Pilgrimage Tourism, Odisha

India is the most popular in pilgrimage tourism and Odisha holds important place in its list. it is the land of every religion like Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain. Odisha is a hindu majority state in easten india but people of odisha respects every other religion. Thousands of devotees come to Odisha from all over the world seeking spiritual enlightenment. Odisha is visited more by pilgrims than tourists. One can find pilgrimage places each and every corner of the state and each sacred site has its own significance. Sacred temples like Jagannath Temple, Konark Temple, Lingaraj Temple are the main pilgrimage attractions in Odisha.


More than 95% of the people of the state are followers of Hinduism. Hindu sects like Shaiva and Saktism are also the oldest ways of Hindu belief systems in Odisha with many royal dynasties dedicating remarkable temples and making them state religion over their time of rule in history. The practices of the Jagannath sect are extremely popular in the state and the annual Rath Yatra in Puri draws pilgrims from across the globe. Lingaraja temple and other temples in Bhubaneswar are mostly of Shaivaite sect while prominent temples of goddesses like Samleswari, Tara-Tarini, Mangala, Budhi Thakurani, Tarini, Kichekeswari, and Manikeswari, across the Odisha state are dedicated to the Sakti and Tantric cult. There are hundreds of temple in the state capital, thats why it is otherwise known as Temple City of India.


Around 2.5% of total population of the state are christians. Gajapati, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Sundargagh are the main districts where followers of Christianity inhabit. The are churches in different cities/ towns but most of the curches are in hilly or remote areas.


Around 2% of total population of the state are muslims. Bhadrak city has the maximum number of Muslims as a percentage of the total population. Coastal disticts like Cuttack, Khurdha, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Jajpur have comparatively more muslims than other disticts. In all important cities one can find Masjid or mosque in Odisha.


Around 5 Gurudwaras in Odisha. Gurudwara Singh Sabha is located in Bhubaneswar.


There are indications that the 23rd Tirthankar, 'Parsvanath Swami', preached Jainism in Kalinga in the 7th century BC and King 'Karakanda' was converted by him. The king built 'Karakanda Vihar' for the propagation of Jainism and installed in it the image of the 2nd Tirthankar, 'Ajitnath'.

The Jain preacher 'Mahavira Swami' visited Kalinga to propagate the reformed version of Jainism and installed the 'Vijay Chakra' on the 'Kumari' ('Udaygiri') hill, which became a famous pilgrimage centre along with Pithunda Nagar where the image of Rishabhanath was installed after consecration.

The historical-cum-archaeological evidence that is available from different parts of the state, e.g. Anandpur (Keonjhar), Chhatia, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, Choudwar, Athgarh, Tigiria, Badamba, Banki and Jajpur (Cuttack), Khiching and its environs (Mayurbhanj), Kupari and Charampa (Balasore), Ghumsur (Ganjam) and Nawrangpur shows, that Jainism had a wide influence


Budhism in Odisha started log back during the time of Lord Budhha itself. Buddhism which started as an off shoot of Hinduism in India, has spread across the world to become the 4th largest religion in the world. There are many Buddhist monasteries in India which preach the peaceful teachings of Buddha. One such monastery is in Southern Odisha in Jirang was inaugurated by Dalai Lama in January 2010. It is nearly 80 kms from the town of Berhampur.

Padmasambhava Mahavihara Monastery, Jirang

The monastery was chosen as one of the main six camps / settlements established in the country for tibetians. This is one of the large buddhist monasteries of Asia and the largest in South Asia. Around 200 monks lives in the monastery. The monastery is 70ft high, as long as five stories building. A 23 feet (7.0 m) high Buddha statue and a 17 feet (5.2 m) Buddha Padmasambhava is featured in the sacred place. The 10 acre area has a huge meditation shrine hall and other small temples, institute and hostels. There is an old temple located at left side of main entrance of the temple.

Buddism has touched disctricts like Cuttack, Sambalpur, Balasore, Ganjam and Phulbania. Remains of buddist temple and architectures can be seen in heritage sites like Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri(Golden Triangle). The Shanti Stupa at the Dhauli Hill, on the bank of the River Daya attacts visitors not only indians but also other foreign visiters.

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