“Silver City” or “The Millennium City” or “Historic City” – known by many such interesting names, Cuttack still stands to be one of those old cities whose charm and fame is just spreading far with time.
Let me take you on a journey of this ancient city famous for its history, food, shopping and timeless beauty.
Cuttack by road from Bhubaneswar Airport is a 45 minutes ride or it can be also reached by train from any of the major metro cities.
As you enter the historic city you are greeted by river Kathjodi in the south and river Mahanadi in the north and after which you finally reach the historic city where time comes to a standstill.
Cuttack as a city would fuel the interest of the older generations because of its history, as well as the youth because of its culture and life.
Without much ado, here is my list of the things to do while you are in Cuttack:
Visit to Barabati Fort
Built in the 19th Century by the Ganga dynasty, the fort is a witness to the growth of Cuttack from a small riverbed village to the Millennium city it is today.
Surviving the various foreign invasions, the only ruins left today are its moat, gate and the earthen mound of the nine storey building. Built with laterite and sand stones the archways of the gate are carved and provide a gateway to the Gadachandi Temple and the ruins of the bastions and the nine storied complex.
The monument with its own story to tell represents the culture, bravery and brotherhood that Cuttack stands for till today.
Visit to Barabati Stadium
Even though Cuttack is a culturally dynamic city, what unites us all is Cricket. Barabati Stadium, which is a regular venue for international cricket as well as the home ground of Odisha Cricket team, is the pride of Cuttack.
It has witnessed the evolution of Indian Cricket- from Kapil Dev taking the 300th test wicket against Sri Lanka to MS Dhoni’s iconic helicopter shot. Every match here is met with undeterred support and fervor from the Cuttackians that equals in no other city. Playing Cricket in the iconic Barabati Stadium is every Odia Cricketer’s dream.
Stroll in the Ravenshaw Campus
Ravenshaw College, a name synonymous with the modern history of Cuttack has been giving education and winning accolades for the state since 150 years has a reputation of its own.
Built by the British to provide basic to intermediate education to the people of Odisha, it now stands tall as a premier University attracting students from around the globe.
With time, as modern buildings are replacing the older ones, Ravenshaw is an architectural marvel with its classic red granite building and canons at the entrance pausing time for anyone.
The historic buildings, lush green lawns, the numerous playgrounds, the new construction and the buzzing students’ shows exactly how our country has transitioned from a land of snake charmers to a growing superpower.
A Bike Ride along the Ring Road
Today cafés or malls have come up to be the hangout spot of all youngsters in the big cities but in Cuttack it’s the Ring road where people from all generations come to hangout and take a break from the busy city life.
A long stretch of road along the coast of Mahanadi and extending along the Kathjodi with the city on one side and the river on the other is any bikers dream.
Driving along the river bed, watching the fishing boats sail towards the land and the view of the setting sun makes the perfect ending of a busy day.
Homage to the Supreme Goddess
A tour of Cuttack is never complete without homage to the presiding deity of the City Goddess Chandi. Believed by the people of Cuttack to be “The living Goddess” the temple becomes a crowd puller during Dussherra when the Goddess is worshipped with pomp and fervor.
She is worshipped in her various incarnations during Durga Puja which has made the temple a must visit for all the devotees apart from the conventional Durga Pandal hopping.
Tarakasi a silver Filigree work from Cuttack has a separate identity in itself. The art is five centuries old and appreciated for its intricate design and fine craftsmanship.
Forms of birds, animals, flowers, Konarka Chakra and even stills from the Puranas are moulded and made in Tarakasi work. An Odia bride is incomplete without Tarakasi Jewellery.
During Sharadiya Durga Puja more than 150 artisans are involved in designing the crown, ornaments and the backdrop of the Pandals to embellish the Goddess. Considered a dying art due to lack of patronage, it is one of the most beautiful and intricate art of Indian Jewellery.
Relishing the Dahibara Aloodum
Every city in India is famous for its food and so Cuttack also stands tall with its mouth watering and delicious Dahibara Aloodum. Black Gram Vadas soaked in Curd and served with flavorful Potato Curry and Chick Pea Curry is one of the delicacies found only in Cuttack.
Though replicated elsewhere, one would never get the taste or the flavors that one gets in Cuttack. Ishwara Dahibara in Biju Patnaik Square and Raghu Dahibara in Deula square have been delighting the people with Dahibara Aloodum to the city since five decades and have become a must visit place for any tourist in Cuttack. Having the delicious Dahibara is indeed a perfect end to a day in Cuttack.
Dusherra and Balijatra
Two festivals when the entire city comes to life and attracts people from far:
A festival where the entire city looks like a newly wedded bride with lights and celebration at each nook and corner of the city. The decorations, ornament decked Durga idols, lighting, food and the celebrations create a frenzy that is worth one’s time and experience.
And finally at the immersion procession the entire city is left teary eyed as everyone bades farewell to the Goddess. If Cuttack actually needs to be experienced, then one needs to visit here during Durga Puja.
An age old Tradition that has culminated into one of the biggest fares in Odisha. A 10 day Fare to celebrate the travel of Odia Traders and Businessmen to Java and Sumatra for trading and Business.
A visit to Bali Jatra gives one a glimpse of the entire state as people from every part of the state come together to display their area specific products and share their cuisine.
The best time to visit Cuttack would be between October to December.
And if planning a long holiday one can visit other attractions to the city like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Musuem, Maritime Musuem, The hanging Bridge to Dhabeleswara, the old Baptist Church, Qadam e Rasool, Gurudwara Guru Nanak Daatan Sahib and the Nandankanan Zoological Park.
Cuttack, a city of 52 Gully and 53 Bazaars is small city, but with big hearted people that would give anyone the best time of one’s life!