Travel to Konark Sun Temple and Puri

We planned for this travel sometime during Christmas vacation, but somehow I couldn’t wait and there was a great excuse as well. I was transitioning/moving from my current company to a newer company and I was on a notice period, so better utilize the time J

My father in law has taken an assignment in a sugar factory near Cuttack and we thought of using this trip to make it happy family meeting and visit to some well-known historical and religious places at one go. Though we covered many other places than Konark and Puri, I would restrict my writing in this blog only to the places above mentioned.

Due to distance, we decided to do train or air journey, and finally chose train as it was appropriate as per timings and we had no shortage of time. We were booked in Rajdhani to Cuttack and my father in law picked us from the station to his factory, which was some 100 Kms from Cuttack. It took us about 2 hours to reach factory-home. The total journey from Delhi to the factory took us a little over 24 hours.

I must mention here, the roads within Orissa surprised me with the great quality (especially those 1000 Kms we drove). Though some patches were narrow, but the tar quality was awesome. I don’t understand why we can’t have such roads in north (barring toll roads).

Next day we just relaxed at home and roam within the suburbs of Cuttack. It was scenic and lush green all over, with low height mountains, lakes, nice houses and plenty of water reservoirs. It was a perfect place for leisure living.

Second day morning 7 am we started from the factory for Konark and Puri. Konark was some 200 Kms from our place, but we had some temples to cover. My mother in law is a god believer and she requested to visit few temples, which were in between our way to Konark. Since it was hardly a detour, we all happily accepted and paid visit to those regional and less known deities. We reached Konark at about 12 pm and I agree, it paid us for all our long journey.

From October 25, 2012

Konark Sun Temple is said to be one of the oldest and most beautiful protected monument in country. The temple was built in 1250 AD by Orissa king Narsimhadeva to enshrine an image of Arka (the Sun), the main deity of the place. The temple was designed as a huge chariot with seven spirited horses and twelve huge wheels. This is an absolute marvel of Kalinga art.

From October 25, 2012

After spending good two hours in Konark Sun temple, we decided to move forward. Puri Dham (one of the four most important religious place for Hindus) is not very far from Konark. It took us about an hour to reach Puri from Konark and it was 4 pm already (btw, we spent some time in Konark for lunch and catching our first view of Bay of Bengal). Although we did not pre book any hotel, but it wasn’t tough to find accommodation there. A nice lodge lent us two nice airy rooms at about Rs 4000 for a night. We were anyways staying only overnight, so we didn’t mind. The lodge was pretty close to deity of Puri Dham.

From October 25, 2012

We decided to relax for couple of hours before we pay our visit to Puri temple. Finally we went for Darshan at 7 pm and it took us hardly 10 minutes get inside the Garbha Grih. Now here is the word of caution, the religious place is a house notorious panda’s and one has to be careful dealing with them. One of them took us to small room within the temple premise and forced us to pay him huge in order to get the blessings. Since we were well aware, we avoided that well within time and moved ahead. Such panda’s were there every meter, and they kept asking for donation in the name of god. Note: I am not calling them as priest as they don’t behave like.

From October 25, 2012

The temple complex is beautiful from inside, having many small temples, very similar to any other temple in India. The structure is inspired by Kalinga art, and it is the highest temple in Orissa from the sea level. Details of origin and legend can be obtained from shrine’s official website.

In the evening we had an early dinner and went to sleep as the day ahead was packed with action.

Chilka lake is world heritage water reserve span across over 10000 square Km area. We knew the place and were in our original itinerary since we decided to visit Orissa. Chilka is hardly 60-70 kms from Puri and therefore it was making perfect sense for us to visit the place. We woke up early and went sea beach in Puri, and came back at about 7 am. I must admit, these beaches of Bay of Bengal are full of red sands and it is impossible for anyone to enjoy swimming there. Also the beaches lack basic facilities such as changing room etc, it made no sense for us to even try swimming, but just for the sake of experiencing it, we just took quick bath, which resulted to more than an hour struggle to wash out the sand.

From October 25, 2012

Anyways, we finally started from Puri at 8 am and reached Chilka lake boarding point at about 9:30 am. There we had a quick breakfast and booked a three hour boat tour to cover dolphin point, and Chilka-Bay of Bengal merging point. I was amazed to see dolphins in Chilka, but couldn’t click any picture. My wife shooting video and thankfully she captured some fun moments of dolphins. Although it wasn’t like San Diego’s sea world dolphin experience, but I guess it is good enough to spot dolphin in Indian Lake At least.

From October 25, 2012

Chilka covers huge area, and it took us about an hour to reach to the place where it meets Bay of Bengal. It was amazing, lake merging to ocean. We spotted some rare species of red crabs, which where sensitive and quick to hide themselves I could manage to click few, and one of them is posted.

From October 25, 2012

This was tourist attraction and therefore some stalls of sea food were there. As thumb of rule, having sea food only at sea shores, there was a chance for me to enjoy such pure feast. My wife and mother in law are vegetarians, but thankfully by father in law is like me only. He never had crabs in his life, but because I insisted, he tried some, and liked it. We had fresh prawns there as well.

From October 25, 2012

And finally the most disasters part of the journey – although I don’t trust local jewel sellers, one just went to my wife and shown her the pearls being extracted from live oysters. This is the place where we were tricked and then the seller kept fooling us for huge bucks. We spent over Rs 5000 buying penny worth stuff and we only realized when we came back to the boating point. After enquiring about the genuinety of those pearls the, we realized we were tricked.

Well, it wasn’t that huge loss though, but it was a fresh loss, and therefore the lunch taste as good as it was. We finished our lunch at Chilka only and then headed back to the factory via Bhubaneswar at 2 pm.

There was one planned stop in between, Ling raj Temple near Bhubaneswar. This is another heritage and famous temple, consisting 108 smaller temples within the main temple premise. My wife and mother in law insisted paying visit, and there wasn’t any problem as it was perfectly on the way back. We paid a quick visit to the temple and the temple was worth visiting. It was a display of rich history of Kalinga state.

From October 25, 2012

By the time we reached to Bhubaneswar, it was 5 in the evening. Bhubaneswar is a beautiful and peaceful city. It is modern and very well planned, and therefore it wasn’t much of hassle for us to cross the city, although it took us good one hour, due to spread.

Finally we were factory-home by 8 pm with couple of breaks, a short traffic jam and due to evening traffic snarls. Next day was leisure and next to next was a return from Cuttack by Rajdhani.


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