Puri

One of the four holiest places in India, Puri is washed by the sea, and embraced by causarina - fringed beaches. It is said that one obtains 'moksha' from the cycle of birth and rebirth, if one stays here for three days and nights. Puri is the hallowed seat of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe), Subhadra and Balabhadra. One of the four holy dhams of Hinduism, Puri is possibly one of the very few religious sites which combines the outdoor pleasures of sea and divine beaches with the religious sentiments of 'darshan'. 

A place, known by many names over the centuries - Nilgiri, Niladri, Nilachal, Purushottam, Sankhakshetra, Srikshetra, Jagannath Dham, Jagannath Puri - Puri is dominated by two great forces, one created by God, and the other by man.  

Places To See 

Jagannath Temple

Even before one enters Puri, this 65-metre high temple makes its presence felt. The 12th century temple built by Chodaganga, to commemorate the shifting of his capital from South to Central Orissa, stands in a compound on the Nilgiri Hill, and is surrounded by a 20 foot high wall, within which lie several smaller shrines. A traditional porch, shrine, hall of offerings and a pillared hall of dance, form the rest of this temple. The remarkable thing about this temple, since its early beginnings, is that there has been no discrimination, ever, between castes. To one end of the road, that leads to the temple is Gundicha Mandir, Lord Jagannath's summer temple, within a walled garden at the far end of Grand Road, where the deity is enshrined for a week, on a simple throne. Like the Lingaraja in Bhubaneswar, Puri's Jagannath is not open for non - Hindus, who must contend themselves, from viewing it from a vantage point, outside its precincts. 

Ananda Bazar

Ananda Bazar the largest food market in the world.

Gundicha Mandir

Gundicha Mandir the Garden House, the smaller sanctum, that houses the deities during the Rath Yatra. The walls enclose a garden, in which the temple is built. It is also known as the Aunt's house.

Puri Beach

Puri Beach sunrise and sunset on the seas of Puri are awesome spectacles, and visitors can ride the waves in catamarans. The beaches are ideal for sunbathing.

Balighai Beach

Balighai Beach 8 kms from Puri, is Balighai Beach, at the mouth of the river Nuanai, a popular picnic spot, fringed by lovely causarina trees.

Satyabadi (Sakshigopal)

Satyabadi (Sakshigopal) the shrine of Lord Sakshigopal is only 20 kms away from Puri. the sacred feet of Shri Radha can however be only seen on 'Anala nawami' day.

Bada Danda

Bada Danda an ideal site for some extensive shopping. 

Festival 

The Chandan Yatra celebrating the Hindu New Year. The Snana Yatra, celebrating Lord Jagannath's ritual bath is held on the day of the full moon in June (Jyestha). The original deities are taken out for public viewing. During the Jhulana Yatra, proxy images of the deities are carried out in grand processions for 21 days, to cruise in beautifully decorated boats in the Narmada Tank. 

And, of course, the prime attraction for tourists all over India and abroad, which is, the Rath Yatra, which falls in the month of June- the ideal time to visit Puri.Lord Jagannath with his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra take an annual vacation to the 'Gundicha Ghar', a smaller sanctum, 2 kms from the main temple. This journey constitutes the Rath Yatra Festival. The three deities, in separate raths (wooden chariots), are pulled by devotees to the Gundicha temple. These raths are elaborately dressed in a riot of colours, the colours symbolising the significance of each deity.

Rath Yatra Festival 

The Rath Yatra and Nava Kalebara, are the famous festivals of Puri. Both these events are related to the reigning deity, Lord Jagannath. The Nava Kalebara festival is an immensely significant religious ritual, wherein the the idols of the three deities - Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra change their external forms. New idols are carved out of specially sanctified Chandan-Neem trees, within strictly prescribed regulations. The 'daru' (wood) is then transported to the temple in full regalia.

At this point the Vishwakarmas (wood sculptors) step in and work for 21 days and nights, in strict secrecy, giving final shape to the idols. The new idols are then enshrined after transferring the 'Brahma' within each idol into their new form. This is again done in strict accordance to the religious norms.

Puri Beach Festival is celebrated annually in early November, in Puri.Orissan craft, cuisine and cultural evenings are the highlights of the event.

Some of the most exhilarating Pilgrimage in India include 
Ajmer Sharief (Rajasthan)
Badrinath (Uttar Pradesh)
Rishikesh (Uttar Pradesh)
Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh)
Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)
Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu)
Trichy (Tamil Nadu)
Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu)
Velangani (Tamil Nadu)
Konark (Orissa)
Amarnath (Jammu & Kashmir)
Tabo (Himachal Pradesh)
Kangra Valley (Himachal Pradesh)
Pawapuri (Bihar)
Sikh shrines (Amritsar)
The Modhera Sun Temple (Gujarat)
Pushkar (Rajasthan)
Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
Kedarnath (Uttar Pradesh) 
Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) 
Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) 
Tanjavur (Tamil Nadu)
Basilica of Bom Jesus (Goa)
Bhubaneshwar (Orissa)
Puri (Orissa)
Vaishno Devi (Jammu & Kashmir)
Buddhist sites (Himachal Pradesh)
Bodhgaya (Bihar)
Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
Shirdi (Maharashtra)
Madurai(Tamil Nadu)