During our four day stay at Puri, I found myself wandering on the Temple Road almost everyday, not to visit the temple, but to take pictures. It is a very interesting place to be in at any time of the day. It has lots of activities. Activities which include the locals as well as the tourists. They have accepted tourists to be a part of their daily lives now, mostly because I think it is the primary source of their income and livelihood.
This place according to me is not just a way leading to the temple, but it is a place to be felt and experienced. Therefore I suggest you spend the empty hours of your stay in Puri at this place. There are various places where you can be here. There are various shops where you will find traditional Orissi sarees, duppatas, kurtas, and materials. There are also many good restaurants here. I particularly like the one on the terrace top which overlooks the entire road, also they serve very crispy and delicious Dosa.
Another beautiful aspect of Puri is its magnificent beach. It is one of the most beautiful and safe beaches of India, I suppose. It is a delight to watch sunrise and sunset, as well as to dive in.
There are various ways in which one can enjoy it. Many good resorts have private beaches, we has a good time there as they are quite with limited public, and therefore very 'private'. Yet, to enjoy a different mood of the sea, one should not miss to visit the common beach. It is filled with life with many restaurants lining the opposite side of the road, as well lots of people and vendors on the beach. In case you end up on the beach at noon (like we did) there are many large umbrellas and chairs for hire at the beach, so sit back and enjoy the numerous activities in the shade.
The sunrise should not be missed at any chance, as being on the eastern side of the country, it is a beautiful way to start your way. You can photograph the varies fishermen which set out early in the early hour, or just enjoy it with a cup of coffee from the hotel balcony, or maybe just hang around at the beach and feel the day rising.
Once on an earlier visit to Puri, we were fortunate enough to decide to just hang around at the beach on a full moon day, and in an hour the tides almost reached out to where we were sitting. It was a wonderful and an exciting experience. I suggest not to miss this co-incidence for anything in the world!
Raghurajpur is a heritage crafts village in the Puri District. It is 14 kms from the Puri, and can be easily reached by a taxi. You can take the Bhumbaneshwar road and reach Chandanpur on NH 203, from where it is at a distance of 1.5kms.
It consists of approximately 120 houses, all of which are inhabited by skilled artists. The entire village exists and sustains on through its art and skill. While walking through the narrow lanes, you will find yourself peeking into every house and pondering over every door which has been beautifully worked on by these artists. Each plinth displays a different art. It includes many crafts like decorative balls, masks, hangings, paintings, sarees, but it is especially known for its Pattachitra paintings and Gotipua dance style.Just feel free to enter any little house and watch these artists at work. Many smiling faces will be welcoming you into their houses to take a look at their work in the hope that you might just buy something. It may seem a little annoying at first, but very soon you will find yourself engrossed in bargaining for quite a few items.
If you do nothing else, don't skip the Sun Temple at Konark. I almost did, and am so glad I did not. A rare case where the hype is deserved.
If you have time, also check King Ashoka's peace pillar edict in Dhauligiri. Most visitors just make a beeline to the huge Japanese styled Peace Pagoda, but don't forget to stop at the reason why the pagoda was built in the first place: One of Ashoka's original edicts. It's inside a little garden, where you can see the inscriptions from behind a glass. On top rests (half) an elephant carved out of solid rock to represent Buddha.
You can see dolphins quite close (but to fast for my camera), flamingoes (but not seen by me) and other birds. Since you need a boat unless you are a large group it will be cheaper by tour, i took one from OTDC it was a comfortable bus with a bit to much aircon; be prepared! 290 + 141 (if they have more then 20 passengers otherwise more) Rupies, cheaper with bad buses with other companies, 200 Rupies (plus 141Rupies for the boar). They stop first at Alarnath Temple, when entering some "Guru" might tell you first no entry and might want then 50 ore more Rupies, don't pay, from the entrance you have seen allmost all. At Satapada (in case you come on your own, there is a dolphin boat booking counter) the bus stops at a restaurant (Yatri Niwas) where you book you lunch, normal indian prices, the Fish Thali 90 Rupies was quite good, then the crowded boat takes you to the dolphins and some other places, you can also take ashort dip in the ocean, then in Satapada you get to see a video of the history of the lake and only after that you get your food.
Konark built in the 13. century is one of the real great indian tempels, with a lot of carvings on allmost every wall, only 35 km away, but 1.5 hours and 22 rupies by a very crowded bus, first bus at 8 am, last bus back at 5 pm. Tour buses would include also Bhubaneswar and several other places, but some of the tour buses (200 Rupies excluding entrancefees, the nice bus from OTDC is 400 Rupies) look as bad and allmost as crowded as the public bus and you would spend only a short time in Konark. It is also quite fun watching the indian tourist when they see some of the sexy carvings.
250 Rupies entrance fee includes also the archiological museum nearby. There are also some simple hotels and restaurants and the beach looks inviting.
Bhubaneswar is also a interresting town, go there by bus 2 to 3 hours.
Request all tourists to read carefully do's and don'ts while entering the World Heritage Site, please respect the regulations fixed by ASI and Govt. of India. Now you shall find security guards everywhere inside the temple and in the campus garden.
Please remmber, now violation of guidelines can invite prosecution, fine which may mar your holiday.
You must have seen or experienced Herbal massage sometime or the other but this massage has a history of tradition of may be several hundred years. The masseur ( The Bariks of Baripada) in the picture is from Baripada district of Orissa. There is community of masseurs ( The Bariks) who have served the warriors, kings, queens, orthopaedic patients, rich and famous personalities in Orissa, Kolkata and all over India for generations and centuries. They are expert masseurs with some secret herbal oil which is made by themselves. They know the exact pressure points of the body, feet and apply perfect pressure on each point. When I asked him to give jolt massage on my neck, he declined and advised me never get it done as it may permanently damage my nerves around neck.( See the video).
The way he massage my foot and body I felt very rejuvenated and rerfreshed. Sea Bathing after a massage is highly recommended. The price for 40mts massage is about Rs100 to Rs. 200 on the beach but the same massage provided in the hotel would be around Rs.600/- and the masseur may get the same rate only as they are poor unorganised people.
In case you want to experience the great herbal massage near the Holiday resort or Mayfair beach resort hotel then look for Rabi Barik and experience heavenly refreshing massage. I tipped him well.
YOU CAN TAKE ABOUT 1000 PICTURES OF THE VARIOUS MOOD OF THE TEMPLE AND YET YOU FIND THAT YOU HAVE MISSED SOME OF THE POSES. IT IS BETTER TO BE EXPLORED BY ONE' S OWN EXPERIENCE. I TOOK ABOUT 300 PICTURES TILL MY MEMORY CHIP WAS FULL.
This spectacular chariot festival celebrated for 8 days is held at the famous Jagannath Temple at Puri (Orissa). Thousands of devotees flock to Puri during the occasion, as they believe that a glimpse of Lord Jagannath in his chariot gives salvation. Images of Lord Jagannath - the Lord of the Universe, his sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra are taken out in a procession in three immense chariots. The main chariot is 14 meters high and 10 meters square with 16 wheels.
Thousands of devotees pull these chariots to Gundicha Mandir, a temple 3 km away. After a week, on 'Ashadha Sukla Dasami', the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha (June-July), return journey or 'Bahuda Yatra' of the deities commences in the same manner from Gundicha temple to the main temple like Rath Yatra.When two months of Ashadha fall in one year, Rath Yatra is observed as the festival of 'Nabakalebar' the old deities are buried within the temple premises ('Koilibaikuntha') and are replaced by new deities, carved out of Margosa trees for which there are set procedures. Double Ashadha occurs at intervals of 8 to 19 years. Construction of the chariots begin as early as April.
Jagannath Rath Yatra or the' chariot journey of Lord Jagannatha', observed in the month of Ashadha (June-July), is a festival that celebrates the annual visit of the God to his birthplace. The Jagannath Temple at Puri, Orissa is the venue for all celebrations. Several lakh people converge at Puri for this festival. An atmosphere of almost hysterical devotion prevails on this day and in earlier years; devotees were known to have thrown themselves under the wheels of the rath in the hope of obtaining instant salvation.
Source: OTDC/ Picture.
Oh! I missed the early morning Sunrise. These picturs are taken at 5.30 AM the time when I get up. As I have the habit of getting up with Kolkata in mind, I missed the first 20mts of Sunrise. It's up at 5.00AM and clearly visible from your hotel room. The picture are taken from my room balcony as I did not have time.
But the best views are guaranteed if you can reach the beach exactly at 5.00AM or earlier!
Puri Sea Beach is one of the best in India, visited by thousands everyday. An excellent weekend gateway from Kolkata. Though it is not like the beaches of Philippines or that of any European country, it is surely an under utilized beach. But there is lot of scope to improve it and have more facilities of bathing, toilets, boating and so on. This beach may not attact an European as it is highly crowded offering less facility but enjoyment is none the less.
I had been to Puri many times and have always enjoyed a lot.
The celebrated Temple of Lord Jagannath now existent at Puri was constructed by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in 12th century A.D. The wooden images of Jagannath Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed in that temple. The management of the temple continued under the Hindu rulers till 1558, when the State of Orissa was conquered by the Afghan Nawab of Bengal and the temple was attacked by the Afgan General ‘Kalapahad’. Then, an independent Khurda kingdom was established by Ramachandra Deb, who assumed the management of the temple. He consecrated the temple and reinstalled the deities. Raja Mansingh, a General of the Mughal King Akbar, defeated the Afghans and annexed Orissa in to the Mughal dominion. It remained under the Mughals till 1751 A.D. Till 1760, the temple continued under the Khurda Raja, who was paying tribute to Mughals and Marhattas. Marhattas took up direct management of the temple till 1803. The Britishers annexed Orissa into British empire in 1803 and allowed Puri Raja to manage the temple. The position continued till 1947.
Recently the temple showed decay in the 1990's. The Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken renovation job of the temple for the last 12 years. Hopefully it will again look like a brand new one very soon. Please remember no leather, shoes, mobilephones, cameras allowed inside. Please leave them in safe custody before entering. One last thing, entry is only for Born Hindus!
This huge temple, built at the end of the 12th century c.e., is dedicated to the incarnation of Vishnu as creator of the universe. The temple grounds are, unhappily, closed to non-Hindus. We non-believers can get a glimpse of the temple from the rooftop of Raghundan Library. Admission to the library is Rs 20 (about 50 US cents in 2007).
As we were about to ascend the steps to the top, the curator (or whoever he was) handed my driver/guide a long wooden stick. As we got to a landing just below the roof I discovered why. A monkey was sitting on the ledge. The moment he saw me he bared his teeth and started toward me. The moment he saw the stick he fled.
The Sun Temple at Konark was one of my highlights whilst travelling around India. It sits in the middle of nowhere, all alone, on a flat featureless landscape near the Orissan coastline near Puri, which is about 35km away. It was built between 1253 and 1260 A.D. by the Orissan king Narasimhadeva I (1236-1264) to celebrate his military victory over the Muslims and is one of the signature temples throughout the whole of India and, because of this, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple was then sacked by the Muslim Yavana army in the 15th century. The central statue enshrined in the temple was smuggled away to Puri by priests, but the Sun Temple was badly damaged in the attack. Nature took over the destruction from there. Over the centuries, the sea receded, sand engulfed the building and salty breezes eroded the stone. It remained buried under a huge mound of sand until the early 20th century, when restoration began under the British.
Konark is very easy to get to from Puri and more details can be found on my Konark Page. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.