Puri also known as the Shrikhetra Dham is an ancient and holy city of Odisha. Famous for the temple of Lord Jagannath, it is also a popular place of visit for the followers of Hindu religion. We bring you the list of best places to visit in Puri.
It also has a beautiful beach where you can spend a lot of time just staring at the waves of the mighty Bay of Bengal and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
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List of Best Places to visit in Puri
Lord Jagannath Temple - Puri, Odisha
Puri in Odisha is one of the four must-visit journey destinations for Hindus due to Jagannath Temple that shapes the piece of Char Dham in India. Also it is a sea shore city situated on the bank of Bay of Bengal. Nonetheless it is one of the top picks among the tourists visiting Odisha and also tops the list of best places to visit in Puri.
Having restored prominence among the tourists, Puri is as yet a mainstream goal among explorers. With plenty of hotels, Dharmashalas, inns and homestays, the traveler like to remain close to the New Marine Drive. However the explorers want to remain close Chakra Tirtha. The Rath Yatra (chariot celebration) happens during the month June-July. This is a no miss event on the off chance that you are wanting to visit during this time. Hence without any question, Jagganath temple is the top most place to visit in Puri.
Known as the resting spot of Lord Shiva, the magnificent history and legacy of Puri goes back to the third century B. C. Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar complete the Golden Triangle of Orissa. Moreover this golden triangle is the most important chapter in the tourism history of the state. There are several spots close to Puri that one must visit. The Chilika lake, Puri sea shore, Gundicha Ghar and the popular Sun temple of Konark to name a few.
History and Legacy of Puri
Muslim rulers attacked Puri and the Jagannatha Temple multiple times between the fourth century AD till the mid nineteenth century. Their main target was to plunder the fortunes of the temple. Odisha, including Puri was a part of British India from 1803 till India accomplished freedom in August 1947. Despite the fact that royal states don’t exist in India today, the heirs of the Gajapati Dynasty of Khurda still play out the ceremonial obligations of the temple. You can find lots of ancient Mathas in this temple town. However, the economy of Puri is dependent on tourism and mostly because of the sheer presence of the temple of Lord Jagannath. Ratha Yatra and its related celebrations are the most significant festivals of Puri. Sand craft and applique work are a part of the significant specialties of the city.
Puri has been picked as one of the legacy urban communities for Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) plan of Government of India.
Beach of Puri
Puri is not a city that seeks out tourists–it doesn’t need to. Puri’s most famous Temptation after the temples, is the urge to feel the flowing sands below your feet. Hence you walk to the beach. The first thing you hear from a distance is the roaring sound of the waves. This noise assures you that are very close to the famous beach of Puri.
The beach itself is very beautiful–the sand is golden brown and firm and the waves are wild. Moreover the sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, filling the sky with pink and orange fire. A part of the beach till the “Swargadwar” bustles with crowd and after that it’s a bit lonely. Hence you have to decide, which part of the beach you will enjoy more. Also there are several hotels just opposite to the beach in case you decide to spend few day’s close to the beach. You will find hoards of giggling families leap in and out of the water’s edge. Also You will find vendors trying to sell goodies and a large market stands behind it all. Here you can buy a variety of dazzling souvenirs or just stare at variety of shell’s and plastic.
If you walk away from this crowded beach, you will find emptier, secluded spots about twenty minutes away. Here one can sit for hours and watch the magic of waves. If you decide to stay near the beach, you can enjoy the best of sunset’s of your life you have ever seen. Moreover you can watch the fishing boats returning from the horizon or take a brisk walk on the ever crowded road. You can also purchase some beautiful hand made attires from the local shops or enjoy some tasty local street foods.
Top tourist places to visit near Puri
Sun temple at Konark
Trip to Odisha is incomplete without a visit to the world famous Sun temple at Konark. UNESCO has declared this place as a world heritage site in the year 1984 and is also famous as “The black Pagoda”. Eastern Ganga King Narasimhadeva built this temple in 1250 AD. Konark’s Sun Temple is an architectural marvel and is one of the most beautiful monuments of India. The deity of this temple is the Hindu Sun god or the Surya. It is at a distance of 35 Kms from the city of Puri along the coast line. Konarak is a classic example of Hindu temple architecture, complete with a colossal structure, sculptures and artwork.
The Konark temple is built entirely with stone and is in the form of a Colossal chariot. It has twelve pairs of beautifully designed wheels and seven galloping horses pull this chariot. The concept of this temple is largely due to the Hindu belief that God Surya is usually depicted on a chariot pulled by seven horses. An engineering masterpiece, the stone structure was held together with interlocked metals. Two huge magnets weighing more than five tonnes kept the building together. The idol of the Sun God was made of an alloy of eight metals and was suspended in mid air balanced by the two powerful magnets. These exceptional characteristic of the temple makes it a top place to visit in Puri.
Konark Annual Dance festival
This dance festival is a 5 day long extravaganza and is attended by extraordinary dance talents from all over the country. This grand celebrations show cases the rich cultural and artistic legacy seen in India. This celebration happens with the magnificent Sun temple at the the background which adds to its grandeur. A handicraft mela is also held during the same time where you can buy unique and exquisitely handcrafted pieces which beautifully reflect the Oriya art form.
Story of Konark Temple
There is a heart touching story behind the construction of Konark Temple. According to some historians King Narasimhadeva I built this temple. It took 12 years of hard work for 1200 workers to complete this structure. However the architects could not fix the most important part of the temple i.e the crown stone . The king had set a deadline and had threatened to behead everyone involved if the temple is not completed within the deadline. But a 12 year old boy, named Dharmapada resolved the issue one day before the deadline and fixed the crown stone.
The workers were still worried that, the king might punish them if he comes to know that a 12 year old boy did the job which experienced workers and architects could not do. Hence Dharmapada jumped into Chandrabhaga river and ended his life to save the 1200 workers. Later it was revealed that, he was the son of the chief architect and had come to see his father. He had never seen his father who had left home before he was born.
This Lake is yet another top places to visit in Puri. If you are any where near Puri and are looking for places to visit near by, you cannot omit Chilika. It has to be on the top of your list. Chilika is a salty water lagoon at the end of River Daya , that flows into the Bay of Bengal. It is among one of the best tourist destinations in the state. The beauty of Chilikais beyond imagination. Several poems have been written by famous poets of Odisha with the beauty of this lake as the backdrop.
Situated at almost 70 Kms from Puri, it is one of the best places to spot migratory birds in entire Asia. Along with that it also serves as source of income for more than 130 fisherman villages around it. During the migratory season, more than 160 species of birds numbering in lakhs give a visit to this place. Because of this, it has been declared as a protected bird sanctuary by Govt. of Odisha. It spreads in three districts namely Puri, Khurda and Ganjam covering over 1,100 Kms. It has a very rich and diverse eco system which has made it a home for the rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. Chilika has a very large fishery resource. Marine sea weeds, sea grasses, crabs and lobsters flourish in the brackish water of this lake.
Don’t forget to take a boat ride in the blue waters of Chilika and visit few islands along with the most famous “Kalijai” island. If your ideal vacation involves breathing fresh air whilst listening to the sweet chirping of birds and watching the graceful dance of dolphins, Chilika Lake is where you should be.
Temple of Alarnath is at about 25 Kms from Puri at Brahmagiri and is one of the best places to visit in Puri. Although not many tourists visit this place, but this temple holds a special place for the followers of Lord shri Jagganath. According to a belief, in 1610 AD Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed at Alarnath during anavasara period of Lord Jagannath. He worshiped the lord Alarnath for several days as he visualized the deity as Lord Jagannath. Anavasara is the period when Lord Shri Jagannath rests in isolation due to fever from the rest of the world after the snana yatra (annual bathing ceremony). People during this period cannot worship the Lord at Puri. Hence this is the time when thousand of devotees visit this temple to seek the blessings of Lord Alarnath and taste the special offering that is “Kheer”.
Lying at a distance of 14 kms from the holy city of Puri, amidst groves of Palm, Coconut, mango, and jackfruits, Raghurajpur village is famous as the artistic village or heritage crafts village of Odisha. Painters practicing their age-old (dating back to 5 BC) “Pattachitra craft” reside here in over 120 houses. Raghurajpur village is also home to several other handcrafted items like Palm leaf engraving, Tussar painting, stone and wooden carvings and masks etc. This village boasts of being the birthplace of eminent Odishi dance Guru “Kelucharan Mohapatra”. One can see the artwork of painter on the walls of houses in this village.
Temple of Goddess “Bhuasuni” the local deity along with several other temples like “Radhamohan temple”, “Gopinath temple”, “Laxminarayan temple” and many more can be seen here. This village has become quite popular as a rural tourist destination and attracts a lot of tourists. It is highly recommended to visit this place if you are a crafts lover.
This is one of the major temples in the holy city of Puri and lies at a distance of only 3 kms from the main temple of Lord Shree Jagannath. This temple stands in the center of a beautiful garden surrounded by thick boundary walls. The temple of Lord Jagannath and Gundicha temple lie at two ends of the “Bada Danda” or the grand road which is also the pathway for the famous “Rath Yatra”. This temple is a typical example of Kalinga temple architecture and is built in Deula style. It is also known as the garden house of Lord Shree Jagannath.
The famous Rath Yatra begins from the main temple and ends at Gundicha temple. This temple becomes the home to Lord Jagannath and his siblings for seven days, until the Bahuda Yatra or the return ceremony. There are several legends and beliefs relating to this temple. The most prominent being. Lord Jagannath leaving Goddess Laxmi locked in a storeroom for these seven days to spend time with “Gopi’s” who are symbolized as “Devdasis” at this temple. As per mythology, Lord Jagannath is a form of Lord Krishna.