Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Compelling Reasons to Visit Puri this Winter

Puri is synonymous with the Jagannath Temple. One of the four sites of pilgrimage most revered by the Hindus, Puri attracts pilgrims all year round. The temples, ashrams and monasteries of Puri are great specimens of heritage architecture. Tour them and unwind at the beach - your trip to Puri this winter will surely leave you rejuvenated. Go ahead and book hotels in Puri and plan a trip between November and February – the weather being most pleasant during this time. Here, we give you six compelling reasons to plan a trip to Puri this winter.

Visit the Jagannath Temple
Lord Jagannath is the ‘Lord of the Universe’. His name comes from the Sanskrit words ‘Jagat’ meaning ‘universe’ and ‘Nath’ meaning ‘lord of’. When you visit His temple, you will see the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra seated on the ‘Ratnavedi,’ a bejeweled platform inside the temple. Devout Hindus visit the Jagannath Temple to cleanse their soul of sins and pray at the feet of ‘Lord of the Universe’. You must experience its magnificence and divinity at least once in your lifetime.

Tour Chilka Lake
The Chilka Lake is close to Puri, just 37 kms away. It is the largest inland salt-water lagoon in Asia. Bird-watchers and animal lovers flock to Chilka Lake as it is the dwelling of many stunning beings. From white-bellied sea eagles to sandpipers, flamingos to gloven plovers - you will see a variety of avian life-forms here. Some of them are migratory birds which only visit during the winter months. The Chilka Lake is one of the two places in the world where the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins can be spotted. Capture them on your smartphone camera when you tour Chilka by boat. The lake also supports a flourishing ecosystem of flora and fauna.

Konark Temple
The Konark Temple is located about 36 km away from Puri. Built by King Narasimha in the 13th century, it is a magnificent piece of architecture. The structural design of the temple is a tribute to the Sun God. The chariots of the Sun God and the horses which draw it are depicted through the structure. There are many shops and eateries near the temple. You can sip tea and snack on samosas after your short drive to the Konark Temple from Puri. The Konark Beach is also closeby. The peaceful and quiet ambience here will help you reconnect with Nature.

Shopping at Puri
Shop for local handicrafts at Puri. You will find souvenirs which you can take back home. Visit Swargadwar near the Puri Beach. There are shops here which sell traditional sarees like Bomkai, Ikats, Pasapali and Sambalpuri weaves. ‘Pattachitra’ is a traditional art form of Odisha.  These are palm leaf paintings which hail from the region. Take one home to change the look of your decor. Silver works and stone crafts from Puri are also famous. Cigar boxes, jewellery boxes and decorative trays made of silver are available at emporiums and other shops.

Beaches in Puri
The beaches in Puri are spectacular. Watch the crimson dawn break over the Bay of Bengal from the Puri Beach, or from your hotel room. There are many 5 star hotels in Puri which are sea-facing. Choose hotels which are along the beach, to enjoy access to private beaches and clean sea. Fresh seafood is available at shacks along the seafront. Enjoy a relaxing massage on the beach as you hear the waves crash on the shore, not too far away. There are sand sculptures to be found on the beach. They depict art from the walls of Puri temples and from other mythological sources. Take a stroll along the beach in the evening to enjoy the soothing breeze.

Local Food at Puri
When in Puri, try out the local fare. ‘Khicede’ is the main ‘bhog’ or speciality dish offered to Lord Jagannath. It is a staple dish in Odisha, prepared with rice and lentils. You can sample this dish at most eateries at Swargadwar.  Book hotels in Puri which have in-house restaurants and serve traditional Oriya food. ‘Dalma’ is one such preparation with lentils and vegetables. The ‘Pakhala Bhata’ is a rice preparation served with curd. The khaaja is a local favourite you must try – a crunchy and sweet snack, khaaja is as popular as the Puri Temple. Do not miss out on the ‘Chana Poda’ - a sweet dish prepared with smoked cottage cheese.

Get ready to experience spiritual rejuvenation - Puri has that effect on all travelers.

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