|Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar.|
|The Oberoi, Bhubaneswar.|
|The Oberoi Room.|
|Vegetarian Oria Food Thali.|
|Fresh Fish - Great Dishes.|
Orissa is a fertile, agrarian state with hundreds of kilometers of ocean coast line and also home to Chilka, the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia. Blessed with nature's bounty both in terms of farm produce and sea food, the state's cuisine has evolved distinctly, with influences from Andhra Pradesh on one hand and Bengal on the other.
Popular and famous Oriya food dishes are:
Dalma is the defining vegetarian dish of Orissa's cuisine. Brinjals, tomatos, white pumpkin, papaya, cauliflower and several other vegetables chopped fine and cooked in 'ahrar dal' (lentils) to which a 'tadka' (tempering) of panch phoron, literally five spices and red chilies, fried in oil or clarified butter, is added. Best enjoyed with 'Luchis' fried bread or local rice.
Fish cooked in a mustard paste and yogurt (or tomato) gravy. It is said that a new bride's cooking was judged by her ability to balance the bitterness from the mustard paste and the sourness from the yogurt, to deliver a perfect Besar. In the author's opinion this is the defining non-vegetarian dish of Orissa. Tastes great with boiled red or local rice.
Maccha Patua (Banana Wrapped Fish )
A simple and delicious recipe, fresh fish is smeared with a spicy mustard and garlic paste , wrapped in plantain/banana leaf and cooked slowly over a charcoal or wood fire. Popularly called 'patua' in Orissa. You can get similar results in a moderate oven or within a few minutes in a microwave.
Chinguri JholoFresh prawns or shrimp in a thin spicy gravy, flavoured with fried mustard, fennel and red chillies. Prepared with fresh prawns which have just been landed at the various fishing jetties on the Chilka Lake, this dish makes for a sublime experience.
Mansa KashaA famous meat dish, the name literally says 'special meat'. It is dry mutton (goat meat) dish made with sliced onions and Indian spices.
Literally 'Sour Mangoes'. Raw mangoes cooked with sugar, spices and salt. A sweet and sour delicacy often served as a side dish with rice.
|The Empty Bar at The Oberoi.|
The best of Orissa's textiles and art can be had in various markets, stores, emporiums and art galleries in Bhubaneswar. Inveterate shoppers will find enough to occupy them and will be spoilt for choice. The beauty of shopping in Orissa, especially for textiles, is that you can get excellent material at price points to suit every budget.
The distinctive hand-woven textiles of Orissa in traditional patterns and vibrant colours are a thriving cottage industry. The state is famous for its silk ikat weaves created by an intricate process called the "bandha" in which warp and weft threads are tie-dyed to produce the pattern on the loom while weaving. Typical design motifs include birds and animals, fish, seashells, traditional patterns and temple spires.
|Silver Filigree Work.|
We made a day trip to Konark to visit the famous Sun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The journey was pleasant as the road wound its way through green paddy fields and fruit groves.
The temple itself is a majestic monument, showcasing the Kalinga School of Indian Temple Architecture, is set in pretty gardens.
India's poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore wrote of Konark: "Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man."
The entrance is guarded by two giant lions, each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies atop of a human body. The representation being, the Lion as pride and The Elephant as money, both combining to crush man. The Nata Mandir, literally the 'Dance Temple' near the entrance is where the dancers paid homage to the Sun.
|The Chariot of The Sun.|
|The Chariot Wheel.|
Apart from the main carvings, almost every inch of the temple exterior is covered with sculptures of great beauty and grace, ranging from the monumental to the miniature. The images include deities, celestial and human musicians, dancers, lovers, and myriad scenes of life, ranging from hunts and military battles, to the pleasures of relaxation.
|The Spirited Steeds.|
In line with Hinduism's philosophy of intertwining the Temporal and Spiritual, a kindly and indulgent view of life; the Sun Temple complex is also decorated with erotic sculptures similar to those found in the temples at Khajuraho.
The frank nature of their content is depicted with an overwhelming tenderness and lyrical movement.
Thousands of human, animal, and divine figures
|Carnival of Life.|
|Fishermen at Konarak.|
|The Sun Temple at Konarak.|