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Indian Pilgrimage » Puri

About Puri

There are very few places that have embraced opposites, such as the sacred and the profane, religious and secular, dogma and liberalism, particular and universal, the way Puri has, with beauty and serenity. Located at 60 km from Bhubaneswar on the shoreline of Bay of Bengal, Puri, the abode of Vishnu as Jagannath, is one of the four holy dhamas of India beside Dwarka, Rameswaram and Badrinath. A host possessing a rich cultural heritage and integrated individuality, Puri has opened her gates with a spirit of universality , adaptability , and endurance.

History

The ancient name of this town was Charitra mentioned by the Chinese piligrim Hiuen Tsang as Che-li-ta-lo. But the restoration of the word Che-li-ta-lo as Charitra and its identification with the town of Puri are debatable. The importance of Puri as a seat of Vaisnavism increased, when Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev constructed the temple of Purusottama Jagannath and installed the images of the deities in 12th century. Thereafter , it became famous as the abode of Purusottama and was popularly called Purusottama Kshetra.

The city continued to prosper under his dominion until 1558, when the State of Orissa was conquered by the Afghan Nawab of Bengal. Later, Raja Mansingh, a General of the Mughal King Akbar, defeated the Afghans and annexed Orissa in to the Mughal territory which remained under the Mughals till 1751 A.D. It was Orrisa's capital for hundreds of years until the Britishers annexed Orissa into British empire in 1803 and made Cuttack the new capital in 1936. Later, because of its mild, balmy weather, Puri became the summer headquarters of the Governer of Orrisa.

Tourist Attractions

Temple Attractions

The temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri, is one of the major Hindu pilgrimage destinations of India. With its roaring 65 mt high spire, the temple is visible even from the countryside. Decorated with four gates on each side, the temple also has a 16 sided monolithic pillar measuring 11 meters in height, Arunastambh; architectural zenith with exquisite carvings which was brought here from Konark in the 18th century. The temple also has the largest kitchen in the world serving around 10,000 devotees every day.At the end of Grand Road, about 3 km northeast of Jagannath temple, is the Gundicha Mandir. At the time of Rath Yatra festival, Lord Jagannath goes to Gundicha temple and stays there for a week. The city is dotted with numerous other shrines like Narasimha temple and Tota Gopinath temple.

Beach Attractions

The Puri Beach is one of the most sought after beaches in India and is an indispensable part of the city. The abode of Lord Jagannath attracts millions of tourists round the year who come here to take a holy bath, which they believe is a golden path to Moksha or Eternal salvation. Trimmed with gorgeous sand arts, the golden sand of this pristine beach allures every tourists to their brim.

The Shopping Pockets

A treasure chest for those interested in traditional crafts, Puri offers a diverse range of articles with peerless craftsmanship and exquisite carvings. Enjoy the broad array of bead and bamboo works, Pattachitras (miniature religious paintings on silk and cotton fabric), wooden combs, pitchers, glasses, lamps, masks and metal crafts displayed at the Ananda Bazaar in the temple complex, where the craft and food sheds are concentrated.

The Orrisa Handicrafts Emporium, situated at Grand Road, promote a superb collection of Ikat handlooms. Locally known as Cuttaki, Ikat is an intricate process of tie and dye, which involves knotting of yarn, before it is dipped in separate colours and woven to produce exquisite designed cloth. The emporium also features double-Ikat from Sambalpur and gold-embroidered ones from Sonepur.

Near by Excursions

Balighai

Situated at a distance of mere 8 km from Puri, this casuarina caressed beach is a leisure paradise. Blend yourself with the natural spirit of the sun, sand and the sea, while picking up lovely sea shells as memoirs for your near and dear ones.

Sakshigopal

Also known as the Satyabadi, the temple is located at 20 km from Puri on NH 203, enroute to Bhubaneswar. Dedicated to Lord Sakshigopal (Lord Krishna), this temple bears architectural elegance. It is believed that a visit to Puri is incomplete without paying a visit to Sakshigopal.

Raghurajpur

About 10 km from Puri on NH 203, is Raghurajpur, a village famous for its attractive pattachitra and talapattachitra (paintings on silk and palm leaves) illustrations. Birthplace of Guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra, the Odissi dance maestro, the place is currently being promoted as a handicraft hub by the state government in collaboration with INTACH.

Pipli

About 36 km from Puri, this small town is known for its applique work. Originally, artists from this place made colourful umbrellas and dresses for Lord Jagannath. Here you can pick up alluring traditional applique items such as batuas (cloth pouches) and sunjis (embroidered quilts).

Climate

Puri generally have a temperate weather all the year round, which makes it an all-season destination for innumerable tourists. A light cotton clothing in the summer and light woolens in the winter are compatible enough. The Rath-yatra in June/July is celebrated during the rainy season and it often rains very hard during the pulling of the carts.

Transportation

  • Air: The Nearest Airport is 60 km away at Bhubaneswar. There are numerous flights connecting Bhubaneswar to New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai.
  • Rail: Puri is well connected by railways to Berhampore (Orissa), Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Cochin, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Chennai, Tirupati, Trivandrum, Varanasi etc. There are daily trains from New Delhi to Puri and a once a week Rajdhani Express to Bhubaneswar. If you are going to or from South India, you can change trains at Bhubaneswar or at Khurda Road junction (44 km), which is south of Bhubaneswar on the Chennai-Kolkata main line. The railway booking office is opposite to the police station on Grand Road. Especially during the pilgrim season, trains should be booked as far in advance as possible to enjoy a hassle-free holiday tour.
  • Road: Government State Transport and Orissa Road Corporation buses ply regularly between Puri and Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Chilka, Konarak, Madras, Sambalpur, and Visakhapatnam. The bus stand is by the Gundicha Mandira on Grand Road. To get to Bhuwaneswar takes at least 2 hrs by train, and only an hour and a half by bus. The non-stop private buses are the quickest.
  • Local Transport: One can avail taxis, auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws to move within the city.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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