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By: | May 18, 2006 12:02 PM

Bhubaneswar is not only the capital city of historical and religious significance, but also plays a very important part in my life as I was born, brought-up, had my schooling, intermediate education in this city before taking up the engineering study. Although I am now working outside Orissa, my passion for Bhubaneswar is so strong that I would not leave any opportunity to visit the city.

Access to Bhubaneswar is quite easy with good road, rail and air connections with major cities of the country. It is connected with Kolkata and Chennai with a national highway (No.5). It is also connected by rail and air to all major cities including Delhi and Mumbai.

In the past twenty years, lot of changes with respect to economy, transportation, business, culture and climate have taken place, although growth of the state and the city has been adversely affected by natural calamities and an inefficient political system.

Among thousands of temples, I feel visiting the Lingaraj Temple the most satisfying experience. On the way from the main city, Bindu Sagar the holy pond near the temple is quite enchanting and soothing. Whenever I visit the area, I make it a point to spend an hour on the banks of the pond and also have ''Abadha'', the unserved prasad of either Lord Lingaraj or Lord Vasudev.

About 15km away on the roads to Puri, one finds the famous Buddhist monument at Dhauli, on the banks of river Daya. Everytime I travel on the road, it takes me into my memories how the waters of Daya river became red with the blood of Oriya fighters killed by King Ashoka, who was later transformed here from ''Chandashoka'' to ''Dharmashoka''.

Another popular stop-over on the way to Puri is Pipili where the famous appliques and other handicrafts are on the display. These are very nice for decorating our homes and also as a gift to a friend.

Spending a couple of hours at the Khandagiri-Udayagiri caves is worth. Visit to the Nadankanan zoo is a must for the first-timer as well as for kids.

If you are sweets-savvy, let me give you some secret tips. You must try the Rasgulla of Pahala, which is about 8 km from Bhubaneswar on the NH-5 towards Cuttack. The rasgullas here are not only spongy and tasty, they are available in various sizes, some as bigger as an apple.

If you are tired, stressed or sad, one of the best ways to unwind is to visit the Indira Gandhi Park, situated at the heart of the city, adjacent to the Secretariate Building. This was earlier an open ground even without fences and was used by political groups for their meetings and addresses. I remember during my school age, we used to have cricket tournaments here. The park was developed on the memory of Indira Gandhi who gave her last public address here the day before she was assasinated on 31st October 1984. The park has a corrosion-resistant statue of Mrs.Gandhi, which was reportedly made in Russia.

For a stay in Bhubaneswar, hotels are availble fitting all pockets. Food and transportation are quite reasonable.

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Additional details about Bhubaneswar

Type of Travel: Casual Break   |   Duration of Stay: 7 days approx   |   Average Expenditure: Budget (less than Rs.1000/day)   |   Group Size: Less than five   |   Best Suited For: Families   |   Best Time to Travel: Dec - Feb    

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