Over the 30 years of my existence on Earth, I’ve travelled and stayed in many parts of India. (Yes stayed!) And that’s why the toughest question that I face is “Where are you from?” Having stayed in Gujarat, Delhi & NCR, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and now Telangana, I say I’m from India. Of all the states that I’ve travelled to, the eastern part of India was rather untouched. So last week I did my first trip to Odisha. While it was for a family function, I did venture out for a few hours in Bhubaneswar. So this post is going to be all about my first trip to Odisha and exploring pockets of Bhubaneswar for a few hours.
Latest COVID 19 guidelines for Odisha
One of the concerns that most of you might have is regarding the latest COVID 19 guidelines for Odisha by flight. Even before I planned the travel, I had to scout to find the latest COVID 19 guidelines for Odisha. Odisha is one of the worst affected states and the authorities have taken stringent measures.
As per the latest COVID 19 guidelines you need a negative RT-PCR report irrespective of where you are coming from. If you are fully vaccinated, then you can show the vaccination certificate at the airport. (This is what I did) In case you don’t have either of them, then you need to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test at the airport.
Further, the state is under strict lockdown and Bhubaneswar being the capital is also under lockdown. As per last week (July 1st week) there’s lockdown from 2 PM to 7 AM. Shops, restaurants are open only during these times and dine-in isn’t allowed. That’s about the latest COVID 19 guidelines for Odisha, let me talk about my first trip to Odisha.
My First Trip To Odisha
As I mentioned, I travelled by flight and Indigo operates a couple of direct flights from Hyderabad to Bhubaneswar. It operates the Airbus A320 on this route. One thing I always do when I travel in flight is turn on the GPS (yes it works in flight mode, but takes time to update) so that I know the exact route the flight is taking.
From Hyderabad to Bhubaneswar, the flight flew over Warangal, into Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and finally into Odisha. While it was mostly cloudy the entire time, the views outside turned green as we neared Bhubaneswar. In fact, this is the greenest approach I’ve seen in a long time after Kochi and Amritsar.
The flight flew over the Chandaka Forest which is a dense forest. I read about it and it is a national park too. The flight does a roundabout from the forest and comes into Bhubaneswar. The flight duration was about 1.4 hr and it was filled with turbulence along the way.
Few Hours in Bhubaneswar
Biju Patnaik International Airport is a rather small airport. It’s so small that you might not even need a bus to go to the terminal. I just got off the flight and walked to the terminal building. Upon entering there were a lot of banner ads by Odisha Tourism showcasing the best-kept secrets.
I was also lucky to witness a sand art of Jagannath done by the renowned sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik at the airport. Since I visited a few days before rath yatra, the airport was all decked up. My flight landed at 4 PM which meant the city was under lockdown and hence the roads were clear.
We drove from the airport to Swosti Premium on Nandankanan Road. The road has a lot of hotels along with other government offices. We crossed by the Kalinga Stadium, NALCO office on the way. The walls were all nicely done with traditional paintings of Odisha.
I also stepped out early in the morning to have breakfast at Ram Mandir Tiffins (I’ll talk about it in the next post). I had asked about places to eat in Bhubaneswar on Twitter and this was the unanimous answer. While the folks at the hotel told me that it isn’t open, I went there and had my breakfast. As it is I’ve fallen in love with Odia cuisine.
Based on the few hours in Bhubaneswar that I spent, here’s what I figured out:
- The city is green, lot of trees
- There are footpaths and cycling tracks made along most of the roads
- The weather is hot and humid but unpredictable too
- People ventured out for walks in the mornings
- The food is extremely affordable and delicious
- Odia cuisine is lipsmacking
- Language isn’t a barrier if you can converse in Hindi
- Fun loving and warm people
A longer trip to Odisha awaits soon
So that was my first trip to Odisha. A fairly short trip where I didn’t do much due to the agenda I had and also the COVID restrictions in the city. I know the city has a lot to offer, from the temples to nature retreats and food. I’m definitely planning a trip to Odisha soon (a longer one) to explore the place and the food.