Puri, also known as Jagannath Puri (the Abode of Lord Jagannath) or Purusottama Puri, is a renowned city F 200,000 people (2011). It is headquarters of Puri District in the Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa).
Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri (approximately 1½ hours or 60 km from Bhubaneswar by bus (about ₹ 130), about 2 hours by train) is a pilgrimage town with the famous temple of Lord Jagannath (means Lord of the Universe) and is a major tourist destination with all its beautiful and pleasant sights. There are many hotels, most overseas tourists stay near to the beach. The Sun temple at Konark is also nearby. If you go to Puri by road from Bhubaneswar you will go past Pipli with its beautiful applique handicrafts, worth a look. The Puri sea beach is a major attraction with its fantastic sea face view and golden sand, the water is a bit rough (which is good if you like to surf).
Puri is well connected by railways. Trains are from Kolkata (Howrah junction), New Delhi, Ahmedabad, etc. It is also a major railhead on the East Coast Railway, bifurcated from Khurda Road Jn. 1 Puri railway station is located in the heart of the town and near to all hotels. If you arrive by train go to the Odisha State Tourist counter at the station for advice; they are usually very helpful and speak English. The MCO Booth is also quite helpful.
You can use cycle or auto rickshaws but agree a price before you set off. Just to avoid a horrible experience in the beginning confirm twice on the price, as they frequently try to charge you more than you agreed on. There are places on C.T. Road where you can hire an Enfield motorbike, good if you want to drive along the coast to Konark (Sun Temple). A cycle rickshaw is in the range of ₹520.
Locals speak Odia. Due to the presence of people from various parts of India, there would not be a language problem for people who speak any major Indian language. Hindi is also widely used. Some locals even speak Bengali.
- 1 Bedi Hanuman. Temple.
- 2 Chakra Tirtha. Temple.
- Swarga Dwar or The Gateway to Heaven. Site of cremation of almost all famous Oriya people.
- 3 Golden Beach of Puri.
- Mausima Temple (Mausima Mandir).
- Shankaracharya's Gobardhan Pitha. A Hindu Math.
- Shree Gundicha. Temple destination of Rath Yatra.
- 4 Shree Jagannath Puri. Temple. One of the four dhams, i.e. the four most sacred pilgrimage places of Hindus. Constructed in the 11th century and is the starting point of the world-famous Rath Yatra, held in July. Entry is limited to Hindus. Do lean against the Shani temple and watch the summit of the temple and do savour the temple food or bhog. The temple complex is huge and has some very interesting stories associated, priests or pandas are generally the ones who conduct the non Oriya people around and generally mention all these stories although they can demand exorbitant amounts; bring it down to something reasonable. It is possible to go into the sanctum sanctorum and touch the deities in the main temple for a fee.
- Shree Lokanath. Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is said to be the place where Lord Shiva hid himself from Shani, under a pond. The Shiva Linga here is partially submerged and the pond is teeming with fish. Priests here tend to be very strict so maintain etiquette.
- Sunara Gaurang Temple.
Famous places near Puri
- Alarnath. Temple.
- 5 Beleswar Temple. A secluded Shiva temple, obscured by a forest, with a beautiful and very calm beach nearby.
- 6 Chandrabhaga. Sea Beach.
- 7 Chilika Lake.
- 8 Pipili. Famous for applique work.
- Puri Konark Marine Drive. This road is in superb condition. It is peppered with deserted beaches and many rivers flow into the sea in places visible, if not accessible, from the road. Some beaches are said to have quicksand. Along the way there is a temple Ramchandi, which is a popular picnic spot amongst the locals, as non-vegetarian food is allowed in the temple.
- 9 Raghurajpur. Famous for Patta Chitra (term for traditional, cloth-based scroll painting) as well as the location of several interesting temples.
- 10 Satapada. Dolphin sanctuary
- 11 Sun Temple of Konark.
Enjoy the splendour of the Golden Beach of Puri. It is ideal for surfing and cool for a dip. The beach is covered in golden sand. The waves can also be high and rough during purnima (full moon). Please do not litter the beach" to keep its magnificent view intact. You have to be careful about swimming off the Chakra Tirtha Rd end of the beach because there is a canal that carries raw sewage into the ocean.
- Chung Wah (At Hotel Lee Garden), VIP Road (near Netaji Subhash Chowk). Good Chinese food.
- Krishna Resorts.
- Wild Grass, VIP Road (near Netaji Subhas Chowk). Theme restaurant serving local delicacies.
Puri is a very popular holiday resort for people from all over India but they tend to stay in the hotels nearer to Swargadwar (rather than C.T. Road). These hotels are often affordable and offer quality services at very reasonable rates.
- Asian Inn Beach Resort, New Marine Drive Road, Swargadwar. This 3-storey resort has modern facilities including elevators, with a good view of the Bay of Bengal. There's an air-conditioned restaurant and a conference room. There is also a doctor on call, laundry, locker and secretarial services.
- Balananda Tirthasram & Restaurant, Sea Beach Rd (After meteorological office, opposite sea beach), ☏ . Check-in: Morning, check-out: 24 hours. Family hotel with sea views from each balcony. You can see the sea from your room balcony. You have to order and collect your coupon each morning before 10 for lunch starting at 12:30PM. Same for dinner and breakfast. ₹325-425 per room, ₹24 per vegetarian meal (as of 2012).
- Deep Resorts. Check-in: 7:30AM, check-out: 7AM. ₹750-1400.
- Gochikar House, New Marine Drive Road, Swargodwar. Check-out: 7AM. Sea view rooms, travel desk. ₹500-12000.
- Hans Coco Palms Resort, Baliapanda New Marine Drive Road, Swargdwar, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Quiet location and a swimming pool. The hotel has a private beach, although there are only two canopies for guests. There are no lifeguards (nulia), but you can hire one if you wish. Breakfast (especially the Hans Coco Palms Special) is a good value and wholesome. Try the tomato shorba and 'thaali' for lunch/dinner.
- Hotel Diamond Palace, New Marine Drive Road, Gourbad Sahi, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. ₹600-₹000.
- Hotel Pushpasree, New Marine Drive Road, Gourbad Sahi, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. ₹600-800.
- Hotel Sairam, Hotel Sairam , CT Rd (Marine Drive Road near Sansangha Thakurbadi, 10 m from Golden Beach). Check-in: 8AM, check-out: 7:30AM. Rooms are neatly furnished and are sea facing. Warm and friendly staff. ₹500-1000.
- Hotel Sea Queen Inn (Chakratirth Road), ☏ . Between the beach and the hotel is a small restaurant called Pink House. Lovely food and friendly people. Adjacent to the hotel is an Ayurvedic Center providing body massage and other ayurvedic therapies. AC rooms for ₹800 (non-AC rooms also available). Massages start from ₹350 for an hours' session, ₹750 for a 14-day session.
- Hotel Vijoya International, Chakratritha Road, Sea Beach (on the sea shore in Chakra Tirtha), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A beautiful hotel on a clean private beach for which tent facilities are available. Pickup and drop facilities are available from the station and you will be welcomed with flowers and welcome drink. Rooms are neatly furnished and are sea facing. The restaurant is good and will customise your menu for any special requirement (for a kid, for example). Try the fish tikka.
- Krishna Resorts (Chakratirth Road), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Colour TV and hot water facility. Eco Friendly Pure Vegetarian Garden Restaurant attached. Two minutes' walk from Railway Station. ₹450 for non-a/c room, ₹650 for a/c room; 4-bed rooms and 3-bed rooms also available.
- Krushna Mandir (Near Arabinda School, Swargadwar), ☏ , , , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 25 furnished rooms with kitchen facilities only for holiday home, authorised Indian Rail travel agent on-site.
- Hotel Roopam, New Marine Drive Rd, ☏ , . ₹600-1000.
- Mayfair Puri, Chakra Tirtha Rd, ☏ . Beach resort with spa services. This hotel has its private beach with couple of lifeguards roaming around. Elegantly furnished rooms with tasty cuisine served at the restaurants. ₹5,000-7,500.
- Hotel Pushpa, Gopal Ballav Road, Sea Beach, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms and other facilities, described as modern and luxurious. You can also book online from their website. ₹1100 for double non-AC, ₹1690 for double AC rooms.
- Railway Hotel, Puri Railway Station, ☏ . You have to show your ticket. ₹600.
- Shree Vishnu Darshan Holiday Home, Marchikote Chowk, Grand Rd (Proceed from Railway station to Badadanda), ☏ . Luxury hotel. ₹1200 per night.
- Toshali Sands Resort and Hotel, Toshali Ethnic Resort in Puri. Approved by Department of Tourism, describes its own staff as warm and friendly. Spread across acres. Resort has Russian language interpreter. ₹3200 for a big deluxe cottage.
- Victoria Club.
- Hotel New sea Hawk, Marine drive road (close to Swargadwar beach), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Most of the rooms sea facing.
- Hotel Pulin Puri, Marine drive road (near Swargadwar beach), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Most of the rooms facing the sea.
- 1 Sterling Resort, toll-free: 1860 419 2727 (domestic). The resort is located away from the crowded places of Puri and has its own beach. There is a swimming pool, gym, spa, restaurant and conference hall. It also provides facilities for destination weddings. The resort organizes curated tours to the heritage village of Raghurajpur and also to Chilka Lake.
- 2 Puri Hotel, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. You get a full sea view straight out of balcony from most of the rooms. ₹880 for a big 4-bed room with balcony.
In cheap hotels or Guest Houses on Swargadwar or New Puri, try to take care of your own belongings. Do not try to go to the beach after 8PM. If you get seriously ill in Puri it is better to go on to Bhubaneswar to the Kalinga Hospital as the hospitals in Puri are very, very basic and not too clean. The hotel should be able to get a local doctor for you if you need one.
There are mouthwatering foodstalls on the beach selling fish, mutton, chicken kebabs, chops and cutlets. Do not try these, unless you want to experience the medical system of Puri. Even weather-beaten, battle-hardened, super-immune Indian stomachs can not tolerate these tasty but unhygienic attacks on your digestive system. Eat out of hotels, perfectly fine. But do not try the seashore roadside food stalls.
Stay safe from pandas of any temple. They will extract money from your pocket ruthlessly in the name of God. They are very influential and nothing can be done with the help of law. Avoid entering the innermost sanctum of any living temple (even if you are Hindu/Indian). They will ask you to offer puja or pay respect to innumerous Gods here and there of same temple very politely/affectionately but will demand money in the name of each God separately. No use arguing with them. If you are a bit religious/curious then carry enough change so that you can donate ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10 to get rid of them without any commotion.
Stay away from monkeys. Don't lure them with food and other stuff.
Puri, being a major tourist spot, is well connected with rest of the country by train. In case of flight connectivity one has to go to Bhubaneswar to get onto one. From the main bus stand in Puri you can get buses to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack which are less than 60-70 km away. Bhubaneswar, which is a major hub, further increases connectivity.
- The temple of Konark is nearby and definitely a must visit.
- Satapada on Chilika Lake is nearby and is a great place for sighting dolphins.