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Introducing Puri

Best time to visit : June to March
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The place where the Lord of Universe is believed to reside, Puri deserves all the admiration bestowed on it by adherent pilgrims thronging this East India city in millions every year. Located alongside the Bay of Bengal in the Puri District of Orissa (Odisha), the city is not only a Hindu pilgrimage destination, but also a popular beach resort. The city is also featured in the popular Golden Triangle tour circuit along with Bhubaneswar and Konark. Like most of the other religious tourist places of Hindus, Puri also boasts of golden history, marvellous architecture, cultural wealth and festive splendour. City’s key attractions include the holy Jagannath Temple and annual Rath Yatra Festival and you need complete tourist information to explore them.

Facts

Known by several other names like Jagannath Puri, Purusottama Puri, Srikshetra, Neeladri and Shankhakshetra, Puri is one of the seven holiest cities designated in the Hindu mythology. It is one of the four destinations of the famous Char Dham pilgrimage circuit and also the site of one of the four Mathas (cardinal Hindu monasteries established by Shankracharaya) called Govardhana. Puri’s grand Jagannath Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots) due to its relentless force and enthusiasm set the inspiration for the English word ‘juggernaut’. The Jagannath (meaning ‘the Lord of Universe’) Temple of Puri is dedicated to Lord Krishna (a form of Lord Vishnu) and is considered to be his resting place. As per the strong beliefs, visiting Puri at least once in a lifetime is essential to attain salvage. Note that sightseeing in Puri is inconvenient during summers due to extremely hot weather.

Puri is a holy place and there are restaurants that serve pure vegetarian dishes. Shyama and Nandan are two such venues. However, the tourists can also enjoy the refreshing seafood (crabs, prawns and lobsters) as well as the very famous pomfret fish. Phulpatna and Green lane Restaurant are good options for these preparations. There is no dearth of eating venues serving Chinese and South Indian dishes. Those willing to taste the local cuisines should try chudaghasa, pithas, chhenapodapitha and chappan bhog (called mahaprasad and offered to Lord Jagannath). Bhang sharbat and coconut water are the refreshing drinks available easily. Beware of beach stalls selling unhygienic food.

When in Puri, it is difficult to resist the temptation of buying exquisite handicrafts made of soapstone, seashells, solapith, horns, khondalite (an attractive multicoloured stone) and softwood. Another popular category is that of Pattachitra painting done on palm leaf. Wall hangings, umbrellas and appliqué work (obtained from the nearby village of Pipili) and fabrics woven in the tradition style (called Ikkat) are also attention-grabbing. Government run emporiums and shops at Grand Avenue are the best recommended shopping places.

Nearby Places:
  • Balighai Beach (about 8 km.): A secluded pristine beach surrounded by forests and famous for deer spotting and a turtle research centre. 
  • Raghurajpur (about 11 km.): A heritage crafts village known for palm leaf paintings and engravings, papier mache work and many other interesting crafts.
  • Sakshigopal Temple (about 17 km.): Another popular temple of Lord Krishna (referred to as Gopal), it showcases Kalinga architecture and must be visited while on a pilgrimage tour to Puri.
  • Konark (about 35 km.): Popular for the iconic Sun Temple, built in the form of a chariot, and other attractions like Konark Beach and ASI Museum.
  • Chilika Lake (about 40 km.): For one of the most outstanding bird watching experiences, visit this brackish water lagoon, the largest in Asia. The lake is also popular for picturesque islands and speedboat riding. 
  • Bhubaneswar (about 60 km.): Famous for the religious sites of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and Nandakanan Zoo. 












Balihar Chandi Temple, Balihar Chandi Beach, Alarnath Temple, Loknath Temple, Pipili Village and Cuttack are other destinations close to Puri.

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