.
Your inspiring Odisha Buddhist tour India is nearing its end. After spending your morning in leisure you will drive to the Bhubaneswar railway station/airport for your onward departure.