Puri City Guide – Puri Travel Attractions
Puri is a city in the Indian state of Orissa. The city is one of the most important pilgrimage centers for the Hindus. It has emerged as an important tourist destination because of its magnificent temples, sunny beaches, colorful wildlife, traditional tribal culture, and its rich heritage. The history of the city dates back to the 3rd century BC. Puri being a costal district has a moderate climate. Temperatures vary from 17 °C during the winters to 32 °C during the summer seasons. It is also a bird sanctuary, which offers an ideal resort for birds that migrate from different parts of the continent. It was from here the Odissi dance and music evolved. A few places worth visiting in Puri are as follows.
Raja Ananta Varman of the 12th Century constructed the temple of Jagannath. This 214 ft high temple is one of the tallest temples in India. The highlights of this temple are the wooden statues of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. It has four gates named as the Lion Gate, Horse Gate, Tiger Gate and the Elephant gate. The Ratha Yatra, the festival of chariots, is a famous ritual conducted in this temple during the month of June.
Chilika is the largest fresh water lake in Asia, which covers an area of over 1,110 sq. Km. Located at the eastern coast, this lake is in the shape of a pear. The blue water of this lake on the green background of the hills looks enchanting. During the winter season one can find a number of migratory birds around the lake. The major attractions of this lake are bird watching and boating. The lake has island such as Kalijai Island, Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island, Birds Island, Nalabana Island, and Parikud Island. It offers a wonderful experience to the tourists.
Puri has a wonderful beach with fine white sand and the beach is considered to be sacred by the pilgrims. Sand sculptures are an attracting feature of the beach. Artists form sculptures of famous characters and episodes form the Hindu mythology. One other unique feature of the Puri beach is that the sun rises and sets on the same beach. Local fishermen offer short cruise into the sea for nominal charges. It is a good place for sea swimming and sun bathing.
Balighai is about 8 km from the city of Puri. There is Nuanai estuary which is a worthy sight for the visitors. At Balighai beach has the renowned Sea Turtle Research center. It is a great picnic spot very close to Puri.
Other important places around Puri worth visiting are Bramhagiri, Bali Harchandi, Konark, Pipili, Astaranga, Sakhigopal, Beleswar, and many more.
Transport and Stay
The airport in Bhubaneswar is the nearest one to Puri. There are number of flights to various parts of the country from Bhubaneswar. Puri has a railway station and there are trains to major cities like Kolkata and Rourkela from Puri. However, the city is well connected to other cities of the state by a well laid network of roads. There are number of buses from neighboring cities like Bhubaneswar and Konark. Apart from the buses operated both by government and private sectors, the city has various modes of local transportation such as taxies, rickshaws, and auto rickshaws to move around within the city limits.
Mayfair Resorts, Garden Inn, The Oberoi, Hotel Swosti, and Hans Coco Palms are some of the hotels that offer star comforts to the visitors of Puri. Hotel Nilachal Ashok, Hotel holiday resort, Hotel Samudra, and Hotel Vijoya International are mid range hotels that offer a comfortable accommodation at affordable costs. Hotels like Hotel Sea Palace, Hotel Swimming, Hotel Shree Hari, Surya Beach Inn, Hotel Holiday Resort, and Hotel Padma offer economy class accommodation to the visitors.