Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is an important trade centre and religious hub in India’s North East. Often called the Temple City (some of which attract the highest number of tourists in India), it forms the swarna tribhuja with two other Odisha cities, Puri and Konark. But that’s not all:
Bhubaneswar also has some iconic monuments and beautiful natural attractions. And then there’s its rich culture, which can be traced back to the third century BC. Here are the most iconic places to visit in Bhubaneswar.
Quick Facts about Tourist Places in Bhubaneswar
Best time to visit: During important religious festivals, of course. If weather is a concern, then stay away from the intense heat of the summer (mid March to early June) is a bad time to travel to Bhubaneswar. For a pleasant traveling experience, visit the city in the months of November to February.
Nearest Airport: The Biju Patnaik International Airport is located about 4 kilometres away from the city centre.
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar Station
Transport: Bhubaneswar has great air, road, and rail connectivity.
To make the most of your visit to Bhubaneswar, check out our list of the top 15 places to visit in Bhubaneswar:
Best Historical Places to Visit in Bhubaneswar
1. Udayagiri and Khandagiri
Situated a few miles away from Bhubaneswar, the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are rock cut caves believed to have been carved out by Jain monks. The caves sit adjacent to each other and have inscriptions written all over its walls.
Within the two caves, there are many small caves that have important stone carvings, footprints, and sculptures. On the Khandagiri hill, you can visit a beautiful Jain temple.
- Location: Khandagiri
- Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
- Travel Tip: Hire a guide to get a better understanding of the history of the caves
2. Ashoka Rock Edict
The Ashoka Rock Edict is a massive boulder located at the site believed to be where the Kalinga War took place. Thought to be the earliest records of life found anywhere in India, the boulder is carved into the shape of an elephant.
In the middle section of the boulder you can see the “12 Edicts” inscribed in the Brahmi script. Close to the edict lies a pagoda that was built by the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha sometime in the 70s.
- Location: Dhauli
- Timings: 9 am to 5 pm.
- Travel Tip: Look out for the board with the translation of the 12 Edicts
3. Ratnagiri Buddhist Excavation
The Ratnagiri Buddhist Excavation site has plenty of stone carvings that date back to the time when Ashoka was king. Visit the site to have a glance at the many stone carved Stupas in different sizes and shapes. At the Ratnagiri Buddhist Excavation site, you will also come across ruins of an old monastery.
- Location: Ratnagiri
- Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.
- Travel Tip: For those interested in history, there is a museum nearby that houses important artifacts
4. Biju Patnaik Park
Relax and unwind in the company of nature after a tiresome day exploring Bhubaneshwar at the Biju Patnaik Park. The park is surrounded by lovely trees and flowers. Kids will love the play park nearby that is equipped with slides and rides. In winter, there is a huge flower exhibition held at the park.
- Location: Bapuji Nagar
- Timings: 4 am to 12 pm; 3 pm to 9 pm
- Travel Tip: Enjoy local delicacies at the food carts outside the park
Best Religious Places to Visit in Bhubaneswar
5. Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda)
The Shanti Stupa is also called Peace Pagoda and was built by the Japan Buddha Sangh and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangh in the 70s. It is situated at the top of the Dhauli Giri hill about 7 kilometres away from Bhubaneswar (on the way to Puri).
Many tourists and locals frequent this place to meditate and pray. The Shanti Stupa is surrounded by stupas and inscriptions believed to have been from the period of King Ashoka’s reign.
- Location: Dhauli Giri
- Timing: 7 am to 7 pm
- Travel Tip: Look out for the footprints of Lord Buddha on one of the main stone panels of the Stupa
6. Rajarani Temple
The Rajarani Temple was built sometime around the 11th or 12th century. It is one of the city’s most famous temples and takes its name after the red sand stone that the temple is constructed from.
Built in the Pancharatha style of architecture, inside the temple you can see erotic carvings of couples and women. Further in the temple are carvings of scenes from what is believed to be the wedding of Lord Shiva, Nataraja and Parvati.
- Location: Old Bhubaneswar
- Timing: 6 am to 8 pm
- Travel Tip: Look out for the spires and fine clusters of turrets that adorn the outer walls of the temple
7. Brahmeswara Mandir
The Brahmeswara was built sometime in the 9th century in honour of Lord Shiva. The construction of the temple follows typical Indian architecture. The door frames of the temple contain beautiful designs and symbolic inscriptions.
Shaped in the form of a pyramid, the temple was constructed in the style of typical Orissan architecture. The outer walls of the temple have images of hieratic deities, human beings, and geometrical shapes on them.
- Location: Near Tankipani Road
- Timing: Open daily
- Travel Tip: Do look for the sculpture of the eight guardian Gods inside the temple
8. Lingaraj Mandir
This historic temple is said to have been built by Yayati Kesari. It is one of the popular temples in the city and attracts a lot of devotees from across India. The tower has a height of 180 feet and, inside the sanctorum, there is an eight-inch shiva lingam. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful garden with exotic plants and gorgeous flowers.
- Location: Lingaraj Road
- Timing: 6 am to 9 pm
- Travel Tip: Prayer services are held daily at this temple
9. Ananta Vasudeva Temple
Legend has it that the early inhabitants worshipped the original image of Vishnu at the spot where this temple is built. Hence, the Ananta Vasudeva Temple is believed to be of historic importance to local devotees.
The exterior of the temple is similar to the Lingaraj temple; the difference, of course, is that it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu instead. Inside the temple lie idols of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra.
- Location: Gouri Nagar
- Timing: 6 am to 7 pm
Travel Tip: Visit the temple during the festival of Janmashtami for a special experience.
Best Scientific Places to Visit in Bhubaneswar
10. Nandankanan Zoo
Located inside the Chandaka forest, the Nandankanan Zoo houses more than 67 species of animals. The zoo also houses a botanical garden with different varieties of plants. Animals such as crocodiles, tigers, lions, and monkeys reside at the zoo.
- Location: NK Road, near the Police Station
- Timing: 7.30 am to 5.30 pm
11. Odisha State Museum
The Odisha State Museum houses artifacts, texts, images, and much more. All of these are synonymous with Odisha’s rich history. Some of the important artifacts stored are bronze tools, paintings, and a unique collection of rare palm-leaf manuscripts. You will have to pay for parking at the museum as well as a fee for carrying your camera into the museum.
- Location: BJP Nagar
- Timing: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
- Entry Fee: Rs. 50 to Rs.100
12. Pathani Samanta Planetarium
The Pathani Samanta Planetarium organises shows and workshops relating to astronomy regularly. This planetarium also exhibits different astronomy instruments, models of planets and stars, as well as instruments related to astrophysics.
- Location: Acharya Viha
- Timing: 9 am to 5 pm
- Entry Fee: Rs. 30 per person
13. Indira Gandhi Park
This park is built at the site where former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave her last speech. Inside the park, there are many slides and rides that kids can play on. Adults can take walks on the lovely footpaths or watch the musical fountains. There is also a canteen that serves delicious local delicacies inside the park.
- Location: Ashok Nagar
- Open Hours: 9 am to 6.30 pm
- Entry Fee: Free
14. Museum of Tribal Arts & Artifacts
Located just off the highway, the Museum of Tribal Arts & Artefacts displays clothing, bead ornaments, and other cultural artifacts that are synonymous with the tribal people of Odisha.
There is a separate gallery in the museum where agricultural equipment, as well as fishing and hunting weapons used by the tribal people of the state, are displayed. At the museum, you can shop for colourful cloth paintings drawn by the Saora people.
- Location: Nayapalli CRPF Colony.
- Timing: Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
- Entry Fee: No entry fee
15. Odisha Modern Art Gallery
Located close to the airport, the Odisha Modern Art Gallery houses contemporary paintings by local as well as international artists. While some of the art is permanently exhibited at the gallery, there are many travelling exhibits held here.
Those who want to showcase their talents can take a short art course at the gallery. You will have to check the Odisha Modern Art Gallery’s website for details.
- Location: 132, Forest Park
- Timing: 11 am to 7 pm
- Entry Fee: Free
So there you have it, folks. These are the best places to visit in Bhubaneswar. Have you been to the city? What are some of your favourite places to visit? Do let us know if we’ve missed out on any important ones in the comments section below.