The holy city of Puri, also known as the abode of Lord Jagannath, is one of the four sacred Dhams of India. It is where pilgrims congregate each year to celebrate the Ratha Yatra.
It is also a famous coastal city with alluring beauty and is a popular destination in Odisha. It is an important tourist destination near Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.
The beaches and temples of Puri, along with the surrounding wetlands, induce a sense of tranquility among the visitors.
There are a lot of beautiful tourist attractions that you can visit near Puri.
In this article, you will get to know about the following places that you can visit near Puri,
- Shree Jagannath Temple
- Swargadwar Beach
- Konarak Sun Temple
- Chilika Lake
- Udaigiri and Khandagiri
- Lingaraj Temple
- Chandrabhaga Beach
Let’s see each of these places in detail…
1. Shree Jagannath Temple
Shree Jagannath Temple is an important pilgrimage site in India, situated in Puri. It is one of the prime pilgrimage sites out of the holy Char Dhams, along with Badrinath, Dwarka, and Rameshwaram.
This temple, the abode of Lord Jagannath, holds immense mythological and spiritual importance and attracts thousands of pilgrims.
The temple is long known for its mysteries and has beautiful architecture that mesmerizes all visitors worldwide.
Rath Yatra is the main festival celebrated here, during which it gets decorated beautifully.
The four gates- the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghrasana (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate) are intricately carved and wonderfully sculpted.
Every day, thousands of pilgrims are served the delicious Mahaprasad prepared in clay pots in one of the big kitchens in India.
If you are visiting Puri, this is a must-visit place.
2. Swargadwar Beach
Swargadwar Beach is one of the popular destinations at the heart of Puri and is located directly in front of the Swargadwar Crematorium.
Swargadwar transforms into Swarga, meaning heaven, and Dwar, meaning door, which means it is the gateway to heaven. It is a belief that anyone who gets cremated here attains moksha, or liberation of the soul, and directly lands in heaven.
Swargadwar Beach is crowded with visitors all year round and dotted with stalls selling local handmade products, conch shells, seashells, and jewelry.
You can relax on the soft sand beaches, build sand castles, enjoy a camel or horse ride, and bathe in the sea, and in the evening, you can admire the beauty of the gorgeous ocean view, soak in the gentle sea breeze, and have tea, seafood, and snacks from the nearby stalls.
Do not miss out on the magical beauty of sunrise and sunset on the beach!
3. Konarak Sun Temple
The Sun Temple at Konarak, located on the eastern coasts of the Indian subcontinent, is an outstanding example of temple architecture and art near Puri.
The sublime sculpture embellishment of this magnificent heritage belongs to the 13th-century kingdom of Orissa. It is a monumental example of divinity forming an invaluable link in the history of the cult of Lord Surya.
The temple is directly associated with the idea and belief of the Sun God mentioned in the Vedas and classical texts. It is the pinnacle of Kalingan temple architecture, with all of its distinguishing features in complete and perfect form.
The illusory Chariot structure of the temple is a true architectural marvel. The plinth of the temple is made entirely with reliefs of fantastic lions, musicians and dancers, and erotic groups between the wheels.
Its sculptural narratives are an invaluable window into the religious, political, social, and secular life of the people of the past.
4. Chilika Lake
Chilika is a beautiful waterbody situated near Puri. The lake is home to some large flocks of migratory birds, especially during the winter. Migratory waterfowl flocks arrive from places as far away as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, and the Aral Sea.
Purshottam Das, a devotee of Lord Jagannath, wrote a poem about Lord Krishna dancing with a milkmaid named Maniki, who had come to sell curds on the banks of the Chilika nearly 400 years ago.
This place is one of the biodiversity hotspots of India, with some rare, vulnerable, and endangered species listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. You can spot rare avifauna and aquatic life in the lagoons.
This picturesque spot is ideal for relaxing and scraping off the stress of urban life. The place impresses all visitors of all ages, mostly bird lovers and photographers.
5. Udaigiri and Khandagiri
Khandagiri and Udayagiri are two adjacently located hills located near Puri. The rock-cut caves excavated from these two hills are essentially the ascetic dwelling retreats of Jinas.
It is a claim that King Kharavela and his successors excavated these caves in the first century BC.
Udyagiri has eighteen caves, and Khandagiri has fifteen caves, and most of these caves consist of rows of cells with doors opening onto shared verandas or open spaces. These doorways have intricate carvings of animals, creepers, and flowers.
The caves of Ranigumpha and Swaragpuri-Manchapuri have two stories. Another cave that you can visit here is Ganesh gumph (cave). In some of the caves, there is a depiction of twenty-four Tirthankaras with their Sasanadevis.
Here, there were several Kharavela inscriptions inscribed in Brahmi. This location is undoubtedly a prime example of early Indian art.
6. Lingaraj Temple
Lingaraja Temple is the largest temple in Odisha and a popular spot near Puri. It got built in the 8th century. The temple consists of a Dravidian Gopuram, which is common in most temples in South India.
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are the deities of the temple.
The interior and exterior walls of the temple have carved sculptures and vaults in the typical Odisha style of architecture.
The self-originating shiva linga or Swayambhu in this temple has a height of 8 inches above the floor and a circumference of roughly 8 feet. Reliefs of various deities are present on the walls of the temple.
There are vast courtyards with thousand of Lingas, also known as Sahastralingas. The tank water inside this temple is supposed to offer curative properties for bodily ailments.
There are four main halls in the temple. They are the Garba Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum), the Yojana Mandapa (prayer hall), the Natya Mandapa (dancing and music hall), and the Bhoga Mandapa (where devotees can receive the Prasad).
7. Chandrabhaga Beach
Walking down a secluded beach and watching the sunset on the horizon is magical. Chandrabhaga beach offers that experience to its visitors.
Located at Konark, the beach is known for its stunning sunrise and sunset. According to Sambha, the son of Lord Krishna prayed to the Sun God in this particular place and got rid of leprosy. Thus the beach has an important spiritual significance in Odisha.
The soft sandy shores are bordered by Tamarix trees and rare shrubs. During the evening you can spot a few fishing boats sailing in the mid of the sea.
It’s also the venue of the famous “International sand Art Festival” where renowned sand artists from all over the globe converge to showcase their craft.
Although the beach remains quite abandoned, The five-day long festival attracts a large number of tourists and locals too.
Raghurajpur is a unique handicrafts village in Orissa situated close to Puri. It is often listed among the top tourist destinations you can visit near Puri.
The late Jagannath Mohapatra, the winner of the President of India Award in 1965, once lived in this village and was once quite famous as the founder of Odisha’s ancient Pattachitra art.
Today, the village is home to artists who practice various traditional arts.
You must visit this exquisite Artist Village if you enjoy shopping for souvenirs and collecting local and traditional handicrafts.
You can purchase different types of art pieces which includes papier mache, wood and stone carvings, palm leaf engraving, and handmade colorful lanterns.
In addition to artifact shopping, you can watch Gotiua folk dance performances. Additionally, it is the only location where the throne of Lord Jagannath called Patas is made.
These are some of the popular places to visit near Puri.
Once in a lifetime, everyone should visit Puri to seek the blessings of the trio of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra, and Balaram.
Also, don’t forget to admire the beauty of the beaches, caves, artisan villages, and shrines scattered near Puri.
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