During your stay in Bhubaneswar did you like/hate the place. What is your best/worst experience in the city. Which are the things you liked the most during your stay?
I came to Bhubaneswar from Haryana four years back to study my engineering at KIIT University.
At first look I was disappointed as the city seemed to be running at a slow pace, people were swearing less, there was no one who said to me- “Bhai jyada chadh rhi to utaru ke?”(A common threatening you hear in Haryana) and of course there was shortage of dairy products on which a Haryanvi boy was living for last 18 years of his life.
But then after sometime I came to realize that the slow pace of the city allowed people to stop and look at beautiful things going in their life and enjoy them. People were not in a rush to get their work done rather they would stop their car on a roadside stand and enjoy a plate of Dahi-bada Aloo Dum or Puchka (Two great delicacies of Odisha).
People here give more importance to activities like sports,arts which make homo-sapiens a social creature. They are not fully engrossed in making huge profits in business or worrying about their daily wage jobs for 24 hours a day. People are more inclined towards religion and I have been witnessing celebration of one Puja or another every month since last four years.(I celebrated Saraswati Puja for first time in my life in Bhubaneswar).I think that is why they call Bhubaneswar the Temple city.
For students its a great city as the street food is mouth-watering and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. The evening breeze refreshes you and makes you forget all your worries.You will also be living and studying with a diverse crowd including students from Bengal,Bihar,Jharkhand and Assam.
I did face a bit of Odiya-pilla bias(which was very rare) but then you can face such an attitude in any state. It does not define a state but just the personality of that one person.
I have been enjoying from last four years in Odisha and I am a bit scared too as these four years will come to an end in the month of May. Odisha will always have a special place in my life and I would love to visit this place sometime again in future.
Till then the Sindbad continues his journey.
Bhubaneshwar is a city I have a close personal connection with in my life. I got the first major break of my career, in this city, and my first daughter was born when I was working here. So in a way, the city will always be close to my heart. I stayed in Bhubaneshwar twice, once from 2003-04 and again for a longer period from 2008-11.
The first time I came to Bhubaneshwar, was from Hyderabad, in 2003, and the city was a total change. Where I had to deal with traffic jams, rush hour traffic, in Hyderabad, here life just ambled along. I could leisurely cross the road, something unthinkable in Hyderabad. The city had a balmy climate, though summers could get really hot, in fact scorching. In fact the climate seemed to be in extremes, it was scorching during summers, when it rained, it did so non stop and during winters it was biting cold. I again came to Bhubaneshwar in 2008, and this time stayed for a longer period till 2011. Some changes I did observe, there was more traffic on the roads, traffic jams were common, slums had proliferated and prices had shot up. The house rentals were now on par with other metro cities.
What I loved most about Bhubaneshwar was the artistic, cultural ethos of it’s residents. Even the most humble homes, were decorated with beautiful tribal motifs, simple but elegant to look at. While the apartment culture had sprouted in the city, it still had those old style, large airy homes, with gardens and spacious verandas. And the people still loved their art, almost every individual home had some lovely painting or motif on the walls. Not just that even most of the walls, had paintings depicting vistas of Odisha, the state and it’s heritage. The city was a treasure trove of art, Sambalpuri sarees, tribal handicrafts, Pattachitra paintings, Pipli art work, silver filigree work, there was so much to choose from. Add to it the regular Odissi performances, a strong theater scene, musical concerts, the city was a cultural hub. The city also had a good number of bookshops, and the reading culture was prevalent here.
Bhubaneshwar is called the Temple City, and with good reason. The older part of the town is dotted with large temples, the most famous being Lingaraj temple, whose towering spire can be seen from anywhere. And the unique Raja Rani temple, that is not dedicated to any deity per se. One more thing about Bhubaneshwar was that the city, seemed to be in a festival mood, all around the year. Apart from the major festivals like Mahashivratri, Ganesh Puja, Durga Puja, Holi, the city had it’s own unique festivals like Raja( equivalent of Teej), Saraswati Puja to boot. Not to mention that it’s Durga Puja celebrations were the best after Kolkata.
Another thing I loved about the city was the greenery there, while some areas did resemble concrete jungles, it still maintained it’s green spaces and lungs. Most of the residential neighborhoods, were lined with trees, every individual home had a garden, and nature was respected. Just 30 minutes away from the city, you could find yourself at Chandaka, a wildlife sanctuary famous for it’s elephants. I used to regularly go for walks at Ekamra Kanan, large park, famed for it’s greenery and a natural forest. And yes, you could drive down to Puri and Konark on weekends, and if you wanted something more off the beaten track, there was that Chausath Nagini temple, Satkosia Gorge, Satpada lagoon.
And it is not that the city was forever living in the past. It had the Coffee Days, Pizza Outlets, fast food centers, bakeries for youngsters to hang out, as well, as the pani puri stalls, the various stalls off the state diary, poultry centers, dotted around the city. And a whole lot of IT firms, that had set shop here, along with MNC’s and banks. One thing I liked was the planned nature of the city, you had separate vending zones, where hawkers congregated and sold their produce, this reduced congestion in a way. Most of the neighborhoods too were well planned out.
On the flip side, the city needs better public transport, had to depend on autos or private transport for traveling. Also some of it’s attractions, need better maintenance and upkeep. Eating out was a bit of a problem, if you happen to be non Odiya, though must say, their snacks and desserts were excellent.
Above all, it is the people there, who made my stay in Bhubaneshwar, really pleasurable. Warm hearted, friendly and ever willing to start up a conversation, they really were the best part of the city. They had a genuine quality about them, sincere, honest and ever helpful. Of course there were some real nasty sorts too, but that is unavoidable. Overall, it was a pleasurable stay at Bhubaneshwar, and will always treasure it.
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