Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Cultural Kaleidoscope That Puri Is

 Puri has always been a fresh canvas to the photographer’s eye. The centuries-old town exudes a raw charm and unforgettable warmth. TRLT brings you glimpses of different colours and tastes of the town, captured during a recent photo walk.

The 12th century Jagannath Temple at Puri

Aruna Stambha Outside the Jagannath Temple. It is said that Aruna is the  charioteer of God Surya. The Pillar is 32-ft-high and is made of high-quality granite. Lord Aruna is sitting atop Pillar with folded hands looking towards the Deities.

The sculpture of a Lion preying on an Elephant beneath the Aruna Stambha
Devotees at the Lion's Gate of Jagannath Temple

Khaja, also known as Pheni, is a very famous Odia sweet and it is one among the Chappan (56) varieties of 'bhog' (Mahaprasad) offered to Lord Jagannath. Legends say Lord Jagannath appeared in the dream of a man from Puri and instructed him how to prepare it.
Hardly two kilometres away from the Temple, begins the Puri Beach, a destination that certainly needs no introduction.  The Puri beach is the most popular beach in Odisha and the largest in the country. It stretches up to seven km and is a round-the-year destination for both domestic and international travellers. Visitors can enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset, sunbathe, sit back on the beach and watch local fishermen pulling their catch or mending their nets and listen to the melodious rendition of the striking waves.

Compared to other beaches in the country, the Puri Beach is considered to be safer as it does not face high tide and undercurrent very often. High tides occur only during full moon, so taking a bath in the sea is an enjoyable experience. The area near the beach is dotted with hotels and lodgings for travellers of all categories. For food lovers, there are several shacks along the beach selling fried and grilled seafood like prawns, crabs and pomfrets, freshly caught from the sea, along with vegetable pakodas. There are also many shops selling Odisha handlooms and seashell handicrafts. There is a lighthouse which remains open from 4 pm to 6 pm. One can get a spectacular view of the sea and the beach from the top of the lighthouse. 

The view outside my window at the OTDC Hotel

A tea shop by the Sea

Fishermen get busy checking their nets after returning with a Catch from the Sea

Their Catch

Shells for Sale
Clouds Approach the Puri Beach

An old building in the vicinity
 Puri offers a lot in terms of places to eat. Being a Beach Town, Puri is a sea-food lover's paradise. There are shacks on the beach that prepare the seafood caught by the local fishermen. Select your fish, get it prepared and savour it watching the sunset.
While Odia and Bengali delicacies are easy to find, one can also check out restaurants offering Italian, Continental and Awadhi cuisine. Even pure vegetarian restaurants are not hard to find. Try Promphet Fry at 'Gaan' restaurant of Fort Mahodadhi, Prawn Sizzlers and Desi Chicken at Wild Grass or a delectable choice of Pastas and Pancakes at Hotel Honey Bee Bakery and Pizzeria.  

Rice Noodles and Chicken at Hotel Lee Garden. Head to this beautiful place if You want to taste authentic Chinese food

Chicken Curry at OTDC

Puri Sabzi for Breakfast

Honey, Banana Pancake with Ice-cream at Hotel Honey Bee Bakery and Pizzeria

Pasta with Tomato sauce, Sausage, pickled Olives and some India Masalas at Honey Bee Bakery and Pizzeria. The place is small but they serve awesome food

OTDC plays a perfect host
It starts raining in the evening
Lush green land on the outskirts of Puri

 Travellers' Info: 
Puri is located at a distance of 59 km from Bhubaneswar by road and 63 km by rail. Visitors can either hire a taxi or take a bus to Puri. There are plenty of options for accommodation near the Beach area. Best time to visit is from July to February.   Places to see nearby are the Sun Temple at Konark, Raghurajpur Crafts Village, Satpada, Chilika Lake and Alarnath.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Carnival Treat for Capital Crowd

Bagha Nacha at World Tourism Day Carnival
 A carnival of colourful floats on different tourism themes was organised in the Capital City of Bhubaneswar by the Tourism Department in association with the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) to mark the World Tourism Day on Sunday. It was flagged off by Governor SC Jamir in presence of Tourism Minister Ashok Panda and office bearers of FHRAI. As many as eight floats on tourism products in the country like Buddhist Tourism, Beach Tourism, Heritage Wonders, Tribal Heritage besides a World Tourism Day float and Odisha Tourism float took part in the carnival procession which started from Master Canteen square.
The procession was led by a Luxury Bikers group followed by vintage cars. Actress Mahima Choudhry rode pillion on one of the lead motorcycles in the procession. Musical bands of Indian Navy, Odisha Police along with dance troupes from Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Jharkhand participated.
Adding colour to the procession were folk artistes and classical dancers from different parts of Odisha. The carnival provided a platform to folk art forms like Jodi Sankha, Ghata Badya, Dulduli and dances like Ranapa, Ghoda Nacha, Mask Dance besides Odissi and tribal dances. Artistes from Odisha also performed the famous Naga Medha, Durga Medha and Ravana Medha making the event a visual treat for onlookers. People who had gathered in large number enjoyed the spectacular parade that ended at Rupali square.
FHRAI Convention technical committee chairman Debashish Pattnaik, who played a vital role in conceptualisation and execution of the carnival, said the World Tourism Day carnival was planned to showcase the rich culture and heritage as well as popular tourist destinations of the State.

Here are some glimpses of the beautiful event. 

Durga Medha Nacha at the World Tourism Day Carnival in Bhubaneswar

Tribal Dance at World Tourism Day Carnival

Ghanta Badya
Doll Dance from Tamil Nadu at World Tourism Day Carnival

Sambalpuri Dance from Odisha at World Tourism Day Carnival

Tribal Dance from Odisha

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