Updated: Jan 18, 2020
One of the char (4) dhams as per Hindu culture, Puri is regarded as one of the holiest places in India. Thousands of people flock into this place every day and millions gather during the Puri Rath Yatra which is a testament of the blind and succumbing devotion from the Hindus.
I had a mixed feeling when I visited this place in November 2019. It was hot, crowded, and vivid. The utter & complete devotion of the crowd which compels them to travel to Puri left me speechless.
I never originally planned to visit Puri. Sure, Odisha has a lot of beautiful places to see but for me, it wasn't Puri. After my mom played her old age card and the necessity to visit at least one of the char dhams, I decided to plan for it. 😒
Mind you, we couldn't visit each and every attraction or temple there. It was too hot and tiring to walk on the roads. I will try to include those attractions too, which I couldn't visit so that you don't miss it on your visit. 😉
Reach Puri early morning
The most relaxed way to reach Puri is by taking a night train. Puri is well connected with most of the major railway stations across India and it's a 90 minutes journey from Bhubaneswar International airport.
Recommendation 1 - There are numerous trains to choose from.
Puri Express (12837), leaves every day at 10.30 PM from Howrah station and arrives in Puri by 7.30 AM.
From Bhubaneswar or Cuttack, one can simply take cab/auto or buses which are running on a daily basis. Book bus tickets from - OSRTC Website
Day One - Relax
Once you reach Puri railway station, take an auto or jeep for your hotel which would cost around 200-250 ₹ depending on the distance to the hotel. Bargain for a good rate is a must.
Reach your hotel, do the check-in, clean yourself up and rest for 2 hours.
Recommendation 2 - Try to stay at a walkable distance from Puri Beach. The view is great and there are so many shops and stalls around for your evening stroll. 😇
Check out the recommended hotels below.
After your power nap, go out in any of those lunch stalls nearby to have vegetarian or non-vegetarian thali. These stalls are in abundance everywhere and a regular veg thali would cost approximately 50-80 ₹ depending on the location and hygiene maintained. If you would prefer not to go out in the hot afternoon, order food online through Zomato or Swiggy. Both work well and have a number of restaurants for you to choose from. A regular veg/non-veg lunch would cost around 500 ₹ from a decent restaurant for 2-3 people.
Suggested Read - A day in Hesaraghatta Lake..... OR just Hesaraghatta?
Around 4.30 PM, walk towards the Puri Beach aka Swaragdwar Beach to take a dive and roll around with the huge waves that crash towards you.
After swishing in the sea, one can relax in one of the many chairs kept on the beach (costs around 20 ₹ an hour) to witness the marvelous sunset. If you are up for shopping and gorging on some street food, come again at 7 PM to see the beach filled with a plethora of colorful stalls and lightings.😃
Day Two - Konark & Bhubaneswar
Your hotel would usually have connections with local tours & travel agencies. Check with them how much they charge for a one day trip to Konark & Bhubaneshwar. You would have to clarify upfront the number of people, AC/non-AC car, and the sights you would like to visit. For 6 people, we booked a 6-seater AC car which costs 2500 ₹, roughly 600 ₹ per person.
Try to start the day as early as possible. Maybe around 8 AM after breakfast. A route starting from Puri->Konark->Bhubaneswar->Puri would be a nice plan.
After 15 minutes of the ride, you will come across the Sudam Sand Art Museum. During his childhood, Sudam Pradhan materialized his dream by creating tiny Sand Arts at the river bed of Jeera close to his village. Over the years, he went on to win 47 international awards for his incredible sand art skill and mastery. The Museum stands as a representation of the pride and love Odisha has towards this humble man.
The ticket price is 40 ₹ per person.
On the way towards Konark, we witnessed the devastation that occurred due to cyclone Fani last year. Hundreds of trees fallen on the roadside, sand domes on both sides of the road due to the waves crashing over the road. One can only imagine what might have actually occurred during that devastating phase. It would be a sight wrapped in your mind for a long time to come.
Odisha and especially its coastal areas are prone to cyclone every year during monsoon. The impact this time was an all-time high. It uprooted the greenery everywhere. Hence, the local Govt. is recreating its forest and the green barricade called "Hentalban" to fight the windy sea.
Coming back to your itinerary, tell your driver to stop at Marine Drive. The seashore is beautiful and worth spending a few minutes.
Next on the way would be Chandrabhaga Beach, a stunningly beautiful and pristine beach. The sun might be in full force when you reach here. Do not stay out for too long. Usually, this beach is famous for witnessing the sunset.
The final place in Konark is the Konark Sun temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take your ticket from the ticket counter (tricky to find, keep checking towards your left) which would cost around 40 bucks. The wheels of the temple are sundials that were used to calculate time accurately to a minute including day and night. Marvelous, isn't it? Entry inside the temple is not allowed due to the delicate structure which is barely holding up. The stonework here is marvelous hence is also called as Black Pagoda of the world.