When I said ‘Golden triangle’…Did I raise your expectations to read something exotic, out of India?
If yes, accept my apologies in advance; my international tripping hasn’t begun yet! Although,on our domestic front, we refer to the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur route as the Golden triangle, but again, I would say, ‘You are no where near!’
Then…what this post is all about?
Well…have patience fellas, just go little further towards eastern side on the map of India, towards the bay of bengal, there… in the state of Odisha…we have one more ‘Golden triangle’, at the angles of which are three cities- Puri, the city with Golden beach; Konark, the city of giant Golden star, Sun; and Bhubneshwar, the city of God Shiva with golden heart.
In this post, I am going to talk about this journey around Odisha’s Golden triangle in 24 hours ( 12 hrs of day-1in Puri + 12 hrs of day-2, hopping place to place).😊
We started our journey from Puri or Jagannath Puri. Does Puri need introduction?
Being one of the four pilgrimage destinations of Hindus, it is the site of huge temple dedicated to the lord-of-the-world. It is said that the Lord or Jagannath dines here to satiety, goes to Rameshawaram for a bath, sleeps in Dwarika, and meditates in Badrinath-Kedarnath. Read about my experience in the temple here.
In addition to the religious significance, Puri is also favoured by tourists around the country and beyond. It is blessed with the extensively gorgeous Golden sandy beach, the sun rise and sunset of which are well awaited times of the day.
Though, no water sports are in the run except for a few boats, pepole can enjoy swimming, camel riding, horse riding, sunbathing etc. There’s a beach market as well to buy the conches or artifacts made of shells. Tempting sea food stalls also make a lane but I don’t know whether to try’em or not, cause I am a vegetarian.
Numerous local sand artists come up and showcase their talent towards dusk. And…if you want to capture the talent, you gotta pay them; they call it appreciation 😊. Come dusk, witness the sea extending its limbs to claim back the territory.
Puri is most known for its annual Rath Yatra in the month of June-July during which the images of three deities inside the temple come out and visit two other temples- Mausima temple and Gundicha temple, both located on Grand road or bada danda.
Puri To Konark
Our journey from Puri took off around 8.00 in the morning. The mode of travelling was a tourism bus with a knowledgeable guide. Konark is 35 km from Puri along the Bay of Bengal, on marine drive road.
Spots on the way:
Nua-Nui River: This was not a stop but the guide said it is a beautiful sight at sangam. And later, I came to know that the baglighar beach here is more fun-oriented and also has water sports for the enthusiasts.
Our First hault just three km before Konark. Here, river Chandarbhaga meets the Sea. Legend has it that once Sun, the deity of the region, got attracted to the captivating beauty of a girl named Chandarbhaga. He pursued her, forcefully. She ended her life by jumping into the river. The river is now dried, present only as a trickle.
It is also said to be the place where Sambha, the son of lord Krishna meditated and got cured from leprosy. Every year in the month of february, a festival (Magh Mela) is observed on the beach. This is also the venue of the famous sand art festival. We were there on Makar Sakranti, so religious people were having good time there.
In a jiffy, we were in Konark. It is on the left side of the main road, and you have to travel through a crowded market road to reach the main gate. Well, I don’t know if it was due to the special day or what, but, the crowd was insane!
The temple, though in ruins, undoubtedly, is an architectural marvel. Good thing, you can take your cameras inside. Sad thing, you won’t find a picture of the temple ‘human-free’, no matter how long you wait. Find my inside story here.
We were asked to eat something here by the tourism people. Being inquisitive, we ordered three kinds of thalis there- Odia, Bengali, and Rajasthani which to our surprise had no remarkable difference in the end except the absence of chapati in Odia!
Konark to Bhubneswar:
Dhauligiri: Flip side of travelling in a group, a lot of time is wasted without reason and you are going to miss spots, as a result. We missed Dhauligiri for the same reason. Just to tell you, it is the place where Ashoka, The Great, supposedly converted to Buddhism.
Daya River: Next we crossed the Daya River- the witnessee of the infamous KALINGA WAR. It is said that due to excessive bloodshed during the war, the river turned red, and was referred to as Khooni Nadi (Blood river).
Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves: Our next stop. The nice illustration of rock cut architecture in Eastern India; The two caves are located on parallel hills separated by a small gap having a road which connects Bhubneshwar to Chandaka.
Udaygiri means the Sunrise Hill, and Khandagiri is the name given to a broken Hill. Ancient names of the two hills were Kumari and Kumar Parbat, the latter being 3.96 m higher than former. The caves, now out of use, are said to be part of the jain Monestry built around 1st century by King Kharavela. There is a temple on the top of Khandagiri, which is still functional. Entry to the Khandagiri is free, though you have buy a ticket of 15 INR to enter Udaygiri caves.
Lingaraj Temple: ‘Linga’ as we know, is the stone form of Shiva. Ligaraj literally means lord-of-Lingas. This temple complex is very beautiful cluster of stone structures. No cameras again, you just have to trust your vision. The guide said, it is a place where Shiva and Hari live together…The Trishool and the Sudarshana are placed atop. Again the crowd, or I would say mismanaged devotees, they make it a point not to leave any divinity around. May be, it was the peak hours or what, but, I didn’t enjoy the Darshana. And to worsen the misery, you later come to know that you have been bypassed; You can see the linga from a distance if you are attentive enough and clever to stay on the right side of the mass of people or you would be out of the temple with the flow, just like that. My daughter needed to be picked up on shoulders to let her know why we were wriggling, afterall!
The dominace of disorderliness, and lack of godliness in such places irritates. Why can’t people make lines? Whatever!
The sun was about to set. The bunch of tired travellers reached the last point of the journey.
Nandankanan Zoo: The last stop for the day. This is actually a big area preserved for wild flora and fauna. Amongst many creatures, I was amazed largely to see The White Tigers and The mouse dear. It is a place to see in leisure. Great thing is the animals were very active and looked healthy. The Zoo is doing a great job.
As the dusk slowly gave way to darkness, the engine of our bus also roared and we headed back to our respective abodes in Puri.
After having dinner in a restaurant on the grand road, we went walking to our hotel exploring the streets of Puri.
In total, it was a fun day, well spent with family. Saw many unseen places, heard many unheard stories, and most important, made memories for life.
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