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Culture, history and beachlife meet at Puri
The coastal city of Puri lies on India’s Bay of Bengal in the state of Odisha, less than two hour’s drive south of the state capital Bhubaneswar. A renowned tourist destination, Puri is known for its cultural and spiritual elements as well as picturesque scenery and fantastic beaches. Thus the city is a popular destination with both domestic and international tourists and it’s busy events calendar ensures Puri has much to offer throughout the year.
An array of transport options to access the city
Puri is an easily accessible city, well connected by a variety of public transport links and a direct highway to Bhubaneswar and its Biju Patnaik International Airport. Trains are a primary choice for many visiting from further afield, there are direct trains as far as Delhi and Kolkata, plus changing in Bhubaneswar provides even more options. Arriving at the train station in Puri positions visitors directly in the city centre, just a kilometre from the beach. The area around the station contains dozens of accommodation options, allowing convenient access to trains and the city centre. In terms of getting around Puri there are several local bus lines serving all areas of Puri and its surroundings, plus there are always an array of rickshaw taxis to be found which offer a more comfortable ride. In addition, walking along the beach is a fantastic way to experience the local atmosphere in a calmer environment than along the city streets.
Historically cultural city with a busy festival calendar
The history of Puri stretches back over two thousand years and there are temples and architecture still standing in the city that were built in the twelfth century. Thus Puri clearly has a strong historical focus and much of this is around Hinduism; thousands of pilgrims come from all across India to visit some of the most holy and sacred sites around the city. Shree Jagannath Temple is a very significant Hindu temple and is also the most distinctive structure in Puri, therefore many international visitors head here for photo opportunities. The temple is also the starting place of the world famous Rath Yatra Festival which occurs around June or July. Moreover, there are dozens of religious festivals throughout the year taking place on the streets of Puri, thus it is not uncommon to unexpectedly stumble across exciting, loud and colourful festivities. Other notable temples in the city include Shree Lokanath and Shree Gundicha, plus many other smaller structures which can be seen when exploring central Puri. Indeed, much of the historic buildings in the city can be found within a short bus ride or stroll from any hotel in Puri.
The long sandy stretch of Golden Beach
Aside from the religious and festival attractions, the other main focus of Puri is its beach. Referred to as Golden Beach, the stretch of coastline which forms the southern edge of Puri is a wide space of golden sands and sizeable waves. Swimming is possible but the waves are often too large and thus it suits surfers better and as a result surfing is a big draw to the area. There are an array of hotels lining the beach stretching several kilometres in each direction and it is more than feasible to find a suitable hotel within seconds of the ocean. Further along the coastline westbound is where most of the larger properties are located, in the area known as New Marine Drive Road. Here visitors can also find many new structures housing modern international style hotels, plus a variety of international cuisine and bars. However, there are also an assortment of small, family-run properties which can provide a more unique stay in Puri. Golden Beach also contains many market stalls and local eateries which are always full with domestic tourists and locals enjoying the delights, thus the beach can also be an excellent spot to people watch as well as soaking up the sunshine.
An abundance of culinary options, local and international
As with many tourist destinations in India, market stalls and street food are major elements of the culture and Puri is no exception. Aside from the stalls along Golden Beach, there are many bazaars and street markets to be found across the city which can offer unique and exotic selections. In terms of cuisine, there are dozens of vegetarian restaurants across Puri, fitting with local tastes and customs. There is also a significant Chinese influence on some of the local dishes in this region of India, which presents a blend of tastes waiting to be sampled. International cuisine is also easy to find in Puri as there are a large number of visitors from across the globe, creating the necessary demand. Many of the international chain hotels contain in-house restaurants which quite often offer a mix of Indian and global dining options. Puri is also famous for its arts and crafts which can be found in multiple street markets and beach stalls.