In addition to being part of Char Dham pilgrimage, Puri is also one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus or ‘Sapta Puris’. One of the largest cities of Odisha, Puri is home to several temples, the most important amongst them being the he 13th century Jagannath Temple with its stunning architecture. The annual RathYatra or Car Festival attracts millions of devotees to celebrate the nine-day festivities in the Hindu month of Ashadha (June/July). Puri is also famous for its golden beach frequented by tourists throughout the year.
Today, the coastal town of Puri is synonymous with the awe-inspiring Jagannath Temple. Built in the 12th century AD by Chodaganga Deva, this magnificent monument, with its 64m (210-ft.) shikhara (spire) topped by the flag and wheel of Vishnu, is a very sacred place attracting thousands of devotees who come here to worship Vishnu in his avatar as the Lord of the Universe.
A 16 sided monolithic pillar (11 metres high), called Aruna Stambha, standing in front of the main gate, was brought here in the 18th century from Konark where it originally stood. Guarded by two stone lions, the Lion Gate (Singhadwara) is the main entrance to the Jagannath Temple, which is a fine specimen of Odisha style of architecture which flourished from 8th to 13th centuries. Within the precincts of the Jagannath Temple complex are locate smaller shrines including Asta Chandi and Asta Sambhu. The temple is off limits to the non-Hindus.
Another important shrine in Puri is Gundicha Temple which is 3 km from the Jagannath Temple. During the car festival Jagannath (Krishna), brother Balbhadra (Balarama), and sister Subhadra come out of the Jagannath Temple and spending nine days in this temple they go back to their own temple.
Puri is home to one of the most famous beaches of India, attracting vacationers in a large number. These beaches are the places where a visitor can unwind and rejuvenate themselves by lying lazily against their golden sands free from the stress and worries of the daily life. The 700 stretch of the Model Beach is the finest and cleanest of the beaches in Puri.
(Dwar of Swarga or “Gateway to Heaven”) is the cremation ground of Purl. Hindus believe that anyone who dies here will go straight to the heaven leading to the liberation of their soul and salvation.
Situated north-east of the famous Jagannath temple, this tank is sacred for the Hindus. Also called Sri Candana Pukur, the pond is of special significance for them because Lord Jagannatha comes here every evening for 21 consecutive days during Chandana-yatra held during April/May. This large pond has an island in which is located a small temple.
Located between Lions gate and Swargadwar, Swetaganga is a small holy tank where devotees take holy dip before visiting the shrine of Lord Jagannath.
12 km from Puri, Raghurajpur on Bhubaneswar road in NH 203 is an artisan village the artists of which create meticulously hand-painted art known as Pattachitra which dates back to thousands of years.
Known for the wonderful appliqué work, Pipili, on the way to Bhubaneswar, is a heritage crafts village. Apart from Pipili, the places where appliqué work is also practiced in Odisha are Barapali and Chikiti.
Famous for a temple dedicated to Gopal (Krishna,) Sakhigopal is a sacred place. Located 19 km north of Puri on the way to the capital city of Bhubaneswar, the place attracts devotees. Tradition has it that no pilgrimage to Puri is complete without a visit to Sakhigopal temple.
35 km from Puri, Konark is home to the UNESCO listed 13th century Sun Temple, a specimen of the Kalinga School of Temple Architecture. Nothing could beat the architecture of this ancient structure. You will feel exulted over the superb engineering ingenuity. The place also attracts visitors for the tranquil and lovely Chandrabhaga Beach.
60 km from Puri, Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is known for its temples. Chief among them is the famous Lingaraja Temple. Notwithstanding its newfound attractiveness as a modern metropolis, the sacred city of Bhubaneswar remains steeped in history and has an array of attractions.
Emphatically not to be missed while you happen to be in or around Puri is a visit to the Chilka Lake - easily managed as a day-trip from the city. Set in the midst of an incredible landscape, this largest brackish water lake in Asia will surely captivate you.
A jewel in Orissa’s crown, Chilka Lake, 50 km from Puri, is a haven for migratory birds which come here every winter, from as far away as the Caspian Sea, Northern Eurasia, Siberia and Lake Baikal. In the centre of the lake is an important temple dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kalijai. With its placid waters shimmering in the sunlight, its exciting variety of avian life including pods of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, Chilka Lake represents Nature at her most untamed.
How to Reach Puri by Air: Airport at Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is the nearest airport and is 60 km away from Puri.
How to Reach Puri by Rail: Nearest railhead is Puri which has direct connection with all major cities of India.
How to Reach Puri by Road: Puri is easily approachable by regular buses, taxis, coaches and tourist cabs from Bhubaneswar as well as the other places of Odisha. Some of the cities and places near Puri connected with it are by road are Brahmagiri (25 km), Konark (35 km), Bhubaneswar (60 km), Kakatpur (60 km), Barkul (160 km), Chilika (167 km), Sambalpur (362 km), Vishakhapatnam (486 km), Kolkata (541 km) and Chennai (1285 km).
Being a renowned travel destination, Puri has a wide array of accommodation options to choose from to suit all budgets. Ranging from luxurious hotels to budget hotels and rest hostels, these hotels in Puri are a perfect base from which to explore the different sights of the city of Puri famous for its famous Jagannath Temple.
Visitors are advised to book in advance during the peak season.