While we know Puri mainly for the #RathaJatra , #Jagannath Temple, and Konark, the place has many other worth watching sights too. Being Odisha's cultural center, it's a treasure trove of art, heritage and history.
Puri has what is called as the Pancha Thirtha, the 5 sacred tanks, which makes the pilgrimage complete. The Pancha Thirtha are Indradyumna, Rohini, Markandeya, Swetaganga and Mahodadhi which is basically the Sea itself.
Indradyumna Tank is located near Gundicha Ghar, where the deities are taken to during the #RathaJatra. Named after the legendary king of Puri, it is believed to have been formed by trodding of 1000s of cows which the King donated to Brahmins after the Asvamedha Yagna.
Rohini Kunda is located within Jagganatha Temple complex right near Vimala Temple. It is considered the abode of Narayana himself. Vimala Temple is one of the Shakti Peethas too. It's believed that Krishna appeared to Jara in a dream and said he would be appearing as a log.
Markandeya Tank is located near to Markandeswara Temple, and is considered the starting point of the pilgrimage to Puri.
Another one is Swetaganga Tank located to the South.
Samudra Arathi is another tradition in Puri started by the present Shankaracharya , as great a spectacle as the Ganga Arathi, where the Matha disciples offer prayer to the sea. On Paush Purnima, the Shankaracharya himself leads the prayers.
Often overshadowed by the giant Jagannatha Temple, Gundicha Ghar is worth a visit in Puri. It is where the deities of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken to during the #RathaJatra and placed there for 7 days. Often called Jagannatha's Garden home.
Gundicha Temple much like the main temple has a typical Kalinga Deula style of architecture, It has the vimana( contains the sanctum), jagamohana( assembly hall), nata mandira and bhoga mandapa( for the offerings), and a kitchen too.
While Gundicha Temple is smaller compared to the main temple, it has a beautiful ambience, with a lovely garden and coconut trees. Also except during Ratha Yatra, on the other days it's less crowded, so best place to have that solitude, and peace of mind.
Gundicha Temple is named after the queen of Indradyumna, also believed to be the Mausi to Jagannatha, Balabhadra, Subhadra. The Rath Yatra is believed to be the Lord's journey to his aunt's home, to rest, for some time. Chenna Poda is offered as prasad to the Lord here.
During 7 days stay at Gundicha Ghar, following rituals are observed
Hera Panchami- 5th day when Lakshmi is bought from the main temple to meet Jagannatha.
Dakshina Moda- 6th day, when chariots are turned South outside temple.
Bahuda Yatra- The return journey
Puri Beach is worth visiting for it's sand sculptures, as also it's lovely sunrises and sunsets. If you plan to see the sunrise and sunset, better to stay overnight at some resort or hotel here.
Also Puri is home to Odisha's famed applique work, most of it is found at Pipli on the route to Bhubaneshwar. If you are seeking some nice decoration for your homes, you can get it here.
Satpada near to Puri is worth a visit, if u have time. This is where the Chilika Lake meets the Bay of Bengal, forming a beautiful lagoon of sorts. Also famous for the Chilika Dolphins, though it can be hard to spot them.
Another place to be visited near Puri, is Raghurajpur the artists village. Located amidst coconut groves, and green paddy fields, you can see the beauty of Odiya art here, and also the artists at work.
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