Monday, July 22, 2024

Tourism      Beaches      Orissa     Puri    

Puri Beach

Place : Puri, Orissa
Highlight : Puri Beach Festival held here
Best time to visit : Puri has a moderate climate and can be visited throughout the year.
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The sands of the famous Puri beach occupy a special place in the lives of the Orissans. Situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal in Orissa, Puri beach is one among the most important sacred spots for Hindus and also a popular tourist resort. 

Puri, famous for the temple of Lord Jagannath, is one of the four 'dhams' of the Hindus along with Varanasi, Dwaraka and Rameshwaram. The temple of Lord Jagannath here is a colossal one and is famous for its car festival. 

The long sandy Puri beach is picturesque and the water is shallow, offering excellent bathing facilities. .     

For centuries now, the beach has been the venue for countless pilgrims taking the traditional purification dip as it is believed that taking a holy dip in the waters will wash away one's sins. Hindus consider the water of Puri as sacred due to the presence of Lord Jagannath. It is also a special haunt of both Indian and foreign tourists especially during the annual Puri beach Festival that is usually held in early November

The annual 5 day Puri beach festival is held 5th-9th November every year. Cultural and traditional feasts presented during these days are a treat to watch due to the variety of the programmes held. A firework competition is also conducted during this festival. 

The usually secluded beach become crowded on occasions such as the beach festival as well as on 'Kartik Purnima' (the full moon day of the lunar month of Kartik). Hindus consider this day as auspicious and they gather at the beach  in the early morning for taking a dip in the sea and pray to Lord Jagganath. 

The sunrise and the sunsets, and the local fishermen wearing wide brimmed cane hats with their catamarans are a welcome sight for the tourists. A ride on their boats is a dare devil experience. Since these fishermen are also good lifeguards, the risk during sail is minimum. Women in their traditional dress line the beach selling shell, wood and bamboo artifacts. Sometimes, amazing sand sculptures made by professional artists can also be seen on the beach. It is pleasant to take a stroll along the beach and to the nearby fishing villages along the coast. 

There are restaurants and shacks which offer fresh sea food dishes, and also several beach facing hotels and guest houses for stay near by. Due to the expansion of the surrounding commercial set ups, the conservation of the beach is not up to the mark in some areas. But, overall the beach is an ideal place to spend a holiday for its beauty as well as its religious sanctity.