Things you Should do while away at Puri: The Golden Triangle of Odisha in 3-Days


Mobile charger, check. Power bank, check. Memory card, check. Sunglasses, check. Sunscreen, check. I was checking things off the list, thoroughly enough, the last time. I could feel my heart pounding, anxious. For me, it was a first time outing. The first time, without my parents. Ahead of 3 days’ long weekend, a plan was hatched. Destination- the Golden Triangle of Odisha, Puri, Konark, Bhubaneswar, and back. Amidst all the concerns, I could also feel a wanderlust kindling. Stepping out, I somehow yielded to it. No regrets, since then.

A last-minute call, as it was, we missed out on the train tickets. Hence, opting for the bus was our only choice. Kolkata-Puri is a perennial service with several operators servicing, needless to say.  The itinerary was the usual favourites. Which was why I readily tagged along when my friends suggested it. In any case, I was to make the most of the trip.

Understandably so. The bus ride itself was pretty unusual, for starters. Starting off on the right foot, on the eve, a lit-up Vidyasagar Setu provided just the right impetus to the journey. In between my power naps, I saw the dazzling cityscape to give way to a dimmer roadside outback. Some eight hours, two dhabas, and multiple short naps later, we halted at the Puri bus stand, the next morning. Somewhere up close, I smelt the sea. But first things first. The sea could wait, Nature’s call could not.




    Itinerary at a Glance

    • Day 1: Reach Puri by 9 am in the morning. Stroll by the sea. Visit Swargadwar in the evening.
    • Day 2: Sunrise at the beach. Visit Jagannath Temple later in the day. Swargadwar in the evening again.
    • Day 3: Check out from the hotel. Visit Konark Sun Temple, Dhauligiri stupa, Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves, Lingaraj Temple, Nandankanan zoo. Aboard train from Bhubaneswar.





    The famous Chariot Wheel of the Konark Sun Temple



    Day 1: Wishful Leaning at the Puri Sea Beach

    That first dusk, through the afternoon, we sat on some sands by the sea. Summer was on the verge of getting into the heat waves. One step into the sands, my feet twitched back. Going without the flip-flops is a definite no-no. The sea, however, was just the opposite. Expectedly so. It had everything that was needed and more. The water melted the heat away. The deeper we went into the sea, the better. That is indeed a moist embrace, that we cannot help but submit to.

    Puri sea beach is known for its breakers. And quite naturally so. Should you be idling by the shoreline, the waves will crash upon your lap, every now and then, foaming. On-call photographers stroll on the beach lest you hit on one. Chances are, you would. Unless you choose your pensive mind as the sole keeper of the memories here. For DSLR users, beware of the salty air here. Camel rides vibrant, and truly a catch would second your thoughts on that long-awaited Pushkar schedule.


    Day 1: An Evening by the Mellow Sea

    What could be a better evening in Puri than smacking down the nummy fish delicacies? The roadside was scattered with the fish stalls with a tempting display of the freshly catches. Prawns, lobsters, and whatnots. Dipped in a handful of besan, and the fish pakora was ready in no seconds. These were rather titbits, appetizing for your dinner. Another delectable sweetmeat that needs no special mention, was Kakatua’s Goja. If you are in Puri, you must taste it. 



    Prawns at Puri @DoiBedouin
    Famous Kakatua Goja place of Puri Swargadwar @doibedouin
    Prawns and Goja are the special delicacies here and one must try them both while their stay at Puri






    Day 2: Bask in the Morning Sun

    Getting up early is sure an exercise in itself! Especially, when it comes to a nocturnal being like me. Despite that, I reached a good 30 minutes beforehand. And I was still way too late. The early walkers had already marked their territories.

    The Sun, however, was in a mood to play hide and seek, refusing to show up, through the grey streaks of the clouds. Bored to the end, we concentrated back on the sea. The fishing boats were out for inaugurating their catch. The horizon was frequented by their silhouettes, scaling the limitlessness of the scene. Anyhow, the fireball graced on us, and the grey eventually turned to red. The reality was much more beautiful than the hype. The sea waters shimmered as it reflected the golden in between its silvers. We called it off after having the morning tea on the beach itself.



    ***

    This is one prominent destination beach. Sought-after enough, it isn’t where you would find the seaside solitude. Even so, amidst all the crowd, a wooing quietude still persists, all along.



    ***



    Sunrise at Puri Beach @doibedouin
    The Reflection of Sun Rays on the Waves at Puri blog @doibedouin
    The fishing boats were out for inaugurating their catch. The horizon was frequented by their silhouettes, scaling the limitlessness of the scene. The sea waters shimmered as it reflected the golden in between its silvers.





    Day 2: Where the Faith Resides

    If it's anything Puri is famous for, other than the beach, it is the Jagannath temple. This iconic structure is one of the Char Dham of the spiritual circuit in India. Typically a Kalingan architecture, it hailed back to the Ganga Dynasty. (Do your history yourself please!) Be that as it may, we walked this time, from our hotel, courtesy Google map, through the alleys. The alleys were spread with stalls selling flowers and incense sticks for your offerings to the deities.

    Here I would like to emphasize that I did not see myself much as a religious self. And all I could see there apparently was the commercialisation of faith. Faith was being traded for. However, this depended solely on individuals. We were lucky enough to have a Pandit (locally known as Panda) as our guide who considered faith above everything else. Persons like him truly personified the message that Jagannath Temple was built for. Optimism. Once in, in no time I was elbowing my way through the teeming devotees.


    ***


    The atheist in you would cast off the glorious design given the above instances. At the same time, though, you could not help but simply awe at the grandeur of the same.


    ***


    On a slight undertone, do not indulge in any activities here. And do not touch any shrine unless you yourself feel so. You need to feel the aura yourself. It is also advisable not to carry your camera. Or else, you would have to deposit it outside the compound, on a roadside depository. Believe me or not, you would not want to be anxiety-ridden on your quest through the temple. The holy compound is open throughout, however, off-limits to non-Hindus. Keep your dressing as simple as possible. No leathers. Collect the Bhog, if you may, around the afternoon.


    As the evening winded down, time spent in Swargadwar was, without doubt, time well-spent. It is rather the mercantile heart of the Puri-visits. Souvenirs, on point.


    Jagannath Temple Puri blog @doibedouin
    puri blog @doibedouin
    The architectural finesse consists of the frontal Mukhashala (porch), Nat-mandir (hallway), Garba Griha (Sanctum Sanctorium) where the trio deities are placed and separately a Bhog Mandap and a Kitchen. The roof structure is pyramidical and is known as Shikhar, where each day flags are hoisted (sharp at 4 pm). Other smaller shrines include Vimala temple, Saraswati temple, Surya temple, etc.



    Day 3: The Countdown to the Close Through The Golden Triangle 

    (Puri - Konark Sun Temple - Dhauligiri - Lingaraja Temple - Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves - Nandankanan Zoo - Bhubaneswar)

    On the third and final day, I was already in the groove of wending my way through Puri. We were in good time, as the arrival train was due at night, from Bhubaneswar. Soon after an early morning check-out, a breakfast on road, and a quick drive through the Puri-Konark Marine drive, we arrived at Konark Sun Temple.

    Konark Sun Temple, another benchmark in the Kalingan footprint, was built dedicated to Surya Dev, the Sun God. The temple outlook embodies a decked chariot, apparently run by 24 wheels, each representing the hours of the day. The temple carvings are known for their erotic sculptures as well. What was more noteworthy to me, was the orientation of the wheels. They are so placed, to effectively act as sundials. Outside the temple, the streets were lined with stalls with more varied handicrafts. 



    konark sun temple @doibedouin
    puri konark blog @doibedouin
    The temple outlook embodies a decked chariot, apparently run by 24 wheels, each representing the hours of the day.


    Next up the route, was Dhauli, where the Kalinga war had been fought by the then King Ashoka (the Mauryan Dynasty). A Shanti Stupa stands on the Dhauligiri as a memorial to the period. On our way up, Buddha statues peeped through the surrounding trees. 

    Back in the car, we did a quick trip to Lingaraja Temple. It is said that where there is an abode of Lord Vishnu (Jagannath), Lord Shiva resides in the neighbourhood. So it was! Another quintessence of Kalingan style, Lingaraja was dedicated to Lord Shiva. Besides the main Shiva shrine, it has 50 more shrines. While entering, we washed off our feet, just outside the temple compound. 



    Dhaualigiri Stupa of Bhubaneswar @doibedouin
    lingaraj temple @doibedouin
    Dhauligiri and Lingaraja Temple


    Udaygiri and Khandagiri are two adjacent hills with partly artificial caves, patronising the Jain monks. Udaygiri is better maintained with 18 caves. The most famed is the Hathigumpha with the inscriptions of Kharavela (from the Chedi Dynasty). It also provided a panoramic view of the city once we reached the top.



    udaygiri caves @doibedouin
    Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves at Bhubaneswar blog @doibedouin
    Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves patronising Jainism



    Odisha is not just the architectures, it has a plethora of National parks as well. Nandankanan in Bhubaneswar tops the list. Though we were a bit late for the entry, we managed to cover most of it somehow. The white tiger and the reptiles are the main lures, besides the usual alligators, turtles and the deer (nilgais, sambar, and blackbucks).



    puri bhubaneswar @doibedouin
    Nandankanan national park at Bhubaneswar blog @doibedouin
    The tiger and the spotted deer


    Over the three days, keeping the everyday usual at bay, we saw the sea, the history, and a national park. How well a place fetched out all of them and so aptly. A place where Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism merged and flourished together. The best souvenirs I brought back was myself, suppled with a yearning for travel. And definitely the Gojas!



    Things you Should do while away at Puri
    This is indeed one of a drum-roll moment, watching the waters bathed in the first rays of the sun.



    Where to Stay

    Multiple options are available if you base yourself either at Puri or Bhubaneswar. We stayed at hotel Pushpa in the interiors, not sea-facing. Hotel Puri is the best alongside the beach.


    Reaching Puri and Commuting to Bhubaneswar

    By air, any flights connecting to Bhubaneswar would get you there. While plenty of trains connect to Puri and Bhubaneswar, it is equally well connected by roads. Hiring a car with reasonable charges are easily available. Self- drives are also an option here.

    Best Time to Visit

    It is best to avoid the summers. Winters pose the most pleasant weather. 





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    12 comments

    1. Wow. The sunsrise on the beach looks incredible. I love that you can get tea there

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    2. The temples are incredible. This is what I love about India, it is so underrated and there is so much to see that we barely hear about

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    3. For me Puri always meant only the Jagannath temple. You gave a nice perspective on other things there!

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    4. Those prawns look delicious and the temple are really nice! I never there were so much to visit around.

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    5. Lovely captures and informative.

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    6. I had Puri in my travel list earlier just because of Jagannath temple but after reading this post now I feel their are lot more places to explore. Some pictures are very amazing captured by you especially reflection of sun rays on waves.

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    7. Really helpful and informative article
      click here

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    8. Such a great mixture of food, culture, history and wildlife in this article! I really enjoyed reading it, and your pictures are great.

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    9. I love your picture of sunrise over the waves. That's entirely magical and such beautiful colours. I'm glad you took the unexpected trip; I've got a real sense of how much there is to see from your pictures.

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    10. Great post, to read loved the beautiful temples in the phots, another few places added to my bucketlist.

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    11. i see my favorite food and my favorite animals .

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    12. Very informative with a plenty of lovely pictures those gel-in to the blog nicely.

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