It’s the Puri district that is located in Odisha, India is a major tourist destination in this state as well as in the country. This district is famous for the historic antiquities as well as the religious sanctuaries. The scenic beauty of the coastline and the architectural grandeur makes this district the most amazing one in this state. The climatic condition of Puri remains moderate throughout the year. Due to this reason, this district can be visited just any time of the year expect the rainy season is when the rainfall can remain bit dense due to the influence of monsoon. There are plenty of attractions located in this district. The history of Puri dates back to third century BC.

But the most important thing that makes Puri popular worldwide is the Lord Jagannath Temple. People also use to call it as Jagannath Dham. This district is also popular across the globe due to Sun Temple located at Konark. The Lake Chilika is also located here which is the biggest brackish-water lake located in India. This lake is considered as a part of the Bay of Bengal and generates the most scenic sight of the sea-scape. This lake is the most ideal nesting place for migratory birds that use to come here from different parts of the world.

Due to the geographical position of Puri, the climate here remains welcoming throughout the year. There are 1714 revenue-villages, one sub division, eleven tehsils as well as fifteen blocks located in this district. The HQ of this district is located at Puri town and it is also the single most municipality of this district. As per the census of 2011, the population of this district was estimated around 1,697,983.

As a district of Odisha, Puri is considered as the most fascinating one. It’s the cultural heritage of this district that is really old. Here, you can find people still holding their rich culture and rituals tight. Due to this reason, it is also called as the cultural-heart of this state. Puri is also known as the Cultural Capital of this state. It’s the culture of Puri that has really managed to flourish in a great way along with the manifold activities associated with it.

Though Hinduism is the prime religion here, then also different other religions have managed to get established here. Apart from Hindus who have acquired a major part of Puri’s population, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Jains have also managed to find their shelter here. Due to this reason, Churches, Mosques and Hindu monuments are frequent here. There are many prime tourist attractions located in this district. You should have some ideas related to these notable places before you visit them during your tour to Puri.

Jagannath Temple Puri

It’s the Jagannath Temple in Puri which is considered as the most sacred pilgrimage spot in India. This is a Vaishnava temple and Lord Jagannath is worshiped here. This temple in located at Puri town. This temple is also the prime one among Char Dhams that are considered as the most important pilgrimage spots for Hindus. As per the Hindu beliefs, they should visit these Char Dhams at least once in their lifetime. It was the king Chodagangadeva who started the construction of this temple.

He is also the person who constructed several other temples like Sun Temple in Konark, and other Shaivism temples. However, the construction work for Puri Jagannath temple was completed by King Anangabhimadeva later during 12th century. This temple is a famous spot as the Ratha Yatra like major festival is celebrated here. This festival is also known as the Chariot festival. During this festival, the three major Gods of this temple are hauled on the elaborately decorated huge temple cars.

This festival is celebrated since the medieval time and considered as the biggest religious occurring in this country. The icons of the deities that are hauled on the temple cars are made of wood. On a gap of every 12 or 19 years, such wooden structures are ceremoniously replaced while using the woods extracted from sacred tress. Such woods are carved in such a way that the exact replica of the deities can be formed. For this temple there are four entrances assigned. The security of this temple is very selective and this often depends on who is permitted to enter into its premise.

Hindus from the non Indian descent and origin are excluded from this premise. However, visitors who are not allowed to enter into this premise can still find a glimpse of the Lord Jagannath from the roof of a nearby library known as Raghunandan Library. In the past due to the unauthorized entrance of the foreigners has forced the management comity of this temple to implement this rule. Well, Jain and Buddhist people can enter into this temple if they are able to prove that they are real Indians.

But now days non Indian Hindus are entering into this temple after an incident occur when three Hindus from Bali were denied to enter into it. From morning 5 to late night 12, this temple remains open. During the Sahana Mela, devotees are allowed to go up to the lords and for this they are not supposed to pay any fee. The prime festival here is the Ratha Yatra or the Cart Festival.

Gundicha Temple Puri

Gundicha temple is also called as Gundicha Mandir and this is a Hindu temple. This temple is located right at the Puri town. This temple is popular as the destination point for Ratha Yatra. This temple uses to remain vacant approximately throughout the year except during the Ratha Yatra. During this festival, the three idols, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra use to occupy this temple for a total of nine days. This temple is also known as the Garden House for Lord Jagannath. It is located right at the heart of an amazing garden and surrounded by compound walls from every side.

From Puri Jagannath Temple, it is located at a distance of three km. it’s the Bada Danda where these two prime temples are located at two different ends. The Bada Danda is also the pathway for Ratha Yatra. In order to built this temple light grey colored sandstone was used. The Kalinga architecture style was used to build this temple. The complex of this temple comprises of four prime components like nata mandapa, vimana, and jagamohana and bhoga mandap. A kitchen is also there which is connected with this temple via small passage. As this is located at a garden, it is also called as the God’s Summer Garden Retreat. It’s the sanctum of this temple that features plain platform which is 19ft long and 4ft high. This is made of the chlorite that is called as the Ratnadevi. It’s the gate located at the western side of the temple which is the prime entrance point.

Deities enter through this gate during Ratha Yatra. It’s the eastern gate which is called as the Nakachana gate and this gate is used during when the deities used to depart from this temple at the end of the Ratha Yatra. Visitors can visit this temple while paying the entrance fee. It’s the Jagannath Temple Administration that also uses to take care of this temple. There is also a small group of servitors appointed for the maintenance of this temple.

Loknath Temple Puri

It’s the Loknath temple that was built during the eleventh century and located close to the Jagannath Temple of Puri. This temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. As per the history, Lord Rama has established the Shiva Linga here. The most unique feature of this temple is that the lingas use to remain under the water and this has spread the belief that a flow from River Ganga is doing so. The prime festival celebrated at this temple is the Saranti Somavar Fair. Devotees coming here use to believe that Shiva lingam here can cure several diseases once they use to darshan the Lord Shiva here.

It’s the Utsava Murti of Lord Lokanath that is kept right at the inside part of Jagannath temple. He is also considered as a guardian deity of all jewelry and treasures that belong to Lord Jagannath. Shiva Ratri is also the prime festival that is celebrated at this temple. It’s the innermost chamber of this temple where the Shiva Linga is preserved and it is also the prime deity of this temple. This Linga can be watched once in a year by the devotees. During the Pankoddhar Ekadashi, the total water used to be bail out and due to this reason the Shiva Linga becomes visible for the devotees. This is also the time when thousands of devotees use to come here for the Darshan. As per the locals, people who are suffering from some incurable diseases can take the holy bath in this water and get cure. During this time, the devotees use to offer curd, honey, flowers, milk, sandal paste, coconut water, beetle leaves and bela leaves to the lord. This offering is also offered throughout the year.

Due to this reason, the water flowing here use to have a special scent throughout the year. Right at the southern wall of this temple you can see the image of Lord Ganesha that uses to have four hands. There are also several other images assigned for the side walls of this temple. All these images are located inside those small temples residing in the main Loknath Temple. While going towards the temple from the road, you will come across a pond. This pond is named as Parvati Sagar. Devotees use to wash feet and hands in this pond before they enter the sacred temple of Loknath.

Puri Ratha Yatra

Ratha Yatra is also called as the Cart Festival or the Chariot Festival. This is the prime festival in the state of Odisha, India. The prime deities who are involved with this festival are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra. During this festival, three ratha made of wooden structure and having a deula style are assigned for each deity. They use to ride on these three chariots to reach for the Gundicha Temple. It’s the English word like Juggernaut is originally derived from the name of Lord Jagannath which also symbolizes the unstoppable and massive Ratha that uses to carry Lord Jagannath. The three deities of Jagannath Temple are also called as the triads and they use to come out of the temple during the month of Asadha which usually falls during the months of June to July.

During this time the prime festival Ratha Yatra uses to fall when the triads use to travel by three chariots towards Gundicha Temple. During this time, the devotees can find the holy view of three lords. These Rathas are made of wood and having large wooden wheels. These chariots are built every year and during the festival they are pulled by the devotees. It’s the chariot of Lord Jagannath that is 45ft high as well as 35ft in width. It takes near about two months to make this chariot. There are artists as well as painters who use to paint and decorate these three chariots with a great enthusiasm. They also use to attach the wood-made charioteers, inverted lotuses, horses and the throne. It’s the Ratha Yatra which is also called as the Shri Gundicha Yatra.

One of the most amazing rituals associated with this festival is the Chhera Pahara. As per this ritual, the King Gajapati of Puri uses to wear the outfit of a sweeper and then he uses to sweep the three chariots. During this festival, he also uses to clean the road on which the Rathas will move further. With the help of a broom that is equipped with a gold hand. He also uses to sprinkle the sandalwood water as well as powder on the chariots and road before starting this ritual.

Sun Temple Konark

It’s the Sun Temple, Konark which was built during the 13th century CE. This temple is located at Konark, Puri and dedicated to the Sun God. As per the history, it is mentioned that during 1255 CE, King Narasimhadeva I started building this temple. He belongs to the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. It’s the shape of the temple’s complex that seems to be more amazing. It appears as the whole temple is located on a gigantic chariot for which stone carved wheels, walls and pillars are also assigned. Well, some parts of this temple are now in ruin condition and the archeological department and the tourism department are now taking steps to preserve them. This temple is also added for the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This temple is located at a distance of 35km from the town of Puri and from the state capital Bhubaneswar, it is located at a distance of 65 km. the name of such temple was derived from two Sanskrit words like Kona which means angle or corner and Ark that means the Sun. in the ancient time when the European managed to find the first glimpse of this temple, they named it as the Black Pagoda. With contrast to this temple, they named the Jagannath Temple in Puri as White Pagoda. During that time, sea was quite close to both these temples. Due to this reason, both these temples have served as the landmarks for the sailors during that time.

In order to create its structure, iron beams were used during that time. As per the history, this temple was originally built right at the river mouth of River Chandrabhaga. After the temple was built, that waterline receded from this spot. In order to build this temple, the artists have followed the Kalinga Architecture style. The prime attraction of this temple lies at the principal entrance. It was built in such a way that the first ray of sun can hit this entrance first before hitting the other entrances. Khondalite rocks were used to build the whole structure.

Konark Dance Festival

During the year 1986, the Konark Dance & Music Festival was started. After this, every year such occasion is celebrated at Konark with a great gesture. It’s the Konark Natya Mandap where this dance and music festival is organized every year since then. Padmashree Guru Gnagadhar Pradhan is the founder and director of this dance and music festival. As far as the contemporary festivals of this state are concerned, Konark dance and music festival is often considered as the harbinger. The prime objective behind this festival is to bring many artists towards its cultural family as well as to create international cultural brotherhood and amity.

Since the inception, this festival has managed to draw attention from both international and national level artists who use to perform Odishi, Manipuri, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and other classical dances here. This festival is also the right time to see the tribal and folk dances which are performed by the artists who use to come from different parts of the Odisha state. Close to the Sun temple of Konark, the Natyashala is established during this festival where you can see all these performances. During this time, both the atmosphere of Konark and the stage is magnified by the aesthetic and spiritual flavor. And the casuarinas as well as cashew trees surrounding this stage use to add more flavor and ambience for the whole setting. Every year this festival is organized from 19th to 23rd Feb. it is also considered as one of the biggest dance and music festivals organized in a country like India.

It’s the prime shrine where you can see the Dancing Hall. Every wall of this dancing hall is covered with the fine artistic images and designs that belong to the ancient times. During this festival, musicians from different parts of the world and from far corner of India use to come here to show their talent and skills. This dance and music festival is arranged both by the Odishi Research Center and Odisha Tourism Department.

Chilika Bird Sanctuary

Satpada is the town located in Puri district. Sata means Seven and the Pada means the village. So Satpada means the group of seven villages and this place is located at a distance of fifty km from Puri and it is also the home for Irrawaddy Dolphins. From the town of Puri, this place is located at a distance of 48 km. from the state capital Bhubaneswar, this place is located at a distance of 100 km. it’s the NH 203 A that connects Satpada with Puri town. The prime thing associated with this place is that it is located at the side of Chilika Lake and also close to the lake mouth of Chilika where this lake is connecting with the sea. The prime attraction of this spot is dolphin watching and taking a boat ride in the Lake Chilika.

Every year, many tourists use to come to this place in order to find a glimpse of dolphins. When you are going from Puri to Satpada, after covering 22 km, you will reach at Brahmagiri where the Alarnath temple is located. During the Ansara period, many devotees use to arrive at this temple for the darshan. This time uses to fall just before Ratha Yatra of Puri. At Satpada, you can see different boats which are available for the tourists. These tourist boats are the power driven ones. So, taking a ride on them is safe enough.

It’s the Motor Boat Association of Satpada that uses to manage these boats. They have also fixed the rate charts for different boats on the basis of their capacity as well as the duration of time tourists want to spend in the water channel. This association is also responsible for maintaining the rest rooms, drinking water facility and toilets in Satpada for the tourists. Satpada is located at the southern side of Lake Chilika. Panasapada village is also located close to this spot. At this spot, you can also hire the cycles and the auto rickshaws as your local transport means. At this spot, you can sometime see the migratory birds. But they are not coming here often. However, from Satpada, you can take the four hours of boat ride to reach for Nalabana in order to see several species of migratory birds.

Pipili Art & Crafts

Pipili is the village located in Puri district of Odisha state, India. This place is popular for its appliqué work. It’s the term appliqué that is derived from the French word appliquer that means To Put On. Well, there are two different variants of this art work. The first one is the appliqué where the fabric shape needs to be sewn over the base layer. The next one is the reverse appliqué where the two layers of a fabric need to be laid down as well as the shape needs to be cut out right from its upper layer subsequently. This uses to expose its lower layer and then both these layers need to be stitched together.

It’s the Govt. of India that has managed to assign the GI or the Geographical Indication for this product. It is believed that such art and craft work in Pipili was started during the 12th century which is also the origin time for the Jagannath culture. During the earlier time, appliqué canopies and umbrellas were made by the Gajapatis and used during the Ratha Yatra time. At present, appliqué works of Pipili are used at the households for decoration and other purposes. During the festival times in Odisha, such art works use to remain in great demand. These appliqué works are frequently used during the Jatras and rituals for the deities. Even at the homes of Odisha, you can see such art works that are used for home décor and ritual purposes.

Now days, artists are using different colors of fabrics in order to make such appliqué works. Such works are also used in a great range for the making of pillows, ritual dresses and seats and offered to the deities of different temples. For the umbrellas, they use water proof fabric as the base cloth; velvet fabric is used for making the tents, threads and cotton. From the town of Puri, the Pipili village is located at a distance of 40 km. the economy of this place is primarily depending on the Pipili art and craft works. Now day’s artists in Pipili use to make both the contemporary and traditional appliqué works. During the year 2004, Pipili has managed to enter into the Limca Book of Records for the biggest thematic- appliqué art work.

Raghurajpur Artisan

It’s the village of Raghurajpur that is located at a distance of ten km from Puri town. From the state capital city Bhubaneswar, it is located 55 km away. In this village, near about hundred houses are there. And every house at least has an artisan. These artists are also called as the Pattachitra painters. This is an art that dates back to the fifth century BC. These artists are also good at the making of stone idols, traditional masks, wooden toys, paper mache and sculptures. There are also some leading artisans in this village who have won the National Awards due to their excellent art works. The village of Raghurajpur is located among the scenic beauty that is created by the palm trees, coconut trees and the jackfruit groves.

When you are searching for the most ideal gateway to Bhubaneswar or Puri, this village may appear as the top choice. This village is also popular as this is the birthplace for Guru Shri Kelucharana Mohapatra who is the most famous Odishi dance artists and known across the globe. He is the one who managed to take this dance art to the next level and made it very popular across the globe. It is also said the artisans of this village were once forced to work as the farmers because they were not able to find their bread and butter through this art work.

During that time they have faced a lot of problems while trying to sell their art works. During the year 1998, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage took initiative and did a research for two years. After that research, the Raghurajpur was selected and announced as the first heritage village for the development works. After this, attempts were made to develop this place as the crafts village of Odisha. They have started to train these villagers to learn the traditional methods and helped them to implement the same with their art works.

Sakhigopal Temple Puri

It’s the Sakhigopal temple which is also known as the Satyabadi Temple previously. This temple belongs to the medieval time. Lord Gopinath is the prime deity of this temple and it is located at Sakhigopal, Puri. Right on the highway connecting Bhubaneswar and Puri, this village is located. The Kalinga style architecture was followed to make this temple.

It is been said that a young man further named as Sakhigopal fall in love with the village headman’s daughter. However, the headman refused to marry her daughter with this young man. After this, the villagers, the young man and the headman of this village went for a pilgrimage to the Kashi. During that time the headman fall sick and then the villagers abandoned him. However, that young man treated that headman and soon he become fine. Due to this reason, the headman promised to offer his daughter’s hand in the young man’s hand. But when they return to the village, the headman denied about what he promised and asked the young man to bring a witness so that he can support his claim. On the other hand, Lord Gopal got impressed with the young man’s work and devotion. He promised the young man to appear as his only witness but on one condition. He asked him to lead the way and the Lord Gopal will follow him. He also mentioned him that he shouldn’t look back during the whole way.

When they were walking that young man failed to hear the footstep sounds of the Lord. So, he looked back and at that very time, the Lord Gopal turned into the stone statue. This is the place where the Sakhigopal Temple is now located. After this incident, the villagers have arranged the marriage between that young man and the headman’s daughter and they were appointed as the very first priests of this temple. This prime festival celebrated at this temple is the Amala Navami. This temple is also famous for the daily food offerings. Here, rice is not served as the prime food. Rather wheat based meals are prepared and served to devotees at this temple on a daily basis.

Sand Art Festival

Well, the sand art festival is something that is now celebrated across the globe. The popularity of sand art festival has really managed to reach across the globe. But do you really know from where this was started? During this festival, sand made sculptures are created by the sand artists. Sudarsan Pattnaik – how you can forget this name when it’s all about sand art and sand artist? He is the one who took this art work to the next level and made it very popular across the globe. It’s the coast of Bay of Bengal is Puri where such art work was started for the first time on sand and then it has managed to spread across the globe. The sand artists used to make a wide range of sand sculptures and images on the sand during this festival and the winner among them is awarded with the prize.

Some of these sand art sculptures made by the sand artists you can only imagine with the stone carving works. But the sand artists here use to make them on sand. These are the most eye catching and amazing sculptures that you can find on the sand. From first Dec to fifth Dec, the International Sand Art Festival is organized every year by the Tourism Department of Odisha. Sand artists from every corner of the globe use to flock here in order to take part in this event. The prize money can range till Rs 100, 000. Artists from Mexico, France, Singapore, Germany, Norway, USA, Spain and Netherlands use to come here in order to take part in this sand art festival.

Sudarsan Pattnaik is the brand ambassador of this international event. As this is one of the most spontaneous international events, many people use to come here to explore what the sand artists can do on the sand. For some people, this is just like magic that is created on the sand by these sand artists. However, most people coming to see this event are from Odisha and from the rest part of India. People who love the sand art prefer to attend the International Sand Art Festival each year. They use to enjoy a lot while seeing the creation of the sand art by some leading sand artists.