As one of Orissa’s 3 golden temple cities, Puri’s alive with religious exuberance. Hindu pilgrims head here year-round, but especially during Ratha Yatra, the dazzling chariot festival, making it a busy, colourful place to stay. Puri's shoreline also pulls in tourists – both Indian and foreign – meaning there’s a lot of hotels, both on and off the beach, from coastal resorts with pools and terraces, to hotels catering for those with tighter budgets.
As one of the holiest of Indian cities – home to Hinduism’s iconic Jagannath Temple – Puri’s brimming with shops and stalls selling colourful religious trinkets and knick-knacks popular with pilgrims and tourists. Orissa’s known for its vibrant handicrafts, and Puri has plenty of these to offer, from seashell-laden lampshades in bright colours to pattachitra – pictures painted on cloth and palm leaf.
A city of colourful temples, which come to life in full religious fervour during Ratha Yatra – the famous chariot festival – Puri is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. Non-devout Indians head here too, but they come for the city’s swathe of golden sand and plush resort hotels. Not to be missed out, foreign visitors and backpackers have been hitting the beach since the 60s. Whichever group you fit into, Puri’s attractions are bound to intrigue.
At first glance, Puri’s buzzing cacophony of traffic and people might be overwhelming, but this colourful, chaotic, coastal city has an eclectic charm, thanks to its oddball mix of a modern beach resort caught up with a buzzing Hindu pilgrimage centre, and backpacker hangout. As one of Orissa’s three golden temple cities, Puri draws in thousands of Hindu devotees each year, all looking to worship Lord Jagannath – the Lord of the Universe – at his temple.
You’ll find a good selection of eateries in Puri, from fast food chains to hotel restaurants offering international menus, not to mention local eateries serving up traditional dishes. As with all Indian towns, good value eats can be had from street stalls and on the roadside, where you can try moreish chuda ghasa – a blend of rice, brown sugar, pepper, coconut, cardamom, and golden clarified butter, served with fruit and nuts.
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