One of the reasons I don’t like making travel plans with my family is because they are capable of turning a fun-filled relaxed trip into a religious one. Everywhere we travel, they manage to find and visit a few of the temples or religious destinations. So, to make the trip interesting, I start exploring the culture and lifestyle of the destination we are in.
One such trip was to Puri, Odisha. This place is also famously known as Jagannath Puri, named after the 12th Century Jagannath Temple, located at the heart of the city. Devotees visit this city from across the world to be part of the oldest Rath Yatra (or the chariot festival), widely known as the Puri Rath Yatra. This annual festival usually commences during the months of June and July. It features a procession of the deities of Jagannath to the Gundicha Temple. The devotees spend the next nine days in this temple. On the tenth day, the deities (or Ratha Yatra) head back to the main temple. The festivities for the Rath Yatra begin well in advance, which includes the preparation and decoration of the chariots.
Puri is also known as a Holy City as it hosts many other temples and religious destinations like the Shree Lokanath temple, Sunara Gaurang Temple, Bedi Hanuman Temple, Astachandi Temple, Panchatirtha Temple, Loknath Temple, Chakratirtha Temple and the Chakranarayan Temple to name a few.
Raghurajpur Artisan Village
Raghurajpur is an artisan’s village and is a spectacular place to visit. With local artist’s residing in the village, this place is the hub for almost everything that Odisha has to offer, regarding art. Each home is decorated with gorgeous paintings. Pattachitra – painting made on a piece of cloth or a dried leaf – is the most popular form of art here. Stone and wood carving, silk painting and dance can also be witnessed here making it a must-visit for all art lovers.
Pipili is another craft village which is known for its Applique work. You can see varieties of articles, like clothes, umbrellas, lamps, home articles and much more, in bright colours and vibrant designs. You can indulge in some much-needed retail therapy and pick up some souvenirs to reminisce later.
After the shopping session, make sure you spend the next few hours at the Chilika Lake which is also known as the second largest lagoon in the world. Surrounded by islands like Nalabana, Somolo and Kalijal, the lake hosts a wide variety of birds, making it a bird lover’s paradise. Book a boat ride and spend few hours admiring the serene waters and beautiful birds. Don’t forget to try and spot dolphins during the ride.
Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple is one of the main highlights of Odisha. Located approximately 35 km away from Puri, this temple is certified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The drive from Puri to Konark is picturesque and provides you with a great opportunity to relax and unwind. The temple is shaped like a chariot, with intricate designs on wheels and pillars. Another highlight of the temples is the wheels, which duplicate as sundials and can be used to calculate time accurately.
Talk about the beaches in India and Goa would be the first destination which comes to mind. We simply ignore the east coastline of India and the serene beaches they have to offer. The beaches here are not much explored by tourists but are thoroughly enjoyed by the locals.
Puri Beach is well known for surfing. While you are here, you can also visit the neighbouring beaches like the Balighai Beach, Beleswar Beach, Swargadwar Beach and Golden Beach, which is known for its golden shades of sand.
So if you are planning to visit Puri any time soon, turn your religious trip into a fun-filled one by exploring the other attractions as well. Complement your holiday by staying at the magnificent Puri Golden Sands to wake up to a gorgeous view of the Bhargavi River.