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Puri : Goa of the East

Written By Neelakshi Chakraborty, Travel Story

Puri in Orissa is one of the most underrated travel destinations in India. Tucked away in one of the easternmost states of India, it is a quaint seaside town which seems to be stuck in a time warp of sorts. And therein lies its special charm-it is a city representative of the paradoxes of India! Sleepy yet abuzz with life, surreal yet sensual, full of the quotidian but imperceptible….this is one city that can have no dearth of adjectives to describe it!!!

Beach Landscape Puri Orissa

One of the main highlights of Puri is the beaches where bathing is not an option but something all tourists indulge in!

Puri Orissa

Here you have a sweet little concept – unique to this state- where trained local lifeguards called "the nuliyas"- take you deep into the Bay of Bengal to embark on the joys of the sea at a minimal rate!

Life Guards Puri Orissa

Hedonism rules, okay? Oh yeah, at Rockying it does. Have a look at the sand-art at the Puri Beach Festival. This one marks the end of Osama Bin Laden.

Osama Bin Laden sand Sculpture in Puri Orissa

Another remarkable feature about Puri is that the beaches face south – thus offering the tourist an option of viewing the sunset and sunrise at the same time. Don’t miss the two suns in the picture below!

Two Sun sunset in puri Orissa Sunset in puri Orissa

This surreal experience is compounded by the fact that the fishermen and the tourist intermingle on the golden sands with an ease unparalleled in any other seaside town – a true melting pot of sorts.

Fishing in puri Orissa

Puri is also called the temple town because of its two architectural wonders - the Jagannath Temple which is a 65 metre tower and the chariot-shaped Sun temple about an hour away at Konark which is based on the concept of the rotation of the earth on its axis in 24 hours.

Jagannath puri Orissa Sun Temple Konark Puri Orissa

Both these temples are thronged with visitors from all parts of the world. Rockying recommends you visit both, around sunset, after you have done lazing around on the beach! The prayer in your heart will come automatically to your lips once you are in the spell-binding interiors of these temples which are, yet, so much more.

Rath Yatra Chariots Puri Orissa
One other must-see here is one of the greatest Hindu festivals called the Rath Yatra.

Rockying would advise you visit Puri in late June or early July! The festival is a spectacle of sorts, and where else would you get to see three richly decorated chariots pulled through narrow streets with such grandeur?

Shri Rath Yatra Puri Orissa

The flavor of this festival, though celebrated in other parts of India, is no-where as strong and as vital as in Puri. It has a definitely carnivalesque feel to it, which will transport you back to what you have read about festivals in ancient Europe! (Without the unbridled sexual permissiveness of course!!!)

Chilika Bridge Puri Orissa

The Chilika Lake, the country's biggest inland lake that attracts migratory birds from as far away as Siberia during winter, is another must-see near Puri.

For a small city like Puri, there is considerable activity even after sunset. The streets are full of flea markets and smaller vendors who will chat you up and offer you a cup of tea without expecting you to buy something.

Sweet Maker Puri Orissa

That is the particular flavour of the East – where materialism is still secondary to humanism, and where the small pleasures of life are celebrated on a daily, even hourly, basis.

So next time you want to go and drown yourself in the good things of life board the train to Puri and enjoy its distinct identity which it maintains with a fierce the intensity in the maze of standardizations which is modern-day India.

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