Best Places to Visit in Puri
Hindu pilgrims from all over the world, Bengali vacationers and foreign travelers all make their way to Puri. For Hindus, Puri is one of the sacred pilgrimage destinations in India with religious life revolving around the beautiful Jagannath Mandir and its famous Rath Yatra – the Chariot Festival. The other sightseeing attractions include its long sandy beach, which is much better for taking a stroll than swimming.
However, there are spectacular places in Puri that deserve a visit once in a lifetime. Here are some tourist attractions and sightseeing destinations discussed below:
1. Sri Jagannath Temple
The gorgeous Sri Jagannath Temple is the home of Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu. The magnificent temple is the most revered pilgrimage sighting for Hindus and is included in the pious Char Dham Yatra with Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Badrinath.
Apart from the main shrine that emerges high, many small temples within the complex will allow you to feel like you’ve entered God’s home itself. The spectacular Odia architecture of the Jagannath Temple seems like an icing on the cake. The main four gates of the temple are stunningly designed with intricate carvings.
In addition to, the scrumptious Mahaprasad of the temple is something you shouldn’t give a muss while visiting Puri. Whether you are intending to experience sanctity, the delicious food, the serenity or the exuberance towards God, this temple is a place worth including on your bucket list.
2. Puri Beach
Puri Beach is a striking coastline of the Bay of Bengal blessed with the sun sparkling on the pristine waters of the beach. Situated in a mere distance of 35 kilometers away from the Sun Temple, the beach is ideal for holiday enthusiasts looking for peace of mind and solitude. This is why the Puri Beach is flocked with devotees who visit Puri to pay their homage to Lord Jagannath.
Adorned with the finest white sand and crystal clear water, this beach is quite renowned for its tranquil and calm surroundings. Here, you can get a unique taste of the local lifestyle of Puri. The stretch is much more peaceful and pleasant for a long stroll. If you are adventurous at heart, you can go into the waters for a swim.
3. The Chilika Lake
Chilika Lake is a beautiful paradise on the earth for bird watchers and nature lovers. It’s the largest internal salt water pond that deserves a visit. The pear-shaped lake is dotted with a few small islands and has salt pans as well as fisheries across its shore.
In addition, the lake also houses the most accommodating ecosystems around the world, which means a wide array of flora and fauna can be spotted there. The Chilika Lake offers a flamboyant display of a myriad of avian charms in all diverse colors and hues.
The avian species ranges from the white-bellied sea eagles to flamingos and from sandpipers to golden plovers. Consider visiting this bewitching lake to spend quality time in nature’s company and experience complete peace like never before.
4. Narendra Tank
Narendra Tank is one of the largest tanks around Odisha and is believed to have been built in the 15th century. This tank is considered as sacred and has a lot of big and small temples surrounding it. In addition, there’s an island situated in the middle of the lake with a small temple known as Chandana Mandapa.
5. Markandeswara Temple
Markandeswara Temple is assumed to have been built during the 13th century and is known for its magnificent architecture as well as artistic essence. The entrance of the temple is adorned with Nataraja figure with ten arms.
The small figurines of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Ganesha are intricately detailed and kept in the niches of the main shrine. The temple corners have Lord Shiva shrines in different avatars. Above all, the temple in all the grandeur of its ancient glory is one of the most sought after tourist attractions in Puri.
6. Lokanath Temple
According to the popular legend in Odisha, Puri was considered as the center of Lord Shiva. As per the ancient belief, Lord Ramachandra installed the Lingam in the Lokanath Temple. This lingam remains submerged with water that substantiates the legend that Goddess Ganga flows through the top of the Shivalinga like a stream.
This can be only seen on Pankodhara Ekadasi – which falls before Maha Shivaratri. It’s time when the water is removed from the lingam. On this day, thousands of devotees come for darshan.
7. Jagannath Rath Yatra
Jagannath Rath Yatra is one of the most awaited and celebrated festivals in Odisha as well as India. This festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath i.e. Lord Krishna, his sister Goddess Subhadra and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra.
Well-known as Gundicha Yatra, Dasavatara, Chariot Festival or Navadina Yatra, it is celebrated every year in the month of June or July. Most Indians and foreigners flock in a great number to get a glimpse of idols in the chariot. It’s even believed that those who manage to get a glimpse of the idols will have a prosperous year ahead.
8. Astaranga Beach
Astaranga means colorful sunset. This beach is a magnificent place that worth a visit. As the name suggests, this beach is famed for the panoramic views that offer during the sunset. The sky takes on vivid colors and the blue water in the juxtaposition of it makes the entire place look magical.
Astaranga Beach is a famous fishing village and every morning, a market is set up on the beach from where you can buy different types of fresh fishes. In addition, this beach is perfect for a getaway from the helter-skelter of the city. You can spend some quiet and peaceful time rejuvenating yourself.
9. Sakshigopal Temple
Sakshigopal Temple has a few legendary stories about how it became a revered shrine for Lord Vishnu. One is about the lord coming to bear witness to a village wedding. Another myth is that this temple is one of the 16 shrines of King Vajra, the grandson of Lord Krishna built for the Lord.
Nevertheless, the temple stands out as a marking gateway for those who arrive in the holy city of Puri through train or roadway.
10. Alarnatha Temple
Alarnatha Temple is an incredible shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Brahmagiri up close to Puri. According to the legend, the Lord’s devoted follower Mahaprabhu Chaitanya couldn’t see his God for the 15 day Anavasara period. This period follows after the Snana Yatra, where the three idols of Jagannath Temple are remained hidden in a secret chamber. Lord Vishnu detected his devotee towards the Alarnatha temple. Ever since every devotee follows the same rituals during this phase.
Bottom Line –
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