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Puri

State: 

Puri, one of the oldest cities in eastern part of India, is a popular beach resort of Orissa that is positioned in a unique place that provides a visitor view of both sunrise and sunset from the beach. Puri is also famous for its annual Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots), when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession. It has dual identities of a relaxed seaside resort and of an important pilgrimage centre. It is believed is that the name Puri is derived from Purushottama one of 108 Shakti Peethas, Purushottama.

History: 

Puri is the site of the Govardhana matha, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Sri Adi Shankara Charya, the others being those at Sringeri, Dwaraka and Jyotirmath.

Puri is also famous for its annual Ratha Yatra, or "Festival of Chariots", when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, are brought out of the temple, and placed in a chariot procession. This festival occurs on various dates of the Gregorian calendar, typically in the month of July.

The town is famous for its many Mathas (monasteries of the various Hindu sects). It also houses the relics of many Hindu Saints as traditionally it is seen as a holy place to die in or to be cremated. As a result, it has had a disproportionate number of widows. Like other old Hindu religious towns it has a lot of character that is difficult to be glimpsed or picked up on easily by a casual visitor.

In 1903, Sri Yukteswar established an ashram in the sea-side town of Puri, naming it "Kararashram". From two ashrams, Sri Yukteswar taught students, and began an organization named "Sadhu Sabha."

Sri Yukteswar and his disciple, Paramahansa YoganandaLocation: Puri, Orissa State, East India.

Puri is a holy city in the State Of Orissa. It is well connected by National Highway No.203 starting from Rasulgarh of "BHUBANEHSWAR" (State Capital) mail and express trains by Indian Railways and airport, at about 57 km. from Bhubanehswar.

Accessibility: 

Air: Biju Patnaik airport at Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport to Puri, which is nearly 56 km away from the heart of the Puri city. It costs about Rs 900 by taxi cab. The airport is connected to Delhi and Mumbai. International travelers need to get connections through Delhi or Kolkata.

Rail: Puri is a major railway junction. Regular direct train services are available from Puri to many cities in India, including Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.

Road: Orissa road transport corporation buses connect Puri to many cities in Orissa. Frequent bus services are available from Bhuvaneshwar (56 km), Cuttack (32 km) and Konark. Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) offer deluxe buses for sight seeing tours in Puri, which costs about Rs 250 per person.

Shopping: 

Puri is a wonderful place for shopaholics. In fact, it is one of the most common activities that travelers indulge in. You can check out numerous shops in the streets of Puri, which display fabulous Indian handicraft items, stone crafts and silver works. Apart from this, you can get the best deal for shoes, designer clothes, bags and other accessories as well. Beach-side shops often sell products made from shells, at reasonable prices. Sarees of Puri are famous, so it would be a delight for female travelers to move around shopping, in Puri.

Puri is a very popular destination in Orissa. For the discerning shopper, shopping in Puri may turn out to be a true delight. The state of Orissa has a rich tradition of handicrafts.

Being a beachside destination, shells and oyster are available in abundance in Puri. Over the years the ace craftsmen have perfected the art of making artifacts out of shells and oysters. A variety of utilities, decorative showpieces are definitely a feast to eyes and may leave you spoilt for choice. Do pick up a few items while shopping in Puri.

Weaving saris is a traditional craft of Orissa. Even in Puri you would find many outlets dealing in textiles where shoppers flock in large numbers. Do check out the exquisite Passapali, Bomkai and Ikat saris while shopping in Puri.

Palm leaf painting, Patta Chitra is also a popular craft in Orissa. The craft has earned worldwide renown. The item serves well to decorate the interior of your home. An item or two must feature in your shopping cart in Puri.

At the same time, stone crafts and silver works are also favorite items for shopping in Puri.

Accommodation: 

Puri, being the abode of Lord Jagannatha, is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers for Hindus in India. The land of many temples attracts huge number of tourists every year.

Alongside the temples, Puri is famous for its beaches too. Although Puri is not a typical beach resort, but the lure of sun, sand and surf is also an enduring lure for many.

Since Puri is a popular destination, there are a large number of hotels in Puri. Some hotels in Puri offer you high-end luxury and comfort. Some hotels are located close to the beach whereas others are in the city.

In the luxury hotels in Puri, you would find state of the art amenities like: well-furnished room, multi-cuisine restaurants conference halls, shopping arcade, swimming pool, well equipped gym, children parks, tennis courts and other indoor and outdoor games. They offer different categories of rooms too. From elegant suites to ethnic villas - choice is yours as per your taste and budget.

But it is not that all the hotels in Puri are expensive ones. In fact there are several other economy hotels in Puri to suit your budget if you wish to spend less on accommodation. There are lots of options that offer decent arrangement at a modest price.

Some hotels in Puri have great dining facilities too. A number of good restaurants and bars are available in Puri. The cuisine is definitely a gourmet's delight.

LUXURY HOTELS IN PATNA
Toshali Sands
Mayfair Beach Resort
BUDGET HOTELS IN PATNA
Hans Coco Palms
Hotel Arya Palace, Puri

Attractions: 

Jagannath Rath Yatra: Rath Yatra, which is also known as the Chariot Festival, is one of the most prominent festivals of Orissa, which is celebrated in the holy city of Puri. ‘Rath Yatra’ has derived its name from the words ‘Rath’, meaning ‘Chariot’, and ‘Yatra’, meaning ‘Procession’. This festival is celebrated with gusto in almost every part of the country. However, it was initiated in Jagannath Temple and it still attracts devotees from different parts of India. Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is a very colorful festivity, in which people participate enthusiastically.

In the yatra, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, enshrined in the Sri Mandira, are brought out and placed on their respective chariots. These chariots are then pulled by the devotees and the idols are taken to Gundicha Temple. The deities stay at this temple for seven days and then, return to Sri Mandira, in a similar procession. Before the procession starts, Gajapati (the ceremonial King of Puri) comes and cleans the chariots with a golden broom and then, sprinkles holy water on them.

Originally, the local king used to sweep the road on which procession was to take place with a golden broom, proclaiming to be the Lord’s first servant. Rath yatra has been gaining popularity and drawing more and more devotees year after year. It is believed that it is very auspicious if one manages to catch even a glimpse of Lord Jagannath on the chariot. People also hold a belief that the one who manages to touch the chariot, or even the ropes with which it is pulled, is bestowed with the results of several pious deeds for ages.

Puri Beach Festival

One of the most popular festivals of Orissa is the Puri Beach Festival. Fun lovers look forward to celebrating this festival every year at one of the holiest cities of India. The credit for conducting the wonderful Puri Beach Festival goes to the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Orissa (HRAO). It is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; the Department of Tourism, Government of Orissa; Development Commissioner of Handicrafts and the Eastern Zonal Cultural Center; Calcutta.

A variety of cultural events take place at the festival, ranging from fashion shows to various music shows. Puri Beach Festival, held at the beautiful beach of the holy city, is a delight not just for locals, but also for the tourists. It is a four-day long annual festivity that is hosted in the month of November. This festive occasion has been attracting more and more visitors every year. So, if you are planning a tour of Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath, make sure you don’t miss being a part of the fabulous Puri Beach Festival.

Things to do: 

Pilgrimage
Since Puri is famous for its Lord Jagannath Temple, you should not miss to pay visit this religious site. Dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), the temple exemplifies the magnificence of ancient Indian architecture. The best time to visit the temple is during the Rath Yatra in July, because that is when the air is filled with festivity.

Nature Walk
Puri beaches are the best places to catch a glimpse of the blazing sun rising in the east. For the same, you may head towards the sea shore in the morning, whenever the time of sunrise is predicted. After witnessing the beautiful scene, you can enjoy taking a stroll along the shore and catch a breath of fresh air!

Boating
Cruising in the sparkling water of the sea can be a fun-filled experience for travelers coming to Puri. You can take a boat ride in the sea and catch a glimpse of the picturesque beauty of the town, while on board.

Fishing
Apart from fishermen, amateurs are also seen thronging the beaches of Puri, to catch fishes. So, fishing is also a wonderful thing to do in Puri. In fact, it would serve as a nice pastime during a weekend getaway trip to Puri.

Other Beach Activities
You can indulge in a number of beach activities, while staying in Puri. There, you can have the pleasure of playing a number of adventurous water sports such as scuba diving, surfing, swimming etc. Sun bathing is yet another activity popular in the beaches of Puri.

District: 
Puri
STD Code: 
06752
Best time to visit: 
October to March
Famous For: 
One of the four holiest points of pilgrimage for Hindus