Puri, a city synonymous with the name of Lord Jagannath! Famous worldwide for the temple of Lord Jagannath, one of the forms of Lord Krishna, this city is also referred to as Jagannath Puri. The deities are crafted out of wood and beside Lord Jagannath are seated Subhadra (His sister) and Baladev (His older brother).
The world famous attraction of this place is the ‘Ratha Yatra’ or the chariot festival which is celebrated every year for a week. Thousands of devotees and other visitors flock Puri around this time to be a part of the festival. Since only Hindus are allowed to enter this temple, this is the time when people from other religions can also seek Lord Jagannath’s blessings when the idols of deities are carried in huge chariots.
Apart from seeking blessings of Lord Jagannath and contributing in pulling the deity’s chariot, there are lots of interesting things to do in Puri when you go there for Rath Yatra. But what to see in Puri and what to do when you go there for Rath yatra? Here are some tips for you.
Witness the Nabakalebar in 2015 Rath Yatra
The Ratha Yatra is observed as a festival of ‘Nabakalebar’ when two months of Ashadha fall in one single year. It is in this year of ‘joda asadha’ that the original deities are buried within the premises of the temple and replaced by new deities that are carved out of Margosa trees. This happens only once in 8-19 years and you will be lucky if you visit Puri on 18th July this year (2015) and be a part of the Nabakalebar. This is happening after 19 years this time. It last happened in the year 1996. So, it is the unique thing to do in Puri this time- witnessing the renewal of the wooden images of Lord, Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra!
Enjoy the Roads outside Puri Temple
The roads outside the temple are abuzz with activity at all times of the day. You can shop for various local things to take with you as souvenirs. Apart from buying traditional Orissi sarees, kurtas, dupattas and dress material available in the local shops, this place is great for shooting some photographs. Eat at the local restaurants here to satisfy your taste buds too.
See the Sunrise at Puri Beach
Another aspect of Puri is the magnificent beach that it boasts off. No doubt, it is one of the safest and most beautiful beaches of the country and offers a delightful sunrise and sunset scene. The photographer in you can get ready for a treat when the fishermen set out early in the morning to get their catch with the backdrop of the rising sun. You can also opt for a local herbal massage performed by the professional masseurs, the Bariks who have served the kings, warriors and orthopaedic patients alike. You will definitely have a relaxing time as they are aware of pressure points and how much pressure to exert on each point. Don’t forget to bathe in the sea afterwards. You will feel rejuvenated.
Do Bird watching at Chilka Lake
The Chilika Lake is another attraction of Jagannath Puri. Located at a distance of 37 KM from the main city, this lake is home to numerous Dolphins, flamingoes and various other species of birds, making it a sight to behold. Do not forget to carry a good camera to catch the Dolphins on the go.
Don’t miss the Konark Sun Temple
The Konark Sun Temple, also referred to as the Black Pagoda is also a major attraction of the place. In fact, it is one of the unique temples of India due to its structure resembling the chariot of the Sun God. Just 35 KM away from Puri, this temple is a must visit. It was built by king Narasimhadev in the thirteenth century. The gigantic shape of chariot temple has elaborate carvings all over. You can visit Konark and be back in Puri in a day’s time.
The above are some of the things that you can do in Puri when you happen to be there during the Ratha Yatra. Make the most out of your Puri visit!