Odisha (formerly Orissa), an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. The capital, Bhubaneswar, is home to hundreds of temples, notably the intricately-carved Mukteshvara. The Lingaraj Temple complex, dating to the 11th century, is set around sacred Bindusagar Lake. The Odisha State Museum is focused on the area’s history and environment.
Puri is home to 12th-century Jagannath Temple, dedicated to its namesake the Lord of the Universe. Farther along the coast, Konark is the site of the ruins of the 13th-century Sun Temple, a famous example of the region’s native Kalinga architectural style. North of Puri, the crafts village at Raghurajpur offers visitors traditional Oriya paintings and tribal handicraft. Odisha is also known for its beaches at Puri, Balighai and elsewhere. Other natural attractions include the mangroves at Bhitarkanika National Park, the bird sanctuary at brackish Chilika Lake and Simlipal National Park’s tiger reserve and waterfalls.
Dec–May is the peak travel period. Odisha has a seasonal subtropical climate. Apr–Jun is very hot, before the Jul–Sep monsoon rains. The winter (Dec–Feb) is dry, with warm days and mild evenings. Bhubaneswar’s Adivasi Mela (Jan) is an exhibition of Odishan tribal culture, with art, dancing and more. Puri's Ratha Yatra (Jun/Jul, dates vary) is a Hindu festival with decorated chariots carrying the deity Jagannath. The Konark Festival (Dec) features traditional music and dance in the town’s Sun Temple.
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