Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Odisha - The Soul of India (Puri, Konark, Chilka & Bhubaneswar)

Odisha - The Soul of India (Puri, Konark, Chilka & Bhubaneswar)

Its called as the Soul of India because of the architectural of Konark Temple and the history behind the creation, upraising & end of the this temple.

This trip was a trip which i was been planning for many long time for now... and get cancels every time... But came in last with an surprise as an unplanned trip. Due to the workload, i was unable to plan anything before leaving Kolkata but if you are on a budget trip, its really doesn't need any planning for the trip. As there are hardly much things that need to be planned.
There are mainly 4 day trips.
-- Jagannath & Puri day Trip
-- Konark & Bhubaneswar Day Trip
-- Chilka Lake Day Trip
-- Kalijai Temple day Trip

Now based on the budget and Time the planning can be to stay at Konark/Chilka or not.

Day 0 : 7 June 2013 : Friday 

My reservation for SRIJAGANNATH Express was waitlisted and got RC at the time of departure. The train left Kolkata at 7:30 in the evening .

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Day 1: 8 June 2013 : Saturday : Jagannath & Puri day Trip

We reached Puri station around 9:00 AM around 4 hours late from the scheduled time which was way beyond the imagination just for 10 hour journey. However we reached Puri at 9:00 AM as soon as we came out of the station people surround us and every one wants you to come with him. As i was already aware of the Pandas, but was not expecting the autos & taxi wala too be the same.
It is not needed to do a booking of hotel at Puri as there are number of hotels around. We took a Ricksaw to drop us to Swargdwar. ( Marine drive beach road) We enquired few of the hotels and settled in one of them called as Hotel Vishal. The room was good spacious and really refreshed our mind but later found to be bit costlier as we would have got a better room with the same budget.

We got refreshed and went to beach for breakfast, after breakfast we went for darshan at Jagannath Temple.

Shree Jagannath Puri Temple. One of the four dhams ie. four most sacred pilgrimage places of Hindus. Constructed in 11th century and is the starting point of the world famous Rath Yatra held in July. Entry is limited to Hindus. Do lean against the Shani temple and watch the summit of the temple and do savour the temple food or bhog. The temple complex is huge and has some very interesting stories associated, priests or pandas are generally the ones who conduct the non Oriya people around and generally mention all these stories although they can demand exorbitant amounts; bring it down to something reasonable. It is possible to go into the sanctum sanctorum and touch the deities in the main temple for a fee.

Jagannath Puri or Purusottama Puri (approximately 1 and a half hours or 60 km from Bhubaneswar by bus {about Rs. 25 to Rs. 150), about 2 hours by train) is a pilgrimage town with the famous temple of Lord Jagannath (means Lord of the Universe) and is a major tourist destination with all its beautiful and pleasant sights. There are many hotels, most overseas tourists stay near to Chakratirtha Road (C.T. Road) - try Hotel Lotus - for the best of star hotels like hotel holiday resort, mayfair beach resort or you can ask rickshaws for 'Sea Beach Road or Swargadwara'. Some good hotels are Hotel Puri and Hotel New Sea Hawk (in Swargadwar) The Sun temple at Konark is also near by. If you go to Puri by road from Bhubaneswar you will go past Pipli with its beautiful applique handicrafts, worth a look. The Puri sea beach is a major attraction with its fantastic sea face view and golden sand, the water is a bit rough (which is good if you like to surf).

With much of Yes & No for the darshan we finally decided to go for the darshan as you will find lots of rules for the entry and darshan, No leather bag's, camera, mobile allowed but you can take leather purse inside consisting of money. After waiting for long Q we finally reached the gate of the Temple and found that the entry has been stopped for 2 hours due to the bhog, but if you can pay then darshan is allowed. This is really frustrating, if you have money then there is no bhog for the God.

Day 2: 9 June 2013 : Sunday : Konark & Bhubaneswar Day Trip

Chandrabhaga Sea Beach.

Sun Temple of Konark.

Dhauli Giri, 8km from Bhubaneswar. Looking down on the plains that bore witness to the gruesome war waged on Kalinga by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, stand the rock edicts of Dhauli. It was here that King Ashoka, full of remorse after the Kalinga War in 261 BC, renounced his blood-thirsty campaign and turned to Buddhism. The edicts are a living testimony to the King's change of heart. He urges his administrators to rule the land with justice and compassion. The edicts are so remarkable that they have been excellently preserved, despite the fact that they date back to the 3rd century BC. A sculpted elephant, the symbol of the boundless powers of Lord Buddha, tops the rock edicts. The Shanti Stupa or the peace pagoda, built through the Indo-Japanese collaboration, is located on the opposite hill.

Alarnath Temple

Old Town. Almost all the famous temples of Bhubaneswar are located here most of which were constructed in the 11th to 13th century period. Around 400 temples of varying sizes are located here. Be sure to visit Traffic Mahadev, a small temple which acts as a road divider.

Lingaraj Temple. The 10th or 11th-century Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar has been described as "the truest fusion of dream and reality". A rare masterpiece, the Lingaraja temple has been rated one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India by Ferguson, the noted art critic and historian. Every inch of the surface of the 55 m-high Lingaraja temple is covered with elaborate carvings. Sculpture and architecture fused elegantly to create a perfect harmony. Non-Hindus are not permitted inside. However there is an elevated viewing platform next to one of the boundary walls. To reach the platform, face the temple's main entrance and walk around to the right. There is a laneway leading to the back of the temple and the platform.

Bindu Sarovara. This large lake near to Lingaraj and Ananta Vasudeva temples keeps a drop (bindu) of every holy river in it.

Khandagiri & Udayagiri, 8km from Bhubaneswar. These twin hills served as the site of an ancient Jain monastery which was carved into cave like chambers in the face of the hill. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, some of the caves have beautiful carvings. The Rani Gumpha (Queen's Cave), one of the largest and double-storied, is ornately embellished with beautiful carvings. In the Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave), King Kharavela has carved out the chronicles of his reign.

Mukteshwara Temple. Dating back to 10th century this temple marks an important transition point between the early and the later phases of the Kalinga architecture. The highlight is the magnificent torana - the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Odisha. This temple is considered to be the gem of Odishan architecture. The beautiful sculptures eloquently speak of the sense of proportion and perspective of the sculptor and their unique ability in the exact depiction of the minutest objects. Mukteswara means "Lord of freedom".

Rajarani Temple. This temple got its name from a red-gold sandstone used, which is called Rajarani locally. It has no presiding deity but many intricately carved figurines in various stages of daily chores.

Nandankanan Zoo, about 15km outside of Bhubaneswar (large numbers of buses ply from Acharya Vihar Square or by auto-rickshaw). The zoo has some rare species of animals and is particularly well known for white tigers. There is a nice lake inside for boating, a ropeway, also the Botanical Garden is adjacent to the zoo. Avoid visiting the park on weekends when it gets pretty crowded. Open 8 am - 5 pm. Every Monday closed.

Day 3: 10 June 2013 : Monday : Chilka Lake Day Trip

Nalabana – A designated bird sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, Nalabana is a big island in the center of the lake. A treat for bird-watchers in the winter months, this island is completely submerged in the monsoon months.
Mangalajodi – A former poachers village which has become a community owned wildlife venture. The community is supported by Mangalajodi Ecotourism.
Bird Island – watch birds in their natural habitat.
Kalijai Island – abode of Goddess Kalijai. Pilgrims flock here in January during Makar Mela (at the time of Makar Sankranti) to pay obeisance to the Goddess. Is very close from Barkul. Flocks of peacocks roam here, mingling with the devotees.
Legends say, around 2-300 years ago, a girl named Kali drowned, near the presently situated Kalijai Temple, while returning to her maternal house from her husband's. A few years later her sister, Jai, came looking for Kali and came to the island. She died on the island(reasons unknown). Fishermen and other local folks used to hear cries of two girls at nights. But soon after the temple was built the cries stopped for good. Earlier fishermen used to visit the temple before venturing into the deep sea, but nowadays, its just another tourist spot.

Satapada - Is close to Dolphin point, where the critically endangered Irrawady dolphins and occasionally, bottle-nosed dolphins can be seen. Chilka is one of the only 2 lagoons in the world where Irrawady dolphins can be seen.Brahmaputra - The place is known for its scenic beauty.

Breakfast Island - Is a 20 minutes boat ride from Rambha. Tourists pack breakfast from the OTDC panthanivas at Rambha and have it here in pristine surroundings. Beacon Island and Honeymoon Island are close by.

Day 4: 11 June 2013 : Tuesday : Puri beach

Golden Beach of Puri.
Shankaracharya's GOBARDHAN Pitha A Hindu Math
Swargadwar The Gateway to Heaven. Site of cremation of almost all famous Oriya people.
Shree Lokanath Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva, is said to be the place where Lord Shiva hid himself from Shani, under a pond. The Shiva Linga here is partially submerged and the pond is teeming with fish. Priests here tend to be very strict so do maintain etiquette.
Sunara Gaurang Temple
Bedi Hanuman Temple
Chakra Tirtha Temple
Mausima Temple
Shree Gundicha Temple Destination of Rath Yatra.

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Day 5: 19 June 2013 : Wednesday : Reach Kolkata at 8:30 AM


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I really enjoyed reading your blog post. :) Puri is part of the Char Dham pilgrimages and also one of the 7 holy Indian cities. When it comes to accommodation, Puri Hotels suits travellers with any budget.

Vivek Sen said...

Please detail on the OTDC booking contact for Puri Chilika day trip. Can it be booked on line including the OTDC Boat trip ? viveksen1101@gmail.com

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