Puri – Number 1 Spiritual Getaway; A Beach Destination
Puri, an important pilgrimage site for the Hindus, is situated along Bay of Bengal in Odisha at a drive of around two hours from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of the state. A renowned place for the Vaishnavites, Puri is famous for the annual Rath Yatra when pilgrims flock from across the country to take part in it. Puri, also close to Konark and Chilka Lake, is quite popular among tourists even for its beaches and local markets that buzz year-round. With a number of hotels and other tourist accommodation types, Puri and surrounding areas have a number of attractions to keep the tourists engaged. No wonder Puri, Konark and Bhubaneswar is together called Golden Triangle of Odisha.
Odiya, Hindi, English
How to Reach
Puri is a major railway junction and is well connected by train to most major cities of India. It is just around two hours drive from Bhubaneswar, which, in turn, is connected by major highways to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and all other places in India.
Nearest airport for Puri is Bhubaneswar which has direct flight connections to almost all major cities like New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, Ranchi, among others. It also has international operations to Malaysia and Thailand,
Places to visit
First and foremost place to see in Puri is obviously Jagannath Temple, which was built in the late 11th Century by the Eastern Ganga ruler Ananta Varman ChodaGanga Deva. Besides this, there are other prominent temples in Puri and around. Gundicha Temple, Loknath Temple are in Puri city itself, while UNESCO World Heritage site listed Konark Sun temple is nearly 36km from Puri. Sakshi Gopal Temple, situated some 20km from main Puri city, is also important from religious point of view.
Puri is known for its beaches. Puri beach attracts a number of tourists, but there are other nice beaches in and around Puri. Golden Beach is one such beach. It is located at a distance of 20 kms from Puri on a little diversion on the highway leading to Konark. This beach is free from Pilgrims and is mostly free from crowd. Another one is Baliharachandi Beach, a much quieter and offbeat alternative to Puri Beach. This lies between Puri and Konark. Chandrabhaga beach in Konark is also around 32km from Puri. Astaranga Beach, situated some 61km from Puri is a beautiful beach to explore. Astaranga, meaning “colourful sunset”, is a magnificent beach is famous for the picturesque views that it provides during the sunset.
Puri is famous for its crafts village Raghurajpur. This village is home to amazing Pattachitra paintings, as well as other art forms like palm leaf engraving, wood and stone carvings. The village is also home to Gotipua folk dance style, said to be the predecessor of Odissi, a famous classical dance style of India. Gotipua is unique as even lady characters are played by young boys. Odissi dance style poses are engraved on the temple walls of both Jagannath Temple and Konark Sun Temple.
Chilika Lake, the biggest inland salt-water lake, is situated 50 km away from Puri. The lake is a major tourist attraction of Odisha. Set amidst a beautiful landscape full of lush greenery, Chilika Lake also has beautiful islands. Nalbana Bird Sanctuary is situated on one of these isalnds - Nalbana Island. This is a refuge point for several migratory birds that flock here every year during the winter season. This attracts nature lovers, birdwatchers and photography buffs. The Sanctuary hosts as many as 181 different varieties of birds.
Puri – The Most Popular Spiritual Getaway; A Beach Destination
Puri Temple – The Number 1 attraction of Puri
Puri is one of the ‘dhams‘ where Lord Vishnu takes his meals in the form of Lord Jagannath. Jagannath Temple statues are also unique that they are made of wood and are changed every 12 years through a comprehensive ritual.
Puri is famous for the annual chariot festival (Rath Yatra) where hundreds of thousands of followers come from all over to pull the statues of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Goddess Subhadra from the main temple to their aunt’s (mausi’s) home.
Other Important Religious Places in Puri
Puri has also a number of other places of religious significance. These include Loknath Temple, Gundicha Temple, Sakshi Gopal Temple and Konark Sun Temple. Konark Sun temple is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site and attracts a number of visitors.
Puri District has some nice beaches. Best of these is Puri Beach, which is located in the town itself. It is loved by the beach lovers. A number of street food vendors line up near this beach during evenings. Besides swimming and enjoying with the waves, one can also look to do surfing, angling and boat ride.
Chandrabhaga beach in Konark is also quite regular. Tourists love enjoying in the beach here. However, tourists should be a little more cautious while taking bath here as it is considered a little dangerous for swimming. Enjoy nice cool breeze on this beach drinking tasty coconut water.
Golden beach is another famous beach in Puri district. This is some 20km from the town. This is located on a little diversion on the highway leading to Konark. It is a laid back beach away from the clamour of of the city. The beach has a peaceful environment with only the crashing of sea waves to provide you company.
Swargdwar beach is also in the town itself, adjacent to Puri beach. The beach runs along the main Marine Drive of Puri, right next to the Swargadwar Crematorium.
It is believed that Lord Jagannath entered from heaven on to the earth at this beach only. Souls of people cremated in Swargdwar are also assumed to reach heaven directly. The beach is dotted with numerous stalls selling local handmade products, seashells, and fashion accessories.