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CUTTACK                                       General Information of Cuttack

Cuttack is one of Orissa's oldest cities (Abhinaba Baranasi Kataka of medieval times), Cuttack is a bustling commercial centre, situated on the delta formed by the Mahanadi and Kathjori rivers. The legendary engineering skills of the ancient Orissans are not only featured in their wonderful temples but also can be seen in the 11th century AD stone embankments on the Kathjori river. The ruins of the Barabati fort, on the bank of the Mahanadi, evoke memories of bygone days, while the fort's location is home to a modern stadium which rings with the sounds of sports events and cultural programmes today. The venerated shrine of Katak Chandi is at a strolling distance from the fort area. The Qadam-i-Rasool has the unusual element of being venerated by both Muslims and Hindus. The shrine has a high compound wall and towers at each corner. There are three mosques within with elegant domes and a Naubat Khana (music gallery) built in the l8th century AD.

The central dome structure has the footprints of Prophet Mohammed imprinted on a circular stone. Cuttack also offers excellent shopping facilities. Handicrafts and textiles, both in silk and cotton from the Cuttack region and elsewhere in Orissa are available in the state emporia. But Cuttack is best known for its excellent silver filigree work which is fashioned into exquisite jewellery, utensils and decorative items. Cuttack is 30 km from Bhubaneswar.

Places to visit

Dhavaleswar

A small but beautiful island in Mahanadi, Dhavaleswar enchants all with the spell of the river. The Shiva Temple, perched on a hillock, is approachable by flights of steps, one from the north and other one from the south. As a religious centre, Dhavaleswar throngs with religious activities throughout the year. It is 37 km by road from Cuttack and 4 km through water.

Chandikhol

Chandikhol is a perfect picnic spot with its thickly wooded hills and sylvan springs that flow perennially through its green glades. It lies about 40 km north of Cuttack. At Mahavinayak, 5 km away, there is a shrine of the five godheads on one lingam. Ganapati is much revered here.

Jajpur

Once the prosperous and ancient capital of Utkal, Jajpur was an important and flourishing centre for trade and commerce in the olden days. Its diverse cultural crosscurrents enlivened and enriched the city even in the days of the visit of the Chinese traveller Huien T'Sang. It is also one of the sacred pilgrim points in Orissa. Goddess Viraja (Durga) is the city's reigning deity. Jajpur is also known as Navigaya Kshetra where Pinda is offered by the Hindus for their ancestors. It lies 92 km from Cuttack.

Udayagiri-Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri

It was the conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism, after the bloody war of Kalinga that was responsible for the spread of this religion not only in Orissa but also to places as far flung as China and Japan. Some of the most wonderful relics of that era have come to light in the three hillsides of Udayagiri, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and their environs like Langudi hill, Kayam hill, etc. While a vast amount of research and excavations need to be conducted still, what we do have is a wealth of architectural and sculptural findings that speak glowingly about the fine artistry inherent amongst the people of Orissa's ancient past. Situated 70 km away from Cuttack, the hills were home to a large Buddhist complex which could be the ruins of a Buddhist University called Puspagiri (mentioned in the travelogues of the Chinese traveller Huien T'Sang). The complex comprises various brick pagodas (some in ruins), stone portals, Buddhist images, stupas and prayer-halls of the post-Gupta period.

Kendrapara

Famous for its presiding deity Lord Baladeva, Kendrapara is called the `Tulasi Kshetra' of Orissa. A grand Car Festival is held here annually which draws a mammoth crowd. `Tulasi Kshetra Mahatyam' refers that Lord Baladeva killed the demon Kandarasura ruling at Lalitgiri and married his daughter `Tulasi', for which the place is called. `Kendrapara' as well as `Tulasi Kshetra'- only 65 km from Cuttack.

Paradeep

This modern port is a hectic tourist spot today. Lying 94 km from Cuttack, it offers a beautiful fine-grained white beach, lovely creeks, and a riveting estuary with evergreen forests abounding on the estuarine islands of the Mahanadi.

Sanctuary and National Park

Bhitarkanika Sanctuary and National Park
Bhitarkanika

Located in the country's second largest mangrove forest in Orissa's coastal belt, has protected the estuarine crocodile since 1975. Further down at Gahirmatha, the Giant Olive Ridley Sea Turtles travelling annually from South America, come to nest by millions. Special arrangements are made, to ensure that this annual ritual continues unabated, by converting this region into a National Park in 1998. Numerous migratory birds come to nest amongst the large mangrove islands. The sanctuary is 160 km from Cuttack via Chandhali and 100 km via Kendrapara and Rajnagar. Dangmal, the base for Bhitarkanika, is three hours motor launch journey from both Chandhali and Rajnagar.

Temples

Singanatha Temple - Gopinathpur

It is situated in a rocky island in the Mahanadi river and can be  approached from the village Gopinathpur in the Cuttack dist. It is also one of the earliest standing temples of Orissa and it shows close affinities both in art and architecture with the earliest  group of standing temples.


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