It is also known as Jagannath Puri after the world renowned Jagannath Temple. It is one of the holiest cities of the Hindus. It is believed that a pilgrimage to all the temples of India is not complete unless one goes to Puri.
The town is famous for its many ‘Mathas’ or monasteries of various Hindu sects including Govardhana matha established by Adi Shankaracharya.
The economy of Puri is heavily dependant on tourism. The city is also known for stone sculptures, palm-leaf paintings, patta paintings, tassar paintings, pottery, papier-mache products, sand art and applique work.
Puri is also famous for its annual Rath Yatra or the Festival of Chariots during the month of July. The deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are brought out of the temple and placed in a chariot procession. Devotees throng to the temple to draw the chariots of their beloved deities and this makes for a wonderful sight.
This is the best time to visit Puri. The summer months are extremely hot and humid. Temperatures are mild during July and they dip slightly during winter. The months of November and December see warm days and cool nights.
Jagannath Temple – The present temple structure was built in the 12th century by the King Choda Ganga Deva. The temple was built over another structure that dated back to the 10th century. Until recently, the temple was covered with white plaster. It was called ‘White Pagoda’ by the sailors and used as a navigation point. Each year, scores of devotees visit the temple.
Puri Beach - Puri has a very long, broad sand beach. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Viewing the sunset and sunrise from here is a magical experience.
Chilika Lake - This is India's biggest inland lake. It is spread over 1,100 square kilometres and forms a big lagoon while joining the Bay of Bengal. It has many small islands including Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island and so on. Chilika Lake boasts of a rich variety of aquatic fauna. In winter, it is common to see migratory birds from as far as Siberia.
Puri Museum - Established in 1997, this museum is managed by the Government of Orissa. Different forms of Lord Jagannath, stunning sculptures, palm leaf paintings, and lovely handicrafts are on display here.