Puri is a city and districts headquarter in the state of Odisha. It is located on the Bay of Bengal. But Puri can be better described by three. They are Jagannath Temple, Ratha Yatra and long sandy beach. Puri is also known as Sri Jagannath Dham -one of the original Char Dham of Hindus. This holy land of Sri Jagannath is locally known as ‘Srikhetra’. The 80% of the economy of the Puri is dependent on the religious importance of Jagannath Temple. History says that the Jagannath Temple was invaded 18 times. The treasures of Jagannath Temple lured the Hindu and Muslim rulers time to time, and the temple was looted several times by these rulers.
Jagannath Temple in Puri is considered as one of the famous Hindu temples. This temple is built on an elevated area of 4 lac 20 thousand square feet, and the temple rises to a height of 65 metres. There are three wooden images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. The temple has four entry gates. Eastern gate is known as Singha Dwara, western gate Vyaghra Dwara, northern gate as Hathi Dwara and the southern gate as Ashwa Dwara. These four entry gates are symbols of four fundamental principles of Dharma, Jnana, Vairagya and Aishwarya (i.e. right conduct, knowledge, renunciation and prosperity).The kitchen of the Jagannath Temple is said to be the largest and biggest kitchen in the world. Food prepared for Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra or ‘Prasad’ can be served to one lakh people.
The festivals celebrated at Puri are 24 and out of these 13 are major. The most important festival of Puri is Ratha Yatra. In this festival, the deities are brought out of the temple on the main street or Bada Danda.They rode on huge chariots and taken 3 kilometres away to Sri Gundicha Temple. This journey of lords on chariots is known as Ratha Yatra. According to the Hindu calendar, the yatra starts on the second day or Dwitiya of Asadha Sukla (June or July). The devotees in millions attend Ratha Yatra in Puri every year for the darshan of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. The other festivals are Chhera Pahara, Chandan Yatra, Snana Yatra, Anavasara or Anasara, Naba Kalebara, Suna Besha, Niladri Bije, Sahi yatra, Samudra Arati etc.
The other must visit places of Puri are The Pancha Tirtha, Gundicha Temple, Swargadwar, Beach, District Museum, Raghunandana Library etc. The famous beach of Puri is the prime attraction of tourists, travellers and holidaymakers.
Puri is situated on the east coast of India. It is 60 kilometres from the state capital Bhubaneswar. Puri is well-connected via air, rail and road transport services. The nearest railway station is Puri under South Eastern Railways. Another important railway station on this route is Khurda. The nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar ‘Biju Patnaik International airport’. Bus services are available to Puri and for tour packages for sightseeing.
There are many options for sightseeing around Puri. Bhubaneswar is full of temples. You can visit Parasurameshwar Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, Siddheshwar Temple ( Water spring ) Rajarani Temple, Lingaraj Temple, Khandagiri and Udaigiri Caves, Jain Temple, Nandankanan Zoo, Pipli Village, Chaushathi Yogini Temple and Dhauli Rock Edicts. There is Konark Sun Temple (known as Black Pagoda) which attracts devotees in lacs. There is Chhaitana Stone Carving Village and Chandrabhaga Beach. You can visit Asia's largest brackish water lake at Chilika. There you can enjoy boating at the lake and can spot the wild Asiatic Irrawaddy Dolphins at Chilika Lake and the mouth of the Bay of Bengal. You can also visit Alarnath Temple, Ramachandi temple by the seaside and Raghurjpur Patachitra Village.
Accommodation and food both are readily available at Puri. You can find lodging of your choice easily. There are ample options for luxurious hotels, hotels, guest house, holiday home, Dharamsala etc. You can get every kind of food here.
Puri is also an attractive place for shoppers. The main market has numerous shops offering religious items, artefacts and decorative items made of shells and oysters, textiles, handicrafts etc. The traditional craft of Puri is weaving sarees. You can buy exquisite Sambalpuri, Bomkai, Ikkat sarees from here. Sand art of Puri has become world famous now.