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A vibrant city with the imposing...
The stronghold of several erstwhile...
Declared as India's first UNESCO World...
The verdant Ananthagiri Hills is...
Located on the banks of River Godavari,...
Situated around 40 km from Raipur,...
Berhampur is a vibrant industrial town located about 171 km from Bhubaneswar. It is located to the south of the Chilika Lake and is famed for its ikat silk textiles. The town is also known for artisans who make brass and bell metal ware, horn toys, wood carvings and carpets. There are shrines dedicated to Thukurani, Jagannath and Nilakantheswar Shiva here, along with a museum that houses a collection of sculptures, and specimens of anthropological and natural history. Gopalpur-on-sea, a deep sea resort, is a major tourist attraction located close by. Jaugarh, another popular place, is noteworthy because it is home to Ashokan rock edicts and other archaeological ruins. From this, one can conclude that the place was a part of Mauryan emperor Ashoka’s empire.
Several government-run and privately-owned stores in Puri sell a variety of handlooms and handicrafts. Passapali, bomkai, sambalpuri and ikat sarees are a must-buy. Handicrafts include palm leaf engraving, silver filigree work, horn work, pattachitra, coir products, metal ware, applique, sea shell items, stone statues, wooden statues, papier mache masks and solapith (thermocol) artwork. Utkalika, run by the Odisha State Co-operative Handicrafts Corporation, has an outlet at Grand Centre market and offers a fixed price for all products. Pattachitra Centre on Nabakalabara road is a great place to buy pattachitra art.
Located next to the Grand Road going through the city, the Ananda Bazaar is most popular for the mahaprasad (special offering to the god) that is sold there. This prasad (offering) is a local speciality that is offered by devotees to Lord Jagannath at his temple. Ananada Bazaar can be understood as a huge courtyard that you can visit right as you exit the temple. There are a number of shops selling sweets. Many food joints also dot the market where devotees can dig into some local dishes.
One of the Pancha Mukti Tirthas of Puri, Sweta Ganga is a holy bathing tank located opposite Ganga Mata Math. Devotees believe that Goddess Ganga resides here so that she can visit and serve Lord Jagannath regularly and that's why many believe that the perennial tank never runs dry.
Puri has five sacred tanks known as the Pancha Tirtha: Indradyumna, Markandeya, Sweta Ganga and Rohini Kunda. It is said that a pilgrimage to Puri is incomplete unless one bathes in all these five tanks. Markandeya is said to be the place where gods saved sage Markandeya from the sea. There is another running myth that says it's a bathing place where Lord Vishnu resides as a neem tree.
Ratha Yatra (also popularly referred to as the Chariot Festival) is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India. The festival, most elaborately organised in Puri, is held annually during the Hindu calendar month of Asadha, which falls on the second day of the lunar fortnight during June and July. The main deity worshipped during the festival is Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival is marked by the transportation of the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra in three different chariots to their summer temple for a week. The main chariot boasts a height of 14 m and has 16 wheels. Lakhs of devotees pull the chariot to complete this journey, which is said to symbolise Lord Krishna's journey from Gokul to Mathura. The ancient Ratha Yatra festival finds mention in Valmiki's Ramayana as well.
The Puri Beach Festival is held at Swargadwara Beach every year in November. A cultural event, the festival showcases folk dances, music, local cuisine and offers handicrafts, handlooms and other local arts and crafts.
The Chandan Yatra (sandalwood voyage) of Lord Jagannath begins on the day of Akshyaya Trutiya (an annual spring festival) and is celebrated in several temples across the state. It is also on this day that master carpenters start to make the chariots (rathas) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
Magha Saptami is celebrated on the seventh day of the new moon of the Hindu calendar month of Magha. It celebrates the Sun God at Konark. The venue of the festival is the Sun Temple. This is one of the most important festivals of Odisha, second only to the famed Rath Yatra (chariot procession). It is marked by pilgrims taking a dip in the sea at the Chandrabhaga Beach and worshipping the sun. A huge fair is held at the nearby Khandagiri Caves for seven days, starting from the day of Magha Saptami.
The Gahirmatha Beach, around 130 km from Bhubaneswar, is an important nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles. This beach is a part of the larger Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary. Several visitors and wildlife conservationists visit this place to watch the mass hatching of turtles. Believed to be the world’s largest nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles, this beach sees millions of species coming to mate and nest in November each year. After about seven to ten weeks, the hatchlings head back into the sea only to return years later to mate and nest their own eggs.
Held in December every year, the Konark Dance Festival brings together maestro classical dancers who perform at the Sun Temple in Konark. It’s organised by the Odissi guru Gangadhar Pradhan's Odisha (Orissa) Dance Academy in association with the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata, at Konark Natya Mandap. The dances performed include odissi, bharatanatyam, Manipuri, kathak and chau. The festival also features a crafts mela (fair) that offers visitors a chance to buy handicrafts and sample local delicacies. It’s a must-visit for lovers of classical dances as the performances against the magnificent Sun Temple make for a dramatic cultural extravaganza.
The International Sand Art Festival is celebrated alongside the world-renowned Konark Festival from December 1 to 5 every year. It showcases gorgeous arts made by local and international sand artists. It is held at Chandrabhaga Beach, which is 3 km from Konark. Several competitions and exhibitions are organised during the festival.
This annual surfing festival, one of India’s first, is organised in Puri in winter. The sea off Puri’s beaches is apt for surfing. The Puri Beach offers challenging waves for surfing. Puri’s still waters provide perfect support for Stand-up Paddle (SUP) surfing, offering what some see as an opportunity for paddle-based tourism. Ramchandi Beach in Konark is home to a few of the country's best surfing schools.
Puri has several popular beaches with white surf and fine sand. These beaches offer many water sport adventure activities such as jet skiing and banana boat rides. While these are available on the beachfront between the lighthouse and the Mangala river, a hovercraft operates between Panthanivas in Puri and the Ramchandi Beach near Konark.