A city that never says NO to South Indian delicacies at any point of time, a city whose residents regularly follow the “early to bed and early to rise” pattern of sleep, where spiciness in food is a common thing and where the real rejuvenating point lies in its several nearby golden beaches. Yes, we are talking of nothing else but the Silk City, Berhampur; one of the oldest and largest cities in the Ganjam district of Odisha.
Being the domicile to varieties of silk sarees along with a sweet mixture of Eastern & South Indian cultures that make Berhampur a foodie’s paradise, the city has got even much more to offer than just these highlights. Thus, we bring forth few distinctive features that sets Berhampur completely apart, in all the great ways!
1) Achar, Papad & Badi
This trio is enough to speak for itself for when it comes to describing the food area of expertise, Berhampur’s achar, papad and badis showcase the unique specialty, making them rule the whole nation with their taste. These three give away such a wonderful flavour to the mouth that it is liked by the folks of Odisha at any and every point of time. What makes this traditional cuisine even more rich is the fact that it is prepared from local ingredients by the local inhabitants themselves!
2) Shopping & Marketing
When it comes to shopping in Berhampur, a huge crowd is seen moving to and fro around one of the oldest markets in town. Annapurna market, being the busiest of them all, is the place where the whole city throngs to find their necessary accessories at any point of time. This also happens to be the only market where shops remain open till late night and even on Sundays. Badabazar, on the other side, is a famous wholesale market for ages. Starting from grocery to vegetables and cloth materials, Badabazar happens to be the bottom root of trading for cities in South Odisha. Buyers from within and outside Ganjam district come here frequently for their purchasing!
3) Girija Pakoda
Call it the KFC of Berhampur or its lip-smacking destination, Girija Restaurant, one of the oldest restaurants in Odisha, is a brand in itself for its all time famous Chicken Pakoda. The pakoda available at this particular joint is one of those cuisines of Berhampur which can never suffice for the delectable appetite of the people. Such is its popularity that according to locals, your trip to Berhampur stays incomplete if you haven’t tasted the Chicken Pakoda at this popular eatery.
4) Ganesh Market
And when it comes to buying or looking for varieties in electronics, the place to visit is Ganesh Market. Found in the Sana Bazaar of Berhampur, Ganesh Market is famous all over Odisha for the extremely affordable pricing and enormous availability of electronic gadgets especially the made in China stuffs. Inside the complex, you can find more than 100 shops selling varieties of electronic gadgets starting from mobile phones to computers, cameras, video games and many more. It won’t be wrong if we say that the ultimate Geek’s Zone is around this place.
5) Puri & Upma Combination
Puri with Upma! Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well guess what! The staple food of the people of Berhampur is none other than the delectable combination of freshly prepared puri along with the added flavors of upma served alongside. While some consume it by breaking the crunchy puri into small pieces and then garnishing it on top of the upma, others prefer having it the way it’s served. Along with these two, a tangy tasting curry is also served to match the levels and create a heavenly zest in one’s taste buds. We bet you won’t find a single Berhampuria who has ever said no to Puri -Upma.
6) Pidha Hotel
This is the only ‘hotel’ in the city that has kept alive the traditional custom of sitting on the wooden planks or pidha while having food. You can find its entire set up done in a traditional way. While pidhas make up for the sitting arrangement, the food is served on leaf plates to the customers. People from all over the state come here to have this unique experience and indulge in the delectable taste of mutton curry along with the savoring taste of charu and other traditional dishes prepared here.
7) Rama Lingam Tank
Located on the west of the city’s old bus stand, this tank makes up for one of the most populated places here. People from various age groups are seen sitting on the banks of the huge Rama Lingam Tank enjoying the cool breeze during evenings. Also Lord Hanuman’s temple is situated nearby, which attracts the denizens because of the huge idol built therein. That apart, the Calcutta Roll Counter right in front of the Rama Lingam Tank happens to be a favorite place of the locals for its super delicious chicken and egg rolls!
8) South Indian Delicacies
Being the border city nearest to Andhra Pradesh, the cuisine of Berhampur is mainly influenced by Southern India. Be it idly, sambar, dosa, vada or any other south Indian cuisine, you can easily find an array of South Indian delicacies readily available at any point of time in this city. Further depicting the preference of South Indian cuisine among the locals here is the famous ‘charu’ or ‘charupani’. The denizens believe ‘charupani’ elevates the taste of dishes even more and is thus considered to be an essential part of the traditional meal of residents here!
9) Thakurani Yatra
This noted festival of the city takes place in order to honor the region’s presiding deity, Maa Budhi Thakurani. Considered as one of the major festivals in the city, it takes place biennially (once in two years). During this yatra, the whole city is agog with activities leading to welcoming Goddess Budhi Thakurani into her temporary abode at late night. Giant images of different Gods and Goddesses along with the mythic figures displayed in several decorated chariots amidst the other lively acts are the other attraction of this festival!
10) The SILK
Since ages, Berhampuri sarees are a big hit and the reason this city is named as the Silk City is because of its intricately designed silk sarees and handloom cloth. The best thing to shop from here is the famous Berhampuri Patta sarees that are gracefully designed by the expert weavers of the city. Apart from this particular variant, one can also buy the wonderful hand woven khadi silk sarees found in the shops located at the Old Bus Stand area. The intricate work these weavers put in while crafting this sarees is truly amazing.
Home to several theatres actively running today, Berhampur happens to be the birth place of cinema halls in Odisha. Sri Sitaram Vilas Talkies (SSVT) established in 1927 at Berhampur, was the first cinema hall of Odisha. The people of Berhampur even today have a special craze towards watching movie in theaters and the city at today’s date boasts about 6 theatres where apart from Ollywood and Bollywood even South Indian flicks get equal releases, especially in Shiva & Shakti cinema halls.