Situated in the eastern part of India, Puri is a coastal city and a municipality in the state of Orissa. The coastline of Puri stretches along the Bay of Bengal about 60km south of the capital city, Bhubaneswar. Hoarding millions of tourists across the globe, this coastal city is a great spot for travelling for ages now. Brimming with rich history, culture, welcoming people and mouth-watering sweets (gajas), Puri also features many marvellous places just in and around its periphery.
Puri is located at a very convenient distance to a myriad of beautiful places that makes the city an excellent getaway. It doesn’t matter if you are a nature lover or a spiritual seeker, the city has something to offer to all kinds of travellers. If you want to go on a family vacation or a solo trip, visiting Puri is the best thing to do. Here is a list of the best places to visit in and around Puri 2021 that has been specially curated for you.
Shree Jagannath Temple
If you are travelling to Puri, then Shree Jagannath Temple has to be on your itinerary. The temple in Puri dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabdhadra and Goddess Subhadra has gained prominence a long time ago, making it the most sacred spot to visit in Puri. Apart from its sacred status, the temple exhibits impressive architecture. Built-in the 12th Century under the supervision of the ruler of the Ganga dynasty, Shree Jagannath Temple is one of the oldest Hindu shrines in India. Constructed on a raised platform, the temple is enclosed with walls that are about 7m high. This Sanctum Sanctorum allows only born Hindu devotees inside the premises. Further, the temple hosts the biggest Ratha Yatra festival that you can be a part of.
Tucked in Khandagiri Digamber Jain Temple, these caves are also one of the best places to visit in Puri. Believed to be over 2000 years old, Khandagiri Caves makes itself an ancient place in India. Formerly inhabited by Jain scholars, the caves have a tiger mouth-shaped entrance that opens to the interiors. Of the many caves the Bough Gumpha, Sarpa Gumpha and Pavana Gumpha are the notable ones. From Chota Hathi Gumpha to Jaya Vijava cave incorporated with the carvings of Bodhi trees and to Anantha caves on the right path with carvings of female figures, athletes and geese carrying flowers, Khandagiri Caves houses more than 15 entries. You can visit the Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves during the daytime with your family.
Chilika Lake, known as Asia’s largest saltwater lake is a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers. Featuring tiny islands and multiple fisheries on its shore, this pear-shaped lake is home to a wide variety of flora & fauna. Dotted with a plethora of colourful and eye-catching native and migratory birds like sandpipers, golden plovers, flamingos and white-bellied sea eagles, Chilika Lake serves as one of the best ecosystems in the world. If you are looking for a tranquil place outside the periphery of the bustling crowd in Puri, you can catch a boat ride at Chilika Lake. Also, keep your cameras with you to capture the enchanting sunset from the lake.
Since Puri is a coastal city, you can find exquisite beaches in and around the city. Of the many beaches, Puri beach known for its raging waves and golden sands is an important landmark. Along the coastline of the Bay of Bengal, Puri beach offers a wide range of enthralling activities for daring souls. Also, known as Golden Beach, this place will offer you great shots of sunrise and sunset that you can post later on your social media. Apart from the scenic beauty, the beach hosts sand art displays by award-winning international artists. You can further reserve accommodation in the nearby Puri hotel overlooking the beach.
Located in the Baleswar district of Orissa, Talasari Beach or Baleswar Beach greets you the river banks of Subarnarekha. Flocked by many fishermen, Talasari beach would offer you enchanting landscapes of swaying palm, coconut and cashew trees. Here you can witness the untouched beauty of the sparkling waters of the Bay of Bengal. Also, you can go for boat rides and laze on the beach with a platter of seafood including crabs, prawns and seaside fish. If you want to escape from the crowds of the city, Talasari beach is the right spot for you.
Nandankanan Zoological Park
One of the most intriguing places around Puri is the Nandankanan Zoological Park. A long drive to this zoological park is a journey that you would remember for a lifetime. Nandankanan Zoological Park is one of the most premier zoos in India, housing a variety of flora & fauna. Serving as a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, this zoological park offers multiple entertainment facilities like boating, safari cable car. Known for its white tigers and multitude of mammals, birds and reptiles, the Nandankanan Zoological Park is a must-visit place in Orissa.