How to Reach Puri
The nearest airport is Biju PatnaiK Airport which is located in Bhubaneswar almost 60 kilometers from Puri. It is quite easy to access Puri as airways are considered as one of the most convenient and hassle free transport services. The airport provide domestic services and you can find major Indian airlines here and regular flights from New Delhi, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai are operated. Nearest Airport : Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (46.38).
Puri is a last stop on the East Coast Railway which has direct express and other super fast trains which is well linked with major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Okha, Ahmedabad, Tirupati and many more. Some of the famous trains offer direct services to the city which includes Kolkata (Howrah) Puri Howrah Express, Jagannath Express; New Delhi Purushottam Express.
Roadways is another one of the most appropriate option to reach Puri as the nearest bus stand is located close to the Gundicha Temple which provides direct connections to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and one can reach the place in just 10 to 15 minutes. Bhubaneswar is located at a distance of almost 50 km from the city while Jamshedpur at 333.9 km, Visakhapatnam at 355.1 km, Ranchi at 396.3 km and Calcutta at 403.7 km are few important cities that can be visited from Puri if you have a lot of time. So, there is no problem regarding how to reach Puri.
Distance Charts to Puri
- Konark to Puri 33 mins-35.4 km
- Cuttack to Puri 1 hour 34 mins-97.1 km
- Bhubaneswar to Puri 1 hour 35 mins-71.8 km
- Brahmapur to Puri 2 hours 39 mins-171 km
- Paradip to Puri 2 hours 18 mins-129 km
- Kolkata to Puri 7 hours 7 mins-494 km
- Gopalpur to Puri 2 hours 48 mins-167 km
- Dhenkanal to Puri 2 hours 19 mins-130 km
Best time to visit Puri
According to the Koppen and Geiger the climate of Puri is classified Aw. The city has moderate and tropical climate. Humidity is fairly high throughout the year. The temperature during summer touches a maximum of 36 0C (97 0F) and during winter it is 17 0C (63 0F). The average annual rainfall is 1,337 millimetres (52.6 in) and the average annual temperature is 26.9 0C (80.4 0F). The weather data is given in the table.
The best time to visit Puri is from June to March.
Summer season in Puri
The city witness its summer season in the month of March to May. Usually in summer season, the city has the mercury levels which vary between 190C and 450C.
Monsoon season in Puri
The city experiences its monsoon season in the month of June to September. Generally the city witnesses medium rainfall in its initial stage and then in the end of the month it experiences heavy rainfall.
Winter season in Puri
The month of December to February are considered as winter season of the city which generally has the coo temperature. The city witnesses the temperature between the range of between 100C and 180C.
Events and Festivals in Puri
Puri witnesses 24 festivals every year, of which 13 are major festivals. The most important of these is the Rath Yatra or the Car festival held in the month June-July which is attended by more than 1 million people.
Rath Yatra at Puri
The Rath Yatra in Puri in modern times showing the three chariots of the deities with the Temple in the background The Jagannath triad are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 kilometres (1.9 mi)) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darsana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The yatra starts, according to Hindu calendar Asadha Sukla Dwitiya )the second day of bright fortnight of Asadha (June-July) every year.
Historically, the ruling Ganga dynasty instituted the Rath Yatra at the completion of the great temple around 1150 AD. This festival was one of those Hindu festivals that was reported to the Western world very early. In his own account of 1321, Odoric reported how the people put the “idols” on chariots, and the King and Queen and all the people drew them from the “church” with song and music.
The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is about 45 feet (14 m) high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct. Th chariot is mounted with 16 wheels, each of 7 feet (2.1 m) diameter. The carvings in the front of the chariot has four wooden horses drawn by Maruti. On its other three faces the wooden carvings are Rama, Surya and Vishnu. The chariot is known as Nandi Ghosha. The roof of the chariot is covered with yellow and golden coloured cloth. The next chariot is that of Balabhadra which is 44 feet (13 m) in height fitted with 14 wheels. The chariot is carved with Satyaki as the charioteer. The carvings on this chariot also include images of Narasimha and Rudra as Jagannath’s companions. The next chariot in the order is that of Subhadra, which is 43 feet (13 m) in height supported on 12 wheels, roof covered in black and red colour cloth and the chariot is known as Darpa-Dalaan. The charioteer carved is Arjuna. Other images carved on the chariot are that of Vana Durga, Tara Devi and Chandi Devi. The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne. The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut.The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra and Ghosha yatra.
The Chhera Pahara is a significant ritual associated with the Ratha-Yatra. During the festival, the Gajapati King wears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots in the Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. The Gajapati King cleanses the road before the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder with utmost devotion. As per the custom, although the Gajapati King has been considered the most exalted person in the Kalingan kingdom, he still renders the menial service to Jagannath. This ritual signified that under the lordship of Jagannath, there is no distinction between the powerful sovereign Gajapati King and the most humble devotee.
In Akshaya Tritiya every year the Chandan Yatra festival marks the commencement of the construction of the Chariots of the Rath Yatra. It also marks the celebration of the Hindu new year.
On the Purnima day in the month of Jyestha (June) the triad images of the Jagannath temple are ceremonially bathed and decorated every year on the occasion of Snana Yatra. Water for the bath is taken in 108 pots from the Suna kuan (meaning: “golden well”) located near the northern gate of the temple. Water is drawn from this well only once in a year for the sole purpose of this religious bath of the deities. After the bath the triad images are dressed in the fashion of the elephant god, Ganesha. Later during the night the original triad images are taken out in a procession back to the main temple but kept at a place known as Anasara pindi.After this the Jhulana Yatra is when proxy images of the deities are taken out in a grand procession for 21 days, cruised over boats in the Narmada tank.
Anavasara or Anasara
Anasara literally means vacation. Every year, the triad images without the Sudarshan after the holy Snana Yatra are taken to a secret altar named Anavasara Ghar Palso known as “Anasara pindi} where they remain for the next dark fortnight (Krishna paksha). Hence devotees are not allowed to view them. Instead of this devotees go to nearby place Brahmagiri to see their beloved lord in the form of four handed form Alarnath a form of Vishnu. Then people get the first glimpse of lord on the day before Rath Yatra, which is called Navayouvana. It is said that the gods suffer from fever after taking ritual detailed bath and they are treated by the special servants named, Daitapatis for 15 days. Daitapatis perform special niti (rite) known as Netrotchhaba (a rite of painting the eyes of the triad). During this period cooked food is not offered to the deities.
One of the most grandiloquent events associated with the Lord Jagannath, Naba Kalabera takes place when one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha, called Adhika Masa (extra month). This can take place in 8, 12 or even 18 years. Literally meaning the “New Body” (Nava = New, Kalevar = Body), the festival is witnessed by as millions of people and the budget for this event exceeds $500,000. The event involves installation of new images in the temple and burial of the old ones in the temple premises at Koili Vaikuntha. The idols that were worshipped in the temple, installed in the year 1996, were replaced by specially made new images made of neem wood during Nabakalebara 2015 ceremony held during July 2015. More than 3 million devotees were expected to visit the temple during the Nabakalebara 2015 held in July.
Suna Bhesha also known as Raja or Rajadhiraja bhesha or Raja Bhesha, is an event when the triad images of the Jagannath Temple are adorned with gold jewelry. This event is observed 5 times during a year. It is commonly observed on Magha Purnima (January), Bahuda Ekadashi also known as Asadha Ekadashi (July), Dashahara (Vijyadashami) (October), Karthik Purnima (November), and Pousa Purnima (December). While one such Suna Bhesha event is observed on Bahuda Ekadashi during the Rath Yatra on the chariots placed at the lion’s gate or the Singhdwar; the other four Bheshas’ are observed inside the temple on the Ratna Singhasana (gem studded altar). On this occasion gold plates are decorated over the hands and feet of Jagannath and Balabhadra; Jagannath is also adorned with a Chakra (disc) made of gold on the right hand while a silver conch adorns the left hand. However, Balabhadra is decorated with a plough made of gold on the left hand while a golden mace adorns his right hand.
Celebrated on Asadha Trayodashi. It marks the end of the 12 days Ratha yatra. The large wooden images of the triad of gods are moved from the chariots and then carried to the sanctum sanctorum, swaying rhythmically, a ritual which is known as pahandi.
Considered the world’s biggest open-air theatre,the Sahi yatra is an 11 day long traditional cultural theatre festival or folk drama which begins on Ram Navami and ending in Rama avishke (Sanskrit:anointing) every year. The festival includes plays depicting various scenes from the Ramayan. The residents of various localities or Sahis are entrusted the task of performing the drama at the street corners.