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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Puri: Where art, architecture, natural beauty and spirituality come together

One of the significant and the most visited religious sacred sites in India, Puri is a city where the best of art and architecture come together to form an awe-inspiring association. History and heritage are the defining attributes that have significantly contributed to making Puri one of the key centers of tourism in the country. With magnificent and alluring temples and majestic natural beauty, it is a definite treat for locals and tourists alike.

Located in the state of Odisha, the city is also famously known as Jagannath Puri, dedicated to the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The central temple is a massive structure protected on two sides by high walls. The nearly 60 meter spire in the middle has a flag and wheel of Vishnu, and impressively crafted two stone lions and a pillar. The annual Rath Yatra witnesses hoards of devotees and travellers flocking to the temple, where the yatra concludes.

Sahi Yatra of Puri, Orissa

Photo Courtesy: Vishal Bhowmick, Wikipedia (Borrowed under Creative Commons License)

The three main cities of the state – Konark, Bhubaneshwar and Puri – constitute the golden triangle of Odisha. While it undoubtedly finds its significance in the religious context, Puri has grown to become an important industrial hub. Industries like rice milling, fish curing and handicrafts are housed in the city. Additionally, the city’s picturesque beaches highlight its majestic and wonderful beauty, something that tempts travellers and vacationers from the world over.

Places to visit

ITripTo notes several attractions that tourists should visit during their stay in Puri. The first and most important of these, needless to say, is the Jagannath Temple. Enshrining the Lord of the Universe, the temple is more than 1000 years old. It is the only religious site where the sister of Lord Krishna, Subhadra, is worshipped along with her brothers. The temple is also where the famous Rath Yatra, which attracts several devotees and tourists, concludes.

Close to the Jagannath Temple is the Puri Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand and water where tourists and pilgrims come to unwind, relax and enjoy. It is a popular site to fish, with several fishermen that can be spotted here. The beach also houses a line of kiosks that sell food and souvenirs, which adds to the overall charm the city has to offer. While the cleanliness of the place makes it an ideal place for sunbathers, it isn’t advisable to venture too far into the sea because of strong undercurrents.

If you’re looking to relish the innumerable sweets and savoury culinary delights of Puri, one should definitely head to Anand Bazaar. Located just outside the Jagannath Temple, it is essentially a line of shops along the street where one can relish some delightful delicacies. One shouldn’t miss the mahaprasad, served by the deities of the Jagannath Temple. Another lovely delicacy is the khaja, which is prepared from sugar, ghee and flour.

Around 14 kilometres away from the city of Puri is the Raghurajpur Crafts Village. The village is known for Pattachitra paintings, a form of scroll painting traditionally done on dried palm leaves or cloth that depict famous mythological scenes, and is an ideal spot for art lovers and those who want to admire the mesmerising creativity of the state of Odisha.

Weather

The ideal time to visit the city is between the months of June and March. During winters – December and February – Puri experiences cool weather with mercury levels normally ranging between a low of 10 degrees and a high of 18 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, summers, from March to May, are not recommended for a visit as the temperatures have been recorded to reach scorching levels of 45 degrees Celsius. During the monsoons, which last from June to September, the city experiences moderate to heavy rainfall.

Where to stay

Serenity, quaintness and exquisite beauty are what vacationers look for in their accommodations when they visit the spiritual town of Puri. Sterling Holidays’ Golden Sands, located near the Brahma Kumaris Temple, is an ideal accommodation for those seeking a tranquil and sophisticated environment from their stay in Puri resorts. A scenic delight, warm hospitality and luxuriousness round up the mesmerising charm that Golden Sands has to offer.

Guests and members can indulge in a range of activities offered by the resort, including a boat ride to a private beach, playing outdoor sports like cricket, volleyball and table tennis in the club house, and dancing to the latest tunes in the discotheque. A variety of rooms are available for members, including 2 Bedroom Apartment, 1 Bedroom Apartment, and Studio.

How to reach


According to OrissaTourism, Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneshwar is the closest airport to Puri. There are regular flights from major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

Those choosing rail as their most preferred medium of transportation, Puri Railway station serves as the primary railhead for the city, and is connected with major cities across the country, including New Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, etc.

For those taking the bus, the stand close to Gundicha Temple has a well connected accessibility from Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack; with buses plying every 10 to 15 minutes. Direct bus transportation from important cities like Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam are also available.



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