Odisha, the state that stretches on the eastern fringe of India and hugs the coastline of the Bay of Bengal is an intricate mosaic of history, culture, and natural beauty. Bhubaneshwar, the capital of the state is the central point to launch one’s explorations of this fascinating state. While Bhubaneshwar itself has many treasures waiting to be discovered, there are many places like Puri, Konark, Chilka Lake and others that make for excellent day trips from here. When you are in Bhubaneshwar, a one-day trip to the temple city of Puri, situated right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal is a must visit.
Puri is about 69 kilometres from Bhubaneshwar and the drive takes about one and a half hours away. It is an interesting drive that will take you through a small town called Pipli. Pipli is a town that is known for its local handicrafts and these can be seen and bought in the colourful shops that line streets. Pipli is known for its colourful Applique handicrafts. Applique fabrics are made by sewing pieces of cloth of different colours, shapes, and designs onto another larger piece to result in a fabric of intricate needlework. A stop at Pipli on the way to Puri is definitely going to be a colourful experience.
Puri offers many fun-filled experiences. Let’s take a look at some of them.
What Awaits you in Puri?
Jagannath Puri Temple
This temple which traces its origins to the 12th century and beyond is one of the most sacred temples for Hindus. It is one of the four temples in the four directions that are considered auspicious and sacred by the Hindus. The others are Badrinath in the north, Rameshwaram in the south, and Rameshwaram in the south. The temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath who is a form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra or Chariot festival that attracts people in thousands. An interesting fact is that the English word Juggernaut owns its origins to Jagannath and is associated with the wooden chariot which is pulled by devotees. The temple is not only a place of worship and sacred to the Hindus, but many myths and mysteries are associated with the temple. Some of these amazing trivia about the Jagannath Temple are as under:
- The flag that flies atop the temple always flies in a direction which is opposite to that of the wind.
- No birds fly in the vicinity of the temple around the Gopuram
- The quantity of food cooked in the temples kitchens is always constant and in spite of there being a huge variance in the number of visitors, there is never any wastage or shortage of food.
- The food is cooked in earthen pots that are placed one on top of the other, mysteriously, the top one gets cooked first and then the others in serial order, with the bottom-most one getting cooked, the last.
Puri beach with its stretch of golden sands is a great place to relax and have great views of the Bay of Bengal. The coastal stretch between Puri and Konark is very beautiful and a drive along the road that runs parallel to the ocean is a nice driving experience. Puri beach is, in fact, one of the top surfing destinations in India. The beach will come alive this month as the India Surfing Festival 2017 takes place there. Apart from spectacular surfing, on offer will be surfing workshops, dance and music, an exhibition of sand art and sculpture, as well as local food. Definitely, Puri beach holds the promise of some great times.
There are many ancient and important smaller temples and many of them lie within the premises of the main Jagannath temple which can be covered along with it. One can also include the Konark temple along with Puri, if time permits, however, it is advisable to keep a separate day to really do justice to the magnificent and enigmatic sun temple of Konark.
One can also stay in Puri itself and wake up to the sounds of the ocean at the Puri-Golden Sands, a Sterling Resort.