The Abode of Lord Jagannatha, situated right by the side of Bay of Bengal, Puri is one of the oldest cities in eastern side of India. The city is at a distance of around 60 km from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. Puri is one of the four Dhams (Sacred places) in India along with Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Badrinath. The presence of Lord Jagannatha Temple is probably the reason it is considered such an important pilgrimage destination. One thing that comes as a surprise is the appearance of many monasteries here. It is said that this port city once acted as the place from where thousands of devotees of Lord Buddha carried his message to far off places like Philippines and Java and these devotees built the monasteries. Apart form the Lord Jagannatha Temple, Rath Yatra is another religious attraction of the city. Held in the month of July, it is a procession of Lord Jagannatha and his siblings from the temple to Gundicha Mandir which is at a distance of 3 km. One more thing that makes tourist visit Puri is the Puri beach festival. With many performances and classical dance shows, it is a perfect representation of culture of Orissa.
Puri is one of the most sacred cities in India and is called the temple town of Orissa. It is home to the world famous Lord Jagannatha Temple and the Puri beach which are the most visited destination in Orissa. This is also the place where you can be the part of the divine Rath Yatra. Apart from all these, you can also make a day excursion to Konark, which is famous for magnificent Sun Temple.
Rath Yatra is without a doubt the biggest festival in Orissa. Held in the month of July, the Festival of Chariot of Lord Jagannatha attracts pilgrims from all parts of the country. They all gather around the path of the yatra. The procession extends from Jagannatha Temple to Gundicha Mandir which is at a distance of 3 km. Lord Jagannatha with his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra ride on three gigantic chariots which are magnificently decorated. The chariots are pulled by thousands of devotees. It is believed that the Gods are visiting their aunt in Gundicha Mandir and stay there for five days. After five days they return back in the same chariots in a procession called ‘Ultarath’.
Beaches in Puri are probably the best of all that are there on the eastern side of India. Tourists flock to the beach almost throughout the year, but the best time to visit the beach is during the famous Puri Beach Festival which is held early in November. This five day festival is a lot like the Goa festival with fashion shows and Rock concerts continuing throughout the night. There are also classical dance performances. In fact, the Puri Beach Festival turns out to be a perfect mirror of Orissa culture.
Konark Sun Temple
Konark is situated just 35 km from Puri. It is famous for the magnificent Sun Temple which is dedicated to Sun God. Built in 1278 CE by Ganga King Narsimha Deva, the temple became renowned for its architectural supremacy and spectacular carvings. The temple is thought to be the chariot of Sun God. It has 24 wheels around the temple, 7 horses pulling the temple, two lions guarding the entrance. It is situated on the eastern coast.
Chilka Lake is definitely the most favored natural attraction in Orissa. Situated southwest to Puri, it is the largest freshwater inland lake in Asia. It covers an area of around 1165 sq. km. Although the size decreases drastically during the dry season and sometimes reaches to 906 sq. km. The lake is located just by the side of Bay of Bengal and is separated by a sandy area. The lake
is considered as an important wildlife habitat. Chilka sanctuary is home to more than 150 species of migratory as well as resident birds. You will find most of them on the Nalaban Island which has been recognized as a bird sanctuary. The aquatic life here is also quite varied. There are around 225 species of fish found here along with dolphins.
How to Get There
The nearest airport to Puri is in Bhubaneswar which is situated at a distance of around 56 Km. Indian Airlines and all major private airlines have regular flights to and from Puri. It receives flights from all important cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. From the airport, there is regular bus service to Puri. You can also hire a taxi.
Puri has its own railhead which is one of the most important stations in East India. It has connections from all major cities of India. The station is situated close to the heart of the city and is accessible from all corners of the city.
Puri has good road network and is connected to all the major cities of Orissa. Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa is just 56 Km from Puri. State transport buses ply to and from all parts of the state.