Feeling Sanctified at the Religious Destinations of Puri

Among all the revered religious centres of India, Puri has a prominent place of its own. Being the holy abode of Lord Jagannath, it attracts a large number of visitors, which include both devotees and leisure travellers. Apart from religious significance, this place is known for its sunny beach, which is an ideal location to behold the mesmeric sunrise bathed in a symphony of colours. A celebrated feature of this city is its multitude of pilgrimage centres, which are known to receive an influx of pilgrims from all parts of the world. There are a number of shrines popular among local residents that can be ideal destinations to visit.
Nilakantheswar

Nilakantheswar Temple is known as a major shrine of Lord Shiva and receives hordes of local devotees. Situated on the southern bank of the sacred Indradyumna tank, it enshrines the sacred Shiva Lingam. Nilakantheswar is one of the eight pilgrimages, which are said to guard the sanctified city of Puri. All of these eight are situated in an equal number of different directions and are believed to save the local people from evil. The shrine is said to have derived its name from the famous mythological incident of Samudra Manthan, during which Lord Shiva drank a toxic substance and His throat turned blue. Sitalsasthi, Dola Purnima, Maha Shivaratri and Pana Sankranti are some occasions celebrated here with immense devotion.
Astasambhu

Astasambhu

Astasambhu

Astasambhu, located in Puri, enshrines eight Shiva Lingams made of precious stones in different shades. Thus, the place is named Astasambhu, which means eight Shivas on translation. These lovely idols reflect different hues of sunlight when looked from different angles and are an absolute pleasure to watch. The eight Lingams are named after the various incarnations of the deity. Devotees at this place spend quality time in its serene atmosphere, especially during the sunrise when these holy idols are perfectly beheld. This shrine is said to have cured a king of a fatal illness, after which the various Lingams were religiously placed by members of the family of Maharaja Prataparudra.

Siddha Mahavir

Siddha Mahavir

Siddha Mahavir

Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Siddha Mahavir is a small shrine having huge religious significance. Tulsidas – the distinguished author of the holy Ramcharitmanas – is believed to have stayed here during his visit to the city. The presiding deity Siddha Mahavir is revered as one of the eight Mahavirs of the city, and thus, is religiously significant. A huge statue of the Lord – placed on an adorned pedestal – is the major attraction here. The statue features a Gada and a massive rock boulder in the left and right hands, respectively.

Ardhasini

Ardhasini

Ardhasini

The Ardhasini or Mausima temple is another pilgrimage site positioned on the Grand Road of Balagandi Square. It is dedicated to Goddess Mausima, who is said to be the sister of the mother of Lord Jagannath. It is stated in scriptures that Goddess Mausima once saved the town from a flood by drinking half of the water. This was when she was provided the revered title of Ardhasini. According to a popular belief, Goddess Mausima and Kapalamochana Shiva are the guardian deities of this sacred place.

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The Mesmeric Chilka Lake in Puri

The district of Puri is a popular tourist destination in Odisha, India. Positioned on the Bay of Bengal, this location features breathtaking topography, which is characterised with gleaming lakes, verdant forests and sprawling grasslands. There are numerous venerated shrines here, out of which, the Jagannath Temple is among the most prominent ones. Puri is popularly known as Jagannath Puri after this revered sacred monument. There are several places of interest here that encourage travelers from near and far to embark upon Puri tour. The sparkling Chilka Lake is among the most popular places of interest in this district that is visited by hordes of tourists all-year round.

 

Chilka Lake

Chilka Lake

Nestled in the heart of the coastal region of Puri, Chilka Lake is the largest inland Brackish water body of its kind. Sprawling across three districts of the state, namely, Ganjam, Khurdha and Puri, this water body finally joins the Bay of Bengal. At the junction point, which is a narrow mouth, the brackish stream forms an enormous lagoon. This water body stretches across an area of more than 1100 square kilometres and it was officially declared a sanctuary in the year 1987. People from different parts of the world opt for Indian tour packages and come down to visit this sparkling stream.

 

Vivid Flora and Fauna

 

Chilka is home to an array of aquatic flora and fauna attracting nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts from all corners of the world. Besides, this exquisite site is dotted with a plethora of emerald green isles, such as Breakfast Island and Honeymoon Island, which are ideal getaways for peace seekers. Furthermore, the isle of Nalabana has been declared a sanctuary and bit houses a range of species of birds as well as animals. The Kalijai isle is home to a venerated shrine, which is dedicated to Goddess Kalijai. This isle is also the venue for the annual celebration of Makar Mela. A delight for birdwatchers, this sanctuary, is a prominent winter resort for migratory birds. There are several vantage points, which offer breathtaking vistas, especially during sunset and sunrise. The best time to visit this site is during winters as thousands of Siberian cranes flock this place during this season.

 

Adventurous Activities For Adrenaline Junkies

 

In addition to discovering the beatific natural beauty of this panoramic place, tourists can indulge in boating and fishing activities on the site. Dolphin sightings are among prime highlights of the enthralling activities offered at this site. Besides, the lush green forests are home to fascinating animals, such as chital and black buck. Adrenaline junkies can indulge in adventurous water sports activities, such as motorbiking and surfing. An ideal getaway for one and all, the Chilka Lake is a popular tourist destination. People from the state and beyond come here to enjoy moments of repose away from the humdrum of city life amidst captivating natural environs. The pristine water of the sparkling water body amidst breathtaking landscapes acts like an urban detox for vacationers. Besides, the thrill of various adventurous sports add to the fervor of tourists here.

Puri – The Land of Temples and Festivals

Puri

Puri

Puri is a district located in the coastal region of Odisha and has been referred to by different names – Charitra, Purusottama Kshetra and Utkal in the past. This destination is popular as the home of Lord Vishnu, also called as Lord Jagannath, and is well-known for its cottage and handicrafts throughout the world. These handcrafted works have drawn inspiration from two sources – the temple art of the Sun Temple of Konark and the shrine dedicated to Lord Jagannath in Puri.

Lord Jagannath Temple

Lord Jagannath Temple

This region is an epitome of the rich cultural heritage of the country. It is home to many cottage and handicraft industries, which produce an array of goods in wooden and stone carvings, modern patch work, applique, patta chitra, bell metal and terracotta. The region is not only a prominent centre for such industries but also a place of religious significance. The revered sites located over here are the perfect examples of architectural marvels. Tourists can visit a number of shrines over here namely,

Gundicha Temple

Gundicha Temple

Jagannath Temple, Gundicha Temple, Sun Temple and Sakhigopal by opting for Puri tour packages.

Festivals and Attractions

During their trip, they can also be a part of numerous festivals and fairs that are observed over here. The important ones comprise Rath, Gosani, Chandan and Sahi Yatras, other than Maha Shivratri, Boita Bandan and Magha Mela.  Furthermore, there are some prominent events like Konark and Puri Beach Festivals, Gundicha Utsav and Srikhestra Mahotsav known for showcasing different forms of folk dances including the famed Odissi.

Sun Temple, Konark

Sun Temple, Konark

In addition to its shrines and festivals, this region is famous for paintings like tasar, patta and palm leaf as well as pottery toys, sand art and papier-mache products. On opting any of the holiday packages for Odisha, travellers can enjoy shopping along with sightseeing by visiting several places of interest, such as Gobardhan Math (a monastery founded by Adi Shankaracharya) and Chilka Lake, which is a habitat to the migratory birds.

Chilka Lake

Chilka Lake

Brahmagiri and Baliharachandi

Among the several popular destinations in and around this region, Brahmagiri is one of the most visited. Located nearby, it is home to the famous Alarnath Mandir. Hundreds of devotees, pilgrims and tourists come to this location to pay homage to Lord Jagannath. The best way to reach here is by bus owing to a number of bus services from Puri to this destination.

Alarnath Mandir

Alarnath Mandir

Baliharachandi is another popular location, which is often visited on a tour package to this destination. The place is famous for a shrine erected for the Hindu Goddess Harachandi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. Apart from this shrine, the place is also famous for its long stretches of the sandy coastline. However, the Bay of Bengal is quite turbulent and visitors need to be careful while going near the sea. It is also a popular picnic spot for local people due to its natural beauty.

Baliharachandi

Baliharachandi

Holidaymakers can take scheduled bus services to come to this location as well. If they are on a prolonged holiday, they can also plan a getaway to different excursions like Balighai Beach, Brahmagiri, Satyabadi, Baliharachandi, Raghurajpur and Satapara situated in proximity to this place.