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Balighai Beach is quite well known in Orissa. Fame for its tranquil surroundings, this beach is based at the mouth of River Nuanai. 8 kms from Puri, this white sand beach attracts beach fanatics from distant quarters!
Orissa is a fascinating land of palm fringed beaches, majestic temples and sanctuaries to name a few! Based on the eastern coast of Indian peninsula, Orissa or Odisha to be more precise is a popular tourist attraction, both national and international. Surrounded by Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, Odisha is divided into coastal, west, south and central regions. With more than 485 kilometers of coastline, Orissa’s a silver beach is one of the key attractions luring beach lovers across the world.
Bhubaneswar is the capital city and one of the main economic and religious centers in eastern India. Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark belt is considered as the golden triangle of the state. Home of world famous monuments, temples, brackish water lagoons and mangrove wetlands, festivals, textiles and artists and craftsmen, Odisha attract large number of travelers every year!
Mainly a tribal belt, the coastal region of Orissa is the hub of tourism. The western belt mainly has hills and forests. Besides, this section of Orissa has largest numbers of iron ore mines and different mineral based industries.
With scorching heat on summers, Odisha experiences mild weather from October till March and are the ideal months to explore this place!
Flavorful cuisines, Odisha people love to have food with minimum spice and oil. Main course followed by a dessert is what average Oriyas have as their staple meal. Rice is the staple food and mustard oil is the main medium of cooking. An authentic Odia breakfast comprises poha, pithas and puffed rice. Rice, dal, one or two vegetable preparations, fried stuffs and a delicious fish curry defines a typical Odia lunch.
Dalma is a famous dish which is made of vegetables and dal. Sag bhaja, kukuda torkari (gravy chicken), dahi began; chingudi torkari (prawn curry) and khajuri khata (chutney made of dates and tomatoes) are some of the lip-smacking local delicacies of this region.
Jackfruit, papaya and plantains are the common ingredients of Oriya cuisines. A mix of five spices like fenugreek, kalonji, mustard, aniseed and cumin are the frequently used flavors in Oriya cuisines. When it comes to sweet dishes, Oriyas love a generous amount. Cottage cheese is a common ingredient of most of the dessert items in Orissa. Chenna podapitha, malpua and rasgulla are the predominant local desserts of this place.
Orissa has several sacred places which make this region a fountain head of many popular festivals like rath yatra, chandan yatra and many more. Some of the greatest events of this enchanting landscape are:
Puri Rath Yatra: This famous chariot festival takes place in the month of June/July. Also known as Car Festival, this celebration is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the main deity of this region. The wooden images of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra are put into the three huge chariots dedicated solely to them and participate in a procession thereby.
Chandan Yatra: This celebration starts from Akshay Tritiya and continues for twenty one days. Sandalwood paste is an important ingredient of this festival. During this time the deities are taken out of the temple and partake in a 21 days festival by roaming around in boats and touring on Narendra pond. After returning to the pond the deities take a bath with sandalwood paste.
Kalinga Mahotsav: This is a carnival to pay homage to the bloody war of Kalinga. It’s a martial dance festival that showcases the victory of peace over conflict through different musical and dance performances. This event is organized on 10th and 11th of January every year.
Puri Beach Festival: Swargadwar Beach is the venue of this celebration. Organized by the Orissa Tourism and Hotel and Restaurant association, Puri Beach Festival is an amalgamation of various folk and classical dances along with sand art and exclusive handicrafts display.
Orissa Tourist Festival: Ekamra Utsav, Shreekshetra Utsav, Rajarani Music Festival, Mukteshwar Dance Festival etc. mark the illustrious Orissa tourist festival. These mixtures of different colorful performances make this tourist festival a must watch for any vacationer!
Konark Dance Festival: Eminent names in classical dance participate in this vibrant five day event which starts from 1st Dec and continues till 5th Dec. The Sun temple, UNESCO World Heritage Site is the venue of this extravaganza!
The state known for its golden past, Orissa is a state with rich cultural heritage and has evolved time and again making its artistic skills truly exquisite! The humongous Jagannath Temple and its world famous structural art form, different Buddhist monasteries and Jaina caves, prominent sand art and World heritage site of Konark Sun Temple and its eroticism and ancient paintings and folklore mark the deep entrenched cultural legacy of Orissa.
Dance, music and nataka are associated with Oriya culture from time immemorial. Odissi is the traditional dance form of this place that originated from Devadasi practice. Besides, chhau, ghoomra, danda, animal mask dance and kedu are some of the other conventional dance forms of this state.
In terms of handicrafts, appliqué work, Dokra, silver filigree, stone carving, decorative horn craft and local lacquer work deserves special mention!
Places like Lingaraj Temple, Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts, Barabati Fort, Sun Temple, Archaeological Site Museum and many such attractions distributed throughout Orissa actually makes a traveler fully aware of its culture and deep seated traditions!
Besides appliqué works, there are other art forms that reflects creativity and dexterity of the artists of this region.
Decorative horn craft is a traditional art form used is manufacturing combs, pen stands, flower vases and other articles of daily necessity.
Brass and bell metal ware is a conventional handicraft used in creating bangles, various utensils, pots, lamps, figurines of horses and elephants and different items of home décor.
Sand sculpture is yet another famous handicraft mainly done in Puri beach. Also handloom weaving of Orissa is an equally eminent handiwork and Sambalpuri saree deserves a special mention.
There are emporiums and shopping malls in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack from where one can easily pick any of these skilled handiworks.
Oriya is the principal spoken language of this state. There are people who speak Dravidian and Munda as well. People also understand and speak Hindi. English comes next to them.
By Road: This beach is on Puri Konark marine drive. One can easily reach this place by state or private bus as well as taxi services.
By Train: Puri is the nearest railway station to Balighai Beach. It’s well connected to Howrah, Delhi, Guwahati, and Bikaner, Surat and other places in India.
By Air: Bhubaneswar is the closest airport to this beach. It’s well connected to Mumbai, Varanasi, New Delhi, Coimbatore, Vizag and other places.GET DIRECTION
One can find plenty of north Indian, south Indian, Chinese and local food in various stalls along the beach.
From October till April are the best months to explore this place!
Olive ridley turtles lay their eggs on winters in Balighai Beach. Besides, tourists come here to enjoy boat rides, sun bathing, indulging in water sports, and witnessing the sunset and long beach strolls!
Balihirana Deer Sanctuary: This sanctuary is known for its black bucks and other endangered species!