Puri is widely known for the Jagannath Rath Yatra where the statues of the three deities are taken around on decorated chariots. The making and decorating of the chariots start way before and is a very detailed process to witness.
Thirty five kilometer from Jagannath Temple is one of the most beautifully built monuments with a spiritual signiﬁcance, the Konark Temple. Konark comes from the words Kona & Arka where Kona means corner and Arka signiﬁes the Sun. While the sailors called the Jagannath Temple the ‘White Pagoda’, this one was referred to as the ‘Black Pagoda’. It is believed that Lord Krishna’s son suffered from leprosy after being cursed. He spent 12 years with the illness and one day while he was at the river in Konark, he seemed to have pleased Surya Dev (the Sun God. As he took a dip in the holy waters, his disease was cured. Having seen God so closely and felt the divine presence, he decided to get the temple built. The temple is in the shape of a chariot, with seven horses, twelve wheels, across heavens.
Puri is home to several historically and religiously significant temples like Sakshi Gopal Temple, Gundicha Temple, Lakshmi Temple, Loknath Temple, Alarnath Temple, Mausi Maa Temple, Sonar Gaurang Temple etc.
International Sand Arts Festival is held in December, which takes place at the Chandrabhgha Beach, 3 Km from Konark. It brings all art lovers together. Artists from all around come and make beautiful and massive sand sculptures. A tourist would also see a lot of wood, stone and bronze carvings made by the very skilled artists.
Amongst all things, the wildlife attracts a lot of people to the state. The Balukhand Wildlife Sanctuary somewhere between Puri and Konark is home to the almost extinct black bucks and spotted deers. Various kinds of animals like monkey, squirrel, jungle cat, hyena, jackal, mongoose etc can be spotted here. In addition to them, also find variety of birds, reptiles and the Olive Ridley Turtles. These beautiful little creatures from the water world come to the shores of Odisha every year in November to lay eggs. They arrive in millions overnight in November and eggs are laid during February, sometime around April the magic takes place and one can see dotted little creatures walking on the white sands. The entire zone is eco sensitive. Two rivers ﬂow through the sanctuary. A visitor is bound to ﬁnd a large variety of flora and fauna.
Although, it’s the temples that the pilgrims visit Puri and Konark for, the shore line is what attracts the tourists with wanderlust! The roaring waves of the Bay of Bengal and the white sands make Puri Beach a popular spot to be at. The devotees come here to take a dip in the holy waters, while one would see families, couples and backpackers relaxing or taking a stroll. The waters are rough, which also makes it ‘surf’ friendly! A trip to Puri is incomplete if a tourist hasn’t spent a day listening to the waves, and watching the sky do its magic in solitude.
A traveler touring Puri doesn’t fail to visit Chilika Lake, Asia’s biggest lagoon with opportunity to spot Dolphins during boat cruise. One of the places to visit in Puri is definitely Raghurajpur, a village for practicing heritage of artistic activities. The families of the artists can be seen working on ‘pattachitra’, palm leaf etching, stone & wood carvings, paintings, and performing arts.