This is our first day in Puri . We have already checked in hotel and hit the sea beach with full enthusiasm. After sea bath and sumptuous Lunch, our team members meet at Balcony, we are planning now for Puri Darsan or Puri Sightseeing. How to book private car? At what price? We have checked price and options from 2-3 local travel agents. Finally we have selected a private car for Puri sightseeing …
I have shared some useful travel information at the end of this blog post :
At day 2 in Puri :
Finally we hit the road for Puri sightseeing :
Our car driver was young man ( may be 19 years old ) , has parked car in front our hotel , Out team come out from hotel with preparation , with snacks , travel list and Wiki travel Guide etc .
Our Guide cum Driver Ratan welcomes us at hotel gate and informs we are on the way to Dhauligiri . This is our first travel spot
1. Journey to Dhaulagiri: This place is very close to Bhubaneswar ( 10 Km from city ) , since this is the far off place from Puri , we plan to visit there first . Our car now zooming through Puri –Bhubaneswar Highway. It’s a almost 1 hour journey from Puri . Road condition is very good. So biting popcorn, listening music , watching natures , we finally come close to the hill of Dhaulagiri. From the highway we could see the Dhaulagiri at the top of hill .
Our car left the highway and took the village road. This is a very quiet and bucolic environment . I went there 32 years back, at that time , we came here by man pulled rickshaw , he dropped us at the bottom of hill and we walked along the road taking to hill top . But lot of changes happened in 30 years. Now car can directly reach to the top of Dhauli hill.
Dhauli hills are located on the banks of the river Daya, 8 km south of Bhubaneswar . It is a hill with vast open space adjoining it. We have seen major Edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock, Local people showed the vast green space near Daya river ( at the beneath of Dhauli hill ) is presumed to be the area where the Kalinga War was fought.
On the top of the hill, a dazzling white peace pagoda welcomes us there and it has been built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sanghain the 1970s .
We have spent about 30 minutes there, we could see the river Daya at one side of the hills and other side we could the sky line of Bhubaneswar city. We are enjoying quite environment and impressive presence of Lord Buddha statues, beautiful sculptures on while marble stones , scripts .
When I looked around from the hill top , still we could see and feel history the Kalinga War .
We slowly came to our parking lots, leaving behind the sweet memories of Dhauligiri.
Our next trip to Lingaraj Temple
2. Lingaraj Temple: This is second spot in puri sightseeing
After Dhauligir , we have entered into Bhubaneswar city , heading towards Lingaraj Temple . This is one of the oldest temples of Bhubaneswar.
This temple had been dedicated to Harihara, a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. Shiva is worshipped hare as Harihara . The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar.
After reading this history, we come back to share our experience :
This is very old temple, architecture wise we have found lots of similarities with Jagannath temple. We have kept our all belonging (phones , cameras ) in nearby by counters ( as those are not allowed . We spent 30 min there, then we moved to next destination Udaygiri and Khandagiri .
Note: I suggest don’t spend more time here, as lots more to see at Udaygiri and Khandagiri
3. Udaygiri and Khandagiri :
This place is again inside Bhubaneswar city. Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are just located in two adjacent hills and are partly natural and partly artificial caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance near the city of Bhubaneswar . Udayagiri means “Sunrise Hill” and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.
Udaygiri cave is really worth to spend time. I am more interested to see Hathigumpha inscription . When I look at caves in hills, I am thrilled to explore history . So I take a local guide . In fact if you go there without guide, you can’t feel the history associated with these caves . If you love history, then you can spend Rs 100 ( about USD 1.7 ) for guide.
The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, called lena or leṇa in the inscriptions, were dug out mostly during the reign of Kharavela for the abode of Jaina ascetics. The most important of this group is Ranigumpha in Udayagiri which is a double storied monastery
Our guide tokes us to Cave no. 1 and then to cave 2 which is most famous . Cave 2 is Ranigumpha , our guide explained the history of this Cave , where king sit , sleeping place of monks , we entered into a bit inside the cave , we have found a secret cave let to take us it to other side of hills .
We spent some time there in the cave, we have seen how the women participated in Kalinga War . All are depicted in Cave pictures.
From there we climb up the hills, looking at other caves. From here you can see the hill top of Khandagiri, After some climbing we have reached main cave , where we find Hathigumpha inscription written on roof of the cave . Hathigumpha Inscription is the main source of information about Kalinga ruler Kharavela. This inscription, consisting of seventeen lines has been incised in deep cut Brahmi script of the 1st century BCE, on the overhanging brow of a natural cavern called Hathigumpha, in the southern side of the Udayagiri hill.We have also seen the English transcription of Hathigumpha inscription written on metal plate in front of the cave .
We have seen monks cave, meditation caves , caves for high spiritual gayn .
We have spent about an hour there. We have been engrossed into learning and feeling history that we forgot to catch Khandagiri cave tour . So we skipped Khandagiri cave.
In fact I went there 30 years ago when I came to this place with my parents. our team members are getting exhausted , so feel to take some rest . So I need to plan Khandagiri cave darsan in next trip .
Note: If you like natures, history, idle chatting with history at hill top, then this place is the BEST place to spend time.
4. Journey to Nandankanan Zoo:
If you go for puri sightseeing , I think this is the best place to spend time with children . Our next destination is Nandankanan . Driver informs us it’s an hour drive from Udaygiri cave. It is about 11:30 am. So we plan to finish lunch before entering Nandankanan zoo . Started from Udaygiri , we almost passed through Bhubaneswar city , then reached other side of the city .
It looks we are leaving city now to reach zoo. Driver has parked the car just 2 KM before the zoo. This is a good restaurant, we quickly finish our lunch as we plan to spend about 3 hours in zoo.
Few minutes’ drive after lunch, we have reached Nandankanan . Like pandas at Puri temple, here we have found many guides surrounding and all of them are claiming themselves as Government registered guides. They charge 100/- for an hour guided tour.
An entry fee to zoo is Rs 20 per person. Since we have 2-3 hours, we plan to see some important places there. We have found many attractions and rides mentioned over the tourist guide boards to enjoy. So we initially think to take guide but later we deserted that plan and we go out on our own to explore the zoo.
This is a huge place, so many things to see. If you come here for 2-3 hours trip, then you need to plan your time wisely. Since we have to set out for Konark temple by 3:30 PM, so plan to cut short the tour short.
We have visited dear parks, fish aquariums, Crocodile Park, snake gardens etc. These are not much different from Kolkata Alipur zoo. Only difference is that this place is more clean and spacious .
I feel best place to explore Nandankanan safari . This is one of the best experience in 4 days puri travel plan .
You can find counter of Safari tour near snake garden. We book 6 tickets each costing Rs 50. It is 45 minutes bus tours in four different safaris. They run 4 number buses to guided tours . We take ticket and start in queue for our Bus number 2 .
Finally we have got our bus and our first trip is to visit tiger safari , thanks god we managed to see white tiger . Each bus comes with a guide, he informs us that tiger is in a good mood, our bust goes close to tiger , but tiger doesn’t care us . We wait sometimes there, while leaving safari , we have seen pea cock spreading wings dancing on road . As if she welcomes us to her nest.
Then we move to Lion safari, thanks God , again God is favoring us , we manage to see 4 lions on road side . Our bust stopped there, we take snaps. A junior lion made an eye contact with me. It was just 10 ft away from my bus window. They are in relaxed mode. So we say good bye, but lion king gives us empty look .
Now we come out from lion safari and enter into Bear Safari. Our guide advises us to be cautious . As few days back, a bear suddenly came very close to bus window. We travel whole safari, but couldn’t trace bear. This time we fill we don’t have any luck for bear . Wait …
While leaving safari, guide hints the bus driver to stop , he might have spotted something inside jungle . We all keep silence. Guide silently opens the bus door, just made some sound and closed the door again. Suddenly we have heard a thud behind our bus . Someone is scratching bus !! Yes , now we could see a bear comes from our back and stands straight near our window . But its sudden appearance surprises us a lot , kids among the bus are nervous . But we ensure them we are safe inside the Bus, so not to worry . After few minutes , we after waving good bye Deer Bear .
Then we move to Deer safari. This place is safe. So guide opens the door , but stops at many places . Few of us venture outside for a brisk walk in quite safari.
One bong data, start singing Rabindra Saneet . I saw his nervous face in Bear safari. Now he feels safe . We have seen many species of deer. Finally, our hour long safari journey is ended about 3 PM . Bus is taking us back to booking office .
We call our driver from Zoo as he might have parked car in some parking lot outside Zoo.
We need to reach Konark by 4:30 PM . We came out from zoo with memories of jungle book.
Note: I feel we are time pressed. So could not spend quality time here. If you have 4-6 hours or a whole day, then this is best place to spend time . Hope next time, I will manage more time for this place.
This is the second best place where you can feel history and and at same time enjoy some country life (if you have time to go for a shopping and local tour in nearby area). I have read some story about this monument. Though I have engineering back ground, but I love history. So we did some research for this location .
Konark Temple is a massive structure surrounded by drifting sand is located three kilometers from the sea, but originally it was reported to be closer for which it was used as a navigational point by European sailors, who referred to it as the ‘Black Pagoda’.
Built by King Narasimhadeva in the thirteenth century, the entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot, carrying the sun god, Surya, across the heavens. There is also a legend of Samba behind this. But you can get all these from online resources. From here I take you along my tour journey.
Journey from Nandankanan to Konark was awesome.
It’s about 1.5 hours’ journey. This place is now close to Puri . While we are returning from Bhubaneswar along Puri- Bhubaneswar Highway , we have turned left , then it is a cool 1 hour journey through the country side , green village landscape , paddy fields , village markets .Most of my family members have fallen asleep as they are tired . I am tapping my feet to Orissa song and watching village scenes and doing some occasional chatting with our driver.
Finally we have reached Konark about 4:30 PM and booked tickets (remember counter close by 6 PM) .so you should reach there by 5PM to book tickets and watch the entire site .
We entered the site, we are amazed to see huge architecture, I have opened my history notes and try to match with description. It is beautifully old and the dilapidated structure brings more charms to richness of this place. We have seen parts of horses fallen out chariot. Someone put them back on side platform. My daughter and I have travelled the entire area . Other family members are tried, so they were taking rest in nearby garden . We sit there sometime to feel the history of this place .Sun is on the way for day off. Then slowly we start our journey towards Puri .
Chandrabhaga Sea Beach
It is 5:45 PM at Konark; we are planning to return Puri. It was about 35 Km journey. Driver now takes us to our last sport Chandrabhaga Sea Beach. It comes on the way from Konark to Puri . It’s evening by then , we go to beach , It’s very quite beach , waves are tired of being neglected ss most of the visitors are puri bound tourist and spending their tiresome day at this beach. We have found hardly any guys chasing waves there and enjoying sea bath .
We have found a temple at a distance near the beach. There is very small guest house on the other side . We have spent 20 minutes there, While coming back , we found a lagoon like place along Puri bound road and boasting facility is there . Driver informs that this is a beautiful boating place . But it is already evening, So our car has taken road to toward puri . Again it’s superb road , we are tuned to evening song , recalling whole day experience . Finally after a daylong tour we are back to Puri .
Puri travel information:
I have collected some information for my readers :
There are two options of travel for Puri sightseeing :
1. Book your own private car
2. Avail service from local bus tour operators.
Duration is: About 12 hours and It covers about 10 important spots.
Since we are 6 people in our group, we have decided to go by private car. I have checked 2-3 agents. Here are the price lists:
1. Tata Magic – 1400/- for whole day (8 -10 people)
2. Tata Suma – 1800-2000 for whole day ( 8 people )
3. Bolero – 2000-2200 for whole day now
Note: price includes all parking charge
We are lucky, we have met Gopal (our Travel agent – 09938862030) who helped us to get Hotel , so we have contacted him again and booked Bolero at 1900/- ( I feel this is the best Price ) . So finally we are ready for whole day Puri sightseeing.
I have collected some information of Local Bus tour Puri sightseeing:
I have just mentioned this information for my readers:
Tour by Bus:
Super Luxury coach – Rs 180 per head (6:30 Am to 7 PM )
I managed to get one travel agency name: N N Mukherjee ans Sons :
Phone – 09238-648294/9237-956013
Note: I don’t know whether they are good, just shared this for your reference if any. I am not promoting any company here.