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Places to visit near Puri

Discussion in 'East India' started by Samar, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. Samar

    Samar New Member

    I going to the Jagannath Temple in Puri, I would also be visiting other temples in the area as well. I would like to take my family to some other places as well, and it would be great if it were near Puri.

    We would not have many days, maybe a maximum of 5 days and I would prefer if it was some different kind of place to visit other than just a place of temples.
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Samar! Welcome to the forum!

    Here are some places you can visit near Puri:

    Places to Visit Under 100 Kilometres Away from Puri

    1. Konark - This is a town in the Puri district of Odisha. It is about 35 kms from the state capital, Bhubaneswar. It is just about 35.4 kms away from Puri. This is where the Sun Temple, a World Heritage Site, can be found. It is also the host for the annual Konark Dance Festival, held every December and features the classical Indian dances of the country. Aside from its numerous temples, the town has other attractions like the following:

    • Chandrabhaga Beach - This is located about three kilometres east of the Sun Temple. Under mythology, this is where Shamba, Krishna's son, worshipped the Sun God, Surya, for cure for his leper. The location is at the river mouth of the Chandrabhaga. Another story goes that this is where Chandrabhag committed suicide to protect her chastity from the Sun God, Surya. Chandrabhag was the daughter of a sage and her magical charm caught the attention of Surya. So the God went down and asked her hand for he fell in love. Chandrabhag refused and so the God chased her until she fell into the river to protect her chastity. Every year, on the 7th day of the full moon fortnight of Magha month, locals and tourists alike gather and take a holy dip in the river that is reduced to a shallow pool, offer their prayers to the Sun God.
    • Ramchandi Beach - This is located about seven kilometres from Konark. It is at the confluence of Bay of Bengal and Kusabhadra River. Nearby the beach is the Ramchandi Temple. The beach is named after Goddess Ramchandi, who is also the presiding deity of the nearby temple. Due to its location, the beach is secluded and unspoilt making it a great offbeat beach destination. It has golden sands and the shores are lined with palm trees. There are also tons of water sports that you can enjoy here like water skiing, surfing and jet skiing. Boating is another preferred activity by tourists here. There are numerous restaurants and beach shacks around the beach as well. However, accommodations are sparse and you might need to go to the city proper to find them.
    • Archeological Survey of India Museum - This museum houses the artefacts obtained from the Sun Temple in Konark. It has about 4 galleries, displaying about 260 items obtained from the temple. The first gallery has the images of Surya, marriage scenes and even the forms of Vishnu. The second gallery has cult objects like dikpals and celestial nymphs, the head of the crocodile in gigantic nature, the flora and fauna carved on stone and the drummer. The third gallery has celestial nymphs, image of Surya Narayana, Gaja-Vyala, the king and his troop. The fourth gallery has a roaring lion, man tied by the elephant trunk, crocodile head meant for pranala in the temple, part of a Surya image and king witnessing dance performance, couples, salabhanjikas, elephants on pilaster, scroll works and swans taking the garland.
    2. Bhubaneswar - This the capital of Odisha, which is about 61 kms from Puri. It is sometimes referred to as the Temple City of India, owing to the huge number of temples in the city. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Tourism is also a major industry in the city. Here are some of the attractions of the city, aside from the temples:

    • Nandankanan Zoological Park - This park was established in the 1960s but was only opened to the public in 1979. Nandankanan means Garden of Heavens. At first, the park was a simple botanical garden with some wildlife like deers, squirrels and birds. In 1964, other animals like a tiger, African lions, crocodiles and a puma was relocated into the park. In 1981, the park was named Nandankanan Zoological Park. There is a total of 1,660 individual animals here with about 166 species. Mammals comprise 67 species, birds have about 81 species and reptiles have about 18 species. The zoo was the first in the country to successfully breed pangolin, an endangered animal species. There are about 10 pangolins in the park now.
    • Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary - This was established as an elephant reserve in 1982. Aside from the Indian elephants, you can also find leopards, chitals, barking deers, mouse deers, rhesus monkeys, hyenas, pangolins and Indian wolves here. After 40 years, evidence of pug marks of a tigress and her cub have been found here as well. The sanctuary is also home to a large number of bird species like peafowls, red jungle fowls, black-headed orioles and many more.
    • Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves - These caves are partly natural and partly artificial. They are named after their locations in two hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. The existing caves in Udayagiri are about 18 in number while the existing caves in Khandagiri are about 15 in number. In Udayagiri Hill, the most famous cave is the Rani Gumpha. This cave has two storeys and has sculptures of wild animals, fruit laden trees, human figures, women playing musical instruments, monkeys and playful elephants. The caves in Khandagiri are considered less intricate and not as maintained as the caves in Udayagiri. One of the caves here called the Ananta Gumpha has sculptures of women, elephants and geese.
    • Sisupalgarh - This is the largest and most well-preserved fortification in the country. According to archaeologists, the fortification can be traced back to the 3rd to 5th centuries. One of the unique features of the fort is that it probably has about 20,000 people at its time. This number is significant because Athens only had about 10,000 people during its time. The excavations in the area are 18 stone pillars, pottery, terracotta ornaments and bangles, finger rings, ear spools and pendants made of clay.
    • Museum of Tribal Arts and Artefacts - This museum was established in 1953. The museum mainly depicts the lives of the Bonda, Lanjia Saora and Santhal tribes. You can find tribal weaponry, tribal arts, tribal homewares and other informative artefacts about them. Another unique feature of the museum is its gallery of tribal homes, where the tribes used to live.
    • Orissa State Museum - This was established in 1932 by Professor NC Banerjee and Professor Ghanshyam Dash. The museum has 9 sections housing artefacts like weaponry, sculptures and manuscripts. One of the museum's most prized possession is the old palm leaf manuscript dating back to the 1960s. The famous Oriya social reformer, Late Utkal Gaurava Madhusudan Das, also has a personal gun displayed here. There are also thousands of years old fossils on display here.
    • Regional Museum of Natural History - This museum was established in 2004. It displays the plants, animals and geology of the eastern part of the country along with the Andaman islands. One of most unique items shown here is the skeleton of the baleen whale, which is the largest of its kind in any museum in the country.
    • Regional Science Centre - This was established in 1989. It has different sections like Mathematics, Motion, Fun Science, Popular Science Gallery, Science Park and Prehistoric Life Park. Unlike other museums, the exhibits here are fun and interactional. The park inside the museum premises has three dimensional exhibits as well. They also have daily light and sound shows that are very informational.
    • Pathani Samanta Planetarium - This planetarium was named after Samanta Chandra Sekhar Mahapatra, a famous Odia astrologer, who was also known as Pathani Samanta. He made observations and research on movement of stars and planets in the sky for years. Because of this, he was able to define formulas for complex astrological problems. He also made astrological instruments using simple tools such as bamboo. The planetarium conducts four daily shows, two in Odia, one in English and another one in Hindi.
    • Ekamra Kanan - This was established in 1985 and built over 500 acres of land. The park is built around a glass pyramidal house. This house has over 1,000 species of cacti, which makes it the largest of its kind in Asia. The park also has a small children's play area where it has swings, slides and other dry rides for kids. There's a small fountain in one section of the park as well. There's also a lake with boating facilities within the park premises. During January, an annual flower show is conducted with a plant bazaar where saplings and seedlings are sold.
    • Biju Patnaik Park - This is also known as Forest Park. It was renamed after the Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik. There's a small children's play area, lake and a musical fountain within the park premises. It's also a popular jogging area every morning for the locals. Boating facilities are also available for the lake.
    • Indira Gandhi Park - Historically, this park is important because this is where Indira Gandhi delivered her last speech. Now, the park is popular for its well-manicured lawns and beautiful gardens. The rose garden inside the park is another attraction that tourists enjoy. There are many small stalls selling snacks around the area as well. The presence of musical fountains, waterfalls and lush greenery are all in all a good escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
    Bodies of Water
    • Bindu Sarovara - This is also known as Ocean Drop Tank. According to mythology, this lake was created by Lord Shiva from other holy places as a means to quench Goddess Parvati's thirst. Hence, devotees believe that a drink from the holy lake can wash away one's sins. This is also the venue for the annual bathing of the Lord Lingaraj during the Ashokastami Festival. During this day, the shivalingam of the Lingaraja Temple is taken to the Bindu Sagar Lake for the ritualistic bathing.
    • Badaghagara and Sanaghagara Waterfalls - The Badaghagara Waterfall is about is 200 feet high and has 1 drop. It falls into the Ghagra River, a tributary of the Baitarani River. In contrast, the Sanaghagara Water fall is about 100 feet high and has 2 drops. These falls are located at about three kilometres away from each other.
    • Khandadhar Waterfalls - This is the 12th highest waterfall in the country, at a height of about 801 feet. It is a perennial horse tail type of waterfall with one drop. The story goes that there was once a Goddess by the name of Kankala Devi who lived in Sundagarh. She consumed everything there is be it soil or trees. The Phauri Bhuiya placed her on a rock and she consumed that as well. This created a hole in her from which the Khandadhar Waterfalls poured out.
    3. Cuttack - This was the former capital of Odisha and its second largest city. Its name was derived from Katak, which means Fort, owing to the Barabati Fort which the city was built around. It is also known as the Judicial Capital of Odisha. It is about 86 kms away from Puri. Here are some of the main attractions of the city:

    • Barabati Fort - This is located about 8 kms away from the city centre of Cuttack. It is believed that the Ganga dynasty built the fort in the 14th century. It is not sure though who really built it. Some scholars say that it was King Bhima Parichha or Anangabhima II who built the fort upon seeing a heron jump on a hawk. He left Chaudwar and made Cuttack his capital. Still, other scholars believe that it was Anangabhima Deva (1189 to 1223 AD) in the 13th year of his reign who built this fort. The fort is now in ruins and all that remains are an arched gateway and the earthen mound of the nine-storeyed palace.
    • Stone Revetments - This was built by the Keshari Kings in the 11th century. It is situated on the banks of the Mahanandi River. It is both an architectural wonder and technological advancement at that time as it served to protect the people from the floods caused by the river. Specifically, it was built by King Marakata Keshari.
    • Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary - This sanctuary has over 60 species of mangroves, more than the Sunderbans, which is the largest mangrove forest in the country. It is also the oldest bird sanctuary in Odisha. The eight varieties of kingfisher can be spotted here. The largest population of the endangered saltwater crocodiles can also be found here. You can also spot other species of animals like wild boars, hyenas, spotted deers, wild cats and jungle fowls.
    • Netaji Birth Place Museum - This is an ancestral home converted into a museum, which was owned by Janakinath, the father of Netaji. Hence, the other name of the museum is Janakinath Bhawan. Netaji lived in this house with his eight brothers and six sisters, along with their parents. The living room of the house displays photographs of Netaji and his siblings. You can also see the furnitures used by the family during their lifetime. There's a library section showcasing the letters written by Netaji himself along with biographical books about him.
    So there you go, these are all the nearest places to Puri. Others are over 100 kms in distance so I didn't include them as you only have 5 days as you have said. These places do have temples as well but it also has many other attractions aside from those. I hope this helps!

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