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,
- Konarak Sun Temple
- Chilika Lake
- Dhauli Santi Stupa
- Udaigiri and Khandagiri
- Lingaraj Temple
- Nandankanan Zoological Park
- Chandrabhaga Beach
- Baliarachandi Beach
Let’s see each of these places in detail.
Located 61 kilometers from Puri, Bhubaneshwar is the capital and largest city in Odisha. The place is famed for its beauty, ancient temples, and also the magnificent culture. The city has become a tourist magnet and offers some splendid time-worn structures and pieces of architecture.
Bhubaneshwar is also known as the “Temple City of India”, as it has more than 500 temples. You can visit as many as you wish to. Pray to the Almighty and seek blessings. One of the famous ones is the Rajarani Temple, also known as the “love temple” or the “temple of the king and queen.” It goes back to the 10th or 11th century and is well maintained amidst a lush green serene garden.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Dhauli Santi Stupa
Dhauli is a small town that has witnessed the most fierce war in the history of India. The town is nestled 49 kilometers from Puri and houses the Dhauli Shanti Stupa. It is a peace pagoda built by Japanese Buddhists.
From the pagoda, you can admire the panoramic views of the landscape. You can also explore the Dhauli Giri Temple on a hilltop, the scenic Daya River, and other attractions nearby.
Dhauli has become a tourist magnet, especially for the history buffs who love to learn and venture through the past. It is believed that this is the place where the emperor Asoka renounced violence and embraced Buddhism after the Kalinga War. A series of rock edicts were erected by him inscribed with teachings and morals, and all of them can be seen here.
5. Udaigiri and Khandagiri
Khandagiri and Udayagiri are two adjacent 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 thousands 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. Nandankanan Zoological Park
Being 66 kilometers away from Puri, the peaceful and diverse Nandankanan Zoological Park is within reach for exploration. It was established in 1960 and was opened in 1979 to the public. Since then, people love to visit the park to be a part of the white tiger safari.
It is the first zoo in the country to house white tigers and also the one to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium. Plethora of plants and animals can be seen inside and all these make it a luxurious place in terms of the wild nature. The park is situated inside a forest and therefore gives the vibes of the wilderness.
You will be astonished to see how flawlessly the natural habitat of the animals is mimicked where they are kept. The tranquil forest and its ambiance create a pleasant atmosphere for the wild fauna and also for the visitors. There are Indian Pangolins, hippos, open-billed storks, various snakes, etc., inside the park.
You can explore the entire park and learn about the wildlife and conservation efforts. You can also experience the thrill of the white tiger safari and the aerial ropeway, which offer spectacular views of the park.
8. 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 middle 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.
9. Baliarachandi Beach
Baliarachandi Beach is a sublime and virgin beach, situated 27 kilometers away from Puri. The beach offers a picturesque setting with the blue sea, clear sky, and golden sandy beach. There is bliss in the air along with the salty oceanic fragrance.
The beach was named after Goddess Durga who is worshipped near the beach. There is a temple placed on a sandy hill close to the waters and is a must-visit. While you are here, you can pray to the goddess. The tranquil place is great for relaxing on the sand and feeling the calmness.
You might even set a picnic at the location and enjoy some good food with your friends or family. Camping is another option that you can try at the beach. You can sleep under the stars by the seashore and experience nature closely. The experience will be out-of-this-world perfect.
You can also explore the surroundings by trekking through the hills nearby. You can also go boating to get a different perspective of the land from the salty sea. Make sure to collect shells as tokens from the beach.
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 include 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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