Puri, being a coastal district of Orissa, is famous for its historic antiquities, religious sanctuaries, architectural grandeur, seascape beauty, moderate climate. It holds a wealth of attraction for the visitors. It boasts of a continuous history from the 3rd Century B.C. to the present day, and its unique monuments like those of Lord Jagannath at Puri, the Sun God at Konark are famous in the world. It has the Chilika Lake--one of the largest brackish water lakes in India that holds a picturesque Seascape beauty. It offers an ideal resort for birds which migrate from different parts of the continent. By virtue of its geographical location, the climate of Puri is equable through out the year.
Raghurajpur : Raghurajpur is 12Km from Puri on Bhubaneswar road in 203 National highway, near Chandanpur. One has to take a right turn from Chandanpur Bazar by noticing the Orissa Tourism signage to Raghurajpur. Famous for Pattachitra, Raghurajpur - the artisans’ village, is a living museum itself. Every household has a painter and can show you lavishly painted, the age-old tradition paintings on canvas, skil (tassar) and other varieties like papier mache, masks, stone idols, sculptures, wooden idils and toys and many more.
The recently drawn mural paintings on the house walls are a step forward to make impression about survival of the past glory. One can contact any house in this village for the painting. The village ambience is also heart touching. This is a Heritage Craft Village of Orissa.
Sakhigopal : At a distance of 17 Km from Puri, ahead of Chandanpur, Sakhigopal--also known as Satyabadi--is famous for the shrine of Lord Krishna. Although the temple was built during the 19th century, the legend has it that the Krishna image was brought here by King Prataprudra Deva after his victory over Kanchi (South India).
The life-size image is standing with flute and Radha is standing on the left side. The images are very beautiful and impressive. The temple is just like a miniature temple of the Lord Jagannath. Sakhigopal is also important as it was one of the educational centres during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Bakulabana (open air school of early part of 20th century A.D.) still exists just behind the Sakhigopal Temple. From here, one can visit the adjoining areas. This is for those inquisitive visitors who are interested in temples and rural culture. The place, like Biswanath Hill for Biswanath Siva, which is on the top of the Hill, near Delanga, is 10 Km away from Sakhigopal.
There is another village known as Barala (6 Km) which is famous for Balunkeswar Siva Temple, and which has a unique design with sanctum, Jagamohana and Natamndap. The premises have about 25 small shrines which enshrine a host of images of Durga, Khshetrapala, Vairabi Annapurna, Ardhanariswara, Damodara, Gopal, Narasimha, Ambika, and Parswanath (Jain) images.
Pipili : Futher ahead on the National highway 40 Km from Puri one can reach Pipili, again a craft village for Applique work. One can find a series of shops decorated with many applique works with bright colors. The varieties are like umbrellas, lamps shades, wall cloths, table covers, sofa covers, children cloths, bad covers and many more. These are prepared by skilled craft persons, perhaps, a remnant of Mughal days. People love to see the varieties they even like to purchase the handicrafts.
From Pipili one can straight way proceed to Dhauli, an important historical site famous for Shanti stupa and Asokan Rock Edicts on a Hillock. It is said that the famous Kalinga War was fought here during the 3rd century BC. It is also a Buddhist site and many archaeologist relics are discovered here. It is only six Km away from Bhubaneswar.
Konark : From Puri, one can visit the World Heritage Monument-- Konark Temple, 35 Km on the Marine Drive. One can enjoy the natural beauty of the Marine Drive while driving. On the way, there are a few scenic spots with Temple, like Beleswar (14Km) and Ramachandi. While driving from Puri, you can cross Tosali Sand Resorts, a luxurious hotel. On approaching Konark, one can see the beauty of the sea at Chandrabhaga, which is regarded as Tirtha also. Here, sunrise is very beautiful and enchanting. This is 3 km away from Konark.
Now you can enter in the marvels of time and space, the elegant stone house of art and architecture -- the Sun Temple of Konark. The entrance ticket may be purchased (Rs 5/- per Indians and US $ 5 for foreigners) from ASI ticket Booth.
Konark since ancient times is a celebrated centre for Sun worship. Konark as Arka Kshetra finds mention in Sambha Puran. Sambha, the son of Sri Krishna as the Puranic story goes, worshiped the Sun here and installed the image and got cured from Leprosy. It has a long tradition of Sun worship interwoven with many legends and stories.
Satapada on Chilika : Satapada is a lake side resort located on the southeast side of Chilika lagoon which is the largest brackish water lake in Asia. 50 Km. From Puri, on the road leading to land’s end you find Satapada. A tiny cluster of seven islands ’sata’ means seven and ”pada’ means village. This is where the lake meets the Bay of Bengal.
Chilika covers an area of 1,165 square Kilometers over the district of Puri, Khurda and Ganjam. Chilika is home to more than a hundred species of fish and dolphins. With the onset of winter, birds begin to arrive in Chilika.
Jagannath Rath Yatra : The much famous Temple Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath, takes place in Puri. On the first day, the temple images are carried through the street in three huge thundering chariots which have made this event internationally known. Nine days later, the journey is repeated in the opposite direction... Know More
Temples inside Puri
Gundicha Temple : The most important sanctuary of the Lord Jagannath is the Gundicha Temple--the abode to Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Except for these few days, it is unoccupied. But there is a small establishment of servants by whom it is regularly maintained. It is situated at the other end of the great highway (Badadanda).
The distance between the gates of Jagannath Temple and the Gundicha Temple is exactly 2,688.0696 meters (8327 feet). The temple is surrounded by a wall and stands in the middle of garden. It consists of four pars connected with kitchen rooms, by a narrow passage. The tower, a construction of Pidha type, is 75 feet high with a base of 55 feet by 46 feet outside, and 36 feet 8inches by 27 feet inside.
All the four structures (Vimana, Jagamohan, Natamandap, and Bhogamandap) bear the traces of several plastering and are carved in places with obscene figures in mortar. There is a plain raised seat, 4 feet high and 19 feet long, made of chlorite and this is called the Ratnavedi -- the throne on which the images are placed when brought to the temple.
Astachandi Temple : The eight Chandis--collectively called Astachandi--are Bata Mangala, Bimala, Sarvamangal, Ardhasani, Alamba, Dakshinakalika, Marichika and Harachandi.
Panchatirtha Temple : The sacred tanks are Indradyumna near the Gundicha Temple, Manikarnika in the Marnikarnika Street, Markanda towards the north of the Jagannath Temple and Swetaganga towards the south of the Jagannath Temple. These four tirthas or sacred waters, together with the sea, make the Panchtirtha or five sacred waters in which pilgrims are solemnly enjoined to take bath. Some of these places and few other places, such as: Lokanath temple, Atharnala Bridge, etc., deserve special mention.
Loknath Temple : This is the famous Siva temple of Puri, located about one kilometer away from the Jagannath Temple, towards the western end. There is a popular belief that Lord Ram had installed this lingam with a Lauka or Pumpkin. The Temple was build during 10th-11th century A.D. The devotees come here to see Lord Loknath to be cured from any kind of disease.
There are certain festivals observed in this temple, out of which ‘Saranti-Somobar-mela’ is the important one. There is a stream on the head of the Sivalinga playing the role of the Ganges, and the linga it self remains under the water.
The flowers, sandal paste, ‘Bilva-patra’, etc. offered to the God remain decomposed in the water emitting a special smell. People take it as Prasad to be cured from the disease that they suffered for. The festival of Siva Ratri is observed in the temple of Lokanath with great devotion. A meeting of Siva and Vishnu takes place on the day.
Chakratirtha Temple : The Chakratirtha, a small and unprotected pool, is in the south-east of Jagannath Temple, on the sea beach of popularly known as C.T. Road heading towards Pentha Kata - the fisherman village. It is evidently a part of the old mouth of the Balagandi stream that flowed across the Badadanda to the sea. The place is known as Bankimuhana. Nearby is the temple of Chaitanya called Sunar-Gouranga. It is place largely visited by the pilgrims.......Know More
Chakranarayan Temple : Towards the northern side of the temple of Sunar-Gouranga is the temple of Chakranarayana. The image of Lakshmi-Narasimha is worshipped here.
Daria Mahabir Temple : At the distance of about 30 meters to the west of the Chakranarayan temple, Daria Mahabir is a small temple dedicated to Hanuman. He is also known as Bedi Hanuman.
Ardhasani Temple : On the way to Gundicha temple, Ardhasani is a small temple dedicated to the goddess of that name. She is also known as Mausi Maa (mother’s sister) of Lord Jagannath.
Siddha Mahavir Temple : At a distance of about half a mile (804.672 meters), to the west of Gundicha Temple, there is a small temple dedicated to Siddha Hanuman. It is believed that Tulasidas resided at this place during his stay at Puri. It is a beautiful spot for picnic.
Jameswara Temple : This is again a temple of 11-11th Century A.D. Located on the extreme end of Harichandi Street; it houses Jameswara Siva, who protects this holy land from the influence of Yama. On the other hand, it is known as Yamanaka Tirtha. Again this temple is one of the historical evidences, if analyzed, can get a lot of evidence of the culture of Puri. Besides, there are many religious shrines and sanctuaries found in each and every street of Puri. There are Ashrams of saints like Pandu, Angira, Bhrigu and Nigamananda and others also found in the different areas.
Alabukeswara Temple Alabukeswara is a Saiva shrine situated to the west of the Yameswara. It is spoken of in high terms by the Kapila Samhita for making barren women fruitful.
Kapalamochana Temple / Manikarnika : Kapalamochana is a small Saiva temple in the immediate neighborhood of the Alabukeswara in the Manikarnika Sahi. The sacred pool of Manikarnika is also located here.
Daksinakali Temple : The temple is situated towards the south-eastern side of the Lord Jagannath Temple on Balisahi. Puranic tradition says that in Sriksetra or Puri, Sri Jagannath is regarded as Daksinakalika. The deity is enshrined in a modern temple at a higher raised platform. The temple is facing to east and consists of a vimana and a Jagamohana.
The deity is four-armed and seated on a corpse. She is shown as drinking blood, with a dagger and holding severed head in two of her hands. It is believed that Daksinakalika is the guardian of the kitchen of the Lord Jagannath Temple.
Syamakali Temple : These shrines are there in the old palace of Gajapati Kings of Puri. Now the historical Royal Palace is situated in the Grand Trunk Road (Bada danda) of Puri. This is a new place. The old palace was there in Bali Sahi. From the Southern door of the Lord Jagannath Temple, one can go to this place.
Dasavatara Temple : There is a ruined temple of the ‘Dasavatara’ of Vishnu near the Gundicha temple. This is the place where the Kabi Jayadeve--the author of Gitagovindam stayed. Being inspired with the 10 incarnations of Vishnu, he wrote Dasavatara Strotra in his famous work Gita Govindam.
The Temple of Seven Mother Goddesses : This temple is situated on the embankment of a big sacred pond--Markandeya Soravara. This reminds us of the similar temple build at Dasasvamedha Ghat of Yajpur built in the 10th century by the Somavamsi Kings. Brahmi, Maheswari, Andri, Kaumari, Vaisnavi, Varahi and Camanda are known as the seven mother Goddesses.
Sometimes, Narasimha replaces Vaisnavi, a female from the man-lion incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. However, the shrine of the seven mother goddess at the pond Markanda proves very well that once upon a time Puri was a bonafide Sakta Pitha and Goddess Vimala was the presiding deity of this pitha.
Mausima Temple : The three chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra start from the Singha Dwara of the Temple of Jagannath and reach ‘Gundicha Temple’, at the other end of the Bada Danda. In between, ‘Gundicha Temple’ and ‘Singha Dwara’, there comes the shrine of the Goddess, Ardhamsini or Ardhasini, popularly known as Mousima (aunt) of Jagannath where the Lord takes a bhoga of ‘Podapitha”, a special cake. It is stated in Skanda Purana, Vaisanava Knadha that during the deluge, when the sea over flooded Puri, this goddess drank half of the flood water and saved the town.
Chhatia Jagannath Temple : Chhatia Bata is famous for saint Hadi Das. There is an ancient banian tree and is popularly known as Chhatiabata. The grave of the famous saint Hadi Das lies here within its enclosure bounded by walls.