Visiting the abode of Lord Jagannath
- Submitted by: Sukanya Paul, India
- Submission Date: 07th Jun 2008
It was in an evening family get-together that we suddenly decided to visit the abode of Lord Jagannath Puri. Considered to be one of the Char Dhams, it is about an hour's drive from Bhubaneswar. As we live in Kolkata, we were in a fix whether to go by train or bus. With some discussion or consultation we decided to go by train as my grandmother was also traveling with us. So within 2 days, my uncle booked tickets for all of us in the Jagannath Express. He also arranged for our accommodation at a small resort.
On the D-day, all of us were extremely excited and left for the Howrah station at around 7pm as the train was about to leave the station at around 11pm or 11:30 pm. The train left the station at the right time. All of us were very happy and the night passed off within a flicker of eye. In the morning, at around 9am, we reached Puri. From there on we took an Auto Rickshaw to reach the resort we had booked for ourselves. While traveling in the auto we could hear the roars of the sea and were dying to see the sea. After sometime we could see the pristine beach of Puri and the roaring Bay of Bengal. It was a sight which I will remember all my life !!
We reached the resort which was quite close to the sea. We decided that today we will be visiting the beach and the nearby areas and book our tickets for sightseeing. We gorged on the local food for our lunch and took some rest in the afternoon. In the evening, we went to beach and enjoyed the cool breeze, the sand and waves of the sea. We also enjoyed the phucka, bhel puri and the local delicacy called khwaja. In the meanwhile we decided that we will visit the famous Jagannatha Temple or the Puri Temple the next day. We also spoke to one of the panda's of the temple.
The next morning, we went to the temple and decided to offer the puja to Lord Jagannatha, Balaram and Subhadra. All of us visited the temple in the morning. The huge temple and the beautiful architecture made us awe-struck. This temple is considered to be one of the best examples of the Kalinga architecture. However, due to heavy crowd we decided to visit the temple in the evening. We had a sumptuous lunch from the famous Dada-Boudi r Hotel. Apart from this, we visited the Kakatua Hotel for our breakfast. In the evening, we visited the temple and saw the statues of the Lord Jagannatha, Balaram and Subhadra.
What attracted us at the temple was the Gopuram. In the evening, the Pandas change the flag atop the Gopuram. This is a ritual which takes place everyday come what may!! Another major attraction of the Puri Temple is the Bhog Bhandar. The kitchen in Puri is considered to be Asia's largest kitchen. We were served with some of the mouth-watering delicacies of the place. Some of these include Khwaja, Kheer, rice, daal, vegetables etc. The food was also served in a banana leaf and was quite cheap.
The next day we decided to visit Konarak and the nearby sight-seeing destinations. We had earlier booked a trip and thus on the next morning, we were extremely happy to go out for the trip. On the way, we found a small beach which was not so popular among the travelers but was excellent to look at. The waves of the Bay of Bengal washed the beach with its waves. There were some shops selling different items made of shells.
We reached the Konarak Temple and were mesmerized by the architecture of the temple. It was an example of the Kalinga School of Art. This is also known as the Sun Temple. The structure of the temple is like a huge chariot which has 12 pairs of wheels. The chariot is pulled by 7 pairs of horses. Apart from this we also visited the Lingaraja temple. The temple architecture, as usual, awe-strucked us. We also visited the zoo which is known to be the home for different types of animals and birds. Along with this, the two other places which demands mention are Udaygiri and Khandagiri. We enjoyed trekking through the small hillock and reached both the places. Monkeys created a lot of menace near both the places however the greenery of the place made us feel that we were in the lap of nature.
We also visited the place where Kalinga war was fought by King Asoka. Presently it is a place full of green soft grasses. Near the war-field, there is also a Buddha Temple with a huge statue of Lord Buddha. The thing which attracted all of us was the cleanliness of the place and the white marbles with which the temple is built. That evening we returned to the resort with memories which we will be cherishing all our lives.
The next day we decided to enjoy the beautiful sunrise, a bath in the sea and good food. We also decided to do some shopping. Near our resort we found some shops selling some local handicraft items. We brought some of them so that we could give them as a souvenir to our loved ones. We also went to the shops which showcased the Kotki Sarees which are famous all over the world. After this we came back and packed our bags to return to Kolkata. We had our dinner at the resort and went to station to catch the Jagannath Express leaving the Bay of Bengal and the Puri Temple behind.
I, personally, will cherish this trip all throughout my life!!! No one can forget the pristine beaches of Puri and Konarak, the Bay of Bengal, the Puri, Konarak and Lingaraja Temple...