Franklin Lakra
by on November 19, 2017
Puri is a well known family destination spot, popular for its beaches and temples. It is located in Odisha and lies on the eastern coast of India, towards the Bay of Bengal. Puri not only lures people to its sandy beach, but also to its various temples which hide within themselves a rich heritage of the ancient Indian era. The most popular attractions are the Jagannath Temple, the Swarga Dwara (literally translated to Gate of Heaven) and the Golden Beach.
My family chose to visit Puri because of its intriguing culture and the warm embrace of the Golden beach. Also, my mother had been there before and wanted to revisit the place in her memories.
So my father booked tickets for the four of us on the 21st of September, 2017. There are 47 trains which go from Howrah to Puri.
We took the Howrah- Puri superfast express (12837) which is at 10:35 pm. The train left on time and the journey was comfortable. The train was clean and reached us to Puri on time at 7 on Friday morning. The railway station is really worth praising. The cleanliness of the station is worth praising. It has been designed well, keeping in mind the temples that Odisha is famous for and giving a visitor the initial welcome to the breathtaking beauty of the land.
We took an auto rickshaw to our guest house, Sagarika Air India Co-operative Guest House, which is located behind Puri’s famous lighthouse and is a few yards away from the beach.
The weather is really blissful in the morning and cool winds blow fiercely near the beach. Yet as the day passes it starts to get warmer and the nights are much cooler than the days.
There weren’t many people on the beach during the day, maybe because we went on an off season, but as the evening approaches, the beach gets crowded with local hawkers selling food and artificial jewellery. The sea is boisterous but playful and one can expect to have a good time at the beach. The camels with their owners, roam the stretch of the beach from dawn till dusk, giving both children and adults the fun-filled experience of camel rides.
On the second day we went to the famous Jagannath temple, known for the Rath Yatra which is a chariot festival celebrated every year in the month of June or July. It is a public procession with a chariot with the idol of Lord Jagannath seated inside. The temple is astoundingly beautiful especially when the sun rays hit the pinnacle of the temple. It is one the four places of the famous pilgrimage called the ‘the Char Dham’. The temple has been dated back to 1174 CE. The entire temple is made of stone and copper with carvings of Lord Jagannath, Lord Vishnu and other deities. It has a profound and intriguing history behind it. The magnificence of the temple has not diminished with age. However it is currently going through some major renovations. Overall the visit to this temple will leave you in awe.
The next day we went to the Konark temple (also undergoing renovation), also known as the Sun Temple.It took us approximately forty five minutes by car from the guest house. It is one of the most visited places in Puri. The temple is dedicated to Surya, the Sun God.
The temple complex is not big, but every inch of the space that it occupies is filled with elegant beauty. The stone paved floor, the lush gardens, stone statues and even the massive temple itself and everything inside is a testimony to the skills put in by the artisans that made Konark.
Both the compounds of Jagannath and Konark are secured by the local police and the temple entrances are properly supervised without any chaos.
From Konark we went to the Chandrabagha beach. It was really quiet and calm, unlike the busy shores of the Golden Beach. It is at this beach that one can find the local fishermen community. The beach is small and perfect for walks, especially in the evenings. The sunset is amazing to watch from here.
After that we went back to our resort near Golden Beach via the Konark highway which is parallel to the beach. The experience was one of its kind, driving along the beach for forty five minutes from Chandrabagha Beach to our resort.
We returned to Kolkata the next day. We took the Puri-Howrah superfast express (12888). Overall, our Puri trip was not only a fun experience but one of learning and bonding as well. Those evening walks along the shores let you indulge in sharing and discussions with your family and friends. The rich cultural heritage and history teaches you a lot not only about the place but about you as well, reminding you of the larger family and belief system that we all belong to. Puri gives you a profound peace and instills infinite amazement at the wonders of nature and the man kind combined. Watching the waves of the sea caress the shore allows you to temporarily escape your anxieties and you wish you could sit there for eternity without any passage of time. Puri will be a place from where you will not be able leave without making wonderful memories.