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Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Memorable Puri Trip

I am back from a short trip to Puri. While it is difficult to skip a visit on every trip back home (Bhubaneshwar), this was the first time we stayed there overnight. And it turned out to be quite happening (though not in the sense that we normally use it). And as an added bonus it was not as crowded as usual . The Phailin scare seems to have driven/kepy away many of the tourists who throng Puri every year (mostly during December).

As the new developed stretch of road connecting Bhubaneshwar-Puri is almost complete, we travelled by this route which sadly bypassed the Pipili village. While this village is famous for its applique work and a treat for the eyes, we later discovered that the same stuff can be bought at cheaper rates on the Puri beach /beachfront stalls. It took us a little more than an hour to reach Puri with no stops in between. However foodies can make a pit stop at Chandanpur and refuel themselves on the local specialty, Chudaghasa- Dalma. For the religiously inclined, a stop at the Bata-Mangala temple is a must.

Once we reached there by noon, we directly headed for the holiday home where we were booked. After a quick round of refreshments and a hour long nap, we headed for the beach. Rows of shops selling Khaja/Pheni jostled for space with the ones selling Sambalpuri sarees/bedsheets/kurtas/kurtis. As we inched closer to the beach, these were replaced with shops selling all varieties of junk jewelry and show pieces made from conch/shells.



[The above picture was taken at Bada Danda. One can see rows of make-shift stalls selling Khaja, the primary prasad of the residing deity Lord Jaganaath.]



[ Shops like this selling a variety of chenna (cottage cheese) sweets are to be found all over Puri, especially near the Jaganaath temple. One can spot Rasagulla, Rabdi, Rasabaali, Chenna jhili , Chenna Poda and last but not least, the eminently unforgettable Khira. Tender cheese balls that have been soaking in Rabdi, these just taste out of this world. I know that I have been sprouting a lot about eating healthy stuff, but am making an exception on this vacation ;)]


On reaching the beachfront, one was greeted with the sight of tourists frolicking among the waves. The nice golden sands felt warm but just a little bit dirty. Hence we settled down on one of the many benches near to a tea stall ( One can also rent/lease a chair for rupees 10, but be sure to ask the price beforehand). Within a span of half an hour, we had been approached by vendors selling myriad stuff. From religious books, handbags, show pieces, pearls to edibles like Jhal Mudhi and Chana Jhal, everything could be bought for a small price. Last but not the least, the animal rides also deserve a mention. Nicely decorated camels and horses are a hit with most of the children ( OK OK...I make an exception for those adults who have kept alive the child in them ).



















[ People lounging on the beach. The long shadows on the sand indicate a late afternoon, the time of the day when this snap was taken.]

After a good two hours on the beach, we headed back to our room for a change and some snacks. The latter accomplished (around eight in the evening ), we marched towards the Jaganaath Temple-Bada Danda. Now this is one stretch that witnesses a sea of humanity ( and our ubiquitous holy cows too!! ) at any time of the day (and till very late in the night too). This is the right place to buy brass stuff (decorative and functional both) and images of Balabhadra-Subhadra-Jaganaath. If you like to sample some fresh chenna, head to one of the many vendors squatting on the road and selling pots of still warm chenna.

Once we entered the temple premises, we duly made the rounds of all the deities. Apart from the siblings Jaganaath-Balabhadra-Subhadra, Bimala, Mahalaxmi, Sakhi gopala, Nilamadhaba and Kanchi Ganesh all have temples dedicated to them. After visting all these temples, we made our way to the Anda Bazaar, the market where all kinds of prasad is sold. This is where we discovered the 'Tanka Torani', a delicious mix of rice water, lemon juice, curry leaves, ginger, green chilli and salt.
( With no cameras being allowed inside the complex, I was unable to capture any of the above mentioned places )



















This was the discovery of the day. Matar-Pani or a steaming hot hot hot yellow peas soup. A strictly no onion no garlic preparation, the watery gravy of the yellow peas is flavoured with lots of green chillis, tamarind, coriander leaves, mint leaves and the black salt. Check the photo below to see the loads of green chillis (near the vendor's left hand) that go into this.


















Once we returned to our home stay, we were welcomed with hot 'Abhada'. This is the special prasadam that is offered to Lord Jaganaath. Check the Arwa anna, dali, besara and saaga tarkari in the earthen pots below. A special thanks to our caretaker for making the arrangements.

















This kind of meal has that special element that is so typical of Oriya food. It is made to satiate both the body and the soul. Tired with all the travel and walking around, it had an immediate soporific effect on us. Hence we retired for the day to recharge ourselves for more exploration/shopping on the second day.

[ To be continued......]

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to Orissa, Puri is the most travelled destination. Being one of the most revered cities for Hindus, Puri has managed to house a number of hotels to accommodate devotees as well as tourists. Check out hotels in Puri offering all the basic facilities.

    ReplyDelete

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