The key to an uncluttered mind and soul lies in doing the simple things regularly, like taking a ride early in the morning, venturing on a trip outdoors, even before one has hit the day. Truly, these are moments of bliss! Someone who has grown up in the warmer climate of the twin-cities would share the same opinion that the cool breeze of the morning is a thing not to miss out. The fresh air of the day and the nostalgic places in and around the twin cities will leave you amazed.
Here are few places, where no matter what, all you need to do is to stop thinking, and just head along, straight from the bed!
Above and beyond the frenzied city- Dhauli Hill-top
Beyond the frenzy of the capital city, lying south of Bhubaneswar, the low hills & Buddhist stupa at Dhauli provides just the early morning perspective one is looking for. Take your time out to sit by the Guardian Lion’s side on the parapet of the monument and look beyond the expanding countryside. The place that changed Emperor Asoka could very well do a thing or two to your soul.
Why: One of the earliest messages of peace & kindness reverberates from the Asokan rock edicts at Dhauli hills while an old calmness prevails in these hilltops.
The reminder of eternal things – Khandagiri Caves
A small motley of natural and man-made caves stand divided on two adjoining hills-Khandagiri & Udaygiri (the Sunrise hill). A climb up the stones takes you to the vantage point from where you see the fast expanding smart city in morning light. The group of resident monkeys will definitely accompany you. The 36 existing caves bear the signs of antiquity in a historical and spiritual way that retain its essence even today.
Why-Because these caves transport you back in time in middle of expanding concrete of smart city and the sunrise atop Udaygiri looks ethereal.
Charm of the occult- Chausathi Yogini,Hirapur
A short drive outside the city limits take you to the quaint little village of Hirapur. Just near the village pond and lush green paddy fields, stands the mysterious shrine of 64 Yoginis which are sculpted from black granite and display a range of emotions including rage, fear, love, compassion etc. And in the middle stands Kali in all her ferociousness. There is a strange mystery and charm around the temple as the hamlet wakes up to a quite and beautiful morning near the pond reflecting the golden sunlight across the palm trees, lining the horizon.
Why: Since Yogini shrines are rare and mysterious in themselves as well, as to stand in the middle of green paddy fields at morning is rejuvenating, to say the least!
Lyric of the river banks – Cuttack
In the millennium city of Cuttack, a walk along the river banks is punctuated by the musical lyrics of water with sounds of birds flocking the delta of Mahanadi and Kathajori. Cuttack is a rare city, sitting on the delta, almost below water level. To get to know the river up close and personal, take a morning trip down to various nodal points-Jobra Barrage, Naraj or the 11th century engineering marvel of the Stone Revetments at Link Road.
Why: Nothing better to soothe a troubled mind as along the banks of a river with birds for company.
The solitude on the island-Dhabaleswar/Cuttack
For once forget the well-known hanging bridge on Mahanadi and take an early morning boat ride from Bidanasi, Cuttack. The country boat takes you to the island of Dhabaleswar named after the temple of Shiva situated there. As the boat drops you on the wet banks, take a leisurely stroll around the backyards which is full of quiet and serene woods. Don’t forget to sit on the ghats of the island to watch life and activity come abuzz on the hanging bridge and around the shrine. The sound of early morning perfectly complements the solitude that this place offers.
Why: Because you have been to an island and back, even before your breakfast and working day is to begin.
Call of the breaking waves-Marine Drive/Konark
As the orange sun rises over the misty horizons of Bay of Bengal, few fishermen cast their nets on the shallow beaches for crabs and the odd fish. And you suddenly realize why we call them Golden beaches; the waves turn glittering gold in the morning sun rays and the sound they echo around the coast is magical to the point of being therapeutic for the soul. If you have your senses tuned right, you smell the sea differently at break of a new day. Just pick yourself up before sunrise & head straight to the stretch of Marine Drive between Konark and Puri(via the newly built flyover at Malatipatpur on the BBSR-Puri highway).
Why: Because why settle for anything less when you have the golden beaches of east coast in your neighbourhood.
So while you plan to travel around the world, don’t forget to soak in the charms of the neighbourhood that you can visit. The early morning mischief rekindles the tired mind and more than anything, it lends a perspective on the day at hand.