Bhubaneshwar is considered to be one of the cheapest capitals in the world. However living in the capital city is still too expensive for people who have come here from all over the state. Many people have grumbled about increased rent and food prices and they would be right; it is far cheaper to live in any other city in Odisha than in Bhubaneshwar. But that is the cost of living close to the place where decisions are made. So how do we live in the city with limited means?
I do not profess to have a comprehensive idea of how prices and rent vary in the city, but I have a lot of friends. So I asked them and got some answers. It was not surprising, seeing that I have lived here on and off for about 2 years and I do have some ideas but it was satisfying to get corroborating data.
This guide is both for the single professional coming to the city for a job as well as for families looking for cheap accommodation. The needs of both groups are different but there are some commonalities. To draw parallels, we live a 15 minute’s drive outside the city proper, where rent is cheaper and places bigger; the downside being that anyone with a job inside the city itself would be in for a long drive. I’ll assume that anyone moving in would want to be closer to their workplace.
The cheapest rents for single professionals can be found in Patia, Nayapalli and Pokhariput, mostly as paying guests. Apartments for rent would be cheap in Rasulgarh and Jaydev Vihar if one does not mind roommates. It is advisable to shop around for offers a few months in advance and reserve a flat before you arrive in the city.
For families, the ideal locations would be Pokhariput, Laxmi Sagar and Patia. These places have schools in relatively close location, a market nearby and easy access to public transport. Sadly, playgrounds are in short supply in the city but if you get a place in a gated community, there are playing spaces for children inside the compound.
Food and Necessities
It is easy to find food in the city with food delivery available from various mobile apps like Zomato and Swiggy. Local roadside eateries also cater to the professional who has little time to cook his/her own meal. But if you want to save money, the better idea would be to cook your own.
The best place to get ingredients on the cheap is No. 1 Market in Bapujinagar, where vegetable prices can drop very low in the evenings. Assuming you commute to the city center for work, the best practice would be to visit here after your day is over and buy everything you need for a whole week.
There are departmental stores like Big Bazaar and Reliance Fresh scattered around the city for those in need of other necessities and also corner stores on every street. Most gated communities have markets in relative proximity.
Ideally you would have your own vehicle if you plan to commute daily to work. However in the interest of saving money, public transport is there to save the day. City buses ply on established routes to all major localities at regular intervals. The cities of Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Khorda and Puri are interconnected by the MO BUS network which means a standardized bus fare for both AC and non AC buses based on distance travelled. More details on bus routes and fares is available at https://www.capitalregiontransport.in/
Last year, a cycling initiative called MO CYCLE was launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with dedicated cycling lanes on major roads and bicycles for the public. The details are in the link above.
For those who need transportation to locations where the buses do not ply, taxi and autorickshaws are available at major intersections. Mobile apps can also be used to hail taxis anywhere in the city.
How to Search?
I used websites as well as local knowledge to search for the ideal place to rent. Many places listed on websites turned out to be not suitable or even filled up before I could call in. The best idea turned out to be asking locals for recommendations and following up on them by calls and visits. This would take some time, so you would be best served by preparing beforehand. The sites I used were
This is not an exhaustive list, but just what I can remember on top of my head. My recommendation is to leverage any local source you can find, as they would usually have more up to date information.
Whatever the reason for residing in the city, you do not have to live miserably when in a small budget. Bhubaneshwar is a big city, with opportunities hiding in every corner. You just have to be a little patient and diligent in exploring your options when looking for a place to live.
I hope you found this post useful. See you again soon.