The ancient land of Lord Jagannatha, Puri is amongst the most popular pilgrimage destinations of the country. Being one of the sacred ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage sites, Puri is dotted with several old temples that carry great religious, historical and architectural value. Historically known as “Sri Kshetra”, the wealthy land was invaded 18 times by Hindu and Muslim rulers who desired the temple’s treasures. Even in this 21st century, the economy of this religious town mostly depends on the activities surrounding the 12th-century old Jagannatha Temple. Most tourists visit Puri during its vibrant festivals, especially RathaYatra (Chariot festival).
Along with the temples, the neighborhood also has some picturesque beaches that are perfect for an evening away from the crowded life. The artistic land of Odisha has given birth to skilled artisans who master in Sand art, applique art, stone and wood cravings, and Pattachitra paintings. To ensure our readers the utmost experience of this limitless beauty, we have cumulated a list of 12 famous places to see in and around Puri that will serve you as a mini Puri tourism guide.
12 Best Tourist Places to visit in & Around Puri:
- Sri JagannathPuri Temple
- Puri beach
- Markandeswara Temple
- Narendra Tank
- Dhaulagiri Santi Stupa
- Sakhigopal Temple
- Chilika Lake
- Nandankanan Zoo
- Lingaraj Temple
1. Sri JagannathPuri Temple
Constructed almost a millennium ago, PuriJagannath Temple holds a great religious value amongst the Hindus as a part of the sacred Char Dham pilgrimage sites. Built on a high pedestal, the richly carved temple structure stands protected with four majestic gates. The architectural wonder is also home to many scientifically unexplained miracles. Respecting the ancient Indian belief of never sending a visitor back with an empty stomach, Prasadam is prepared with centuries old, preserved recipes and the food here is never wasted. The annual RathaYatra draws in millions of devotees who travel miles to see the deities roam around the temple surroundings in Chariots.
2. Puri Beach
The golden sand beach on the east coast of Bay of Bengal is a silent paradise for nature seekers. Situated very close to Jagannath Temple and other well-known temples of Puri, the beach receives a good number of visitors throughout the year. A great number of accommodation options and the availability of a large variety of food items make this beach an apt destination to enjoy a perfect vacation with your family and friends. This sun kissed beach is also a popular choice among the honeymooners who stroll along the breezy shore and enjoy watching the beautiful sunrises and sunsets together.
3. Markandeswara Temple
Markandeswara Temple is believed to be the holy place where sage Markandeya meditated on Lord Shiva as a child. The 13th century old temple welcomes the devotees with a sculpture of Lord Nataraja with ten hands and as one explores further, they will come face to face with various figures of Lord Shiva in all his forms and also many idols of Goddess Parvathi and Lord Ganesha. The stunning architectural and artistic beauty of the temple attracts tourists from all over the globe. Being located very close to PuriJagannath Temple, the devotees almost never leave town without visiting both these ancient temples.
4. Narendra Tank
Enclosed with numerous shrines, this 15th century AD tank is one of the largest tanks of Odisha. At just 2 Km from Jagannath Temple, the tank provides various Ghats where devotees can take holy baths. The renowned tank is also the place where deities are floated upon pristine water and plenty of rituals are performed during the Chandana Yatra festival. At the center of the large tank is a beautiful, small temple called Chandana Mandapa.
5. Dhaulagiri Santistupa
Dhauli is located on the banks of the river Daya, 8 km south of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India.
Dhauli hill is presumed to be the area where the Kalinga War was fought.
A popular pilgrimage destination near the capital city of Odisha – Bhubaneswar, Konark is well-known for its 7th century old Sun Temple. Following Odisha’s medieval architectural style, the architectural marvel consists of sculptures of the sun god, represented in three different images and positioned in three different directions to precisely capture the rays of the sun during mornings, afternoons and evenings. The massive temple is structured in the form of a chariot, dedicated to the Sun god. Located on the shores of Bay of Bengal at just 35 Km from Puri, Konark is an excellent option to enjoy a silent holiday on the secluded beaches and awe at the exquisiteness of the historical temples.
At around 36 Km from Puri, Pipili is an artistic town of Odisha and is unquestionably a top attraction of the state. The town was built to shelter the practitioners and preserve Odisha’s heritage art form – Applique handicrafts. Artisans here gather colorful fabrics and stich upon them to make various designer garments and hangings. The livelihood of most families in the town depends on this art form. The artists create excellent handicrafts, appliqued handbags and purses, pillow covers, bed sheets and many other things and export the products to different countries around the world.
8. Sakhigopal Temple
A miniature version of Jagannath Temple, Sakhigopal Temple is situated at about 18 Km from Puri. A pilgrimage to this temple is often combined with a visit to Jagannath Temple as the trip is believed to be incomplete without it. The famous religious site is eminent for its life size figure of Lord Krishna playing a flute alongside his favorite lover – Radha. The Lord Krishna’s idol here is made up of a rare kind of imperishable stone called Braja. An annual festival called AmlaNavami is celebrated here with all its grandiosity in the month of Karthika.
9. Chilika Lake
If you’re anywhere near Puri, Bhubaneswar, or just anywhere in Odisha, you cannot leave without visiting Chilika Lake. Among the best tourist destinations in the state, Chilika Lake is a salty water lagoon at the tip of Daya River that flows into Bay of Bengal.
Situated at just 70 Km from Puri and 61 Km from Bhubaneswar, Chilika Lake provides sustenance to fishermen familiesfrom around 132 villages on the shores or islands surrounding the lake. During the migratory seasons, as far as 160 species of birds flock around the lake. The rich eco-biodiversity of the lake has also made it home to Irrawaddy dolphins which can be spotted on the Satpada islands. If your ideal vacation involves breathing fresh air whilst listening to the sweet chirping of birds and watching the graceful dance of dolphins, Chilika Lake is where you should be.
10. Nandanakanan Zoo
Nandankanan Zoological Park is a 437-hectare zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. Established in 1960, it was opened to the public in 1979 and became the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2009.
11. Lingaraj Temple -Bhubaneswar
Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Odisha. The temple is the most prominent landmark of Bhubaneswar city and one of the major tourist attractions of the state.