four prime places of religious importance with His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya as its head of which the Puri City of India is one. It is a primitive cultural city famous for the Temple of Lord Jagannath and the lovely sea beach of The Bay Of Bengal, the whistling beauty of which attracts visitors from all over the world. It is a common belief among the Hindus world wide that whatever religious treasure they have accumulated can only be activated if they have a darshan(glimpse) of Lord Jagannath. This is the reason for which lacks of Hindu devotees throng inside the city every month even if no festive season is there.
The most famous and populous festival of the year is The Car Festival or Rathayatra spanning over nine to ten days attracting forty to fifty lakhs of people to the City during this period. Three chariots of three different sizes of huge dimension and traditional specification originate from the Singhdwar to The Gundicha Temple at more than a kilo meter distance as its destination. The Trinity of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra- His Elder Brother and Sibbling Goddess Subhadra are taken inside the respective chariots with much pump and ceremony and religious fervor which every one can experience. Over a period of time, this car festival has assumed so much craze all over the world that Jagannath Temples have been built in countries like America and England And car festivals held there every year.
In addition to these two occasions, there are scores of other occasions of religious importance with periodic big occasions such as Nabakalebar & Gobinda Dwadasi which fall at an interval of twelve years & forty to fortyfive years respectively. On these special occasions, the gatherings are still more & the attendance touches 19 to 20 lacks.
It is admitted by people around the world that The Temple of Lord Jagannath is the biggest hotel anywhere around a lack of people visiting the temple every week throughout the year get a full meal each from the temple which they purchase as Prasad or offering of the Lord. The Prasad as served has good taste, varieties of vegetarian recipes for all day around for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Altogether, sixty-four kinds of Prasadas are cooked four times a day to cater for the hunger & taste of pilgrims. The food you get here are low in fat & rich in carbohydrates and at a very competitive rate to drive away devotees from hotels & restaurants.
The City of Puri is a land where nobody will die for want of food as there is provision from the Temple administration for distribution of free Prasad, a facility which hundreds of men & women irrespective of caste, creed, sex and religion can avail.
Where to stay
Lodging facilities to suit every pocket are available here which include: free accommodation, nominal cost staying facilities, moderate and premium cost staying facilities.
Free staying facilities:
During festive seasons when unusual rush is apprehended, the government constructs shades to temporarily house pilgrims.
Various religious and charitable organizations have philanthropic measures which include free lodging and boarding facilities.
We find a number of Mathas scattered all over the City to house pilgrims. These Mathas have been built by rich people of India from time immemorial and continue to serve the pilgrims in no mean measure.
Nominal cost staying facilities:
Puri has a good number of Dharmasalas or charitable lodges by rich philanthropists of India charging their maintenance costs from pilgrims only and these institutions run on no-profit-and-no-loss-basis. Some excellent Dharmasalas are:
|1. Doodwala Dharmasala
2. Bagadia Dharmasala
Some Mathas charging just their maintenance are:
1. Emar Math, Singhdwar, Puri
2. Giri Swamy Matha
3. Bada Odia Math
4. Punjabi Matha
5. Bada Chhata Matha
6. Sana Chhata Matha
7. Chhauni Matha
8. Gobardhan Matha
9. Jagannatha Ballav Matha
10. Raghava Das Matha
11. Ganga Mata Matha
12. Radhakanta Matha
13. Uttar parswa Matha
Many religious organizations at Swargadwar, Puri and near by have free or nominal lodging and boarding facilities, such as:
1. Bharata Seva Srama Sangh
2. Jai Guru Trust
Low Budget Lodges:
1. Kali Bari at sea Beach
2. Youth Hostel
3. Holiday Homes of public sector undertakings
4. Pantha Nivas run by Government of Orissa
Low budget Hotels:
1. Sree Ram Hotel, Hospital Square, Puri
2. Nilachal Hotel, Grand Road , Puri
3. Jyoti Hotel, Grand Road , Puri
4. Paradise Hotel, Grand Road , Puri
Lodging houses at Grand Road and Sea Beach are too many to name.
Standard Tariff Hotels:
1. Puri Hotel at Sea Beach, Puri
2. Hotel Sri Hari at Sea Beach, Puri
3. Victoria Hotel at Sea Beach, Puri
1. May Fair Hotel at Sea Beach, Puri
2. Prachi Hotel at Sea Beach, Puri
3. SER Hotel at Sea Beach, Puri
4. Puri at Sea Beach, Puri
Railway Retiring Rooms:
A/C and Non-A/C rooms at railway rates are available at Puri Railway Station
Tourism Office of Government:
Available at Station Road, Puri
Railway Reservation Counter:
1. At Railway Station
2. At Grand Road, Puri
1. SBI has branches as Badasankha, Temple Road Evening Branch opposite Lord Jagannatha Temple, Station Bazar, Main Branch at Charya Harihara Square, Puri.
2. Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank have branches at Hospital Square.
3. Central Bank Of India has its branch at Srikrushna Cinema Lane, Bada Danda, Puri
4. UCO. Bank branch is at Grand Road, Puri
5. Axis Bank and ICICI Bank branches are situated at Balagandi, Puri
6. Besides, almost all national and regional banks have their branches at Puri
SBI has ATMs at Puri Railway Station, at Main Branch, at Raja Nahar, at Hospital Square, at Gundicha Temple, etc.
Other nationalized and private banks have their ATMs at convenient locations. Some of these banks are:- Punjab National Bank, AXIS Bank, ICICI Bank, Canara Bank.
The Head Post Office is at Mochi Sahi, Kachery Road, Puri
Sub-Post Offices exist in almost all localities.
Puri Head Quarters Hospital, Badasankha, Puri.
Infectious Disease Hospital, Red Cross Road, Puri.
Municipality Hospital, Dola Bedi Corner, Puri.
The Temple Of Lord Jagannath
One should slowly move about and see thousands of gods and religious places inside the Temple.
The temple has four gates:- eastern, western, southern and northern gates for entry and exit purposes.
Places of interest at Puri
Puri being a place of deep religious importance is filled with places of worship and religious attainment far and wide. Some places of tourists’ interest are:
Indra Dyumn Sarovar
Sweta Ganga Sarovar
Deba Snana Mandapa
Sevayats (Priests)of Lord Jagannath
The story of the City of Puri will be incomplete without a paragraph on the Sevayats of Lord Jagannath who are the earliest inhabitants of the place. They are Adi Aryas migrated to the City after the Completion of the Great Temple to carry on the services of the Lord.
After the temple was complete in all respects, search was on to find out the best Brahmin Pundits from all over India and from Hindu Lands. Now we find about 30000 of them in service of the Lord and they are called Puri Brahmins or Utkali Brahmins and respected by Hindus all over the world as their religious Gurus.
The Sevayats have been regrouped as thirty-six types depending upon the type of worships they perform. The most prominent among them are seven categories of Puri Brahmins which include Mekap, Pratihari, Khuntia, Pujapanda, Mudirastha, Taluchha and Bhitarachha perhaps in that order. All the seven categories are rich people and have the lion`s share of duties of the Sevayats.
Infrastructure & communication
Puri is well communicated with Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa situated at a distance of 81 kilo meters only.
The road condition of Puri is one of the best in India and national highway extends up to the heart of the City.
Every 10 minutes there is a bus to Bhubaneswar from 4.30 am to 9.30 pm.
Train services are available from 4.30 am to 11.30 pm and broad gauge electric train services are available to almost all the state capitals of the country.
Intercity communication facilities include auto-rickshaw, three wheeler cycle rickshaw and town bus system at a very cheap rate.
Tourist luxury and semi-luxury bus services are available to nearby tourism destinations of Chilika Lake, Konark Temple, etc. from the sea beach.
What to eat
Puri is a cosmopolitan City and foods of all tastes and of all places of the country and of a few foreign countries of the world is available here.
Food is very cheap and food stalls and shops are rampant here.
Milk, cheese, curd, butter and other milk products are abundantly available here.
Laxmi Talkies, Sri Krishna Talkies and Janata Cinema have some standard while a couple of sub-standard cinema halls are there.
Annapurna Theatre at Grand Road is the oldest of its kind in the state and dramas are often staged there.
Pint sized malls of the likes of Bazaar Kolkata, Vishal Garments and a few more standard rate shops exist here.
Ladies items shops and shops of tourists interest are many where a visitor bargains for the best, competitive rate.
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