Puri is a city in eastern Odisha located on the Bay of Bengal. The major appeal for Puri as a pilgrimage is due to the world-famous Sri Jagannatha temple and other places near puri. The temple is also known as Jagannath Dham. It means home to the holy triad of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra. Hindus believe that visiting the char Dhams or four pilgrimage sites helps you get salvation. Puri shares this prestige of being one of these sites with the other three. Every year millions of people visit Puri to witness the world-famous chariot festival. Other than that, Puri has a multitude of other temples, religious communes, monasteries, holy shrines to awaken your spirituality. It has the designation of the spiritual capital of Odisha.
Apart from the religious point of view, it is also a great place to spend a vacation or a weekend sightseeing on lap nature. Puri has to offer you beaches, architectural delights, enchanting sightseeings, and the beguiling beauty of sunrise and sunset. The typical tropical savanna climate of puri is a perfect destination to get lost with your loved ones, friends, and family.
Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) by the Central government includes Puri along with other 11 cities to preserve its rich and unique heritage.
How to Reach Puri?
- By air:- The nearest airport to puri is Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshwar. It is 60 km away from Puri. After which you can hire a cab or a bus to reach puri in less than an hour.
- By Train:- Puri railway station is a major junction which has a direct link to many cities of India. One can get regular and direct trains to Puri, from many cities.
- By road:- This is also an option since puri has well-connected roads to its neighboring big cities. This mode includes public buses or your personal car/two-wheelers.
Best Time to Visit Puri
The best time of year to visit Puri and places near puri are from October to February. The weather in Puri is very pleasant during this period. And you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. But if you want to incident festivities of the most pious chariot festival then June/ July is the time.
Tourist Attraction in and Near Puri
Sri Jagannath Temple
Anantaverman Chodagangdeva had built this millennial d sacred teme. He was from the Ganga dynasty in the 12th century. The idols of the holy trinity are made up of sacred neem wood. People know it as Daru for its unique character of decay resistance. Once every 12 or 19 years, through the ritual of Nabakalebara, the deities change their body with a replica, and the old ones are buried.
Out of the 4 Chardham, lord Vishnu dines in Puri. So every day 56 items get cooked (Mahaprasada) and offered to Lord Jagannath as an age-old ritual. A total of 800 people engage to cook maha prasad which is enough to feed 100000 people every single day!
Every year during Rathayatra, the idols are taken out on chariots and pulled by millions of devotees from Badadeula to Gundicha temple. At Gundicha temple they are welcomed by their aunt Gundicha with a variety of sweets. There the deities stay for seven days and start their return journey on the 9th day which is known as Bahudayatra.
This temple was invaded 18 times by Muslim rulers to plunder the good amount of wealth stored in the temple. Many attempts were made to destroy the idols of the temple to showcase religious war also.
Things to keep in mind
- Only Hindu devotees of Indian origin are allowed to the temple.
- The idols can only be seen from a distance and can’t be touched. Except during Rathayatra when millions of devotees pull the chariot.
- Any leather, belt, wallet, socks, phone, the camera is not allowed inside the temple. There is a facility beside the temple door if you want to submit or better leave it in the hotel room.
- Beware of the greedy pandas they are very skilled to extract money from visitors. In case you stuck with one better ignore it.
Things to do in puri
- The mahaprasad gets sold at very low prices in Anand Bazar taking the north gate. And it is available there every whole day! You should definitely get your hands on it and relishing the age-old recipe filled with divine energy.
- Take a walk along the beach enjoying the gorgeous sunset and sunrise.
- Puri beach market is a great collection of authentic handlooms, stunning antiques, jewellery etc
Konark Sun Temple
Konark is one of the best places near puri which is 35 km away from Puri and takes around 53mins from puri via a marine drive road. The cost of travel is about 1500rs in taxi and 30rs by bus.
The ticket fees for Indians is 40rs and for foreigner is 600rs.
Konark sun temple is located in Konark, a small town in the district of Puri. This temple was built in the 13th century CE by king Narsimhadeva I of the Ganga dynasty. The temple appears to be an enormous 100ft tall chariot driven by The Sun god himself. The chariot has 24 wheels attached and 7 magnificent horses in front pulling the chariot. It was also called the black pagoda and a Jagannath temple as white pagoda by European sailors. 1200 architectures built this temple. They were entrusted under the chief architecture of Bishnu Maharana within a course of 12 years.
now it is pretty demolished and no longer in its original shape. Interestingly nobody knows the exact reason for its demolition. Some theories say it was a natural calamity. Some say it was the Muslim armies on their mission to destroy the idols of Lord Jagannath and also Konark. Even though a major portion of this temple is ruined it still displays quaint architectural marvels especially the stone-carved wheels of chariots. Various erotic goddesses and gods, animals, the daily life of commoners are carved on the red sandstone wall of the temple. Because of its rich architectural importance, it is designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1984.
Things to do in Konark
- At the entrance of this temple, you may find local stalls. They have a huge collection of locally handcrafted products, small idols etc.
- Konark also meets up the expectation of beach lovers. It has two alluring beaches Chandrabhaga and Ramchandi. Both the beaches share great sightseeing on the weekdays who wish a break from their work. The sunrise at these beaches is of great aesthetic pleasure.
- Chandrabhaga beach offers adventurous water sports like surfing, speed boating, jet skiing etc for thrill-seekers.
Pipli is 44km away and takes around 1hour 15mins from Konark. This is a must-visit if you have a knack for art. This place is home to the original applique work, patchwork. Initially, Pipli was set up as the artisan’s village and restricted to only the Darji caste members to practice applique work. But now non-caste members also do crafts. Back in the 10th century, they have been crafting vibrant colorful applique Chanduas, chhatris, and other pieces of clothes. These items are still in use to perform various rituals of Lord Jagannath. The pattern of applique work varies from god, flower, animals, etc. Here you can find flamboyant traditional lamps, umbrellas, wall hung, Chanduas, handbags, pillow, and cushion covers. which makes this must-visit places near puri.
This is another popular artistic village on the way back to ours. It is known for its Pattachitra paintings, wood and stone carvings, papier-mache toys, etc. Here the art and crafts of commoners reflect the authenticity of Odia culture. This village is declared as Heritage Craft village of Odisha. The population of more than 600 painter and artists, separate this place from an ordinary village. Their main art of this village is Pattachitra also known as painting on a piece of cloths. Each member from a family live in Raghurajpur involve in this creativity. Moving with time, artists have starting imprinting their skills on bottles and pots. which makes this village a must-visit places near puri.
Chillika lake is within driving distance of 75km from Puri. And it takes around 1hr 30mins to reach Chilika lake if you book a personal cab. Chilika lake is the largest brackish water lagoon in the world covering an area of 1100kmsqaure. Also designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site. You will be amazed by the scenic picturesque view of Chilika lake and its tranquillity.
The best time to visit Chilika lake is during the winter. You can see a large assembly of migratory birds from far lands of the Caspian sea, Russia, South-east Asia, Ladakh, and the Himalayas then. Flamingos have their breeding spot marked here. It is a hotspot for biodiversity. The lake provides an ecosystem to many endangered species. And the list includes Irrawaddy dolphins, sea plants, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians. This lake is very popular among all places near puri for fish.
Also, chilika has water-sports like speed boating, banana boat, kayak etc.
Also, visit kalijai island where the goddess kalijai temple. You can hire a public boat or also there are private jets available. On the way, you see many dolphins underwater.