Puri, whenever we hear this city name, Jagannath temple comes to our mind. There are so many places to visit in Puri. It is one of the holiest place for Hindu religion as this city is the birth place of Bhagwan Jagannath, at the Gundicha temple. Puri is also known for many beautiful and natural things like Chilka Lake, the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish (less salty) water lagoon in the world. Another jewel of Puri is Konark temple, a Unesco world heritage site, built in 13th century by Raja Narasingh Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty.
This is the travel story of a family of 6 for 3-day-2-night trip of Puri, Odisha. We had booked 3 rooms in the hotel OYO-Gangotri. The room we had booked through makemytrip.com, which was very smooth. The hotel was nearly 2.5 Km from Puri railway station. We reached there at 5 am, early morning. While the check-in for hotel was 9 am, but the reception was very helpful as they allowed us to let check in the room at 6 am itself, which was a much-needed relief for us.
1st day at Puri, to visit Golden beach, Konark temple and Chandrabhaga beach
After check-in the room, we took some rest for 1 hour, then we freshened ourselves and went to hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. Food was simple, but very tasty and healthy. After this we went directly to sea beach, which was hardly 0.5 Km from hotel. That beach was Golden beach, one of the most popular but little bit crowded beach. Nearby to it about 1 Km ahead, there was another point called ‘Swargdwar beach’. Between these two beaches, there were so many stalls to eat, shops to buy pearls and Conch shells on the sea side, while on the road, there were many shops of Odisha silk cloths like sarees, suits among others. There were so many restaurants and hotels also alongside the road.
Here, you can take chairs under big umbrella during beach bath for resting and for your cloths and bags at very nominal rate of ₹20 per hour per chair. Coconut water here you can enjoy from ₹20 and here the shops sell Conch shell ( Shankh) and many types of pearls. Also, Cashew which is a costly dry fruit item, here you can get from ₹400 per Kg onward. Even, the restaurant’s food price was like medium, not costly.
After spending first half of day, we returned to hotel, then took lunch in the hotel’s restaurant, which was good. Then we booked cab for ‘Konark temple’ and ‘Chandrabhaga beach’ from hotel reception itself in about ₹1500. We started our journey for Konark temple at about 2 pm, aftrenoon. Cab was given ‘Maruti Ertiga’, which was spacious enough for 6 people with children.
Konark temple was about 40 Km from Puri, so it took about 1 hour in reaching there. The road to Konark from Puri was very good and it was along the sea, named Marine drive road. At Konark site, there was ample space for parking, and very well organised shops on both sides on the way to temple. The shops were mostly of jute bags, toys, souvenirs of Konark temple and horses made of wood, white stone etc. For entry to Konark temple, there was ticket priced at ₹40 per adult person. You can hire one guide also to know the details and the history.
Now about Konark temple, it was huge and spread in a very large place. There were the temple, garden and some restricted area. Konark temple was built by King Narasimhadeva-I in 13th century, also known as Sun temple, Black Pagoda. The temple had originally the design pattern of a huge chariot drawn by seven horses on twelve pairs of wheels. Most of the parts of temple were under reconstruction by ASI, so the iron rod and pillars were also there. On the walls of the temple, the erotic pictures of expressions were also there, which were almost everywhere. We snapped some photos, made videos, then came out after about 2 hours.
Chandrabhaga beach was the next target of the day for ‘Sunset view’, so we went there which was about 4 Km from Konark temple. The beach was very clean and spacious. Here, many shops of cashews were there. Kids can take camel and horse ride also. The Chandrabhaga Mela is a very popular festival for the people of Odisha. It is celebrated usually in February.
After this, we took some snacks like tea-pakode and local sweets in beach shop, then headed for returning to Puri hotel. We reached Gangotri hotel, took dinner and went for sleeping. Weather was cold but enjoyable in the night.
2nd day at Puri, to visit Jagannath temple, Chilka Lake and sea-food:
It was makar sakranti today, so we decided to go to Bhagwan Jagannath temple on this day. The temple was about 0.5 Km from our hotel Gangotri. We had checked the first Aarti schedule of temple, which was 5.30 am, so we went to the temple at 5.15 am sharp in the morning. The temple was huge in length and shining. Here, to our surprise, due to morning, there was not that much crowd, so we easily got into the temple through Lion gate (Singh dwar) and did darshan in a easy and relaxed way. We felt like we have come to some normal temple in terms of crowd. We were very happy to have darshan like this. We bought some temple souvenirs from outside of temple premises.
Then, we went for breakfast in the hotel where south Indian foods like idli, uttapam etc. were served, which was good. Now it was time to visit ‘Chilka Lake’, so we again booked cab from reception in about ₹1500. The distance between Puri and Chilika was 48 KM, so it took about 1.30 hours in reaching there. There was a government controlled outlet, through which you have to buy tickets of boat, which was about ₹1850 (boat for 6 people) + ₹150 (for life jacket).
After all this formalities, we went ahead for boating. Point to be noted here that, since this chilka lake boat journey is about 50 Km, and you won’t get many things in between, so buy especially some light snacks and water. The lake was very large and on the way, we saw so many beautiful migratory birds from other countries in the air and water, which was so cool. Finally, after more than 1.30 hours, we reached to the dolphin-zone. Here, so many dolphins were there swimming from one place to another. We took some photos and videos of dolphins.
After spending about half an hour here, we asked the boat person to return. While returning, the boat was taken to a place where snacks like chips, maggi, water bottle were available, but costly. The most interesting thing we found here were live prawns, crabs and fish. We took prawns which was very cheap in comparison to like Goa at about ₹200 per 10 pieces with thick gravy. The prawns were so delicious that while writing I can feel the taste of those (sorry vegans). Thereafter we returned to the land base. We were tired and hungry both, so there was a restaurant where we took the proper meal as it was very good. Finally, we started our return journey for the Puri hotel and it took about 2 hours as traffic jam was there in the evening at some places. Then we took some rest in hotel, took dinner and went for sleeping.
3rd day in Puri, to visit Gandhi Park, Sea beach, Local place and market:
First thing that we had to check-out at 8 am. So, we checked out at 8 am after clearing the pending bills of food. We had to catch our train at 3 pm, so again reception came to our help and placed all our luggage and belongings at safe place under cctv camera monitoring. We had half day till afternoon before boarding the train. And, we had decided already to visit local places of Puri on this day. So, after breakfast, we went first Gundicha temple, the birth place of Lord Jagannath. Here, the ticket price was ₹10 per adult person. Its importance is at the time of Jagannath Rath 9-day Rath Yatra when Jagannath is worshipped in Gundicha temple. Otherwise, rest of the year, it attracts very less tourists.
After this, we went to ‘Gandhi Park’ near Golden beach, which allows the people in the morning and evening only. This park was full of varieties of plants, flowers etc. There was a big statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the middle of park. There was a track to walk, jog and enjoying the beauty of park.
Then we went to swargdwar beach, where once again we played with sea water and did some window shopping like cronch, pearls, ate some snacks, drank coconut waters etc. After spending here for more than 2 hours, it was time to return to hotel to take lunch and to catch the train.
This was the trip for 2 nights 3 days only, but if you want to explore Bhubaneshwar also, then add 2 more nights. One day for Nandan-Kanan zoo for wild animals and birds, and another day for rest of the city including Lingaraja temple, Mukteshwar temple etc.
Thanks for the reading. Please post your comments and queries regarding, Puri, Bhuvneswar, Odisha, if any.