Located at the Bay of Bengal, Puri is an ancient temple town and is also known by its alternative name Jagannath Puri, referencing the Jagannath Temple located in the city. The name of the city is mentioned in the ancient Hindu texts of the Puranas as one of the 7 holy cities in India and is a part of the Char Dham Pilgrimage. Puri is also famous for its lakes, rivers and beaches and is best visited during winters. The city is rich in culture and heritage from its history dating since the 3rd century BC. Puri is famous for its temples, festivities and cultural festivals. Let’s discuss about the best places one can visit in the holy town of Puri.
1. Jagannath Temple
Built in 1161, the Jagannath Temple is one of the major Hindu Temples in India. The primary deity of the temple is Lord Jagannath, who is a form of Lord Vishnu. Interestingly, unlike the statues found in other Hindu temple, the statue of Lord Jagannath is carved from wood and is replaced every 12 years. The Temple is a part of the Char Dham Hindu pilgrimage and is a must visit attraction in Puri.
2. Puri Beach
Located at the shores of the Bay of Bengal the Puri Beach is the site of the annual beach festival and is also a sacred place for the Hindus. The beach is a common sight for sand art and is one of the most peaceful beaches to visit while visiting in winters.
3. Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the major wildlife sanctuaries in Orrisa, the Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across an area of 1100 sq kilometers. The sanctuary is located by the eponymous Chilika Lake which makes the area the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest in the world. The sanctuary is home to a large verity of fauna and avi-fauna species and is a definitive photographer’s delight.
4. Atharnala Bridge
Built by the kings of the Ganga Dynasty in the 13th century, Atharnala is a medieval bridge that is exemplified by the 18 passages it comprises of. The Bridge is considered a protected archeological heritage and is 85 meters in length. The best time to visit again is during the winter months when the views of the surroundings can be enjoyed at their best.
5. Gundicha Ghar Temple
Built in a distinctive kalinga style, the Gundicha Ghar Temple was built by the queen of King Indradyumna the founder of the 1st Jagannath temple. The temple is located right next to the Jagannath Temple and is a common place of the festivities during the annual car festival known as the ‘Ratha Yatra’. The architecture of the temple is a marvel to behold and is ornate with intricate and artistic stone carvings.
Considered to be one of the most holy and visited cities in Orissa, Puri is visited by tourists and pilgrims all year round. The various natural resources, lakes and beaches make Puri a definitive visit for everyone and the abovementioned places will help you experience the best of the holy city of Puri.
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