Puri-Where spirituality meets Humanity
The most famous tourist destination of the state. It is synonymous with Lord Jagannath & his siblings Lord Balabhadra & Goddess Subhadra. It’s one of the few destinations where one can combine religious salvation with fun & adventure. The things to do when in Puri are as listed below:-
Lord Jagannath Temple
For the people with a religious bent of mind, the following are recommended from a host of temples and matha's that the city of Puri encompasses.
Mangu Matha– After his visit to the temple. Nanak sat down under a tree to preach his philosophy to the people. He is believed to have shown his palm where the trimurty to Lord, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra was etched in his palm.
For those seeking fun and adventure, the pristine coast line of Bay of Bengal that skirts around Puri provides ample opportunities.
There is something for people who love art and crafts too - Puri is the place where the famous Pattachitra of Odisha Originated before the artists shifted to nearby crafts village of Raghurajpur and Danda Sahi. A visit to Chitrakar Sahi (meaning neighbourhood of artists) is recommended though there are just 5 to 10 families engaged in the Pattachitra art form as of date. However those 5-10 families occupy leadership position in various art forms of Pattachitra and a select few are engaged directly in the decoration of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
The stretch between Puri & Konark along the Marine Drive is an experience to be savoured. The stretch is dotted with interesting little pockets at almost every turn which makes the journey from the journey from Puri to Konark all the more enthralling. Balukhand forest reserve- this forest dotted with casuarina & cashew nut trees along the coast offers beautiful scenery. Two rivers Nuanai and Kushabhadra pass though the reserve. Spotted deer, common cobra, hare, jungle cat, the rare black buck (“Baliharina” as locals call it), and jackals apart from various other birds that inhabit this sanctuary. Odisha Eco Tourism has set up a tented accommodation facility at Balukhand Forest reserve, located 7KM from Puri along the Marine Drive.
Shreeekshetra Utsav or the Jayadeva Utsav -Held in December every year this 12-day long festival showcases the Odisha’s heritage in fine arts. Be it dance, music, handloom, handicrafts or cuisine- the festival brings forth Odisha’s rich cultural heritage to the world.
Beach festival -Held in the month of November on the Puri beach near Swargadwar. This 5-day festival, organised by the Hotel & restaurants owner’s association along with the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of Odisha has conceptualised to attract the young audience- apart from the popular sand art, the festival hosts various musical and rock bands, fashion shows etc.
Like any other tourist spot in India, Puri has a lot of options on offer from low budget to high end hotels. Most of the hotel have swiping machines but it might not work some of the times, but you would find an ATM outlet not far from wherever you are in Puri.
OTDC Panthanivas – located right next to the beach at Chakratirtha road – offers very comfortable rooms at affordable prices. The USP of the hotel is that it’s located on the beach but away from the crowds. If you are looking for some quiet moments while still being close to the city this is the place to be. Breakfast is complimentary.
Check in – 10 am, Check out – 10 am
Ph- 06752 222 562 One can book online by logging onto the website – www.otdc.in
Puri Hotel – located on the Sea Beach Road of Puri, is one of the oldest hotels & best known hotels in the town- it is prized for its location- right next to the beach and bang on the centre of the most happening part of the town. The hotel has a whole variety of rooms to cater to needs from 10 bedded AC rooms to Suites and Non AC rooms. Most of the rooms are sea facing. They also provide free pick up & drop facility from the railway station. The hotel was a pretty good restaurant and offers good Bengali cuisine.
Check out time – 24 hours
Phone – 06752 – 222114/ 223809
Fax – 06752- 222744
Email: - firstname.lastname@example.org
They also have a booking office in Kolkata-
16K, Fern Road, 2nd Floor
Nr. Ballygunj Bus stand
Kolkata – 700019
Ph – 033-24612240 / 24612249
To pick your choice rooms – log onto their website – www.purihotel.in
Fort Mahodadhi Resort-Located on the Sea Beach road near Swargadwar- Mahodadhi – means “The Great Sea”- this erstwhile summer place overlooking the Bay of Bengal was built by the Maharaja of Panchkot (Panchkot is a town located in Purulia district of West Bengal). It has been converted into a heritage hotel by the Kamat Group and is sought after for its beautiful palatial rooms, cuisine and location. Breakfast is complimentary.
The Heritage hotel provides an option between cottages and rooms. We recommend you to go for the rooms instead. The rooms are plush, huge and very comfortable.
Check in – 8 am, Check out – 8 am
Ph – 06752- 220440 / 220880
(M) - 9090 093 414 / +91 9090093400
Email – email@example.com
Website: - www.mahodadhipalace.com
Toshali Sands: - Located on the outskirts of Puri along the marine drive connecting Puri & Konark. The resort boasts of comfortable cottages and a private beach and has all the amenities for a leisurely stay. Distance from the railway station is 8 KM. Brakfast is complimentary.
Check in – 10 am, Check out – 8 am
Ph – 0674 - 2547511 / 2547411
(M) - +91- 9937003223 / 18001234555 (Toll Free)
Email: - firstname.lastname@example.org
We will discount the Mahaprasada, because comparing or commenting on the Lords food is beyond the scope of a mere mortals like us. However, Lord Jagannath true to his nature always gives space to others and Puri unlike other famous temples city offers a lot of variety when it comes to food. From pure vegetarian restaurants to Chinese food, Puri caters to every palate.
Agarwal’s Pure Veg Restaurant - if you prefer strict vegetarian food – we recommend Agarwal’s pure veg restaurant situated in the Grand Road- also known as Badadanda – same road that leads to the Jagannath Temple. Try the special thali & the masala dosa. The food is prepared without garlic and onion and is not oily and is reasonably priced.
There are other vegetarian hotels located in the vicinity of the temple too.
Wild Grass – Located on the VIP road this restaurant is a delight for fish lovers. Try the Mullet prepared with mustard (Odia name Khaenga Besara), apart from the customary dishes of prawns, crabs and other varieties of fish. The dishes are reasonably priced and the ambiance of the restaurant is very good too with small huts and a small water body. When going to Wild Grass be prepared to wait a bit for the food to arrive.
Lee Garden – what was a quaint little restaurant, started in 1975 by a Chinese gentleman Mr. S.S. Lee has grown today to be the most famous Chinese restaurant in Puri. The ownership rests with the descendants of Mr. Lee, who have converted it into a full-fledged hotel with rooms -which are quite comfortable and spacious and a bustling restaurant. The food is sumptuous, tasty and affordable. The interiors of the restaurant are tastefully done depicting the Chinese taste’s which adds to the ambiance and flavour of the restaurant. The Gold coin prawn is a favorite dish amongst the regulars at this restaurant.
Dalma – named after a popular Odia dish- (yellow lentils cooled with vegetables and flavoured with spices) -Located on the VIP road serves Odiya cuisine, try the bamboo roasted mutton (locally called baunsha poda mutton) and various fish curries on offer. One can even get the famous Odiya dish Pakhala bhaata (rice fermented overnight with water, curd and other spices). The Pakhala bhaata thali on offer is quite good.
Bhojohori Manna – The famous Bengali restaurant chain has an outlet at Gopal Ballav road. Try out the signature dishes Dab Chingri (Prawns served inside tender coconut shell), Mutton Dakbangla (A mutton curry preparation), mango chutney, Posto. The space is a bit crowded so be prepared to wait for your turn. The staff is friendly and the ambiance is good though the space is a bit a cramped.
Fort Mahodadhi –
GAA restaurant - The terrace top restaurant is tastefully done depicting the rural life complete with thatched roof. The food is very good and the ambiance of the terrace restaurant overlooking the sea is awesome. Try the fried bhetki there apart from other dishes on the menu. There is also a bar adjoining the restaurant by the name of Baron.
Mostly Grills – restaurant – as the name suggests serves grilled and roasted chicken kebabs and fish
Vithal Kamat Restaurant – serves vegetarian fare to cater to the vegetarian clientele of the Resort.
Try out the local roadside food – if you are a fish lover for snacks. If you are lucky the vendor would have a freshly fried tuna or a bhetki on offer. But just ensure the fish or prawns is fresh.
Also there is a non-descript outlet at Chandanpur by the roadside located on the old road to Puri from Chandanpur- the outlet serves vegetarian fare. The main attraction is the grinded beaten rice (locally called chuda ghasa) and dalma as an accompaniment to the dish. if you love to experiment with new dishes go for it. But just be careful that the chuda ghasa is a pretty heavy dish. So ask the waiter specifically for low portion of it. Besides the chuda ghasa and dalma, the outlet serves very good vegetarian fare ...the aroma of the food reminds one of the Mahaprasada. The sweet dishes – rasaballi –it is essentially deep fried flattened reddish brown patties of chhena (farmer cheese) that are soaked in thickened, sweetened milk (rabidi). Flattening the chhena into palm-sized patties is done in order to allow them to absorb the milk more readily. The thickened milk is also usually lightly seasoned with crushed cardamoms. If you intend to have chuda ghasa and dalma along with sweets go there in the evenings, so that you get freshly prepared dishes.
There are many roadside stalls which claim to be the original one, however the original one is a bigger shop and the most unique identification of the stall is that you will find two huge Lamb's tied to a post in the front of the shop.
Puri see’s tourists flocking all through the year. The weather of Puri is like any coastal town warm & humid during the day but pleasant in the evenings. It rains pretty heavily here, so if you are planning to come during the rainy seasons, do carry your umbrellas and rain coat gears. Winters are moderate & are the best time to visit, a light jacket or a woolen would suffice.
The temperature varies from 24 degrees Celsius to 39 degrees Celsius in the summers & varies from 17 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius in the winters, during the rainy season the temperature is hovers around 25 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius.
Puri is the terminal station of the East Coast Railways and is well connected with the station hosting over 92 trains every day.
The Nearest Airport- Bhubaneswar Airport- Puri is 60KM from the airport & is well connected with a 4 lane highway.
Beware of the Panda’s (priests inside the temple) and touts who roam near the temple. Don’t fall for the religious trap of paying an obscene amount in the name of XYZ god/goddess once inside the temple premises for a better life. I have refused those blessings many a times and I am quite healthy and happy.
When visiting the temple , keep enough small change, denomination ranging from Rs.10/- note to Rs.50/-, it will be easier to tip off the panda’s and other places where you might not want to but pay under compulsion.
Normally Puri is a safe place but still avoid going to secluded spots at the beach especially after 9 pm.
People of Puri are used to tourists; they can converse in English, Hindi, Bengali apart from Odia.
For adventure seekers-places around Puri provides a thrilling experience of being one with the nature. One can rent a bicycle for approximate- Rs.100/ day or rent a bike for approximately Rs. 200 to Rs 500/- (depending on the category of the two wheeler) plus Petrol per day.