Coastal Town of Puri
Puri is one of the coastal cities of India. It is a place of attraction for both the tourists and pilgrims. The Bay of Bengal dashes all along the eastern coastal regions. During the months of July-August the famous Rath-Mela held at Puri attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all over India and abroad. People in huge numbers come here to participate in the Car festival. Buddha's Holy birth is also celebrated with much devotion here. It is named as 'Dantotsav'. All the temples at Puri are made of stones and fine carvings. Shells of various forms and sizes, though few in number can still be obtained from the sea beach. Built on a hill top the Jagannath Temple of Puri is also a great architectural marvel. Pipli is a small village, and the market at Pipli is famous for its colourful handicrafts, mobile phone covers, lampshades made of colourful applique work, decoration items and various other items are sold at a reasonable cost.
Best time to visitThe best time to visit Puri is from September to March, when it is most pleasant. Puri can be visited throughout the year. Winter is remarkably pleasant here. But summers are hot and monsoons are terrible and cyclones may hit Puri once or twice a year.
Places of Tourist Attraction
Sea Beach of PuriThe sea beach of Puri looks colourful when it is calm, with many people bathing swimming or playing in the sand and water. The sea is not deep, people get down in the sea with rubber tubes. The foaming blue waters attracts the tourists and the beach is crowded with people from morning till dusk. The zone from the seashore to 100 metres is declared to be the dangerous zone and tourists are not allowed to go into that zone. Life guards are there but sometimes these dare devils also cannot save life due to the rough seas. The sea shells are also an object of attraction for the tourists. There are many shops selling items obtained from the sea like shells, jewelleries made of shells, mirrors with shells all around, etc. There are many hawkers as well as stalls who sell fried sea fishs and other fried sea food.
Jagannath TempleJagannath Temple is also known as Sreekshetra. The temple covers an area of 670x640 feet and is surounded by a wall 20x24 feet high. On the 4 sides are the four gates-Simhadwar or Lions gate, Hastidwar or Elephant gate, Aswadwar or Horse gate and Khanjadwar. The main temple has a jewelled alter called the Ratnabedi. There are 7 images or the 7 jewels known as the 'Satratna'. The seven ratna's are, Balram, Jagannath, Subhadra, Sudarshan chakra, Laxmi, Saraswati and Neelmahadev. The main deity is made of the Brahma wood. Jagannath is dressed in 21 varieties.The dresses are changed in the different times of the day. The tourists are not allowed to take photographs. They can obtain the photos from the Raghunandan library just opposite to the temple. The Mahaprasad can be bought at the temple's Anandabazar. Only the hindu's are allowed to enter the temple, the non-hindus's can take a glimpse of the Holy Premises from Raghunandan Bhawan 9 am to 12 noon and from 4 pm to 8pm.
KonarkKonark is located about 36 km drive from the Puri along the Puri-Konark marine road. The world famous Sun Temple is known for its unique sculptures and craftsmanship. Though the temple has suffered natural calamities and human greed, one can still marvel at the temple built in the form of a Chariot with 24 wheels being pulled by seven horses. These seven horses imply the 7 days of the week. The 24 wheels imply the 24 fortnights in 24 months and the 8 spokes of each wheel imply the 8 prahar of the day. Sculptures of various Gods and Goddesses, dancing girls,seducing female postures and couples with sexual intimacy, scenes from royal battelefields, hunting expeditions, the royal court, etc. can still be marvelled as matchless art of time when the temple was built. A little distance away from the Sun temple is the Archeological Museum which houses many artefacts, carvings and archeological remains found in Konark. Another attraction is the Konark Dance festival which is held in the month of february each year. Besides, the Odissi dance festival is celebrated in the last week of November which is organised behind the Sun temple and attracts many dance lovers and artistes to compete.
Chilka LakeChilka means a land covered with water. It is 49 km south of Puri. It is a nice picnic spot and boating can be done here from 10.30 am. One hour Dolphin safari is also available. Rajhans island is the main sight seeing attraction. The Chilka lake merges with the Bay of Bengal at a distance of 6 km. In the Chilka lake there are several islands where the fishermen dwell. Motorboats and launches are used for fishing. At Chilka, sunrise and sunset is spectacular and many migratory birds visit the lake during the winters. Many sea animals and amphibians can be found in the lake. The Paravar island is a place to visit to see the ancient palace of King Rambha. There is a Chilka lake island resort 6 km from Paravar island where luxurious tents are available for accomodation.
Mukteshwar and Siddeshwar TempleOn the Bhubaneswar-Puri road, the Mukteswar temple is situated on the banks of river Kunda and the deity enshrined is Shiva. North-west of the Mukteswar temple is the Siddeswar temple dedicated to the deity Ganesha. Stories of Panchtantra are depicted on the pillars of Mukteswar temple. These temples are surrounded by a group of smaller temples which are now in ruins.
Raja Rani TempleThe Raja Rani temple is pyramidal in shape. The Raja Rani temple is name after the stones used in their construction. The Raja temple is brownish in colour and the Rani temple has a yellowish hue. since no deity is enshrined in the temple it is open to all.
DhauliThe historic battle between Emperor Ashoka and King of Kalinga took place at Dhauli on the banks of river Daya. The battle resulted in the death of more than a million men. After the battle the victorious emperor went into repentence and vowed to love and serve the people. In 1970, a peace pagoda was built by the Buddhist Sangha of Kalinga and Japan. The Peace Pagoda is snowy white in colour. Four postures of Gautam Buddha is built on the four sides of the Pagoda. Far below flows the river Daya which can be seen scarlet sometimes.
Climate, People and How to reach Puri
Puri is well connected by railway routes from Kolkata, Patna, New Delhi, Mumbai. Some of the direct trains from Howrah are:
Sri Jagannath Express
New Delhi Puri Express
Utkal Kalinga Express
Puri Patna Baidyanath Express
People from other places can change trains at either Bhubaneswar or Khurda Road to reach Puri. Long distance Luxury and Deluxe bus services connect Puri with Kolkata, Durgapur and Ranchi. The nearest airport is at Bhubaneshwar which is well connected with Puri by bus and train routes. The climate in the coastal region of Puri is tropical. Summers are quite hot while the winters are not very cold. Cyclones are common site during the monsoon period and rainfall is heavy. The people residing here are mostly hindus and speak Odia, Bengali, Hindi and also English. The people are proud and friendly in nature.
Hotels and accomodations
There are wide range of Hotels to suit every pocket. However, the accomodation in the Hotels along the beach road are more expensive than those located in the town areas. The Hotels provide all the modern amenities as per requirement of the tourists. Some of the Hotels are as follows which can be booked online:
Hotel New Sea Hawk, Ph:06752-231400/231500
Hotel Sea Gull, Ph:06752-223618/226202
Hotel Heaven, Ph:06752-225151
Hotel Sea Beach, Ph:06752-223366/224698
OTDC Panthanivas, Ph:06752-222740/222562
Besides hotels,there are many guest houses, holiday homes and lodges in Puri.