Visit to a religious place is always a different experience. Usually, people visit religious places with their families and friends to break away from the daily life and worship the divinity.
I had an opportunity to visit Puri, which is a coastal area in Odisha and has the famous Jagannath temple, last summer with my parents.
A Pleasant City:
A warm and muggy day was the perfect weather combination to go to Puri. The water of the sea was crystal clear and deep blue in colour. There was not a bit of sea weed in our sight. As one listens to the sound of the waves roaring and the breezy wind of the sea brushing by, you can spot boats sailing in the deep seas.
I looked at the people around who were soaking themselves in the sun and were in line to get in the water. The sea beach was lined up with hotels and restaurants for the tourists’ visitng Puri in large numbers. Puri is also famous for the Jagannath Temple where each day thousands of people visit to pay homage to Lord Jagannath.
The Jagannath temple was a huge structure and was carved out in stone. The architectural brilliance was commendable and it looked an absolute marvel standing in the middle of the city. There were a number of pundits both at the entrance and also inside who were busy in their own work. Once you enter the temple premises, you will be astounded to find a number of different and smaller temples too.
There were temples dedicated to almost every god. The Jagannath temple is also said to house the largest kitchen in eastern India where hundreds of cooks work daily. Some of the pundits came to us and asked us as to whether we would like a tour of the whole temple. But we kept walking on our own. We had the ‘prasad’ in the temple itself.
One of the famous events why Puri is famous is because of the chariot festival or ‘Rathyatra’. It is a time when lakhs of devotees visit Puri and so do thousands of tourists. It is the day when the trinity of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra visit their aunt’s place in their respective chariots. These gods are carried to their chariots and then the royal prince of Puri comes and sweeps the floor of each of these three chariots. After this, the chariots are pulled by lakhs of devotees who fill the streets of the town.
All in all, the experience at Puri was amazing and thrilling. It is the ideal religious place to visit during holidays. The visit to the beach was a welcome break out of all of our hectic schedules and me and my parents enjoyed it to the full extent. Though I was unhappy when we had to return home in the evening, my father promised me that he would take me to the Puri again very soon.