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Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Chilika | Konark

Geographic Location: Puri is a coastal district in the eastern part of Odisha, India. Situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal and it is only 70 KM away from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha.

Access: Puri is linked by road with Bhubaneshwar (70 KM), Kolkata (520 KM), and other major cities of Eastern India. It is also a major railhead on the East Coast Railway, bifurcated from Khurda Road Jn and it is well connected with New Delhi, Howrah, and other major railway stations. Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport.

Brief Facts: The religiously significant Puri does not need any introduction, being the abode of Lord Vishnu, most popularly known as Lord Jagannath. This is one of the most popular seaside tourist destinations in Eastern India. At any time of the calendar year, the splendor of the golden sea beach, and bewitching rolling waves can be witnessed. A huge number of travelers as well as an enormous number of Hindu pilgrims come here every year from different parts of the world.

Best Time to Visit: All year round this place can be visited. The place has a moderately high humid tropical climate. So the winter is better than the summer. During the summer, temperature hovers around 28 °C to 38 °C and during the winter, temperature fluctuates from 17 °C to 28 °C.

Nearest Attractions: Apart from Puri Beach, there are a few popular beaches Chandrabhaga Beach and Balighai Beach. Chandrabhaga Beach is situated in Chandrabhaga Village in the Puri district and long-stretched Balighai Beach is situated on the Puri – Konark Marine Drive road and is about 8 KM away from Puri.

Puri is surrounded by so many ancient temples. Udaygiri & Khandagiri, Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa, Chilka Lake, Sun Temple at Konark, and Nandan Kanan are a few notable nearest attractions.

Archaeological Survey of India listed, The Indian Heritage, Udayagiri, and Khandagiri Caves are somewhat naturally built and somewhat artificially built and it is about 60 KM far from Puri. Archaeologically, historically and religiously important these caves were carved by Kalinga King Kharvela and these were abodes for Jaina monks. Udayagiri or "Sunrise Hill" has 18 caves and Khandagiri has 15 caves. A few important caves are the double-storied monastery Ranigumpha, Hathi Gumpha, Ananta Gumpha, Ganesha Gumpha, Jaya Vijaya Gumpha, Mancapuri Gumpha, Vyaghra Gumpha, and Sarpa Gumpha.

Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda) is situated on the banks of river Daya and it is about 59 KM from Puri. It is the place where Kalinga War was fought and after that, it was built by King Ashoka.

Covering an area of 1,100 sq. KM, the largest coastal lagoon in India, and the UNESCO World Heritage site Chilika Lake is a slightly saline water lagoon and is about 37 KM away from Puri. It has a few islands like Badakuda, Breakfast, Honeymoon, Kalijai Hill, Birds Island, Kanthapantha, Krushnaprasadrah (Old Parikuda), Nalabana, Nuapara, Somolo, and Sanakuda. People often come here for migratory bird watching. Also, boating and fishing can be experienced. It is undoubtedly a must-visit place.

Situated near Chandrabhaga Sea Beach, the Konark Sun Temple was uniquely designed like a gigantic chariot of the God Sun or Surya and it was built in the 13th century. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site declared in 1984. Over the years it has been serving as a salient landmark for the mariners in the Bay of Bengal. The place is about 35 KM away from Puri.

Nandankanan is a zoological park as well as a botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, established in 1960. A huge number of visitors come here every year. There are 166 species, including 67 species of mammals, 81 species of birds, and 18 species of reptiles.

Things to Do:

Catching the moments: Photographically, due to the cooler temperature of color, the best images can be clicked on the Puri Sea beach during sunrise and sunset with a lot of activities around the beach, like fishing with nets or boat anchoring by fishermen. Angling, boat riding, sea surfing, horse ride, or camel riding on the beach can be experienced here.

Pilgrimage: One of the most sacred pilgrimage places of Hindus (one of the four dhams), Shree Jagannath Temple is a must-visit destination. The original temple was constructed by King Indradyumna in early Kaliyuga and the present temple was reconstructed and revamped in the 12th century. Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are the deities worshipped here. Other famous temples in & around Puri are Gundicha Temple, Markandeshwar Temple, Mausi Maa Temple (dedicated to the aunt of Lord Jagannath), Sakshi Gopal Temple, etc.

Festivals: Puri is very famous for the annual Rathyatra or Chariot festival of Lord Jagannath. This is a procession accompanied by a large number of people. During this festival, held in June - July, large numbers of Hindu pilgrims gather at Puri. In the course of this festival, you would witness multicolored displays of various classical Odishi and folk dances of India in different parts of Puri and also you would get to see a wide range of exhibitions of handloom cloths and handicraft articles. It would be a different experience if someone plans for a trip to Puri during Rathyatra.

Sand Art: The ‘Sand Art’, another noticeable craft which is the practice of making models with sand on the sea beach, is very popular here. This form of art has gained international prominence in recent years. Various sand artists create sculptures of various gods, famous people, or any other figures on the sea beach.

Shopping: Puri is undoubtedly a great destination for shopping. Exquisite local handicraft items, brass materials, appliqué work on fabrics from Pipli and Sambalpur, as well as weaving saris, handloom saris such as Ikkat, Bomkai, stone carvings and products made from a seashell, wood carvings, sola carving, bangles, and other imitation pieces of jewelry, palm leaf articles, etc are available in a wide range.

Local Handicraft: Widely admired and traditional craft of Odisha, the ‘Patta Chitra’, mainly based on Hindu Mythology, is a very colorful and vibrant painting that people generally buy from here to decorate the interior of the home.

Cuisines: Coming on to cuisine, the place offers good South Indian delicacies as well as North Indian dishes. The Gajapati, Bhojohari Manna, Swaad Restaurant, New Parijat Restaurant, and Dalmia Atithi Vihar are a few popular restaurants here.

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