Bhubaneswar - a hub of and for Knowledge institutions and companies

Aim: The goal of this document is to let the world know about metropolitan Bhubaneswar and its attractive and competitive attributes vis-a-vis hi-tech industries, knowledge companies and knowledge institutions. As a teaser, it may come as a surprise to the reader that Bhubaneswar has more universities/university-like-institutes than Pune and Mumbai and as many as Hyderabad and Bangalore and it is not just the count, but the quality of these universities/institutes that make Bhubaneswar stand out. For example, it is the only city in India to have an IIT, an IIM level Business School in XIMB (which is ranked higher than many IIMs), a national science institute (NISER) and an AIIMS. No other city in India currently has even three of them. Plus Bhubaneswar is the home to the first and only Jesuit University in India, the Xavier University. On skill development, the Bhubaneswar center of Gram Tarang (a component of Centurion University) won the 'Best Performing Center' award (among 5,000 centers operated by NSDC partners across 396 districts) at the NSDC Partner meet 2014.

1. Introduction

Bhubaneswar is the capital of the state of Odisha in India, located in the eastern coast of India, about 60 kms from the coast. In the eastern coast it is midway between Kolkata and Vizag, about 430 kms from both. It is the gateway to the second busiest seaport of India, Paradeep and is about 100 kms from it. Together with its twin city, Cuttack, the old capital of Odisha, the greater Bhubaneswar area has a population of more than 20 lakhs. Bhubaneswar is a modern city with ancient roots surrounded by nature’s bounty. As an educational hub it has 17 universities or university-level institutes that includes an IIT, an AIIMS, NISER (a science institute in the mold of IISc Bangalore), and Xavier University (containing XIMB which is ranked higher than many IIMs), India’s first and only Jesuit university. Greater Bhubaneswar has more number of universities than Mumbai and Pune and same or close to the number of universities as Hyderabad and Bangalore. No other city or metropolitan area in India so far has the star quartet of IIT, IIM level business school, AIIMS and a Science Institute (IISc/IISER/NISER); in fact only one other urban area may in the near future have three of them (Raipur); several have two though.

Bhubaneswar has all the amenities of a world-class metropolis: wide roads, luxury hotels, malls, convention centers, wide array of restaurants, clubs, bookshops, museums, gardens, water parks, fountains, large array of top-notch educational and research institutes, universities, and company head quarters. A picturesque city with boulevards, gardens and beautifully painted wall murals, Bhubaneswar seems to have it all, minus the traffic, water problems, pollution and power cuts that dot most cities of India. It is well connected to the rest of the country by air, rail, and road. In the preface of the recent comprehensive development plan for greater Bhubaneswar (BCUC - the Bhubaneswar Cuttack Urban Complex), the authors (Professors from IIT Kharagpur) write:

Of late, Bhubaneswar, of the BCUC region has been ranked as the 6th most preferred destination for business investment from among 15 Indian cities by World Bank. Moreover, it has the entire gamut of attractive factors such as high decadal population growth rate, rising purchasing power, high literacy rate, good road, rail & air connectivity, low cost of living and a pool of qualified workforce to support all kinds of congenial business environment.

History: The discovered ancient roots of Bhubaneswar goes back to the ruined fortification of Shisupalgarh (5th century BC). Later landmarks include the 3rd century BC rock inscriptions by King Ashoka (the starting point of the spread of Buddhism from India to Srilanka and beyond in east Asia) and the 2nd century BC inscriptions of King Kharavela. Bhubaneswar has a large number of temples built during the 8th-11th century AD. The area around it is in the tentative list of World heritage sites. Other historical sites surround Bhubaneswar. This includes the world heritage site of Konark (60 kms away), the temple city of Puri Jagannath (60 kms away), and the ancient mahaviharas (Buddhist higher education institutions) of Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and Udayagiri (100 kms away).

Location: Geographically, the Bay of Bengal is 60 kms to the south and east of Bhubaneswar, the Chilika lake (another site in the tentative list of World heritage sites , a Ramsar site and one of the 8 Destination Flyaways project site) is 60 kms to the southwest of Bhubaneswar, the mighty river Mahanadi is to the North of Bhubaneswar separating it from the Cuttack city center with many of its tributaries criss-crossing the greater Bhubaneswar area, and the picturesque Chandaka-Dampara sanctuary (see more pictures here), as big as Bhubaneswar itself, lies adjacent on the west. The Bhitarkanika national park, also in the tentative list of World heritage sites, and also a Ramsar site, lies 160 kms to the north east of Bhubaneswar. A bit farther to the north (270 kms away) lies the Similipal national park, one of India’s nine UNESCO Biosphere reserves.

2. An Education and Knowledge Hub

Knowledge Companies and HQs: With major Indian software and BPO firms such as Infosys, Tech-Mahindra, TCS, Wipro, Mindfire, Mindspace, Genpact, Firstsource, Mindtree and MphasiS setting shop here, Bhubaneswar is also the eastern India’s IT hub. It is the East Coast Railway (ECOR) HQ and has headquarters of various private and public sector companies such as Navaratna NALCO and Dhamara Port Company Ltd. Four major industrial clusters are about 100 kms from Bhubaneswar in each of the four directions: Kalinganagar (a steel hub) to the North, Paradeep (a port and a PCPIR) to the east, Chhatrapur (Rare Earth) to the South and Angul-Talcher (Aluminum and Power hub) to the west. With Orissa leading the country in investment, mainly in the industrial and infrastructure sector, Bhubaneswar is abuzz with optimism.

Universities and University-like Institutes: Yet what sets Bhubaneswar apart is its rise to prominence as one of India’s premier education hub. As mentioned earlier, Bhubaneswar is the only city in India to have the star quartet of an IIT, an IIM level business school in XIMB that is ranked higher than many IIMs, an AIIMS and a Science Institute (IISc/IISER/NISER). In addition it is the home of Xavier University, India’s first Jesuit University. (Bhubaneswar’s seriousness of the pursuit to become a top knowledge hub of the country can be judged from the fact that while several more than a century old Jesuit Colleges such as St. Xaviers and Loyola exist in other parts of India, it is Bhubaneswar which pursued and helped establish the first-and so far only-Jesuit university of the country which can connect to the Jesuit tradition of higher education and the array of Jesuit Universities in the US and the world.) With 13 more universities Bhubaneswar has more universities and university-like institutes than Pune and Mumbai and almost the same number as Hyderabad and Bangalore. Taking into account the quality of the institutes (especially the star quartets) and universities, Bhubaneswar can be considered as the second biggest education hub (after Delhi which is patronized by 3 states and the country) of India. While the IIT, AIIMS and NISER are fully centrally funded, the 14 universities of Bhubaneswar are a mix of state funded, privately funded and PPP based universities. In terms of their academic foci, they are also a mix with some having uni-disciplinary focus (such as Law, Technology, Culture, Sanskrit, and Management), while others having a multi-disciplinary focus. The 14 universities are: Utkal University, Ravenshaw University, Rama Devi Women’s University, Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University, and Utkal University of Culture (all SIX are state funded with subsidized fees); National Law University of Oidsha, and International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) (these TWO are unsubsidized, except CAPEX is mostly state funded); KIIT and SOA University (these TWO are private deemed universities); and Xavier University, Sri Sri University, Centurion University of Technology and Management, and Birla Global University (all FOUR are private universities).

Research Institutions: Complementing these institutes and universities are a wide array of research institutes; the bigger ones amongst them are: Institute of Physics, the Institute of Life Sciences, the Institute of Mathematics and Applications, the CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, the Central Rice Research Institute, the Central Institute of Fresh Water Aquaculture, Regional Plant Resources Center and the Regional Medical Research Center.

If one were to create a map of the Greater Bhubaneswar region innovation and knowledge cluster (GBRIKC) along the lines of Chandigarh region innovation and knowledge cluster (CRIKC), then it will look as follows and will have more than twice the number of institutions as CRIKC.

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Professional Institutes (Engineering, Medical, MBA and Architecture): Bhubaneswar has 5 medical colleges/institutes, about 75 engineering colleges/institutes and about 30 management institutes. The five medical colleges/institutes are AIIMS, SCB Medical College, KIMS, IMS and Hi-Tech Medical College. Some of the top engineering colleges/institutes are IIT Bhubaneswar, IIIT Bhubaneswar, CIPET Bhubaneswar, CET Bhubaneswar, KIIT, ITER, Silicon Institute of Technology, CV Raman College of Engineering, Krupajal Engineering College and Gandhi Institutes. Some of the top management colleges/institutes are: XIMB, KIIT SOM, IBCS of SOA University, IMI Bhubaneswar, BIMTECH Bhubaneswar, RCM Bhubaneswar, FMS of Sri Sri University, ASBM Bhubaneswar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Bhubaneswar, Ravenshaw Business School and IMIS Bhubaneswar. Bachelor in Architecture programs are offered at CET Bhubaneswar, Piloo Mody College of Architecture in Cuttack, KIIT Bhubaneswar, Sri Sri University Bhubaneswar and CUTM Bhubaneswar. Programs in Agriculture are offered by OUAT and CUTM. There are several institutes offering programs in Journalism and Mass Communication. Notable among them are IIMC (Indian Institute of Mass Communication) Dhenkanal and Xavier School of Communication (of Xavier University). The latter also offers a PG Diploma in Film & TV Production and a PG Diploma in Broadcast Journalism.

General Colleges (Science, Arts and Commerce): The greater Bhubaneswar area, has several general colleges affiliated to Utkal University that offer Bachelors (and some of them Masters) programs in Humanities and Liberal Arts, Sciences and Commerce. Some of the well known colleges in Bhubaneswar are BJB College, Rajdhani College, Ekamra College, and Maharshi College. Some of the well known colleges in Cuttack are Christ College, Stewart Science College, SB Women’s College, and JKBK Colelge. Recently several universities and professional colleges have also started offering Bachelor in Commerce programs. Some of the notable ones are: Xavier School of Commerce (part of Xavier University), Sai International College of Commerce, DAV School of Business Management, Sri Sri University and CUTM.

Specialized Institutes: Some of the smaller specialized research institutes and centers in Bhubaneswar are: Biju Patnaik National Steel Institute (BPNSI), Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET), Central Tool Room and Training Center (CTTC), Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Asian Institute of Public Health (AIPH), Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM), Regional Institute of Education (RIE), Radha Nath Institute Of Advanced Studies In Education (RIASE), Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Institute of Social Sciences, Regional Center of Lalit Kala Akademi, Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research (NIRTAR) and National Research Institute of Ayurvedic Drug Development (NRIADD).

Skill development: Some of the above mentioned institutes also offer skill development programs, such as CIPET on Plastics Technology, BPNSI on Steel technology, CTTC on an array of programs related to machines and tools (CTTC Bhubaneswar was in news in relation to its contribution in developing some parts for Mangalayaan and the upcoming Chandrayaan-2), IIPH and AIPH on Public Health Management, IITTM on Tourism and Travel, IHM on Hotel Management, and NIFT on Textile Design, Fashion Design, Accessory Design and Fashion Management. Besides the above Bhubaneswar and its vicinity have many other reputed and/or unique skills development institutes. The most notable among all skill development institutes in Bhubaneswar and Odisha (and for that matter all of India) is Gram Tarang, a component of Centurion University that offers skill development programs in multiple disciplines such as manufacturing, apparel, retail, hospitality, banking, information technology, sports and fitness. The most impressive aspect of Gram Tarang’s programs is their tie-in and collaboration with various industries needing those skills and integration of skill development with higher level programs such as diplomas and B.Engg programs. [The latter is extremely important as most engineering graduates in core non-IT fields (such as Mechanical Engineering) from most engineering institutes (especially the IITs and NITs) in India often abandon their engineering discipline and move to IT and Management jobs and careers partly wasting the country’s investment in them.] In recognition of these Gram Tarang won the 'Best Performing Center' award (among 5,000 centers operated by NSDC partners across 396 districts) for its Jatni (Bhubaneswar) center at the NSDC Partner meet 2014. NTTF offers top notch skill development programs in skills related to manufacturing. GIET Gangapatna offers programs in masonry. The State institute of Plumbing Technology in nearby Pattamundai offers programs in Plumbing. (Plumbers from Odisha are reputed in India and the middle-east.) The Construction Skills Training Institute, jointly run by L&T, offers programs related to construction. Multiple ATDCs (Apparel Training and Design Centers) offer programs in apparel related skills. Besides NIFT there are a bunch of other fashion design institutes such as JD Institute of Fashion Technology, NIFD, BIFT, and NIIFT. Odisha Maritime Academy offers skills related to Sea crews. CV Raman College also offers programs on Maritime skills. OCAC offers foreign language courses on Chinese and French. The Bikalananda Kar institute offers courses in Sweets technology focusing on Odisha sweet delicacies such as Rasagolla. The Government Aviation Training Institute (GATI) offers course on flying. Several institutes offers courses on Air hostess and hospitality skills. The Biju Patnaik Film and TV institute offers course on film and TV production. Several organizations, such as Apollo Hospital and Neelachal Hospital offer courses related to healthcare and clinical technology.

3. Business Environment of Bhubaneswar and Odisha

Business Destination: The World Bank in it’s 2009 Doing Business - Subnational reports for India ranks Bhubaneswar at number 3 in terms of ease of doing business. It ranks Bhubaneswar at number 5 with respect to ease of starting a business, ranks Bhubaneswar at number 1 with respect to ease of exporting and importing, number 5 with respect to enforcing a contract, and number 5 with respect to ease of closing a business. GIREM ranks Bhubaneswar 6th among Indian cities as a business destination. Tholons ranks Bhubaneswar at 54 (in 2013) in the list of top 100 outsourcing destinations in the word.

Investment Rankings: In 2013 Odisha was the most attractive state in India for investment. As per this Hindu Business Line article: “The State accounts for over one-fifth of project proposals across the country in the first ten months of the year, which were cumulatively valued at Rs 4.7 lakh crore”. For the cumulative four year period preceding that, as per Hindu Business line, “Orissa attracted the maximum interest from domestic and international investors among all Indian states between January 2008 and May 2012.” In terms of project completion, Odisha with Rs 328.8 billion was 3rd behind Gujarat (Rs. 553.9 billion) and Maharashtra (Rs. 349.1 billion) during fiscal 2011-12. As per a planning commission sponsored study Odisha is the 4th best industry friendly state of India, after Haryana, Gujarat and MP. As per another Hindu Business line article, “Odisha accounted for the highest share of over 18 per cent in the total investments attracted by the manufacturing sector across India as of March 2013.” With respect to other specific sectors, Odisha was fourth in investments attracted in the tourism sector, and second in the power sector with 12 percent share of the total new investments.

Air Connectivity: Bhubaneswar is well connected to the rest of the country and the world. The Bhubaneswar airport has about 20-21 incoming daily flights operated by Air India, Go Air, Indigo, and Vistara connecting it to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Port Blair, Ahmedabad, Visakhapatnam, and Coimbatore with direct or one-stop flights. The Bhubaneswar airport has been designated as an international airport and a special international terminal is operational. Currently, 2 Air-India international flights operated in a hub-n-spoke manner are operational from this terminal. These two flights provide immigration and customs facility in Bhubaneswar for international travelers, but take them to a hub (currently Delhi, Mumbai to be added soon) inside India. Direct international flights from/to the Bhubaneswar airport by Air Asia and Silk air is expected by the end of 2015. Fly Dubai has asked for central government permission to fly to/from Bhubaneswar but the central government is not giving that permission because the bilateral agreements between India and UAE currently limits the number of Fly Dubai flights to/from India. The Bhubaneswar airport shared the best airport of the country award with another airport for 2012-13.

Rail, Road, Ports and Waterways: Bhubaneswar, which houses the HQ of ECOR Zone, is well connected by Rail to the rest of India with direct trains to all parts of India. Bhubaneswar is on NH-5 of the Golden Quadrilateral. Bhubaneswar is the gateway to Paradeep, the second busiest port of India, and is about 100kms from it. Several new ports are coming up near Bhubaneswar. Several points in the National Waterway 5 are within 100 kms of Bhubaneswar.

Getting around Bhubaneswar: Internally, Bhubaneswar has a city bus service that has various routes inside Bhubaneswar as well as routes linking it to Cuttack, Puri and Konark. It has Pink Auto service for women. OlaCab and Merucab serve Bhubaneswar. A BRTS system is under works in Bhubaneswar.

Hi-Tech Companies: Bhubaneswar has many of the top IT companies of the country, with many more constructing their campuses. This includes Infosys, Tech-Mahindra, TCS, Wipro, Mindfire Solutions, Mindspace, Genpact, Firstsource, Mindtree and MphasiS. Some of the local homegrown companies include Orisys Infotech, Exilant, TCubesolutions, ESSPL, Discoverture, Tatwa, CSM, and Luminous. Many of these companies are located in Bhubaneswar’s main 350 acres IT Park, Infocity. A second 600 acre IT park, Info Valley is under development with Infosys creating a new campus there. Some of the under construction IT-ITES office space include DLF Cybercity, Infosys new SEZ campus in Info-Valley area, TCS’s second SEZ building in InfoCity area, MindTree Kalinga, InfoCity area, Wipro’s InfoCity building, IDCO Tower 2010 (a Basement + Ground + 17 Floor construction) in Mancheswar area, and RKF Info services new office space near InfoCity. Bhubaneswar has a couple of start-up incubators such as KIIT Technology Business Incubator and Silicon Tech Lab. The former includes a Bioincubator.

Hotels: Trip Advisor lists 47 hotels, 52 B&B and Inns and 56 speciality lodgings in Bhubaneswar. This includes 5 star hotels such as Trident and Mayfair Lagoon, 4 star hotels such as Mayfair Convention and Swosti Premium and business hotels such as Ginger. A cluster of hotels (Mayfair Lagoon, Trident, Swosti Premium, Ginger, Pal Heights, Sandy’s Tower, Suryansh etc.) are located midway between the airport and Infocity. A large convention center and additional hotels are coming up in that area. Serviced apartments are also available (early 2015) near Infocity. Additional hotels in the greater Bhubaneswar area can be found in Cuttack and Puri.

Convention Centers: Bhubaneswar has many venues to hold conventions. This includes hotels such as Mayfair Lagoon, Mayfair convention, Swosti Premium, and Crown and institutions such as KIIT university. A world-class convention and trade center is being constructed by Populous. The trade center will house the already operationalized World Trade Center, the 5th such center in India. The convention center will have a 200 room hotel, 50,000 sqft of indoor exhibition hall, a multipurpose convention hall to accommodate 4000 delegates, small convertible meeting halls to host 12 - 16 events simultaneously, an open area to accommodate up to 25,000 people and an open amphitheatre. Odisha Tourism maintains a detailed list of convention facilities in the state.

Smart Cities: Bhubaneswar is among the 2 cities that Odisha government has recommended to be developed as Smart Cities in the first round. As per this report, “According to the Smart City scheme, maximum travel time in small and medium size cities from one area to another has to be 30 minutes and 45 minutes in metropolises, round the clock water supply on all days of the week, 24×7 power supply, 100 per cent household with direct water supply connections, 100 per cent households with access to toilets and 100 per cent schools with separate toilets for girls. Further, cent per cent of the households need to have a telephone connection including mobile, Wi-Fi connectivity to 100 per cent of the city with 100 mbps speed among others.” More detailed concept note on smart cities is also available. Puri has been included as one of 12 heritage cities of the country and will be covered under the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) program. Recently, the central government has mentioned plans about smart cities at each of the 12 major ports of the country. Paradeep is listed among those 12.

Industrial hubs around Bhubaneswar: By design several types of industries are not located within the Bhubaneswar metropolitan area. However, several industrial complexes are near Bhubaneswar. The main among them are Kalinganagar (a steel hub, 100 kms away), Paradeep (a port and PCPIR, 100 kms away), Angul-Talcher-Meramandali (Aluminum and Power hub, 150 kms away), Dhenkanal (Power hub, 50 kms away), and Chhatrapur-Berhampur (Port and Rare Earth hub, 150 kms away). These complexes have various mineral processing companies (Steel Plants, Aluminum plants, power plants, Chemicals etc.) and most of their HQs are located in Bhubaneswar.

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Nearby ports - existing and planned: There are several existing and planned ports around Bhubaneswar. The existing ports are at Paradeep, Gopalpur and Dhamra. A nearby port is coming up at Astaranga for which land acquisition and economic survey is underway. Riverine ports are also planned at the mouth of Mahanadi river.

4. Livability aspects of Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar provides a high quality of life and yet is the fourth most inexpensive place in the world (and India) in terms of cost of living. With abundant water bodies and greenery (including forests) around the metropolitan area (and Odisha in general) and Odisha being a power surplus state, Bhubaneswar is blessed with excellent water and power service and lack of pollution. It is close enough to the coast (60 kms from the coast) to enjoy the Bay of Bengal and the nearby beaches, yet far enough to limit climatic issues.

K12 Schools: Bhubaneswar has several excellent K-12 schools at different cost levels, many of them ranked nationally. For example, Education World ranks Sai International School number 7 nationally among day-cum-boarding schools, and ranks DAV Chandrasekharpur at number 18 in the same category. Similarly, KIIT international school is ranked number 10 among international schools in the country in the day-cum-boarding category. St. Joseph’s girls school Cuttack is ranked 41 among girls day schools in India. In the co-ed day schools category, some of the ranked schools from Bhubaneswar are DAV Unit VIII, DPS Kalinga, Mother’s public school and St. Joseph’s high school. Some of the other brand name schools in Bhubaneswar include Loyola School, Sri Aurobinda Integral Education Center, Doon School, and Amrita Vidyalayam.

Housing: Bhubaneswar has several premier housing developments that includes Ariana by the Tatas, various CRISIL star rated properties, and much more. Bhubaneswar has many malls, couple of multiplexes and as in the rest of India, many more are in the works.

Healthcare: AIIMS Bhubaneswar and the SCB Medical College Cuttack are the apex health care institutions in greater Bhubaneswar. AIIMS Bhubaneswar is made in the model of AIIMS Delhi and is on its way to have an exhaustive list of departments and specialities. This includes Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, ENT, Dermatology, Anesthesiology, Radiology, Radiotherapy, Dentistry, Transfusion Medicine and Blood Bank, Trauma Center, Emergency Department, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ayush, Nursing, Hospital Administration, Dietetics, Cardiology, Neurology, Nephrology, Rheumatology, Pulmonary Medicine, Medical Gastroentrology, Medical and Haemato Oncology, Nuclear Medicine, Surgical Oncology, GI Surgery, Urology, Neurosurgery, Pediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Burns, Renal Transplantation, Liver Transplantation, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Stem Cell Facility, Clinical Immunology, Clinical Genetics, Clinical Endocrinology, Geriatrics, Hospice, Long Term Acute Care, Geriatric Mental Health, Palliative Care and Bereavement Services. The SCB Medical College in Cuttack is the premiere medical college of the state with 1200 beds and has several associated specialized centers such as, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Center, Sishu Bhawan - SVP Post Graduate Institute of Paedriatics, Regional Spinal Injury Centre, Central Red Cross Blood Bank, Laproscopy training center, and Center for Bone marrow transplant. There are three private medical colleges in KIMS, IMS-SUM Hospital and Hi-Tech. ESI is making a medical college and hospital and the state and the center are upgrading the district medical center of Puri to a full-fledge medical college. Besides these Bhubaneswar has several corporate and private hospitals and Cuttack has a large number of reputed private nursing homes. Some the well known corporate hospitals in Bhubaneswar are, Kalinga Hospital, Apollo Hospital, AMRI hospital, L V Prasad Eye Care center, Neelachal Hospital, Sparsh Hospital, CARE Hospital and Hemalata Hospital. Some of the upcoming corporate hospitals include Asian Heart Institute and Narayana hrudayalaya.

Restaurants and Cafes: Bhubaneswar has a wide variety of restaurants and cafes with many offerings of Indian, Chinese, Thai, Continental, asian, Italian, and Mexican cuisine. The Dalma and Dalema restaurants offer typical Odishan cuisine. Top Indian chains in Bhubaneswar include Cafe Coffee Day, Mainland China and Hakka. International fast-food chains include Subway, Dominos, Pizza Hut and KFC. Bhubaneswar has a few Discos such as Underground, Dezire, Xstacy, and Rock on and several high end pubs such as 10 Downing Street, Baron and Baroness.

Visual and Performance Arts: Odisha in general, and especially the greater Bhubaneswar area, is a center of arts. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) has a regional office in Cuttack. The local language Odia and the dance form of Odissi are given the designation of classical language and classical dance by the Government of India. The Odissi music and the Odissi painting forms are also considered by many as distinct and classical. One can get a quick concentrated glimpse of all of these in the Raghurajpur Artist Village, 50 kms from Bhubaneswar and 10 kms from Puri. The greater Bhubaneswar area has several famous Gurukuls for Odissi (Dance, Music or both) such as Odissi Music Gurukul, Geeta Govinda, Odissi Natya Sala, Srjan, the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Center, Orissa Dance Academy, and the Gotipua (the precursor of Odissi) Gurukul. The Odissa performance art forms have attracted many from abroad and some of them have settled in Bhubaneswar and have enriched its cultural repertoire. Notable among them are Masako Ono’s MOPA and Ileana Citaristi’s Art Vision. Vrindaban Gurukul of Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia has one of its two centers in Bhubaneswar. In arts, the J D Center of Art and Odisha Art Gallery are major landmarks. In recent years dancers from Odisha have excelled in Modern dance of various forms. Notable among them are Rajasmita Kar, Harihar Dash and Prince Dance Group. Rajasmita Kar, the winner of the Reality Show, Dance India Dance 2012, is associated with the Blue light dance studio of Bhubaneswar that offers classes in Hip Hop, Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Locking and Poping, Break Dance, Bollywood, Salsa, and Acrobatics. Another modern dance academy is Anu’s Dance Freak. There are several schools such as, Rawa Academy Of Art, Music And Dance that offer courses in art, music and dance. Among the more formal institutions of Bhubaneswar that offer degrees and diplomas in Music, Dance and Arts are Odissi Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, B K College of Arts and Crafts, Utkal University of Culture, and Sri Sri University.

Events: Various literary, cultural and events are held throughout the year (more in the winter) in Bhubaneswar. This includes Bookfairs, Trade Fairs, Literature Festivals, Film Festivals (such as the Art and Artists Film Festival), Music Festivals, Dance Festivals, Drama Festivals, SPICMACAY Events, and ICCR events. Some of the well known events are Odisha marathon, Konark Festival, Gotipua Dance Festival, International Sand Art festival, Toshali National Crafts Mela, International Odissi dance festival, Mukteswar dance festival, Rajarani music festival, Samrachana (Choreography festival of dance), Rangabati (western Odisha dance festival), India Surf Festival, Bali yatra, Kalinga Literary Festival, Sankirtana Mahotsava, Puri beach festival, Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsava, Festival of Ballards (Palla and Daskathia), Megha Utsava, National Chhau dance festival, National Tribal dance festival, National Contemporary theatre festival and Bharatiyam (a festival of patriotic songs).

Auditoriums and Special venues: The main venue for large performance arts events in Bhubaneswar is Rabindra Mandap. Some of the other performance arts venues of Bhubaneswar are Kala Mandap, Soochana Bhavan (Jaydev Bhawan), IDCOL Auditorium, Utkal Mandap (an open Air Theater at Utkal Sangeeta Mahavidyalaya), Red Cross Bhawan and auditoriums at Odisha State Co-operative Bank, KIIT, OEC, IMMT, XIMB, NALCO, Institute of Engineers and Institute of Physics. Auditoriums in Cuttack include Kala Vikash Kendra Auditorium, Ravenshaw auditorium, Parija auditorium, BOSE auditorium, Sahid Bhawan, Town Hall, Barabati Club House, Special Circuit House and SCB auditorium. Some special performances, such as the Konark festival, Mukteswar dance festival and Rajarani music festival are done in the backdrop of the famous temples of Konark and Bhubaneswar. Other special venue for dance performances include Konark Natya Mandap, and Shanti Vihar (in the foothills of Dhauli). Odisha Tourism maintains a detailed list of convention facilities and auditoriums in the state.

Parks and Nature: Bhubaneswar and its vicinity have many parks of varying sizes. The biggest among them, almost as big as Bhubaneswar itself is the 193.39 sq km Chandaka-Dampara elephant sanctuary adjacent to Bhubaneswar on its west. The elephant sanctuary has hills, rivluets, dams, and lakes. The fauna of the Chandaka-Dampara sanctuary includes elephants, pangolins, bears, leopards, wild pigs, pythons and monitor lizards. The two huge parks in Bhubaneswar are the famed Nandan Kanan Zoological garden and its adjacent Botanical garden and lakes, and the Ekamra Kanan Regional plant resource center (Ekamra Kanan) and its lakes. Some of the other largish parks in Bhubaneswar are Forest Park, Jayadev Batika, Indira Gandhi Park, Mahatma Gandhi Park, Buddha Jayanti Park, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Park, Nehru Park, City center park, Spice garden around Bindusagar lake, Sikharchandi hill, Dhauli Peace Park, Guru Kelucharan Park, Jayaprakash Narayan park, Netaji Subash Bose park and Panchasakha park. In addition there are many small neighborhood parks as well as recreation areas along the river banks.

Outings: In the northern outskirts of Bhubaneswar, separating Bhubaneswar from its twin Cuttack, is the mighty Mahanadi river, and across the Mahanadi is the Ansupa lake. Upriver on Mahanadi one will reach the famous Satkosia gorges (also a sanctuary and a tiger reserve) and downriver in 10-15 kms one will get to the point where Kathjodi originates from Mahanadi and together they almost surround the millennium city of Cuttack. One can participate in rowing and sculling at the Jagatpur water sports complex in Cuttack, or embark on a rafting expedition down the Mahanadi from Satkosia gorges to Paradeep. Besides the plenty of things one can do on a short trip to Puri, Konark, Chilika lake and Gopalpur-at-sea, one can spend a day or half a day learning sand art making skills at the Golden Sand Art Institute in Puri and if lucky watch the international award winning sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik making some of his masterpieces. Along the coast to the north of Puri there are many attractions (including the world site Konark). Half way to Konark is the exciting Surfing Yogis (near Kushabhadra river mouth) where one can learn and practice surfing and other water sports. For that matter, Chilika and Kushabhadra river are listed among the top 5 stand-up paddle boarding places in the world. For longer trips, one may venture to Bhitarkanika national park, Similipal national park (one among nine UNESCO Biosphere locations in India) or the many spots in the tribal and mountainous districts of South Orissa.

Museums: Matching its cultural heritage, history and archaeological sites, Bhubaneswar and its vicinity have several museums and monuments. The most highly rated museum in Bhubaneswar is the Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts listed by Trip Advisor at number 1 among attractions in Bhubaneswar. The Odisha State Museum of Bhubaneswar is famous for its archaeological collection and palm leaf collections. The Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) of Bhubaneswar is an Eastern regional centre of the National Museum of Natural History. The Regional Science Center of Bhubaneswar aims to expose science to kids. An Odissi Museum and a Handloom and Handicrafts museum are under construction in Bhubaneswar. A record center of the National Archive, the Odisha printing museum and Odisha state archive are also located in Bhubaneswar. Smaller museums are housed at the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the Geology and Anthropology departments of Utkal University and the RD Women’s College. The twin city of Cuttack also has several museums and historical buildings. The main museums in Cuttack are the Netaji birth place Museum and the Maritime museum. The Madhusudan Museum is located in the campus of the Sailabala Women’s college. Two particular historical building complexes in Cuttack are the Swaraj ashram and the Gunanidhi Bhavan. In the outskirts of Bhubaneswar there is Khurda museum, the Folk & Tribal Art Museum at Chilika Lake, Konark Museum, Aquatic animal museum (not an aquarium) at Chandrabhaga, ASI Museum in Konark, ASI Museum in Ratnagiri, and an ASI Museum being constructed in Lalitgiri.

Monuments: Various historical monuments, some of which are temples that are currently operational abound in Bhubaneswar and its vicinity. Among them, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) ticketed monuments are Konark (a world heritage site), Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves, Rajarani temple, and the Buddhist Mahavihara sites of Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri. The operational temples include Mukteswar temple, Lingaraj Temple, 64 Yoginis temple, Kedar Gauri Temple, Parasurameswara Temple, Brahmeshwara Temple, Vaital Deul Temple, Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Kapilesvara Temple and the Sri Jagannath Temple (Puri). Other important monuments in Bhubaneswar include, Dhauli hills, the Ashokan rock edict, and the ruined fortification of Shisupalgarh (5th century BC). Among these, the Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, and Udayagiri Buddhist sites are more recent excavations with some ongoing excavations. The Archaeological Survey of India Brochure made available at the Archaeological Musuem at Ratnagiri, says the following: “Extensive excavations conducted at the site by the Archaeological Survey of India between 1958 and 1961 have brought to light remains of a Buddhist establishment consisting of stupas, monastic complexes and temples hitherto unparalleled in Orissa and comparable to the well known Buddhist site at Nalanda.” Debala Mitra, ASI Director general between 1975-1983, in her book, Buddhist Monuments says in Page 226-227: “Ratnagiri-mahavihara … It played a significant role in disseminating Buddhist culture and religion forming itself, like Nalanda, an important religious and philosophical academy, to which flocked the entrants and scholars to take lessons from the intellectual stalwarts of Buddhism. … Indeed, excavations have revealed that here was an establishment that can be compared with that of Nalanda. In the overwhelming number of portable monolithic stupas Ratnagiri can compete even with Bodh-Gaya.” In her book Ratnagiri, she says in Page 152, “Monastery 1 … Not a single monastery of Nalanda, which has yielded so far the largest number of spectacular structural monasteries , can compete with this one in respect of embellishment.

Sports venues and Stadiums: The greater Bhubaneswar area has two major sports complexes: The Kalinga stadium complex in Bhubaneswar and the Barabati stadium complex in Cuttack. The Kalinga stadium complex in Bhubaneswar has facilities for athletics, soccer, field hockey, basketball, tennis, table tennis and swimming. It has a 8-lane synthetic athletics track, a sports hostel, gymnasium and two new olympic standard pink and blue hockey turf. It is the home field for the Hockey India League team Kalinga Lancers. It hosted the 2014 Men's Hockey Champions Trophy and is expected to host part of the 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup. Kalinga Stadium hosts the Govt. College of Physical Education. While an indoor stadium is under construction at the Kalinga stadium complex, ECOR has built one with playing area of 864 square meters (36m x 24m) that can accommodate 1,720 spectators. The Barabati stadium complex in Cuttack hosts the Odisha Cricket Academy and has an Indoor Hall, a Swimming Pool, a Gym, a Basketball complex, and Tennis courts. It has hosted Cricket Test matches, One day internationals, 20-20 international matches, and IPL matches. It hosted several games of the 2013 Women's Cricket World Cup matches. The SAI Water Sports Complex in Jagatpur, Cuttack is a premier Rowing facility. The Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium in Cuttack has a capacity of 5,626 spectators. Bhubaneswar and its vicinity has several other cricket grounds such as ones at ECOR, KIIT and DRIEMS. Besides the outdoor ground that has hosted Ranji cricket matches, KIIT University has the Biju Patnaik Indoor stadium with facilities for indoor games such as table tennis and badminton. Both the state of Odisha and Sports Authority of India have established several sports hostels and centers of excellence in specific sports in greater Bhubaneswar. Athletes and sports persons from Odisha have excelled in Rugby, Men’s and Women’s Hockey, Rowing, Surfing, Athletics, Weightlifting, Women’s football, and Chess. Bhubaneswar has a golf course located near the Infocity.

Volunteering: Volunteerism and social service is an active aspect of the people of Bhubaneswar. Two special and non-political volunteer groups and activities that stand out are the Bakul foundation and the Bhubaneswar Bird walking and Birding groups. The Bakul Foundation started as an effort to build a community library and space for kids and has since then developed several such libraries. It has attracted youngsters from Bhubaneswar to volunteer and organize socially conscious events in education, arts and environment. The Bhubaneswar bird walking group recently completed its 50th bird walk and has led to a huge group of birding fans who regularly bird in Bhubaneswar and beyond. Their activity has led to the recorded sighting of the Pale capped pigeon which was never sighted in the past in this part of the country. A recent volunteer group STOPP-US is also doing a lot of good activities (cleaning walls and painting them, tree plantation, etc.) in Bhubaneswar. Interesting one-off volunteering efforts (that one may consider repeating) include the 34th Street Store, first Street Store in India.

Media: Greater Bhubaneswar has a vibrant media of all forms, newspapers, magazines, TV stations and radio. What makes the media in Bhubaneswar special is the presence of country’s second Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Dhenkanal, in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar and many other good schools in journalism and mass communication. Media persons trained from these institutions can be found at a disproportionately high percentage in the major media outlets and metros of the country. A large number of newspapers are published from Bhubaneswar-Cuttack. This includes Odia papers such as Sambada, Dharitri, Samaja, Pragativadi, Prameya, and Samaya; local English papers such as Odisha Sun Times and Odisha Post; and local editions of national news papers such as Times of India, Telegraph, New Indian Express and Daily Pioneer. The top e-newspapers are and

Law and Order: The Bhubaneswar-Cuttack area is among the most peaceful urban areas of the country and it is well supported by the Police Commisionerate of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack which uses several innovative methods in maintaining law and order. Recently they have developed an Android App to get quickly connected to the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police. As a testament to the peaceful nature of Odisha in general and greater Bhubaneswar in particular, when the BCCI and ICC were worried about Pakistan’s matches in the womens’ world-cup final in 2013, they were shifted to Cuttack.

5. Other Information Sources: Bhubaneswar Buzz with presence in the web, Facebook, twitter, flipboard and instagram is a good source of additional information on Bhubaneswar and Odisha. Odishalinks-Odishagrowth with presence in the web (a bit old), Facebook and Twitter is another source of information. In particular, the Facebook albums index is a good resource. 101 Bhubaneswar is a good source of pictures and lists and has presence in the web and Facebook. The Stunning Bhubaneswar Facebook page also has beautiful pictures of Bhubaneswar. Odisha Tourism is very active in its Twitter account. IBEF has doing business slides on Odisha from 2012. IDCO, IPICOL and TeamOdisha are Odisha government sites relevant to investing in Odisha. IPICOL’s recent presentation to attract investment from Taiwan is a useful one. Couple of useful slides at Slideshare are: Real Estate Bhubaneswar and Invest Bhubaneswar.






Copyright: Chitta Baral; Last updated: Jan 20, 2015