My City, My Heritage, My Bhubaneswar

One of the first planned cities of post-Independence India, Bhubaneswar is the capital city of Odisha. Also known as the ‘Temple City of India’ after the several temples of architectural significance in the city, Bhubaneswar has a rich history and is a fast-developing urban centre. Spread over 161 square kilometres, the city had a population of nearly one million as per the statistics in 2015.

The capital of Odisha was shifted from Cuttack to this city in the Khorda district, on the west bank of the River Kuakhai. The new capital was formally inaugurated on 13 April 1948, by Jawaharlal Nehru. Shanti Stupa of Dhauligiri with Ashokan Rock edicts, the Jain caves of Udayagiri-Khandagiri, about 30 temples of 8th–12th century like the Mukteshwar temple, Rajarani temple, Lingaraja temple in the old quarter of the city, and the planned modern township—Bhubaneswar is an amalgamation of a culturally diverse past and a decidedly modern urban present. German architect Otto H. Konigsberger made the design for the new capital in 1946 based on a linear-city idea, with the administrative sectors at the core and other neighbourhoods linked to the centre. He designed the city with wide roads for easy transportation complemented by parks and gardens for greenery. The new city developed gradually between 1948 and 1961, while most administrative sectors were established between 1956 and 1976. [12] The city is acclaimed as one of the cleanest in India. In 2017, it became the first Indian city to receive the Pierre l’Enfant International Planning excellence award for insightful town planning.

Over the years, the city has grown as an important centre for education and tourism in eastern India. As a gateway to the ‘Golden Tourist Triangle’ of Puri–Konark–Chilika lake and as a home to its own monuments, Bhubaneswar attracts a large number of tourists. The city is encircled by the Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary and the Bharatpur Reserve Forest. The state has a significant tribal population. The state-sponsored annual Adivasi Mela held in the capital promotes the diverse tribal culture of Odisha. National and international visitors are also drawn by the dance and music festivals, like Mukteswar Dance Festival, Raja Rani Music Festival and Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav. With dance forms like Gotipua, Odishi, and Chhau, Odisha boasts of a vibrant performance tradition. Many students come down to Bhubaneswar from around the world to learn Odishi at Srujan, the institution carrying forward the legacy of Odishi doyen Kelucharan Mohapatra. Odia cuisine, especially the local sweets like chhena poda, gaja, pitha are loved by all. In 2019, ‘Odisha Rasagola’ was accorded the GI tag. Although the city of Bhubaneswar does not share its border with the sea, pristine beaches are located at close proximity from the city. The golden beach located in Puri for instance, has been awarded the ‘Blue Flag’ tag; it remains one of only ten such beaches in India that have received this distinction.

With ancient temples, nearby tourist spots, educational institutions, handloom and handicraft hubs, cuisine, and more, Bhubaneswar is a city with endless possibilities.