Last month I visited Puri in Orissa with a group of friends. It was an impromptu trip decided over a casual conversation one evening. As it turns out, such trips are the best. There were seven of us, including two kids and an aunt. The motivation to visit were many – the famous Jagannath Puri temple, the Sun temple of Konark and the beaches of Puri. We had taken a train from Ranchi to Puri which took about 16 hours for the journey. With two kids and a hyperactive me, the journey was a lot of fun and the numerous people selling a variety of things added to it. We even made our own ‘Litchi’ tree which when clicked through the train window formed a beautiful sight.
On reaching Puri, we were received by one of our friends’ parents, belonging to Orissa, who had very kindly agreed to take us around. We stayed at a beautiful guest house – ‘Gundicha Bhakta Niwas’ named after Lord Jagannath’s masi (maternal aunt). It was a beautiful and comfortable place with air conditioned rooms and all basic amenities.
We rested for a while, freshened up and then decided to go to the beach. Even though it was a May afternoon, the experience was unbelievable. The sea was a bit rough and waves were high. We enjoyed a lot in getting crushed by the sea waves and then standing up to them again and again. We spent time rolling in the sand, eating ice creams and well just lazing around in the water. There were camel and horse rides available on the beach and we took turns in doing those too.
After a lot of time, when we had had our full of the sea waves and salt and sand, we decided to come back to the guest house. After relaxing for a while we got ready to visit the Jagannath Temple. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed there and hence I have no pictures but the place was definitely worth visiting. There were many tiny temples inside the complex. There was a huge crowd of devotees. Once done with the darshan, we came out to have prasad. There were a variety of things to be had – sweet khichdi, salted khichdi, daal (Pulses), achaar (pickle), buttermilk sort of a drink, kheer and some more. Having had our full, we got some prasad for our respective houses. Then we did a bit of shopping on the way, and tired, retired to our beds.
The next day we had plans of visiting the Konark temple. The beauty, architecture, scale and location of the place left us spell bound. It was magnificent and tranquil in a way. We spent time admiring the place and clicking photographs.
When we came out of the place, we spent a fair amount of time looking at the beautiful shops outside. they were selling all sorts off stuff ranging from bags to goggles to cashews to decorative items.
Then we visited the Chandrabhaga beach. It was cleaner and less crowded than the Puri beach but we were advised not to go in the water as it was dangerous owing to under currents. Nevertheless we enjoyed the scenic beauty for sometime before we headed for lunch.
After lunch we came back to the guest house. We were tired by now but some of us still wanted to go the beach one more time before catching our train back to Ranchi at eight in the night. So after resting for a while, we geared ourselves to be midst the raging waves once again. This time we also floated on the tyres at the beach, The whole experience was amazing.
And post that we came, packed and said goodbye to the wonderful place which had lived up to the hype and provided us two wonderful days of fun! This trip was a mixture of religious, adventurous and holidaying spirit – all at the same time 🙂