Hilgiri, Niladri, Hilachal Purushottam, Sankhakshetra, Srikehetra, Jagannath Dham, Jagannath Puri, Puri is a place with many names over the centuries. Two great forces dominate puri: the sea (Bay of Bengal) and the great temple of Lord Jagannath. One of the four celebrated religious centers (Char Dhams) of India, Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath needs no introduction.
According to tradition Puri was once a thickly wooded hill inhabited by the Sabaras (Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian tribes of the Austric linguistic family). Very few cities are so dominated by a single factor in so many diverse ways as Puri is, influenced by Lord Jagannath. A very large part of Puri"s population is connected with the temple in one way or the other. Some are involved in the service of Lord Jagannath (the Pandas and Purohits), others have gainful employment indirectly generated because of the deity. Apart from Jagannath temple, the other two most important temples around are Lokanath Temple and Gundicha Temple.
Most people go to Puri for religious reasons - it being one of the four most holy Hindu "Dhams" (meaning a holy place). But a very large number also go for both adventure as well as restful holidays. Drawing the maximum number of visitors as compared to any other place in Orissa, Puri not only has scores of hotels, but also hundreds of holiday homes owned by various organisations and business houses. The sunny beach at Puri is one of the finest in the world. Watching the sunrise in a symphony of colours is a wonderful experience. It is one of the most popular seaside resorts where visitors from any part of the globe can comfortably relax. There is the added attraction of one of the few remaining relies of the British period - the South Eastern Railway Hotel. There must be very few places left in India with such spacious rooms and so much living space. The lifestyle at this hotel can be an experience of a lifetime for those coming from crowded cities.
Puri being a coastal district of Orissa is famous for its Historic antiquities, Religious sanctuaries, Architectural Grandeur, beautiful sea and moderate climate. It holds a wealth of attraction for the visitors. It boasts of a continuous history from the 3rd Century B.C. to the present day and its unique monuments like those of Lord Jagannath at Puri, the Sun God at Konark are the famous in the world. It has the Chilika Lake, one of the largest brackish water lakes in India, which holds a picturesque Seascape beauty. It offers an ideal resort for birds that migrate from different parts of the continent. By virtue of Geographical location , the climate of Puri is equable through out the year.
Puri the abode of Vishnu as Jagannath, which contributed the word "Juggernaut" to the English language, represents its integrated individuality as its cultural heritage, a unique blend of claims of time and eternity with a power answerable only to wisdom. Puri"s compendious heritage has been representing that spark of immortality that the Oriyas and the Indians have own against the powers of negation, through a spirit of university, adaptability, and an astute mixture of the present which no other culture can aspire to explain as its self justification. The name of the Lord as Purusottama (perfection personified) or as Jagannath (Lord of Universe) represents a universality in true with the familiar faternity of mankind (Vasudheiva Kutumbakam). Adi Shankaracharya visited Puri, set up the Gobardhan matha (monastery) as the exception from his other three mathas as a vaishnavite, defined Jagannath as the Supreme one. It is thus not only one of the four Dhams (Holy Places) for Hindus but the most pious and sacred place.
The Quintessential characteristic of its culture and philosophy has made it from Pan-Indian to Pan-Continental. The Car-Festival of Shri Lord Jagannath now not limited to Puri or Orissa rather it is celebrated in global scale, the reverberation echoes of which are heard from Los Angeles to Piccadilly from Heidelberg to Tokyo. The Jagannath culture is not only pre-dominated in Puri but it is global. Its Universal affirmation is secular diffusion of such an attitude is futuristic. It calls for unity in diversity is an age of diverse perversity.
The evolution of Odissi Dance and music out of the Devadasi-institution still enchants all with its mystic rhythm. The Orissan School of architecture emerging from here is a poetry frozen in stone. The Patta-paintings and appliqué work are a craze in the west, particularly in U.S.A. The Shell-craft of Puri have a major appeal. It is thus here at puri that the pattern of a Pan-Indian, culture of tomorrow is on the anvil. People are individual atoms ever contributing their properties to the "matter" of Jagannath Dharma without consciousness of mutual distinctions. Puri belongs to humanity, the seat of an eternal education, the bridge that gulfs the past and the future and the blending of diverse impulses for a single embodiment in the march of all fulfilling time. Temples and sanctuaries, beaches and glorious lakes, colourful, vibrant and the numerous festivals for every reason and for every season that can take on a"Jagannath-like momentum". Puri has then all and much more for all. Excellently connected by air, rail,and road , Puri invites you to its hospitable environs and promises you an experience you will never forget .When others talk of taking you down memory lane. Puri will take you back to your ancient linkages. When others talk of romancing with the stones, her ancient architects and sculptors will show you what it really means.
Air: Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport - 60 km . Indian Airlines offers excellent connections to Bhubaneswar from Delhi, Calcutta, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur,Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai.
Rail:-A terminus on the S.E. Railway having fast and superfast train links with New Mumbai, Delhi,Guwahati , Hyderabad ,Thiruvanantapuram Calcutta and Baidyanath Dham & etc.Puri has good rail connections with Delhi , Calcutta, Tirupati, Okha and Ahmedabad.
Road: 60 km by State Highway from Bhubaneswar. One can also approach by road via Konark and then through the Marine Drive covering about 100 km. OTDC provides luxury coaches and cars from Bhubaneswar and puri.
Places of Interest In Puri:
The Temple of Lord Jagannath built during the 12th century A.D. by Chodaganga Deva dominates the landscape for kilometers around. Being the tallest temple (65 metres) in Orissa, it is one of the most magnificent pieces of monuments of India. In front of the main gate stands a 16-sided monolithic pillar (11 metres high), called Aruna Stambha, which formally stood in front of the Sun Temple and was brought to Puri during the 18th century A.D. Some of the other important temples are Gundicha, Sunaragauranga, Lokanath, Daria Mahabir and Tota Gopinatt. There are also a number of holy tanks like Narendra, Markandeya, Sweta Ganga and Indradyumna. There are many Monasteries locally known as Mathas also of tourist interest.
Sea Beach - The golden beach of Puri is one of the best in the country for Sun, Surf and Sand. The beach area has been a popular seaside resort for decades, and some of the old hotels capture the charm of bygone days. For this shining beach, Puri has got its dual importance of a relaxed seaside resort and of an important pilgrimage centre. A stroll along the beach or a much-desired bath here in the sea is very much refreshing. The beach goes festive on occasions like "Kartik Purnima" i.e. the full moon day of the lunar month of Kartik when Hindus gather here in the early morning to take a holy deep and pray sea God. The five days long Beach Festival in the months of February is now very popular in the Festival calendar. Beach clothes are appropriate for this seaside resort
Places of Interest around Puri:
Balighai -8 km
The Casuarina fringed Balighai beach is a famous picnic spot. The Sun and fun at the mouth of the river Nuanai is unforgettable.
Brahmagiri - 25 km
Brahmagiri is known for the living shrine of Alarnath. Streams of pilgrims visit Alarnath during Anabasara of Lord Jagannath. Nearby is the shrine of Baliharachandi on the solitary sand dunes.
Satyabadi - 20 km
Satyabadi or Sakshigopal is known for the shrine of Lord Sakshigopal. It is believed that the visit to Puri is incomplete without a visit to Sakshigopal. The temple is only 2 km away from the main road leading to Puri and is convenient to visit.
Baliharachandi - 27 km
27 km to the south-west of Puri is the temple of Baliharachandi. Situated on a sandy hill near the sea and adjacent to the mouth of the river Bhargavi, Goddess Durga is worshipped here as Baliharachandi. The scenic beauty of this place is ideal for group picnic.
Raghurajpur - 16 km
One of the most famous artists village in Orissa, the village of Raghurajpur boasts not only of the exquisite pattachitra"s and talapattachitra"s, but also of being the native place of Guru kelucharan Mohapatra, the famed Odissi dancer. Even today, under the tutelage of renowned Guru"s, young boys can be seen practicing the Gotipua dance here. A visit to Orissa would definitely be incomplete without a visit to this little village.
Satapara - 52 km
Satapara, a retreat in nature on Chilika Lake, has been thrown open to visitors. Its location near the confluence of the Lake with the Bay of Bengal, and proximity to Puri (52 km), makes it an ideal spot to enjoy Chilika. The thrilling sight of dolphins round the year and abundance of migratory and resident birds in winter make it a preferred place for a vacation with nature.
Sakhigopal is 20 km from puri is famous for Radha Krishna temple. It is also famous for Satyabadi bana vidyalaya and bakulabana.