Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, Odisha is a diverse state with a lot to see and do. If you have already explored its capital city Bhubaneswar and the planned cities such as Rourkela and are looking to explore other gems, there are tons of options to choose from. Whether you want to plan a quick weekend getaway or want to immerse in slow travel, here are some top picks for you.

Hirakud Dam

One of India’s first river valley project after Independence, Hirakud Dam is immensely popular for its beautiful lake. The dam is built across Mahanadi river and the lake behind it is one of the largest reservoirs in the country. From indulging in a picnic to bird-watching to catching a surreal sunset, this place about 15km from Sambalpur is perfect for the nature lover.

Simlipal National Park

Located in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, this park is paradise on Earth for every wildlife enthusiast and photographer. Founded in the year 1980 and spread across 2,750 square kilometres, some majorly spotted animals here include the tiger, Asian elephant, gaur, peafowl and grey hornbill. The park is also home to the gorgeous cascading Barehipani Falls.

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A gorgeous beach located in the Baleswar district of Odisha, Chandipur is also known as the ‘Hide and Seek Beach.’ This beach is a long stretch of golden sand and is perfect for those looking for some time in isolation. The water recedes upto 5 kilometres during the low tide; it’s just the place to relax with a book and a sundowner.

Chilika Lake

The largest wintering ground for migratory birds in the subcontinent, Chilika Lake is a must visit for avian enthusiasts. Spread across 1,100 square kilometres, some other activities to indulge in here are boating, dolphin-spotting and hiking up nature trails. With lush vegetation all around, the place acts as a balm for the weary traveller.