Puri, the Holy Land of Lord Jagannatha, also known by the popular name Shrikhetra, has many ancient names within the Hindu scriptures.
It is the wee hours of the morning when, still dark outside, despite the fact that i’m in Puri, in Odisha where the mornings are often very early. It is hazy as i walk past the empty street along the beach. Every inch of the road is lined with resorts and hotels facing the sea, which are all wrapped in a very cloak of silence.
As I enter the main temple road, as the sun strides up the sky, its rays glancing upon the 200 feet tall tower of the Puri Jagannath Temple. If you’ve got just 24 hours in Puri, then your trip is planned around temples, architecture, crafts and a sunset at beach.
Puri is one among the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for Hindus, whereas pilgrims also visit Dwaraka, Badrinath and Rameshwaram. As i enter the temple It looks like the whole city is here, bustling with tourists, locals, pandas, devotees all compete with each other to urge the first darshan of the lord. I manage to seek out a little corner where I‘ve my own private spiritual moment and a silent communion with the triad deities. Those larger than life brightly clad wooden deities of Jagannath , Balabhadra and Sulabhadra mesmerised and overwhelmed the eyes. I even have the whole 400,000 sq feet of space round the temple to explore .
Things to visits : Puri Jagannath Temple
The Jagannath temple is the first on your bucket list, although if you’re not on a pilgrimage. The 11th century temple built by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty was believed to be designed by Vishwakarma, the architect of the Gods and also the deities were carved from neem wood by none apart from Vishnu himself within the guide of a carpenter. There are over 120 smaller shrines within the temple complex, surrounded by a 20 feet wall. Crowning the temple tower is that the Srichakra of Vishnu. There are total four gates for entrance – the Lion Gate which is the main entrance, while the others are called Elephant Gate, Tiger Gate and Horse Gate. The temple itself has four separate sections. Besides the main sanctum, where the deities are placed in a very throne of pearls or Ratnavedi, there a Nata mandapa or the dancing hall, the Bhoga Mandapa or the offerings hall and also the porch or Mukhashala. But the realm that has the utmost buzz besides the main shrine is that the kichen. one among the most important kitchens within the world, over 50 differing kinds of offerings are prepared for the deity and food is ready in earthen pots and water drawn from the 2 wells within the temple complex.
From the motifs of the Patachitra, to the the local craft everything revolves around Lord Jagannath and his siblings. Besides the Rath Yatra, Puri’s festivals are celebrated when the deities opt for their annual bath each year called the Snana Yatra or after they proceed a vacation or Anavasara every year. The deities then are kept in a very secret place, hidden from public for a fortnight, as they’re supposedly recovering from fever. Another ritual involve replacing the old deities with new ones and are later buried.
Gundicha Temple, situated just in the middle of the beautiful garden enclosed within compound walls on all sides. 3 km from Sri Jagannath Temple are the two temples located at the two rear ends.
The Crafts of Pipili & Raghurajpur
Pipili is famous place for its applique work. The entire place is full of brightly colored patchwork items like huge umbrellas, bed sheets, lamps, handbags and various other beautiful items. There are lot of shops from where handicrafts can be purchased,bargain before you buy as this is a bit commercialized area.
The Beach in Puri
Most tourists comes for a weekend getaway from the neighbouring states. I walk round the beach in the evening to seek out it completely crowded. Besides the kites and balloons flying around, camel rides seem to be very fashionable here. The place is overflowing throughout the year with visitors. There are variety of stalls from where you can buy seashells, jewelries, and handmade products.
Best Time To Go: Round the year 🙂