I did not see this Blog Post coming. Why if you may ask? Because Puri needs no introduction to a Bengali. There is a famous Di-Pu-Da that Bengalis refer to. It is the abbreviated form of Digha (Di)- Puri (Pu) – Darjeeling (Da), that Bengalis frequently visit. Out of the three, I was introduced to “Pu” (Puri) at a very early stage in my life. Since I was born and brought up in Orissa/Odisha, Gopalpur and Puri felt like second home. Infact, I have lost the number of times that I have visited Puri. Digha and Darjeeling happened much later in my life, after I got married, when I was in my late 20’s.
Again, Puri is one of the chaar-dhaams of India, hence it is considered very sacred among the Hindus. Hence it pulls large number of tourists throughout the year.
Coming back to this post, I got several requests on my Instagram Stories for a Travel Blog on my recent vacation.
Aapka hukum sarr aankhon par rakhte huye, pesh karti hoon – “A lazy family vacation in Puri”
If you follow me on Instagram, I am sure you all must be familiar with my love for the sea. So when my husband casually mentioned about how he wanted to take his mother to Puri for Lord Jagannath’s darshan, I too jumped along. Since we were taking his parents along with us, I decided to take mine as well. Infact, we have been married for over six years now, but we never chanced upon a family vacation involving both the families. So we booked our Train Tickets, and started packing our bags for Puri. Puri is well connected via Rail and Road. The nearest airport is at Bhubaneshwar. Puri is a 2 hour drive from Bhubaneshwar. Kolkata has both day time as well as overnight trains from Howrah to Puri, and we availed the Puri-Howrah Express. We took an Auto to our homestay in Puri and paid the fellow Rs.260/- (You can always bargain, but daddy did not!)
Now when you visit Puri, you can either stay near SwargaDwar (Main Market place and beach). There are umpteen number of hotels which give you good sea view. Some of the well known hotels are Pulin Puri, Puri Hotel, Victoria Club Hotel, Hotel Sea Hawk, Hotel Seagull, Puri Beach Resort, to name a few. Else you can choose to travel a little further into the city and stay at the hotels near Chakra Tirtha Road, where the beaches are comparatively less crowded. We booked a homestay over AirBnB on Chakra Tirtha Road. Though it was a good deal, where we paid around Rs.1200/- per room, per day, I wouldn’t recommend the place, because we came across better places to stay nearby. One being, Pink House at Chakra Tirtha Road, Puri. This is a cozy little place that has sea facing rooms. They whip up excellent continental food. Their staff is polite and courteous. What more can you ask for? The room tariff is also very reasonable. Do check them out HERE
I would personally recommend booking the Super Deluxe AC Room that is on the rooftop at Pink House, Puri. It gives a marvellous view of the beach, and even has a private terrace that leads straight to the sea beach. Find more about their Tariff HERE
Last time I had visited Puri in September, 2015 where we had already visited the Konarak Temple and Chandrabhaga Beach. Hence, this time I was more inclined towards a laid back vacation. However, I will list down all that you can do while you visit Puri.
- First things first, visit Jagannath Temple. You may take the assistance of a panda (in case you are offering bhog), else the best time to visit would be early in the morning. We went there at around 7 a.m., and the crowd was manageable. Then we offered prayers and went on to buy “khajas” from the lane right outside Jagannath Temple (popularly known as “khaja-patty”). Now you may find all the shops to be similar looking, but we found one where khajas were selling like hot cakes. In fact, we had to wait for good 45 minutes until we could get our bags full of khajas. The name of the shop is “Adi Nrusingha Sweets – Proprietor Ganga Bhai”. The shop will be on your left at Khaja Patty. The “khajas” ranged from Rs.120/- per kilogram (oil fried) to Rs.360/- per kilogram (fried in ghee). Another famous sweet that you may try while in Orissa is “Chhena Poraa”.
Tip : Do not forget to ask for sample khajas to munch on while you are waiting for your khaja-bag 🙂
- You may visit the beach near SwargaDwar, rent a chair at Rs.20/- per hour and enjoy the sea breeze in the evening after 4 p.m. Meanwhile you can also feast on the delicacies that the vendors have to offer, including variety of fried fishes, sweets, icecream, savouries and tea. You could also take a camel/pony ride. In case you do not want the hustle bustle of the crowd, yet want to enjoy the beach, consider visiting the outskirts of the extended beach near Chakra Tirtha Road.
- You may visit Chilika Lake, which is a very famous tourist spot in Orissa.
- You can also visit the Sakkhi Gopal Temple, which is barely 25-30 kilometers away from the city.
- In case you are craving for good quality Chinese, consider visiting Chung Wah, which is a Chinese Restaurant adjacent to Hotel Lee Garden at VIP Road, Puri. If you love Continental Cuisine, try Holiday Resort at Chakra Tirtha Road. Their Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce, Chicken Stroganoff and Kebabs are worth a try at a very reasonable price.
- Visit Konarak Temple and Chandrabhaga Beach on the way to Konarak Temple.
Frankly speaking, Puri is not just a vacation destination for Bengalis, it is more of an emotion.
Try it once, and you will know why!