February 8, 2014

Biju Pattnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar

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Airports are the first receiving points for tourists travelling by air into any country, state or city. It is rightly said thus, that the state of the airports determine the 'welcome' experience for especially the foreign tourists. Whether that experience turns out to be 'welcoming' or not, forms the first impressions of the country/state/city in the minds of the visitors.

In the country of 'Atithi Devo Bhava' or 'Visitor/Guest is like God', !ncredible !ndia must pay special attention towards building top class airports connecting all states of the country, to welcome her Guests
in the best way possible. We have made great progress in this direction no doubt, especially since the last six years or so, when swanky and colossal world-class airports have come up not just in Tier-I
cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad etc. in PPP mode but also in Tier-II cities like Nagpur, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and so on. [Report: In the last five years, AAI has developed and upgraded 58 airports, including 35 non-metroairports.]

Here I embark on a journey to tell U what makes the new terminal of Bhubaneswar Airport inaugurated on 5th March 2013 quite a charming and admirable place as well as in what sense it remains wanting- by solving which it will become truly world-class!
- Wide & separate/dedicated entry & exit roads makes travelling to and from the airport very fast and convenient.
- The Airport's exterior boasts of extremely well maintained lawns and flower-plants which fills the heart with happiness! Sure it's a ravishing sight! All flowers in full bloom too this time of the year!






- Our Indian flag flying high at the front fills me with pride!


- The lush green of the airport's lawns as one walks down till the parked cars simply makes me revel in joy! You can again spot the line of beautiful potted plants in front!


- I love these circular patterns of multi-coloured flowers...so refreshing! These occur throughout the lawns and give a beautiful feeling to the beholder!


- I don't have snaps of the Airport's inside, but I can tell you that it is lavishly done with huge Pipli applique lamps hanging, beautiful typical Odisha stone carving of a dancer in the common area, glass elevators, shops selling jewellery, Odisha Govt's textile shops, a few great eateries. The surprise was the first floor of the security check area. As I had time, I visited it and was happy to find it almost empty even though the ground floor of security check area was packed with people and many were actually standing too! I sat like a Queen there and could make some phonecalls in absolute peace! Being adventurous provides its own luxuries too, you see! Roaming around there, I found eateries, a spa, textile and handicrafts shop and- yes, a smoking zone. I didn't like this zone as it was just a part of the larger hall- open and smelling like a house on fire! Some sort of enclosure around might have helped.

- Now if you enter the airport to see your friends/relatives off then you have to pay Rs.50 for about two hours. Then you have lots to do inside as you can go to the viewing gallery, browse around the shops, have food or bookworms can head for the bookstore! The viewing gallery is spacious. However, the eatery just adjacent to it is too much in a corner and barely gets business. The owner hinted he would not renew the contract as he was making a loss. Maybe this area can be converted into office rooms for airlines in future, and the rooms now showing up as office rooms should be converted to eateries selling light Odia snacks (yummy food like chaat, gupchup, dahibara aludam etc.! I for sure will buy if I'm visiting there!)/shops of handicrafts or tribal-ware marketed by OTELP (Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme) as these rooms are easily in sight as soon as people climb up the stairs to head towards the viewing gallery.

- Systemic deficiencies remain- such as luggage being loaded slowly on the belts even if there's only a single flight to be attended to. Also, trolleys remain stranded and quick service to take them to the side would give a better experience- both inside and outside the airport. Trolley collection points or presence of collectors of trolleys where guests wait for their cars will be better, as now stranded trolleys lead to impatient drivers honking car horns at the poor passengers at front!

Now that Biju Pattnaik Airport has been accorded status of International Airport and trial runs are to start soon (in March first week itself to Dubai and Kuala Lumpur) Odisha has no looking back! Bright days for Odisha Tourism are ahead, as visitors can flock to experience Odisha's pristine beaches, exquisite temples, awesome wildlife, beautiful dances, mind-blowing crafts, superb Buddhist 'Diamond Triangle' of Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udaygiri in Jajpur District where International Buddhist Conference was held recently and so on!

Buddhism in Odisha
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This yet undiscovered land of magnificent beauty- Odisha- will get some of its due, yet a lot remains to be done to connect the rest of Odisha's cities. More airports in Odisha are the crying need of the hour to boost tourism as only one airport, albeit international, will not suffice!

Still, full operation of International Airport in Odisha is a much needed step. Once implemented in Bhubaneswar, I won't again have to see 'Nearest International Airport is Kolkata, 375 kms from...' when I google searched 'International Surf Festival 2014' recently! For 2015 edition of this festival, I hope to see my city Bhubaneswar instead, as the 'nearest international airport' from Puri at just 60 km! This year's festival is the Third International Surf Festival to be held at Puri and Konark, Odisha from 14-16 Feb 2014...gonna be great fun! Chked it out yet?! Do make it if you can to have the best time of your lives! Also Nabakalebar Festival (in which the old idols of the deities at Puri- Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra is replaced by new ones) is coming up in 2015 at Puri, which last occurred in 1996  and is expected to be a mega-event to be attended by over 50 lakh devotees from around the world. Hence, international operations at Bhubaneswar's Biju Pattnaik Airport are kicking in at the right time!

I just made you fall more in love with Odisha in general and Bhubaneswar's Biju Pattnaik Airport in particular with my bird's eye-view! So it's time for you to book an air ticket to the Land of Jagannath- Odisha! (Train ticket, bus ticket, road trips etc. too! Stress on air ticket is purely due to the nature and focus of my article! :D)

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The Land of serene, sublime, splendid and pristine beauty- Odisha- beckons you! :)
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22 comments:

  1. Very nice with apt pics too, Amrita.
    You have suggested great steps too that I hope are implemented soon. Our Airports must present the best that the State has to offer. State Government shops selling local food & wares will be so welcome.
    You have presented a complete Airport review :)
    Wish you had also taken the pics of the interior of the Airport with the colorful Pipili handicrafts displayed.
    I guess you can do so next month when the Bhubaneswar Airport becomes an International one!
    It surely deserves a world-class airport & other infrastructure facilities as the Temple City is the gateway to several International events held every year.

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    1. Thanks a lot Anita for your detailed comment! Even I hope that after next month when International flights would be truly operating, I get to take pics of the interior of our gorgeous airport! :D

      Yes the Temple City of Bhubaneswar is itself expanding at a rapid pace & is the gateway to several festivals like Konark Dance Fest, Rath Yatra, Sand Art Fest, Dhanu Yatra etc. & to awesome & scenic beauty that Odisha has to offer!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Ranjan for reading and putting in your comment! :) Do keep frequenting my blog for more good posts..:) Thanks again!

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  3. a beautifully presented, detailed analysis Amrita ! great work ! :) A write up on one of the topics mentioned here , the International Buddhist conference held recently, would be great!

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    1. Hey thanks a lot Shashwat! Well I only wish I could actually attend that conference...then I would surely have written a post dedicated to it! :) Thanks for your encouragement and suggestion! Keep it coming! :D

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  4. Complete analysis of the airport. Thanks for the detailed analysis Amrita. Its good to see that our airports are getting revamped. Thanks to the efforts that AAI is taking. I hope soon Indian Railways too learn from these efforts so that our railway stations are also better.
    As you said these are some of the entry points to a country and we need to showcase ourselves, our culture and our traditions through these entry points. This will ensure that the tourists or whoever coming to our country gets the feeling of India at the starting itself. Thereby we can change the entire bad perspectives about our country.

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    1. Thanks a lot Krishna! U r absolutely right. Well-begun is half done! 'Entry points' experience is very important & investment to make these better (airports, railway stations etc.) gives tangible & intangible returns to Incredible !ndia!

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  5. thanks for detailed post
    the pics are mersmerising

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    1. Hey thanks so much Zooni! Glad U liked the post & pics! :)

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  6. Great overview has been shown of the Indian city where there are many more improvements to come, it's nice to know that efforts have also been made for the airports. Cheap car parking Gatwick is there to update you with the modern trends, make yourself a part of ti every time you travell and get your car parked at the London Gatwick.

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    1. Thanks Jenna! Welcome 2 my blog & I also welcome U 2 d beautiful city of Bhubaneswar! Do come! :D

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  7. Your service blog is really useful for us. Thanks for sharing this informative blog..

    Heathrow airport car services

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    1. Thanks Rebeka! Do keep visiting my blog more often! :)

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  8. The airport looks green and clean which makes it quit attractive. i hope it stays that way and keeps attracting more and more passengers. meet and greet parking Gatwick

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    1. Thanks Carla! I share your concern too! :)

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  9. I agree that if the tourism gets the boost this airport will not be able to handle all the passengers alone. gatwick valet parking

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    1. Thanks a lot Perry! U r absolutely right! :)

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  10. Thanks for writing about Biju Pattnaik International airport. Whether you are in Bhubaneswar for business or leisure, take your pick from various available hotels in Bhubaneswar near airport based on your budget and preferences and enjoy your stay in “The Temple City of India”!

    ReplyDelete

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