Several places around Bhubaneswar can be easily visited as a day-trip. Fifteen minutes by auto-rickshaw out of the centre, the second-century BC caves at Khandagiri and Udaigiri offer a glimpse of the region’s history prior to the rise of Hinduism. Dhauli, just off the main road to Puri, boasts an even older monument: a rock edict dating from the Mauryan era, commemorating the battle of c.260 BC that gave emperor Ashoka control of the eastern seaports, and thus enabled his missionaries to export the state religion across Asia. Pipli, 20km south, is famous for its appliqué work and colourful lampshades.

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