Puri is a city and the district headquarters of Puri district, Odisha, eastern India. Puri, the holy land of Lord Jaganath, has many names. It is mentioned in Puranas as Srikshetra, Neelāchala, Neelādri, Purusottama Dhāma, Purusottama Kshetra, Purusottama Puri and Jagannath Puri. The word “Puri” in Sanskrit means ‘town’, or ‘city’. It is possible that Puri is a shortened name for Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri. It is one of the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for Indian Hindus According to Hindu teachings, a pilgrimage of the temples of India is not considered complete without a journey to Puri. Moreover, Puri is one of the seven most holy places for Hindus in India whereas Varanasi is considered as the holiest of the seven holy cities.
How to Reach
Puri is well connected with rest of the country by train. Trains are from Kolkata (Howrah jn), New Delhi, Ahmedabad, etc. It is also a major railhead on the East Coast Railway, bifurcated from Khurda Road Jn. The Railway Station of Puri is in The heart of the town and near to all hotels. In case of flight connectivity one has to go to Bhubaneswar to get onto one. From the main bus stand in Puri you can get buses to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack which are less than 60-70 km far
Places to Visit
To visit the important places of Puri you can use cycle or auto rickshaws but agree a price before you set off.
- Golden Beach of Puri:
Enjoy the splendour of the Golden Beach of Puri. The sunny beach at Puri is one of the finest in the world. The water is a bit rough which is ideal for surfing and cool for a dip. The beach is covered in golden sand. The waves can also be high and rough during full moon. Please Do not litter the beach to keep its magnificent view intact. You have to be careful about swimming off the Chakra Tirtha Rd end of the beach because there is a canal that carries raw sewerage into the ocean. Do not try to go to the beach after 8 pm. There are mouthwatering foodstalls on the beach selling fish, mutton, chicken kebabs, chops and cutlets. They are harmful for your stomach. Watching the sunrise in a symphony of colours is a wonderful experience.
- Jagannath Temple:
Apart from a major tourist destination with all its beautiful and pleasant sights Puri is a pilgrimage town with the famous temple of Lord Jagannath (means Lord of the Universe). It is one of the major Hindu temples in India. The temple is built during the 12th century A.D. by Chodaganga Deva dominates the landscape for kilometers around. Being the tallest temple (65 metres) in Orissa, it is one of the most magnificent pieces of monuments of India. This is the first temple in the history of Kalingaan temple architecture where all the chambers like, Bhogamandapa (Offerings Hall) and Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jaga mohan, (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall) were built along with the main temple. This the Pancharatha (Five chariots) type temple has more two chambers by the name of Deula or Vimana (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls) and Mukhashala (Frontal porch). The temple complex is huge and has some very interesting stories associated, priests or pandas are generally the ones who conduct the non Oriya people around and generally mention all these stories although they can demand exorbitant amounts; bring it down to something reasonable. It is possible to go into the sanctum sanctorum and touch the deities in the main temple for a fee. Rememer that try to stay safe from pandas of the temple.They will extract money from your pocket ruthlessly in the name of God. They are very influential and nothing can be done with the help of law.The Lion Gate (Singhadwara) is the main gate to the temple, guarded by two guardian deities Jaya and Vijaya. A 16-sided, 11 meter high granite monolithic columnar pillar known as the Aruna Stambha (Solar Pillar) bearing Aruna, the charioteer of Surya, faces the Lion Gate. This column was brought here from the Sun temple of Konark. As a matter of tradition, it is strictly forbidden for non-Hindus to enter the Jagannath temple.
- Shree Gundicha Temple:
It is the destination temple of Rathayatra festival. This temple is also called as Mausi Maa Temple. Known as the Garden House of Jagannath, the Gundicha temple stands in the centre of a beautiful garden, surrounded by compound walls on all sides. It lies at a distance of about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the Shrimandira, the main temple of Jagannath. Except for the 9-day Rath Yatra when Jagannath is worshipped in Gundicha temple, the temple remains empty the rest of the year. Tourists can visit the temple after paying an entry fee. Foreigners (prohibited entry in the main temple) are allowed inside this temple during this period.
Other places of interest:
- Shankaracharya’s GOBARDHAN Pitha A Hindu Math
- Swargadwar The Gateway to Heaven. Site of cremation of almost all famous Oriya people.
- Shree Lokanath Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva, is said to be the place where Lord Shiva hid himself from Shani, under a pond. The Shiva Linga here is partially submerged and the pond is teeming with fish. Priests here tend to be very strict so do maintain etiquette.
- Sunara Gaurang Temple
- Bedi Hanuman Temple
- Chakra Tirtha Temple
- Damodar Gaudiya MAtha, C.T.Road, Puri -2 , Odisha (Near Chakranarayan Temple),
Famous Places Near Puri
- Sun Temple of Konark – There are places on C.T Road where you can hire an Enfield motorbike, good if you want to drive along the coast to Konark(Sun Temple). A cycle rickshaw is in the range of 5-20 rupees.
- Chandrabhaga Sea Beach.
- Chilika Lake – The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) conducts daily guided tours to Chilika lake. They are run by the Orissa government and rarely try to fleece any unsuspecting customer. Their booking office can be found on the Marine Drive Road inside the premises of the Mahadadhi Resort.
- Satapada-Dolphin Sanctuary (52 km from Puri town). Satapara, a retreat in nature on Chilika Lake, has been thrown open to visitors. Its location near the confluence of the Lake with the Bay of Bengal, and proximity to Puri (52 km), makes it 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. while booking, insist on visiting Satapada only having Govt OTDC department. You will be in profit is you go to Satpada by OTDC organised tour and save money heavely. carry some snacks/water bottle while moving inside lake and advise boat man to stop boat fan/blade, while watching dolphin as these are precious animal,enjoy satapada.
- Alarnath Temple
- Pipili Famous for Applique Work.
- Raghurajpur Famous for Patta Chitra. One of the most famous artists village in Orissa, the village of Raghurajpur (16 km from Puri) boasts not only of the exquisite pattachitra’s and talapattachitra’s, but also of being the native place of Guru kelucharan Mohapatra, the famed Odissi dancer. Even today, under the tutelage of renowned Guru’s, young boys can be seen practicing the Gotipua dance here. A visit to Orissa would definitely be incomplete without a visit to this little village.
- Puri Konark Marine Drive This road was recently renovated and hence is in superb condition. Is peppered with deserted beaches and many rivers fall into the sea in places visible, if not accessible, from the road. Some beaches are said to have quicksands. Along the way there is a temple Ramchandi which is a popular picnic spot amongst the locals as non-veg is allowed in the temple.
- Balihar Chandi Temple Is secluded with a beautiful and very calm beach nearby view from the temple of which is obscured by a forest. 27 km to the south-west of Puri is the temple of Baliharachandi. Situated on a sandy hill near the sea and adjacent to the mouth of the river Bhargavi (27km). Goddess Durga is worshipped here as Baliharachandi. The scenic beauty of this place is ideal for group picnic.
- Nandankanan Zoo –
- Balighai – The Casuarina fringed Balighai beach is a famous picnic spot. The Sun and fun at the mouth of the river Nuanai is unforgettable. It is only 8 km far from Puri.
- Bramhagiri – Brahmagiri is known for the living shrine of Alarnath. Streams of pilgrims visit Alarnath during Anabasara of Lord Jagannath. Nearby is the shrine of Baliharachandi on the solitary sand dunes. Distance from Puri is 25 km.
- Sakshigopal – Satyabadi or Sakshigopal (20 km) is known for the shrine of Lord Sakshigopal. It is believed that the visit to Puri is incomplete without a visit to Sakshigopal. The temple is only 2 km away from the main road leading to Puri and is convenient to visit.
Bhubaneswar which is a major hub further increases connectivity.