Puri is one of the four must-visit pilgrimage sites for Hindus. What one may consider to be its most famous attraction, is the great ‘Jagannath Temple’. The town’s almost equivalent attraction is its long sandy beach, as it is situated alongside the coast of Bay of Bengal. The religious significance and cultural heritage of the place, draws attention of not only the Indian pilgrims, but also of the foreign travellers.

I, along with my mother and one of my aunts started our journey to Puri on 6th September, 2019. We boarded the train from ‘Shalimar Railway Station’ at 11.00 pm and reached Puri the very next day at around 8:00 am. From the station, we took an auto and reached our hotel – ‘Puri Sea View Resort’. We checked in and were very happy because we were getting a pretty good view of the sea from the balcony of our room.

We took a shower, had our breakfast, dressed-up and went to the Jagannath Temple. Sadly we were not allowed to carry our mobile phones and cameras inside the temple. So we kept them at a shop, vaulted inside a locker.

The temple is believed to be 8000 years old and it was said to have been carved out of hillocks. Inside the temple resides ‘Lord Jagannath’, along with his brother ‘Balabhadra’ and sister ‘Subhadra’, who are worshipped accordingly. It is said that ‘Lord Jagannath’ is an incarnation of ‘Lord Vishnu’. This glorious temple in Puri (Where Vishnu has his Meal) is included in the pious ‘Char Dham Yatra’, along with ‘Badrinath’ (Where Vishnu Meditates), ‘Dwarka’ (Where he Sleeps) and ‘Rameshwaram’ (Where he takes a Bath). The gates of the temple are beautifully designed with intricate carvings. I was astonished by the grandeur of this holy place. We had to stand in a long queue before entering the ‘Main Temple’ but it was worth the wait. This temple is one of the most auspicious Hindu shrines, having witnessed various historical incidents spanning over thousands of years.

We went inside the temple, offered our prayers and bought the ‘Prasad’. You read it right, did you? Yes, you did! We had to buy the ‘Prasad’ from a ‘Paanda’ or a ‘Priest’, who demanded an amount of Rs 900, and we had to part with the cash. You may consider it to be more of a business, but rituals are, the way they are.

However, the ‘Prasad’ (Also Known as Maha -Prasad) is something one should not miss. On a daily basis, the ‘Prasad’ is cooked for the devotees, using seven earthen pots and it tastes mouth-wateringly luscious, although it is made up of nothing else, other than ‘Rice, Pulses and Vegetables’.

We came back to our hotel, ate the ‘Maha -Prasad’ and decided to take an afternoon nap. In the evening, we went to the beach. The sea looked stunning amidst the gigantic and choppy waves. A gentle breeze was continuously kissing my face and I felt like sinking into the delight. Although initially I was feeling scared because the ‘Bay of Bengal’ seemed to be a dark and unknown water world, waiting to pull me in, now I had to change my mind.

We goofed around the beach, had ‘Tea’ served with ‘Pakodas’, played on the sea shore and had a lot of fun. I collected a few memories for a lifetime. We spent almost three hours on the beach and then for the dinner part, went to a restaurant named ‘Kasturi’. The ambience of the restaurant gave out pleasurable vibes and the food was enjoyable. After stuffing ourselves to utmost satisfaction, we came back to our hotel and went on to sleep.

The next day we woke up pretty early. It was a pleasant morning as usual and the view of the sea was scenic. I and my aunt decided to go to the beach. We clicked a few pictures and came back to the hotel for breakfast. Then we rented a car from the hotel and headed out to explore the town. We decided to start our tour by paying a visit to the ‘Temple of Konarak’, to which the driver agreed. On our way to the ‘Konarak Temple’, we visited the ‘Sand Art Museum’ and ‘Chandrabhaga Beach’.

‘Chandrabhaga Beach’ is a deserted and lonely beach, although the view of the sea through its eyes, felt awesome and indescribable. I asked the driver the reason for the beach being deserted. He replied educating me that nobody goes there to take a bath since it is known to be as dangerous and deadly, as lovely it may seem. The beach is said to have taken the lives of innumerable visitors and that it was infamous for its hidden quicksand. Now, to me, that really sounded very scary!

While driving to Konarak, we crossed forest areas. Our driver told us that deers including black bucks live in the forest. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see even one of them.

The ‘Konarak Temple’, also known as the ‘Sun Temple’, was built by ‘King Narasimhadeva of the Ganga dynasty’, and it was built using red sandstone and black granite. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is a ‘World Heritage Site’ (Information courtesy: Wikipedia).

The temple spans a huge area, and is surrounded by gardens that are extremely beautiful. We also visited the associated museum. The wheels or ‘Chakras’ all over the temple, display its uniqueness of structural planning. However day by day, the creative and its architectures are getting gradually vandalized by the humid weather conditions. Before it gets completely destroyed, please make sure that you visit the place at least once in a lifetime.

I took a few snaps while others bought Diyas (Lamps) made up of ceramic, from the stalls. We had to have coconut water to be relieved from the scorching heat. We didn’t want to end up ruining the trip getting hospitalized due to dehydration (That Hot).

Then we proceeded towards our next destination – ‘The Lingaraj Temple’.

‘Lingaraj Temple’ as well, is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Puri and is worshipped by Hindus from all over India. We noticed that the main gate had statues of lions on both the sides. The walls of the temple were carved with gorgeous sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. After offering our prayers to all of them, we decided to visit the ‘Sakshi Gopal’ Temple.

‘Sakshi Gopal’ Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to ‘Lord Krishna’. It is believed that the ‘Lord Himself’ arrived there in form of a witness, in order to end the dispute between two Brahmins. The temple was not at all crowded and as a result we could afford a peaceful ‘Darshan’ of ‘Lord Krishna’. Although the behavior of the Paanda was not acceptable (I am not a frequent critic, but it was intolerable and disappointing). He forced tourists to donate a good amount of money and tried to lure people into meaningless superstitions (Sorry if I am hurting your sentiments but I am narrating a situation out of reality).

As mentioned earlier, it is believed that ‘Lord’ Krishna arrived at a village that was later called the ‘Sakshi Gopal’, as a witness, to end a dispute between two Brahmins. On our way back to the hotel, our driver told us the whole story behind the construction of the temple, and here it is:

“Once upon a time, two Brahmins (Senior and Junior) belonging from the same village, went on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. The junior Brahmin belonged to a poor family and the senior was the Sarpanch (Head of a Village). The senior Brahmin fell ill due to the hardships on their way, while the junior served him to an early recovery and took great care of him. The old man was very pleased with his junior’s service and took a vow that he would get his daughter married to the junior Brahmin as a reward. But once they returned to their village, the entire scenario changed. The senior Brahmin broke his promise, abused the junior and told the poor farmer’s son to bring ‘Lord Gopal-Krishna’ as the witness to his service. The poor man had no other option because he too loved the Senior Brahmin’s daughter, and wanted to marry her. So he visited Vrindavan and told the whole story to the deity, while he pleaded him to come with him as a witness. ‘Lord Gopal-Krishna’ agreed to accompany him on the condition that the man would walk ahead of him and he would follow. However the poor fellow cannot doubt or turn back because if he did so, Lord would turn into a statue. He assured the youth that he would hear the sound of his ‘Nupur’ (An Anklet-Set with Chiming-Balls) to make sure that the Lord was there for him and so they started their journey.

Although after walking for a few hours, it started raining heavily and the youth couldn’t hear the sound of the ‘Nupur’. He became restless and out of anxiety, he turned back. ‘Lord Gopala’ turned into a statue then and there. The youth cried a lot and then rushed to the village and narrated the incident. The villagers came there and were astonished to see the statue of ‘Lord Gopal-Krishna’ of Vrindavan. The senior Brahmin repented over his own actions and kept his promise. At a later point of time the ‘King of Orissa (Odisha)’ made a temple there and started worshipping the benevolent deity.”

Our driver also told us another story about ‘Lord Jagannath’, that the locals believe till date:

“It is believed that ‘King Indradyumna’ wanted to build a temple for ‘Lord Vishnu’, but he wasn’t certain about the shape of the idol that would represent the Lord. He was then asked by ‘Lord Brahma’ to meditate and pray to ‘Lord Vishnu’, in order to know, as to what form he would like to embody. After deep meditation by the king, ‘Lord Vishnu’ appeared in his dream and spoke highly of a particular floating wood log near Bankamuhana in Puri and told Indradyumna to make his idol using the log. ‘King Indradyumna’ rushed to the spot and found the wooden log. Unfortunately no artist could make the idol out of it no matter how hard he tried, because the tools of the artisans broke every time they tried to cut the log. Seeing this ‘Lord Viswakarma’ decided to help, and appeared in his kingdom disguised as an old man. Though the old man had a condition attached to his service. He said that he shouldn’t be disturbed while carving out the idol and no one should enter in his room, until the carving job is finished. The king agreed to his condition and ‘Lord Viswakarma’ locked himself in the room where the log was kept. After two weeks, suddenly the sounds of the old man chopping the log, stopped coming from inside the room. ‘Queen Gundicha’ told ‘King Indradyumna’ that he must go and check if the old man is doing well. Although the king didn’t want it, he had no other option but to enter the room. He got inside the room along with his men and saw that the old carpenter was nowhere to be seen. Only an unfinished set of idols was waiting for them inside the room. The king repented over his act, but a divine voice, probably of ‘Lord Vishnu’, told the king that he shouldn’t regret his efforts and instead worship the unfinished idol. The voice confirmed that the Lord wished to make himself visible to the devotees, in that very form. Ever since, the idols of ‘Lord Jagannath’, along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, are worshipped in unfinished forms.”

We reached our hotel. The ‘Sun’ was about to set. The sky looked perfect. As if it was painted with colors of orange and pink. We went in our respective rooms, freshened ourselves up and went to the beach again. We sat there for hours. I didn’t want to leave. I felt so connected to that place. We bought a pearl necklace and I collected as many sea shells from the beach, as I could. I made friends with shiny crabs who stay on the golden glittering sand. I dipped my feet in the waves crashing on the shore. There were camels along the shore, waiting to give the visitor-friends a small ride on their backs. As we were famishing, at around 8:30 pm we went to a nearby restaurant to have an early dinner. After having dinner, we went to our hotel-room and dozed off.

The very next day was our last day in Puri. Our train was due on the evening, so we stayed inside the hotel for an entire day. In the afternoon, after having lunch, once again we went to the ‘Jagannath Temple’ to bid him a goodbye and for seeking his blessings before we left the town. We also saw the ‘Flag Changing Ritual of the Temple’, which is considered to be a good omen. Lucky us!

I sat on the balcony, watching the sea, while my mom and my aunt were busy packing their bags (I had packed my bags earlier in the morning).

The sea at Puri offers different views at different times of the day. In the morning, one will get to see boats of fishermen reaching out its depths to earn their livelihood, people swimming on the surface of the sea, kids building small sand-castles and so on. Whereas at night, the beach is filled with darkness and a silence coexisting with the roar of a sea that submerges you in philosophies never considered prior. The sound of waves crashing in the silence of night, boats with fishermen returning to their homes, couples holding each other’s hand and strolling on the shore, families sitting together, having snacks and a few of those gossiping at the corner of the beach… it’s a very refined sort of an experience.

Ahem, finally! So, I would like to mention the name of a special dessert that you must try on your next trip to Puri. It is made up of coconut pulp, and is, going by my favorite term – ‘Finger Licking Good’! The one and only ‘Malai Payesh’.

We took an auto and headed to ‘Puri Railway Station’, eventually boarding the train. All three of us had a great time, and we returned ‘Tanned but Happy’, with the beloved memories of a wonderful trip. Hope you did have a great time reading about them. Thanks for time!

Representational featured image courtesy: pixabay.com


  • Trip to Puri 1
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  • Trip to Puri 3
  • Trip to Puri 4
  • Trip to Puri 5
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