With Odisha emerging as the hub of sports in India, the state government is all set to offer its visitors an array of adventure along with its vast cultural, religious heritage, wildlife and splendid natural beauty. As the government plans it, the visitors will be able to experience “Odisha by day and hockey by night”.
While the sports and youth affairs department of the Odisha government worked together to make the Hockey World Cup a grand success, the tourism department too complimented with best of the experiences to visitors from different parts of the world.
In 2017, when Odisha organised the Asian Athletics Championship and Hockey World League, it received a record number of visitors’ footfall. Statistics show that Odhisha received 76,361 foreign tourists in 2016 which increased to 84,658 in 2017, thus marking a rise of 13,473 foreign tourists. The government is hopeful that the number of foreign tourists would set new records during the Hockey World Cup.
Officials believe that visitors coming to Odisha to witness sporting events go beyond the matches. No visitor returns from the state without soaking in its natural beauty, be it the pristine beaches, wildlife or the religious circuit.
Odisha boasts of the largest coastal lagoon in Asia as well as one of the largest crocodile sanctuaries, zoological parks, mangrove ecosystems, coastlines and two major tiger reserves in India. This makes the eastern Indian state a natural destination for adventure tourism for people across the globe. Near Chilika Lake is the 31.5 km long coastline from Puri-Konark that offers several things to intrepid travelers from riding water scooter at the Puri beach and surfing at the Ramchandi beach that hosts the India Surf Festival every year in November.
Also, a simple ride on the Puri-Konark marine drive offers exceptional vistas on the golden sands, clear blue waters, and the occasional sighting of deer from the casuarina groves is an adventure in itself. The next adventure stopover is the Bhitarkanika National Park, a 672 sq km wildlife sanctuary surrounded by the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India. The national park is among the largest crocodile sanctuaries and is home to some largest saltwater crocodiles in the world.
Odisha is the most exciting place for adventure tours that offers several activities including bird watching at Nalaban Island, dolphin watching in Satapada, boat ride at the idyllic Rambha bay, and camping at Nirmaljhara waterfall. Tiger lovers can head to jungle exploration in Simlipal Tiger Reserve and Satkosia George. Apart from tigers, these two tiger reserves have sizable populations of Asian elephant, barking deer, leopard, wild boar, and gaur.