India >> Orissa >> Puri Travel Guide

Puri Hotels and Travel Guide

The holy city of Puri, 60 km from Bhubaneswar, is one of the four holiest points of pilgrimage for Hindus.

The reigning deity of the city, Lord Jagannath, whose temple was built way back in the 12th century, is not only of great religious significance to the people of Orissa but is revered by thousands of pilgrims who seek His blessings from every part of the country. This intense veneration of Jagannath, or the Lord of the Universe, reaches its zenith during the annual rites of the Rath Yatra in the months of June July, when the images of Lord Jagannath, His sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra are transported through the Grand Road (Bada Danda) of Puri in traditionally decorated massive chariots that are dragged by thousands of devotees to the Gundicha Ghar where they sojourn for a week. The process is repeated when they are returned amidst intense religious fervor to the temple. Though the temple is closed to non-Hindus, the activities of the Jagannath Temple are so immense that they create enough colour and interest for tourists to participate in the bazar element of the proceedings outside the temple precincts. The other important feature of the town is its beautiful beach which, for centuries, has offered pleasure to both pilgrims and swimmers. This picturesque beach is one of the most delightful white beaches in the country and is becoming a pleasure haunt for tourists from all over the globe. Though the surf here is pretty exciting, the under-current can be a bit tricky, so tread carefully... The areas both within and outside Puri offer excellent shopping and the nearby artist villages of Pipli (for the famous appliqué work), Raghurajpur (for pata and palm-leaf paintings) and Balakati (for bell-metal work) bring shoppers directly in contact with the craftsmen at work. It can be quite an experience.

SHOPPING:

The early designation of parts of Orissa as 'Utkal' (land of excellence), was no doubt due to the brilliance of both her architecture and sculptural traditions. The myriad craft forms found throughout Orissa can serve the purpose of momentoes or gifts, which the tourists would love to carry for their friends back home. To know more about them, it is worth checking with the local tourist office and scouting the market to search out the interesting local art and craft.

CLIMATE:
This temple city and seaside resort has a temperate climate with the mercury rarely rising above 36° Celsius in summers and never dropping below 16° Celsius. The only drawback is that Puri becomes very humid in the monsoon season between June and September.This temple city has a temperate climate with the mercury rarely rising above 36° Celsius in summers and never falls below 16° Celsius. The only disadvantage is that it gets very humid in the in the monsoon season between June and September.

EXCURSION:<

Chilka Lake: Chilka Lake of shimmering blue waters and the playfully jumping fish is the largest fresh water lake in Asia and is also called the ?honeymooners paradise' and ?breakfast island'.

Pipli: If one has an interest in handicrafts of the locals, one must not miss a visit to the small village near Puri called Pipli. This place is famous for the appliqué work of the traditional Orissa style.

Raghurajpur: The hamlet of Raghurajpur is famous for the patta chitra (paintings done on specially prepared cotton cloth which is coated with a mixture of gum and chalk and polished, before natural colors are applied) art of Orissa. You can watch the traditional, intricate process, which goes into the making of a treasured patta chitra here.

Caves of Wonder: The sixty odd caves of 2nd century BC caves set in the Udaygiri-Khandagiri hills with their ornate carvings and delicate friezes are major tourist attractions.

The cities of Bhubaneswar and Konark should also be visited for their temples and beaches, and the beach of Balighai when on a trip to Puri.

Holy Beach Resort Puri
Holy Beach Resort, Puri

Jagannath Temple, Puri
Jagannath Temple, Puri
Attractions and Places to Visit in Puri

Raghurajpur: The artists village of Raghurajpur, 16 km from Puri, is famous for its patachitras created by traditional chitrakaras, who have, for centuries, also churned out palm-leaf etchings with exquisite detail. Quite a few of the craftsmen are winners of national awards.

Satapara: Satapara, a retreat in nature on Chilika Lake, is opened up to the tourists. For its location near the confluence of the lake with the ocean and proximity to Puri (48 km), it is an ideal spot to enjoy Chilika. The thrilling sight of dolphins round the year and abundance of migratory and resident birds in winter make it a preferred place for a vacation with nature.

Choudwar: Choudwar, a growing industrial area was once the capital of Somakuli Keshari Kings of Orissa. Eight prominent Siva pithas were established by the Keshari dynasty in the vicinity of Choudwar which is now in ruins. Tradition records that it was the capital of Virat, the brother-in-law of Kichaka. The five Pandava brothers with their consort Draupadi took shelter in Choudwar in their secret exile.

Chhatia: Popularly known as Chhatiabata, Chhatia is a sacred place of pilgrimage. The shrine of Lord Jagannath at Chhatia is a modern piece of Orissan temple architecture. Nearby one can find the archaeological remains of Amravati-Kataka, one of the five important forts of Chodaganga Deva. Amaravati with the back drop of the hill "Dhania" presents an attractive sight.

Jajpur: Otherwise known as Vaitarani Tirtha, Jajpur with Goddess Viraja (Durga) as its presiding deity is one of the sacred places of pilgrimage in Orissa. The place has its unique importance in India as Navigaya Kshetra where pinda is offered for the satisfaction of the ancestors. The shrine of Sweta Varaha (the white boar incarnation of Vishnu) along with hundreds of other shrines here made Jajpur a Tirtha par excellence. The "Dasavamedha Ghat", the flight of steps leading to the Vaitarani where the ten horse sacrifices were performed is a great sanctified spot for the Hindus.

Ansupa: Ansupa the small but picturesque lake holds a prominent position in the tourist map of Orissa and offers an asylum to the migratory birds in winter. The play of the shadow of Saranda mountain and surrounding bamboo and mango groves on the rippling waters of Ansupa make it a real thing of beauty. One can have a boat journey or go for fishing in the lake.
Ansupa is 70 kms from Cuttack and 20 kms from Raja-athagarh station, connected with regular bus service.

Ratnagiri Lalitgiri Udayagir: These three hills comprise a remarkable buddhist complex. Hieun-T'sang, the Chinese pilgrim found it to be the seat of a flourishing Buddhist University called "Puspagiri". Extensive ruins of brick pagodas, sculptured stone portals and esoteric Buddhist images testifying its ancient glory have been unearthed. Ratnagiri is the gem of this complex. The magnificently carved door jambs of the Vihar and superbly finished Buddha images from perhaps the greatest concentration of Buddhist sculpture of the post-Gupta period. Ratnagiri is 70 kms, Lalitgiri is 55 kms and Udayagiri is 60 kms from Cuttack.

Jagannath Temple: It is the earliest Ganga monument of Orissa, but it must be noted that the ganga temples of much earlier dates are still to traced in the Andra regions, the original seat of power of Gangas. There is adefinite mention in all the later copper plate records of the successor of Chodaganga that he was the bulider of this great temple at Puri. According to some evidence sources that Chodaganga had began this huge structure and one his successor Ananagabhimadev III  completed it or added the Jagamohan to it. The height of the Jagannath temple of Puri as calculated as 215 feet 8 inches. It is therefore the loftiest religious edifice of Orissa. At present the thick coat of plaster which had covered the structure for centuries has been removed. 


How to Reach Puri

Puri can be reached by air at its nearest airport in Bhubaneswar, which is 56 km away. The Puri railway station is a major railway station having links with several of the important cities in India. The railway station is accessible from the main town area by almost all the modes of local transport. We provide complete travel packages for Puri that are complete with hotel and air bookings, as well as transport services for the entire duration of your tour.


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