When talk about weekend trips and short vacays come up, a favourite destination is Puri, the beach town in Odisha with its own quirky vibe. From its grand old temples to the lush coastline, here’s our guide to exploring Puri in 48 hours.
Eat, Pray, Shop: Here's Our Guide To A Weekend In Puri
Begin At The Beach
Nothing beckons us more to Puri than the amazing coast of frothy waves and yellow sand. For the best view, hit the beach at dawn around 4 am and watch the radiant glows of red, orange and yellow bleed across the sea as the sun climbs above the horizon. You may see people flying kites on the beach, or stumble across one of those sand sculptures that Puri is famous for,
Seek The Blessings
One of the oldest cities of ancient India, Puri’s grand old Jagannath Temple remains one of the principle attractions. Built in the 11th century by Chodaganga, the ruler of Kalinga, this temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath and is known to draw visitors from all around the world. Even if you are not religious, you must check out the ancient structure and the intricate sculptures and artwork that adorns it.
Handloom Weaves & Delicious Treats
Whether you’re a shopper or not, visit the main market of Puri near the temple quarters to check out (or splurge on) traditional Odisha ikat and kotki handloom. From kurtas to sarees, stoles and even cloth materials — you’ll find them in cotton as well as in silk. Another great buy are the umbrellas and lampshades with the local pipli applique styles in vibrant colours The other must-buy thing when exploring the market is of course Puri’s special sweets, gaja or khaja. The long elliptical deep-fried sweets are bought in kilos by most are are best bought at Kakatua or at Ganguram.
Find Some Folk Art
Of the few hours of your stay in Puri some must definitely be spent at the heritage craft village of Raghurajpur. Just 15 km away from the main city, Raghurrajpur is Puri’s best kept secret where you’ll be lost in a world of art and colour. Home to a handful of local craftsmen who are preserving and creating the ancient art of pat (scroll paintings on leaves and canvas), this village is lined with small houses that bear beautiful murals and artworks. You’ll also find crafts families who have been working for generations on the traditional artwork of palm leaf engravings and tussar painting with motifs borrowed from mythology.
Visit The Historical Ruins
Wrap up your stay with a visit to the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark. Though mostly in ruins now, this UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its magnificent carvings and ancient architecture. This temple, once modelled as a chariot drawn by seven horses, is still admired for the intricate wheels and the erotic figures that adorn the walls. Facing east, this temple is vest viewed during sunrise when the sun’s rays cast mesmerising hues.
If road trips give you a high, then you can drive down to Puri from Kolkata. It takes no more than ten hours to cover the 500 km distance. The easiest and best mode of transport is by train.
When in Puri, whether in sun or in shade, be sure to apply enough sunblock, and don’t forget to carry your sandals and sunglasses. Nirman’s Homestay with its kitchy cool and artsy vibe makes for a peaceful budget stay that's near the beach. Alternately, you can check out resorts like Pride Ananya or Holiday Resort for a more luxurious set up.