This was my first visit to Bhubaneswar and since everything was new, I opted to stay at a hotel group I was familiar with. Kamat Hotels (India) Limited is the only group to have properties in all three places namely Bhubaneswar, Konark and Puri which form the golden triangle of Orissa. I chose VITS Bhubaneswar which is a unit of Kamat Hotels (India) Limited. This time too the staff of the chain of luxury business hotels which comprise of VITS didn’t let me down. Despite arriving at 4.30 am, my chauffeur was already there to greet me with a warm smile. Now that’s a good way to be welcomed early in the morning. Ditto for the front office staff. A smiling welcome coupled with efficiency made my stay at VITS Bhubaneswar memorable.
The hotel has won the Certificate of excellence by Trip Advisor for 2014 and 2015. Subrat Dash, General Manager, VITS Bhubaneswar adds, “Our USP is our location. We are a mere 1.5 kms from the railway station and 4.5 kms from the airport. While the city centre is 1.5 kms away, Cuttack is at a distance of 20 kms on the National Highway. This makes us a convenient hotel for transit journeys.”
Accommodation is divided into 4 categories- 39 Executive Rooms, 11 Deluxe Rooms, 3 Superior Rooms and 2 Suites all with state of the art facilities and amenities. The swimming pool has an attached baby pool. The gym is next to the pool. For me apart from the location and hospitable staff, it was the food at VITS Bhubaneswar which was the high point. There are 3 food and beverage outlets at the hotel. While The Sizzle is a multi cuisine restaurant, Behind Bars offers a wide range of international and domestic alcohol and beverages. The Sizzle is open 24 hours. Ek pe ek is a fabulous food offer at the restaurant where you get ‘take one and get one free on buffet’. Currently the Sigdi food festival is on. Since I had never sampled Odia cuisine before, I asked for it and was delighted with what I ate.
If Kalara Sorisha (bitter gourd stuffed with mustard paste and potato and grilled on a tawa) perfectly balanced the bitterness of the bitter gourd with the potato then the Tomato Chutney and Dahi Baingan ( brinjal fried and dipped in curd) were a burst of yummy tanginess. Steamed Rice with Dalma (veggies cooked with dal), Sazana Sorisha Besara (drumsticks cooked in mustard paste) were delicious. For dessert, I relished Chhena Poda which is a traditional steam cake of cottage cheese. Other recommended dishes include Machha Besara (fish cooked in mustard base gravy), Kukeeda Jhola (chicken cooked in thin spicy gravy with potato), Patra Poda (mashed fish cooked in charcoal and wrapped in banana leaf), Manja Rai (banana stem cooked in mustard sauce) and Kadali Bhanda Masala (banana flower cooked in spices).
Their third outlet, Vithal Kamats Original Family Restaurant is a vegetarian food lovers’ paradise. This restaurant serves both north Indian and south Indian food be it snacks, thali or a’ la carte for lunch and dinner. The thali is a delicious must eat and consists of 15 dishes. For snacks, try the wada which is a specialty of the restaurant. Made with maida and besan it is served with a sweet and spicy sauce. Once you eat here, you will agree with the restaurants tagline of ‘Achha hai, sachha hai’.
Emerald, Ruby and Topaz are the hotel’s banquet halls with a theatre style capacity of 150, 100 and 50 people respectively. These banquet halls are a popular wedding venue in Bhubaneswar and VITS is a well known wedding destination. Even small get togethers are organized at the hotel which is preferred not just by business travelers but also by families and leisure tourists. The reason for this is that they get 4 star facilities and are made to feel extremely comfortable. Business guests choose VITS Bhubaneswar as it has efficient facilities like high speed Wi- Fi, a business centre, banquet and well equipped conference halls.
If like me, you visit Bhubaneswar for a holiday then you will be spoilt for sightseeing options. While the temples of the capital of Orissa are resounding with devotion, their architecture will make you gasp with amazement. Lingaraj Temple, Rameshwar or Mausi Maa Temple, Megheswar Temple, Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Siddheshwar Temple and Raja Rani Temple are some of the famous temples of Bhubaneswar which is known as a temple city. In some of the temples, only Hindus are allowed entry. Udayagiri and Khandagiri are twin hills which contain 33 rock cut caves belonging to 2nd century B.C.
Nandankanan Zoological Park attracts visitors not only for its zoo but also its safari where you can get to spot tiger, lion, bears and deer. If you love nature then drive to the State Botanical Garden and Regional Plant Resource Centre which has a number of botanical gardens and parks on its premises. Spend time in the evolution garden, heritage garden, Buddha park, medicinal garden, Japanese garden, orchid house where you can see a variety of orchids in bloom, mughal garden, bougainvillea garden, rose garden, butterfly park, palm garden, hibiscus garden, cactus garden and bonsai gallery.
At Dhauli Hills, is the World Peace Pagoda which has anecdotes from Buddha’s life. Behind the Pagoda is the temple of Dhavaleswar. Dhauli Hills are associated with the Kalinga War and drive to Ashoka’s Rock Edits where the elephant sculpted in rock is believed to be the oldest of its kind in India. Hirapur has the Chausath Yogini Temple which is dedicated to the 64 yoginis. There are four such Yogini temples in India.
For shopping and souvenirs, there is Ekamra Haat selling handicrafts of Orissa. Or you could visit Pipli a few kilometers from Bhubaneswar to buy appliqué work which is done on bags, bed sheets, lampshades and umbrellas.
A/19, Cuttack-Puri Road,
Near Jatri Niwas,
Tel- 0674 6601075